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Episode 44: Custodian of the Ancestors

What is it like to be responsible for the safekeeping of the ancestors of everyone in the world? In this episode, we travel to the National Museum of Ethiopia to see our most famous fossil relative – Lucy, and meet Yared Assefa, the person who takes care of her and all of our Ethiopian fossil ancestors and relatives. 

If you love fossils, you won’t want to miss this episode!

Special thanks

Thanks to Yared Assefa, Dr. Berhane Asfaw, and Dr. Mulugeta Feseha, who hosted The Leakey Foundation at the National Museum of Ethiopia.

Links to learn more

President Obama’s speech to the African Union Lucy: A marvelous specimen Top ten human evolution discoveries in Ethiopia Rare 3.8 million-year-old fossil skull recasts origins of iconic Lucy  Ethiopia is top choice for the cradle of Homo sapiens

The Leakey Foundation

Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding human origins research and outreach.

Funding provided by the Foundation has made many of the fossil hominin discoveries in Ethiopia possible. In addition, Our Baldwin Fellowship program has been building scientific capacity in Ethiopia and other countries since 1978. We also have a new program called the Francis H. Brown African Scholarship Fund that provides up to $25,000 for East African students or early career researchers in botany and geology. Learn about all of our grant programs at

Lunch Break Science

Lunch Break Science is The Leakey Foundation’s online series featuring short talks and interviews with Leakey Foundation grantees. Feed your brain with Lunch Break Science every third Thursday at 11 am Pacific on Facebook, YouTube, and


Host and Producer: Meredith Johnson Editor: Audrey Quinn Theme Music: Henry Nagle

Additional Music:

Lee Rosevere “Tech Toys” and music from Blue Dot Sessions.


This season of Origin Stories is made possible by support from Diana McSherry, Jeanne Newman, Camilla Smith, and donors like you!



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 

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