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

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

Gurven, M, Trumble, B, Stieglitz, J, Cummings, D, Kaplan, H, Blackwell, AD, Yetish, G, and Pontzer, H. "Methodological differences cannot explain associations between health, anthropometrics, and excess resting metabolic rate.(Accepted)" American Journal of Physical Anthropology 169.1 (May 2019): 197-198. (Letter) Full Text

Rosinger, AY, Pontzer, H, Raichlen, DA, Wood, BM, Tanner, SN, and Sands, JM. "Age-related decline in urine concentration may not be universal: Comparative study from the U.S. and two small-scale societies." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 168.4 (April 2019): 705-716. Full Text

Pontzer, H, Wood, BM, and Raichlen, DA. "Hunter-gatherers as models in public health." Obesity Reviews : an Official Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity 19 Suppl 1 (December 2018): 24-35. (Review) Full Text

Pontzer, H. "Method and rationale for recalculating dilution spaces to a single, common time point in doubly labeled water studies." European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72.12 (December 2018): 1620-1624. (Review) Full Text

Pontzer, H. "Energy Constraint as a Novel Mechanism Linking Exercise and Health." Physiology (Bethesda, Md.) 33.6 (November 2018): 384-393. (Review) Full Text

Pontzer, H. "Alternative Energy Physiological evolution in the human lineage." Natural History 126.8 (September 1, 2018): 37-39. (Academic Article)

Gagnon, CM, Steiper, ME, and Pontzer, H. "Elite swimmers do not exhibit a body mass index trade-off across a wide range of event distances." Proceedings. Biological Sciences 285.1882 (July 4, 2018). Full Text

Finestone, EM, Brown, MH, Ross, SR, and Pontzer, H. "Great ape walking kinematics: Implications for hominoid evolution." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 166.1 (May 2018): 43-55. Full Text

Urlacher, SS, Ellison, PT, Sugiyama, LS, Pontzer, H, Eick, G, Liebert, MA, Cepon-Robins, TJ, Gildner, TE, and Snodgrass, JJ. "Tradeoffs between immune function and childhood growth among Amazonian forager-horticulturalists." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115.17 (April 9, 2018): E3914-E3921. Full Text

Kozma, EE, Webb, NM, Harcourt-Smith, WEH, Raichlen, DA, D'Août, K, Brown, MH, Finestone, EM, Ross, SR, Aerts, P, and Pontzer, H. "Hip extensor mechanics and the evolution of walking and climbing capabilities in humans, apes, and fossil hominins." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115.16 (April 2, 2018): 4134-4139. Full Text

Pages

Ocobock, C, Overbeck, A, Carlson, C, Royer, C, Mervenne, A, Thurber, C, Dugas, LR, Carlson, B, and Pontzer, H. "Sustained high levels of physical activity lead to improved performance among "Race Across the USA" athletes." April 2019. Full Text

Kozma, EE, Pontzer, H, Sanz, C, and Morgan, D. "Arboreal Positional Behavior in Humans, Chimpanzees, and Gorillas." 88th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). March 27, 2019 - March 30, 2019. Cleveland, OH.: WILEY, March 1, 2019.

Swanson, ZS, Pontzer, H, Luke, A, Dugas, LR, and Steiper, ME. "The effect of the alpha-actinin 3 (ACTN3) R577X polymorphism and mtDNA on energy expenditure in modern humans." 88th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). March 27, 2019 - March 30, 2019. Cleveland, OH.: WILEY, March 1, 2019.

Sayre, MK, Pontzer, H, Wood, BA, Alexander, GA, and Raichlen, DA. "Influence of physical activity on aging and frailty in human foragers." 88th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). March 27, 2019 - March 30, 2019. Cleveland, OH.: WILEY, March 1, 2019.

Wood, BM, Harris, JA, Vashro, L, Sayre, MK, Raichlen, DA, Pontzer, H, Sancilio, A, Berbesque, JC, Crittenden, AN, Mabulla, AZP, Jones, JH, and Cashdan, E. "Hadza Hunter-Gatherers Exhibit Gender Differences in Space Use and Spatial Cognition Consistent with the Ecology of Male and Female Targeted Foods." 88th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). March 27, 2019 - March 30, 2019. Cleveland, OH.: WILEY, March 1, 2019.

Pontzer, H, Brown, MH, Raichlen, DA, Wood, BM, Luke, A, Dugas, LR, and Ross, SR. "Water throughput in humans and apes.": WILEY, March 1, 2019.

Urlacher, SS, Snodgrass, JJ, Dugas, LR, Madimenos, FC, Sugiyama, LS, and Pontzer, H. "The energetic ecology of childhood: Tradeoffs in energy allocation and the impact of market integration on ontogeny and health.": WILEY, March 1, 2019.

Levy, SB, Sancilio, A, Christopher, L, Madimenos, FC, Urlacher, SS, Snodgrass, JJ, Sugiyama, LS, Pontzer, H, and Bribiescas, RG. "An assessment of urinary triiodothyronine (T3) levels as a biomarker of thyroid hormone action: preliminary data from the Shuar Health and Life History Project.": WILEY, March 1, 2019.

Hora, M, Pontzer, H, and Sladek, V. "Persistence hunting in Levant: Both Neandertals and modern humans could run down a horse." 88th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). March 27, 2019 - March 30, 2019. Cleveland, OH.: WILEY, March 1, 2019.

Machanda, Z, Brazeau, N, Castillo, E, Otarola-Castillo, E, Pontzer, H, Emery Thompson, M, Muller, M, and Wrangham, R. "MUSCULOSKELETAL GROWTH IN WILD CHIMPANZEES WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL BEHAVIOR." 40th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Primatologists. August 25, 2017 - August 28, 2017. Washington, DC.: WILEY, December 1, 2018.

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