Henry McHenry

Henry McHenry

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 is known internationally for his scholarship on comparative relationships among primate fossils, and he is frequently asked to give talks globally. His findings have been featured in numerous scholarly journals, and in major 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. 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.

tudy 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."

Family ventures

McHenry and his wife, Linda, have been members of the nonsectarian Shambhala Meditation Center in Davis since 1985 and co-directors since 1995. His father, Dean E. McHenry, was a respected political scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles in the 1940s and 1950s, the founding Chancellor of the University of California, Santa Cruz from 1961 to 1974, and a coauthor of California Master Plan for Higher Education in 1960.


In 2000, the James H. Meyer Fellows of the UC Davis Foundation awarded McHenry the university's 'Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement'.

External links

* [http://www.anthro.ucdavis.edu/faculty/mchenry/ UCDavis.edu] - Henry McHenry's UC Davis homepage:* [http://www.anthro.ucdavis.edu/faculty/mchenry/bipedal.htm UCDavis.edu] - 'Origin of Bipedality', McHenry, H.M., "Annual Review of Anthropology", vol 11, p 151-173 (1982) :* [http://www-dateline.ucdavis.edu/030300/DL_mchenry.html UCDavis.edu] - 'Henry McHenry honored for highly evolved teaching', Lisa Klionsky (March 3, 2000):* [http://www.dateline.ucdavis.edu/020996/20996no5.html 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
* [http://davisshambhala.org/ DavisShambhala.org] - 'Davis Shambhala Meditation Center'

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