Why 'for one to several generations,' not 'for more than two generations'? I mean, why did the author include 'one generation'?

The proportions of the demographic classes affect the fitness of the group and, ultimately, of each individual member. A group comprised wholly of infants or aging males will perish — obviously. Another, less deviant, group has a higher fitness that can be defined as a higher probability of survival, which can be translated as a longer waiting time to extinction. Either measure has meaning only over periods of time on the order of a generation in length, because a deviant population allowed to reproduce for one to several generations will go far to restore the age distribution of populations normal for the species. Unless the species is highly opportunistic, that is, unless it follows a strategy of colonizing empty habitats and holding on to them only for a relatively short time, the age distribution will tend to approach a steady state. In species with seasonal natality and mortality, which is to say nearly all animal species, the age distribution will undergo annual fluctuation. But even then the age distribution can be said to approach stability, in the sense that the fluctuation is periodic and predictable when corrected for season.


  • 2
    To use specific numbers, "one to five" is clearly not the same as "more than two". The first one means "one, two, three, four, or five", and the second means "three, four, five, six...(etc.)"
    – stangdon
    May 7, 2021 at 11:23
  • 1
    Better writing would have been, "...for one generation or more...".
    – gotube
    Oct 5, 2021 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


The author is saying that the if population is allowed to reproduce for at least one generation to restore the balance of age groups in the population. It seems that they mean that the balance may not be restored in shorter periods than one generation.

  • Thank you, Mr. O'Flaherty. May I ask you another one? Why did the author write 'annual fluctuation', not 'seasonal fluctuation'?
    – user131753
    May 7, 2021 at 7:27
  • The author mentions annual fluctuation in the context of seasonal natality and mortality. If more animals die in a winter, and less in a summer, and more are born in summer, those fluctuations will be seen each year, year after year, because there is only one of each season in a year. May 7, 2021 at 8:13
  • You're right! Thank you again.
    – user131753
    May 7, 2021 at 8:22

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