Institute of Human Origins
Topics—News + Events
Preserving the Search for Human Origins—Panel Discussion and Exhibition Opening
A public exhibition of especially interesting materials from the collection will be available for public viewing beginning March 21, 2013 in the Hayden Library Rotunda and Luhrs Gallery located on the 4th floor of Hayden Library. Bill Kimbel, Director of the Institute of Human Origins, Johanson, and Dan Gilfillan, Acting Director of the Institute for Humanities Research, will open a public panel discussion on March 21 at 3:30 p.m. in room C-6 of Hayden Library. The panel will also include guest commentators Jane Maienschein, Director of Center for Biology and Society, and project collaborators Nancy Dallett, Assistant Director, Public History Program in the School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies; Rob Spindler, University Archivist and Head of Archives and Special Collections, ASU Libraries; Richard Toon, Museum Studies Program Director, School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Panelists will discuss how this “hidden collection” was identified and assessed, the nature of collecting and collections, museum preservation concerns, and the importance of this collection in advancing scholarship in the history of science. After the panel, an exhibit opening reception will be held at the Luhrs Gallery on the 4th floor of Hayden Library.
ASU faculty and unit directors are encouraged to attend the panel discussion to consider what collections they or their colleagues might have that would be of value to scholars, what steps they can take to preserve and conserve them, and the role of the university in advocating for preservation of its own scholarship.
The opening event and exhibit are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Julie Russ at 480-727-6571.
This event is supported by the Institute for Humanities Research, Institute of Human Origins, and School of Human Evolution and Social Change, units of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, as well as University Libraries.
IHO International Affiliated Scientist Zeresenay Alemseged Opens Academy of Science Exhbition
"The Human Odyssey," an exhibit that opened Februay 8, 2013, at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, brings the latest scientific evidence of the long and many-branched steps that humanity has taken to reach today's stage in evolution. The exhibit was curated by Zeresenay Alemseged, who was a postdoctoral researcher with the Institute of Human Origins and is now the curator of anthropology for the California Academy of Sciences.
Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle website: http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Academy-of-Sciences-show-traces-evolution-4261348.php#ixzz2KoQDOFf9
"Core" Questions in Evolution to be Investigated by IHO Scientists
A multinational research team, including Kaye Reed and Chris Campisano, is taking a look back in time to study the relationship between climate and human evolution. Like all living things, humans have adapted to their environments over time. So understanding changes in environmental conditions, such as climate, can help us understand why and how our distant ancestors evolved.
To peer into the past, researchers from Arizona State University and other institutions will drill into dry lakebeds in Africa’s Rift Valley, which stretches along northeastern Africa from Ethiopia to Mozambique. The ancient lakebeds lie near archaeological sites that have produced fossils of hominins, the group of organisms that includes humans and our ancient ancestors.
Read more in ASU News.
Oldest Spear Points Date to 500,000 Years
A collaborative study involving researchers at Arizona State University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Cape Town found that human ancestors were making stone-tipped weapons 500,000 years ago at the South African archaeological site of Kathu Pan 1 – 200,000 years earlier than previously thought. This study, “Evidence for Early Hafted Hunting Technology,” is published in the Nov. 16 issue of the journal Science. Two of the article authors include doctoral student Ben Schoville and Jayne Wilkins, who recently came to ASU from the University of Toronto as a postdoctoral researcher working with Curtis Marean.
Read more in ASU News.
Small Lethal Tools Have Big Implications for Early Modern Human Complexity
Curtis Marean and Research Team Published in Today's Nature
On the south coast of South Africa, scientists have found evidence for an advanced stone age technology dated to 71,000 years ago at Pinnacle Point near Mossel Bay. This technology, allowing projectiles to be thrown at greater distance and killing power, takes hold in other regions of Africa and Eurasia about 20,000 years ago. When combined with other findings of advanced technologies and evidence for early symbolic behavior from this region, the research documents a persistent pattern of behavioral complexity that might signal modern humans evolved in this coastal location.
These findings were reported in the article “An Early and Enduring Advanced Technology Originating 71,000 Years Ago in South Africa” in the November 7 issue of the journal Nature. Read more in ASU News.
Simen Oestmo photo.
African Ceremonies Photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher Share 30 Years of Travels Across Africa
Thursday, October 25
Social Sciences #109
The Institute of Human Origins (IHO) is pleased to offer an opportunity for ASU students to see long-time IHO friends Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher present their “African Ceremonies” lecture as part of a visit for National Geographic Live!
IHO Founding Director Don Johanson has known Carol and Angela for many years and has traveled with them to view tribal ceremonies few people have been able to see. Their presentation is filled with photos and videos from their 30 years of travels across over 270,000 miles together, through remote corners of 40 countries and to more than 150 African cultures.
Students interested in anthropology, photography, or African studies, including African drumming, dance, and art, or just travel on the African continent are sure to find this hour engaging and fascinating.
This event is free and open to the public.
Archaeoinformatics applications at Pinnacle Point, South Africa for 3D data analysis, discovery, and dissemination
Oct 26 (Friday), Noon
Coor 5536 (see map)
Erich C. Fisher is a post-doctoral researcher at Arizona State University. He received his PhD in archaeology from the University of Florida in 2010 and he specializes in African Stone Age archaeology, 3D GIS, and archaeoinformatics. Equal parts field archaeologist and computer nerd, Erich spends half his time canvasing coastal South Africa and half his time developing empirical 3D models to test complex interdisciplinary research questions in paleoanthropology. He is also the co-field director for the SACP4 project, which is studying the Origins of Modern Humans in coastal South Africa, and he also directs the P5 project, which is studying the origins of coastal foraging in Pondoland, South Africa.
IHO Affiliated Researcher Joan Silk Ponders Why Some Female Baboons Are "Nice" and Others Are Not
(October 16, 2012) This fall, IHO welcomed primatologist Joan Silk to ASU and to IHO as an Affiliated Researcher. Silk,a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, has recently published new findings about her research with female baboons in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences along with colleagues Robert Seyfarth and Dorothy Cheney at the University of Pennsylvania. The paper on the “Variation in Personality and Fitness in Wild Female Baboons” was published in the October 1, 2012. Read more about this research at ASU News: In the baboon social network: "Nice" gals may finish first.
Exploring human origins—lecture series
Erella Hovers, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Friday, September 14, 2012
Wrigley Hall 481
Variability + Complexity: Making Sense of the Levantine Middle Paleolithic Record
The complex relationship between human biological and cultural evolution is exemplified by the late Middle and early Pleistocene record, when modern humans and Neandertals existed in the Old World. The ongoing paradigm change regarding the phylogeny, temporal, and spatial relationship of these two populations raises questions of the relationship between cultural variation and cultural change and the mechanisms that shape the trajectories of cultural evolution. The long research history of the Levant puts it in unique place to examine such questions. The talk uses empirical data from recent research, including fieldwork in Middle Paleolithic sites, to address questions about Neandertal and modern human lifeways in the region, how they were related to environmental constraints, and whether it is possible to formulate testable hypotheses about the role and nature of cultural transmission in shaping the archaeological record 250,000 to 50,000 years ago.
Erella Hovers has been directing field and laboratory research in Epi-Paleolithic and Middle Paleolithic sites in Israel. She excavated Amud Cave with Bill Kimbel (IHO) and Yoel Rak (Tel Aviv University) in 1991–1994. She has been part of IHO’s research project field sites excavating in Olduvai and Hadar, Ethiopia. She is currently conducting excavations and work in the late Middle Paleolithic open-air site of Ein Qashish. Hovers obtained her BA in geography and archaeology and PhD in prehistoric archaeology
(1998) from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and conducted postdoctoral work at Harvard University. She is currently a professor at Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
The lecture is free and open to the public. Download a lecture poster pdf here.
IHO Board Member and ASU School of sustainability Dean Sander Van der leeuw named "Champion of the Earth" by United Nations
Sander van der Leeuw, the dean of the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, is among the six winners of the 2012 United Nations Champions of the Earth award. Professor van der Leeuw, an archaeologist and historian by training, was recognized in the science and innovation category for his research in human-environmental relations and the scientific study of innovation as a societal process. He is one of 51 champion laureates who have received the UN award since it was launched in 2005. Full story at ASU News: https://asunews.asu.edu/20120604_UNchampionlaureate
Gala Dinner and Symposium wrap up Year of CelebrationThank you to all of our sponsors, speakers, and
guests who attended the Gala Dinner and Symposium. A few photos of the event can be found at the Arizona Red Book website.
Founding Director Don Johanson was featured speaker at IHO's 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner on April 26, 2012.
Notes from the Field: A Year in the Field Comes to an End
Samantha Russak is on her way home now after spending a year in Tanzania, and her last blog entry reflects the importance of living in and learning about new cultures, new countries, and new communities. It also reminds us to be thankful for the abundance that we are privileged to live in here in the U.S. and the positive impact that we strive to bring along with us as we partner with people and organizations in countries in Africa and elsewhere. Sam has been a tremendous example of hard work, positive attitude, and excellent ambassadorship for IHO. Thank you to Samantha! Click here for the link
Sam Russak with Jane Goodall at the Jane Goodall Institute in Gombe.
ASU's Research Matters Highlights IHO in New Video
ASU President Crow Applauded for Defense of Anthropology
Slate.com article by Michael Crow:
The Economist: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/10/education-policy
Curtis Marean Interview Featured for "Science Lives" at LiveScience.com
In a video interview, Curtis Marean answers some basic, but revealing, questions about the nature of being of scientist—his inspiration, the societal benefits of his research, the biggest influences on his professional life, and what his first “experiment” was as a child.
The website LiveScience.com has a series called “Science Lives,” which features interviews with prominent researchers—from engineers to historians to a diversity of scientists. This week, “Science Lives” features an interview with Curtis Marean, Institute of Human Origins Associate Director and professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change. This “Science Lives” interview was provided to Live Science in partnership with the National Science Foundation.
The interview can also be seen at http://www.livescience.com/16431-human-origins-marean-nsf-sl.html.
From Field to Lab: IHO Museum Exhibition Covers 30 Years of Research
The exhibition opened September 8 with a greeting “drummed” by an ASU African drumming student group, which welcomed over 200 people to a ribbon cutting ceremony by institute director William Kimbel and founding director Don Johanson and School of Human Evolution and Social Change executive director Alexandra Brewis Slade. The exhibition will also host over 120 fifth and sixth graders this week with presentations by IHO-affiliated PhD students Halszka Glowaka, Neysa Grider-Potter, Lynn Lucas, Terry Ritzman, Amy Shapiro. With seven computers or DVD players and seven iPads and life-like vingettes of Hadar and a lab, the experience is truly an interactive immersion in IHO research and history. Read more at ASU News.
Untangling the Human Family Tree One Branch at a Time
(September 20, 2011) ASU graduate Brian Villmoare, now with The George Washington University and University College London, and Institute of Human Origins Director William Kimbel are using new technologies to solve classic evolutionary puzzles. CT scans of the skulls of five different species of Australopithecus reveal unseen details hidden within the bone structure.
Read more at ASU News
BECOMING HUMAN: 30 Years of Research and Discovery
Museum Exhibition Continues!
Museum Exhibition: September 8 through December 16.
Museum of Anthropology, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Tempe Campus
This beautifully designed and executed exhibition tells the story of the institute's 30-year impact on anthropology and understanding the human career from the discovery of "Lucy" by Donald Johanson in 1974 to today's engaging research into how the human race may have survived in very small numbers in caves at the tip of South Africa.
For museum hours, guided tours, and special events in association with this exhibition, go to http://asuma.asu.edu, email email@example.com, or call 480.965.6224.
IHO Internationally Affiliated Faculty Harold Dibble and
PhD Student Emily Hallett-Desguez Featured on
National Geographic Channel
A National Geographic documentary features Harold Dibble and his research team as they dig fossil bones in a Moroccan cave and analyze how that ancient person might have looked. The show, "World's Oldest Child" aired on Thursday, June 16. Check the NatGeo Channel in the future for additional showings.
• Read about the show and research at http://asunews.asu.edu/20110615_NGSDibble
• Philadelphia Inquirer article http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/123980544.html
• UPI article http://bit.ly/lqSIhy
Don Johanson and Richard Leakey Meet to Promote Understanding of Human Origins On May 5, famed paleoanthroplogists ASU professor Donald Johanson and Richard Leakey came together at the American Museum of Natural History in New York to discuss human evolution, its overwhelming evidence in the extant hominid fossil record, and why understanding our evolutionary history is of such critical relevance today. Link to ASU News story. Link to The New York Times story. Photos of the events on the Lucy Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/lFNDjB Watch video of the live event below! (also at YouTube.com)
Institute of Human Origins' Associate Director Curtis Marean is named one of ASU's Outstanding Professors of 2011
(April 13, 2011) Curtis Marean was one of only nine professors to be recognized for this year's 2011 Faculty Achievement Awards for Defining Edge Research in Social Science. The awards are made for a specific contribution appearing in the last 10 years that meets the highest standards of the discipline or profession. The contributions significantly change their professions in research, creative activities and undergraduate instruction, placing the achievements among the highest at the university.
After receiving input from the faculty, nominations for the Faculty Achievement Awards are made by deans and reviewed by panels of Regents’ and President’s Professors. Read the full article here.
IHO Associate Professor Gary Schwartz received the same recognition in 2010 for Defining Edge Science.
Institute of Human Origins Celebrates 30 Years of Research and Discovery
(March 9, 2011) What began as an institute for the study of human origins is now a research center engaged in leading-edge science and discovery of how we became human. To celebrate the institute’s 30th anniversary, a full year of events has been planned to bring renowned scientists and experts in human origins to ASU.
Read the full story at http://asunews.asu.edu/20110309_IHO30th.
Published in the journal Science
3.2 million-year-old fossil foot bone supports humanlike bipedalism in Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis
(February 11, 2011) A fossilized foot bone recovered from Hadar, Ethiopia, shows that by 3.2 million years ago human ancestors walked bipedally with a modern human-like foot, a report that appears Feb. 11 in the journal Science, concludes. The fossil, a fourth metatarsal, or midfoot bone, indicates that a permanently arched foot was present in the species Australopithecus afarensis, according to the report authors, Carol Ward of the University of Missouri, together with William Kimbel and Donald Johanson, of Arizona State University’s Institute of Human Origins.
See the full story on the ASU News website: http://asunews.asu.edu/20110211_twofeet
>ASU Institute of Human Origins and "Lucy" are now on Facebook and Twitter! Keep track of events, lectures, breaking news in anthropology, and find out where in the world our faculty are traveling! "Like" us on Facebook or "Follow" us on Twitter.
+More current news (2011)
Events and Special Tours
Where in the World is Don Johanson?September 22, 2011 Founding Director Donald Johanson will speak at Truckee Meadows Community College for their Distinguished Speaker Series.
TMCC Dandini Campus, 7000 Dandini Blvd/Red Mountain building, room 324. Tickets must be purchased in advance at www.tmcc.edu/dss. Cost: $10 general admission, $5 student admission. More info at 775.336.4555.
+more Events + Lectures
>Becoming Human, IHO's Webby award-winning website, brings together interactive multimedia, research, and
scholarship to promote greater understanding of the course of human evolution. For all ages.