11. april 2019

Marc Klemp: Those with moderate fecundity has been given an evolutionary upper hand

In a study of 200 years of pre-industrial French-Canadian genealogical history, Marc Klemp and Oded Galor found that fertility-related changes in natural selection during the pre-industrial era paved the way for economic and technological progress.

Marc Klemp is assistant professor at UCPH and at the moment a visiting scholar at Brown University. Together with professor Oded Galor he has studied genealogical records from Quebec’s Saint Lawrence Valley dating from 1608 to 1800. Focusing on changes in families’ fecundity or predisposition toward fertility, they found that in those centuries, those who were able to conceive a child shortly after marriage—a measure of fecundity—had more surviving children.

However, those who had more moderate fecundity and thus fewer children had a larger number of surviving descendants in future generations, giving them the evolutionary upper hand.

Their results are published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. And you can read a popularized article on the findings at The World Economic Forum webpage.