Classroom Teaching

Love, Friendship, and Marriage: The Biological Bases of Male-Female Relationships (ANTH-222-301, M&W 3:30-5:00 PM)

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The goal of this course is to understand the ultimate and proximate factors underlying the nature of human and non-human primate relationships, with a focus on male-female relationships across cultures and across the life-span. To this end, we will explore comparative research on genetics, neurobiology, hormones and behavior from disciplines including biopsychology/neuroscience, biological anthropology, social-personality psychology, and evolutionary biology.The course is organized to engage students in active learning through their direct interaction with researchers, both in the classroom and in a relaxed informal environment. The course will meet twice a week. The first weekly meeting will be devoted to discussing readings related to the topic of an Invited Speaker presentation scheduled for the second weekly meeting. The invited speakers (6 to 8 depending on funding), from different schools at Penn and from other institutions, will interact directly with students in two occasions. Following the Speaker presentation, there will be a first opportunity to engage in discussions with the speaker during lunch/dinner. The second meeting will take place during a round-table organized on the following day. The goal of these meetings is for students to explore CONCRETE research opportunities that may be available at Penn during the academic year and/or at other institutions during the summer.

Sexual Selection and Kinship
(Anth-627, Graduate Seminar; Fall 2010)
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Sexual selection has arguably driven the evolution of a wide range of both morphological and behavioral traits in primates. And kinship is widely accepted as a key explanatory principle, underlying and structuring much of primate social lives. This graduate seminar course explores the current state of theory and empirical research on both sexual selection and kinship in primate evolutionary ecology.

The Biology of Parental Care
(Anth-627, Graduate Seminar; Spring 2007)
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Few aspects of the behavior of human and non-human primates are so intriguing, yet so poorly understood, as the prevalence of intense paternal care in some primate species and human societies. Recent increases in the number and extent of field studies, coupled with advances in field and laboratory techniques for genetic and hormonal analyses and new theoretical perspectives, provide now a solid ground from which to reexamine paternal care in primates. This seminar reviews both ultimate and proximate explanations for understanding paternal care and its implications for human and non-human primates

Sex and Human Nature
(Anth 104; Spring 2007, Fall 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
Co-taught with Dr. Claudia Valeggia

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Why Sex Belongs in the Classroom (DP, 18 September, 2012)
Bringing on the Year of Sex (DP, January 19, 2012)
Prof couples integrates career and marriage (DP, 10 December, 2010)
20 Things you didn’t know (DP, April 28, 2009)

This is an introduction to the scientific study of sex in humans. Within an evolutionary framework, the course examines genetic, physiological, ecological, social and behavioral aspects of sex in humans. How is sex determined? What is the physiology of the sexual response? Do men and women differ in their sexual strategies? Why marry? Topics relevant to human sexuality today are discussed, such as rape, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Introduction to Human Evolution   
(Anth 003; Spring 2007, 2008, 2009)
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The central theme of this class is the scientific study of human evolution. This is an interdisciplinary endeavor that combines many kinds of scientific evidence – from studies of primate behavior and ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, comparative anatomy, geology, paleontology, and archaeology – that together produce a coherent picture of the emergence, development, and diversification of our species, Homo sapiens.

Primate Behavior and Ecology    
(Anth 207/507; Spring 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
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The course examines the diversity of the living primates, as well as behavior and ecology of non-human primates with two main objectives. The first one is to examine the diversity, behavior, and evolution of the living primates. This part of the course is done on campus with seminar meetings and zoo trips. We look at the ways in which individuals compete with one another to survive, mate and rear their offspring and how their behavior interacts with ecological factors to produce the sorts of societies that we see among primates.  The second objective is to offer students hands-on experience on field and laboratory methods used to study primates. Theoretical and discussion based learning are followed by field experiences in behavioral ecology, working with non-human primates. Field sites for the research component of this course have included the Owl Monkey Project in Formosa, Argentina, the Monogamy Project in Tiputini, Ecuador and the Center for Primate Conservation in Miami, Florida.

Primate Field Methods and Data Analysis
(Anth 515; Fall 2009, 2011)
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This is a seminar that discusses methodological aspects of conducting field research on non-human primates. Discussions include issues related to the planning and design of field studies, the proper training in necessary field techniques, and data management and analysis. Students learn the tools of reference and data exploration software, use of queries in Access and descriptive statistics in SPSS. The students will learn while using the data they collected. As a final product, students are encouraged to produce an abstract to a professional meeting (e.g. AAPA, ABS, ISP, ASP) or a manuscript for an undergraduate research journal.