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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.

Aug 26, 2015

Have you ever wondered what it's like to make a major fossil discovery? Arizona State University graduate student Chalachew Seyoum and professor Kaye Reed tell us their exciting story.

Seyoum was working as part of a team co-directed by Reed. While searching for hominid fossils at a site called Ledi-Geraru in the Afar region of Ethiopia, he found a fossil jaw sticking out of the 2.8 million year old sediment. That jaw turned out to be the earliest known fossil from our genus Homo. It was around 400,000 years older than any Homo fossil found before. The discovery was published in the journal Science in March of 2015. Dr. Susan Anton from New York University tells us why this find and the time period it's from are important in helping us connect the dots in our picture of early human evolution.


Early Homo at 2.8 MA from Ledi-Geraru, Afar, Ethiopia : Science

'First Human' discovered in Ethiopia : BBC News

Jawbone fossil fills a gap in early human evolution : New York Times


This show is a project of The Leakey Foundation. The Leakey Foundation funds human origins research and shares that information with the public. You can learn more and help support science at

This episode was produced by Schuyler Swenson. Our editor is Audrey Quinn. Music and scoring by Henry Nagle.

Origin Stories is made possible by a grant from Wells Fargo Bank. Transcripts are provided by Adept Word Management.