Trajectories and models of individual growth
Demographic Research, 15:12, 347–400 (2006)
It has long been recognized that the patterns of growth play an important role in the evolution of age trajectories of fertility and mortality (Williams, 1957). Life history studies would benefit from a better understanding of strategies and mechanisms of growth, but still no comparative research on individual growth strategies has been conducted. Growth patterns and methods have been shaped by evolution and a great variety of them are observed. Two distinct patterns - determinate and indeterminate growth - are of a special interest for these studies since they present qualitatively different outcomes of evolution. We attempt to draw together studies covering growth in plant and animal species across a wide range of phyla focusing primarily on the noted qualitative features. We also review mathematical descriptions of growth, namely empirical growth curves and growth models, and discuss the directions of future research.