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By Lawrence J. Severy
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In addition, human fertility is subject to individual control: individuals make choices based on environmental opportunities and constraints; they regulate their behavior to meet certain goals. The choices they face and the goals (preferences) that enter their calculus are socially and culturally influenced. The process is inherently interactive: human action is shaped by, and also shapes, biological, social, cultural and economic resources and constraints. Contemporary examples of this interactive process are easy to evoke.
However, the fact that current genetic endowments of a population will reflect disproportionately the legacy of ancestors who have been most successful in producing reproducing offspring does not mean that the evolved characteristics of the population will assure fitness-maximizing behavior under any and all circumstances. 2 That under modern day circumstances they do not underscores the necessity to examine biological and environmental influences in concert, something that evolutionary approaches take as fundamental.
Page 11 The basic evolutionary biology argument is that because of the action of natural selection, the current distribution of genetically based traits related to fertility will tend towards those that maximized fitness (the number of offspring surviving to reproduce themselves) in prior generations and stages of human history, because those traits that did not would have been selected out. The 'traits' in question include the physical requirements for producing offspring as well as the psychological mechanisms by which people make tradeoffs between current and future reproduction and between the number and quality of children (Kaplan 1996).
Advances in Population 3 by Lawrence J. Severy