Human Evolution, Evolved

Natural History, March 2007 | Go to article overview

Human Evolution, Evolved


Human Evolution, Evolved

What makes us human? In the exciting new Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins at the American Museum of Natural History, visitors learn that the answer lies, in large part, in our ability to think symbolically. Here, through the vivid imagery of sculpture, painting, video, and the ultimate set of symbols-language-the fascinating and still-unfolding story is told of how human beings came to be the distinct creatures we are-and how creativity lies at the heart of what sets us apart from the other animals.

On first entering the Spitzer Hall, visitors are greeted by the skeletons of a modern human and our chimpanzee and Neanderthal relatives, reminders that the search for our origins depends on the ever-expanding fossil record, gleaned from painstaking fieldwork the world over. But the eye-catching backdrop for this trio-huge panels picturing cells in mitosis and colorful chromosomes-sends the unmistakable message that cutting-edge DNA research has been added to the tool box, greatly enhancing the work of researchers decoding those finds. For example, DNA has been used to map modern humans' evolution and subsequent migration out of Africa, and to determine that despite all the differences in skin color, body type, and facial features, humans are genetically 99.9% the same.

The Spitzer Hall, the successor to the Museum's original Hall of Human Biology and Evolution, draws on the latest hominid finds by Museum scientists and their colleagues. Among them, the Hall boasts a vial of extremely rare 40,000-year-old Neanderthal DNA from the first laboratory in the world to have successfully extracted this elusive genetic material. The Hall is also home to a cast of the "Little Foot" fossil, the most complete skeleton of the human predecessor Australopithecus, found in South Africa in 1997. Only one other museum in the world displays a cast of "Little Foot. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Human Evolution, Evolved
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.