Human Life History Evolution: New Perspectives on Body and Brain Growth

S. N. Austad, C. E. Finch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


As primates, humans differ importantly from the great apes and other species in body, brain, and other life history traits. In these allometric traits, larger species mature later, reproduce more slowly, and live longer compared with smaller species. The mechanisms underlying these relationships remain intriguingly obscure. While hypotheses attributing these relationships to metabolic rates have failed, nonetheless, energetics is likely to play some role in allometric relationships. We explore the novelties of human life histories and examine cell and genomic features of brain development, and the uniquely human APOE allele system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOn Human Nature
Subtitle of host publicationBiology, Psychology, Ethics, Politics, and Religion
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780127999159
ISBN (Print)9780124201903
StatePublished - 2017


  • APOE
  • Allometry
  • Brain evolution
  • Longevity
  • Metabolic rates
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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