Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Father Time Says It's No Longer Mother Time

What do female homo sapiens have in common with female whales (this is a serious question)? They both undergo menopause, i.e., they "stop reproducing decades before they die." This characteristic, unique among mammals, is there for a reason:
menopause not only frees a female to help raise the grandoffspring, but also reduces competition between her and her gravid and nursing daughters.
Studies of killer and pilot whales showed that the offspring of young mothers have a better chance of survival than those of older mothers; therefore, it is better for the species if older women help daughters raise their own children rather than to create more children of their own.

One can make too much of these animal studies, however; your humble blogger doesn't see any connection between women and whales.

(Image from

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