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Grandmothering, menopause, and the evolution of human life histories

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/1662

Grandmothering, menopause, and the evolution of human life histories

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Title: Grandmothering, menopause, and the evolution of human life histories
Author: Hawkes, K.; O'Connell, J.F.; Blurton Jones, N.G.; Alvarez, H.; Charnov, Eric
Subject(s): life histories
postmenopausal lifespan
grandmothering
mother-child food sharing
female primates
Abstract: Long postmenopausal lifespans distinguish humans from all other primates. This pattern may have evolved with mother–child food sharing, a practice that allowed aging females to enhance their daughters’ fertility, thereby increasing selection against senescence. Combined with Charnov’s dimensionless assembly rules for mammalian life histories, this hypothesis also accounts for our late maturity, small size at weaning, and high fertility. It has implications for past human habitat choice and social organization and for ideas about the importance of extended learning and paternal provisioning in human evolution.
Date: 1998-02
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Citation: Hawkes, K., J.F. O’Connell, N.G. Blurton Jones, H. Alvarez and E.L. Charnov. 1998. Grandmothering, menopause, and the evolution of human life histories. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 95:1336-1339
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/1662

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