SEED on grandmothers

By Razib Khan | July 27, 2006 10:42 pm

Seed has a piece on the discoveries relating to menopause and its importance to the “Grandmother Hypothesis.” Unlike male decline in fertility menopause is a specific and deliberate sequence of proactive processes by the female body to shut down reproductive capacity. Something like this is almost certainly functionally significant, and anthropological work which seems to show cross-cultural evidence of lower infant mortality in the presence of a maternal grandmother in the household is another important avenue in the overall program.

  • Gerry L

    I saw an article recently about a study that concluded gorillas do indeed experience menopause. This surprised me because I had been told that female great apes (excepting humans) could continue to get pregnant their entire lives.
    (Note: Our zoo has a female chimpanzee who is about 54 and goes through estrus frequently. I get a lot of questions from the public about her ability to have more babies. She is on birth control.)


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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