Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Flexibility in reproductive timing in human females: integrating ultimate and proximate explanations

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Daniel Nettle


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


From an ultimate perspective, the age of onset of female reproduction should be sensitive to variation in mortality rates, and variation in the productivity of non-reproductive activities. In accordance with this prediction, most of the cross-national variation in women's age at first birth can be explained by differences in female life expectancies and incomes. The within-country variation in England shows a similar pattern: women have children younger in neighbourhoods where the expectation of healthy life is shorter and incomes are lower. I consider the proximate mechanisms likely to be involved in producing locally appropriate reproductive decisions. There is evidence suggesting that developmental induction, social learning and contextual evocation may all play a role.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nettle D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences

Year: 2011

Volume: 366

Issue: 1563

Pages: 357-365

Print publication date: 01/02/2011

ISSN (print): 0962-8452

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2954

Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing


DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0073


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Find at Newcastle University icon    Link to this publication