About our show

Origin Stories is The Leakey Foundation’s podcast about what it means to be human and the science behind what we know about ourselves.

We’ll have stories from scientists who are working to understand human origins, evolution, and behavior.

We’re going to experiment a little with format, and we’d love to hear what you think about the show. We’ll produce narrative stories, interviews, and archival audio about the history of science.

The story of human evolution is a really important and interesting one, and we’re excited to explore it with you!

The show is produced and hosted by Meredith Johnson, edited by Audrey Quinn, and our music is by Henry Nagle.


How can I listen to Origin Stories?

There are many ways to listen to our show.

  1. You can use the player here on our website.
  2. You can subscribe using iTunes and listen on your computer. Search for Origin Stories or use this link. Once you’ve subscribed, every episode will show up automatically.
  3. On an iPhone or iPad you can use the Podcast app. On new devices it’s included. On older devices you need to download it from the App Store. It’s free. Once you have the app, search for Origin Stories and press “subscribe.”
  4. You can listen on Soundcloud.
  5. On an Android device, use the Stitcher app. You can download that from Google Play. In Stitcher search for Origin Stories and add it to your favorites list by clicking the + sign, then go to your favorites list and tell Stitcher to download new episodes by clicking the gear symbol.

Why do you use a scientifically inaccurate depiction of evolution for your logo?

Both Origin Stories and The Leakey Foundation use the “March of Progress” by Rudolph Zallinger in our logos. This illustration was commissioned by anthropologist F. Clark Howell for his classic 1965 Time-Life book Early Man. This illustration became so iconic that many people think it’s the way evolution works, much to the dismay of scientists and educators today. This is powerful graphic design indeed!

Original illustration by Rudolph Zallinger in the book Early Man by F. Clark Howell.

Original illustration by Rudolph Zallinger in the book Early Man by F. Clark Howell.

What you may not know is that it was never intended to portray a linear progression of evolution from ape to man. F. Clark Howell said of the drawing in a 2006 interview with I.D. magazine, “The artist didn’t intend to reduce the evolution of man to a linear sequence, but it was read that way by viewers. … The graphic overwhelmed the text. It was so powerful and emotional.”

We know that evolution doesn’t happen in the way the illustration shows. We use it because it’s important and iconic. We also use it because of our affection for F. Clark Howell who was instrumental in the formation of The Leakey Foundation and was involved with the Foundation until his death in 2007.

We definitely plan to do an episode about this image!

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