Duke University

On the Hadza and Human Metabolism - Herman Pontzer

Photo credit: Herman Pontzer,  Human Evolution and Energetics Lab  at Duke University

Photo credit: Herman Pontzer, Human Evolution and Energetics Lab at Duke University

The world today is this weird zoo that we’ve built for ourselves. It’s completely divorced from the way that we evolved, and from the lifestyles that our bodies are built for.
— Herman Pontzer

I am so excited to bring you this interview with one of my favorite guests to date: Herman Pontzer, a biological anthropologist at Duke University whose paleontological and biological field work across Eurasia and Africa have upended much of what we in the modern world thought we knew about diet, exercise, metabolism and human health.

Here, Herman reveals what it’s like to live and work with the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania, the paradox of calorie expenditure (hint: you can’t burn off that Shake Shack), and why we as humans must move to survive. (Don’t miss his brilliantly written recent feature for Scientific American, along with this episode!)

here’s the run-down:

  • Growing up in the woods of Pennsylvania and finding his evolutionary calling in college

  • A day in the life of a Hadza hunter-gatherer

  • Why everything we thought we knew about human energy expenditure is wrong

  • The connection between sedentary lifestyles, inflammation and our modern-day epidemic of chronic disease

  • Misinterpretation of scientific studies in the media

  • How humans evolved to require high levels of physical activity

  • Evolutionary mismatch

  • What does the future hold for the human species?

  • How to live a more evolutionarily aligned life

Check out Herman’s work at his Human Evolution and Energetics Lab at Duke University. Read more of his writing in Scientific American and The New York Times. You can also follow him on Twitter.

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan.


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