Hillard Kaplan is Professor at the University of New Mexico. His recent research and publications have focused on integration of life history theory in biology and human capital theory in economics, with specific emphases on fertility, parental investment, and aging in developed, developing, and traditional settings. He has also conducted fieldwork with native South Americans and southern Africans.
A theory of human life history evolution: Diet, intelligence, and longevity
Article first published online: 16 AUG 2000
Copyright © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews
Volume 9, Issue 4, pages 156–185, 2000
How to Cite
Kaplan, H., Hill, K., Lancaster, J. and Hurtado, A. M. (2000), A theory of human life history evolution: Diet, intelligence, and longevity. Evol. Anthropol., 9: 156–185. doi: 10.1002/1520-6505(2000)9:4<156::AID-EVAN5>3.0.CO;2-7
- Issue published online: 16 AUG 2000
- Article first published online: 16 AUG 2000
Human life histories, as compared to those of other primates and mammals, have at least four distinctive characteristics: an exceptionally long lifespan, an extended period of juvenile dependence, support of reproduction by older post-reproductive individuals, and male support of reproduction through the provisioning of females and their offspring. Another distinctive feature of our species is a large brain, with its associated psychological attributes: increased capacities for learning, cognition, and insight. In this paper, we propose a theory that unites and organizes these observations and generates many theoretical and empirical predictions. We present some tests of those predictions and outline new predictions that can be tested in future research by comparative biologists, archeologists, paleontologists, biological anthropologists, demographers, geneticists, and cultural anthropologists.