Paleophysiology and Ecology of hominins

This line of reserach studies, from an evolutionary point of view, some of the most important physiological processes in the biological history of our species, such as reproduction (pregnancy and lactation), growth, development and metabolism in general. In human populations of the Pleistocene, such physiological mechanisms would have been influenced and limited by ecological factors such as the resources available in ecosystems and the position of humans in the food chain.  

The studies in the fields of experimental energy, applied anthropometry and biomechanics in current human populations enable the configuration of efficacy models to predict the metabolic demands of certain physical activities in accordance with the corporal parameters and physiological states of hominins.

Paleoecophysiology contributes to the biological and ecological study of different species of hominins and of other primates, evaluating energy expenditure based on corporal parameters and different levels of physical activity. Likewise, it characterizes the position of humans in the food chain according to their physiological requirements and on the variation of nutritional resources available in ecosystems. Based on all of these aspects, it is possible to implement quantitative models of the relations between the configurations of food chains and the ecological and physiological limitations of extinct species, contributing to knowledge of human survival strategies in the Pleistocene.

This line of reserarch conductsdifferent works, many of them in collaboration with the line of reserarch on Mammal Paleoecology:

  • Experimental energy and applied anthropometry in current human populations.
  • 3D analysis of human movement, kinanthropometry and ergonomics.
  • Bioenergy of Reproduction in humans and other primates: pregnancy and lactation.
  • Growth and development in humans and other primates.
  • Ecophysiological factors influencing the survival of Paleolithic populations of hunter-gatherers.
  • Characterization of food chains in the European Pleistocene, mathematically simulating their structure and energy flows.
Last updated: 20/04/2022