Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module ANTH2071: Our Place In Nature

Department: Anthropology

ANTH2071: Our Place In Nature

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Human Evolution and Diversity (ANTH1091) OR Being Human (ANTH111) OR Organisms and Environment (BIOL1161) AND Genetics (BIOL1171)


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop awareness and understanding of evolutionary biology as applied to primates, including humans. 
  • To introduce concepts and methods in studying behaviour and cognition
  • To extend students’ understanding of humans as primates. 
  • To provide an understanding of the evolution of primate societies. 
  • To provide an understanding of primate cognition and the evolution of human cognition and behaviour. 
  • To prepare students for Level 3 modules requiring an evolutionary perspective and provide skills of particular importance for the dissertation. 


  • Primate behaviour and ecology, and current Darwinian theories about the evolution of primate societies, behaviour, and cognition.
  • The evolution of human cognition and cultural behaviour. 
  • The scientific method of developing and testing hypotheses.
  • Observational and experimental methods for studying behaviour and cognition.
  • Writing research proposals in evolutionary anthropology.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Familiarity with comparative, observational, and experimental methods in the study of behaviour and cognition. 
  • Familiarity with the diversity and evolution of primate social systems and primate behaviour. 
  • Critical understanding of theories used by primatologists and anthropologists to understand the evolution of sociality, cognition, and cultural behaviour across the primate lineage, including humans.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Familiarity with key methods and concepts in the study of primatology, behaviour and cognition.
  • Ability to critically analyse and evaluate written scientific information. 
  • Ability to design scientific studies, collect and interpret behavioural data. 
  • The ability to evaluate anthropological arguments and evidence. 
Key Skills:
  • Search information sources effectively (e.g. libraries, archives) and find information.
  • Use academic literature effectively.
  • Integrating and evaluating a range of information and data from primary and secondary sources.
  • Applying the scientific method of enquiry to identify and examine research questions.
  • Proposing ways of collecting, analyzing and interpreting quantitative data. 
  • Writing effective and coherent research proposals. 

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures cover subject-specific knowledge. 
  • Practicals, seminars, and writing surgeries further develop subject-specific knowledge and key skills.
  • Lectures, practicals, seminars, and writing surgeries may consist of pre-recorded videos, live presentations, break-out discussions or other activities as appropriate to the material covered from week to week.
  • Continuous assessment and coursework assess subject-specific knowledge and key skills.
  • Summative assessment comprises four continuous assessment quizzes (taking the top three highest scores) and two research proposals. 
  • Formative assessment consists of extensive oral feedback in practical classes, seminars, and writing surgeries. 
  • The module will have a dedicated DUO site on which course information and materials will be regularly posted. 

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Practicals 2 1 per term in Michaelmas and Epiphany 1 hour 2
Seminars 4 2 per term in Michaelmas and Epiphany 1 hour 4
Writing Surgeries 2 1 per term in Michaelmas and Epiphany 0.5 hours 1
Preparation and Reading 173
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continous Assessment Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Quiz 1 0.5 hour 25% Yes
Quiz 2 0.5 hour 25% Yes
Quiz 3 0.5 hour 25% Yes
Quiz 4 0.5 hour 25% Yes
Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Report 1 1000 words 50% Yes
Research Report 2 1000 words 50% Yes

Formative Assessment:

For coursework: extensive oral and written feedback in practical classes, seminars, and writing surgeries, example research reports, practical guidance on DUO. For continuous assessment: example questions and answering guidance during lectures and on Learn Ultra.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University