School of Anatomy & Human Biology Unit Outine

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School of Anatomy & Human Biology

Unit Outine

Human Biology I

Becoming Human

Semester: One

Campus: Crawley, Albany & Singapore

Unit Coordinators: Ms Julie Hill / Dr Kathy Sanders

This outline is the currently available version for this unit. Detailed Information on unit content and assessment may undergo modification before the time of delivery of the unit. For the most up to date information students must consult material supplied to enrolled students by the unit co-ordinator.
All material reproduced herein has been copied in accordance with and pursuant to a statutory licence administered by Copyright Agency Limited (CAL), granted to the University of Western Australia pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).
Copying of this material by students, except for fair dealing purposes under the Copyright Act, is prohibited. For the purposes of this fair dealing exception, students should be aware that the rule allowing copying, for fair dealing purposes, of 10% of the work, or one chapter/article, applies to the original work from which the excerpt in this course material was taken, and not to the course material itself
© The University of Western Australia 2001


This unit explores the biology of 'becoming human' in an integrative way, with emphasis on human evolution, genetics, development and structure. How we 'become human' is explored from the perspective of both the individual and the species, with topics encompassing the structure and function of the human body at the level of molecules, cells and tissues, our reproduction, growth and development, all considered within the context of evolution. The latter involves understanding evolutionary principles, human genetics including the structure and function of genes, inheritance patterns in families and the causes of genetic disease, cell replication, human behaviour including social aspects of human sexuality and reproduction, use of reproductive technology, and aspects of human evolutionary history including links with other living primates.

Broad learning outcomes


Assessment Activity

Students will be able to recall and integrate key knowledge and concepts about:

  • the evolutionary framework for human biology

  • the basic principles of human genetics

  • the basic structure and function of the human body at the level of molecules, cells, tissues and organs

  • reproduction in humans in terms of the structure and function of the reproductive system, pregnancy, labour and current social and ethical issues

  • the biology of humans and their evolutionary history and embryological development.

Theory exam
Practical exam
Lab quizzes
Online tests
In-class essay

Students will acquire skills in:

  • the ability to apply concepts learned in human biology to everyday life

  • cooperating with others to complete tasks and solve problems

  • using the language of human biology appropriately

  • presenting clear and reasoned arguments.

In-class essay

Theory exam

Attitudes. Students will

  • value understanding as a rational approach to learning

  • value the importance of ethical considerations in pursuing and applying scientific knowledge

  • be open to new ideas and diverse perspectives

  • respect all forms of life and accept a responsibility for the preservation of the environment

  • appreciate human diversity

  • appreciate human biology as a rational basis for the understanding of self

  • recognise the overlap of human biology with other disciplines.

Nil assessment.

Outcomes only.

Advisable prior study

TEE Human Biology or Biology would be advantageous, but there is no recommended prior study for this unit.

Technical Requirements
Laboratory Notebook

Purchase of the Unit (Laboratory) Manual is strongly recommended. Copies are available for purchase at the CO-OP Bookshop. Limited copies are made available for use in labs and in the library.


Calculators are not necessary but may be useful for genetics problems. Students who wish to use a calculator in exams MUST obtain a “UWA APPROVED CALCULATOR” sticker, available from Wendy Colangelo in room G.01 (Anatomy & Human Biology Building) prior to 5pm on the last teaching day of semester.

Dissecting Instruments

Not required


Closed shoes are compulsory for some practical classes. Details of clothing requirements will be stated in the Unit Manual laboratory guide in the relevant weeks.

Software Requirements
NIL required
Contact details

Unit web site (may include Web CT URL):

Names of Unit coordinators: Ms Julie Hill / Dr Kathy Sanders


Phone: 6488 2984; 6488 1527

Fax: 6488 1051

Consultation hours: Both coordinators have an open door policy but students with limited time or requiring an extended visit should make an appointment.

Unit structure summary
Three x 1-hour lectures per week. These are all available online via WebCT.
Practical and/or laboratory sessions
One by 1.5 – 2 hours per week. These are combined laboratory/tutorial sessions and students are expected to have completed an additional ~1 hour pre-lab work before coming to class.
Attendance is compulsory. Students MUST attend their allocated laboratory/tutorial time. Occasional change of time may be permitted by prior arrangement with the unit coordinators. Assessment tasks (Lab quizzes and in-class essay) occur during laboratory/tutorial sessions. Laboratories start in week one of semester. Students should check the unit web site at least two weeks prior to the start of semester for information on how they are allocated to laboratory groups.
Note: Students undertaking this unit require an anatomy licence. To comply with this regulation, student names are automatically entered in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology's Register of Anatomy Licences.

Practical sessions are combined laboratory/tutorial session. See above

Topics : For details of times and venues of all teaching sessions please consult the university timetable at

Lecture Topics




Human evolution 1: Human biology and evolution


Human evolution 2: science evolution & religion


Human evolution 3: how evolution explains life on earth


Human evolution 4: misconceptions


Cell biology 1: structure & function


Cell biology 2: the cell membrane


Cell biology 3: Cell communication


Cell biology 4: cell cycle & protein synthesis


Tissues and epithelia




Connective tissue






Human genetics 1: laws of inheritance


Human genetics 2: Genes, DNA & Protein


Human genetics 3: inborn errors of metabolism


Human genetics 4: mutation & cancer


Human genetics 5: chromosomes & aberrations


Human genetics 6: inheritance in families


Human genetics 7: blood groups


Human genetics 8: genetics & society


Male reproduction


Female Reproduction


Hormonal control of reproduction


Gametogenesis, fertilization & implantation


Embryogenesis 1


Embryogenesis 2


Pregnancy & birth


Responsible reproduction


Manipulating reproduction I


Manipulating Reproduction II


Primates in Human Biology


Variation in living primates


Socioecology of primates


Hominin origins


Early homo


Homo sapiens and the Neanderthals

References, resources and reading materials

Relethford, J. The Human Species: an Introduction to Biological Anthropology, 6th ed.: Mayfield 2005

Saladin, K. Anatomy and Physiology: the Unity of Form and Function, 3rd ed.:McGraw-Hill 2004

Unit web site
All enrolled students have access to the unit website ( This site will be used for notices, posting of general unit information and supplementary course materials (eg lecture handouts; useful web links), email, online tests and practice quizzes. It is strongly recommended that you log onto this site on a daily basis. Some parts of this website are restricted and enrolled students will need an ANHB undergraduate computing account. Details of how to obtain this account will be posted on the unit website.

All enrolled students also have access to WebCT ( This site will be used to host the online lectures, for posting of continuous assessment results and host a discussion forum. Students are encouraged to pose questions about course content on the discussion forum of the site so that all class members can view and contribute to the discussion.

Assessment Details

Assessed Work

% mark


Online tests


6 tests, one per fortnight during semester

Lab quizzes


4 tests, one every 3 weeks during semester

In-class essay


Week 9 of semester

One 2-hour theory examination


End of semester examinations

One 1-hour practical examination


End of semester examinations


The University of Western Australia takes very seriously the matter of academic misconduct by students and has policies in place that define misconduct (including plagiarism) and the penalties that apply. The consequences for misconduct can be severe, including exclusion from the university.

All students are expected to make themselves aware of the definitions and policies relating to academic misconduct, found at the websites below, and with any additional requirements or stipulations that may be provided by individual unit co-ordinators.

When you obtain authority to log in to the unit website, you will see an online module on academic conduct which you are strongly advised to complete in your own time.

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