Document Detail


Metabolic hypothesis for human altriciality.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22932870     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
The classic anthropological hypothesis known as the "obstetrical dilemma" is a well-known explanation for human altriciality, a condition that has significant implications for human social and behavioral evolution. The hypothesis holds that antagonistic selection for a large neonatal brain and a narrow, bipedal-adapted birth canal poses a problem for childbirth; the hominin "solution" is to truncate gestation, resulting in an altricial neonate. This explanation for human altriciality based on pelvic constraints persists despite data linking human life history to that of other species. Here, we present evidence that challenges the importance of pelvic morphology and mechanics in the evolution of human gestation and altriciality. Instead, our analyses suggest that limits to maternal metabolism are the primary constraints on human gestation length and fetal growth. Although pelvic remodeling and encephalization during hominin evolution contributed to the present parturitional difficulty, there is little evidence that pelvic constraints have altered the timing of birth.
Authors:
Holly M Dunsworth; Anna G Warrener; Terrence Deacon; Peter T Ellison; Herman Pontzer
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2012-08-29
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  109     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2012 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-09-19     Completed Date:  2012-12-10     Revised Date:  2013-07-12    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  15212-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Animals
Anthropology, Physical
Biological Evolution
Biomechanics
Brain / anatomy & histology*
Female
Gestational Age
Gorilla gorilla
Hominidae / anatomy & histology*
Humans
Metabolism
Models, Theoretical
Parturition*
Pelvis / anatomy & histology
Pregnancy
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