Smithsonian Plans to Unveil Human Evolution Hall in March

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 18, 2009 | Go to article overview

Smithsonian Plans to Unveil Human Evolution Hall in March


Byline: Brett Zongker Associated Press

WASHINGTON The Smithsonians National Museum of Natural History plans to open a hall next year dedicated to the story of human evolution over 6 million years.

The nearly $21 million Hall of Human Origins will follow milestones in history when humans started walking upright and started speaking, for example as well as the impact of climate change and extinction of ancient species. Its scheduled to open on March 17, 2010, marking the museums 100th anniversary on the National Mall.

"The exploration of human origins helps to tell us about how we came about and also helps place our own existence," said curator Rick Potts, director of the museums Human Origins Program.

This be the Smithsonians first permanent exhibit focused solely on human evolution. It will include hundreds of fossils, reconstructed faces of early humans and 75 cast reproductions of skulls. Interactives will show the human family tree and current research around the world.

The museum also is establishing an advisory group called the Broader Social Impacts Committee to foster discussion on how scientific and religious perspectives on human origins can be compatible. Potts said many people of deep religious faith also want to understand "how the science informs who we are.

"Weve been very careful to produce an exhibit thats welcoming for everyone," he said, "an honest place to look at the fossil evidence, to explore the fossil evidence and the archaeological evidence that informs about human evolution. …

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Smithsonian Plans to Unveil Human Evolution Hall in March
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