Skip to content

Episode 25: Stones and How to Use Them

The paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey described stone tools as “fossilized human behavior.” These rocks, shaped by our human ancestors and found in archaeological sites around the world, can give us clues about how ancient people lived. Archaeologist and Leakey Foundation grantee John Shea of Stony Brook University says you can learn even more by making and using stone tools yourself.   Thanks to John Shea of Stony Brook University for sharing his work. His new book is Stone Tools in Human Evolution: Behavioral Differences among Technological Primates.   Learn more about Dr. Shea’s work on his website.  

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. Thanks to a generous supporter, your donation will automatically be doubled!


Check out the complete show notes at   Videos  How to make a stone tool Making a Neanderthal flint tool Making Stone Tools – Nicholas Toth of the Stone Age Institute John Shea and Alan Alda on The Human Spark   Articles Modern People Making Stone Age Tools by Leakey Foundation grantee Shelby Putt Chimpanzees and Monkeys Have Entered the Stone Age by Colin Barras


Produced by: Audrey Quinn

Editor: Julia Barton

Host and Series Producer: Meredith Johnson

Sound Design: Katie McMurran

Theme Music: Henry Nagle

Intern: Yuka Oiwa

Additional Music: Tech Toys by Lee Rosevere


This season of Origin Stories is made possible by support from Dixon Long. Additional support for this episode comes from Bill Richards.

We are also brought to you with support from, the internet’s leading provider of spoken-word entertainment. Our listeners get a 30-day free trial and free audiobook download at

Transcripts are provided by Adept Word Management. They are a small, family-run business based in Houston, Texas. They have been long-time supporters of this show and they were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Please visit Adept Word Management for your transcription needs.

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. It’s the best way to help other people find the show and we really appreciate it. 


I [name], of [city, state ZIP], bequeath the sum of $[ ] or [ ] percent of my estate to L.S.B. Leakey Foundation for Research Related to Man’s Origins, Behavior & Survival, (dba The Leakey Foundation), a nonprofit organization with a business address of 1003B O’Reilly Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129 and a tax identification number 95-2536475 for its unrestricted use and purpose.

If you have questions, please contact Sharal Camisa Smith sharal at 

This will close in 0 seconds