First Steps at Laetoli
Origin Stories
by The Leakey Foundation
7M ago
In this episode, we explore five strange fossilized footprints found by Mary Leakey at the site of Laetoli in Tanzania. Decades after their original discovery, these footprints have revealed a new story about our ancient ancestors that expands our understanding of how hominins moved and interacted.  Learn more Footprint evidence of early hominin locomotor diversity at Laetoli, Tanzania   Charming video of Dr. McNutt coaxing a baby bear to walk upright   Dr. Charles Musiba's website Dr. Ellison McNutt's website The Kilham Bear Center   Conservation of the Laetoli Footprints ..read more
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Episode 59: Top Human Origins Discoveries of 2021
Origin Stories
by The Leakey Foundation
1y ago
2021 was a big year in science! Fossil discoveries introduced new relatives to our family tree, new findings added fascinating twists to the human story, and breakthroughs in research methods opened new worlds to explore. In this episode, five scientists discuss their favorite human origins discoveries of 2021. Click here for a transcript of this episode. Our guests: Scott A. Williams, New York UniversityJessica Thompson, Yale UniversityGiulia Gallo, University of California at DavisFernando Villanea, University of Colorado at BoulderErin Kane, Boston University Read more about their top disco ..read more
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Episode 58: Biruté Mary Galdikas - 50 Years with Orangutans
Origin Stories
by The Leakey Foundation
1y ago
As a young girl, Biruté Mary Galdikas dreamed of going to the forests of Southeast Asia to study the least-known of all the great apes, the elusive orangutan. People told her it would be impossible. But, in 1971, she traveled to Borneo and started what is now the longest ongoing study of orangutans in the history of science. This is her story. She was the third in the group of now world-famous scientists known as the Trimates—Jane Goodall in Tanzania, Dian Fossey in Rwanda, and Biruté Mary Galdikas in Borneo. The Trimates were the first women to establish long-term studies of great apes in the ..read more
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Entre Chien et Loup: How Dogs Began
Origin Stories
by The Leakey Foundation
1y ago
Scientists agree that dogs evolved from wolves, but exactly how and when that happened is hotly contested. In this episode, Origin Stories contributor Neil Sandell examines the evolution of the relationship between dogs and humans, and explores the journey from wolf to dog. This story was originally produced for the CBC program IDEAS.  Guests in this episode: (in order of appearance) Angela Perri is an archaeologist at Durham University, U.K. Sebastian Dicenaire is a French playwright and audio producer living in Brussels Greger Larson is director of the Palaeogenomics & Bio-Archaeolo ..read more
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Bonus Episode: Short and Sweat
Origin Stories
by The Leakey Foundation
1y ago
Learn about the evolution of our extraordinary ability to cool ourselves down. Biological anthropologist Andrew Best discusses the past, present, and future of sweat in this special bonus episode. About our guest Dr. Andrew Best is a biological anthropologist at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts who studies metabolism, endurance, and the evolution of sweat. Visit his website to learn more about him and his research. Click here for a one-minute video about his Leakey Foundation-supported research project on the evolution of sweat glands. Episode Transcript Google Doc Transcript PDF Tra ..read more
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Episode 55: Monkeys Get Creative
Origin Stories
by The Leakey Foundation
1y ago
Producer and scientist Kevin McLean travels to an island off the coast of Panama where researchers have found an isolated group of monkeys with a creative approach to surviving in a challenging environment. Links These tiny monkeys have entered their Stone Age with a bang First report of habitual stone tool use by Cebus monkeys Habitual Stone-Tool Aided Extractive Foraging in White-Faced Capuchins, Cebus Capucinus Video of capuchins using tools Research presentation on social learning by Leakey Foundation grantee Brendan Barrett Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Department for the Ecolog ..read more
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Episode 54: The Obstetrical Dilemma
Origin Stories
by The Leakey Foundation
1y ago
The widely-held idea known as the “obstetrical dilemma” is a hypothesis that explains why babies are so helpless, and why childbirth is so difficult for humans compared to other animals.  The obstetrical dilemma suggests that babies are born early so their big brains can fit through the mother’s pelvis, which can’t get any wider due to our method of bipedal locomotion. This problem, the idea says, is solved by an evolutionary tradeoff that increases risks to pregnant mothers who must struggle to birth bigger and bigger-brained babies through narrow birth canals.   On this episode, Le ..read more
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Episode 53: Sleep and the Moon
Origin Stories
by The Leakey Foundation
1y ago
Sleep is one of the defining traits of human life. It's also one of the most mysterious. Dr. Horacio de la Iglesia is a neurobiologist who's on a quest to understand how patterns of human sleep evolved. His new research shows an unexpected connection between sleep and the cycles of the moon. Send us your questions! Have a question about human evolution? Something you've always wondered about? We will find a scientist to answer it on a special episode of Origin Stories! There are three ways to submit your question: Leave a voicemail at (707) 788-8582 Visit speakpipe.com/originstories and leave ..read more
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Episode 52: How to Study an Endangered Species
Origin Stories
by The Leakey Foundation
1y ago
What is it like to study an endangered species like chimpanzees, knowing they may go extinct within your lifetime? Leakey Foundation grantee Dr. Zarin Machanda is a co-director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, a long-term field study in Uganda. This study was started by primatologist Richard Wrangham in 1987, and project members have collected daily records of the chimps there ever since. These notes hold the life stories of around 150 chimpanzees, and this long-term data is a powerful way for scientists to understand chimpanzees–and ourselves. The Leakey Foundation Origin Stories is a p ..read more
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Episode 52: How to Study an Endangered Species
Origin Stories
by The Leakey Foundation
1y ago
What is it like to study an endangered species like chimpanzees, knowing they may go extinct within your lifetime? Leakey Foundation grantee Dr. Zarin Machanda is a co-director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, a long-term field study in Uganda. This study was started by primatologist Richard Wrangham in 1987, and project members have collected daily records of the chimps there ever since. These notes hold the life stories of around 150 chimpanzees, and this long-term data is a powerful way for scientists to understand chimpanzees–and ourselves. The Leakey Foundation Origin Stories is a p ..read more
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