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Studying the Human Ancestors: Interviews with Dr. Donald Johanson

Monday, May 7, 2001 at 3:22 PM

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The discoverer of "Lucy" was in Cleveland recently to talk about his latest work on human origins. Dr. Donald Johanson is one of the world's most famous paleoanthropologists. His work in the Afar region of Ethiopia in the 1970's led to the discovery of a new species of human ancestor. The 3.2 million-year-old skeleton popularly known as Lucy was a kind of missing link that radically changed our understanding of human evolution. But discoveries of human ancestors in Africa are still continuing. Maeve Leakey's recent find of an even older hominid species has led to new speculations about the human family tree. 90.3's Karen Schaefer spoke with Dr. Johanson about this changing picture of human beginnings. He shares his views on the new finds and reveals what he still hopes to discover. Aired May 7, 2001.

Lucy and the Leakey Discoveries

The discoverer of “Lucy” was in Cleveland recently to talk about his latest work on human origins. Dr. Donald Johanson is one of the world’s most famous paleoanthropologists. His work in the Afar region of Ethiopia in the 1970’s led to the discovery of a new species of human ancestor. The 3.2 million-year-old skeleton popularly known as Lucy was a kind of missing link that radically changed our understanding of human evolution. But discoveries of human ancestors in Africa are still continuing. Maeve Leakey’s recent find of an even older hominid species has led to new speculations about the human family tree. 90.3’s Karen Schaefer spoke with Dr. Johanson about this changing picture of human beginnings. He shares his views on the new finds and reveals what he still hopes to discover.  [Listen]

Dr. Donald Johanson - the discoverer of Lucy - talking with 90.3’s Karen Schaefer about new discoveries in the quest for human origins. Once there were many species of human ancestors living at the same time in Africa. Today only one human species survives - us. How has that shaped our view of ourselves—and what does it mean for our future? We’ll hear more from Dr. Donald Johanson in just a moment....


The Future of Our Single Human Species

Millions of years ago, several different species of human ancestors roamed the African savannas. 30,000 years ago, there were still two species of humans on the planet - Neanderthal and us. But today, we are the only species of our kind. 90.3’s Karen Schaefer recently talked with famed paleoanthropologist Dr. Donald Johanson - the discoverer of Lucy. She asked how this shrinking of human diversity has shaped our view of ourselves - and how it may shape our future. [Listen]

Dr. Donald Johanson speaking with 90.3’s Karen Schaefer. Dr. Johanson is a internationally-recognized paleoanthropologist researching human origins. His 1974 discovery of Lucy revolutionized the way we think about our earliest human ancestors. Today, Dr. Johanson continues his work in Africa, at recently re-opened excavations near the site where Lucy was found. His work and that of other paleoanthropologists, including the Leakey family, can be explored on a new website: http://www.becominghuman.org.

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