Examining energy and evolution with Herman Pontzer: podcast and transcript – MSNBC

How does the human body take in and use energy? It is a simple question, but one that we still do not have a definitive answer to. This week associate professor of evolutionary anthropology, Herman Pontzer, joins to shed light on these evolutionary mysteries. How did our bodies get to be the way they are? And how do we keep ourselves happy and healthy in the modern world we have built?

Note: This is a rough transcript — please excuse any typos.

CHRIS HAYES: One thing that I got from your work that really blew my mind was the idea that okay, well I know that we have bigger brains than other animals and that’s our special thing, right? But you make the point that there had to be a kind of metabolic miracle. There had to be this jump in our energy processing systems to create essentially the extra brain energy budget necessary to become humans.

HERMAN PONTZER: Yeah, that’s right. So, to be able to fuel all these expensive traits—big brains, big babies, physically active lifestyles, right—

CHRIS HAYES: Big brains and big babies is an amazing way of describing homo sapiens.

Hello, and welcome to “Why Is This Happening?” with me, your host, Chris Hayes. Well, it’s a beautiful day, it’s a beautiful spring day in New York City and I’m vaccinated and a lot of people I know are vaccinated. Spring is always a time when we kind of emerge from