Life history theory and evolutionary anthropology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

249 Scopus citations


Life‐history theory has been developed in biology to explain the variation in timing of fertility, growth, developmental rates, and death of living organisms, as well as events directly tied to these parameters. The theory is useful in explaining variations in age‐specific human fertility and mortality patterns, as well as understanding how the human life course evolved to patterns so divergent from those that characterize our close primate relatives. Surprisingly, this same theory can also be used to explain why people often ignore the long‐term consequences of behaviors that produce short‐term gain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-88
Number of pages11
JournalEvolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • demography
  • inter‐birth interval
  • life history
  • time trade‐offs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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