Humans (Homo sapiens)

Humans are currently the most abundant and widespread of the apes, with increasing populations on every continent save Antarctica, and are by far the most studied of all apes. Approximately 200,000 years old as a species, they shared a common ancestor with bonobos and chimpanzees 4-6 million years ago, and exhibit relatively low genetic diversity. Within that time, humans developed many derived characteristics, including larger brains that allowed them to modify their environment to a much greater extent than other hominids, as well as exhibit greater behavioural plasticity, complex and diverse language, more advanced understanding of and reliance on symbols and tooluse, and increased empathy. Cognitive developments accompanied morphological and physiological divergences, such as bipedalism and upright posture, speech, superior manual dexterity, and inferior muscle performance. Unique reproductive characteristics also emerged, including concealed ovulation, shorter interbirth intervals, menopause, and a much greater prevalence of alloparenting, paternal care/investment, and pair-bonding.

These unusual adaptations have allowed humans to survive in a wider variety of habitats than other extant hominoids - such vastly different ecologies along with their cognitive adaptations led to an enormous array of cultures. The species has undergone rapid change in the past 10,000 years, transitioning from mobile hunter-gatherer to more sedentary property-owning lifestyles, with cultures dominated by plant and animal domestication and the development of increasingly more elaborate tools. This transition accompanied a population boom from a few million individuals to 7 billion, most of that occuring in the last five decades.


The following dataset comprise data on the demography, life history, ontogeny, morphology, energetics, and nutrition of humans in the United States and Japan, as well as the Hadza of Tanzania and the Aymara of the southern Andes. All data describe adults unless noted otherwise. The data are compiled from many different sources, thus compromising the value of both inter- and intraspecific data comparisons. All datasets include a sources sheet; the complete bibliography is also presented on the webpage. Many ape species have not been studied thoroughly and lack data in most areas of interest.

Whole dataset


Bender, A. (1992). Meat and meat products in human nutrition in developing countries. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. [link]

Blurton Jones, N., Smith, L., O’Connell, J., Hawkes, K. & Kamuzora, C. (1992). Demography of the Hadza, an increasing and high density population of Savanna foragers. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 89, 159–81. [link]

Blurton Jones, N., Hawkes, K. & O’Connell, J. (2002). Antiquity of postreproductive life: are there modern impacts on hunter-gatherer postreproductive life spans? American Journal of Human Biology 14, 184–205. [link]

Central Intelligence Agency. Japan. Accessed July 2014. [link]

Coe, M., Cumming, D. & Phillipson, J. (1976). Biomass and production of large African herbivores in relation to rainfall and primary production. Oecologia 22, 341–354. [link]

Crawford, M., Gale, M., Woodford, M. & Casped, N. (1970). Comparative studies on fatty acid composition of wild and domestic meats. International Journal of Biochemistry 1, 295-305. [link]

Crognier, E., Villena, M. & Vargas, E. (2002). Reproduction in high altitude Aymara: physiological stress and fertility planning. Journal of Biosocial Science 34, 463–473. [link]

Dahl, J., Gould, K. & Nadler, R. (1993). Testicle size of orang-utans in relation to body size. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 90, 229–36. [link]

Dugas, L., Harders, R., Merrill, S., Ebersole, K., Shoham, D., Rush, E., Assah, F., Forrester, T., Durazo-Arvizu, R. & Luke, A. (2011). Energy expenditure in adults living in developing compared with industrialized countries: a meta-analysis of doubly labeled water studies. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 93, 427–441. [link]

Espinoza-Navarro, O., Diaz, J., Rodriguez, H. & Moreno, A. (2011). Efectos de la altura sobre patrones antropométricos y fisiológicos en población Aymará y no Aymará entre 18 y 65 años de la provincia de Parinacota, Chile (3.700 msnm). International Journal of Morphology 29, 34–40. [link]

Ferreira, A. & Hoffman, L. (2001). Body and carcass composition of the common duiker. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 31, 63–66.

Fehring, R., Schneider, M. & Raviele, K. (2006). Variability in the phases of the menstrual cycle. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing 35, 376–384. [link]

Fryar, C., Gu, Q. & Ogden, C. (2012). Anthropometric reference data for children and adults: United States, 2007-2010. Vital Health Statistics 11, 1–48. [link] [pdf]

Ganpule, A., Tanaka, S., Ishikawa-Takata, K. & Tabata, I. (2007). Interindividual variability in sleeping metabolic rate in Japanese subjects. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 61, 1256–1261. [link]

Global Mammal Assessment Team 2008. Homo sapiens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. Accessed July 2015. [link]

Group, G. (2014). Supercentenarians. Accessed July 2014. [link]

Gurven, M. & Kaplan, H. (2007). Longevity among hunter-gatherers: a cross cultural examination. Population and Development Review 33, 321–365. [link] [pdf]

Hawkes, K, O’Connell, JF & Jones, B. N. (2001). Hadza meat sharing. Evolution and Human Behavior 22, 113–142. [link]

Hoffman, L. & Ferreira, A. (2004). Chemical composition of two muscles of the common duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 84, 1541–1544. [link]

Hoffman, L. & Wiklund, E. (2006). Game and venison - meat for the modern consumer. Meat Science 74, 197–208. [link]

Hoffman, L. & Sales, J. (2007). Physical and chemical quality characteristics of warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) meat. Livestock Research for Rural Development 19. [link]

Hoffman, Mostert & Laubscher. (2009). Meat quality of kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) and impala (Aepyceros melampus): the effect of gender and age on the fatty acid profile, cholesterol content and sensory characteristics of kudu and impala meat. Meat Science 83, 737–743. [link]

Hoffman, L., Schalkwyk, S. & Muller, N. (2009). Effect of season and gender on the physical and chemical composition of black wildebeest (Connochaetus gnou) meat. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 39. [link]

Hoffman, L. C., Smit, K. & Muller, N. (2010). Chemical characteristics of red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus caama) meat. South African Journal of Animal Science 40, 221–228. [link]

Ishikawa-Takata, K., Tabata, I., Sasaki, S., Rafamantanantsoa, H., Okazaki, H., Okubo, H., Tanaka, S., Yamamoto, S., Shirota, T., Uchida, K., & Murata, M. (2008). Physical activity level in healthy free-living Japanese estimated by doubly labelled water method and International Physical Activity Questionnaire. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 62, 885–91. [link]

Kashiwazaki, H., Dejima, Y., Orias-Rivera, J. & Coward, W. (1995). Energy expenditure determined by the doubly labeled water method in Bolivian Aymara living in a high altitude agropastoral community. American Journal Clinical Nutrition 62, 901–910. [link]

Kato, N., Takimoto, H. & Eto, T. (2012). The regional difference in children’s physical growth between Yaeyama Islands of Okinawa Prefecture and national survey in Japan. Journal of the National Institute of Public Health 61, 448–453. [link] [pdf]

Kim, S., Kashiwazaki, H., Imai, H., Moji, K., Takemoto, T. & Orias-River, J. (1991). Physical growth of Aymara children in a herding community of the Bolivian Altiplano. Journal of Human Ergology 20, 217–228. [link]

Kreider, R. & Ellis, R. (2011). Number, timing, and duration of marriages and divorces: 2009. United States Census Bureau. [link] [pdf]

Lewis, M., Simons, G. & Fennig, C. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Accessed July 2014. [link]

Marlowe, F. (2010). The Hadza: Hunter-gatherers of Tanzania. University of California Press. [link]

Marlowe, F. (2011). Central place provisioning: the Hadza as an example. In Feeding Ecology in Apes and Other Primates, eds. G. Hohmann, M. Robbins, and C. Boesch, pp. 359-377. Cambridge University Press. [link]

Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B., Osterman, M., Curtin, S. & Mathews, T. (2013). Births: final data for 2012. National Vital Statistics Reports 62. [link] [pdf]

Martinez, G., Daniels, K. & Chandra, A. (2012). Fertility of mean and women aged 15-44 years in the United States: National Survey of Family Growth, 2006-2010. National Center for Health Statistics. [link] [pdf]

de Meer, K., Bergman, R., Kusner, J. & Voorhoeve, H. (1993). Differences in physical growth of Aymara and Quechua children living at high altitude in Peru. American journal of Physical Anthropology 90, 59–75. [link]

Mueller, W. H., Murillo, F., Palamino, H., Badzioch, M., Chakraborty, R., Fuerst, P., & Schull, W. (1980). The Aymara of western Bolivia: V. Growth and development in an hypoxic environment. Human Biology 52, 529–546. [link]

Murphy, S., Xu, J. & Kochanek, K. (2013). Deaths: Final Data for 2010. National Center for Health Statistics. [link] [pdf]

Murray, S., Schoeninger, M., Bunn, H., Pickering, T. & Marlett, J. (2001). Nutritional composition of some wild plant foods and honey used by Hadza foragers of Tanzania. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 14, 313. [link] [pdf]

Onyango, Izumimoto & Kutima. (1998). Comparison of some physical and chemical properties of selected game meats. Meat Science 49, 117–25. [link]

Pontzer, H., Raichlen, D., Wood, B., Mabulla, A., Racette, S., & Marlowe, F. (2012). Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity. PLoS ONE 7. [link]

Rubenson, J., Heliams, D., Maloney, S., Withers, P., Lloyd, D. & Fournier, P. Reappraisal of the comparative cost of human locomotion using gait-specific allometric analyses. Journal of Experimental Biology 210, 3513–3524 (2007). [link]

Sasaki, S. (2008). Dietary Reference Intakes in Japan. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 17, 420–444. [link]

Schoeninger, M., Bunn, H., Murray, S. & Marlett, J. (2001). Composition of tubers used by Hadza foragers of Tanzania. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 14, 1525. [link] [pdf]

Sherry, D. & Marlowe, F. (2007). Anthropometric data indicate nutritional homogeneity in Hadza foragers of Tanzania. American Journal of Human Biology 19, 107–18. [link]

Statistics Bureau. (2012). Vital Statistics of Japan. Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. Accessed July 2014. [link]

Stinson, S. (1980). The physical growth of high altitude Bolivian Aymara children. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 52, 377–85. [link]

Thomas, F., Renaud, F., Benefice, E., Meeus, T. & Guegan, J. (2001). International variability of ages at menarche and menopause: patterns and main determinants. Human Biology 73, 271–290. [link]

United States Census Bureau. (2010). Resident Population Data. Accessed July 2014. [link]

United States Census Bureau. (2014). International Data Base. Accessed July 2014. [link]

World Health Organization. (2013). Japan statistics summary (2002-present). Accessed July 2014. [link]

The World Bank. (2013). Japan. Accessed July 2014. [link]

Yamamoto, K., Okazaki, A., Sakamoto, Y. & Funatsu, M. (2009). The relationship between premenstrual symptoms, menstrual pain, irregular menstrual cycles, and psychosocial stress among Japanese college students. Journal of Physiological Anthropology 28, 129–36. [link]