NNMK17002U CANCELLED: Human Palaeogenomics

Volume 2017/2018

A general introduction to the study of human evolution and population histories. In a series of lectures and interactive discussion groups we will cover diverse topics including hominin evolution, the origins and expansion of anatomically modern humans, later population movements, and the origins of modern human genetic diversity. In addition, the course will include hands-on computational sessions introducing basic tools used to analyze human population genetic data. The Natural History Museum of Denmark at KU is a leader in this field, and the course will showcase some of the ground-breaking research currently being carried out at the institution.

Learning Outcome


At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:

  • Recognize and describe major milestones in human evolution

  • Explain how ancient biomolecules are being used to reconstruct aspects of human evolutionary history

  • Assess how modern and ancient genetic data have transformed our understanding of human population histories



At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:

  • Describe and explain the workflow of a typical human ancient DNA study from the field to the interpretation of the results

  • Perform basic analyses on example paleogenomics datasets

  • Explain how biomolecular data can be used alongside other types of evidence in the study of human evolution and population histories



At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:

  • Evaluate and critically assess the results and impact(s) of selected seminal studies in human paleogenomics

  • Draft a research proposal for an ancient DNA project addressing an open research question in human evolutionary history, synthesizing the knowledge and skills acquired during the course and anticipating future progress in the field

Relevant literature will be provided through Absalon.

There are no formal requirements for taking this course, but it is recommended that students attend the “Ancient DNA and Evolution" course in Block 2 prior to taking this course.

The course is aimed at students with a background in archaeology, biology, bioinformatics or population genetics.
Lectures, interactive discussion groups and hands-on computational sessions.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 20
  • Lectures
  • 39
  • Practical exercises
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 119
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min under invigilation
Written assignment, 20 hours (take home assignment)
Students will be assessed based on one short written take-home assignment and one 20-minute final oral exam. Students will have 10 mins preparation time for the oral exam. The grade will be based on an overall assessment.
Exam registration requirements

To be admitted to the exam students must have delivered all of the course assignments and they must have attended at least 80% of the classes.

Only certain aids allowed

Students are only allowed to use materials handed out by the examiners.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.

Oral Exam, 20 min. The take-home assignment must be handed in no later than 2 weeks before the re-exam. The take-home assignment can be reused or a new or revised version can be submitted.

If the exam registration requirements is not fullfilled before the re-exam the student must write an essay (5 pages). The topic is proved by the teacher. The essay must be handed in no later than two weeks before the re-exam. If the essay is approved then the student can participate in the re-exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

In order to obtain the grade 12 the student should convincingly and accurately demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competences described under Learning Outcome.