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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

An evolutionary and biocultural approach is taken to the study of human growth and development. The evolutionary perspective focuses on the unusual process of human postnatal growth and development, a process that takes two decades to complete and traverses the stages of infancy, childhood, juvenility, and adolescence. Human childhood and adolescence are highly unusual even compared to our closest living relatives, perhaps unique. The biocultural perspective of human development focuses on the constant interaction taking place during all phases of human development between genes and hormones within the body and the sociocultural environment that surrounds the body. While humans are often considered to be cooperative breeders, depending on social group helpers to successfully rear offspring, it may be more accurate to understand humans as practising biocultural reproduction as an adaptation to minimise risks to health.

Keywords: adolescence, biocultural reproduction, childhood, chimpanzee, cooperative breeding, evolution, medicine, infancy, juvenility, risk

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