The Evolution of Human Physical Activity

Event Dates: 
May 15, 2020 -
1:00pm to 5:30pm
Event Chairs:

Tatum Simonson, UC San Diego School of Medicine
Dan Lieberman, Harvard University

Live Symposium Webcast:

Access to the live webcast for this symposium will be provided here on Friday, May 15 starting at 1:00 PM (Pacific Time). Viewers will need to be logged into their user account to gain access, but are not required to register for this symposium.

Exercise is well known to provide many health benefits, and human physical activities differ significantly from other species. Although hunter-gatherers sometimes climb and fight, they also walk long distances bipedally (the topic of a previous CARTA symposium) as well as run, dig, throw, carry and more. How, when and why did these capabilities evolve? What genetic, physiological and anatomical adaptations underlie them? And how did the evolution of human physical activity affect other key human characteristics such as enlarged brains, high-quality diets, extended life-history strategies, gene-culture co-evolution and high levels of cooperation? To address these and other related questions, this symposium will integrate research on genetics, biomechanics, physiology, neurobiology and behavior. Because more and more humans today are primarily sedentary, we will also explore implications of the evolution of human physical activity for contemporary health and disease.​

Event Sessions

Date Session Title Speakers
Fri 5/15 Evolutionary Genetics of the Human Athletic Phenotype Ellen Breen, UC San Diego
Fri 5/15 Upper Limbs in Throwing and Fighting David Carrier, University of Utah
Fri 5/15 Physical Activity and Energy Allocation Grazyna Jasienska, Jagiellonian University Collegium Medicum
Fri 5/15 Evolution of Human Thermoregulation Yana Kamberov, University of Pennsylvania
Fri 5/15 The Evolution of Walking and Running Dan Lieberman, Harvard University
Fri 5/15 The Evolution of Human Exercise Metabolism Herman Pontzer, Hunter College CUNY
Fri 5/15 Neurological Adaptations for and Responses to Exercise David Raichlen, University of Arizona
Fri 5/15 Human Adaptation to High Altitudes and Aquatic Environments Tatum Simonson, UC San Diego School of Medicine

Registration Deadline: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 1:00 PM

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