The Evolving Female: A Life History Perspective

The Evolving Female: A Life History Perspective

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The Evolving Female: A Life History Perspective by Mary Ellen Morbeck

A human female is born, lives her life, and dies within the space of a few decades, but the shape of her life has been strongly influenced by 50 million years of primate evolution and more than 100 million years of mammalian evolution. How the individual female plays out the stages of her life--from infancy, through the reproductive period, to old age--and how these stages have been formed by a long evolutionary process, is the theme of this collection. Written by leading scholars in fields ranging from evolutionary biology to cultural anthropology, these essays together examine what it means to be female, integrating the life histories of marine mammals, monkeys, apes, and humans. The result is a fascinating inquiry into the similarities among the ways females of different species balance the need for survival with their role in reproduction and mothering.

The Evolving Female offers an outlook integrating life history with an intimate examination of female life paths. Behavior, anatomy and physiology, growth and development, cultural identity of women, the individual, and the society are among the topics investigated. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Linda Fedigan, Kathryn Ono, Joanne Reiter, Barbara Smuts, Mariko Hiraiwa-Hasegawa, Mary McDonald Pavelka, Caroline Pond, Robin McFarland, Silvana Borgognini Tarli and Elena Repetto, Gilda Morelli, Patricia Draper, Catherine Panter-Brick, Virginia J. Vitzthum, Alison Jolly, and Beverly McLeod.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400822065
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 12/09/1996
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 344
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Mary Ellen Morbeck teaches and conducts research at the University of Arizona, Departments of Anthropology and Cell Biology and Anatomy. Alison Galloway and Adrienne L. Zihlman both teach anthropology and conduct research at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Table of Contents

What Is Life History?
1 Life History, the Individual, and Evolution 3
2 Changing Views of Female Life Histories 15
What It Means to Be a Mammal 29
3 Sea Lions, Life History, and Reproduction 34
4 Life History and Reproductive Success of Female Northern Elephant Seals 46
What It Means to Be a Primate 55
5 Social Relationships and Life Histories of Primates 60
6 Development of Sex Differences in Nonhuman Primates 69
7 The Social Life of Female Japanese Monkeys 76
8 Natural History of Apes: Life-History Features in Females and Males 86
What It Means to Be a Catarrhine 107
9 Reading Life History in Teeth, Bones, and Fossils 117
10 The Cost of Reproduction and the Evolution of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis 132
11 The Biological Origins of Adipose Tissue in Humans 147
12 Female Primates: Fat or Fit? 163
What It Means to Be a Human 179
13 Women's Bodies, Women's Lives: An Evolutionary Perspective 185
14 Sex Differences in Human Populations: Change through Time 198
15 Growing Up Female in a Farmer Community and a Forager Community 209
16 Institutional, Evolutionary, and Demographic Contexts of Gender Roles: A Case Study of !Kung Bushmen 220
17 Women's Work and Energetics: A Case Study from Nepal 233
18 Flexibility and Paradox: The Nature of Adaptation in Human Reproduction 242
Life History, Females, and Evolution 261
19 Social Intelligence and Sexual Reproduction: Evolutionary Strategies 262
20 Life History, Females, and Evolution: A Commentary 270
Literature Cited 277
Index 327

What People are Saying About This

A refreshing synthesis of fascinating material. Well-researched and well-written, these essays reflect the most up-to-date thinking in their areas.

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