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Human Evolution Research
Smithsonian Human Origins Program & Field Research
The Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program conducts field and lab research on the evolution of early human adaptations. Our key research partners are in East Africa and East Asia – especially in Kenya, China, and Indonesia. Our digs and studies in these regions, along with investigations by associates working in Ethiopia, Tanzania, India, Mozambique, among other countries, help generate scientific data on the long-term interaction of human ancestors with their surroundings. Curiosity about human origins drives our research. The research supports our effort to bring the latest findings to public audiences worldwide.
Explore how environment change influenced evolution, and how dramatic climate instability over the past 6 million years may have shaped human adaptations.
The Human Origins Program has been conducting research in East Africa for over 25 years. Read about some of our current field projects, focused in Kenya, here.
The Human Origins Program conducts research at a variety of sites in Asia, currently with a focus in China and Indonesia. Read about the earliest humans in China, 'hobbits' of Indonesia, and other research projects here.
Bones contain evidence of how early humans lived, died, and interacted with other organisms. Explore what kinds of important clues scientists can find on bones.
Meet the Smithsonian scientific team and hear about our interests.
Check out the latest human origins discoveries and research findings!
Members of the Human Origins Program team describe how they use cutting-edge technology in their scientific investigations.