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Adaptive Variability in Women's Reproductive Functioning


Evolutionary theory has been applied to women's reproductive functioning to link reproduction and successful adaptation in humans. However, like any organism, humans face limited resources which may require trade-offs in reproductive choices. These projects study how women's reproductive efforts may be modulated seasonally or cyclically in response to environmental fluctuations.


Vitzthum, V. J., Thornburg, J., and Spielvogel, H. (2009). Seasonal Modulation of Reproductive Effort During Early Pregnancy in Humans. American Journal of Human Biology. DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.20936. Online version available at Wiley Interscience website.

Vitzthum, V.J. (2008). Evolution and endocrinology: the regulation of pregnancy outcomes. In: S. Elton & P. O’Higgens (eds), Medicine and Evolution: Current Applications, Future Prospects. CRC Press: 99-126.

Vitzthum, V.J. (2008). Evolutionary models of women’s reproductive functioning. Annual Review of Anthropology. 37: 53-73.

Vitzthm, V. J., & Ringheim, K. (2005). Hormonal Contraception and Physiology: A Research-based Theory of Discontinuation Due to Side Effects. Studies in Family Planning, 36(1): 13–32.

Vitzthum, V.J., Spielvogel, H., Thornburg, J. (2004). Interpopulational differences in progesterone levels during conception and implantation in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101(6): 1443-1448.

Vitzthum, V.J. (2001). The home team advantage: reproduction in women indigenous to high altitude The Journal of Experimental Biology, 204: 3141–3150.


Dr. Virginia J. Vitzthum


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