Online Paleoanthropology

ASM 246 - Human Origins

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In this course, you will be guided through an exploration of the scientific evidence for the evolution of humans and our fossil relatives, and humankind’s place in the natural world. This includes an introduction to evolutionary theory, an overview of the hominin fossil record and what that record teaches us about our place in nature. Dr. Donald Johanson, a world-renowned paleoanthropologist who found the skeleton known as Lucy will present an exciting in-depth exploration of paleoanthropological field research from his unique perspective.

Course prerequisites and requirements

To be successful in this course, we recommend English language fluency and computer literacy. We also encourage you to make sure your laptop or desktop computer meets the technical requirements.

Quick facts

Next start date:

Jan. 09, 2024

  • Credits: 3
  • Length: 8 weeks
  • Cost: $25 + $400

What you’ll learn

  • Outline the nature of science and explain how scientific research is conducted
  • Identify humans’ place in the natural world from taxonomic/phylogenetic perspectives
  • Define the role of paleoanthropologists in human origins research
  • Identify how paleoanthropologists use the scientific method to formulate hypotheses and strategically conduct research
  • Articulate differences between scientific evidence for human evolution and non-scientific, non-testable, explanations for human origins

What to expect in class

Video and audio lectures, readings, quizzes, midterm exam, final exam, interactive mastery exercises, discussion boards, enrichment videos, and other resources

Exams and grading


Content Mastery (7)


Quizzes (8)


Midterm Exam


Final Exam


This course appears on your transcript identically to how it appears on the transcript of an enrolled ASU student who has taken the course on one of ASU’s campuses. Course attendance dates will be listed on your transcript. A self paced course will appear on your transcript in the session you complete the course.

This course satisfies 3 credit hours toward the Social-Behavioral Sciences (SB) General Studies requirement at Arizona State University. It is strongly encouraged that you consult with your institution of choice to determine how these credits will be applied to their degree requirements prior to transferring your credit.

ASM 246 also fulfills a Science and Society curriculum requirement for students pursuing Bachelor of Science degrees in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Faculty and course staff

Donald C.

Donald C.


Founding Director and Virginia M Ullman Chair in Human Origins,

Institute of Human Origins

Arizona State University

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Associate Teaching Professor,

School of Human Evolution and Social Change

Arizona State University

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Why take ASU Universal Learner Courses

  1. Credit you receive is from a regionally accredited university
  2. Your credit is highly transferable
  3. You only pay the $400 course cost if you pass

Related programs

Online BA Anthropology

Online BS Anthropology

Online BA Global Studies