Oskar Burger

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In nature, many different types of complex system form hierarchical, self-similar or fractal-like structures that have evolved to maximize internal efficiency. In this paper, we ask whether hunter-gatherer societies show similar structural properties. We use fractal network theory to analyse the statistical structure of 1189 social groups in 339(More)
This paper assesses selective pressures that shaped primate life histories, with particular attention to the evolution of longer juvenile periods and increased brain sizes. We evaluate the effects of social complexity (as indexed by group size) and foraging complexity (as indexed by percent fruit and seeds in the diet) on the length of the juvenile period,(More)
There persist two widely held but mutually inconsistent views on the evolution of post-fertile lifespan of human females. The first, prevalent within anthropology, sees post-fertile lifespan (PFLS) in the light of adaptive processes, focusing on the social and economic habits of humans that selected for a lengthy PFLS. This view rests on the assumption that(More)
This study investigates the evolution of human growth by analyzing differences in body mass growth trajectories among three populations: the Ache of eastern Paraguay, the US (NHANES, 1999-2000), and captive chimpanzees. The relative growth statistic "A" from the mammalian growth law is allowed to vary with age and proves useful for comparing growth across(More)
The biogeographic expansion of modern humans out of Africa began approximately 50,000 years ago. This expansion resulted in the colonization of most of the land area and habitats throughout the globe and in the replacement of preexisting hominid species. However, such rapid population growth and geographic spread is somewhat unexpected for a large primate(More)
Lifetime reproductive effort (LRE) measures the total amount of metabolized energy diverted to reproduction during the lifespan. LRE captures key components of the life history and is particularly useful for describing and comparing the life histories of different organisms. Given a simple energetic production constraint, LRE is predicted to be similar in(More)
Most work on the human fertility transition has focused on declines in mean fertility. However, understanding changes in the variance of reproductive outcomes can be equally important for evolutionary questions about the heritability of fertility, individual determinants of fertility and changing patterns of reproductive skew. Here, we document how variance(More)
'Demographic transition theory' assumes that fertility decline is irreversible. This commonly held assumption is based on observations of recent and historical reductions in fertility that accompany modernization and declining mortality. The irreversibility assumption, however, is highly suspect from an evolutionary point of view, because demographic traits(More)
Life-history theory posits a fundamental trade-off between number and size of offspring that structures the variability in parental investment across and within species. We investigate this 'quantity-quality' trade-off across primates and present evidence that a similar trade-off is also found across natural-fertility human societies. Restating the classic(More)
Life expectancy is increasing in most countries and has exceeded 80 in several, as low-mortality nations continue to make progress in averting deaths. The health and economic implications of mortality reduction have been given substantial attention, but the observed malleability of human mortality has not been placed in a broad evolutionary context. We(More)