Why Do We Live Past Menopause?

Why Do We Live Past Menopause?

Humans, killer whales, and short-finned pilot whales are remarkable in that females of these species can live well past reproducing age. Though some scientists have speculated that humans experience menopause solely due to advancements in medicine and technology, recent research suggests an evolutionary benefit to staying alive without having more children.

05:26

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    A 2012 study suggested that post-menopausal killer whales play a crucial role in helping their pods find food. (0:44)

  • 2

    Menopause in humans may be adaptive, as postmenopausal women could have aided their relatives and thereby increased the transmission of their own genes. (2:21)

  • 3

    Killer whale males will stay with their mothers for their entire lives. (4:29)

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