Endocrinology, energetics, and human life history: A synthetic model

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Abstract

Human life histories are shaped by the allocation of metabolic energy to competing physiological domains. A model framework of the pathways of energy allocation is described and hormonal regulators of allocation along the pathways of the framework are discussed in the light of evidence from field studies of the endocrinology of human energetics. The framework is then used to generate simple models of two important life history transitions in humans, puberty and the postpartum return to full fecundity in females. The results of the models correspond very closely to observations made in the field.

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