Biology and Culture - 1st semester


To address the intersections between Biology and Culture, seeking to bring to the attention of the students the recent debate on the relationship between biological and cultural evolution. To motivate the understanding of the biological processes that underlie the Evolutionary Theory and to ao answer questions of how and when these biological and cultural traits have emerged over an evolutionary time.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Tânia Minhós Condeço Rodrigues


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Barret, L., R. Dunbar & J. Lycett, 2002. Human Evolutionary Psychology. Hampshire, New York: Palgrave Publishers. Boesch, C. & M. Tomasello, 1998. Chimpanzee and Human Cultures. Current Anthropology, 39 (5): 591-614. Boyd, R. & J.B. Silk, 2012. How Humans Evolved. NY, London: W. W. Norton & Co. Buss, D. M., 2004. Evolutionary Psychology. The New Science of the Mind. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Casanova, C., 2006. Introdução à Antropologia Biológica: princípios evolutivos, genética e primatologia. Lisboa: ISCSP-UTL. Cartwright, J., 2000. Evolution and Human Behavior. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Dunbar, R., 2006. A História do Homem. Lisboa: Quetzal Editores. Dunbar, R., C. Knight & C. Power, 2003. The Evolution of Culture. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. McGrew, W. C., 1992. Chimpanzee Material Culture: Implications for Human Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Vieira, A. B., 1995. Ensaios sobre a Evolução do Homem e da Linguagem. Lisboa: Fim de Século.

Teaching method

Part of the discipline consists of lectures, that allow discussion of a few topics with the students. Other classes will be more practical where the students will engage in solving exercises and discussing scientific papers, either individually or in group. Some documentaries related with the topics presented will be displayed in class, and discussed.

Evaluation method

Evaluation will be based on two exams - the first in the middle of the term (covering the topics taught until then) and the second in the end of the term (second part of the topics); it takes into account the performance during exercises and the presence and participation of students in class.

Subject matter

Introduction to Biological Anthropology Evolutionary theories: before Darwin; Darwinian theory - adaptation by Natural selection; Phylogenies. Principles of Heredity: Mendelian Inheritance; Molecular Genetics; Genetics and environment; Population Genetics. Evolutionary principles: Altruism and parental selection; Reciprocal altruism; Reproductive strategies; Sexual Selection; Parental Investment theory; Infanticide; The evolution of Social organization. The evolution of parental care and cooperation Culture: Evidences for non-human culture; Evolution of the human culture


Programs where the course is taught: