Don Johanson

Dr. Johanson is probably the best known American Paleoanthropologist. His discovery in 1974 of a 3.18 million year old hominid skeleton, popularly known as "Lucy", in the Hadar region of Ethiopia, has had an extraordinary influence on our understanding of early hominid evolution. After this discovery he received funding from the National Science Foundation, the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, and other sources, and returned to the field in Ethiopia in 1975, where he found the "First Family," a unique collection of 13 individuals who died in a single geological moment. In 1975 Johanson was appointed curator of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of National History, and, beginning in 1976, developed a laboratory of physical anthropology that attracted scholars from all over the world. In 1981 he founded the Institute of Human Origins, in Berkeley, California. In 1997 the Institute of Human Origins formed an affiliation with Arizona State University. Johanson now serves as the Director of the Institute and Professor of Anthropology at Arizona State University. He has dedicated 25 years to exploring, discovering, and studying some of the most significant fossil finds ever made in the search of our origins. His field research has taken him to Tanzania, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Egypt and Jordan. He has hosted the PBS NATURE series, narrated the National Geographic Society film Fossils: Clues to the Past and was the host and narrator of a 3-part PBS/NOVA series entitled In Search of Human Origins. Johanson is a recipient of several international prizes and awards including the American Book Award in Science for Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind (1982).


Last update: 7 August 1998 Robert W. Schmieder,