Possible Essay Questions
One question from each of the categories below will appear on your exam. You can best prepare for the essay questions by writing out your answer to each one and practicing it as you study. An added benefit of doing this is that you will also be reviewing key concepts that will be useful for the rest of the exam.
SOURCES TO USE:
1. Chimpanzees and bonobos, our closest living relatives, are very closely related to each other and, as such, share much of their anatomy and social behavior. However, there are some pretty significant differences between the two species. Discuss the similarities and differences between chimpanzees and bonobos using specific, well-explained examples of their anatomy and, particularly, their behavior. What do you think helps explain why they are different? You will want to use lecture, the tutorials, readings, and The New Chimpanzees. Be specific. 2-3 substantive paragraphs.
2. Primates are generally considered among the most intelligent mammals. This intelligence is seen in their capacity for behavioral flexibility and most primatologists agree that it is appropriate to characterize the behavior of some primates, primarily apes, as cultural. What is culture and how can we think about culture in a nonhuman primate context? What behaviors in nonhuman primates are considered cultural? Why? Be specific with your examples and do not limit yourself to tool use in chimpanzees. Answers that only include tool use in chimpanzees will be considered incomplete. You will want to use lecture, the tutorials, readings, The New Chimpanzees, and Ape Genius. Be specific. 2-3 substantive paragraphs.
1. Homo erectus is often considered the first truly human species. Why? Discuss the biological and behavioral characteristics of Homo erectus that demonstrate this. You will want to use lecture, the tutorials, readings, and Becoming Human II: The Birth of Humanity. Be specific. 2-3 substantial paragraphs.
2. Until recently, there were several competing models that described the origin and dispersal of anatomically modern humans but several recent genetic studies show that one model, the Mostly Out of Africa or Leaky Replacement model, best describes our current understanding of the fossil and genetic evidence. Discuss the genetic and fossil evidence for this model and trace the migration of modern Homo sapiens across the globe. Pay special attention to modern human interactions with the other living human populations they encountered. You will want to use lecture, the tutorials, readings, and The Human Family Tree. Be specific. 2-3 substantial paragraphs.
Possible Essay Questions