why older women will save the world

science_mag“Menopause is something that humans only share with two other mammal species: killer whales and pilot whales. Menopause is at odds with classic evolutionary theory, which posits that once animals stop reproducing, natural selection stops too. However, Brent et al. now demonstrate the importance of keeping elders around. They found that older female killer whales lead their pods to salmon feeding grounds and that this leadership is especially important in years when food is scarce.”–SNV, Science Magazine, 6 March 2015.

“In humans, it has been suggested that menopause is simply an artifact of modern medicine and improved living conditions,” co-author Darren Croft of the University of Exeter said in a press release. “However, mounting evidence suggests that menopause in humans is adaptive.”http://www.washingtonpost.com/…/can-menopausal-killer-whal…/

“Brent et al. show that postreproductively aged female resident killer whales are more likely to lead collective movement. Leadership by these females is especially prominent in difficult years when salmon abundance is low. This is the first evidence that the wisdom of elders can drive selection on survival following the termination of reproduction.”http://www.cell.com/curre…/pdfExtended/S0960-9822(15)00069-X

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