Biology and Culture


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 address themes realated to human behavior in order to explore the possible application of
evolutionary theory and to answer questions of how and when these traits have emerged over an evolutionary time.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Tânia Minhós Condeço Rodrigues


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

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

The functioning of the discipline consists of lectures, that, nevertheless, allows discussion of a few topics with the students.

Evaluation method

Final written exam(50%), Participation in classes and on the written exercises(50%)

Subject matter

Introduction to Biological Anthropology
Evolutionary theories: before Darwin; Darwinian theory - adaptation by Natural selection; The Modern Synthesis.
Evolutionary History.
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; Cryptic choice and selection.
The evolution of Social organization.
The evolution of social care and cooperation.
Evolutionary approach of human culture.
The origins of human culture and the role of sexual selection.


Programs where the course is taught: