This course is an examination of human biology from an anthropological perspective. Emphasis is on the biological basis of life, our place in the natural world, origins perspectives, and human diversity. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the biological and cultural processes impacting the human species.


This is a course in the field of physical (biological) anthropology, an examination of human biology from an anthropological perspective, which is to say from a cross-cultural, developmental, prehistoric and historic perspective. It includes human genetics, genetic forces (microevolution), what it is to be human and human variation and adaption (including human nutrition, growth and development, health and demography). You will be expected to learn a large body of information, including some memorization, to understand concepts and theories, and to critically analyze data and interpretations of data.

This is also a course in physical anthropology. That is, you will be exposed to the different kinds of research that biological anthropologists conduct, the types of organizations to which they belong, and the journals they publish. Here you can learn what sorts of research constitute the field, what kinds of questions biological anthropologists ask and how they try to answer them, and how and where to find out more about topics that interest you.

Concurrent registration in ANTH 230L Biological Anthropology Laboratory or consent of instructor.

Germano, Michael P.

President of the University
Full Time
B.S. (1959), University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; B.A. (1961), Ambassador University; M.A. (2000), Texas A&M University-College Station; M.S. (1966), Ed.D. (1968), University of Southern California; J.D. (1980), University of La Verne.
Subject Matter: 
Anthropology/Archaeology, Professional Education, Theology

Dr. Germano brings over forty years of professional experience in educational leadership, teaching, corporate and business law, entrepreneurship, and institutional advancement initiatives to the LU presidency. He is a member of the California State Bar and was admitted to practice in the federal district courts of Southern California and East Texas. He taught business law at West Coast University (Los Angeles) and at Ambassador University (Big Sandy, Texas). Affiliated with Ambassador University (formerly Ambassador College) since 1959, he served as chief academic officer at two of its campuses. He left Ambassador as a professor emeritus in 1997 and completed a master's degree in archaeology/anthropology at Texas A&M in 2000. He then left retirement to serve several years as the chief academic officer at Haywood Community College at Clyde, North Carolina. He held responsibilities in AU's involvement in archaeological excavations at Jerusalem's south Temple Mount directed by Benjamin Mazar, the Jordan Umm el-Jimal Project directed by Bert de Vries, the Syria Mozan Expedition directed by Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, and the northern Israel Hazor Excavations in memory of Yigael Yadin directed by Amnon Ben-Tor. Ordained in 1983, Dr. Germano is an elder in the Living Church of God.

Course Credit: 
Three (3) semester credit hours
Instructional Objectives: 

On successful completion of this course, a student should be able to:

  1. Explain a basic and integrated perspective on the anthropological discipline from a four-field approach;
  2. Define the sub-discipline of biological anthropology and apply the methods used by biological anthropologists to gather and interpret data in an independent research project;
  3. Understand and apply the scientific method;
  4. Explain the biological basis of life and the micro-evolutionary processes which drive it;
  5. Identify the taxonomic order of primates, along with their physical, behavioral and social characteristics, and the application of modern primate characteristics as a model for understanding the early hominids;
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the issues and arguments dealing with the matter of human origins including creationism (the theological explanation for the origin of humans), intelligent design (the philosophical explanation), and the synthetic theory of evolution (the scientific explanation);
  7. Identify and discuss genetic, physiological, behavioral, and fossil evidence normally offered in support of human evolution; and
  8. Define key terms.
Required Texts: 
  • Relethford, John. The Human Species: An Introduction to Biological Anthropology. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. ISBN 9780078034985.
Additional Readings: 

The following two books for your book critiques reflect two contemporary Evangelical approaches differing from our biblical creationist understanding to help you broaden your critical thinking skills.

  • Sailhamer, John H. Genesis Unbound: A Provocative New Look at the Creation Account. 2nd ed. Dawson Media, 2011. ISBN 9781935651215.
  • Giberson, Karl. Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution. Reprint ed. NY: HarperOne, 2009. ISBN 9780061441738.
Course Calendar: 
Lesson Topics
Lesson 1 Introduction to Biological Anthropology  
  Topic 1 Anthropology as a Discipline
  Topic 2 Human Biology From an Anthropological Perspective
  Topic 3 On Knowing: What Can We Know and How?
  Topic 4 The Nature of Scientific Inquiry
Lesson 2 The Biological Basis of Life  
  Topic 1 Human Genetics (inheritance as it occurs in human beings)
  Topic 2 Genetic Forces (microevolution)
  Topic 3 Genetic Genealogy (discovering your genetic ancestry)
  Topic 4 Speciation (creation continues)
Lesson 3 Our Place in the Natural World  
  Topic 1 The Primates (key physical characteristics)
  Topic 2 Primate Behavior and Ecology (key behavioral characteristics)
  Topic 3 Humanlike Life Forms (Animals)
  Topic 4 Human Beings (Mankind)
Lesson 4 Origins  
  Topic 1 The Origins Debate
  Topic 2 Creationism (the theological explanation for the origin of humans)
  Topic 3 Intelligent Design (the philosophical explanation for physical life)
  Topic 4 Synthetic Theory of Evolution (the scientific explanation of human origins)
Lesson 5 Human Diversity  
  Topic 1 Human Variation
  Topic 2 Recent Microevolution in Human Populations
  Topic 3 Human Adaption
  Topic 4 Impact of Agriculture and Civilization
Course Requirements: 
  1. Due dates and extensions: Submit assignments on or before the date due. Students must complete the course by the last official dat of instruction as set forth in the academic calendar. 
  1. Icebreaker: To officially begin this course you must complete an Icebreaker assignment by which you introduce yourself to your classmates through posting a short autobiography on a course discussion forum. A student can earn 30 points by posting the Icebreaker assignment on time. These points could make the difference between an A or a B, or pasing or not passing this course.
  • The Icebreaker must be completed, including comments to other students' bios, not later than the eighth day of the semester.
  • Post your biography as a reply to the "Icebreaker" topic on the lesson "Welcome and Overview" discussion forum.
  • Please post your bio not later than the fourth day of classes, so that your classmates have opportunity to welcome you to the course
  • Please read and comment on at least two other bios by the due date in order to get credit.
  • Full credit for this assignment will only be given if all of the above requirements are met.
  1. Reading assignments: Reading assignments are integrated into the lesson pages at the course website. When you undertake your critical book reviews, you may find the reviews of these titles on Amazon helpful.
  1. Discussion forums: Students will be expected to take part in lesson discussion forums. Each of the five (5) lessons will include discussions on a topic related to the material covered in that lesson. Students are required to post responses to two of their peers in the discussion assignment. Each discussion assignment will be worth 10 points (total = 50 points).
  1. Writing Assignments: All writing assignments in this course should follow the MLA style as set forth in Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide (14th edition) by Lester & Lester. Please cite your sources and used quotation marks where needed. To submit your work, select the appropriate assignment from the Assignments tab to go to the Assignment Submission webpage. Use the file attachment feature below the textbox to upload your WORD document so your instructor can have it handy for download, review, and grading. Please do not use the textbox to post your assignment: the textbox is used for student/instructor communication only, pertaining to the assignment.
    • Book Critiques: There are two book critiques due in this course, in which you will report on the content of the book and provide an evaluation that gives your judgment of its quality, including your thoughts, responses, and reactions the main ideas and arguments of the author. Each critique should be 5-7 pages in length, double-spaced, in MLA format. Each critique is worth 50 points (total =100 points)
    • What I Learned Essay. At the end of the course, you will submit a short essay expounding on five (5) things that you appreciated learning or found of particular interest in this course. Be sure to explain why you arrived at these conclusions and cite scriptural references or course material as appropriate. This assignment is worth 40 points.
  1. Quizzes and examinations: There are no quizzes in this course.
    • Exams. There are four closed book exams of 50 objective questions each to be taken online. Exam 4 is a proctored examination. A proctored exam is one that is overseen by an impartial individual (called a proctor) who monitors or supervises a student while he or she is taking an exam. The proctor ensures the security and integrity of the exam process for all involved. Each exam is worth 100 points (total =400 points).
  2. Course Evaluation: By completing this assessment you can earn 30 points toward your final grade.

A course grade will be determined based on the number of points a student has earned over the semester as follows:

  • Icebreaker Assignment (30 points)
  • Exams (four, each worth 100 points, for a total of 400 points; all four exams are online; the first two exams are open book; the last two exams are closed book and closed-notes; only Exam 4 is to be proctored)
  • Book Critiques [on Genesis Unbound and Saving Darwin] (two, each worth 50 points for a total of 100 points)
  • "What I Learned" Essay (40 points)
  • Course Evaluation (30 points)
  • TOTAL 600 points

Grades are in the traditional American style of an A, B, C, D, or F. In distance learning, we believe that the measure of mastery of course subject matter is completion of 80% of the objectives for a course. That means that we want students to earn at least 480 points in this course. If they do not do so then they have not achieved the level of the mastery we would like them to have. We want this course to be competency-based and so it is possible for the entire class to receive an A or a B. There is no artificial curving of scores in the assignment of grades. Mastery of the material is what one’s goal should be.

Grades, assigned by points, are as follows:

  • A 540-600 points
  • B 480-539 points
  • C 420-479 points
  • D 360-419 points
  • F Below 360 points

Students With Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities have a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students having a disability requiring an accommodation should inform the instructor by email (on the “Course Info” page click on the instructor’s name and then select “Send Email”).

Technology Access
This course requires web access and the student has to have an established e-mail account. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view documents that are PDF files. One can download the reader free at

Course Evaluation
Student input is welcome for improving this course. Making suggestions by e-mail is helpful. Our goal in this course is to facilitate the successful achievement of all instructional objectives by all students. At the end of the course students have the opportunity of assessing the course. We want to make e-learning courses as effective as we can. We may also ask some other questions concerning a student’s experience in distance learning to help us improve our program. We appreciate students letting us know how we can improve our products and services for them and other distance learners.

Withdrawing From or Dropping This Course
It is the responsibility of a student to drop a course if he or she cannot meet the requirements of the course. Any student who stops attending a course without officially withdrawing from it risks receiving a punitive grade for that course. Withdrawal requests may be conveyed in any manner to the course professor, Registrar, or Vice President of Academic Affairs. This action is sufficient for ensuring any refund owed you. Please note the following: If a student drops a course on or before the “Last day to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty” as published in the University Academic Calendar, even if his or her work is not of a passing grade, then a “W” is recorded. If a course is dropped after that date, but before the last 21 calendar days of the semester, then the instructor determines the grade. The faculty member will at this time record a grade of “W” if passing (not computed in GPA) or “WF” if failing (computed in GPA). Students who drop a course, yet remain in one or more other courses during the last 18 calendar days of the semester, will receive a grade of “WF.” Students who completely withdraw from the University at any time during the semester may be given a grade of “W” on all courses. If students do not initiate the withdrawal process, the instructor is required to initiate the administrative process and to record a grade of “W” or “WF” for the course depending on the date the faculty member drops the student from the course. Students who register for a course as an audit, but then withdraw will be assigned a grade of “W” for the course.