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Thanks for listening to Origin Stories! We are on hiatus as we work on new episodes. Our new season will launch in August, and we can't wait to share more stories about how we became human.

Feb 14, 2019

Raymond Dart was getting dressed for a wedding when he was given two boxes of rocks and fossils. Inside the boxes, he found the first evidence of humanity’s African origins. This episode tells the story of the 1924 discovery of the Taung Child through a never-before-released lecture by Dr. Raymond Dart.

Show Notes

The Leakey Foundation is celebrating its 50th anniversary by sharing rare, previously unreleased lectures from the Foundation’s archive.

The fourth lecture in this "From the Archive" series is by Dr. Raymond Dart, a neuroanatomist, discoverer of the Taung Child, and the person who named the genus Australopithecus.

Raymond Dart was born in Australia in 1893. He studied biology and became a medical doctor specializing in neuroanatomy. He moved to South Africa in 1922 to help establish the anatomy department at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In 1924, as he was getting dressed for a wedding, he received two boxes full of rocks and fossils from a nearby mine. The fossils inside those boxes changed his life – and our understanding of human origins.

Dr. Dart gave two Leakey Foundation lectures. In this episode, you'll hear clips from one of them, along with the entirety of his lecture entitled "Why Study Human Origins?" which was recorded in Washington, D.C., in 1975.

The Leakey Foundation

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

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

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Host and Series Producer: Meredith Johnson

Sound Engineer/Mix: Katie McMurran

Theme Music: Henry Nagle

Additional Music: Lee Rosevere "Tech Toys"