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

    Image of human hand reaching out to primate hand.
  • Hall of Human Origins

    Image of reconstructed faces of three early humans in profile view

What's Hot in Human Origins?

The Scientist is In: Andrea Eller

The Scientist is In: Rutgers Jansma

HOT (Human Origins Today) Topic

The Scientist is In: Alexander Prucha

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.

Image of catwalk around the site of Olorgesailie.

Olorgesailie, Kenya

Fieldwork at Olorgesailie, Kenya, seeks to understand the life and times of early humans in the East African Rift Valley over the past 1 million years.

Virtual Dig

Teachers Forum

Are you interested in joining a discussion forum exclusively for educators involved in teaching human evolution? We encourage you to participate in our Teachers Forum and share your insights, questions, best practices, and experiences with other like-minded educators.

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

While other primates are furry, human skin is exposed to the elements. It’s not that we’re ‘naked’ – our hair is just really short over much of our bodies. In the warm places where our ancestors lived, evaporation of sweat from exposed skin was a great benefit in cooling our entire bodies. Our brain runs so ‘hot’, in fact, that sweating and cooling proved vital for evolving our big brain.