Evol Ecol Res 13: 553-555 (2011)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Body size is the history of life: growth confronting landscapes of death

Eric L. Charnov

Department of Biology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Correspondence: E.L. Charnov, Department of Biology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131–0001, USA.
e-mail: rlc@unm.edu


Question: How can we best understand adult body sizes (Mα) both in the present and in the past?

Methods: Maximization of an individual’s Darwinian fitness (R0) for an individual production (growth) function dM/dT = A · M 0.67 and external sources of death (Z) in the setting of Mα.

Conclusions: The body size at maturity (Mα) favoured by natural selection is always of the form M α1/3 ∝ [A/Zα]. This equation is central to understanding the distribution and fluxes of Mα in space and time because it links adult size to the externally imposed mortality rate (Z) combined with the growth function.

Keywords: body size, fossil record, macroecology, macroevolution, mortality-external source.

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