In today’s world, they serve as unpaid babysitters for their grandchildren instead of watching television — but in far distant times they helped the human population survive.
Yes, researchers from Newcastle University and University College-London in Britain have carried out a study and found that the grandmothers may have been responsible for the evolution of menopause, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported today.
“Our results highlight the importance of grandmaternal contribution. Our results point to the distinctive and perhaps unique role of menopause in human evolution and provide important support for the hypothesised evolutionary significance of grandmothers,” according to the researchers.
In fact, the researchers came to the conclusion after examining birth and death records of over 5,500 Gambians using a series of complex mathematical equations — the data was collected between 1950 and 1975.
The results have been published in the ‘Proceedings of the Royal Society B’ journal.
According to their theory, menopause evolved to create a generation of women who stopped having babies themselves but were still capable of caring for their grandchildren thereby benefiting the survival of the human race as a whole.
“By nurturing her grandchildren, a grandmother safeguards the survival of her genes without having to go through the trauma of continuing childbirth herself.” The theory came from the study set up to work out why women lose the ability to have children when they are still relatively young, while certain other mammals are able to reproduce into old age.