Daniel E. Lieberman

Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology

Phone: 617-495-5479
Office: Peabody Museum 53, 11 Divinity Ave
Email Address:

Lab Website: http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~skeleton/index.html/

I study how and why the human body looks the way it does. Much of my research focuses on the unusual nature of the human head. Unlike other mammals, we have very large brains, nearly balanced heads with short vertical necks that attach near the center of the skull's base, no snouts, external noses, small teeth, short round tongues, a descended larynx, and tiny faces that are tucked almost beneath the frontal lobes. In addition, I also study how and why human body below the neck is also unusual in several respects related to locomotion. I am interested in when, how and why early hominins became bipeds, and am especially interested in how, when and why humans became so exceptional as long distance endurance runners. In all these endeavors, my lab uses both experimental and comparative methods to examine how morphological features important in human evolution grow and develop, how they function, and how their function affects performance. .

Recent Publications

Lieberman DE, Carlo J, Ponce de Leon M, Zollikofer CP (2007) A geometric morphometric analysis of heterochrony in the cranium of chimpanzees and bonobos. Journal of Human Evolution 52:647-62.

Hallgrimsson B, Lieberman, DE, Lie W, Ford-Hutchinson AF, Jirik FR (2007) Epigenetic interactions and the structure of phenotypic variation in the cranium. Evolution and Development 9:76-91

Lieberman DE, Hall BK (2007) The evolutionary developmental biology of tinkering. Novartis Foundation Symposium 284:1-19.

Lieberman DE., Raichlen DA. Pontzer H, Brambl D, Cutright-Smith E. (2006) The human gluteus maximus and its role in running. Journal of experimental Biology 52:647-62.

Bramble D.M., Lieberman D.E. (2004) Endurance Running and the Evolution of Homo. Nature 432:345-352.

See complete publications list. >>

Courses Taught

Life Sciences 2: Evolutionary Human Physiology and Anatomy

OEB 121a: Population Genetics

HEB 252: Human Anatomy

Science B-27: Human Evolution


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