Rick Potts has always had an interest in origins. As a kid, exploring the origins of musical instruments and the solar system fascinated him. In high school he stumbled upon the study of human origins; he has not stopped investigating since. Dr. Potts tells Jim stories of excavations in China and southern Kenya and of people encountering the exhibit on Human Origins around the US. Reverberating throughout their conversation is the question, ‘What does it mean to be human?’
Buy the companion book on the Smithsonian’s human origins exhibit, coauthored by Rick Potts, here.
Find out more about the Hall of Human Origins on the Smithsonian website.
This episode of Language of God was hosted by Jim Stump and produced by Colin Hoogerwerf. Additional help from Nate Mulder.
Dr. Rick Potts is a paleoanthropologist and curator of the Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Before coming to the Smithsonian in 1985, he received his Ph.D. in biological anthropology from Harvard University and taught anthropology at Yale University. He has led excavations throughout the East African Rift Valley as well as in southern and northern China. His research focuses on human adaptation to environmental change.