Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: The Past and Future of the Human Body

Instructor: Diane Melroy

In this course we will study the past evolution and possible future evolution of the human body.Students will learn how evolution by natural selection works and why human beings have the parts, structures, and behaviors that we have. What did we inherit from our primate ancestors? How did these traits change during our evolution? We will study human origins and how and why the human line has evolved. Then we will turn our attention to the question of whether, and if so how, humans are continuing to evolve in the present. Are human beings currently subject to natural selection? If so, how and what might the outcome of this selection be? Finally, we will attempt to see into the future to predict how human beings may eventually evolve. How might we look in the future? How might our potential change? Will we become part machine? We will delve into these questions by reading both from a scientific/technical point of view, and from an imaginative point of view provided by science fiction authors who have written about the far future.

Required Texts:

Benford, Gregory - Beyond Infinity - Aspect - ISBN 0-446-53059

Kingdon, Jonathan - Lowly Origin - Princeton University Press - ISBN 0-691-12028-5

Last Update: February 6, 2012