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Reflection Assignment (respond to all questions/prompts)

What was the ethical issue you wrote about for your signature assignment? Why did you
choose this ethical issue? What did you know about the issue before doing any research?
How did your research (including the evaluation of the viewpoints, evidence, and logical
fallacies) impact your thinking?
The ethical issue regarding biological anthropology, that I chose for my signature
assignment, was the debate over the repatriation of human remains. I chose this issue to discover
more about what we can learn from studying our ancestors remains. Also, it is a direct example
of how the global societies morals, religion, and desire for knowledge all conflict with one
another. Before researching this ethical issue, I only knew enough about it to know that it
existed. After evaluating the different viewpoints, evidence, and logical fallacies of my topic, the
impact on my thinking was that, with any problem, we must weigh the costs with the gains that
can be obtained from going in one direction or another. Also, that it is important to see an ethical
issue, such as the repatriation of human remains, in the eyes of those who are most affected by it,
and to understand and sympathize with each of the viewpoints, even if they do not reflect your
own views. Only after this has been done, is it possible to come to a conclusion on the best
course of action that will compromise and benefit each group of stakeholders while also
benefitting society as a whole.

How might you apply the critical thinking and communicating about ethical issues skills in
other learning contexts (e.g. other courses, home, work, elections, Thanksgiving dinner,
etc.)? Offer and explain at least three specific examples of where and how you used or
might use the critical thinking and communicating skills (one example should be from this
I can apply the critical thinking skills about ethical issues by learning to set aside my own values,
and determine how the problems can effect those who are most invested in them and how they
can effect our society as a whole, and finally weighing each side to develop a more informed
opinion. I believe this would help when researching elections, and also in researching possible
claims in Biological Anthropology. By setting aside my values and looking at a subject from a
more subjective point of view, I can make better decisions that will benefit the most people, in
regards to voting in an election, this skill would help me choose a more qualified candidate to
represent me, by setting aside my preconceptions of a candidate, researching their past and their
opinions and making a choice from there. In biological anthropology, by setting aside my
preconceived notions about the interpretation of fossils and evolutionary strategies, I can look at
the broader picture to see where each of these interpretations fit, in the mosaic of evolution. This

can help my communicating skills by evaluating how the recipient will perceive and receive my
communication from their point of view. Another way I might use the critical thinking and
communication skills I have practiced in this course is by keeping in mind that many people have
different ways they categorize their findings. Not just scientific findings (such as lumpers and
splitters in taxonomy) but also what they see in their experiences of many other parts of their life,
and this can have a profound effect on the conclusions that we can come to. For example, if I was
writing another paper, I would be more consciousness of how I interpret information from my
research, and decide if I am lumping certain information according to similar views to form one
opinion, or splitting up the viewpoints to create more specific opinions.

Hmm Moment: What content are you still perplexed about and why? Explain how you
will apply the skills used in the essay (e.g. research skills, writing skills, etc.) to grapple with
this content?
Something that I am still curious about, is how humans cultural behaviors are related to the
cultural practices that can be seen among non-human primates of both the past and present. I am
curious to know how much our behaviors are derived from more primitive hominids. The one
aspect of primate behavior that prompted my curiosity in this subject, is the display of malefemale violence. Upon learning about this behavior in non-human primates, I noticed the
similarities in human behavior. Such as the cause and effect of abusive relationships, in the way
that some male humans create fear in females to make them stay in the relationship and many
others (hopefully most) do not. Just as seen in the way chimpanzees will use force to get the
females to mate with them, and how bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees) have more respect for

AHA Moment: What specific AHA moment have you had in this course about human
evolution (broadly defined)? (This does not have to be the same as your Hmmmm
An AHA moment for me in this course, was my new in-depth understanding of how different
skeletal characteristics can tell us so much about the activities of human and non-human species
of the past. I think it is amazing how much of the daily activities and life experiences can be
interpreted from the bones and fossils of long deceased individuals. One of the most interesting

is how much can be interpreted from the dentition of the skull by assessing what they ate. Which
can help us imagine more of what their day to day life was like. Considering that most of what a
species does in a day consists of survival and gathering nutrients, the teeth, that are used to both
process the extraction of nutrients as well as defend against predators and competing individuals,
can be very descriptive of life as that species.