The Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins pairs fossils with DNA research to present the remarkable history of human evolution. The hall covers millions of years of human history, from early ancestors who lived more than six million years ago to modern Homo sapiens, who evolved 200,000 to 150,000 years ago.
This innovative exhibition combines discoveries in the fossil record with the latest genomic science to explore the most profound mysteries of humankind: who we are, where we came from, and what is in store for the future of our species. The hall explores human biology and anatomy, traces the path of human evolution, and examines the origins of human creativity.
Featuring four life-sized tableaux of Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Neanderthals, and Cro-Magnons, the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins shows each species in its habitat, demonstrating the behaviors and capabilities that scientists think it had. Also displayed are a variety of important fossil casts, including the 1.7-million-year-old “Turkana Boy.” The hall also features examples of what are thought to be some of humans’ earliest forms of artistic expression, including an original limestone engraving of a horse carved about 25,000 years ago in southwestern France.
"Lucy" is one of the most complete skeletons found to date from the early hominids that flourished between 4 and 2 million years ago. The skeleton consists of bones from a single individual, presumably female, who stood well under 4 feet tall.
The Mural of Primate Evolution shows vignettes from 50 million years of primate evolution with detailed depictions of early primates and habitats.
Some 300,000 years ago, a new tool-making technique produced a sharp-edged flake of stone. Neanderthals were masters of this technique and made a wide variety of sharp tools.
During excavations near Peking (Beijing), China, between 1929 and 1937, researchers discovered several partial skulls of the species Homo erectus. These hominids lived around 400,000 years ago and came to be known as Peking Man.