Perspectives on Human Growth


This course adopts evolutionary and biocultural perspectives in examining patterns of human growth and maturation. Human developmental patterns are placed within an evolutionary framework using evidence from non-human primates and earlier hominid remains. Variability within and among human populations in growth and developmental timing is considered in terms of genetics interacting with physical, biotic and social factors.

Teaching and Learning Goals

  • Demonstrate an ability to follow instructions
  • Learn to recognise and accurately describe hypotheses about growth, their theoretical bases and the quality of the evidence used in their support
  • Become familiar with different approaches to research focusing on growth and development of various tissues; as part of this understand their strengths and limitations
  • Understand the basic patterns related to the rate and timing of growth in various tissues within individuals, how they are related to various life stages and how these patterns may be assessed
  • Become familiar with how human growth and related life history are similar to and differ from mammals generally and apes particularly
  • Become familiar with some of the hypotheses regarding evolution of a distinctive human pattern of growth and maturation, the kinds of evidence and interpretations related to these hypotheses and how they may be related to life history and socioecology
  • Understand the range of variation possible in various parameters of growth and maturation within and among populations and communities today, and be aware of hypotheses that attempt to account for such variation


Coursework only

Availability 2022

Not taught in 2022






ANTHRO 348: 15 points


ANTHRO 201 or 60 points in Anthropology