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Does extrinsic mortality accelerate the pace of life? A bare-bones approach

Abstract : It is commonly asserted that when extrinsic mortality is high, individuals should invest early in reproduction. This intuition thrives in the literature on life-history theory and human behavior, yet it has been criticized repeatedly on the basis of mathematical models. The intuition is indeed wrong; but a recent theoretical criticism has confused the reason why it is wrong, thereby obscuring earlier and sounder criticisms. In the present article, based on the simplest possible model, we sought to clarify these issues. We confirm earlier findings that extrinsic mortality can affect the evolution of pace of life, not because it leaves little time to reproduce, but through its effects on density-dependent competition. This result highlights the importance of accounting for density-dependence in theoretical models and data analyses. Further, we find little support for the recent claim that the direction of selection on a reaction norm in a variable environment cannot be easily inferred from models made in homogeneous environments. In conclusion, although life-history theory is still imperfect, it has provided simple results that deserve to be understood.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 7, 2020 - 11:18:48 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 10:49:07 AM
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Jean-Baptiste André, François Rousset. Does extrinsic mortality accelerate the pace of life? A bare-bones approach. Evolution and Human Behavior, Elsevier, 2020, 41 (6), pp.486 - 492. ⟨10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2020.03.002⟩. ⟨ijn_03038332⟩



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