Essay about The Course of Human Evolution

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Human life histories are understood to consist of different levels of factors that contribute to the variation and evolution of human health, and this can be analyzed by categorizing the various lifetime events on a fast-slow continuum (Promislow & Harvey, 1990 as cited in Kaplan, Lancaster, & Robson, 2003). Mammals, for example, are located on the fast end of the continuum and are known to reproduce early, have a shorter period of pregnancy, grow into smaller body sizes, and produce a great amount of offspring that are vulnerable to death. On the other hand, species scattered on the other end of the continuum tend to have characteristic that are opposite to those of mammals (Kaplan et al., 2003). These changing momentums are generally explained by focusing on external forces, such as natural disasters, changing climate, availability of food, population density, and diversity of diseases. In addition, interactions between populations of species can also be considered a contributor to the variation in those populations’ life histories (Kaplan et al., 2003). Moreover, the external forces mentioned earlier may strengthen over a long period of time and that may affect development of the species. However, there is evidence indicating that, even though these factors have benefitted human evolution, resulting in extended lifespans, there appears to be some tradeoffs between the costs and benefits to the species. For example, Shanley and Kirkwood, (2000 as cited in Kaplan et al., 2003) state that, even when there is plenty of food during the later life cycle, when young rats are deprived of needed calories, this correlates with delayed development resulting in diminished adult frames in later life. This essay will focus on the human life...

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...n human evolution, it is essential to understand the main concepts in each theory.

Works Cited

Burger, O., Delong, J.P., & Hamilton, M.J. (2011). Industrial energy use and the human life history. Scientific Reports, 1(56), 1-7.
Hawkes, K., & Blurton Jones, N. (2005). Human age structures, paleodemography, and the grandmother hypothesis. In E. Voland, A. Chasiotis, & W. Schiefenhovel (Eds.), Grandmotherhood: The evolution significance of the second half of female life (pp. 118-140). Rutgers University Press.
Kaplan, H., Lancaster, J., & Robson, A. (2003). Embodied capital and the evolutionary economics of the human lifespan. Population and Development Review, 29, 152-182. Retrieved from
Marlowe, F. (2000). The patriarch hypothesis: An alternative explanation of menopause. Human Nature, 11(1), 27-42.

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