Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Johanson, Donald C. (1943–)
Andrew J. Waskey & David Alexander Lukaszek
American paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson is most notable for his discovery and interpretation of the fossil hominid Australopithecus afarensis. Originally born in Chicago, Illinois, of Swedish immigrants, Johnson faced adversity early in life. After the death of his father when Johanson was 2, his mother moved him to Hartford, Connecticut. Johanson's interest in anthropology was stimulated early in life by Paul Leser, a neighbor who taught anthropology at the Hartford Seminary Foundation. Through exposure to various cultures, Johanson's interest in our species' past developed quickly. Although Johanson decided to become an anthropologist in high school, Leser discouraged his anthropological interest in favor of his aptitude in chemistry. Encouraged to pursue science, Johanson attended Illinois State University for chemistry; however, his interest in anthropology grew stronger, eventually leading him to switch majors from chemistry to anthropology, whereby he participated as an archaeologist in the Midwest. Not completely satisfied with the course-work at ...