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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Menopause: A whale of a boon

Female Orcas    (Public Domain)
While studying killer whales, scientists have noted the essential role that menopause plays.

To date, researchers have only found three species that undergo menopause:  killer whales, pilot whales and humans.  If older females within these species were to continue reproducing, they and their late-life offspring might then be competing with daughters and grandchildren.

Talk about a potential soap opera! Menopause effectively lessens such familial threats, thus strengthening leadership options for female elders.  A University of Exeter study found that older female whales serve as “leaders and caretakers, sharing their food and how to survive.” 


Copyright January 18, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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