Our core strength lies in field and lab research on key questions and time periods in the emergence of humankind

The Institute of Human Origins is one of the world’s leading centers for research, education, and public outreach on the scientific mission to understand what it means to be human. Now in its fourth decade of research and discovery, the institute remains at the forefront of the creation of knowledge about our origins.

  • Where do we come from?
  • What are the key attributes of our biology and culture that set us apart from other species?
  • How does the deep past inform us about our complex relationship to a changeable planet?

In the field and in the lab, scientists at the Institute of Human Origins (IHO) are closing in on answers to these and other questions about our past. The goal of human origins research is to understand the natural processes by which we became human. It is a broad, trans-disciplinary endeavor that unites research on the evolutionary biology, behavior, and culture of our extinct ancestors and living populations of humans and our primate cousins.

IHO has attracted engaged, high-achieving scientists working on key questions across an array of perspectives in time periods that represent more than six million years of human evolutionary history.