ANTH 157- Syllabus
Spring 2002

  TuTh 3-4:15 PM SQU 450  

California State University, Sacramento

 Instructor: Dr. Gerrell Miles Drawhorn 

Office: MND 4019 

Phone: 278-4555 [or message 278-6452 or] 

Office Hours: M 10-11 AM; Tu 1:30-2:30 PM ;or by appointment 


Course Objectives



Reading Materials


Catalog Description: A survey of the basic principles of human genetics with emphasis on the mechanisms that shape human evolution and the development of human races. Analysis of the laws of heredity as exhibited in modern human populations and human adaptability to climatic extremes. Historical development of concepts. Discussion of most current research.

Course Objectives

This course is intended to familiarize students with the basic concepts of human genetics and plasticity as applied to understanding human biological diversity. The student will become familiar with the basic methods used by human geneticists in tracing genetic traits in families and populations, and how that knowledge is applied in clinical and forensic settings. Topics will include the traditional concept of race and recent critiques of those models; geographic and clinal variation; biological adaptation to climate and disease; bio-social adaptations; variation within populations; heritability, and current issues that relate to genetic variation within our species.


ANTH 1; BIOS 10; or permission of instructor

Anthro 157 requires students have a good, current knowledge of basic evolutionary principles and terminology related to physical anthropology. It is necessary that students have taken Anthropology 1 or its equivalent within the last two years or be taking that course concurrently. Students who do not meet these requirements should discuss with the instructor supplementary materials to meet the demands of the class.


Students will be expected to complete the assigned readings by the assigned class dates in order to be prepared to answer questions and participate in class discussions. In addition there will be more formal written/activity assignments that will be turned in.



Date Due


10 @ 4 %



= 40 % Total

  • Thurs 2/28 Worksheet Set 1
  • Thurs 4/11 Worksheet Set 2
  • Thurs 5/16 Worksheet Set 3


20 % each


= 40 %


  • Thurs 2/28 Midterm 1
  • Thurs 4/11 Midterm 2


20 %

Tuesday 5/21 )


Regular attendance and completion of assignments are critical to success in this class. Assignments will be handed out and discussed in class. Several assignments will require accessing an internet site and completing a project there. Assignments will be due (in class) on the date of the subsequent midterm. Assignments in the final section of the the course will be due on the last day of class (not the final exam date!).


There will be three exams (worth 20% each). Exams will consist of objective questions (T/F; Multiple Choice; Matching) and short (one paragraph) answers. Questions shall be drawn from both the primary text (Molnar) and the required readings in the supplementary text (Sussman). The first midterm will cover the history of concepts related to human variation; basic genetics; and traits of simple inheritance(Chapters 1-3 in Molnar). The second midterm will cover how traits of simple inheritance are distributed in human populations; polygenic traits and the processes and patterns of distribution in humans (Chapters 4-6 in Molnar). The Final Exam will deal with several social issues (IQ, Forensic, Athletic Ability, Sex and Gender Differences) and the impacts of changing environments (Chapters 7-8 in Molnar).


Up to 10% of your final grade may be improved by undertaking extra credit projects/activities. These include attendance/reports on lectures; reviews of relevant TV broadcasts, or other activities as announced.




90+ points


Excellent performance; clearly exceeds course requirements

80-89 points



70-79 points


Passed, but not at average achievement standards

60-70 points


Failure to meet class requirement

< 60 points


Incompletes: Student must see instructor prior to last exam to request an incomplete due to illness.

Reading Materials

"Human Variation: Races, Types, and Ethnic Groups" by Stephen Molnar (Prentice Hall,NJ) Fifth Edition

"The Biological Basis of Human Behavior: A Critical Review" Robert W. Sussman (ed.) (Prentice-Hall, NJ). Second Edition.

You can purchase books through the Hornet Bookstore.




Schedule of Events

Week 1 Introduction; History of the Race Concept; Classification; Impact of the "New Synthesis"

(Molnar-Preface/Chap.1; Sussman Chaps. 1-2/27-28/34-35/37)

Week 2-3 Principles of Inheritance; The Gene at the DNA and Molecular Level; Human Polymorphisms (Molnar-Chap.2; Sussman Chap. 3; 59)

Week 4-5 Traits of Simple Inheritance: Blood Groups; Serum Proteins; Metabolic and other Human Polymorphisms (Molnar-Chap.3; Sussman Chap. 9-10)

Thursday 3/28 MIDTERM 1

Week 5-6 Traits of Simple Inheritance: Hemoglobin Variants and other adaptations to Malaria; Genetic Markers (Molnar-Chap.4)

Week 7-8 Traits of Complex Inheritance: Body Form, Pigmentation and Hair Form (Molnar-Chap.5)

Week 9 Spring Break/Cesar Chavez Day

Week 10-11 Distribution of Human Differences; Populations; Clines

(Molnar-Chap.6; Sussman Chap. 26, 29, 30, 49)

Thursday 4/11 MIDTERM 2

Week 12 Behavioral Variation: Intelligence and Athletic Performance; Heritability; Nature/Nuture (Molnar-Chap.7; Sussman Chap. 4, 31-33, 50, 58)

Week 13 Sex Differences: Hormonal Influences (Sussman 12; 40-42; 51-53; 56)

Week 14 Human Universals: Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology

(Sussman 13-15; 25, 38-39; 43-48; 55, 57)

Week 15 Human Evolution Today: Demographic and Disease Factors (Molnar-Chap.8; Sussman Chap 8, 36)

May 16 Final Assignment Sets Due

FINAL EXAM Tuesday 5/21 = 3-5 PM



The Physical Anthropology website ( has a number of resources that students in this course will find invaluable. Other useful links are the "Patterns of Human Variability" ( website, the "On-Line Mendelian Inheritance in Man" ( site, and the website for the PBS Series "Evolution" ( )

Page updated: January 26, 2002 1999