Bunch Of Apes Podcast



A podcast exploring aspects of health and fitness, the mind, human evolution, prehistory and anything else that crosses our evolved ape minds. All with a strong finish of humour. May also drink some wine, just to tenuously link to the title.All the great apes are welcome. From Chimpanzees to Gorillas, from Neanderthals to Home-sapiens. Although Home Sapiens is the target audience....


  • Wading your way upright with Algis Kuliukas

    Wading your way upright with Algis Kuliukas

    21/04/2021 Duration: 01h06min

    I first became aware of Algis Kuliukas on twitter. Twitter can be a place where you need to exercise a little caution when it comes to the understanding of prehistory it seems. So when I heard him discussing the wading hypothesis I wanted to know more, but must confess to being a bit sceptic. Was this Pseudoscience? Was I going to hear about how we were all mermaids? I'm no expert of course, but on reflection. I'm going to say no to both. In this episode, Algis explains the wading hypothesis and how perhaps a waterside lifestyle and adaptability led to the evolution of bipedality; his work and phD 'A wading component in the origin of hominid bipedality?' His journey as an academic in human evolution, including his quest to find out why so many of his peers were not giving 'The wading hypothesis' any validity. We also talked about his new book on one of his inspirations, Elaine Morgan, who sounds like an incredibly impressive person and Algis explained some of the counter-arguments to the wading hypothesis.

  • Neanderthals, interbreeding and a world exclusive with Chris Stringer

    Neanderthals, interbreeding and a world exclusive with Chris Stringer

    13/04/2021 Duration: 54min

    In this episode I was totally humbled to be able to talk to such a great guest in the form of Chris Stringer. Chris is the lead in Human Origins and the National History Museum here in the UK, has an extraordinarily comprehensive background in Prehistory and has published more books then I have done podcast episodes. Excitingly, as we were emailing back and forth to arrange a time to record, Chris let slip that a press embargo on some very current and ground breaking research was being lifted that day at 4pm. We recorded at 3, so technically....we had it first! Admittedly it has now been out for a few days now the podcast is being released....but still: A bunch of apes exclusive, revealing how the earliest Homo-sapiens in Europe were breeding with Neanderthals 45000 years ago AND, some strong hints that it may have been a simple case of interbreeding and absorbing the Neanderthal genome in certain areas of Europe that led to their mysterious demise. Before Chris got into this, I spoke to him about his rol

  • The Prehistory Guys - Haribo binges, a total eclipse and dating Denisovans

    The Prehistory Guys - Haribo binges, a total eclipse and dating Denisovans

    04/03/2021 Duration: 01h10min

    The Prehistory guys are Rupert Soskin and Michael Bott. They are the filmakers behind the fantastic film hit 'Standing with stones,' a wonderfully perceptive, well researched and celebratory look around the megaliths of Britain which you can find here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq4xM8TLWc0&t=2917s I was delighted to be able to chat with them about making the film, the podcast and British prehistory. In this episode, we got the dirt on Haribo and Marlboro binges during filming, some amazing moments at Calanais during a full moon and whether they would date another species of hominid. Turns out, they are both well up for it.......I may be paraphrasing.....a lot. I was also lucky enough to discuss Prehistory and how the deep dive often changes the overall picture, how certain pictures and ideas have been unfairly weighted in the past and lots more fascinating stuff from two guys who are now officially heroes and inspirations of mine. You can find out more about The Prehistory Guys here https://theprehis

  • A poorly Darwin and Prehistoric Bunions with Jeremy DeSilva

    A poorly Darwin and Prehistoric Bunions with Jeremy DeSilva

    24/02/2021 Duration: 01h09min

    It's the 150th anniversary of Darwin's descent of man and I was delighted to sit down with Jeremy DeSilva who has recently edited and written the preface for a book entitled 'A most interesting problem: what Darwin's descent of man got right and wrong about human evolution.' The book is a veritable whose who of eminent experts in human prehistory and evolution, with each contributor hand picked to tackle a chapter from The Descent of Man that fits their area of specialism. Jeremy is a Paleoanthropologist from specializing in the locomotion of the first apes (hominoids) and early human ancestors (hominins). He is also a great sport for putting up with many of my ridiculous questions! As always, it was a real pleasure and privilege to talk to and learn from someone with so much knowledge elements of the human story. We discussed the book and his contribution, as well as brief outline of some of the areas where Darwin was spookily on point and others where he let himself down quite a bit. We also spoke abou

  • The Creative Spark with Agustin Fuentes

    The Creative Spark with Agustin Fuentes

    06/01/2021 Duration: 56min

    In a previous episode with Briana Pobiner, she recommended a book called The Creative Spark by Agustin Fuentes. It got it the next day on Audible. It was fantastic. I contacted Agustin and somehow convinced him to talk to me on the podcast. Agustín Fuentes is an American primatologist and biological anthropologist at Princeton University and formerly the chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. He has written several books including the awesome Creative Spark and his most recent work [next on my list] Why we Believe. In this episode we spoke about his work as a primatologist, the incredible and often surprisingly sophisticated social skills of primates and Apes. This conversation escalated to me babbling on about memories of an orangutan fiddling with himself in front of me and my nan....... so we moved on. We discussed The Creative Spark and how it is the imagination, the ability to create something that didn't exist from things that do, that separates us from other spec

  • The evolution of Shame with James Trevor Jackson

    The evolution of Shame with James Trevor Jackson

    14/12/2020 Duration: 01h01min

    In this episode I chatted to James Trevor Jackson, lecturer at the university of technology and applied sciences in Salalah, in Oman. After rather ludicrously getting his name wrong.....not a great start for any podcast host.....and Trevor taking it very well....I had to know more about living and working in Oman. Trevor has lectrued in 7 countries across the world and is currently working on a book entitled 'Shame and Shaming in the Twenty-First Century,' of which the first two chapters are focused on the evolution of shame, with an eye towards how the adaptive trait of feeling shame, as well as shaming others, impacts us today. Trevor discussed his work with me and spoke in fantastic details and depth about the subject of shame related to human evolution. Drawing comparisons with primates and looking at exceptions, looking back into early hominins and the development of human social structures and how shame facilitated some of these developments. It was a really interesting and thought provoking conve

  • Spears and flintknapping with James Dilley of Ancient Craft

    Spears and flintknapping with James Dilley of Ancient Craft

    26/11/2020 Duration: 52min

    In this episode I got to chat with James Dilley, Dr of Archaeology, experimental archaeologist, life long flintknapper, prehistorical tool expert and creator of AncientCraft. Ancient craft provides replica prehistoric artefacts, living history demonstrations, workshops and consultation for museums and media. I have about half the items they sell on my Christmas list! Since I last spoke to him, James has completed his Doctorate in archaeology and we discuss his research into the use of antler as a spear tip by Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals in North west Europe during the late Paleolithic 40000 to 30000 years ago, to prevent breaking spear shafts, at the in Europe when the climate would have made tree's scare and wood precious. I ask him about his journey into flintknapping and the reasons he stuck with, which were not as mystically inciting and grounding as I thought! This lead onto the story of developing AnceintCraft and how he got to now being one of the go to people whenever TV and museums are needing

  • Relaunch Episode 2 - with Bernie Taylor, author of Before Orion

    Relaunch Episode 2 - with Bernie Taylor, author of Before Orion

    17/11/2020 Duration: 01h12min

    In this episode I am joined by Naturalist and Thought Leader Bernie Taylor, author of Before Orion: Finding the face of the hero. Bernie talks to me about his work researching the Altamira caves in Spain, where some of the earliest Homo-sapien cave art has been found. He explains the idea that the stories told in ancient history by the Sumerians and Ancient Greeks, where taken from stories being told tens of thousands of years ago and recorded in places such as Altamira. We discuss the evolution of abstract thought and art in Humans, how this may have impacted our species and the role art or more specifically, Artistic thinkers played in our prehistoric story. Then the conversations takes an intriguing tangent into a discussion on the value of Neuro-diversity in our species. An area that ties in with my full time job supporting Neuro-diverse children and young people and their families. We then tied this into Bernie's work and some ideas around Neuro-types in the past and how today's productivity driven

  • Relaunch Episode 1: Briana Pobiner. Expert in Early Hominin diets

    Relaunch Episode 1: Briana Pobiner. Expert in Early Hominin diets

    12/11/2020 Duration: 49min

    In this first episode of the relaunch, I am joined by Briana Pobiner, research Scientist and Museum Educator at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Briana studied Evolutionary Anthropology and has researched into meat eating developments in early Hominins such as Homo Erectus. She has been on the podcast before and for more information from her regarding her work on the early human diet and meat eating, take a listen to this episode from back in 2018. https://soundcloud.com/bunchofapes/the-evolution-of-the-human-diet-with-briana-pobiner In this new episode, we chatted about how she is finding lockdown and how she keeps busy with remote projects. We took a stroll out of Africa with Homo-erectus and asked did they hunt, store food, where they more like Humans or apes? I found out about Isotopes and how they help us understand early human diets far better then archaeological finds that are difficult to find and analyse from so far back in the past. We clear up some myths that the Human diet is

  • Relaunch: A pre-history podcast!

    Relaunch: A pre-history podcast!

    12/11/2020 Duration: 22min

    Welcome to the Bunch of Apes re:launch! This time with the focus concentrated on Human Pre-History. Hello, I'm the host Sam Harris, a layman with a passion and a bit of chat [or at the least, enthusiasm to chat]. For the Bunch of Apes podcast, I get to meet and chat with some fantastic guests with huge insights and experience in the area of Human Pre History. In this shorter episode, I will tell you about the podcast, some of the guests lined up for the coming weeks and a bit of background as to why I am putting this project together..... in short.....it's totally selfish! I get to learn about a subject I love but came to late in life. I do promise to try and make it entertaining and education for all. Those with a passing interest like me, to those undertaking studies or with their own expertise. We are always looking for more guests so please get in touch bunchofapes@gmail.com Plus you can watch recordings of each show on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rlx3aKLfuNo And find the podcast on i

  • The Evolution of the Human Diet with Briana Pobiner

    The Evolution of the Human Diet with Briana Pobiner

    23/07/2018 Duration: 41min

    Briana Pobiner is a paleoanthropologist whose research centers on the evolution of human diet (with a focus on meat-eating), but has included topics as diverse as human cannibalism and chimpanzee carnivore. She leads the Human Origins project at the Smithsonian in Washington DC and is a total expert in her area. This was an incredibly fascinating episode for anyone into the human story. In this episode we made the most of Briana's expertise to pick her brains about the involvement of eating meat in Human Evolution, host Sam asks if turning Vegan can make you de-evolve....it can't. We learn how scavenging for meat may have been our early ancestors most effective way to survive and how Briana's research led her into following Lions around the plains to see if they had finished their main course. We broke the entire course of Human history into a week and discovered that Homo-Sapiens turned up really late on Sat evening, took the house over and then trashed it. Plus we look at the evidence for people eating ea

  • Old news - with James Dilley

    Old news - with James Dilley

    17/07/2018 Duration: 01h19min

    Recorded a month or so ago, we are joined by Experimental archeologist and stone-age living expert James Dilley to give us a run down of all the top stories from Archeology. Plus, about an hour in, host Sam drags James into a fanciful love story between a human hard up for a same species relationship [played by James], and a young Neanderthal maiden whose a bit of a looker. It gets weird.

  • 23 - Old News March 18

    23 - Old News March 18

    27/03/2018 Duration: 55min

    James Dilley is back to join host Sam Harris for another round up of the latest and biggest headlines from the world of the past. This week, both James and Sam unfortunately pick stories from Chine, leading to some terrible pronunciation attempts and we find out if either of them would drink 2000 year old white liquid. There are some hard hitting questions for James: given Sam's prominent brow ridge and flat nose, does what percentage Neanderthal DNA would he estimate? If he was a lonely homo-sapien who stumbled across an attractive Neanderthal, would he? This leads into a discussion on the idea of inter species breeding in the stone age and plenty more tales and pondering from the world of archaeology and human prehistory.

  • Old News - Feb 2018

    Old News - Feb 2018

    15/02/2018 Duration: 01h10min

    The first in a regular monthly feature in which we cover some of the headlines and news stories about Old stuff! Historical and Archeological finds, news from the past. In this episode Sam Harris is joined again by James Dilley, an experimental archeologist, owner of ancientcrafts.com and someone that has been flint knapping and making prehistoric tools since the age of 10. We discuss, the cheddar man having dark skin, new Iron Age finds in Scotland, a Neolithic site in Windsor, Neanderthal wooden tools and use of fire, the oldest bone found out of Africa and plenty more.

  • 9 - Experimental Archeologist James Dilley

    9 - Experimental Archeologist James Dilley

    04/02/2018 Duration: 51min

    Host Sam Harris finally gets to geek out on one of his obsessions - human pre-history and archeology. His guest is James Dilley, an expert in ancient technology and an experimental archeologist specialising in European ancient history from the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and the Bronze age. In this episode, Sam and James discuss some of his most recent work for his PhD which focuses on the importance of quality shafts [for spear hunting that is], how the 'Paleo diet' would actually work, some incredible new finds and how each one changes much about previous ideas and how this can be a bit of a pain in the arse..... Plus A WORLD EXCLUSIVE!!!! Sam gives an indication of the annual fundraising activity he'll be doing this year.....and this time it's probably going too far.