Human Origins Slide Show

  • Anthropocene: The Age of Humans

    Image of timeline spiral and earth globe with handprint
  • Interactive Timeline

    Image of figurines, bone and stone tools
  • Digital Collection

    Image of five views of fossil skull OH-5
  • Adventures in the Rift Valley

    Image of illustration of Homo erectus group butchering a dead elephant
  • Support Our Work

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  • Hall of Human Origins

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What's Hot in Human Origins?

What Does It Mean To Be Human?

- Jacob Freedom Germain, Livermore, CA, USA

The Scientist Is In: Sean Lee

The Scientist Is In

HOT (Human Origins Today) Topic

The Scientist Is In: Kristin Carline

image of Homo floresiensis; LB1, skeleton

'Hobbits' on Flores, Indonesia

New digs and geological dating in Liang Bua Cave, Indonesia, show that Homo floresiensis, nicknamed the “hobbit” for its small size, became extinct around 50,000 years ago – tens of thousands of years earlier than originally thought.

For Teachers

AP Biology Curriculum Materials

Are you an AP Biology teacher? Click here for freely downloadable curriculum materials aligned to the AP learning objectives that use human case studies to teach core evolutionary principles and a resource to help teachers create a comfortable and supportive classroom environment for teaching evolution.

Human Evolution:
Religious Perspectives

The Hall of Human Origins offers a welcoming place to explore one of the most exciting areas of science, the study of human evolution. Despite strong public interest in the science, however, many people find this topic troubling when viewed from a religious perspective. Representatives of diverse religious communities encourage a larger, more respectful understanding of both the scientific evidence and religious belief.

Featured Multimedia

Rock or stone tool

How To Tell a Rock from a Stone Tool

How can you tell if a rock is actually an early stone tool? Watch this video to find out.

 

Video Thumbnail of Rick Potts from "Designing the Exhibition"

Designing the Exhibition

This video takes you behind-the-scenes into the process of designing and building the Smithsonian's Hall of Human Origins.

Fun Facts

In 1959, paleoanthropologist Dr. Mary Leakey discovered a skull of Paranthropus boisei, our close evolutionary cousin who survived for about 1.5 million years. Her husband, Louis Leakey, aptly nicknamed this early human fossil “Nutcracker Man” because of its large teeth and robust jaw. Yet study of wear caused by food on teeth shows that Paranthropus didn’t usually crack hard foods, but more likely relied on tough foods, such as tubers and roots, to survive. This would require powerful chewing and grinding, and big teeth!