“The Human Origins: Moving In New Directions (HOMINID) competition will support large scale, long term, integrative research and infrastructure projects...It is intended that HOMINID awards will provide for transformative approaches to long-standing questions about the history of our species.”
- Program Synopsis, National Science Foundation.

“We have proposed here an initiative that will fuel exploration and discovery across the Old World. We propose an initiative that will develop infrastructure to support paleoanthropology for decades to come. We propose an initiative that will create and foster information exchange that holds great promise in its capacity to vastly accelerate scientific exploration and understanding of human origins.”
- Revealing Hominid Origins Initiative application, 2003

The Revealing Hominid Origins Initiative, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation between 2003 and 2010, constituted the largest paleoanthropological project ever conducted. The global broader impacts of this project have transformed our knowledge about the context and process of human origins, and these impacts will continue to be felt for decades to come. Participation is documented at

The following data illuminate the scope and results of the funded research, which supported FIELDWORK in 14 countries, 24 COLLABORATIVE WORKING GROUPS involving 121 Ph-D level scientists from 87 institutions in 22 countries, and infrastructure development in Ethiopia, Kenya, Chad, South Africa, Tanzania, and China. For more information, click here.


RHOI-acknowledged publications today (July, 2010) number 282 articles in 70 scientific journals; and 11 books and/or edited volumes, 38 book chapters, and 39 published abstracts, comprising a total of 6363 printed pages.

The 355 authors of those publications are affiliated with 115 universities, 25 museums, and 21 research institutions in 32 countries.

The subject taxa of these publications range from phytoliths to hominids and the subject analyses from paleoclimate to evolutionary developmental genetics. RHOI-funded research and analysis resulted in the publication of 35 papers in Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For more information, click here.


1 core and 5 contextual projects yielded 122 new hominid/oid fossils
6 new exploratory sites found of which 2 yielded 69 hominid/oid fossils
4 new named taxa: Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, Ouranopithecus turkae, Chororapithecus abyssinicus, Anoiapithecus brevirostris
earliest gorilla Chorora
earliest skeleton of Australopithecus Woranso-Mille


41 articles in News Services (AP, Reuters, AFP, UPI, BBC)
38 articles in 7 internationally renowned newspapers (NYT, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Times, Le Monde, and El Pais)
9 stories in popular media (,,,, TIME, and US News and World Report)
12 stories from major popular news sources ( and
1 French national network (TV4) program and 1 cable television (Discovery Channel) program
In 2004, RHOI supported the first organized symposium highlighting the importance of paleotourism and public outreach.


RHOI assisted in the funding of the establishment of a Paleobotany laboratory and a Department of Paleontology, as well as the support of structural improvement, network expansion, and catalog digitization at 3 national museums and 2 local museums.

The project created a new database format for the compilation of specimen-level paleontological data. For more information, click here.


This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant no. BCS-0321893. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation