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Size-dependent reproductive success in Gambian men : does height or weight matter more ?

By R. Sear

Abstract

Size is an important component of life history analysis, as it is both a determinant and an outcome of life history decisions. Here, we present an investigation of the relationships between two components of size (height and weight) and life history outcomes for men in a rural Gambian population. This population suffered seasonal food shortages and high disease loads, and lacked access to medical care or contraception. We find that there is no relationship between height and mortality among adult men. Tall men also do not have more children than shorter men, though they do contract slightly more marriages than shorter men. Tall men, therefore, do not seem to have higher reproductive success in this Gambian population. Instead, weight (measured by BMI) appears to be a better predictor of life history outcomes, and ultimately reproductive success, in this population. Heavier men have lower mortality rates, contract more marriages and have higher fertility than thinner men

Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1080/19485565.2006.9989125
OAI identifier: oai:dro.dur.ac.uk.OAI2:7620
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