Discovering Our Distant Ancestors
Understanding what we inherit from our animal and primate past—and how we differ—is the first step in understanding our unique place and potential as human beings.
What we share with our nearest surviving relatives, the male-centered chimpanzee and the female-centered, erotic, and peaceable bonobo. How that understanding helps shape who we are vs. who we think we are.
Six million years ago as many as 18 different hominid species lived in East Africa. Only one can be traced to us. How did it evolve and survive?
What drove the first migration of our forebears from Africa some 50,000 years ago and what that tells us about our continued evolution as a species of problem solvers.
Understanding the universal qualities of all humankind and how they evolved may hold keys to how we shape our future.
Frans de Waal
Both reciprocity and empathy – the two pillars upon which morality is built – are found in bonobos, apes and other social animals. But only humans are able to “abstract” the value and extend the behavioral constraints of “one-on-one” morality to the larger society, including strangers. Rather than being in conflict, both religion and the scientific pursuit of knowledge are motivated by a similar inspiration to find meaning and a sense of purpose.
A leading research psychologist concludes that our abilities surpass those of animals because our minds evolved two overarching qualities.
Knowlege of the human genome, sequenced in 2003, made a huge difference to our understanding of who we are, including our migration path out of Africa and our common genetic inheritance from a single maternal parent.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Learn about 5 million years of early human evolution, track research in the science of paleoanthropology, get answers to your questions from the institute’s researchers, and much more.
University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education
From a complete undergraduate course, to teaching materials for grades K-12, this website offers resources for teaching basic evolutionary patterns and processes, evidence supporting evolution, how evolution explains other biological phenomena, practical applications for solving real world problems, and more.
Launched in conjunction with the 2002 PBS series on evolution, this website provides supporting information and teaching materials covering the topics of Darwin, Change, Extinction, Survival, Sex, Humans and Religion. A DVD box set of the original series is available from Amazon.