Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


Harvard Professor to Speak at Southwestern Nov. 29

  • News Image
    Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman published the first article suggesting that one of the key components to human evolution was distance running. (Photo by Jim Harrison)

Daniel Lieberman is one of the experts in the ‘barefoot running debate’

Daniel Lieberman, an evolutionary human biologist from Harvard University, will deliver Southwestern University’s 2012 Fleming Lecture in Science on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 4 p.m. in Olin 105. Lieberman’s talk is titled “An Evolutionary Perspective on Why Exercise Really is Medicine.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

Lieberman is a professor in the Department Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He is an alumnus of Harvard (AB, MA, Ph.D.) and Cambridge University (M. Phil.). He currently teaches undergraduate courses in Evolutionary Physiology, Human Evolution and the Human Body, and Advanced Structure and Physiology of Vertebrates.

Lieberman’s research combines experimental biology and paleontology to explore his interest in the look and function of the human body. “An evolutionary approach to human anatomy and physiology not only helps us to understand better why humans are the way they are, but also helps provide key insights on how to prevent many kinds of illnesses and injuries,” he says.

Lieberman is especially interested in the unusual nature of the human head, locomotion, and his lab “employs a host of experimental and comparative methods to examine how key human features grow and develop, how they function, how their function affects performance, and how and when they evolved.”

He also has been closely involved in bipedal walking and the “barefoot running debate.” In his Skeletal Biology Lab, he and his colleagues have been researching the biology and evolution of endurance running. They do so by comparing habitually barefoot runners with runners who run in modern running shoes with built-up heels, stiff soles and arch support. He also loves to run himself.

Lieberman has written three books and has published more than 100 original research articles. He published the first article suggesting that one of the key components to human evolution was distance running.

For more information about Lieberman and his research, visit or

−LeLoni Brown