Periodic catastrophes over human evolutionary history are necessary to explain the forager population paradox

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Vol/Iss. 116(26) PNAS Published In Pages: 12758-12766
By Gurven, Michael D., Davison, Raziel J.


Through altering mean vital rates (both fertility and mortality) it would be possible to adjust the current rapid growth of contemporary human forager groups to achieve ZPG (zero population growth) p. 12761.


Fertility would have to be below four births for most populations, unusually low for natural fertility populations without prevalent sterility. Mortality would have to be increased substantially (by 68% yielding e0 = 22, on average, and e0 < 20 for fast-growing populations), well below that of any observed human population, past or present. p. 12761


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Population GrowthDependentPopulation
Mean vital rates (fertility/mortality)IndependentBirth Statistics, Mortality