• This partial lower jaw from Ethiopia is the oldest example of our genus Homo, discovered by graduate student Chalachew Seyoum.

    On the Edge of Discovery

  • Drilling

    Connecting the human past to the global future

  • Researcher holding a fossil

    Transdisciplinary research from fossils to genomics

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 (link is external), IHO pursues an integrative strategy for research and discovery central to our founding mission. We bridge 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 fosters awareness of human origins and its relevance to modern society through innovative outreach programs that provide timely, accurate information for both educators and the general public.

Learn about Lucy

Learn about the Australopithecus afarensis skeleton, "Lucy," discovered in Hadar, Ethiopia on November 24, 1974
Lucy's Story

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
Fact Sheet

IHO invites students to join Lucy in Space!

Middle and high school students and teachers—IHO is launching a contest in partnership with the NASA Lucy Mission! The contest will creatively explore our origins here on Earth and in our own solar system. Winners get an invitation (virtual or in person) to view the launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida (sorry, travel expenses not covered) and have presentations by our own Donald Johanson and lead scientists at the Southwest Research Institute for the mission to your class or school—plus be featured on NASA and ASU websites! Read more about the contest and rules at the contest website https://askananthropologist.asu.edu/lucy-in-space 

NASA Lucy Mission to Launch in October 2021

ASU Catalyst interviews Don Johanson about the NASA Lucy Mission, which includes ASU components. The mission will reach asteroids close to Jupiter, which may contain clues to the origin of our solar system.

Skip ahead to 16:25 to learn about the Lucy mission.


From our very beginning, the Institute of Human Origins focused one "leg" of our mission on public outreach. Our founding members believe that scientists are the best interpreters of their own research for the public. We believe that sharing the story of how we "became human" is as important as sharing the science.

Becoming human website
Ask An Anthropologist website

Becoming Human

Becoming Human is a Webby award-winning and American Association for the Advancement of Science approved website, and one of the ways we teach paleoanthropological science to online users of all ages.

Ask An Anthropologist

Inspired by Ask A Biologist and our Webby-award winning website Becoming Human, Ask An Anthropologist aspires to build an online community of science and social studies educators focused on middle- and high-school learners. Many resources on the web provide facts about how we became human, but we provide classroom teachers with curricular tools and content that engage young people in human origins and scientific methods. Find answers to such questions as—


Do humans form closer relationships as we age, understanding the inevitably of our own mortality?

Astronomy and paleoanthropology are two branches of science that generally don’t intersect.

Dinosaurs aren’t the only fossil game in town. In fact, anything from an acorn to a meteorite can be a fossil.

Subscribe to our email and print newsletters for updates on IHO projects, research, and new developments in human origins science.

We promise to keep our emails to a minimumjust enough to keep you informed. We will never share or sell any info you provide here.

Why do you need my location?

We ask for your country and state to make sure our stories are specifically tailored to you, and so that we know which parts of the world we're reaching.

If you also choose to provide your street address we will send you information about events in your area, and the occasional giveawaylike stickers, magnets, or temporary tattoos—to thank you for your support.

What if I want to unsubscribe?

To unsubscribe, just follow the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of your most recent email from us, or email iho@asu.edu with the subject line "Unsubscribe."