Donald Johanson

What Makes Us Human?

Donald Johanson

Talk: What Makes Us Human?

What makes us human? By any measure, humans are an outlier species, albeit a very successful one. We dominate the planet and live in more sophisticated, complex societies than any other creature. All animals are unique, but humans are the most unique of all. Why? Dr. Donald Johanson, noted anthropologist and discoverer of the famous 3.2 million year old skeleton named Lucy, whose discovery lead to the redrawing of our family tree, believes the time has come to define the evolutionary roots of what it means to be human.

Donald Johanson

Pioneering paleoanthropologist and winner of the American Book Award, Donald Johanson founded the Institute of Human Origins in 1981. Dr. Johanson believes that humanness has resulted from three attributes unique to us, which have interacted in a powerful manner: our reliance on cumulative culture, our symbolically constructed world, and our unsurpassed capacity for cooperation.

Lucy's Legacy: The Quest for Human Origins

Renowned paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson told the incredible story of his discovery of a partial female skeleton that revolutionized the study of human origins. Lucy changed our understanding of our world and who we come from. Since that dramatic find in 1974, there’s been heated debate and groundbreaking discoveries that have further transformed our understanding of when/how humans evolved.

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