Since the discovery of this cell population by His in 1850, the neural crest has been under intense study for its important role during vertebrate development. Much has been learned about the function and regulation of neural crest cell differentiation, and as a result, the neural crest has become a key model system for stem cell biology in general. The experiments performed in embryology, genetics, and cell biology in the last 150 years in the neural crest field has given rise to several big questions that have been debated intensely for many years: “How does positional information impact developmental potential? Are neural crest cells individually multipotent or a mixed population of committed progenitors? What are the key factors that regulate the acquisition of stem cell identity, and how does a stem cell decide to differentiate towards one cell fate versus another?” Recently, a marriage between single cell multi-omics, statistical modeling, and developmental biology has shed a substantial amount of light on these questions, and has paved a clear path for future researchers in the field.