The Malthusian-Darwinian dynamic and the trajectory of civilization

Jeffrey C. Nekola, Craig D. Allen, James H. Brown, Joseph R. Burger, Ana D. Davidson, Trevor S. Fristoe, Marcus J. Hamilton, Sean T. Hammond, Astrid Kodric-Brown, Norman Mercado-Silva, Jordan Okie

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

25 Scopus citations


Two interacting forces influence all populations: the Malthusian dynamic of exponential growth until resource limits are reached, and the Darwinian dynamic of innovation and adaptation to circumvent these limits through biological and/or cultural evolution. The specific manifestations of these forces in modern human society provide an important context for determining how humans can establish a sustainable relationship with the finite Earth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-130
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013



  • Behavioral constraints
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Macroecology
  • Resource limitation
  • Sustainability science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Nekola, J. C., Allen, C. D., Brown, J. H., Burger, J. R., Davidson, A. D., Fristoe, T. S., Hamilton, M. J., Hammond, S. T., Kodric-Brown, A., Mercado-Silva, N., & Okie, J. (2013). The Malthusian-Darwinian dynamic and the trajectory of civilization. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 28(3), 127-130.