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3D printing a fossil of Homo naledi in the Hawks laboratory
Drawing of Laetoli Hominid (LH) 4 mandible of Australopithecus afarensis


Current events and news in human evolution and genetics.

Chart showing pelvic dimensions from Uy et al. 2020


Recent publications from the lab.

Taung skull exploded in virtual lab screenshot

Virtual labs

Helping instructors bring 3D models of fossils and skeletal remains into their courses.

[T]o fulfill its function, anthropology cannot belong entirely either to biological or to social sciences or to humanities. It must, in the fullness of time, become a synthesis of all three. Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1963

Laboratory mission

John Hawks talking in laboratory
John Hawks in the laboratory. Photo: Jeff Miller (UW-Madison)

In the Hawks lab, we work to understand how humans and our ancient relatives evolved, and how populations continue to evolve today. Our research integrates evidence from fossils and DNA to build a better picture of the events and interactions in our shared past.

We collaborate with anthropologists and archaeologists around the world. We have a deep relationship with colleagues at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, including fieldwork in the Rising Star cave system and other sites in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.

Our lab is committed to the Wisconsin Idea. We serve the state of Wisconsin, the communities within the state, and the international network of institutions and communities that make our work possible. Research on human origins and genetics helps us understand the ties that connect everyone on Earth. We believe that scientific knowledge of the past can help transform our future.