What is SAPIENS magazine? – SAPIENS



SAPIENS shares the discoveries, ideas and arguments of anthropology with a wide audience. Our goal is to positively change the way people view anthropology by presenting relevant and engaging content about all aspects of the human experience.

AThus, the stories of SAPIENS cover the different fields of anthropology, including archaeology, cultural anthropology, biological anthropology and linguistics. Our articles have explored ancient human species and the politics of the “they” pronoun. The authors exposed Kenya’s killer cops and looked at what can be learned from ancient Native American DNA. SAPIENS also aspires to answer the questions: what is anthropology, and what do anthropologists do?

SSince their launch in January 2016, SAPIENS articles have garnered 20 million reads from people in almost every country in the world. Additionally, our stories are syndicated to Atlantic, Discover magazine, American Scientist, and many other publications. We have built thriving communities on Facebook, Twitterand instagram.

SAPIENS is free and open to anyone with Internet access.

Our staff is committed to the vision of amplifying anthropological knowledge to build a more just and sustainable world. Our mission is to provide reliable and compelling anthropology stories that resonate with diverse audiences.

SAPIENS also provides a place for anthropologists to learn how to engage diverse audiences and a platform to share anthropology worldwide.


Sapiens are you, me and all the humans we know. Basically, Homo sapiens is the name of our species that appeared about 300,000 years ago.

Jhe term H. sapiens is derived from Latin. Homo literally translates to “man” but is meant to include all humans. Sapiens is the present participle of undermine, meaning “to be wise”. Thus, the magazine embraces the triple meaning of SAPIENS: reference to our species, the central subject of the magazine, and to our capacity for wisdom.


IFor the first six years, the magazine’s writers were a mix of anthropologists and journalists who covered the discipline. However, in 2022 the magazine shifted to publishing primarily the work of anthropologists, offering readers the opportunity to hear directly from experts who study what it means to be human.


BBy road, SAPIENS draws on archaeology, human biology, culture and language. The magazine doesn’t just cover one part of being human—it’s about all human.

ExExploring what it means to be human can take readers on a wild ride of topics, issues and corners of the globe. At some point, the focus may shift to examining the double standards of the Ukrainian refugee crisis. The next article might ask if green on COVID-19 maps means what you think it does. Another story could shed light on new information about a possible Ice Age route for Indigenous peoples traveling from Beringia south along the North American coast. Another asks whether evolutionary forces have made deep-voiced men attractive.


JThe main objective of the magazine is to publish articles by anthropologists sharing their research, ideas and insights. However, SAPIENS produces much more than original articles.

Jhe SAPIENS podcast mixes storytelling and interviews with anthropologists from around the world. Teaching SAPIENS provides resources for college professors, including topic summaries, talking points, and discussion questions on topics ranging from human genetic variation to Indigenous archeologies to power and hierarchies. We publish poetry by anthropological poets and have a poet-in-residence program. We also offer webinars, writeshops, and live video Q&A events.


Oe are a publication of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. As a result, the foundation’s endowment provides nearly all of the magazine’s funding. The magazine is published in partnership with the University of Chicago Press.

In addition, SAPIENS occasionally receives grants. To date, the magazine has received awards from the John Templeton Foundation, the United States National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Foundation’s Imago Mundi Fund for the Carolinas.

The magazine’s editorial staff maintains unconditional editorial independence and does not favor research associated with its funding bodies.


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