Anthropological Sciences 155: Demography and Life History Theory

Instructor: James Holland Jones


Problems in life history theory and evolutionary demography applied to the human life cycle. The class will emphasize developing an understanding the classical models of life history theory and their relevance for understanding human evolution. Special emphasis will be placed on assumptions of the classical models are violated by empirical patterns of the human life cycle. In particular, we will focus on complications with classical theory introduced by age-structure. Topics include continuous and discrete time population models for age-structured populations, scaling and allometry, the evolution of reproductive effort in constant and variable environments, the evolution of clutch size and quality/quantity trade-offs more generally, state-dependent life history tactics, models of somatic growth, senescence, the evolution of childhood, and post-reproductive survival. Prerequisites: HUMBIO 137 or consent of instructor. (HEF III, V) (DA-C)


The majority of readings for this class are available online in electronic format. Links to these papers are provided in the syllabus.


This restricted directory holds the various hand-outs (e.g., lecture notes, supplementary readings, etc.) that we will accumulate throughout the quarter.

R Code, Data, etc.

Most of the calculations and figures that I use in lecture are done using the R statistical programming language. While the use of R is not required for this course, I will post the code that I use for those who are interested.


This page contains pointers to resources for better understanding the mathematics we use in the course, software, and books relevant to the material. Maybe other stuff too if I can think of it...

Last Modified: 09.22.08