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SAPIENS: A Podcast for Everything Human

Aug 14, 2018

What does your DNA have to do with who you are? On a journey for answers, SAPIENS hosts Chip Colwell, Jen Shannon, and Esteban Gómez take consumer DNA tests and confront murky, interconnected issues of identity and heredity. Their guides include science journalist Carl Zimmer and anthropologists Deborah Bolnick and Kim TallBear.

Carl Zimmer has authored 13 books about science, including his latest work She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, which traces the history of heredity:

Deborah Bolnick is an incoming associate professor of anthropology at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include anthropological genetics, ancient DNA studies, paleoepigenetics, and a variety of other related subjects.

Kim TallBear is an associate professor in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies. The University of Minnesota Press published her book Native American DNA in 2013.

Learn more about DNA at


This episode of Sapiens was produced by Paul Karolyi, edited by Matthew Simonson, and hosted by Chip Colwell, Esteban Gomez, and Jen Shannon.

Sapiens producer Arielle Milkman, executive producer Cat Jaffee, and House of Pod intern Lucy Soucek provided additional support.

All music is produced and designed by Matthew Simonson with illustration by David Williams, and fact-checking by Christine Weeber.

Sapiens is part of the American Anthropological Association Podcast Library.

This is an editorially independent podcast funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and produced by House of Pod.