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IHO International Affiliated Scientist Zeresenay Alemseged Opens Academy of Science Exhbition
"The Human Odyssey," an exhibit that opened Februray 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.
2012 Institute of Human Origins Media Report and Summary
A review of the Institute of Human Origins scientific and media coverage has been compiled and is presented here for public review. The Institute of Human Origins scientific publications have sparked significant national and international media coverage during 2012, including all the major science and news outlets. Review the full report here (pdf).
In addition to the media report, IHO's full online resources are listed below:
- ASU Institute of Human Origins http://iho.asu.edu
- Webby-award winning educational outreach website: http://BecomingHuman.org
- Facebook: Lucy and ASU Institute of Human Origins
- Twitter @LucyASUIHO https://twitter.com/LucyASUIHO
- Blog: Notes from the Field: http://asuiho.wordpress.com/
- YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LucyASUIHO
- Vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/user5956652
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
(November 7, 2012) 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
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 online edition. Read more about this research at ASU News: In the baboon social network: "Nice" gals may finish first.
IHO Board Member and ASU School of Sustainability Dean Sander Van der Leeuw named "Champion of the Earth" by United Nations
(June 4, 2012) 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
Events mark 30th anniversary of ASU’s scientific look into human origins
(April 9, 2012) Over the past year, ASU’s Institute of Human Origins has been marking 30 years as an organization dedicated to its mission of research and discovery of the causes of human evolutionary change over deep time. Two final events will culminate the year’s festivities: a gala dinner at the Phoenix Zoo on April 26, featuring institute founding director Donald Johanson as featured speaker, and a symposium, titled Human Origins at the Edge of Discovery, on April 27, at Neeb Hall on the ASU Tempe campus.
Erich Fisher's Research in Western South African Coast of "Pondoland" Featured in National Geographic Today
IHO postdoctoral research Erich Fisher has been working with Curtis Marean for many years in the southern caves at Mossel Bay, South Africa. Fisher has extended that research into the western coast of South Africa, looking for more evidence of coastal adaptations that have been found in the Pinnacle Point caves. His research has been supported by National Geographic grants and National Geographic has posted a short video about Fisher's research, which can be viewed below or at the link at National Geographic Today.
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 is also available 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
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" airs on Thursday, June 16, at 6 pm.
Read about the show and research at http://asunews.asu.edu/20110615_NGSDibble
Don Johanson Speaking at the California Academy of Sciences May 9, 2011 How "Lucy" Got Her Name
(View on YouTube at http://youtu.be/SKYjpetqYWI)
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 11, 2011) The 30-year history of the Institute of Human Origins has its foundation in Founding Director Don Johanson’s earnest pursuit to understand the evolutionary process by which we became human. The institute’s future continues that mission as the leading research organization in the United States devoted to the science of human origins. Read more in ASU News.
3.2 million-year-old fossil foot bone supports humanlike bipedalism in Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis
Published in the journal Science
(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
Notes from the Field: Ethiopia(January 25, 2011) IHO Director Bill Kimbel received National Georgraphic Society funding for a research excursion to the Afar region of Ethiopia and PhD candidate Lynn Copes is writing to take us along to sites close to where "Lucy" was discovered. Read her first entries at the IHO blog, Notes from the Field. Check back for the continuing story of what the research team is finding in the field, and a new entry from Samantha Russak with the chimpanzees in Tanzania will be posted shortly as well. You certainly won't see that on your morning commute!
Samantha's "little grass shack" in Issa, Tanzania, that she will call home for a year. >(November 3, 2010) IHO: Notes from the Field blog has a new writer—six time traveler to South Africa—IHO graduate student Simen Oestmo, who will be writing about the current field research and excavations in Mossel Bay, South Africa. To read his first entry, go to http://bit.ly/bhi4yT >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. >(August 16, 2010) The team at IHO organized a web conference for last week's announcement in Nature so that our board of directors and past IHO sponsored travelers to South Africa, Galapagos, and Madagascar could hear about this exciting new research firsthand from ASU scientists and researchers, Curtis Marean and Hamdallah Bearat with an introduction by Director Bill Kimbel. This exclusive conversation is now available to watch online. View it at this link. (51:25 min) >(August 10, 2010) IHO Associate Director Curtis Marean and former postdoctoral fellow Zeresenay Alemseged are part of the team of researchers whose discovery points to ancestor "Lucy" use of stone tools and meat consumption.
Cover story for August issue in the journal Nature. Link to Nature
Two Arizona State University researchers conducting zooarchaeological and archaeometric analyses of four fossilized animal bone fragments found by the Dikika Research Project in northeastern Ethiopia – within walking distance of the discovery of the hominin skeleton “Lucy” (Australopithecus afarensis)—confirm that unusual marks on the bones were inflicted by stone tools. Their conclusion weighs in on findings reported in the Aug. 12 journal Nature, that A. afarensis used sharp-edged stones and a strong striking force to cleave flesh and marrow from large-sized animal carcasses some 3.4 million years ago.Link to NPR Science Friday podscast for August 13, 2010 with Zeray Alemseged: Study Suggests Earlier Meat-eating in Homonids Link to New York Times story (image courtesy Nature) Link to National Geographic story Link to Wall Street Journal story >(August 5, 2010) "Everyone alive today is descended from a small population that lived in one region of Arica sometime during this global cooling phase." IHO Associate Director Curtis Marean writes of discoveries at Pinnacle Point, South Africa in the cover story of the August issue of Scientific American, which is supported by web-based interactive images, video, and maps at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=interactive-seas-saved-humanity (or click on the images below to link to the interactive site). Link to ASU News story. >(July 21, 2010) The IHO: Notes from the Field blog now has a new writer—IHO PhD student Amy Shapiro, who will be writing about the current field school in Langebaanweg, South Africa. To read her first entry, go to <http://asuiho.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/amy-shapiro-langebaanweg-week-1/>.
>(July 12, 2010) IHO Board Member Ian Tattersall tells NPR.org that it makes sense that arboreal primates may have been "primed," for upright walking on the ground. "I don't think you come down to the ground and decide it would be a really good idea to stand upright and move around," he says. "I think the only reason you would do it is because this is what came naturally to you in the first place." Link to NPR.org >(July 9,2009) ASU alumna Christine Lee selected as one of National Geographic's 2010 Emerging Explorers for her bioarchaeological work investigating the mysteries of ancient China's diverse populations. Professor Don Johanson was Lee's dissertation committee co-chair. Link to story. >New IHO blog—Notes from the Field—by Ben Schoville on-site at Mossel Bay This new blog features images and notes from a PhD student working on excavations in the caves at Mossel Bay during the summer of 2010. >(May 12, 2010) Professor Gary Schwartz selected as 2010 Faculty Achievement Award for Defining Edge Research/
Creative Activities: Social Science Link to ASU News article
>Making Sense of New Discoveries in the Family Tree (April 2010)
New fossil remains discovered in South Africa by Lee Berger of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in April 2010 may be a transitional species between “Lucy,” the 3.2 million-year-old fossils discovered by ASU Professor Donald Johanson, and our own evolutionary branch of the human family tree. Top national news outlets contacted ASU paleoanthropologist Bill Kimbel and Johanson prior to the announcement of the new discovery in the journal Science for expert analysis and evolutionary context. As founding director and current director of the ASU Institute of Human Origins, Johanson and Kimbel, respectively, are top, sought-after experts in the world in this field and among the first to be consulted on any new discovery. >>more
>Question: At what point in the evolutionary timeline did humans develop creativity? Link to website video Don Johanson: CBS News 60 Minutes (April 11, 2010) Quoted on Australopithecus sediba discovery Full video >Individual segment featuring Johanson and Richard Leakey "The Controversy Begins" Video at CNET.com ASU Origins Symposium (April 3–6, 2009) Link to Origins website
>Don Johanson lecture (with introduction by William Kimbel) (53 min.) Link to thesciencenetwork.org >Origin and Evolution of Sociality and What is the Origin of Human Uniqueness (Panel 2 and Panel 3, April 4, 2009 featuring
William Kimbel, Donald Johansen, and Curtis Marean) (1 hr 40 min). Link to thesciencenetwork.org >Curtis Marean panel presentation (6:46 min). Link to YouTube.com or click below.
Don Johanson: NPR Talk of the Nation (March 6, 2009) "Anthropologist Donald Johanson On 'Lucy's Legacy'" Link to NPR
Curtis Marean: 2008 Nobel Conference Lecture (October 7–8, 2008) Who Were the First Humans? Link to website video
> (July 12, 2010) IHO Board Member Ian Tattersall tells NPR.org that "it makes sense that arboreal primates may have been "primed," for upright walking on the ground. "I don't think you come down to the ground and decide it would be a really good idea to stand upright and move around," he says. "I think the only reason you would do it is because this is what came naturally to you in the first place." Link to NPR.org
> Don Johanson: San Francisco Chronicle sfgate.com (June 24, 2010) New link in human evolution found in Ethiopia Link here
- But to everyone else interested in the discovery of new fossil evidence for the ancestry of the human lineage, he'll be known as "Lucy's great-grandfather.". . . Donald Johanson, Lucy's discoverer and now founding director of the Institute for Human Origins at Arizona State University in Tempe, called the "grandfather" report intriguing and, recalling the many recent discoveries of Lucy's fossil relatives, said: "This is really a remarkable time in the history of paleoanthropology." Johanson noted that although Lucy was tiny - about 3 1/2 feet tall - Kadanuumuu was much larger - about 5 or 5 1/2 feet tall. The size difference between Lucy, who lived 3.2 million years ago, and her "great-grandfather," is known as sexual dimorphism and is true for humans today, although the wide divergence in size of the two fossils is typical of those early creatures that still bore more traces of their descent from the ape lineage, Johanson said.
> Don Johanson: msnbc.com (June 22, 2010) Lucy's "great grandfather" found Link here
- That doesn't mean Australopithecus afarensis is out of the spotlight when it comes to studying human origins. Johanson said Lucy and her kin provide an "important reference for assessing other hominid species," in large part because so many specimens have been found over such a wide span of evolutionary time. Going forward, paleoanthropologists may well turn to Lucy, Kadanuumuu and other members of the species to unravel the deeper secrets of ancient human development.
> Don Johanson: Salt Lake Tribune (June 1, 2010) Forest or savanna? U. geologists spar over ancestral human's home
- . . . An upright-walking primate could have done well on this expanding grasslands, spending a lot less energy covering the long distances necessary to find food and shelter in the absence of trees. But Johanson is convinced hominids evolved an upright posture while still inhabiting a partial arboreal setting. "It would have been much too dangerous for hominids to stand up in [savanna] with carnivores everywhere and announce they are on the menu," Johanson said.
> Curtis Marean: The Wall Street Journal (May 22, 2010) Humans: Why They Triumphed Link here
> On the Australopithecus sediba discovery (April 2010)
- Don Johanson and Bill Kimbel were sought out as expert sources of commentary for this widely publicized discovery by Lee Berger of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in April 2010. The following are the major news outlets' stories that quote or use Johanson/Kimbel as experts. (Some links may expire for users who are not subscribers to the news outlets.)
ASU News Link
60 Minutes (Johanson) Link to online video of 10 minute segment
MSNBC.com (Johanson) Link here
New York Times (Kimbel) Link here
Wall Street Journal (Kimbel) Link here
Inside Science News Service (Kimbel) Link here
Los Angeles Times (Kimbel) Link here
National Geographic News (Kimbel) Link here
Time Magazine (Kimbel) Link here
Wired magazine (Kimbel) Link here
Curtis Marean: National Geographic News African Cave Yields Earliest Proof of Beach Living (October 2007)