About Us


December 22, 2008

The Institute of Human Origins (IHO) conducts, interprets and publicizes scientific research on the human career. IHO's unique approach brings together scientists from diverse disciplines to develop integrated, bio-behavioral investigations of human evolution. Through research, education, and the sponsorship of scholarly interaction, IHO advances scientific understanding of our origins and its contemporary relevance. Combining interdisciplinary expertise and targeted funding, IHO fosters the pursuit of integrated solutions to the most important questions regarding the course, cause and timing of events in human evolution.

The Institute was founded in 1981 in Berkeley, California by Donald Johanson. For many years IHO was located on Ridge Road, one block north of the campus of the University of California. While not affiliated with UC, IHO worked closely with colleagues in the Earth Sciences and Anthropology Departments.

This website, BecomingHuman.org, was created by IHO in the year 2000and a major upgrade, BecomingHuman 2.0, took place in 2009.

In 1998 IHO moved to Tempe, Arizona.  While retaining its position as a research institute IHO became a teaching department within what is now called the School of Human Evolution and Social Change (SHESC) at Arizona State University.

IHO conducts a biennial field school at Hadar in Ethiopia, affording students an intensive, two month credit course in field work. Institute researchers also lead teams working at Pinnacle Point in coastal South Africa.