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Data from: Parents face quantity-quality tradeoffs between reproduction and investment in offspring in Iceland

Citation

Lynch, Robert Francis (2016), Data from: Parents face quantity-quality tradeoffs between reproduction and investment in offspring in Iceland, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q3nn7

Abstract

How to optimally allocate time, energy and investment in an effort to maximize one's reproductive success is a fundamental problem faced by all organisms. This effort is complicated when the production of each additional offspring dilutes the total resources available for parental investment. Although a quantity–quality trade-off between producing and investing in offspring has long been assumed in evolutionary biology, testing it directly in humans is difficult, partly owing to the long generation time of our species. Using data from an Icelandic genealogy (Íslendingabók) over two centuries, I address this issue and analyse the quantity–quality trade-off in humans. I demonstrate that the primary impact of parents on the fitness of their children is the result of resources and or investment, but not genes. This effect changes significantly across time, in response to environmental conditions. Overall, increasing reproduction has negative fitness consequences on offspring, such that each additional sibling reduces an individual's average lifespan and lifetime reproductive success. This analysis provides insights into the evolutionary conflict between producing and investing in children while also shedding light on some of the causes of the demographic transition.

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