ScienceNews 7.2.2019

Evolutionarily, grandmas are good for grandkids — up to a point

Women may live past their reproductive years because they help their grandchildren survive

Grandmothers are great — generally speaking. But evolutionarily speaking, it’s puzzling why women past their reproductive years live so long.

Grandma’s age and how close she lives to her grandchildren can affect those children’s survival, suggest two new studies published February 7 in Current Biology.  One found that, among Finnish families in the 1700s–1800s, the survival rate of young grandchildren increased 30 percent when their maternal grandmothers lived nearby and were 50 to 75 years old.  The second study looked at whether that benefit to survival persists even when grandma lives far away. (Spoiler: It doesn’t.)

Read more in ScienceNews 7.2.2019 by Sujata Gupta

 

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Special thanks to John Loerh and all the staff at the Lammi Biological Station, University of Helsinki for hosting us!

Photo by Jonathan Webb, edited by Esko Pettay

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