Human Origins Slide Show

  • Anthropocene: The Age of Humans

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

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  • 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?

The Scientist Is In: Molly Kamph

The Scientist Is In

The Scientist Is In

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

The proportions of our bodies are a product of millions of years of evolution, including our stomachs! Our ancestor Homo erectus evolved a narrower ribcage and pelvis, shorter large intestines, and longer small intestines. This made the early human gut smaller and it decreased the time it took to digest food! The shorter gut allows for more energy to be diverted from the intestines to other important organs of the body, such as the brain.