The anthropological collection housed at the DanDavidCenter for Human Evolution and Biohistory Research, The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History and NationalResearchCenter host one of the most important collections of its kind in the world. It records the evolution of humans in the Middle East from 1.5 million years ago up to the present day, and holds artifacts not found anywhere else in the world, among them the remains of the first modern humans out of Africa, southern Neandertals, and the core hunter-gatherer population from which all modern populations evolved. 

Beside its importance to evolutionary studies, the collection holds many other important artefacts that are of significant importance to the study of human civilizations. The research in the DanDavidCenter is multidisciplinary involving anthropologists, archaeologists, epidemiologists, geneticists, evolutionary biologists and more, trying to reveal and explore the origin and development of humankind. 

Three main areas of research are in the focus of the center:

  1. The origin of the anatomically modern humans and the fate of the Neanderthals. By studying new fossils excavated in the last years (including their DNA) at Qesem cave, Misliya cave, Nesher and Manot cave, we hope to shed light on key issues relating to the origin and spread of anatomically modern humans.
  2. The bio-history of ancient populations: based on 'osteobiographic' approach, i.e., life history as recorded in bones, we can reveal information otherwise not available, e.g., sex, age, division of labor, social stratification, intensity of physical activities, health and nutrition, demography (sex ratio, mortality, family size, kinship, etc.). These can furnish us with knowledge regarding some of the most important socio-cultural and biological processes in human history such as the impact of agricultural revolution that forever changed the face of humanity.
  3. Evolutionary medicine: we focus on the quest for evolutionary explanations for common diseases found in modern human populations. We are developing new methods for identifying diseases in ancient bones, search for their presence in the fossil record, and analyze them in evolutionary framework. 

The studies are accompanied by genetic studies to support and confirm observed pathologies in the bones, i.e., identifying pathogens suspected to cause diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy. Additionally, we are carrying genetic studies in order to reveal populations' migration from and to the southern Levant as well as questions related to population structure (e.g., kinship-based groups). There are three major research laboratories at the center: dental anthropology, evolutionary medicine and bio-history, and paleontology. The laboratories are equipped with up-to-date research facilities.