Life History Theory

Phillip S. Kavanagh, Bianca L. Kahl

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


A theory based on biological evolution that explains variations in organisms’ developmental and reproductive strategies in the context of environment pressures and available resources.

The core premises of Darwinian evolution are survival and reproduction (Darwin 1859); and biological organisms need energy to achieve these goals. All life requires capturing and allocating energy; however, this energy is limited and comes at a cost – organisms cannot expend unlimited resources, maximizing all life domains simultaneously. Organisms must live within their restricted energy budgets, mandating tradeoffs to ensure they do not allocate more resources to a particular domain than are available. Selection favors strategies for allocating resources on the basis that they result in the greatest evolutionary fitness for the organism, respective of their environmental
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science
EditorsViviana Weekes-Shackelford, Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford
Place of PublicationNetherlands
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783319169996
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2016

Publication series

NameEncyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science


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