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Growth rates and life histories in twenty-two small-scale societies†
Article first published online: 21 APR 2006
Copyright © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Human Biology
Volume 18, Issue 3, pages 295–311, May/June 2006
How to Cite
Walker, R., Gurven, M., Hill, K., Migliano, A., Chagnon, N., De Souza, R., Djurovic, G., Hames, R., Hurtado, A. M., Kaplan, H., Kramer, K., Oliver, W. J., Valeggia, C. and Yamauchi, T. (2006), Growth rates and life histories in twenty-two small-scale societies. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 18: 295–311. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.20510
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 JAN 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 15 JAN 2006
- Manuscript Received: 7 OCT 2005
- National Science Foundation
- Leakey Foundation
- Wenner-Gren Foundation
- Evans Fund
- Worts Travelling Scholar Award
- Tweedie Exploration Fellowship
- Crowther-Beyonon Foundation
This study investigates variation in body growth (cross-sectional height and weight velocity) among a sample of 22 small-scale societies. Considerable variation in growth exists among hunter-gatherers that overlaps heavily with growth trajectories present in groups focusing more on horticulture. Intergroup variation tends to track environmental conditions, with societies under more favorable conditions displaying faster growth and earlier puberty. In addition, faster/earlier development in females is correlated with higher mortality. For example, African “Pygmies,” Philippine “Negritos,” and the Hiwi of Venezuela are characterized by relatively fast child-juvenile growth for their adult body size (used as a proxy for energetic availability). In these societies, subadult survival is low, and puberty, menarche, and first reproduction are relatively early (given their adult body size), suggesting selective pressure for accelerated development in the face of higher mortality. In sum, the origin and maintenance of different human ontogenies may require explanations invoking both environmental constraints and selective pressures. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 18:295–311, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.