Image of kids at the Evolution and Health exhibit.

Exploring the Relationship Between Evolution and Health

This hands-on science exhibit explores the role of evolution in health, illness, prevention and treatment. The Evolution – Health Connection includes the following displays:

Why is there an “obesity epidemic”? – Explore how our evolutionary history causes us to crave sweets and fatty foods. Watch a 2-minute video on the evolutionary roots of obesity, and compare your favorite sweet or fatty food with those of other visitors.

Why do so many people have trouble digesting milk? – Find out how genes play a role in whether you can digest dairy products. Watch a 3-minute video, The Roots of Lactose Intolerance, and discover how lactose tolerance arose due to the rise of animal husbandry and find out the percentage of lactose tolerance in populations around the world.

Becoming Bipedal – Learn how walking on two legs instead of four had great advantages for early humans. But it also comes with costs to our health as we get older.

Why is giving birth so difficult? – Discover how human evolution has resulted in mismatches between a baby’s head size and the size of the mother’s pelvic opening. This can lead to uncomfortable births and immature infants.

Where did your ancestor’s skin color evolve? – Find out about melanin, the dark skin color pigment that regulates how much UV light gets into our skin. Using a skin color reader, find out where your ancestors may have come from.

Admission, Directions and Hours

The Evolution – Health Connection exhibit is free with NYSCI admission.

The Evolution – Health Connection is open:

  • Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 5 pm
  • Saturday & Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm

Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, NY, NYSCI is easily reached from the Grand Central Parkway, Long Island Expressway and the Bronx-Queens Expressway. Parking is available onsite. Or take the NYC subway: #7 train to 111th Street. For more information about travel options, see the directions section on our Admission page.

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The Evolution – Health Connection was developed by NYSCI in partnership with the Center for Human Growth and Development and the Museum of Natural History, University of Michigan, the Miami Science Museum, and a broad group of science and museum advisors. Funding for the development of The Evolution — Health Connection is provided by the National Institutes of Health.

The Evolution – Health Connection was developed with a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) grant from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health.