Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ambient temperature predicts sex ratios and male longevity

  • Author(s): Catalano, Ralph
  • Bruckner, Tim
  • Smith, Kirk R.
  • et al.
Abstract

The theory that natural selection has conserved mechanisms by which women subjected to environmental stressors abort frail male fetuses implies that climate change may affect sex ratio at birth and male longevity. Using time series methods, we find that cold ambient temperatures during gestation predict lower secondary sex ratios and longer life span of males in annual birth cohorts composed of Danes, Finns, Norwegians, and Swedes born between 1878 (earliest year with complete life tables) and 1914 (last birth cohort for which male life span can be estimated). We conclude that ambient temperature affects the characteristics of human populations by influencing who survives gestation, a heretofore unrecognized effect of climate on humanity.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View