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Meet the Scientist in the Hall of Human Origins, At the Sackler Educational Lab

Free with Museum Admission.

Join us in the Sackler Educational Laboratory for our new “Meet the Scientist” series. Scientists will talk about cutting-edge research that is helping us understand how and why we evolved to grow up, function, and look the way we do now. We will explore a range of topics on the biology and evolutionary history of our own species, including: paleoanthropology, primatology, genetics, and neuroscience. New research will be presented in an informal lab setting. Bring your curiosity

December 30th 2-4pm

Dr. Shara Bailey
Associate Professor of Anthropology
New York University

What does it mean to be 2-4% Neandertal?

Dr. Shara Bailey will discuss the anatomical differences and similarities between Neandertals and Homo sapiens: including the skull, post-cranial skeleton and teeth. Participants will learn about what these features mean in terms of modern human evolution and Neandertal extinction.

January 3rd 2-4pm

Dr. Herman Pontzer
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
Hunter College and The Graduate Center
City University of New York

Evolution of the Human Body: Insights from Hunter-Gatherers

How has our recent evolution shaped the ways our bodies move, burn energy, use water, and perform other essential tasks? Hunter-gatherer populations, living in conditions similar to our prehistoric past, provide invaluable insight into these questions. Dr. Pontzer will discuss his research with Hadza hunter-gatherers from northern Tanzania and implications for health, exercise, obesity, and aging in our daily lives.

Visit the Sackler Lab to handle casts of hominid skulls, learn about DNA and the human brain, and ask a scientist your questions. For families with children 8 years old and up.

Lab highlights:

  • Measure features of ape and early hominid skulls - such as the size of their brains, teeth, and browridges - to determine how closely related they are to humans.
  • Observe the earliest stone tool technologies and determine how our early ancestors hunted and survived in their environments.
  • Visualize DNA from strawberries, and even yourself!
  • Assemble models of human brains to learn what parts we share with other animals and what parts are uniquely human.
  • Play brain games to test your memory, visual perception, and decision making abilities.
  • Use media interactives to learn about neurotransmitters and how the decisions you make everyday affect the chemicals in your brain.




If you teach 8th - 12th grade students classes and would like to book a class trip to the Sackler Educational Lab, please visit  our Class Trips website



The Museum is deeply grateful to the Hall's lead benefactors Anne and Bernard Spitzer, whose marvelous generosity inspired and made possible the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins. The Museum also extends its gratitude to The Mortimer D. Sackler Foundation, Inc., Katheryn C. Patterson and Thomas L. Kempner, Jr., Arlene and Arnold Goldstein, the Honorable Lucy Wilson Benson, and the Stout Family for their generous support.

The Museum greatly acknowledges The Mortimer D. Sackler Foundation, Inc. for its support to establish The Sackler Brain Bench, part of the Museum's Sackler Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human Origins, in The Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, offering ongoing programs and resources for adults, teachers, and students to illuminate the extraordinary workings of the human brain.

Past Offerings

hero image for educator's guide brain

Poison and the Brain

March 8, 2014 - March 16, 2014

Please join us for Brain Awareness Weekends in the Sackler Educational Laboratory. Our topic will be Poison and the Brain. We will feature several interactive stations guiding you through the complex and surprising world of neurotoxins and their affect on the brain.

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am - 5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
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