Skip to main content

Herman Pontzer

Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology
Evolutionary Anthropology


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.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology · 2022 - Present Evolutionary Anthropology, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Director of Graduate Studies of Evolutionary Anthropology · 2023 - Present Evolutionary Anthropology, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Associate Research Professor of Global Health · 2019 - Present Duke Global Health Institute, University Institutes and Centers
Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society · 2020 - Present Duke Science & Society, Initiatives

Education, Training & Certifications

Harvard University · 2006 Ph.D.