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)