Human Origins: Complexities and Controversies

FRI, NOV 1, 2002

Daniel E. Lieberman discusses fossils and how they add to our understanding of our past. Fossils are the keys that scientists use to unlock the mysteries of human origins. Skull fossils in particular hold a wealth of information. By examining facial features and skull traits, researchers can make inferences about a creature's diet, brain size, means of mobility, and more. What emerges is a map of human evolution based on assumptions made from available fossils. However, hominid fossils have been found only in certain geographic locations and in very limited numbers, giving scientist little on which to base their map. When paleontologists discovered a seven million year old skull in Chad, Africa in 2002, many long-held scientific beliefs were called into question.

+ BIO: Daniel E. Lieberman

Daniel E. Lieberman received a PhD in 1993 at Harvard University where he is now professor of anthropology.

Museum of Science, Boston
NOVA: Becoming Human Series
NOVA: Darwin's Darkest Hours Series
NOVA: Evolution Series
NOVA: Intelligent Design on Trial Series
NOVA: The Perfect Corpse Series