Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Disposable Soma Theory

  • Lukas Sotola
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2367-1

Synonyms

Definition

Organisms must devote limited resources either to produce more offspring or to live longer. Evolutionarily, it is beneficial to sacrifice the latter for the sake of the former.

Introduction

Senescence is the decrease in an organism’s ability to reproduce and the increase in the chances it will die as it ages. Explaining why senescence evolved at all has long been an issue for evolutionary theory, because any decrease in an organism’s ability to reproduce should be selected against, and senescence – which always ends in death – completely eliminates reproductive potential and occurs in all organisms. Disposable soma theory (DST) was first proposed by Kirkwood (1977) as an evolutionary explanation for this. It posits that a trade-off between reproductive fitness (i.e., an organism’s ability to produce offspring) and longevity (i.e., the number of years an organism lives) is what causes...

Keywords

Life Span Tissue Defect Average Life Expectancy Additional Child Reproductive Fitness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Bonduriansky, R., Maklakov, A., Zajtschek, F., & Brooks, R. (2008). Sexual selection, sexual conflict and the evolution of ageing and life span. Functional Ecology, 22, 443–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chereji, E., Gatz, M., Pedersen, N. L., & Prescott, C. A. (2012). Reexamining the association between fertility and longevity: Testing the disposable soma theory in a modern human sample of twins. Journals of Gerontological Science Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 68(5), 499–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Del Giudice, M., Gangestad, S.W., & Kaplan, H. (2015). Life history theory and evolutionary psychology In The handbook of evolutionary psychology (pp. 88–114). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Gavrilova, N.S., & Gavrilov, L.A. (2005). Human longevity and reproduction. In Grandmotherhood: The evolutionary significance of the second half of female life (pp. 59–80). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Kirkwood, T. B. L. (1977). Evolution of ageing. Nature, 270(5635), 301–304.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Kirkwood, T. B. L., & Rose, M. R. (1991). Late survival sacrificed for reproduction. Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, 332(1262), 15–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Nussey, D. H., Kruuk, L. E. B., Donald, A., Fowlie, M., & Clutton-Brock, T. H. (2006). The rate of senescence in maternal performance increases with early-life fecundity in red deer. Ecology Letters, 9, 1342–1350.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Shokhirev, M. N., & Johnson, A. A. (2014). Effects of extrinsic mortality on the evolution of aging: A stochastic modeling approach. Plos One, 9(1), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Travers, L. M., Garcia-Gonzalez, F., & Simmons, L. W. (2015). Live fast die young life history in females: Evolutionary trade-off between early life mating and lifespan in female Drosophila melanogaster. Nature, 5(15469), 1–7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Illinois UniversityMacombUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Curtis Dunkel
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Illinois UniversityMacombUSA