Skip to Main Navigation | Skip to Content

University Relations

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


Anthropologist Donald Johanson to Speak at UCM Feb. 8

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 20, 2012) - Internationally renowned paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson will bring the fascinating story of his historic discoveries and research to the University of Central Missouri during a presentation at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, in Hendricks Hall. The public is invited to attend the event, free of charge.

Donald Johanson at UCM September 2006
Paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson during his 2006 visit to the campus of the University of Central Missouri.

This is Johanson’s second visit to UCM, the first being in September 2006. During that visit, he announced the discovery of a 3.3 million-year-old human skeleton, nicknamed Lucy’s Baby in reference to his previous discovery of Lucy, the fossilized remains of the oldest known human ancestor dated at three million years old, in Ethiopia in 1974. That discovery led to further exploration and the discovery of fossilized remains believed to be the oldest known remains of human ancestors living in groups.

During his visit, Johanson also will meet with faculty and students in anthropology, biology, earth science and history classes. Copies of Johanson’s most recent book, “Lucy’s Legacy: The Quest for Human Origins,” are available in the University Store on the lower level of the Elliott Union. Johanson will conduct a book signing event following his presentation in Hendricks Hall, where copies of the book also will be available.

“With recent activities in the field of paleontology, the timing of Dr. Johanson’s visit could not be better,” said Gersham Nelson, dean of the UCM College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. “Students, faculty, and staff will have an opportunity to engage the famous paleoanthropologist on a variety of questions. One such question is whether the recently reported find by Dr. Lee Berger in a South African cave is likely to result in a rethinking of the human ancestry.”

Johanson currently is director of the acclaimed, multi-disciplinary research center, Institute for Human Origins, at Arizona State University, where he is professor and Virginia M. Ullmann Chair in Human Origins. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Chicago, where he studied human paleontology. These studies led him to undertake field explorations in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iran.

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.” He is a frequent lecturer at universities and in other forums worldwide, and his current Web site,, is the premier Web site in the world on human evolution.