Parasites and Human Evolution (3) Advance our understanding of human evolution by studying the ecologies and evolutionary histories of our parasites.
ANTH 271H Parasites and Human Evolution (3)
The goal of this course is to advance our understanding of human evolution by studying the ecologies and evolutionary histories of our parasites. Many of these parasites flourish only under very specific human behaviors and habitats, are wholly dependent on us, and have evolved with us for thousands or millions of years. Therefore, by asking when and how we first acquired those parasites, under which environmental and cultural conditions we are the most susceptible, and how the parasites have evolved and adapted to us and we in response to them, we can gain considerable insight into our own evolutionary history. As examples, the lifecycle of tapeworms is dependent on our consumption of meat, the speciation of body and head lice was likely coincident with the development of clothing, and the spread of endemic malaria was likely associated with agriculture. A series of human parasites will be studied in sufficient depth – from biology to genetics to population dynamics and so on – to facilitate a holistic consideration of the implications for human evolution, population history, and culture.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.