Human Origins Slide Show
What's Hot in Human Origins?
What Does It Mean To Be Human?
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.
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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.
In 1974, paleoanthropologist Dr. Donald Johanson discovered a 3.2 million-year-old skeleton with both ape-like and human-like qualities in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Known scientifically as Australopithecus afarensis, in the Ethiopian language of Amharic she is called “Dinkenesh”, which means “you are beautiful”. In English, we call her “Lucy”. So why do we love Lucy so much? It’s because we see signs of humanity in her, such as a body built for walking upright on two legs, just like us!