• 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

Lucy in Space Contest Winners Announced!

Congratulations to all middle and high school students and teachers who participated in the Lucy in Space Contest! The winning entries are featured on the contest website https://askananthropologist.asu.edu/lucy-in-space. The two winners and their families are set to attend the launch of the Lucy Mission in October. Visit IHO's homepage here for more information as we get closer to the launch! Thank you for the Southwest Research Institute, NASA, the L'SPACE program, the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration for your support!

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—


The NASA Lucy mission to the Trojan asteroids is expected to launch on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 5:34 a.m. Eastern (2:34 a.m.

Six, 12 and 18. These are the ages that most people get their three adult molars, or large chewing teeth towards the back of the mouth.

A new study led by Arizona State University paleoanthropologist Curtis Marean and ASU doctoral graduate

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