It’s definitely been awhile since I could say I’ve been mildly bummed that a course is over. I genuinely have enjoyed this class because it’s actually interesting and I feel like the information that’s been presented retains well because it’s relatable. Well, relatable in ways you maybe wouldn’t expect. At least in ways I didn’t expect. The way that humans have evolved over time and the similarities we share with various species has been so awesome to learn more about. So many of these topics we’ve learned over this course, I feel like I’ve been briefly taught at various points throughout my life and have had a relative idea of several of the subjects but I’m really glad I’ve had the opportunity to really gain a better understanding of it all.
I’ve had two topics that I’ve found to be particularly interesting. The first one is the topic of Neanderthals. I know this is the topic we just learned last week, so I’m sure people are tired of reading about them but I really did find them to be one of my favorite topics during this course. It’s interesting to see how several of the characteristics that they possessed, we still tend to embody today. Several of their cultural traditions we find to be a part of several of our lives as well. For example, burying their dead is something that many cultures today still take part in. Neanderthals also would take care of their sick and injured and nurse them back to health. It’s up for debate what really happened to this species however, there are several aspects of their culture that we seemed to have adopted over time in some way. My second favorite topic that I really, really loved was learning about primates and how, as humans, we’re really similar in ways that I wouldn’t have expected. Initially I figured we related mostly with their ability to walk on their back legs but what I didn’t expect to learn was their ability to feel emotions that we often feel as humans. However negative they may be, anger, jealously and territorial are all traits that humans have the ability to feel at times. Learning about chimps and their warfare amongst one another is wild to me. I mean, it’s really cool to think that we may be able to relate to animals more than we think and that we’ve learned from them both physically and mentally. The third and final aspect I’ve found to be pretty awesome is the development of teeth and how our teeth have changed and shifted to accommodate our lifestyles. Primitive species had much stronger jawlines and teeth that were far more capable of chewing tougher meat and raw nuts and plants. Our ability to chew, swallow, and process food has certainly evolved over time and have allowed us to maintain the diets that we have today.
Overall this course has taught me so many things that I don’t think I ever necessarily even thought I wanted to learn until it was happening. Now I’m super excited that I was able to take this course so I could understand the way humans have survived, adapted, and evolved through time through the perspective of physical anthropologists.