BIOS2500 - Evolution in the Modern World

BIOS2500 - Evolution in the Modern World explores how evolution shapes the living world, from the flu virus to millions-strong colonies of leaf-cutter ants, and from simple sessile invertebrates to conscious and highly cultural humans. Unfortunately, only a small proportion of people ever gain more than a superficial understanding of natural selection and how evolution works. In BIOS2500, students from all backgrounds (including General Education students) explore the important insights that evolution provides into the most difficult and persistent problems that plague 21st Century living, including antibiotic resistance, obesity, overpopulation, income inequality, gender inequity and the ideological warfare that surround sex and family life.

Term 2

6 units of credit

Current handbook entry Current timetable Course outline

Who should I contact?

Coordinator: Rob Brooks

What does this course cover?

Major topics covered:

  • Natural selection
  • Diet and the obesity crisis
  • Population growth, overpopulation, poverty and economic development
  • Arms races, infectious diseases, parasites and pharmaceuticals
  • Deception and self-deception: plagiarism, placebo effects and plane crashes
  • Sexual selection and human mating systems
  • Sexual conflict
  • Violence, homicide and property crime
  • Parents and offspring don’t always get along: from womb to nursing home
  • Living fast and slow: development, poverty and social environments
  • Ageing
  • Cooperation, group selection and the rise of institutions
  • Politics, self-interest and the left-right divide

Where does this course fit into my degree?

This course is intended for any student in any faculty who is curious about the world in which they live, and about human affairs and modern living. It can be taken as a General Education course.

Is there assumed prior knowledge or a co-requisite?

There are no pre-requisites for BIOS2500.

Are there mandatory activities for this course?

The course involves on 2-hour lecture per week, and one 2-hour tutorial period per week. Assessment is via three quizzes and on 2000-word essay.

There is no field trip for this course. 

NB: All information provided on this page is superseded by information provided by the course coordinator or lecturer(s).