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Origin Stories Podcast

Origin Stories Podcast

Description

Origin Stories is The Leakey Foundation's monthly podcast about what it means to be human and the science behind what we know about ourselves. We'll look into the deep past, explore the mysteries of the human mind, and hear stories from scientists who are asking fascinating questions about the origins and evolution of our species. We'll have stories on human evolution, human behavior, primates, archaeology, biology, psychology, science history and much more.


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 Podcast Website:
http://originstoriespodcast.org

Episode 21: Follow the Leader?


Tue, Mar 07, 2017


Every animal that lives in groups has to make decisions as a group. Even a seemingly simple decision like "where should we go for dinner?" can be complicated to negotiate. 
 
Is there a simple rule behind how humans and other animals make group decisions? Margaret Crofoot is a primatologist and Leakey Foundation grantee whose research on baboons suggests there is a rule, and it's not what you might think.
 
You can read more about Margaret Crofoot's research and see a video of her GPS data on our blog!
 
Links
 
Margaret Crofoot's Lab
 
Shared decision-making drives collective movement in wild baboons
 
Sponsors
 
Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. You can support this podcast and the research we talk about by making a tax-deductible donation. All donations will be doubled!
 
This episode is part of the Being Human initiative. A joint project of the Baumann Foundation and The Leakey Foundation dedicated to understanding modern life from an evolutionary perspective.
 
Thanks to Adept Word Management for their transcription service. Visit Adept Word Management for your transcription needs.
 
You can download transcripts of our episodes at leakeyfoundation.org/originstories
 
Credits
Produced by Meredith Johnson, edited by Julia Barton.
 
Theme music by Henry Nagle.
 
Additional music from:
Tech Toys by Lee Rosevere
Grand Caravan by Blue Dot Sessions
Stars are Out by Podington Bear
 
Creative Commons music license CC-BY-NC 3.0


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Episode 09: Did Cooking Make Us Human? (Re-release)


Sat, Dec 31, 2016


Humans have evolved very differently from other primates. Is there one thing responsible for humans becoming human? Some evolutionary biologists think that the way we process our food, namely cooking it, could explain why our species developed so differently from others. Did cooking make us human? Dr. Richard Wrangham of Harvard University and Dr. Rachel Carmody of UCSF and Harvard discuss the impact that cooked food has had on human evolution.

This episode of Origin Stories was produced by Briana Breen and edited by Audrey Quinn. Music by Henry Nagle.

Thanks to Richard Wrangham and Rachel Carmody for sharing their work.

Being Human

This re-released episode includes a new Being Human bonus segment. Being Human was a joint initiative of The Baumann Foundation and The Leakey Foundation, dedicated to understanding modern life from an evolutionary perspective.

Special thanks to Lily Mazzarella of Farmacopia for talking with us about her work for the Being Human segment.

Episode Links

Richard Wrangham's Harvard University Website

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

Smithsonian Magazine "Why Fire Made Us Human"

Rachel Carmody's Nature article: Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome

The Leakey Foundation

Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. The Leakey Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to human origins research and outreach. Learn more at leakeyfoundation.org.

 



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Episode 20: The Power Paradox - LIVE


Tue, Nov 08, 2016


The Power Paradox

What is power? Where does social power come from? What happens in our bodies and with our behavior when we have power and when we don't? What can we learn about lasting social power from small-scale hunter-gatherer societies?

Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the faculty director of the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. A renowned expert in the biological and evolutionary origins of human emotion, Dr. Keltner studies the science of compassion, awe, love, and beauty, and how emotions shape our moral intuition. His research interests also span issues of power, status, inequality, and social class. He is the author of the best-selling book Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and of The Compassionate Instinct.

Dr. Keltner's most recent book is The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence.

This episode is a live recording from The Leakey Foundation's Bay Area Science Festival event.

Links

The Greater Good Science Center

The Leakey Foundation

Adept Word Management



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Episode 19: Being Human - Born and Evolved to Run


Fri, Oct 28, 2016


Humans and our recent ancestors have been accomplished endurance runners for more than a million years. Our evolutionary history as runners partly accounts for why aerobic exercise is such a key component of human health.

In this talk, recorded in July 2016, Daniel Lieberman explores how and why the human body evolved to run long distances.

Daniel Lieberman is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, and the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences at Harvard University. He is a member of the Scientific Executive Committee of The Leakey Foundation.

His research is on how and why the human body is the way it is, with particular foci on the origins of bipedalism, how humans became endurance runners, and the evolution of the highly unusual human head. Lieberman has published 3 books and more than 100 articles. His latest books are The Evolution of the Human Head, and The Story of the Human Body.

Links:

Get tickets for "The Power Paradox" with Dacher Keltner.

Donate to The Leakey Foundation. Your donation will be doubled!

Transcripts are provided by Adept Word Management.

Theme music by Henry Nagle. Closing credit song by Lee Rosevere.

 



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Episode 18: Empathy


Thu, Aug 25, 2016


Empathy has long been considered a uniquely human trait, but it's an ability that has also been observed in apes and other animals. Primatologist Frans de Waal says that examples of empathy in non-human primates and other mammals suggest that empathy has a long evolutionary history in humans.
 
Frans de Waal is the C.H. Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University where he directs the Living Links Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution. He’s the author of several books including The Age of Empathy, and most recently, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
 
Credits: Nancy Rosenbaum produced our story. Our editor is Audrey Quinn. Theme music by Henry Nagle. Additional music by Podington Bear, Lee Rosevere, and Box Cat Records. Being Human Bonus produced by Meredith Johnson.
 
Being Human:
This episode was produced as part of the Being Human initiative. A joint project of The Leakey Foundation and the Baumann Foundation. 
 
The Being Human initiative is all about why we experience our lives the way we do, including our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Keep listening after our story for the “Being Human Bonus Segment” where we talk about  how the science in this episode applies to real world situations. Our guest is Natalee Hanson, a special education teacher who works with students who have emotional and behavioral disabilities.
 
The Leakey Foundation:
Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. The Leakey Foundation advances human origins research and offers educational opportunities to cultivate a deeper, collective understanding of what it means to be human. We give research grants to scientists and share their groundbreaking discoveries through our podcast, website, and lecture programs. We also give scholarships to students from developing countries to attend field schools and earn advanced degrees.
 
You can help The Leakey Foundation fund important scientific research and outreach programs like this podcast by making a tax-deductible donation to The Leakey Foundation. Visit leakeyfoundation.org/donate before August 31st and your donation will be doubled! 
 
Adept Word Management:
Origin Stories is sponsored by Adept Word Management. Intelligent transcripts. Visit them for all of your transcription needs at adeptwordmanagement.com
 
You can find transcripts of our past episodes at leakeyfoundation.org.
 


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Episode 04: How to Document a Society (Re-release)


Sat, Aug 13, 2016


Every day for 55 years a dedicated group of researchers, students, and field assistants have spent their days crawling through thorns and vines as they follow chimpanzees to observe their behavior. They write everything down in notes and on maps and checksheets. 

This episode continues the story of Jane Goodall's pioneering Gombe chimpanzee research study.

Thanks to Anne Pusey, director of the Jane Goodall Institute Research Center at Duke University, and to Emily Boehm, Joseph Feldblum and Kara Walker from Duke University.

Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. The Leakey Foundation is proud to support ongoing research at Gombe and around the world. Since 1968, we've awarded over 35 research grants to Jane Goodall and other scientists studying chimpanzees at Gombe. Learn more and help support science at leakeyfoundation.org!

CREDITS:

Produced by Meredith Johnson. Our editor is Audrey Quinn.

Music in this episode is by Henry Nagle, Lee Rosevere, and Kevin MacLeod ("Backed Vibes" Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0).

Transcripts are provided by Adept Word Management.



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Episode 17: Being Human - Speaking of Sex


Fri, Jul 15, 2016


Humans are very verbal compared to other animals. We talk constantly, and our voices can signal many things beyond the meaning of our words. The human voice is also highly differentiated between the sexes. 
 
In this live recording of our Being Human event in February 2016, Dr. David Puts explores how studying the human voice can be a good way to gain insight into human sexual selection.
 
Dr. Puts is an associate professor in the department of anthropology at Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on the evolution and development of human sexuality and sex differences. He’s especially interested in how sex hormones influence our psychology, behavior, and anatomy—and how these traits were shaped by sexual selection.
 
About Being Human
Being Human mixes short talks from great minds with fun hands-on experiments, drinks, conversation, and storytelling. Each month we explore different aspects of our evolution, our behavior, and the human experience.
 
Join us on July 28th for "Born and Evolved to Run" and learn about the evolution of our remarkable ability for long-distance running. Our speaker will be Dr. Daniel Lieberman of Harvard University.
 
Tickets are $10 and are available at Ticketfly.com.
 
Being Human is a joint initiative of The Leakey Foundation and the Baumann Foundation.
 
Learn More
Puts Lab at Pennsylvania State University
 
Sponsors
The Being Human initiative of The Leakey Foundation and the Baumann Foundation. Dedicated to understanding modern life from an evolutionary perspective.
 
The Leakey Foundation
 
Adept Word Management

 



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Episode 16: Neanderthals


Fri, Jul 01, 2016


People have been fascinated with Neanderthals since they were first discovered in the mid-1800s. For a long time, they have been seen as dumb, brutish cavemen. As more discoveries have been made in the past few decades, our picture of who Neanderthals were and how they lived has shifted dramatically. In this episode we talk with Shara Bailey, a Leakey Foundation grantee and professor at New York University, about our closest extinct relatives. Who were the Neanderthals? And why did they disappear?

Links

The Makers of the Protoaurignacian and implications for Neanderthal extinction

Humans mated with Neanderthals much earlier and more frequently than thought

Thank Neanderthals for your immune system

Leakeyfoundation.org/donate

Sponsored by

Adept Word Management

Credits

Edited by Audrey Quinn

Theme song by Henry Nagle

Additional music by Lee Rosevere, Podington Bear, and Blue Dot Sessions

 



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Episode 15: The Grandmother Hypothesis


Sat, May 28, 2016


When Kristen Hawkes first started to research the foraging habits of the Hadza hunter-gatherers, she noticed that the older women in the society were spending their time collecting food and sharing it with their grandchildren. She started to wonder if this type of contribution from grandmothers might explain why humans have such long lives. Her grandmother hypothesis suggests that grandmothering may have led to many of the things that make humans different from other great apes.

Thanks to Kristen Hawkes of the University of Utah for sharing her work with us. Dr. Hawkes is a member of The Leakey Foundation's Scientific Executive Committee.

Links

Kristen Hawkes' Website

Grandmothers and the evolution of pair bonds

Grandmothers and the evolution of human longevity: a review of findings and future directions

Leakeyfoundation.org

Credits

This episode was produced by Schuyler Swenson. Our editor is Audrey Quinn. Scoring and mixing by Schuyler Swenson. Origin Stories theme music by Henry Nagle. Additional music by Lee Rosevere. 

Sponsors

This episode was produced with support from the Being Human initiative of The Baumann Foundation and The Leakey Foundation.

Transcripts are provided by Adept Word Management.



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Episode 14: Being Human - Why Do We Laugh?


Wed, May 18, 2016


Laughter is a universal human behavior. Have you ever wondered why we laugh or what it really means when we do? Greg Bryant of UCLA studies the evolution of communication and vocal behavior, especially of spontaneous vocal expressions such as laughter. In this episode of Origin Stories he explores the origins and evolution of human laughter in a talk that was recorded live at our Being Human event series.

Links:

Being Human

Join Team Leakey! Run a full or half-marathon and help raise money for science.

 

Greg Bryant

http://gabryant.bol.ucla.edu

http://www.gregbryant.org/Laughter_EHB2014.pdf

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/04/05/1524993113.abstract?sid=b503eb7d-e2ea-4c0b-9dcd-479c234f5465



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Episode 13: Evolutionary Arms Race


Fri, Apr 29, 2016


In this episode we take a closer look at the evolutionary arms race between humans and the microbes that make us sick. What does each side bring to the fight? Dr. Pardis Sabeti of Harvard University is a computational biologist who uses math and computers to look into the genomes of humans and infectious microbes to see how both humans and microbes are evolving. She was named one of TIME Magazine’s People of the Year in 2014 for her role in the fight against ebola.

Links

Pardis Sabeti's Lab

Thousand Days on Bandcamp



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Episode 12: The Origins of Tuberculosis


Fri, Mar 25, 2016


Tuberculosis is the world's leading cause of death by infectious disease, and it has been plaguing humanity for a very long time. In the first episode of a two-part series on infectious disease and human evolution, Dr. Anne Stone of Arizona State University investigates a mysterious case of tuberculosis in ancient Peruvian mummies and finds surprising new evidence in the search for the origins of TB.

Thanks to Anne Stone for sharing her work. Her lab is on Twitter @StoneLab and online.

Here's a link to Stone's Nature paper.

Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. Learn more about The Leakey Foundation and help support science at leakeyfoundation.org

This episode was released on World Tuberculosis Day, 2016. Learn more at stoptb.org



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Episode 11: Face Mites


Thu, Feb 25, 2016


The bad news is that everybody has face mites. The good news is that these tiny cousins of spiders and ticks seem to be harmless for the vast majority of us. 

In this episode, entomologist and evolutionary biologist Michelle Trautwein describes how she and her colleagues collected face mite DNA from a variety of volunteers for a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The results of the study were surprising and further confirmed our current understanding of human migration through time.

Listen as we explore the lives of these close personal friends of ours, and learn how they may help us answer new questions about our own evolution.

Learn more and see photos if you dare, on The Leakey Foundation blog.

Sponsors:

Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. The Leakey Foundation advances human origins research and offers educational opportunities that cultivate a deeper, collective understanding of what it means to be human. 

For a limited time all donations to The Leakey Foundation will be matched by an anonymous donor. Give today at Leakeyfoundation.org/donate.

Transcripts are provided by Adept Word Management.

Links: 

Global divergence of the human follicle mite Demodex folliculorum: Persistent associations between host ancestry and mite lineages

Origin of Clothing Lice Indicates Early Clothing Use by Anatomically Modern Humans in Africa

 

 



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Episode 10: Being Human with Alison Gopnik


Tue, Jan 19, 2016


Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. Her research focuses on how babies and young children learn about the world. She’s the author of over 100 journal articles and several books including The Scientist in the Crib and The Philosophical Baby

This episode is part of the Being Human event series, presented by The Leakey Foundation with support from the Baumann Foundation.

Thanks to Alison Gopnik for sharing her work. You can learn more about her research at alisongopnik.com.

The Leakey Foundation is a nonprofit organization that funds human origins research and outreach. Visit leakeyfoundation.org to learn more.

The Being Human initiative is dedicated to understanding modern life from an evolutionary perspective. Learn more at leakeyfoundation.org/beinghuman.

Music in this episode is by Henry Nagle and Lee Rosevere.

Sound Engineering by Rob Byers.



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Episode 09: Did Cooking Make Us Human?


Tue, Dec 29, 2015


We humans have evolved very differently from other primates. Is there one thing responsible for humans becoming human? Some evolutionary biologists think that the way we process our food, namely cooking it, could explain why our species developed so differently from others. Did cooking make us human? Dr. Richard Wrangham of Harvard University and Dr. Rachel Carmody of UCSF and Harvard discuss the impact that cooked food has had on human evolution.

This episode of Origin Stories was produced by Briana Breen and edited by Audrey Quinn. Music by Henry Nagle.

Thanks to Richard Wrangham and Rachel Carmody for sharing their work.

Links

Richard Wrangham's Harvard University Website

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

Smithsonian Magazine "Why Fire Made Us Human"

Rachel Carmody's Nature article: Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome

 



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Episode 08: Being Human with Robert Sapolsky


Sat, Dec 05, 2015


This episode of Origin Stories was recorded live in San Francisco as part of the Bay Area Science Festival. It was the first of The Leakey Foundation and the Baumann Foundation’s new “Being Human” event series. Our speaker was Robert Sapolsky, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow. He gave a fascinating and funny talk about human behavior and the ways we are the same as, and different from, other animals.

You can hear more from Dr. Sapolsky on the Inquiring Minds podcast. Host Indre Viskontas interviewed Sapolsky about his work and his thoughts on our prospects as a species. You can find Inquiring Minds on iTunes and at motherjones.com/inquiringminds

This episode is part of the Being Human initiative of The Leakey Foundation and the Baumann Foundation. leakeyfoundation.org/beinghuman



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Episode 07: The Currant Bush of Life with Bernard Wood


Tue, Nov 24, 2015


In On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin used a sketch of a tree of life to help describe his theory of evolution. In this metaphor, the branches of the tree represent the relationships between all living and extinct creatures. Humans, like all living creatures, are on the surface of the tree, and all extinct creatures are within the tree.


In this episode we talk with Dr. Bernard Wood who studies our part of the tree of life. Wood tells us how scientists figure out which fossil creatures are our ancestors and which were just our close relatives.  

Links:

Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction

Bernard Wood

Sideways Look - Bernard Wood's blog for the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology.

The Leakey Foundation

Sponsor:

Adept Word Management

 



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Episode 06: Being a Nice Animal


Tue, Oct 27, 2015


For over 35 years Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth have been studying wild African primates in order to better understand the evolution of the human mind. In this episode they tell us about their long-term study of free-ranging baboons in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Kinship and rank are tremendously important to these baboons. However, in this sophisticated society there seems to be a certain attentiveness, perhaps an obsession with other individuals’ relationships. Is this similar to how humans create social bonds and alliances, and does personality play a part in the ability of these baboons to survive? Listen and learn how these field researchers have approached these and other questions about how natural selection shapes the primate mind.

Links

Robert Seyfarth and Dorothy Cheney's website

Baboon Metaphysics

Being Human

Million Dollar Challenge

Adept Word Management



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Episode 05: Discovery at Ledi-Geraru


Wed, Aug 26, 2015


Have you ever wondered what it's like to make a major fossil discovery? Arizona State University graduate student Chalachew Seyoum and professor Kaye Reed tell us their exciting story.

Seyoum was working as part of a team co-directed by Reed. While searching for hominid fossils at a site called Ledi-Geraru in the Afar region of Ethiopia, he found a fossil jaw sticking out of the 2.8 million year old sediment. That jaw turned out to be the earliest known fossil from our genus Homo. It was around 400,000 years older than any Homo fossil found before. The discovery was published in the journal Science in March of 2015. Dr. Susan Anton from New York University tells us why this find and the time period it's from are important in helping us connect the dots in our picture of early human evolution.

Links:

Early Homo at 2.8 MA from Ledi-Geraru, Afar, Ethiopia : Science

'First Human' discovered in Ethiopia : BBC News

Jawbone fossil fills a gap in early human evolution : New York Times

Credits:

This show is a project of The Leakey Foundation. The Leakey Foundation funds human origins research and shares that information with the public. You can learn more and help support science at leakeyfoundation.org.

This episode was produced by Schuyler Swenson. Our editor is Audrey Quinn. Music and scoring by Henry Nagle.

Origin Stories is made possible by a grant from Wells Fargo Bank. Transcripts are provided by Adept Word Management.



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Episode 04: How to Document a Society


Wed, Aug 05, 2015


Every day for 55 years a dedicated group of researchers, students, and Tanzanian field assistants have spent their days crawling through thorns and vines as they follow chimpanzees to observe their behavior. They write everything down in notes and on maps and checksheets. It adds up to an impressive amount of data. 

This episode tells the story of the evolution of data collection at Gombe, what it's like to collect it, and what we can learn from it.

Thanks to Anne Pusey, director of the Jane Goodall Institute Research Center at Duke University, and to Emily Boehm, Joseph Feldblum and Kara Walker from Duke University.

Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. The Leakey Foundation is proud to support ongoing research at Gombe and around the world. Since 1968, we've awarded over 35 research grants to Jane Goodall and other scientists studying chimpanzees at Gombe. Learn more and help support science at leakeyfoundation.org!

Music in this episode is by Henry Nagle and Kevin MacLeod ("Backed Vibes" Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0).

Our editor is Audrey Quinn.

Support comes from Wells Fargo Bank. Transcripts provided by Adept Word Management.

If you like our show, please give us a review on iTunes! It really helps spread the word about our show, and we appreciate it very much!

 



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Episode 03: Jane Goodall


Tue, Jun 30, 2015


Dr. Jane Goodall is a legend. She is a science hero, a trailblazing researcher who inspires people around the world. In this episode, Jane Goodall shares part of the story of how she went from working as a secretary to becoming the world's leading expert on chimpanzee behavior.

In 2004, author and Leakey family biographer Virginia Morrell interviewed Jane Goodall for the Louis Leakey Centennial Oral History Project. This never before heard recording covers the time in Goodall's life from 1957 when she arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, to November 1960 when she made her first groundbreaking discovery, one that changed the way we see chimpanzees as well as the way we define ourselves as humans.

Links

Credits

This episode was produced by Meredith Johnson and edited by Audrey Quinn, production help from Schuyler Swenson. Scoring and composition by Henry Nagle. Additional Music from the Blue Dot Sessions and Lee Rosevere.

Thanks for listening! If you like our show, please subscribe and give us a rating on iTunes. We're new and reviews really help. We appreciate it a lot!

You can support long term studies of primates in the wild by supporting The Leakey Foundation.

Sponsors

This show is made possible with support from Wells Fargo Bank.

We're also sponsored by Adept Word Management, who provides transcripts of our interviews and episodes.



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Episode 02: Why Do We Get Hiccups?


Tue, May 26, 2015


Hiccups are an annoyance that we all deal with, but don't usually give much thought to. In this episode of Origin Stories, independent producer Ben Nimkin brings us the remarkable story of Charles Osborne, a man who holds the Guiness World Record for the longest attack of the hiccups. He had them for 68 years!

We'll hear from the doctor who treated him, and researchers who are exploring the biology and the surprisingly deep evolutionary history of the hiccup.

Origin Stories is a production of The Leakey Foundation. A nonprofit organization with a mission to increase scientific knowledge, education, and public understanding of human origins, evolution, behavior, and survival. Since 1968, The Leakey Foundation has been awarding grants to scientists investigating the big questions about what makes us human.

We're sponsored with a grant from Wells Fargo Bank. Adept Word Management provides transcripts. 



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Episode 01: On Two Feet


Tue, Apr 28, 2015


One of the things that makes us different from other animals is the way we move around on two feet. Figuring out how and why our ancestors first stood up is one of the big questions in the study of human evolution. Carol Ward is an anatomy professor at the University of Missouri, and she's a paleoanthropologist who studies locomotion in our earliest primate ancestors. She tells the story of one bone and how it answered a question about how one of our most famous early ancestors moved.

This is the first episode of Origin StoriesThe Leakey Foundation's monthly podcast about anthropology, human origins, evolution, and human and primate behavior. We'll explore what it means to be human and the science behind what we know about ourselves.

This show is a project of The Leakey Foundation, and it's made possible with support from Wells Fargo Bank.



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Intro to Origin Stories


Wed, Apr 01, 2015


Origin Stories is The Leakey Foundation's new podcast about what it means to be human, and the science behind what we know about ourselves. Our show will explore the biology and the millions of years of evolution that shape the way we look and act today. This episode  is a short introduction and welcome to our show and what it's about. If you subscribe now, the first full episode will show up in your feed when it comes out in late April.



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