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Biological Anthropology Lab Human Population Michelle Y. Merrill, Ph.D.

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Ernst Mayr Summarizes Darwin’s Argument for Evolution via Natural Selection Fact #1: organisms reproduce exponentially Fact #2: population size generally constant Fact #3: resources limited Inference #1: The Struggle for Existence Fact #4: organisms vary Fact #5: variation heritable Inference #2: non-random survival and reproduction Inference #3: accumulation of favorable characteristics adaptation

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How to be a human?

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Fact #1: All organisms could increase population exponentially. “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” -Albert A. Bartlett, Physicist 7% annual growth = doubles every decade! Growth rate ’95-’00 = 1.37% ’00-’05 = 1.24% ’05-’10 = 1.17% (~198,000 years)

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Which would you rather? $1,000, right now OR A penny today, that would double every day for a month Day 2: $0.02 Day 3: $0.04 Day 4: $0.08 Day 5: $0.16 … Day 30: $5,368, That’s the POWER of exponential growth!

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Exponential Population Growth 19 Children 361 Grandchildren 6,859 Great-grandchildren 130,321 Great-great-grandchildren 2,476,099 – 5th generation 47,045,881 – 6th generation 893,871,739 – 7th generation 16,983,563,041 – 8th generation Duggar Family, Arkansas “19 Kids and Counting” At the Duggar’s reproductive rate, how many generations would it take for the Duggar population to exceed Earth’s present population?

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The Lily Pond Parable The Lily Pond Parable If a pond lily doubles every day, and it takes 30 days to completely cover a pond If a pond lily doubles every day, and it takes 30 days to completely cover a pond… At what point would preventative action become necessary to prevent unpleasant events? At what point would preventative action become necessary to prevent unpleasant events? On what day will the pond be 1/2 covered? On what day will the pond be 1/2 covered? 1/4 covered? 1/4 covered? How much would it help if we could double the size of the pond? How much would it help if we could double the size of the pond? With respect to human population and environmental degradation, what corresponding day is it for the world? With respect to human population and environmental degradation, what corresponding day is it for the world? Adapted from

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Population Growth Rates by country, 2006

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Population Growth Explained with Ikea Boxes

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