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Journal Article

The Significance of Litter-Size

M. D. Mountford
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 37, No. 2 (Jun., 1968), pp. 363-367
DOI: 10.2307/2953
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2953
Page Count: 5

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Topics: Natural selection, Litter size, Genotypes, Frequency distribution, Descendants, Species, Mortality
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The Significance of Litter-Size
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Abstract

The argument that, under the operation of natural selection, the most productive litter-size should necessarily be also the most frequent litter-size is fallacious. The total number of weaned offspring is a combination of two components; the frequency distribution of the different sizes of litter and the number of weaned offspring from each litter-size. Natural selection favours those genotypes that maximize this combination. There is no reason to suppose that the maximum of this combination of two components coincides with the maximum of the single component, the number of weaned offspring per litter.

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