Episode 40: The Denisovans


Manage episode 247174044 series 74155
By Meredith Johnson and The Leakey Foundation. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

A mysterious new human relative was discovered ten years ago from a pinky bone found in a Siberian cave. They're called the Denisovans, and people around the world carry their DNA today. Until just a few months ago, the sum total of all the fossils the Denisovans left behind could fit in the palm of your hand. Now new research is unlocking more of their secrets.


Thanks to Bence Viola and Viviane Slon for sharing their work.

Dr. Viola also wants to give a shoutout to his colleagues, including Anatoly Derevyanko over more than 40 years has excavated countless sites in Siberia, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. And Michael Sunkov who now heads the excavations at Denisova.

I also want to thank Sergey Zelensky who provided the sounds of Denisova cave and the recording of the conference.

Click here to learn more about Leakey Foundation grantee Frido Welker’s work on ancient proteins.

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.

For a limited time, all donations up to $5,000 will be matched 4:1 thanks to Gianni Amato and Gordon and Ann Getty. Once we pass $5,000, all donations will be doubled.

Visit leakeyfoundation.org/donate to donate today!


Host and Producer: Meredith Johnson

Editor: Julia Barton

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 Dixon Long, Diana McSherry, Jeanne Newman, Camilla Smith, and donors like you!

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.

54 episodes