The Last Common Ancestor


Thursday, March 4, 2021, 6:00pm to 7:00pm



Woman, speaker Ashley S. Hammond, smiling in front on cabinets.

Ashley S. Hammond, Assistant Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School, Biological Anthropology Curator, American Museum of Natural History

The last common ancestor of chimpanzees and modern humans is believed to have evolved in Africa six to eight million years ago. Finding fossil apes and hominins—extinct members of the human lineage—from this period has been challenging. Ashley Hammond will discuss her approach to identifying key evolutionary adaptations of this last common ancestor using 3D technology, analyses of known fossils, and field research at six-million-year-old sites in Kenya. Hammond’s research aims to clarify the origins of bipedality, a key adaptation in human evolution.

Evolution Matters Lecture Series

Series supported by a generous gift from Drs. Herman and Joan Suit


Advance registration required. Please note that registration closes 30 minutes prior to the event start time.


To join the program, you will need to download the free Zoom app in advance. If you already have Zoom, you do not need to download it again. For details on how to improve your Zoom experience, visit the How to Attend an HMSC Program webpage.

About the Speaker

Ashley S. Hammond is the Biological Anthropology Curator at the American Museum of Natural History. She is the youngest female paleoanthropologist directing fieldwork in East Africa, and her field research is focused on sites in the Turkana Basin and in the southern Kenyan Rift. Dr. Hammond’s field work is funded by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, and the Niarchos Expedition Fund.