Evolution

A Half-Day Tutorial On The Biology & Genetics of Change

NEW FOR THE
2017-2018 ACADEMIC YEAR

Most people have heard of it though many people don't believe in it, despite not truly understanding what it is. Remedy the latter part with a riveting tutorial on biological change and adaptation.

 

Introduction
 

Life on earth is thought to have evolved from a single lifeform approximately 3,900 million years ago. Chemical evolution is theorised to have preceded biological evolution, ribonucleic acid worlds leading to protein worlds. This tutorial is intended as  a comprehensive primer on evolution with a focus on hominization and the emergence of Homo sapiens.

 

We will tell a story that begins with the earliest likely lifeforms and the evolution of amino acids, phospholipids, nucleotides and the basic biomolecules of life forms progressing through the beautiful history of our genus. We encounter australoithicines, Homo rudolfensis, Homo erectus and Homo ergaster along the way. Our travels take us from North Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa, to Georgia, Israel and Southern Europe we address some of the big debates and questions within paleoanthropology. When did humans diverge from the other great apes? What patterns of temporal and geographical distribution have occurred within Homo populations over the past 2 million years? What is the link between intracranial volume expansion and use of stone tools between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago? We conclude by considering the recent evolution of our species: how blue eyes arose from a single genetic mutation some 6,000-10,000 years ago; how our current behavioural patterns evolved; and how natural selection is still at work in modern human populations, providing examples of identified gene variants.

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Which Students Will Benefit From The Tutorial?

 

This tutorial is designed primarily for very able A-level biology students but will also be useful to:

 

  • ·any A-level students with an interest in evolution and how we came to be what we are.

  • ·those students considering a university degree and/or career in the following subjects:

    Biological Sciences             Genetics                        Zoology
    Philosophy                           Anthropology                Archaeology
    Life Sciences                       Veterinary Science       Neuroscience



Aims of The Tutorial
 

There are three main aims to this tutorial:

 

  • to study the mechanisms of evolutionary diversity from molecules to species and the transmission of  hereditable characteristics across generations.

 

  • to evaluate Darwinian theory in the 21st century and to consider species biodiversity.
     

  • to focus on human evolution from australopithecus and the evolution of disease through gene mutation.

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