Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Grandma, not mum, knows best

12.03.2004


Research at the University of Sheffield, published today in Nature, has solved the mystery of why women live so long after their reproductive years have ceased. Basically, grandmothers can ensure the success of their own family by helping to increase the reproductive success of their adult children, thus propagating their own genes.

Dr. Virpi Lummaa and her PhD student Mirkka lahdenperä, from the University of Sheffield and Turku in Finland, examined the family histories of women in Finland and Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries to determine why humans, unlike other animals, survive long after they are unable to reproduce. In the animal kingdom it is usual for both males and females to continue their reproductive life until they die.

The team found that the longer a woman lived after the end of her reproductive years, the more successfully her children’s reproductive lives would be. These children tended to begin their families earlier, have a shorter gap between children, have a longer reproductive life and produce offspring that were more likely to survive into adulthood. The effect was equal for both sons and daughters.



The team examined the lives of almost three thousand women and took into account different ages, socio-economic status, and social and cultural differences between Finland and Canada. The link remained throughout.

Dr Lummaa explains, “We consistently found that women gained, on average, two extra grandchildren for every ten years that they lived past their reproductive life. In evolutionary terms this gives a huge benefit as it makes it more likely that women who survive long after stopping reproduction will forward more genes to the next generation. The evidence suggests that the effect is caused by the woman passing her childcare experience on to her offspring. She can also take on some of the responsibilities of childcare, making it more likely that her children will have more children more quickly.”

Lorna Branton | alfa
Further information:
http://www.shef.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Metallic nanoparticles will help to determine the percentage of volatile compounds

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Shallow soils promote savannas in South America

20.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>