The Institute of Human Origins is one of the preeminent research organizations in the world devoted to the science of human origins

A research center of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Human Origins (IHO) pursues an integrative strategy for research and discovery central to our founding mission—bridging social, earth, and life science approaches to the most important questions concerning the course, causes, and timing of events in the human career over deep time. 

IHO’s strategic vision reaches across the broadest range of transdisciplinary research to create novel approaches to the solution of pressing and newly emerging scientific questions relevant to our society—from the emergence of modern humans in Africa, and human behavioral and genetic adaptations to a changing planet, to what understanding the behavioral ecology of nonhuman primates informs us about how we developed culture and cooperation.

IHO fosters awareness of our place in nature and relevance of our deep past to modern society through innovative outreach programs that provide timely and accurate information for both educators and the public.

IHO researchers are changing the paradigm of human origins research through—

  • Continuing a legacy of high-profile discoveries 

  • Pursuing how the earliest modern humans evolved before and after the great diaspora out of Africa

  • Excavating deep earth cores to examine how global climate affects human evolution 

  • Exploring the emergence of uniquely human attributes  and understanding our species development and its indelible impact on the planet

  • Investigating what nonhuman primates tell us about how our ancient ancestors developed cooperative behaviors

  • Using DNA research to open new paths to ancient human origins and the genetic bases of primate behavior

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Celebrate Lucy 50

Next year will be the the 50th anniversary of the discovery of Lucy. Join IHO as we create a Year for Human Origins—and explore why Lucy's discovery still matters!

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IHO's New Home

IHO is pleased to announce that we have moved to our new "headquarters" in the Rob and Melani Walton Center for Planetary Health—ASU's newest premier research facility. IHO's new facility on the second floor is the culmination of a 25-year vision for IHO at ASU and the aspirations of IHO leadership and supporters.

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Know the facts

Want to know more about the Institute of Human Origins? Explore our facts page to learn about our history, funding, faculty, students, and more

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Help us search for our origins!

An investment in the Institute of Human Origins helps to fund student scholarships, support research in laboratories and field sites, and meet the growing needs of our researchers and students. Please help us continue the search!

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Support the Jane Goodall Institute Research Archive at ASU!  ASU's Institute of Human Origins will soon house the physical materials of the Jane Goodall Institute Gombe Research Archive—over 60 years of handwritten observations of wild chimpanzees in Gombe National Park. Help to protect this irreplaceable resource!

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Kimbel Impact Lecture

The Second Annual Bill Kimbel Impact Lecture i was on Thursday, April 4, 2024, featuring Don Johanson at the Mesa Arts Center as part of the Lucy 50 celebration. Stay tuned for the 2025 lecture date. Donate directly to the Bill Kimbel Impact Fund Endowment

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