Patterns of mortality and age at first reproduction in natural populations of mammals

Nature. 1985 May;315(6017):319-20. doi: 10.1038/315319a0.


There is great variation in the age at which females of different mammalian species first breed. Recent comparative analyses have focused on the relationship between age at first reproduction and body size, but differences in patterns of mortality experienced by natural populations are expected to have major effects on selection for age at first reproduction. Here we show that the age at which females first reproduce is strongly correlated with expectation of life at birth, after the effects of body size have been removed, within and among species of mammals living in natural populations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Mammals / physiology*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Sciuridae / physiology
  • Sexual Maturation*