Evol Ecol Res 3: 611-632 (2001)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Evolution of mammal life histories

Eric L. Charnov

Department of Biology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-1091, USA


If we assume that adult life span and age-at-maturity are described correctly by quarter power allometries across (typical) mammal species, we are tempted to look for some fundamental explanation. The explanation must acknowledge that within-species growth is sigmoid and not a power function at all, and that natural selection probably sets the age at maturity in the face of externally imposed mortality, while also allowing some mortality adjustment due to internal factors. This paper develops hypotheses to account for the above scaling rules and it predicts the numeric values of several new dimensionless numbers that interrelate growth, mortality and investment in cellular maintenance.

Keywords: allometry, dimensionless life histories, scaling rules, stationary populations.

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        © 2001 Eric L. Charnov. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

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