Lucy 50—A Year for Human Origins

The 50th Anniversary of the “Lucy” Discovery—A Celebration of How We "Became Human"

Celebrate 2024: A Year for Human Origins

Join the ASU Institute of Human Origins (IHO) as we dedicate a year to the world’s greatest mystery story—how we “became human.” Explore with us what our first bipedal ancestor continues to teach us about our ancient common past, our challenging present, and our boundless future.

  • A celebration of the extraordinary discovery of “Lucy,” which provided the first documented proof that our human ancestors walked upright on two feet at least as early as 3.2 million years ago
  • A discovery that ignited a worldwide interest in our origins and changed the way we think about human history on Earth—why did Homo sapiens flourish as other ancient ancestor species went extinct?
  • A thought-provoking exploration into a better understanding of our unique responsibility as stewards of the planet and how our ability to adapt and cooperate will be key to surviving and thriving in the future.

Lucy 50 Monthly Lecture Series—A Year of Discovery


Join Institute of Human Origins researchers for a year-long “master class” in human origins research as they illuminate the many facets of how we “became human” and what that means for the future of humans on the planet. 

In-person—Auditorium, Walton Center for Planetary Health
                    5:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Each monthly lecture will be posted on the third and fourth Thursday of each month
Online—YouTube (

Speakers and monthly schedule at
June, July, and August online only

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2024 is full of opportunities to create a special relationship with IHO and its scientists to benefit education outreach programs—so important to our Year of Human Origins. Please support these efforts as a year-long sponsor.

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IHO's monthly lecture series and "Lucy Impact" symposium are posted on the YouTube channel.


View Science Magazine video about their cover story "Lucy at 50"

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During the next year, Lucy (and Don Johanson) will be in the news, celebrating the 50th anniversary of this amazing discovery, and what it still means to us—Homo sapiens—today. Stay connected to IHO for the newest news!


Past Events to Celebrate the Lucy 50

Public Lecture—Donald Johanson at the Mesa Art Center

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Second Annual Bill Kimbel Impact Lecture 

Thursday, April 4, 2024
Mesa Arts Center
7:00 pm

General admission tickets on sale now.  Link here. Use code "Lucy50" for 25% off!

ASU Student tickets are available for $15 with the code ASUSDT.

Donald Johanson will engage the audience with the story of "Lucy's" discovery, the controversies of naming a new species, and how this small but complicated ancient human ancestor changed the way we think about humans developed on Earth. Johanson is also a strong advocate for the human species to rekindle our sense of responsibility for the natural world in today's climate and environmental challenges. VIP tickets with pre-lecture reception will be available.

Begun in 2022 to honor the legacy of former IHO Director William H. Kimbel, this lecture will annually raise funds to support the Bill Kimbel Impact Fund. 

A Night with Don and "Lucy"—Lakeside at the Phoenix Zoo

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Join IHO for a special evening
April 5, 2024

Join IHO for an engaging evening as IHO Founding Director Donald Johanson gives you the inside story about the Lucy discovery and his ideas on human's responsibility to our planet today. 

This event benefits the ASU Institute of Human Origins' public outreach programs. Become an event sponsor and be seated with scientists and internationally known experts in anthropology from ASU and around the world. Buy a ticket, sponsor a table, sponsor the event!

Tickets are now sold out! Thank you to sponsors and friends for making this evening a great success!

Public Symposium—Lucy's Impact on Human Origins Science

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International Symposium
Saturday, April 6, 2024

Prominent human origins scientists from around the world will gather to deliver a short talks on how the discovery of Lucy 50 years ago impacted their speciality in human evolution. Specifically, scientists will discuss the discovery's impact through time, starting with the first few years after the discovery, the lasting impact, and the state of the art in that research area. 

The day-long symposium is free and will be broadcast over ASU Live.