Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

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.

Aug 28, 2020

Atapuerca is a place that holds the mystery of human evolution in Europe from 1.2 million years ago through recent times. You can find, in one place, the oldest human in Europe, the first murder in the archaeological record, and fossils that tell a range of stories from disturbing and grisly to tender and heartwarming. María Martinón-Torres is a Leakey Foundation grantee who is sometimes called a "detective of the dead" because she pieces together clues to learn about the lives and deaths of the people who once inhabited northern Spain.

Special thanks

Thanks to María Martinón-Torres for sharing her work. Thanks to Dub and Ginny Crook for sponsoring this episode.

Links to learn more

The Atapuerca website
María Martinón-Torres' website
Learn about Atapuerca on
Unesco World Heritage information
Sima del Elefante - The First Hominin of Europe
Gran Dolina - Human Meat Just Another Meal for Early Europeans?
Sima de los Huesos

The Leakey Foundation

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

Support The Leakey Foundation

We're looking for 20 new monthly "Bedrock Donors." Become a Bedrock Donor today and your monthly gift will be quadruple-matched!

Lunch Break Science

Lunch Break Science is The Leakey Foundation's online series featuring short talks and interviews with Leakey Foundation grantees. Episodes resume in October but you can watch all of the past episodes on demand at


Host, Writer, Producer: Meredith Johnson
Producer: Lucia Benavides
Editor: Audrey Quinn
Special thanks to Shuka Kalantari
Theme Music: Henry Nagle

Additional Music:

Lee Rosevere "Tech Toys" and music from Blue Dot Sessions.


Origin Stories is made possible by support from Dub and Virginia Crook, 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 or wherever you listen. It's the best way to help other people find the show and we really appreciate it.

Call us!

We've set up a voicemail line and we'd love to hear from you! Call us at ‪(707)788-8582‬ to let us know how you're doing and if there is anything you'd like to hear on this podcast.