The Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University is one of the leading research organization in the United States devoted to the science of human origins. Embedded within ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change, IHO pursues a transdisciplinary strategy for field and analytical paleoanthropological research central to its 30-year-old founding mission—integrating social, earth, and life science approaches to the most important questions concerning the course, timing, and causes of human evolutionary change over deep time. IHO links to its research activities innovative public outreach programs that create timely, accurate information for education and lay communities.
The Institute of Human Origins (IHO) was founded by Donald C. Johanson in 1981 as a California nonprofit organization based in Berkeley. Directed by William H. Kimbel, the scientific mission of IHO is the strategic implementation of multidisciplinary field and laboratory research on the fossil evidence for human evolution. A second founding goal of IHO programs is the interpretation of the results of paleoanthropological research for the public, through a wide array of print, film, and spokenmedia. From its inception, IHO has been governed by a board of directors that provides strategic guidance and financial support for IHO’s goals.
In 1997, IHO accepted an invitation to move to ASU as an ABOR-approved research center under the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), and IHO embraced this move. In July 2008, Johanson stepped down as director of the institute and William Kimbel was named director. Johanson has assumed a new role as founding director, which will take him to a variety of cities and countries, educating a new generation about the discovery of "Lucy" and what the discovery has meant to our understanding of human origins.