Course on Mammalian diet evolution 23.9-3.12.2013

Welcome to a course on diet evolution in mammals.

– starts on Tuesday 23.9 12-14.00 in C108 (quota 15 students),

– maximum credits obtainable – 4: 2 credits for exam, 1 credit for essay, 1 cr for presence. Evaluation is based on the exam and/or the essay.

The course will describe the evolution of mammalian diets from early mammals to modern humans, adaptation of their teeth and digestive tracts to environment, and methods studying mammalian diet.

Several lectures will be focused on primate diets (monkeys, apes and early humans), dietary adaptations of early hominines (plant versus meat eaters) and the dietary changes in modern humans.

The first lectures will give an introduction to mammals, their teeth and digestive systems and their adaptation to environment (skull and teeth demonstration of the main features and basic differences among mammals).


Preliminary outline of lectures:

24.9 Lecture 1. Introduction to mammals, osteology

01.10 Lecture 2. Introduction to teeth, origin and morphology

08.10 Lecture 3. Demonstration, skulls, teeth

15.10 Lecture 4. Methods: teeth as proxy to environment: morphology (hypsodonty, crown type), structure (mesowear, microwear, GISWear), chemistry (isotope analysis)

29.10 Lecture 5. Diet and digestive system in mammals

05.11 Lecture 6. Early mammal diets, carnivory and carnivores

12.11 Lecture 7. Evolution of herbivory and herbivores, omnivory

19.11 Lecture 8. Primate diets, monkey, apes, early hominines

26.11 Lecture 9. Early humans’ changing environments, change in human diets over time

03.12 Lecture 10. Human subsistence and evolutionary nutrition (fossil versus modern)


— Diana