52 episodes

What makes us human? How are we different from chimpanzees? Who are our earliest ancestors and how do we know? Origin Stories is The Leakey Foundation’s podcast about how we became human.

This award-winning show combines science and narrative to explore our human story and explain why we are the way we are. Listen and explore human evolution one story at a time.

Origin Stories The Leakey Foundation

    • Natural Sciences
    • 4.8 • 252 Ratings

What makes us human? How are we different from chimpanzees? Who are our earliest ancestors and how do we know? Origin Stories is The Leakey Foundation’s podcast about how we became human.

This award-winning show combines science and narrative to explore our human story and explain why we are the way we are. Listen and explore human evolution one story at a time.

    Interview with María Martinón-Torres

    Interview with María Martinón-Torres

    September 30 is International Podcast Day and on this episode, we’re handing things over to producer Lucía Benavides, who sat down with Leakey Foundation grantee María Martinón-Torres for an interview about her life and career.

    This bonus episode is entirely in Spanish. We’ll be back with an English-language episode in October.

    • 9 min
    Detective of the Dead

    Detective of the Dead

    Atapuerca is a place that holds the mystery of human evolution in Europe from 1.2 million years ago through recent times. It has the oldest human in Europe, the first murder in the archaeological record, and fossils that tell a range of stories from disturbing and grisly to tender and heartwarming.

    • 40 min
    Custodian of the Ancestors

    Custodian of the Ancestors

    What is it like to be responsible for the safekeeping of the ancestors of everyone in the world? In this episode, we travel to the National Museum of Ethiopia to see our most famous fossil relative – Lucy, and meet Yared Assefa, the person who takes care of her and all of our Ethiopian fossil ancestors and relatives. 

    • 33 min
    We Eat Bugs

    We Eat Bugs

    Have you ever considered how profoundly food has shaped who we are as a species? Julie Lesnik is a paleoanthropolgist who studies the evolution of the human diet. Her special focus is on insects as food in the past, present, and the future. 
    Additional Information
    Read more about Julie Lesnik's work and check out her book Edible Insects and Human Evolution.
    Follow her on Twitter: @JulieLesnik
    Want to try some edible insects?
    Here are a few places we recommend:
    Don Bugito
    Entomo Farms
    Looking for recipes? 
    Julie Lesnik's "Insect Bake-Off" recipes
    Chef-created recipes from the New York Times
    Recipes from "The Bug Chef"
    Call us!
    We've set up a voicemail line and we'd love to hear from you! Call us at ‪(707)788-8582‬ to let us know how you're doing and if there is anything you'd like to hear on this podcast. 
    The Leakey Foundation
    Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding human origins research and outreach. Support this show and the science we talk about with a tax-deductible donation.  
    Visit leakeyfoundation.org/donate to donate today! Every donation will be matched.
    Credits
    Host and Producer: Meredith Johnson
    Editor: Audrey Quinn
    Theme Music: Henry Nagle
    Additional Music:
    Lee Rosevere "Tech Toys" and music from Blue Dot Sessions.

    Sponsors
    This season of Origin Stories is made possible by support from Diana McSherry, Jeanne Newman, Camilla Smith, and donors like you!
    Get Social
    We'd love to connect with you on Twitter and Facebook. Please say hi and let us know what you think of the show!
    If you like the show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. It's the best way to help other people find the show and we really appreciate it.

    • 28 min
    The Cave Punan

    The Cave Punan

    Deep in the forests of Borneo, lives a society of hunter-gatherers who speak a language never before shared with outsiders. Until now. The Cave Punan are the last surviving hunter-gatherers in Indonesia and they have reached out for help to save their forest home and their unique culture.

    • 34 min
    Tribes Old and New

    Tribes Old and New

    What happens when bows and arrows and face-to-face conversations are replaced by high powered weapons and cell phones practically overnight? Dr. Polly Wiessner is an anthropologist who has studied the Enga of Papua New Guinea for 30 years and her current research is focused on how traditional societies cope with rapid cultural change.

    • 22 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
252 Ratings

252 Ratings

Paul Cronan ,

Absolutely excellent

Thoughtful, deep stories that are always full of discovery and surprise.

jbish0 ,

Highly recommend to every hominin

I highly enjoy this podcast for engaging topics throughout paleoanthropology, diverse perspectives in the displine and keeping current with new discoveries. As a teaching assistant, I recommend this to all of my students and even assign extra credit for those who want to learn more outside of the classroom. I recommend this for everyone intresed in what makes us human.

StamfordNewby ,

Always interesting

My favorite episode is still the Rising Star ep.

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