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ASU's Kimbel part of live chat for

June 21, 2011

Who were the first humans? What do recent findings tell us about how our species evolved? And what new discoveries are changing our thinking about where we came from?

Science Live online has asked Institute of Human Origins' director Bill Kimbel to participate in a live chat on these topics, titled “Who was the first human?” Joining Science’s Ann Gibbons will be Kimbel and Peter Ungar, chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas. The chat will begin at noon Phoenix/MST time on Thursday, June 23 (3:00 pm EDT) at the link at

Kimbel’s participation in this live online conversation comes out of an article written by Gibbons for the June 17, 2011 issue of Science, “Who Was Homo habilis – And Was It Really Homo?" In it Kimbel is quoted in a discussion of the origins of Homo using identification based on diet using teeth patterns:

Diet can vary among individuals and is not a reliable trait for classifying taxa, says paleoanthropologist William Kimbel of Arizona State University, Tempe. Also, a fossil jawbone from Hadar, Ethiopia, has traits that put it squarely in Homo, dates back to 2.3 million years ago, and is very similar to H. habilis, he says. If so, early members of H. habilis may have given rise to H. erectus in Africa. (link to the full article:

The Institute of Human Origins is a research unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. For more information on the institute, go to