Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas

Biology and Culture - 1st semester



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas





Teacher in charge

Tânia Minhós Condeço Rodrigues

Weekly hours


Teaching language



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.



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.


Boesch, C. & Tomasello, M., 1998. Chimpanzee and Human Cultures. Current Anthropology, 39(5): 591-614.
Boyd, R. & Silk, J. B., 2012. How Humans Evolved. 6th Ed. NY, London, W. W. Norton & Company.
Dunbar, R., 2006. A História do Homem. Lisboa, Quetzal Editores.
Dunbar, R., Knight, C. & Power, C., 2003. The Evolution of Culture. 2nd Ed. 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 Edições. [CP 812]
Vieira, A. B., 2000. Linguagem e Selecção Natural. Revista da Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, 13: 277-295.

Teaching method

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

Evaluation method

Evaluation will be based on a final exam, being also considered the presence and participation of students in class. The evaluation will be carried out according to the following criteria:
1) Participation in classes and on the written exercises;
2) Final written exam.