Don Johanson interview

1 minute read

Alan Boyle, who writes the “Cosmic Log” feature for MSNBC, has a long interview with Don Johanson. It’s a nice read, which touches on many paleoanthropological topics as well as Johanson’s soon-to-be-released book with Kate Wong, Lucy’s Legacy: The Quest for Human Origins:

Cosmic Log: What do you think? Would [this museum exhibit] blow Darwin's mind?
Johanson: Well, first of all, there are a couple of things that would trickle through his mind immediately. One of them is the fact that Lucy is sort of an amalgam: long arms, small brain, but yet bipedal. ... One of the things that Darwin stressed in his model of human evolution was the acquisition of upright walking. We still think that may be the first distinguishing feature that separated us from a common ancestor with the chimps. He would be gratified to see that.
But he would be mostly gratified when he read that Lucy was 3.2 million years old - because that was one of the things that Darwin struggled with, almost more than anything. We all face it today: We need more time, we need more time. For example, you're taking an exam as an undergraduate, and it's time to turn in the exam. But Darwin really meant it: He needed time, and that really bugged him. The world had to be old for all this to have happened for him. So, how gratified would he be that his predictions turned out to be correct?