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Climate and Human Evolution
Explore how environment change influenced evolution, and how dramatic climate instability over the past 6 million years may have shaped human adaptations.
The idea of variability selection, developed by Smithsonian researcher Dr. Rick Potts, seeks to explain how the dynamic surroundings of human ancestors shaped their ability – and ours – to adjust to a changing world.
How did humans become so adaptable, capable of thriving across the globe? Chapter 3 of the book What Does It Mean To Be Human? explores the survival story of human origins.
Explore the evidence for human evolution in this interactive timeline - climate change, species, and milestones in becoming human.
Zoom in using the magnifier on the bottom for a closer look!
Dr. Rick Potts talks about his research on early human adaptability to climate change in Africa and China.