Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why do killer whales go through menopause? Via

Menopause is an exclusive trait, shared only among humans, killer whales, and short finned pilot whales. According to a new Current Biology study, killer whales go through menopause to avoid reproduction competition with their daughters, allowing them to instead share knowledge to help their family succeed. This explanation also sheds light on why humans share this unique trait with toothed whales.

Darren P. Croft, an animal behaviorist at the University of Exeter, and colleagues used 43 years of demographic data on killer whales to investigate menopause. The evolutionary benefit became clear when they found that in cases where mothers and daughters do have calves at the same time, the calves of the old-generation females are 1.7 times more likely to die than the calves of younger females.

We spoke with Croft to find out more....

Via Reddit: link to the rest of the story


chickelit said...

I think we're all glad that Rosie O'Donnell went through menopause, even though she is closer to being a manatee than a killer whale.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Sometimes that sort of stuff can come across as rather glib.

So why don't human males experience menopause? Let me guess. The standard answer has something to do with biologic investment required for gestation.

Kind of funny, after all these years, how male/female population is pretty much 50/50.

Sixty Grit said...

Huge manatee. Just ask Herb Morrison - he was there.

ndspinelli said...

At least menopause helps diminish all those whale tampons littering the seas.