The fitness of twin mothers: evidence from rural Gambia


Sear, R; Mace, R; Shanley, D; McGregor, IA; (2001) The fitness of twin mothers: evidence from rural Gambia. Journal of evolutionary biology, 14. pp. 433-443. ISSN 1010-061X DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1420-9101.2001.00287.x

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Abstract

We used a longitudinal database from a natural fertility population in rural Gambia to compare the overall fertility of mothers who had given birth to twins at some point in their reproductive history and mothers who had only ever given birth to singletons. We found that twin mothers had shorter birth intervals, higher age-speci®c fertility and more surviving children than singleton mothers. This suggests that, despite the considerably higher mortality of twins found in this population, twin mothers have a ®tness advantage over singleton mothers, even in the absence of modern medical care. We ran a simple simulation model to estimate the relative ®tness of twin and singleton mothers, and found that the model also estimated higher ®tness for twin mothers. Further, girls who went on to become twin mothers were of higher anthropometric status during their teenage years than those who became singleton mothers.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Population Studies (1974-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Research Centre: Population Studies Group
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/20992

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