David A. Raichlen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School of Anthropology
University of Arizona
Tucson AZ 85721
Office phone: 520-626-4543


Research Interests

Human evolution is marked by two important locomotor transitions. First, a shift to bipedal walking is associated with the origins of the the human lineage. Second, increased aerobic activity levels likely evolved with the adoption of a hunting and gathering lifestyle during the early evolution of our genus. Our lab is interested in how these changes in locomotion and aerobic activity influenced human anatomy, physiology, neurobiology, and life history. In the end, we believe that a full understanding of our evolutionary history will help explain how and why our current, more sedentary lifestyle impacts our physical and mental health.

Our research program has three main components:

1) Reconstructing activity levels during human evolution (evolutionary biomechanics)

2) Linking physical activity to physiology and neurobiology in extant humans and other taxa

3) Exploring energetics and activity levels in extant taxa, including human hunter-gatherers

Tying together these three components allows us to more fully understand how increased aerobic activity levels affected the trajectory of human evolution.

...more about Research

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Lab News

Recent Publications

Raichlen, D.A., Alexander, G.E. (2014) Exercise, APOE genotype, and the evolution of the human lifespan. Trends in Neurosciences. click here for pdf

Raichlen, D.A., Wood, B.M., Gordon, A.D., Mabulla, A.X., Marlowe, F.W., Pontzer, H. (2014)
Evidence of scale-free Lévy walk foraging in human hunter-gatherers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111: 728-733. click here for pdf

Pontzer, H, Suchman, K., Raichlen, D.A., Wood, B.M., Mabulla, A.Z.P., Marlowe, F.W. (2014)
Foot strike patterns and hind limb joint angles during running in Hadza hunter-gatherers. Journal of Sport and Health Science. 3: 95-191. click here for pdf

Shapiro, L.J., Cole, W.G., Young, J.W., Raichlen, D.A., Robinson, S.R., Adolph, K.E. (2014)
Human quadrupeds, primate quadrupedalism, and Uner Tan Syndrome. PLoS ONE. 9: e101758. click here for pdf

Pontzer, H., Raichlen, D.A., Rodman, P.S. (2014) Bipedal and quadrupedal locomotion in chimpanzees. Journal of Human Evolution. 66: 64-82. click here for pdf

Pontzer, H, Raichlen, D.A., Gordon, A.D., Schroepfer-Walker, K.K., Hare, B., O’Neill, M.C., Muldoon, K.M., Dunsworth, H.M., Wood, B.M., Isler, K., Burkart, J., Irwin, M., Shumaker, R.W., Lonsdorf, E.V., Ross, S.R. (2014) Primate energy expenditure and life history. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111: 1433-1437. click here for pdf

Raichlen, D.A.,Polk, J.D. (2013) Linking brains and brawn: exercise and the evolution of human neurobiology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 280: 20122250 click here for pdf

Raichlen, D.A., Foster, A.D., Seillier, A., Giuffrida, A., Gerdeman, G.L. (2013) Exercise-induced endocannabinoid signaling is modulated by intensity. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 113:869-875 click here for pdf

Foster, A.D., Raichlen, D.A., Pontzer, H. (2013) Muscle force production during bent-knee, bent-hip walking in humans. Journal of Human Evolution. 65:294-302 click here for pdf

Raichlen, D.A., Pontzer, H., Shapiro, L.J. (2013) A new look at the Dynamic Similarity Hypothesis: the importance of swing phase. Biology Open. click here for pdf

Barak, M.M., Lieberman, D.E., Raichlen, D.A., Pontzer, H., Warrener, A.G., Hublin, J.J. (2013) Trabecular evidence for a human-like gait in Australopithecus africanus. PLoS ONE. 8: e77687 click here for pdf

Raichlen, D.A.,Foster, A.D., Gerdeman, G.L., Seillier, A., Giuffrida, A. (2012) Wired to run: exercise-induced endocannabinoid signaling in humans and cursorial mammals with implications for the 'runner's high'. Journal of Experimental Biology. 215:1331-1336.

Pontzer, H. Raichlen, D.A., Wood, B.M., Mabulla, A.X., Racette, S.B., Marlowe, F.W. (2012) Hunter-gatherer energetics and human obesity. PLoS ONE. 7:e40503.

Raichlen, D.A., Gordon, A.D. (2011) Relationship between exercise capacity and brain size in mammals.  PLoS ONE. 6: e20601.

Raichlen, D.A., Gordon, A.D., Sechrest, W. (2011) Bioenergetic constraints on primate abundance. International Journal of Primatology. 32: 118-133.

Raichlen, D.A., Armstrong, H., Lieberman, D.E. (2011) Calcaneus length determines running
economy: Implications for endurance running performance in modern humans and Neandertals. Journal of Human Evolution. 60: 299-308.

...more Publications