Herman Pontzer

Herman Pontzer

Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology

External address: 
211 Bio Sci Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90383, 130 Science Dr., Durham NC 27703
919668 2543


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

Raichlen, DA, Pontzer, H, and Sockol, MD. "Joint kinetics in chimpanzees and other mammals: Are large bodied primates unique?.": WILEY-LISS, January 1, 2007.

Pontzer, H, Raichlen, DA, and Sockol, MD. "Niche expansion of a cryptic primate, Callimico goeldii, during polyspecific associations.": WILEY-LISS, January 1, 2007.

Raichlen, DA, Pontzer, H, and Sockol, MD. "The energetics of quadrupedal and bipedal locomotion in chimpanzees.": OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, December 1, 2006.

Pontzer, H, Raichlen, DA, and Lieberman, DE. "Is arm swing active or passive during human walking and running?.": OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, December 1, 2006.

Pontzer, H. "Locomotor energetics and ranging ecology of fossil hominids.": WILEY-LISS, January 1, 2006.

Raichlen, DA, Pontzer, H, and Sockol, MD. "Energetics of chimpanzee locomotion: Force production during bipedal and quadrupedal walking.": WILEY-LISS, January 1, 2006.

Pontzer, H. "Linking locomotor energetics to limb design in terrestrial animals." Annual Meeting of the Society-for-Integrative-and-Comparative-Biology. January 4, 2006 - January 8, 2006. Orlando, FL.: OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, December 1, 2005.

Pontzer, H, Lieberman, DE, Momin, EN, Devlin, MJ, Polk, JD, Hallgrimsson, B, and Cooper, DML. "The effect of a "bent-knee" gait on trabecular orientation: an experiment test of Wolff's Law.": WILEY-LISS, January 1, 2005.

Lieberman, DE, Pontzer, H, Cutright-Smith, E, and Raichlen, D. "Why is the human gluteus so maximus?.": WILEY-LISS, January 1, 2005.