Sexual Dimorphism in Life History

  • Lynda F. Delph


Life-history theory revolves around the idea that various activities, such as growth, maintenance, and reproduction, compete for limited resources. Hence, current reproduction may lead to a reduction in growth and survival, and consequently a reduction in future reproduction. Gadgil and Bossert (1970) termed this a “cost function” and the phenomenon is now called the “cost of reproduction.” They interpreted life-history differences among species (e.g. age at first reproduction) as being adaptive, in that the particular life history selected for would be the one that maximizes fitness (Gadgil and Bossert 1970). Trivers (1972) and Bell (1980) extended this to comparisons between the sexes of animals, rather than between species, and noted that sex-specific differences in the cost of reproduction would lead to sexual dimorphism in timing of death and age at first reproduction, respectively.


Sexual Dimorphism Reproductive Effort Dioecious Species Dioecious Plant Acer Negundo 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

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  • Lynda F. Delph

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