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Episode 22: Altruism

Why do people risk their own lives to save a stranger? Why do we share food or give money to charity? The human capacity for altruism has been a puzzle for scientists since Darwin. In this episode of Origin Stories, primatologist Joan Silk explores the evolution of altruism and cooperation.

In our Being Human Bonus segment, we share a story of human kindness from Erika Lantz and WBUR’s Kind World.

Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. You can support this show and the science we talk about by making a tax-deductible donation. Your donation will be doubled thanks to an anonymous altruistic sponsor! Give today at



Learn more about Joan Silk and her research at

Being Human

Kind World

Adept Word Management



Produced by Meredith Johnson

Edited by Julia Barton

Theme music by Henry Nagle

Production help from Susan Valot

Additional music by Podington Bear, Lee Rosevere, and Alex Fitch

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