Henry Malcolm McHenry (born May 19, 1944), PhD, is a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Davis, specializing in studies of human evolution, the origins of bipedality, and paleoanthropology.
McHenry has published on the comparative relationships among primate fossils. His findings have been featured in scholarly journals, and in publications including Science, The New York Times, Discover and National Geographic. McHenry earned bachelor's and master's degrees at UC Davis before earning his Ph.D. at Harvard.
Efficient Walker theory
Attempting to explain the evolutionary advent of bipedalism among hominids, McHenry and Peter Rodman have advanced the Efficient Walker theory, based on energetic analysis. The scientists compared the efficiency of chimpanzees walking on two versus four legs, finding two legged locomotion was far more efficient. They concluded bipedalism was selected simply because it allowed for a further range of travel for hominids. As Miocene forests decreased and hominids were forced into the savannas, the scientists reason, bipedalism enabled greater access to resources.
Study of African ancestors
McHenry travels regularly to Africa to extend his knowledge of human origins, focusing his studies on the fossil remains of australopithecines. The best-known of which are the 3.2-million-year-old remains of 'Lucy', discovered in 1974 by Donald Johanson of the Institute for Human Origins. According to McHenry, "The earlier species (Lucy) is more primitive in its skull and teeth, but has human-like body proportions," whereas "the later species, africanus, with more human-like skull and teeth, has the more ape-like body proportions--big arms, small legs."
McHenry has produced over 130 publications, comprising papers, reviews, and contributions to books.
Among the papers which McHenry has written or contributed to are the following:
- McHenry, Henry M (1968), "Transverse lines in the long bones of California Indians" (PDF), American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 29 (1): 1–17, doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330290110
- McHenry, Henry M (18 May 1973), "Early hominid humerus from East Rudolf, Kenya" (PDF), Science, 180 (4087): 739–741, doi:10.1126/science.180.4087.739
- McHenry, Henry M (24 August 1973), "Australopithecine anatomy. Book review of Early Hominid Posture and Locomotion" (PDF), Science, 181 (4101): 738–739, doi:10.1126/science.181.4101.738
- Henry M. McHenry (1979), "Fore- and Hindlimb Proportions in Plio-Pleistocene Hominids" (PDF), American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 49 (1): 15–22, doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330490104, PMID 98053
- McHenry, Henry M. (October 1982), "The pattern of human evolution: Studies on bipedalism, mastication, and encephalization" (PDF), Annual Review of Anthropology, 11: 151–173, doi:10.1146/annurev.an.11.100182.001055
- McHenry, Henry M (March 1991), "Book review of The Human Career: Human biological and cultural origins" (PDF), Evolution, 45 (2): 465–466, doi:10.2307/2409685, ISSN 0014-3820
- McHenry, Henry M (1996), "Book review of Human Evolution" (PDF), American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 101: 301–302, doi:10.1002/(sici)1096-8644(199610)101:2<301::aid-ajpa14>3.0.co;2-3
- Henry M. McHenry (1997), "Book Review (of): Function, Phylogeny, and Fossils: Miocene Hominoid Evolution and Adaptations" (PDF), International Journal of Primatology, 18 (6): 1053–1056
- Henry M. McHenry; Catherine Coffing (October 2000), "Australopithecus to Homo: Transformations in Body and Mind" (PDF), Annual Review of Anthropology, 29: 125–46, doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.29.1.125
- Henry M. McHenry (2001), "Media Reviews: Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory" (PDF), American Journal of Primatology, 55 (2): 131–132, doi:10.1002/ajp.1045
- McHenry, Henry M (2004), "Book reviews: Origin of human bipedality" (PDF), Evolutionary Anthropology, 13: 116–119, doi:10.1002/evan.20000
- McHenry, Henry M (2005), "Book review of Walking Upright (2003)" (PDF), International Journal of Primatology, 26 (5): 1209–1211, doi:10.1007/s10764-005-6470-4
- Henry M. McHenry; Cassandra C. Brown; Lindsay J. McHenry (2007), "Fossil Hominin Ulnae and the Forelimb of Paranthropus" (PDF), American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 134 (2): 209–218, doi:10.1002/ajpa.20656, PMID 17596856
- McHenry, Henry M.; Cassandra C. Brown (2008), "Side steps: The erratic pattern of hominin postcranial change through time" (PDF), Journal of Human Evolution, 55 (4): 639–651, doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.03.012
Among the books which McHenry has written or contributed to are the following:
- McHenry, Henry M (1991), "Human evolution", in Renato Dulbecco, Encyclopedia of Human Biology (PDF), Vol.3, San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 487–493, ISBN 0-12-226756-7
- Strasser, Elizabeth; John Fleagle; Alfred Rosenberger; and Henry M. McHenry (eds.) (1998), Primate Locomotion: Recent Advances, New York: Plenum Publishing, ISBN 0-306-46022-X Book review
- McHenry, Henry M (2002), "Introduction to the fossil record of human ancestry", in Walter C. Hartwig, In The Primate Fossil Record (PDF), Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, pp. 401–406, ISBN 0-521-66315-6
- Henry M. McHenry (2009), "Human Evolution", in Michael Ruse; Joseph Travis, Evolution: The First Four Billion Years (PDF), pp. 256–280, ISBN 978-0-674-03175-3
- Vaughan, Christopher L (2003), "Theories of bipedal walking: an odyssey" (PDF), Journal of Biomechanics, 36: 513–523, doi:10.1016/S0021-9290(02)00419-0, archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-11-22
- Wood, Trina (9 February 1996), "The Singing Anthropologist", Back from his latest African visit, Henry McHenry has a bone to pick with an old theory about human evolution, UC Davis Dateline
- UCDavis.edu - Henry McHenry's UC Davis homepage
- UCDavis.edu - 'Origin of Bipedality', McHenry, H.M., Annual Review of Anthropology, vol 11, p 151-173 (1982)
- UCDavis.edu - 'Henry McHenry honored for highly evolved teaching', Lisa Klionsky (March 3, 2000)
- UCDavis.edu - 'The singing paleontologist: Back from his latest African visit, Henry McHenry has a bone to pick with an old theory about human evolution', Trina Wood