In Development: An OER Biological Anthropology Textbook

Open Educational Resources (OER) have become more common as textbook costs have increased and technology has improved. It is our goal with this project to produce a high-quality textbook written and peer-reviewed by experts in the field. This book would be available to download free of charge under a Creative Commons License, and will be similar in format to the Cultural Anthropology book Perspectives (available at

We are seeking volunteer (not paid) authors, reviewers, and editors with expertise in the content area willing to write to an audience of introductory level college students. Authors should be willing to commit to making updates to their chapters in the future (roughly every 3-4 years, for subsequent editions of the text in this rapidly changing field) – or assist in finding an author(s) to help with those updates.

The timeline is as follows:

  1. Authors to express interest and a brief proposal by February 2, 2018,
  2. Chapter outlines and list of possible illustrations due April 1, 2018,
  3. Chapter drafts due August 2018,
  4. Peer-reviews completed by January 2019,
  5. Revisions in the Spring of 2019,
  6. Chapters professionally copyedited and typeset beginning Spring of 2019, and
  7. Available for use as individual chapter pdfs, a full book pdf, or ePub by the end of 2019.

While authors, reviewers, and editors will not be paid for their work, the cost for this project will still be significant – to pay for copyediting, typesetting, and for images/illustrations to be developed. To fund this project, we are currently pursuing grants – and we welcome suggestions for additional support opportunities.

Chapter List (12,000-15,000 words each):

  • Introduction to Biological Anthropology
  • Evolution
  • Genetics
  • Forces of Evolution
  • Primate Taxonomy
  • Primate Behavior
  • Understanding the Fossil Context
  • Fossil Primates (may be combined with the Fossil Context chapter)
  • Hominin Origins (Pre-Australopithecines & Australopithecines)
  • Early Homo
  • Archaics
  • Modern Homo sapiens
  • Human Variation
  • Bioarchaeology & Forensic Anthropology
  • Contemporary Topics: Human Biology & Health

Appendices (~2000-4000 words):

  • Osteology (may include comparative anatomy w/ chimpanzees)
  • Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium
  • Human Growth & Development
  • Human Behavioral Ecology
  • Language & Brain Development
  • Timeline/Summary of Hominin Fossils

The primary topics to be covered in each chapter have been identified (and can be e-mailed to potential authors upon request). However, we also want chapter authors to have academic freedom in the arrangement of the chapter and examples used, and we welcome additional ideas from potential authors.

If you are interested in working on this project as a chapter author, please send an e-mail to Beth Shook ( as soon as possible letting us know what chapter(s)/appendix you would be interested in, and then by February 2nd, please also send:

  • A brief C.V. (1-2 pages with relevant teaching, writing, and research). Be sure to include your e-mail, institutional address, and contact number. If you would like to propose a co-authored chapter, please provide information for all of the authors.
  • A statement about your primary qualifications to write the chapter(s) and/or appendices that you are most interested in (100-200 words per chapter/appendix topic), and
  • A brief chapter proposal including your approach to this chapter and specific cases/examples/fossils etc. that you plan to address.

If you are interested in contributing as a reviewer, editor, or financial supporter please contact Beth Shook ( or Kelsie Aguilera (