Anthropology & ISR (RCGD), University of Michigan
Friday 9:15-9:30, Galleria South
Great progress has been made in applying life history theory to a wide range of problems in human biology. Yet fundamental questions remain about the causes of intra- and inter-populational variation in such life history parameters as age at menarche and first birth. To identify the predictors of early maturation and reproduction in the Dogon of Mali, I will use data from a prospective cohort study of 1700 children, most of whom were enrolled in infancy and who are now ages 12 to 19 years. My focus will be on the 600 surviving girls in this data set and will include comparisons of girls who migrated to the city versus girls who remained in rural villages, as well as comparisons of the Dogon to other small scale societies. The median age at menarche in the Dogon data set is 16.89 (95% CI: 16.48 to 17.30) years and the median age at first birth is 19 years. I will discuss pathways through which energetic factors are inextricably tied to immune challenges, mortality schedules, and family structure variables, making it difficult to tease apart energetic and non-energetic influences on life history strategies.
This research was funded by the LSB Leakey Foundation and the NSF SBR–9727229.