Home  |  Top News  |  Most Popular  |  Video  |  Multimedia  |  News Feeds  |  Feedback
  Medicine  |  Nature & Earth  |  Biology  |  Technology & Engineering  |  Space & Planetary  |  Psychology  |  Physics & Chemistry  |  Economics  |  Archaeology
Top > Biology >
Grandmas Made Humans Live Longer

Published: October 24, 2012.
By University of Utah


SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 24, 2012 – Computer simulations provide new mathematical support for the "grandmother hypothesis" – a famous theory that humans evolved longer adult lifespans than apes because grandmothers helped feed their grandchildren.

The simulations indicate that with only a little bit of grandmothering – and without any assumptions about human brain size – animals with chimpanzee lifespans evolve in less than 60,000 years so they have a human lifespan.

The findings showed that from the time adulthood is reached, the simulated creatures lived another 25 years like chimps, yet after 24,000 to 60,000 years of grandmothers caring for grandchildren, the creatures who reached adulthood lived another 49 years – as do human hunter-gatherers.

But it is possible that the benefits grandmothers provide to their grandchildren might be the result of long postmenopausal lifespans that evolved for other reasons, so the new study set out to determine if grandmothering alone could result in the evolution of ape-like life histories into long postmenopausal lifespans seen in humans.

The researchers were conservative, making the grandmother effect "weak" by assuming that a woman couldn't be a grandmother until age 45 or after age 75, that she couldn't care for a child until age 2, and that she could care only for one child and that it could be any child, not just her daughter's child.

The simulation begins with only 1 percent of women living to grandmother age and able to care for grandchildren, but by the end of the 24,000 to 60,000 simulated years, the results are similar to those seen in human hunter-gatherer populations: about 43 percent of adult women are grandmothers.

The new study found that from adulthood, additional years of life doubled from 25 years to 49 years over the simulated 24,000 to 60,000 years.

Read Full Story »


Years, Human, Hawkes, Age, Adulthood, Grandmother, Grandmothering, Women, Grandchildren, Weaning, Utah, Males, Longevity, Live, Lifespans, Lifespan, Kids, Hypothesis, Hunting, Humans, Grandmothers, Couldn, Child, Apes, Size, Simulation, Reach, People, Means, Longer, Food, Females, Effect, Creatures, Collect, Chimps, Care, Brains, Brain, Bigger, Average, Ancestors, Adult, Window, Tubers, Time, Step, Simulations, Selection, Resources, …

Cluster Centroids (Superclass Keywords)

Women, Men, Attractiveness, Fertility, Haselton, Ecklund, Breastfeeding, Career, Symposia, Menopause, Postma, Attractive, Circadian, Children, Summa, Hawkes, Fertile, Riders, Partners, Endurance, Competition, Disruption, Grandchildren, Grandmother, Pregnancy, Grandmothering, Turek, Effect, Shifts, Academic, Garver-Apgar, Primatology, Shift, Age, Preference, Singh, Intelligence, Biology, Adulthood, Morel, Sexual, Reproducing, Posters, Performance, Selection, …

Show articles in this group »

More news from University of Utah

Fecal Transplants Let Packrats Eat Poison
21 July 2014
New View of Rainier's Volcanic Plumbing
17 July 2014
New Plant Species from the Heart of Texas
09 July 2014
A Hotspot for Powerful Cosmic Rays
08 July 2014
Watching HIV Bud from Cells
16 May 2014
Nearest Bright 'Hypervelocity Star' Found
07 May 2014
Is Self-fumigation for the Birds?
05 May 2014
Related »

Unlocking the Secret of Beauty: Scientists Discover the Complexities of Attractive Female Bodies
By Wiley-Blackwell
Scientists in Australia and Hong Kong have conducted a comprehensive study to discover how different body measurements correspond with ratings of female attractiveness. The study, published in the Journal …
Male Bias Persists in Female-rich Science Conferences
By Public Library of Science
Women scientists in primatology are poorly represented at symposia organized by men, but receive equal representation when symposia organizers are women or mixed groups, according to research published November …
Men with Macho Faces Attractive to Fertile Women, Researchers Find
By University of Colorado at Boulder
When their romantic partners are not quintessentially masculine, women in their fertile phase are more likely to fantasize about masculine-looking men than are women paired with George Clooney types. …
What Do Women Want? It Depends on the Time of the Month
By University of California - Los Angeles
If she loves you and then she loves you not, don't blame the petals of that daisy. Blame evolution. UCLA researchers analyzed dozens of published and unpublished studies …
Male Preference for Younger Female Mates Identified as Likely Cause of Menopause
By Public Library of Science
A study published in this week's PLOS Computational Biology reports that menopause is an unintended outcome of natural selection caused by the preference of males for younger female mates. …
Attractive Professional Cyclists Are Faster
By University of Zurich
In a range of species, females show clear preferences when it comes to the choice of their partner – they decide on the basis of external features like antler …
More » 
ScienceNewsline  |  About  |  Privacy Policy  |  Feedback  |  Mobile  |  Japanese Edition
The selection and placement of stories are determined automatically by a computer program. All contents are copyright of their owners except U.S. Government works. U.S. Government works are assumed to be in the public domain unless otherwise noted. Everything else copyright ScienceNewsline.