Research NewsAnthropology

Why Life After Menopause?

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Science  25 Apr 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5312, pp. 535
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5312.535b

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Summary

It's an evolutionary riddle: Why do women live so long after they stop reproducing? A study of African hunter gatherers suggests that women live to a ripe old age to make sure their grandchildren eat. By provisioning grandchildren, grandmothers ensure the children's survival, boost their daughters' fertility--and improve the chances that their own genes are passed on.