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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943

Donald Johanson to Discuss Historic Discovery


Donald Johanson to Discuss Historic Discovery

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG - 9/12/2006 - Internationally renowned paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson will bring the fascinating story of his historic discoveries and research to UCM Wednesday, Sept. 20.

Discovery of Lucy Re-examines History of Mankind

Dr. Donald Johanson and Lucy

Paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson and Lucy, the
oldest known human ancestor.

Johanson discovered Lucy, the fossilized remains of the oldest known human ancestor dated at three million years old, in Ethiopia in 1974. This led to further exploration and the discovery of fossilized remains believed to be the oldest known remains of human ancestors living in groups.

Alumni Association Hosts Reception

The UCM Alumni Association will host a reception in Johanson's honor from 5 to 7 p.m. in the UCM Art Center Gallery, 217 E. Clark St. Those planning to attend may contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 660-543-8000 to make reservations.

Public Lecture Planned for Hendricks Hall

The public also is invited to attend a lecture by Johanson at 8 p.m. in Hendricks Hall. The topic of his presentation will be "Human Origins: A View from Africa." The event is free of charge.

Newest Book Available, Book Signing Planned

Copies of Johanson's newest book, From Lucy to Language, are available in pre-release in the University Store on the lower level of the Elliott Union. Johanson will conduct the first book signing event for the publisher's release of the book from 11 – 11:45 a.m. in the Charno Room of the Elliott Union. Copies of the book also will be available during the reception and the evening lecture presentation.

During his visit, Johanson also will meet with faculty and students in anthropology, biology and earth science classes.

From Lucy to Language, Donald Johanson and Blake Edgar (Simon & Schuster)Community Invited to Take Advantage of Unique Opportunity

"Donald Johanson's discovery of Lucy was a pivotal event in the study of human origins," said UCM President Aaron Podolefsky. "We are very honored to have a paleoanthropologist of his stature visit our campus, and we hope the campus community, as well as the public and the surrounding education communities, will take advantage of this opportunity to hear him discuss his professional adventures."

Alumnus Steve Jenne Provided Connection

Johanson's visit to UCM was made possible through the auspices of his longtime friend, Central Missouri alumnus Steve Jenne, who graduated from UCM in 1969 with a degree in mass media.  Johanson and Jenne met in the 1960s as they worked on the same archaeological field crew in Illinois. Jenne's offer to contact Johanson about visiting UCM resulted in the Sept. 20 event.

"This is a great opportunity to hear about the experiences of someone who has changed the course of the study of mankind," Jenne said. "I'm honored to have been a part of the conversations that made it possible for my alma mater to host such an event."

Published Works, PBS Series Examine Topic

Johanson's published works include the books Journey from Dawn, Lucy: Beginnings of Humankind, Lucy's Child: Discovery of a Human Ancestor, and Ancestors: In Search of Human Beginnings. In 1994 he hosted and narrated the three-part series In Search of Human Origins on the Public Broadcasting System program NOVA.

Academic Achievements Include Acclaimed Research

Institute of Human OriginsJohanson currently is a professor of anthropology and director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. He earned his master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Chicago, where he studied human paleontology.

At the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, he developed the Laboratory of Physical Anthropology. In 1981 he moved to Berkeley, Calif., where he founded the internationally acclaimed, multi-disciplinary research center, the Institute of Human Origins.

For More Information

For more information concerning the Sept. 20 visit to campus by Donald Johanson, contact the UCM Department of History and Anthropology at 660-543-4404.