The U-shaped link between contextual risk and nutritional cues as they predict pubertal development. When immature animals experience severe environmental stresses such as malnutrition or disease, maturation is often delayed until conditions improve and normal growth can resume. By contrast, when animals are raised under ideal conditions that promote rapid growth, internal checkpoints ensure that maturation does not occur until juvenile development is complete. But when contextual stress is not so great as to challenge survival, pubertal development is accelerated, thereby increasing the likelihood of reproduction before death or disability.
Hochberg and Belsky BMC Medicine 2013 11:113 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-113