Herman Pontzer

Herman Pontzer

Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology

Overview

How did the human body evolve, and how does our species' deep past shape our health and physiology today? Through lab and field research, I investigate the physiology of humans and apes to understand how ecology, lifestyle, diet, and evolutionary history affect metabolism and health. I'm also interested in how ecology and evolution influence musculoskeletal design and physical activity. Field projects focus on small-scale societies, including hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers, in Africa and South America. Lab research focuses on energetics and metabolism, including respirometry and doubly labeled water methods.

Degrees & Credentials

  • Ph.D., Harvard University 2006

Selected Grants

Determining the energetic cost of locomotion in pilot whales and killer whales awarded by Office of Naval Research (Co-Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2024

The Cost of Living: Development & Implementation of a large Global Database of Human Metabolic Physiology awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2021

Raichlen, D. A., et al. “The evolution of the human endurance phenotype.” Routledge Handbook of Sport and Exercise Systems Genetics, 2019, pp. 135–47. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9781315146287-11. Full Text

Bethancourt, Hilary J., et al. “Hydration in relation to water insecurity, heat index, and lactation status in two small-scale populations in hot-humid and hot-arid environments.American Journal of Human Biology : The Official Journal of the Human Biology Council, June 2020, p. e23447. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajhb.23447. Full Text

Raichlen, David A., et al. “Sitting, squatting, and the evolutionary biology of human inactivity.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 117, no. 13, Mar. 2020, pp. 7115–21. Epmc, doi:10.1073/pnas.1911868117. Full Text Open Access Copy

Stoner, Lee, et al. “Fitness and Fatness Are Both Associated with Cardiometabolic Risk in Preadolescents.The Journal of Pediatrics, vol. 217, Feb. 2020, pp. 39-45.e1. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2019.09.076. Full Text

Hora, Martin, et al. “Dehydration and persistence hunting in Homo erectus.Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 138, Jan. 2020, p. 102682. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.102682. Full Text

Swanson, Zane S., and Herman Pontzer. “Water turnover among human populations: Effects of environment and lifestyle.American Journal of Human Biology : The Official Journal of the Human Biology Council, vol. 32, no. 1, Jan. 2020, p. e23365. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajhb.23365. Full Text Open Access Copy

Urlacher, Samuel S., et al. “Constraint and trade-offs regulate energy expenditure during childhood.Science Advances, vol. 5, no. 12, Dec. 2019, p. eaax1065. Epmc, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aax1065. Full Text Open Access Copy

Horiuchi, Masahiro, et al. “Sex differences in respiratory and circulatory cost during hypoxic walking: potential impact on oxygen saturation.Scientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 1, July 2019, p. 9550. Epmc, doi:10.1038/s41598-019-44844-6. Full Text

Pontzer, H. “Step on it.” New Scientist, vol. 242, no. 3234, June 2019, pp. 34–37. Scopus, doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(19)31086-3. Full Text

Thurber, Caitlin, et al. “Extreme events reveal an alimentary limit on sustained maximal human energy expenditure.Science Advances, vol. 5, no. 6, June 2019, p. eaaw0341. Epmc, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aaw0341. Full Text Open Access Copy

Gurven, Michael, et al. “Methodological differences cannot explain associations between health, anthropometrics, and excess resting metabolic rate.American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 169, no. 1, May 2019, pp. 197–98. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajpa.23811. Full Text

Pages

Swanson, Z. S., et al. “The effect of lifestyle variation on health and life history in Daasanach pastoralists of Northern Kenya.” American Journal of Human Biology, vol. 32, WILEY, 2020.

Pontzer, Herman. “High energy apes on a hot planet: the challenge of fueling an increasingly energy hungry hominin.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 171, WILEY, 2020, pp. 221–221.

Hora, Martin, et al. “Effect of gait and velocity on in-vivo tibial loading in humans.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 171, WILEY, 2020, pp. 124–124.

Ford, Leslie B., et al. “Human biology among daasanach pastoralists in northern kenya: Water insecurity, water borrowing, and psychosocial stress.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 171, WILEY, 2020, pp. 88–88.

Kozma, Elaine E., et al. “Climbing and Canopy access in Human Foragers is not limited by Grip Strength or Endurance.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 171, WILEY, 2020, pp. 148–148.

Saunders, Jessica, et al. “Human Biology and the Koobi Fora Field School: New Work with the Daasanach, a Small-Scale Pastoralist Population.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 171, WILEY, 2020, pp. 248–248.

Webb, Nicole M., et al. “How to make a bipedal primate: 1 part phylogeny, 2 parts selection and a pinch of body size.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 171, WILEY, 2020, pp. 303–303.

Rosinger, Asher Y., et al. “Dam health effects: Drinking water salinity is a key risk factor for hypertension and dilute urine among Daasanach pastoralists in Northern Kenya.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 171, WILEY, 2020, pp. 239–239.

Swanson, Zane S., et al. “Distinct early growth trajectory among Daasanach pastoralists of Northern Kenya.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 171, WILEY, 2020, pp. 278–278.

Pages