Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Anthropology, Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Human Biology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites


  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Biological variation of the human skeleton. Application of the theory and methods of analysis used to study morphological and genetic variation and health in human skeletal remains excavated from archaeological sites.

    Have you ever wanted to know how and why we assess past human life ways from human skeletons? What do experts assess in archaeological and forensic situations? This course will take you through a detailed investigation of biological and cultural adaptation of human populations as reflected in the skeleton to understand human health and history. Topics include growth variation, age and sex assessment, ancient disease, and ancient DNA and isotope analyses of human variation.

    Learning Outcomes
    - Developed a detailed understanding of the process of changes with age and the basis of sexual dimorphism in the adult human skeleton, and how and why these vary among individuals and populations
    - Developed a detailed understanding of the evolution and variability of human growth and development and developed an ability to apply this understanding in interpreting evidence from the skeleton of an infant or child
    - Developed a detailed understanding of the response of the human skeleton to disease and injury
    - Developed a detailed understanding of the use of molecular anthropology in skeletal analysis
    - Demonstrated ability to interpret evidence of age at death, sex, ancestry and health and disease in a human skeleton, and to understand the limitations of this process
    - Demonstrated ability to locate literature on a relevant topic, and to synthesise and critically analyse the publications
    - Developed an understanding of the application of skeletal analysis to the interpretation of human skeletal remains from archaeological sites

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.