Season 3


The SAPIENS podcast is an editorially independent series supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation in partnership with the University of Chicago Press and produced by House of Pod.


Dr. Chip Colwell is the editor-in-chief of SAPIENS, a co-host of the SAPIENS podcast, and the former senior curator of anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He has authored and edited 12 books, including Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture.

Dr. Jen Shannon is a museum curator and an associate professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a co-host of the SAPIENS podcast. She is the author of Our Lives: Collaboration, Native Voice, and the Making of the National Museum of the American Indian.



A Startling Link Between Neanderthals and COVID-19

Researchers recently announced a discovery that connects Neanderthal DNA and people who experience severe symptoms from COVID-19. Hugo Zeberg, one of the scientists who led the study, speaks with SAPIENS host Chip Colwell. // Listen Now

Moments of Resilience Amid a Pandemic

SAPIENS podcast host Chip Colwell discusses resilience among African American communities with Melanie Adams, of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. // Listen Now

Is the Pandemic Slowing Down Love?

Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and the chief scientific adviser for, sheds light on how COVID-19 has been affecting the search for love online. // Listen Now

When at Home, Bake as the Romans Baked

Experimental archaeologist Farrell Monaco takes pandemic-era baking into the deep past by re-creating ancient Roman bread. // Listen Now

A Vaccine Will Not Be Enough

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep across the globe, biological anthropologist Agustín Fuentes explains how the virus is a “biosocial” phenomenon. // Listen Now

The Problem With Abstract Threats

In this episode, anthropologists consider what the novel coronavirus reveals about how humans negotiate crises that seem too big to be real. // Listen Now

What Pandemics Leave Behind

In Venice, archaeologists have uncovered the dawn of the modern quarantine—and one of our favorite modern myths. // Listen Now

Police Violence and the Pandemic

An interview with anthropologist Laurence Ralph, who wrote The Torture Letters, reveals how legacies of anti-black racism connect to the COVID-19 pandemic. // Listen Now

Could the Coronavirus Pandemic Be Good for the Environment?

Archaeological research into environmental impacts of the Black Death in Eurasia and historic pandemics among Native Americans during European colonization may provide answers to possible impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. // Listen Now

Preppers and the Pandemic

Were preppers more prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic than others? The SAPIENS podcast turns to an anthropologist on the inside of the preppers movement to find out. // Listen Now