Re: Making sex more difficult

David L Burkhead (
27 Oct 1995 19:50:20 GMT

In article <> writes:
>Might it have been an advantage for a human ancestor to have fewer
>offspring, so that overpopulation did not occur?
>The famines and epidemics in overpopulated parts of Africa spring to

First, if you'll check the actual population densities, you'll
find the numbers involved in these "overpopulated parts of Africa" in
general much lower (people per square km) than in, say, Europe.

However, among "primitive" (I know that's a bad term)
populations, overall population seems to tend toward stability.
Infant mortality is high, death in childbirth is high, life expectancy
is short (although largely a result of those two factors--you can live
to a ripe old age if you avoid those danger zones). Also, among human
populations there are a number of methods of "birth control"
available--chiefly non-coital sexual activity and extended lactation.
There are also cases of infanticide (either conscious or unconscious)
used as a method of population control.

Also, if an individual has a _lower_ reproductive rate then those
about him/her, that individual will be preferentially selected
against. Thus, by definition, lower reproductive rate (other things
being equal) is maladaptive. Of course, other things are almost
_never_ equal.

David L. Burkhead

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