Lucy 50—Monthly Lecture Series—A Year of Discovery

Event description

  • Free
  • Open to the public
  • Science

This year, ASU's Institute of Human Origins is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the fossil skeleton “Lucy” — one of the most significant anthropological findings of our time. 

Join Institute of Human Origins researchers for a year-long “master class” in human origins as they illuminate the many facets of how we “became human” and what that means for the future of humans on the planet. Each month will address a different theme in understanding how our human ancestors came to inhabit every ecosystem on Earth, what we learn about human behavior studying nonhuman primates, how cooperation and culture may have been the key to humans' success on the planet, and what DNA research may be able to tell us when fossil evidence is missing. Each talk is a 20-minute deep dive into each of the subjects—with time for great exchanges between the scientist and attendees.  

Lucy 50th Anniversary Monthly Lecture Series

Feb. 8     Exploration and Discovery in the Field and the Lab
Gary Schwartz —The importance of field and laboratory science
Helen Elizabeth Davis—The responsibility and impact of engaging living communities in
field research

March 14      Common Origins—Shared Future
Sarah Mathew—How contemporary human populations have adapted to the semi-arid savanna
Second speaker—TBA

April 11          Meet Your (Nonhuman Primate) Cousins
Ian Gilby—Jane Goodall Institute Gombe Chimpanzee Archive and Database
Kevin Langergraber—The challenge of protecting chimpanzee communities

May 2            Our Ancient DNA
Anne Stone—What does ancient DNA tell us about human adaptation?
Tom Morgan—Experimenting with Human Evolution

Summer break—Online only (YouTube channel @ASUInstituteofHumanOrigins)

June 28           Exploring the Natural World
Donald Johanson

July                  A Unique and Cooperative Genus
July 11             Joan Silk—Evolution of communication and cooperation: Children and primates
July 25             Kim Hill—Origins of human uniqueness among life forms on Earth

August             A Creative and Innovative Species
August 8           Rob Boyd—What is cumulative culture?
August 22         Katie Ranhorn—From stone tools to artificial intelligence: Exploring technological evolution and human uniqueness

In Person Returns

Sept. 12   Human adaptability to a changeable planet
Chris Campisano—Climate and human evolution
Charles Perreault—Human adaptation through technology/archaeology and culture

Oct. 10        African Rift Valley
Kaye Reed—Large collaborative human origins science projects
Denise Su—Discoveries that changed the story of human evolution: Hominins from Hadar, Ledi-Geraru, and Woranso-Mille

Nov. 2024
Nov. 7      Curtis Marean—The great human diaspora
Date TBA          Donald Johanson—Public Lecture, New York City

Dec. 5      Lucy 50—A Year in Review and IHO's Exciting Future
Yohannes Haile-Selassie

Additional information

Event contact

Julie Russ

Thursday, November 7, 2024

June, July, and August lectures will be ONLINE ONLY and posted at 9:00 am on the cited date at IHO's YouTube Channel @ASUInstituteofHumanOrigins. All in-person lectures will be at 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the auditorium of the Walton Center for Planetary Health.

5:00 pm6:00 pm (MST)


Walton Center for Planetary Health, Auditorium #107


Free and open to the public