The Origin of Humanity at DC Smithsonian

The Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History finds a way to keep the past present in engaging and explorative ways that can entertain the whole family.

There is something for everyone at the DC Museum of Natural History.

Thematic halls divide the museum, each one as unique and different as one person from another.

The Hall Of Human Origins

The hall of human origins is the exhibit to see. It is an experience in and of itself. If you only have time for one display, make it this.

Visitors to the Hall of Human Origins in DC watch a Video on Human Evolution

The hall of human origins is a fascinating place. It directs you along the story of human evolution through a smart, and creative design.

A tunnel marks the entrance that plays an animated video as you walk through it that tells the story of human evolution.

A Shot From the Video that Plays in the Tunnell into the Hall of Human Origins.

The exhibit prompts visitors to ask questions about the life and evolution of humanity.

A Sign that asks Visitors to Think About What it Means to be a Human

Speaking to a group of children with their parents, a volunteer for seven years at the Museum, Carol Schremp, says that:

Early humans were basically apes, except they walked upright.

Most of the skeletons and relics that the Museum displays in the hall of human origins are plastic casts, Schremp says.

She says that museums keep fossils and artifacts in the country of origin, out of respect for their history.

Volunteer Carol Schremp Shows a Visitor Replicas of Skulls From Apes to Homo Sapiens to Demonstrate How People Evolved

Schremp says that:

Humans have existed for at least 200,000 years.

When she says that, one little girl that is watching her presentation mimes to her mom that her head has exploded.

The hall winds around different exhibits that demonstrate the scale and scope of human existence

A Statue in the Hall of Human Origins Depicting a Mother Teaching her Child how to Work Leather to make Clothing.

The hall of human origins is an experience. It warps you through the evolution of humanity from the beginning until today.

Some exhibits show how the first humans lived. With memorable statues, videos, and replicated living spaces that draw a vivid picture of the evolutionary road people have traveled.

Interactive videos and stations throughout the hall guide you through scientists and researchers discoveries over the past several decades.

A Statue in the Hall of Human Origins Demonstrates It’s Prowess at Hunting.

At the end of the exhibit, there is a theater, which plays a looping video about the human population and explores questions about how the human race will evolve next.

Four Other Noteworthy Exhibits to Check Out

  • The Dinosaur Hall
  • The Hall of Mammals
  • The Ocean Hall
  • The Atrium of the Elephant

Ease of Entrance, Location and What to Know

It is easy to get to the Museum, and admission is free. It took me less than five minutes to get into the exhibits.

The Museum is in the heart of the Capital, right off of Constitution Avenue. There is also an entrance from the National Mall.

The Museum does not allow outside food or drink, besides water, but there are food options available inside the Museum.

There are a lot of families that visit the Museum every year, and the exhibits are geared toward young families exploring together. So keep that in mind when you visit.

There will be children everywhere. If you get stressed out at the zoo, this probably isn’t the place for you.

 

Orangutans at DC Zoo Demonstrate ‘Sequential Learning’

Primate keepers at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., replicate a chimpanzee based study from Kyoto University, Japan, on Orangutans to understand the intelligence of different species.

Bonnie plays the ‘sequential learning’ game while a primate keeper explains how it works.

Orangutans have spatially based memory systems, says an expert on the primate.

“It’s almost like they have a photographic memory,” a primate keeper at the National Zoo for the past 15 years, Erin Stromberg, says.

The primate keepers at the National Zoo study the Orangutans performance at a memory based game designed by the Primate Research Insitute at Kyoto University in Japan, and compare them to results the Institute recorded from Chimpanzees, to compare the differences between the species, Stromberg says.

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Most Americans Don’t Understand the First Amendment, Expert Says

The First Amendment Center tracks common misconceptions and informs people of the truth.

The majority of Americans support the First Amendment – until they hear speech they don’t agree with, an expert on the amendment said.

“People feel these pain points” when they are face to face with speech they don’t like, the executive director of the First Amendment Center in Washington D.C., Lata Nott, said Friday to graduate journalism students at the Newseum.

Nott said the center, which studies the amendment and holds nonpartisan discussion forums, conducts an annual survey of how Americans feel and what they know, about the amendment.

She called the survey, now in its 20th year, important because it tracks how perceptions of the amendment have changed over the years in response to events.

This year’s survey, administered in May, showed that 39 percent of people couldn’t name any of the five parts of the amendment, Nott said. Most people know it protects freedom of speech, but the survey showed most don’t realize it protects freedom of the press, religion, assembly and the right to petition.

Only 2 percent of people surveyed this year could name them all, Nott said.

Americans understanding of the amendment, which the U.S. adopted Dec. 15, 1791, often depends on the speech that it protects, Nott said.

It is not a partisan issue either, Nott said, both conservatives and progressives dislike the amendment when it protects speech they don’t like.

Nott said the amendment protects all speech, and these negative attitudes toward the freedom of speech are “depressing.”

The center is like a “really aggressive Switzerland,” said Nott, who has been there since September. Nott said the center tries to neutrally inform Americans about the amendment through podcasts, online material distribution and educational workshops

3 Ways the Russian Investigation is Getting Real

At a ‘campaign rally’ in West Virginia President Trump mocked the Russia investigation. But as it unfolds it his allies in D.C. are taking it more seriously.

The Russian investigation is getting bigger, in size and in scope.

Robert S. Mueller, the special prosecutor leading the Russian investigation, has built a team of seasoned prosecutors with more than a century of legal experience, The Washington Post reported. Continue reading “3 Ways the Russian Investigation is Getting Real”

U.S. ‘Losing’ Afghan War, Trump Says to Generals in Strained Meeting.

July 3, 2009, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

President Trump considering removing Defense Secretary James Mattis and sending him to Afghanistan to lead the war effort, which could earn Gen. Mattis his fourth star, says the NYT.

Two U.S. service members were killed Wednesday when a Taliban suicide bomber hit a NATO convoy near the airport in the Afghan city of Kandahar, said a Pentagon spokesperson. Four other servicemen were wounded in the attack.

Continue reading “U.S. ‘Losing’ Afghan War, Trump Says to Generals in Strained Meeting.”