Additionally, human females can live well beyond their reproductive years. And the contributions of non-reproducing grandmothers may further enhance their own children's reproductive effort and decrease infant mortality, Barrickman said. That's because grandmas offer extra assistance in child rearing and food gathering.
Studies of some primitive societies, such as the Hadza in East Africa, show that "grandchildren are more likely to survive if they have a grandmother present," she said.
Some studies suggest that starting life with a brain that is still developing itself confers some survival advantages to offspring, according to Barrickman. Extended interactions with mothers and their surroundings can help "wire their brain" as it grows, she said.
"They wind up with very plastic brains that can adjust to whatever environmental stimulations come at them," she said.
|Contact: Monte Basgall|