Thursday, April 10, 2014

Searcher How Grandmothers Gave Us Longer Lives

This week in class we have been exploring the question of why we age, and one of the proximate reasons that we looked at was the grandmother hypothesis. This states that the behaviors that grandmothers exhibit, such as providing the mother support with childcare and provision increases longevity. The grandmother hypothesis is interesting because humans are the only primates that live long after menopause and humans are also the only primates in which the grandmother provides support in taking care of the child. Rebecca Jacobson goes into some of the reasons as to why having grandmothers around has helped our longevity. One of the reasons as to why humans live past the years of menopause is that the more grandchildren a grandmother has the more genes that she will pass on. Grand mothering might have also been one of the factors that caused us humans to be so social.  Peter Kim made a mathematical model to see you long it would take our lifespan to change from that of our ape ancestors to that of modern hunter gather groups by adding grandmothers that were one percent of the female adult population and could take care of any child over the age of two. What he found was that the number of grandmothers in that population rose to more than forty percent in less than 60,000 years and the human life expectancy doubled (Jacobson, 2012). Grandmothers are very important to society but I think there are also other factors that increased human longevity. 

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