The Leakey Foundation’s Origin Stories podcast turned six years old in 2021! We produced 10 episodes and reached several important milestones this year. Here’s a look back at our year in podcasting.
First, the milestones:
• We surpassed 1,000,000 downloads!
• We were consistently in the top 50 podcasts in our category on the Apple Podcasts charts.
• Producer Ray Pang joined our team.
Origin Stories 2021 EpisodesEmbed from Getty Images
In January, archaeologist and author Rebecca Wragg Sykes took us into the world of our Neanderthal cousins and shared stories from her amazing bestselling book, Kindred.
In February, Leakey Foundation grantee Tanya Smith told us about the hidden life stories recorded in your teeth. She shared the story of her work that reconstructed the lives of two Neanderthal children by reading the tiny lines in their teeth. This episode will change the way you think about your teeth.
In March, Leakey Foundation grantee Zarin Machanda talked about what it’s like to study an endangered species. She shared stories from her amazing work as co-director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project.
In May, we spoke with Leakey Foundation grantee Horacio de la Iglesia, 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.Embed from Getty Images
In June, we looked at the widely-held idea known as the “obstetrical dilemma”–a hypothesis that explains why babies are so helpless, and why childbirth is so difficult for humans compared to other animals. Leakey Foundation grantees Holly Dunsworth and Anna Warrener described their epic search for the evidence behind the “obstetrical dilemma.” which is an idea that babies are born early so they can fit through the mother’s pelvis, which can’t get any bigger because then women wouldn’t be able to walk well.
In July, producer and scientist Kevin McLean took us to an island off the coast of Panama where an isolated group of monkeys has developed a creative way to survive in a challenging environment.
In September, Leakey Foundation grantee Drew Best told us all about the amazing human ability to sweat and how this adaptation might be one of the key things that made us who we are today.
In October, contributor Neil Sandell told us the amazing story of our closest animal companion and the journey from wolf to dog. What do we know about how dogs began?
In November, we interviewed living legend and 19-time Leakey Foundation grantee Biruté Mary Galdikas, one of the founding mothers of primatology. She told the story of her 50-year-career studying and protecting orangutans in Borneo.
In December, we interviewed five Leakey Foundation grantees from different fields to hear about their favorite human origins research of 2021. This episode has five fun short stories from the year in science.
Many thanks to Jeanne Newman, Camilla and George Smith, Diana McSherry and Patrick Poe, Lynn and Larry Schafran, and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for sponsoring the show this year.
We look forward to bringing you more Origin Stories in 2022! Click this link to subscribe!