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ANTHRO-101 - Physical Anthropology - Matthew Curtis

Course:Physical Anthropology
Professor:Matthew Curtis
  • Online
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Photo of Anthropology Instructor, Dr. Matthew C. Curtis

Hello!  Thanks for being a part of this course, a journey into the world of physical anthropology!  I am your instructor, Dr. Matt Curtis.  I am a broadly trained anthropologist with a specialization in the Holocene archaeology of Africa and more than two decades of college/university teaching experience.  This couse will provide you with an engaging and challenging overview of core concepts and issues in physical/biological anthropology and human evolution. You will complete assigned readings, watch recorded instructor lectures, particpate in online discussion sessions, take online quizzes, and complete immersive written assignments that have you explore various topics through online resources, including videos, website tutorials, and audio stories.

Course Description

This course provides a thorough introduction to physical (biological) anthropology, one of the major sub-disciplines of anthropology. Physical anthropology is concerned with the biological aspects of humans from an evolutionary perspective, studies hominin and human origins within the Order primates, and investigates the relationships between human biology and culture, employing a biocultural perspective. Much of this course centers on paleoanthropology, a major specialization within physical anthropology that concerns the physical evolution of humans and their hominin ancestors largely through the study of hominin fossils and associated paleoenvironmental, geological, and archaeological data. We also focus on human population genetics in the conceptual framework of evolutionary processes and examine primate behavior from an evolutionary and comparative framework.

What to Expect in this Course

Students will complete weekly readings, watch recorded instructor lectures, participate in discussion sessions with other students, complete online quizzes, and submit written assignments.  Students will need access to a computer with a reliable and fast Internet connection and access to a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari (with updated plug-ins) and the ability to stream video and audio, and open (view) and create document files and pdf files. Students should consider finding a backup computer (off or on campus) to use in case a problem develops with your regular system. Computer or peripheral problems, software, or Internet problems are NOT acceptable excuses for failing to meet course requirements or deadlines in this course.

Types of Assessments

Online discussion board sessions, online quizzes (multiple choice, true/false, and written answers), and written assignments to be sbumitted as document files or pdf files.

Textbook Information

Required course textbook: Introduction to Physical Anthropology by Jurmain et al. (15th edition) (publisher: Cengage).

The course textbook is available to purchase or rent as a digital or paper copy via the College of the Canyons Bookstore and also via the publisher Cengage Learning and online booksellers.

Other Relevant Course Information

This is a 100% online course using Canvas. Online courses are NOT easier than their on-campus counterparts. Online courses require self-initiative and discipline. Students need to keep up on assignment deadlines and readings. Students must log into Canvas at least several times a week to retrieve and submit assignments and to participate in discussion sessions. This is NOT a class where you can complete work far ahead of your classmates or make up work during the very end of the semester. If you are new to online courses, please be sure to check out the resources on the College of the Canyons Online Education web page:

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 06/12/2021 Sub#: 269