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Evolution of Human Life Histories

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All of my technical and applied research emerged from longstanding interest in the evolution of human life histories. The principal questions that drive this area of my research include: (1) Why do humans begin reproducing so late, have such low fertility, and live so long? (2) What role has environmental variation played in shaping human life histories? (3) How does biodemographic heterogeneity arise? My work in demography and life history theory ranges from the analysis of life history data from long-term chimpanzee research sites, to theoretical analyses of the impact of stochastic environments on human life histories, to models for the evolution of pair-bonding and biparental care, and has led to my more recent interests in evolutionary economics

Of relevance to my interests in life history theory, I taught a variation of my seminar on life history theory that focused on one classic paper per week. The course materials (including video lectures deriving the key results for each paper) are available on this webpage.

Representative Papers

Jones, J.H. and D.E.L. Promislow. (2021) Commentary on the Life History Special Issue: The Behavioral Sciences Need to Engage More Deeply in Life History Theory. Evolution and Human Behavior. 42(3): 284-286. (doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2021.03.001)

Price, M.H. and J.H. Jones. (2020) Fitness-Maximizers Employ Pessimistic Probability Weighting in Decisions Under Risk. Evolutionary Human Sciences. 2:e28. (doi:10.1017/ehs.2020.28)

Jones, J.H. and S. Tuljapurkar. (2015) Measuring Selective Constraint on Fertility in Human Life Histories. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 112 (29):8982-8986. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1422037112)

Jones, J.H. (2015) Human Life Histories and Resource Transfers. Annual Review of Anthropology. 44: 513-531. (doi:10.1146/annurev-anthro-102214-013938)

Metcalf, C.J.E. and J.H. Jones. (2015) The Evolutionary Dynamics of Timing of Maternal Immunity: Evaluating the Role of Age-Specific Mortality. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 28(2): 493-502. (doi:10.1111/jeb.12583

Jones, J.H. and R.B. Bird. (2014) The Marginal Valuation of Fertility. Evolution and Human Behavior. 35(1): 65-71. (doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.10.002)

Jones, J.H. (2011) Primates and the Evolution of Long-Slow Life Histories. Current Biology. 21(18): R708-R717. (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.025)