by David Waynforth
Fluctuating asymmetry (FA), used as a measure of phenotypic quality, has proven to be a useful predictor of human life-history variation, but nothing is known about its effects in humans living in higher fecundity and mortality conditions, typical before industrialization and the demographic transition. In this research, I analyse data on male life histories for a relatively isolated population in rural Belize. Some of the 56 subjects practise subsistence-level slash-and burn farming, and others are involved in the cash economy. Fecundity levels are quite high in this population, with men over the age of 40 averaging over eight children. Low FA successfully predicted lower morbidity and more o¡spring fathered, and was marginally associated with a lower age at first reproduction and more lifetime sex partners. These results indicate that FA may be important in predicting human performance in fecundity and morbidity in pre-demographic transition conditions.
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Keywords: fluctuating asymmetry; humans; fecundity; income; morbidity; Belize
Suggested APA Reference: Waynforth, D. (1998). Fluctuating asymmetry and human male life-history traits in rural Belize. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 265(1405), 1497-1501.