Who Am I? My DNA Diary

November 15, 2009 - September 9, 2010

Scientists have utilized several scientific methods to answer the questions where humankind came from and how they evolved into present day humans.  The Who Am I Exhibition explores two of these methods.  The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, in association with the International Museum Institute of New York, presents LUCY: The Story of Human Origins, which explores the use of anthropologic findings and fossil casts, and The Genographic Project Exhibition that explores the use of genetic/DNA scientific techniques in understanding the origins of humankind.

Lucy, The Story of Human Origins,
traces the beginning of humankind to modern man through the examination and comparison of 24 fossil casts of primates and hominids. These fossil casts are augmented with panels of supporting illustrations and an interactive computer program developed by the Arizona State University Institute for the Study of Human Origins. The program is narrated by Donald Johansson, the anthropologist, who discovered “Lucy.” This program provides video documentaries, visual timelines and maps that tell the story of human origins.

The Genographic Project is a real-time research effort that uses DNA as a study tool to map how humankind populated the planet. Launched in 2005, the project is a multi-year nonprofit partnership of National Geographic and IBM with global field research funded by the Waitt Family Foundation. At the core of the project is a global consortium of 11 regional scientific teams following an ethical and scientific framework and who are responsible for sample collection and analysis in their respective regions. The Project is open to members of the public to participate through purchasing a public participation kit from the Charles H. Wright Museum. Participants can also choose to donate their genetic results to the expanding database on the Genographic Web site (www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic). Sales of the kits help fund research and support a Legacy Fund for indigenous and traditional peoples’ community-led language revitalization and cultural projects.