Lucy's Legacy: Preserving the Search for Human Origins (Exhibit)

Promotional picture of  the exhibit Lucy’s Legacy:  Preserving the Search for Human OriginsExhibit:  Lucy's Legacy:  Preserving the Search for Human Origins; Donald C Johanson / Institute of Human Origins Collection


Location:  Hayden Library Rotunda, Luhrs Gallery (4th Floor)

Available:  Through Spring 2013, during normal library hours

Special Event:  Panel Discussion and Opening Reception, March 21, Hayden Library Room C6A/East, 3:30pm

Opening Presentation and Recption Event Photographs

Description:  “LUCY”—named the “Queen of the Fossil Skeletons” by the journal Science—has become the milestone by which all other discoveries in human origins are measured.

Discovered in Hadar, Ethiopia, November 24, 1974, by a young paleoanthropologist, Donald Johanson, and determined to be a new species—Australopithecus afarensis—Lucy was the first example of an upright walking, bipedal human ancestor, living 3.2 million years ago. Other examples of this species have been found, but none as complete as this specimen.

In 1981, Johanson created the Institute of Human Origins in Berkeley, California. The institute moved to ASU in 1997 and has become one of the preeminent research centers in the world for the study of human origins.

Over the past 30 years, the institute has continued its founding mission focused on multidisciplinary research to understand how we “became human,” educating the next generation of scientists and extending its research into the public arena. Johanson’s career as a scientist and champion of public awareness for the science of human origins represents the history and, sometimes controversial and contentious, evolution of ideas about human origins.

This exhibition—here in the Hayden Library Rotunda and on the 4th floor in the Luhrs Gallery—is a first step in assessing and preserving a collection that encompasses the largely intact life’s work of one of the most important field scientists of the 20th century and the creation and growth of a research institute that continues forward-thinking research into the course and timing of human development. The collection will provide scholars with a resource for understanding the historical, social, and cultural progress of scientific ideas about our human origins.

This project was funded through a Seed Grant from Institute for Humanities Research, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  It was created in partnership with Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change; Museum Studies Program, School of Human Evolution and Social Change; Public History Program, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, and University Archives, ASU Libraries.