Daniel Lieberman

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Daniel Eric Lieberman
Lieberman speaks at Ancestral Health Symposium 2012
Born (1964-06-03) June 3, 1964 (age 59)
Alma materHarvard University (BA, MA, PhD)
Known forHuman evolution
Scientific career
FieldsBiologist, anthropologist
InstitutionsRutgers University
George Washington University
Harvard University

Daniel E. Lieberman (born June 3, 1964) is a paleoanthropologist at Harvard University, where he is the Edwin M Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. He is best known for his research on the evolution of the human head[1] and the human body.[2]


Lieberman was educated at Harvard University, where he got his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. He also received a M. Phil from Cambridge University.[3] He was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and taught at Rutgers University and the George Washington University before becoming a professor at Harvard University in 2001.

Director of the Skeletal Biology Laboratory at Harvard, Lieberman is on the curatorial board of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, a member of the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard, and the Scientific Executive Committee of the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation.

Honors and awards[edit]


Lieberman studies how and why the human body is the way it is, with a primary focus on the evolution of physical activity[2] His research combines paleontology, anatomy, physiology and experimental biomechanics in the lab and in the field. In his career, he initially focused to a large extent on why and how humans have such unusual heads.[1] Since 2004 most of his research has focused on the evolution of human locomotion including whether the first hominins were bipeds,[4] why bipedalism evolved,[5] the biomechanical challenges of pregnancy in females,[6] how locomotion affects skeletal function[7] and, most especially, the evolution of running. His 2004 paper with Dennis Bramble, “Endurance Running and the Evolution of Homo”[8] proposed that humans evolved to run long distances to scavenge and hunt. His research on running in general, especially barefoot running[9][10] was popularized in Chris McDougall's best-selling book Born to Run.[11] Lieberman is an avid marathon runner, often barefoot, which has earned him the nickname 'The Barefoot Professor'.[12]



  • The Evolution of the Human Head. Harvard University Press. 2011. ISBN 9780674046368.
  • The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease. Pantheon Press. 2013. ISBN 9780307741806.
  • Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding. Pantheon Press. 2021. ISBN 9781524746988.


  • Condie, Bill (Feb–Mar 2014). "The story of the human body". Coda. Cosmos. Review. 55: 106–107.


  1. ^ a b Lieberman, Daniel E (2011). The Evolution of the Human Head. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674046368.
  2. ^ a b Lieberman, Daniel E (2013). The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, Disease. New York, NY, USA: Pantheon. ISBN 978-0-307-37941-2.
  3. ^ "CURRICULUM VITAE : Daniel Eric Lieberman" (DOC). Scholar.harvard.edu. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  4. ^ Zollikofer, C. P. E.; Ponce De León, M. S.; Lieberman, D. E.; Guy, F.; Pilbeam, D.; Likius, A.; MacKaye, H. T.; Vignaud, P.; Brunet, M. (2005). "Virtual cranial reconstruction of Sahelanthropus tchadensis" (PDF). Nature. 434 (7034): 755–759. Bibcode:2005Natur.434..755Z. doi:10.1038/nature03397. PMID 15815628. S2CID 4362525.
  5. ^ Lieberman, Daniel E (2010). Jonathann B Losos (ed.). Four legs good, two legs fortuitous: Brains, brawn and the evolution of human bipedalism in In the Light of Evolution. Greenwood Village, CO, USA: Roberts and Company. pp. 55–71.
  6. ^ Whitcome, K. K.; Shapiro, L. J.; Lieberman, D. E. (2007). "Fetal load and the evolution of lumbar lordosis in bipedal hominins" (PDF). Nature. 450 (7172): 1075–1078. Bibcode:2007Natur.450.1075W. doi:10.1038/nature06342. PMID 18075592. S2CID 10158.
  7. ^ Lieberman, D. E.; Pearson, O. M.; Polk, J. D.; Demes, B.; Crompton, A. W. (2003). "Optimization of bone growth and remodeling in response to loading in tapered mammalian limbs". The Journal of Experimental Biology. 206 (Pt 18): 3125–3138. doi:10.1242/jeb.00514. PMID 12909694.
  8. ^ Bramble, D. M.; Lieberman, D. E. (2004). "Endurance running and the evolution of Homo" (PDF). Nature. 432 (7015): 345–352. Bibcode:2004Natur.432..345B. doi:10.1038/nature03052. PMID 15549097. S2CID 2470602.
  9. ^ Lieberman, D. E.; Venkadesan, M.; Werbel, W. A.; Daoud, A. I.; d'Andrea, S.; Davis, I. S.; Mang'Eni, R. O.; Pitsiladis, Y. (2010). "Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners". Nature. 463 (7280): 531–535. Bibcode:2010Natur.463..531L. doi:10.1038/nature08723. PMID 20111000. S2CID 216420.
  10. ^ Lieberman, D. E. (2012). "What We Can Learn About Running from Barefoot Running". Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. 40 (2): 63–72. doi:10.1097/JES.0b013e31824ab210. PMID 22257937. S2CID 16480403.
  11. ^ McDougall, Christopher (2009). Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. Knopf. pp. 304. ISBN 978-0-307-26630-9.
  12. ^ "Barefoot Professor". Nature. Retrieved 25 September 2013.

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