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Exploring Physical Anthropology: A Lab Manual and Workbook, 3e

Suzanne E. Walker-Pacheco
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This book is customizable for courses with annual enrollments of 50 students or more.

Exploring Physical Anthropology is a comprehensive, full-color lab manual intended for an introductory laboratory course in physical anthropology. It can also serve as a supplementary workbook for a lecture class, particularly in the absence of a laboratory offering.

This laboratory manual enables a hands-on approach to learning about the evolutionary processes that resulted in humans through the use of numerous examples and exercises. It offers a solid grounding in the main areas of an introductory physical anthropology lab course: genetics, evolutionary forces, human osteology, forensic anthropology, comparative/functional skeletal anatomy, primate behavior, paleoanthropology, and modern human biological variation.

About this Product


  • BACKGROUND INFORMATION provides context for the material covered in the chapter and helps students apply what they learn.
  • OBJECTIVES clearly state what students are expected to know by the end of the chapter.
  • “HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED” represent the types of questions that nonspecialists typically ask about each topic.  Answers are provided during the course of the chapter.
  • Extensive use of FULL-COLOR ART and PHOTOGRAPHY provides students with excellent visual references as they work through the exercises.  This should be of particular benefit when access to a complete set of specimens is not available.
  • CHECK YOUR UNDERSTANDING questions are provided for students to complete prior to beginning the lab exercises to help ensure they understand the lab material.
  • The HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES are designed to illustrate the concepts presented in the readings. The exercises allow students to experience physical anthropology through use of the same methods used by researchers, with an emphasis on the scientific method. Apart from skeletal and fossil specimens, few laboratory supplies are needed. Many of the experiments and exercises utilize common, everyday materials.        
  • MATERIALS LISTS are provided to ensure students have what they need prior to beginning the lab.
  • Clearly-written, numbered PROCEDURES help students successfully complete each exercise.
  • Adequate space is provided in the DATA SHEETS for students to sketch and record their answers to questions.

About the Author

Suzanne E. Walker-Pacheco

Suzanne E. Walker-Pacheco caught her travel bug as an Air Force brat, having lived as a child in Massachusetts, Southern California, New Mexico, Nebraska, Guam, and Northern California. After completing her undergraduate degree at San Diego State University, she crossed coasts to attend the City University of New York for her doctorate.

Her early studies in field primatology took her to Venezuela, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Sierra Leone. She is currently a professor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Missouri State University. Previously, she taught in coastal Humboldt County, California, surrounded by redwoods. Beaches and forests can be convenient locations for unsavory characters to dump bodies, and Suzanne had the opportunity to begin assisting coroners and medical examiners to identify skeletal remains. She continues to do so in Missouri.

Her primary research interests are now medical anthropology, particularly health issues of Latino immigrants to Southwest Missouri, with a focus on diabetes and obesity prevention in Latino children.

What's New in this Edition

New to this edition of Exploring Physical Anthropology: A Lab Manual and Workbook, 3e

  • For institutions that don’t possess a complete collection of representative specimens (skeletal material, fossil casts, etc.), this manual provides a full set of illustrations and photographs to supplement a laboratory collection.
  • Organization of the manual reflects four main themes: evolution and its genetic basis, skeletal anatomy and variation of modern humans, classification and functional anatomy of primates, and human origins.
  • Hands-on lab exercises are designed to illustrate the concepts presented in the manual using the same methods utilized by researchers.
  • Each section of manual is followed by a set of Check Your Understanding questions for students to complete prior to beginning the lab exercises.
  • The manual is designed so instructors can easily choose desired sections and lab exercises and leave out others if time is limited. Customization is also available.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Physical Anthropology: Science and Evolution

Chapter 2 Cells and DNA

Chapter 3 Chromosomes and Cell Division

Chapter 4 Inheritance

Chapter 5 Forces of Evolution

Chapter 6 The Bones Within Us

Chapter 7 Forensic Anthropology

Chapter 8 Modern Human Biological Variation

Chapter 9 Biological Classification and the Order Primates

Chapter 10 The Living Primates

Chapter 11 The Anatomy-Behavior Link: Dietary and Locomotor Adaptations

Chapter 12 Investigating the Past: Fossil Primates

Chapter 13 Who’s in Our Family?

Chapter 14 The Genus Homo

Appendix A: Cutouts of Beetles, Lab Exercise 1.3

Appendix B: Cutouts of DNA and RNA Bases, Amino Acids, Ribosome and tRNA Molecules, Lab Exercise 2.2

Appendix C: Cutouts of Chromosomes, Lab Exercise 3.2

Appendix D: Latin and Greek Roots for Selected Anatomical Terms

Appendix E: Fossil Primates: Paleocene through Miocene

Appendix F: Fossil Members of the Human Line (Hominids/Hominins)

Appendix G: Comparison of Homo rudolfensis and Homo habilis Features