BIO 580 General Evolution (Graduate)

This class addresses major themes in biological evolution. These themes–including the history of evolution, evolutionary processes, adaptation, and evolution as an explanatory framework–at levels of biological organization ranging from genomes to ecological communities. At the end of the semester we cover chapters on Human Evolution and on Evolution and Society.


Course objectives include:

  1. Obtain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of evolution, and factors generating variation in the course of evolution.
  2. Be able to describe detailed examples of the various approaches that scientists use to study biological evolution.
  3. Be knowledgeable and skilled enough to explain in written and verbal form the basic principles of evolution, describe mechanisms of evolution, and some of the major types of evidence for evolution (the pattern) and the processes (mechanisms).
  4. Increase your knowledge about scientific method and the impact and importance of evolutionary thinking to different aspects of our society (agriculture, medicine, machine learning, etc.).
  5. Increase skills in scientific communication through class discussions, short writing assignments, reading primary (research) literature, and a class presentation on a “project” (more details in syllabus).

Prerequisite: Understanding of material in a year-long introductory (undergraduate) biology course is assumed as background. In addition, an undergraduate genetics course is assumed; review this material in your Introductory Biology textbook if you have not had such a course. We also will discuss concepts in 1) ecology, 2) physiology, 3) anatomy, and 4) comparative biology. Be prepared to review this material in a detailed introductory biology textbook. A good such book is Life: the Science of Biology. The 12th edition is by David M. Hillis; Craig H. Heller; Sally D. Hacker; David W. Hall; Marta J. Laskowski; David E. Sadava (earlier editions by Sinauer Press/Freeman Press. Later editions by McMillian). Used copies of earlier editions can be found online for under $10. Using any edition from the 9th edition (2011) on up should be fine.

Related Offerings:
BIO 587 Bioinformatics (Spring 2020)
BIO 580 General Evolution (Fall I 2021)

Indiana State University

Instructor: Diana K. Hews, Ph.D.

Credit Hours: 3

Date: 8/17/2021 – 12/10/2021

Location: Online

Teacher Level: Grade 9-12

BIO 580 Syllabus