“The Emergence of Ourselves”
Question: What excites you the most about your current research?
Donald Johanson: Well I think the… I’ve worked in the earlier periods, three to four million years ago. What excites me probably more than anything these days is the emergence of ourselves, the emergence of anatomically and behaviorally modern humans. For many years we thought that this was an explosive moment. It was called the cultural explosion or whatever, the cognitive explosion and what we’re beginning to find is that it is a sort of step by step development and most of those important steps were seminal in Africa, and I think that we’re going to be able to flesh out in much more detail the archeology, the paleoclimate, the biology and the behavior of the emergence of that creature, those creatures, early homo sapiens, that gave rise to all humans today, and it is my sense that all humans today come out of Africa, so by implication, regardless of what we look like on the outside, genetically, on the inside, everyone is an African.
Recorded on March 19, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen
What excites the world-renowned anthropologist about the future of his field?
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Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
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