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


Research Interests

Our lab is focused on understanding how humans' unique evolutionary history explains modern human physiological variation and how we can use an evolutionary context to improve health and well-being today. Specifically, we believe a shift towards high levels of physical activity during our tansition to hunting and gathering in the past led to a physiological requirement for physical activity to maintain the health of organ systems from our brains, to our cardiovascular system, to our musculoskeletal system. While we explore the links between human evolution, physical activity, and health across the lifespan, we believe this perspective can play a major role in preventing and managing diseases that occur late in life. In the end, a full understanding of our evolutionary history will help explain how and why our current, more sedentary lifestyle impacts our physical and mental health, and how we can use this evolutionary context to improve well-being today.

Our research program has three main components:

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

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

3) Linking the evolution of high physical activity levels to physiology, neurobiology, and health in extant humans

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

...click here for current CV

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