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The Singularity Summit 2010

• August 14–15, 2010

2011 Kistler Prize
Call for Nominations

• Deadline: September 30, 2020

Streaming Video


• Feature Films
• Kistler Prize
• Scholar Interviews
• Scholar Lectures
• Scholar Visions


Recent Publications

“Water – The Crisis Ahead” Executive Summary

Foundation News Vol. 12

• Fall 2009  [1.9 MB PDF]

“Anthropogenic Climate Change: A Worst-case Scenario” Executive Summary

“Energy Challenges” Executive Summary

All Foundation publications are available for download from our Publications page.


Planned Events

11th Annual Kistler Prize

• September 22, 2020

Peter Ward Lecture

• Walter P. Kistler Lecture Series
• Town Hall Seattle
• October 13, 2020

“Global Transitions and Asia 2060” Workshop

• Taipei, Taiwan
• November 3–6, 2010



Talk by Sesh Velamoor

• "Managing the Future"
• July 2010

“Water – The Crisis Ahead”

• Humanity 3000 Workshop
• April 2010  [AUDIO FILES]

Brian Fagan Lecture

• Walter P. Kistler Lecture Series
• November 2009

10th Annual Kistler Prize

• October 2009

Donald Johanson Lecture

• Walter P. Kistler Lecture Series
• September 2009






Walter P. Kistler Lecture Series




Donald C. Johanson, Ph.D.

Renowned Paleoanthropologist, Discoverer of “Lucy”

Founding Director, Institute of Human Origins

Author of Lucy’s Legacy: The Quest for Human Origins

Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change,
Arizona State University




Title of Lecture: “Darwin and Human Evolution”

When: September 29, 2020, 7:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time

Where: Town Hall, 8th and Seneca, Seattle

Cost: Free to the public

Abstract of Lecture

In 1859 Charles Darwin published his now famous book The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. In this volume he articulated the theory of evolution as an explanation for all biological life on Earth. His ideas, now 150 years later, continue to form the core of modern biological thought as well as the basis for understanding the diversity of all life, past, present, and future on our planet.

Darwin knew that his ideas ran counter to the prevailing view of his times that special creation was the best explanation for life on our planet. He showed great restraint in The Origin by only briefly making reference to human evolution by writing: “light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.” Darwin was hopeful this minor reference to human origins would not precipitate widespread outrage; that turned out to be hopeful thinking.

In 1863 Darwin’s colleague, Thomas Henry Huxley, published: Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature. In this momentous book Huxley established beyond question the remarkable anatomical similarities between humans and the African apes, especially the chimpanzee. He concluded that these features could be explained only by descent from a common ancestor shared by humans and the African apes.

Darwin greatly elaborated on this view in his 1871 book: The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Here Darwin outlined a scenario for the evolution of humankind and pointed to Africa as the homeland for all humanity. This prescient notion was made in light of the widespread view that Europe is where humans originated and without the benefit of a single human ancestor fossil from Africa.

 In 1924 Raymond Dart published his description of the Taung Child from South Africa and named this “missing link” Australopithecus africanus. This ancient skull with a unique combination of human and ape-like features was a vindication of Darwin and Huxley’s predictions.

Today the storehouse for human origins continues to grow with new discoveries coming at an ever-increasing rate. The record for human evolution stretches back to more than six million years with an ever-increasing number of fossil species on the human family tree.

Donald Johanson's 1974 discovery of a 3.2 million-year-old fossil hominid skeleton, popularly known as "Lucy," has thrown considerable light on human origins. While even more ancient hominid fossils have been found, Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis, continues to occupy a pivotal place on the human family tree.

In this presentation Dr. Johanson used Lucy as a touchstone for understanding human origins. He highlighted the importance of her species and considered how she relates to more ancestral species and how her species set the stage for subsequent human evolution and ultimately the emergence of modern humans.