Every animal that lives in groups has to make decisions as a group. Even a seemingly simple decision like “where should we go for dinner?” can be complicated to negotiate. Is there a simple rule behind how humans and other animals make group decisions? Margaret Crofoot is a primatologist and Leakey Foundation grantee whose research on baboons suggests there is a rule, and it’s not what you might think. You can read more about Margaret Crofoot’s research and see a video of her GPS data on our blog! Links Margaret Crofoot’s Lab Shared decision-making drives collective movement in wild baboons Sponsors Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. You can support this podcast and the research we talk about by making a tax-deductible donation. All donations will be doubled! This episode is part of the Being Human initiative. A joint project of the Baumann Foundation and The Leakey Foundation dedicated to understanding modern life from an evolutionary perspective. Thanks to Adept Word Management for their transcription service. Visit Adept Word Management for your transcription needs. You can download transcripts of our episodes at leakeyfoundation.org/originstories Credits Produced by […]
Origin Stories is The Leakey Foundation’s monthly podcast about what it means to be human and the science behind what we know about ourselves. We’ll look into the deep past, explore the mysteries of the human mind, and hear stories from scientists who are asking fascinating questions about the origins and evolution of our species. We’ll have stories on human evolution, human behavior, primates, archaeology, biology, psychology, science history and much more.
Humans have evolved very differently from other primates. Is there one thing responsible for humans becoming human? Some evolutionary biologists think that the way we process our food, namely cooking it, could explain why our species developed so differently from others. Did cooking make us human? Dr. Richard Wrangham of Harvard University and Dr. Rachel Carmody of UCSF and Harvard discuss the impact that cooked food has had on human evolution. This episode of Origin Stories was produced by Briana Breen and edited by Audrey Quinn. Music by Henry Nagle. Thanks to Richard Wrangham and Rachel Carmody for sharing their work. Being Human This re-released episode includes a new Being Human bonus segment. Being Human was a joint initiative of The Baumann Foundation and The Leakey Foundation, dedicated to understanding modern life from an evolutionary perspective. Special thanks to Lily Mazzarella of Farmacopia for talking with us about her work for the Being Human segment. Episode Links Richard Wrangham’s Harvard University Website Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human Smithsonian Magazine “Why Fire Made Us Human” Rachel Carmody’s Nature article: Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome The Leakey Foundation Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey […]
The Power Paradox What is power? Where does social power come from? What happens in our bodies and with our behavior when we have power and when we don’t? What can we learn about lasting social power from small-scale hunter-gatherer societies? Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the faculty director of the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. A renowned expert in the biological and evolutionary origins of human emotion, Dr. Keltner studies the science of compassion, awe, love, and beauty, and how emotions shape our moral intuition. His research interests also span issues of power, status, inequality, and social class. He is the author of the best-selling book Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and of The Compassionate Instinct. Dr. Keltner’s most recent book is The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence. This episode is a live recording from The Leakey Foundation’s Bay Area Science Festival event. Links The Greater Good Science Center The Leakey Foundation Adept Word Management About the “Origin Stories” Podcast
Humans and our recent ancestors have been accomplished endurance runners for more than a million years. Our evolutionary history as runners partly accounts for why aerobic exercise is such a key component of human health. In this talk, recorded in July 2016, Daniel Lieberman explores how and why the human body evolved to run long distances. Daniel Lieberman is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, and the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences at Harvard University. He is a member of the Scientific Executive Committee of The Leakey Foundation. His research is on how and why the human body is the way it is, with particular foci on the origins of bipedalism, how humans became endurance runners, and the evolution of the highly unusual human head. Lieberman has published 3 books and more than 100 articles. His latest books are The Evolution of the Human Head, and The Story of the Human Body. Links: Get tickets for “The Power Paradox” with Dacher Keltner. Donate to The Leakey Foundation. Your donation will be doubled! Transcripts are provided by Adept Word Management. Theme music by Henry Nagle. Closing credit song by Lee Rosevere. About the “Origin […]
Empathy has long been considered a uniquely human trait, but it’s an ability which has also been observed in apes and other animals. Primatologist Frans de Waal says that examples of empathy in non-human primates and other mammals suggest that empathy has a long evolutionary history in humans. Frans de Waal is the C.H. Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University where he directs the Living Links Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution. He’s the author of several books including The Age of Empathy, and most recently, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? Credits: Nancy Rosenbaum produced our story. Our editor is Audrey Quinn. Theme music by Henry Nagle. Additional music by Podington Bear, Lee Rosevere, and Box Cat Records. Being Human Bonus produced by Meredith Johnson. Being Human: This episode was produced as part of the Being Human initiative. A joint project of The Leakey Foundation and the Baumann Foundation. The Being Human initiative is all about why we experience our lives the way we do, including our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Keep listening after our story for the “Being Human Bonus Segment” where we talk about how […]