September 8th, 2011
01:09 PM ET

'Lucy' discoverer: Why I study human evolution

Donald C. Johanson is the director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University.   He discovered the 3.18 million year old skeleton popularly known as "Lucy."

My deep commitment to understand the origins of humankind was ignited when I read Thomas Henry Huxley’s 1863 book "Man’s Place in Nature." The core idea that gripped my teenage mind was the suggestion that humans and African apes shared a common ancestor that roamed Africa millions of years ago.

I was riveted by the 1959 discovery of a 1.8 million-year-old skull at Olduvai Gorge and I knew that I wanted to travel to Africa and join the search for our ancestors. The allure of conducting fieldwork in remote unexplored regions of Africa dominated my thoughts throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies.

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  1. maria

    thats not true humans have never been monkeys till you see it happen its not true your waisting your time....

    September 22, 2011 at 9:40 am |
  2. Cheryl

    Buddy doesn't understand the process of natural selection, and it's part in the evolution of humans from an ape like ancestor (we didn't evolve from any of the modern apes.) Brandy, many religions have creation stories, the Norse, the Lakota, the ancient Greeks, and so many others. What they all have in common is they were created at a time when scientific understanding was not advanced enough to explain adequately the question of "how did we get here?" The facts of evolution are not in conflict with religious belief, if you accept that your concept of an almighty creator could use a highly sophisticated method of creating life, over (for us) an extremely long period of time.

    September 12, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  3. Buddy Hudson

    It really just comes down to having a little bit of common sense. If humans evolved from apes, then why are'nt we still evolving from apes !!!! DUH !!!!!!

    September 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  4. Brandy

    Genesis 1:21 says this : so God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, ACCORDING TO ITS KIND, and every wing bird according to ITS KIND. Genesis 1:26 says "Let US make man in OUR image, according to OUR likeness." This image doesn't mean a physical image. In their likeness means a soul or spirit. Remember, he created us in his image, innocent, and good. The fall of man created sin. These verses clearly state that animals and birds were made according to their kind, and we made in the image of God by Him. If we evolved from monkeys, then we have no soul or hope of eternal life.

    September 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm |

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