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Human Evolution and Why It Matters: A Conversation with Leakey and Johanson

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Celebrating decades of groundbreaking exploration in East Africa, renowned paleoanthropologists Donald Johanson and Richard Leakey shared the stage at the American Museum of Natural History on May 5 to discuss the overwhelming evidence for evolution in the hominid fossil record and why understanding our evolutionary history is so important. The discussion, before a sold-out crowd in the Museum’s LeFrak Theater, was moderated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN. The event was also live-streamed on amnh.org to a digital audience of several hundred viewers around the country.

Known for such landmark discoveries as “Lucy” (Johanson) and “Turkana Boy” (Leakey), the work of these two scientists has produced much of the fossil evidence that forms our understanding of human evolution.

Looking back over careers spanning 40-plus years, Dr. Johanson and Dr. Leakey shared the stories behind their monumental finds and offered a look at what’s ahead in human evolutionary research.

This historic event was made possible through a joint partnership of the American Museum of Natural History, the Arizona State University Institute of Human Origins, and the Turkana Basin Institute, headquartered in the U.S. at Stony Brook University.


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