Anthropology and the study of menopause: evolutionary, developmental, and comparative perspectives

  title={Anthropology and the study of menopause: evolutionary, developmental, and comparative perspectives},
  author={Lynnette Leidy Sievert},
  • L. Sievert
  • Published 1 October 2014
  • Psychology
  • Menopause
ObjectiveThis work aims to consider how the discipline of anthropology contributes to the study of menopause through evolutionary, developmental, and comparative perspectives. MethodsThis study was a review of skeletal and ethnographic evidence for menopause and postreproductive life in humans’ distant past, hypotheses for the evolution of menopause and long postreproductive life, variation in age at menopause with focus on childhood environments, and the study of variation in symptom… 

The evolutionary ecology of age at natural menopause: implications for public health

It is shown that diversity in age at menopause can be, at least partly, explained by the genetic, ecological and life-history determinants of somatic ageing.

Sex Differences in Biological Systems and the Conundrum of Menopause: Potential Commonalities in Post-Menopausal Disease Mechanisms

  • D. Hart
  • Biology
    International journal of molecular sciences
  • 2022
A review will address some of the potential commonalities presented by an integration of the literature regarding tissue-specific aspects of these post-menopausal conditions and data presented by space flight/microgravity that could implicate a loss of a regulatory function of the microvasculature in the risk attached to the affected tissues.

Current ecology, not ancestral dispersal patterns, influences menopause symptom severity

Current, rather than ancestral, residence patterns better predict aspects of the menopausal transition, and current patrilocality when compared to duolocality is associated with more severe menopause symptoms, which may be due to sexual,rather than intragenomic, conflict.

Why do women stop reproducing before menopause? A life-history approach to age at last birth

Evidence is provided that stopping behaviour needs to be more closely examined as an important part of human reproductive strategies and life-history theory, as well as a case study of age at last birth in rural Bangladeshi women.

Field methods and strategies for assessing female reproductive functioning

  • V. Vitzthum
  • Biology
    American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council
  • 2020
This article describes strategies and methods used successfully in community-based studies of human reproduction, many in remote locales, to produce high quality biomarker data that are applicable to a wide range of research questions and populations.

100 Years of Adolescence and its Prehistory From Cave to Computer

ABSTRACT In an attempt to understand the impact of our transition into the digital era, this paper looks at adolescence across the sweep of human history, reviewing psychoanalytic conceptions of

Association between age at menarche and age at menopause among women of an indigenous population of North Bengal, India.

There appears to be an indirect association between age at menarche and age at natural menopause, along with different predictor variables, among the Rajbanshi women.



A hypothesis for the origin and evolution of menopause.

Results of a mathematical model are presented which show that reproductive senescence can be advantageous even when maximum potential lifespan is only 50 years, if the premature cessation of reproduction allows females to moderately increase the survival and fertility of their existing subadult offspring.

Menopause, A Biocultural Perspective

Further exploration of women's experience of menopause, as opposed to researcher-imposed definitions; macro- and microenvironmental factors, including diet and intestinal ecology; and folk etiologies involving the autonomic nervous system may lead to a deeper understanding of this stage of life history.

The role of menopause and reproductive senescence in a long-lived social mammal

A unique 30-year time series of killer whales was examined, tracking the reproductive performance of individuals through time, finding no strong support for either of the adaptive hypotheses of menopause and little support for the presence of post-reproductive females benefitting their daughter's reproductive performance, or the number of mature recruits to the population.

A life course approach to reproductive health: Theory and methods

Grandmotherhood: The Evolutionary Significance of the Second Half of Female Life

By the year 2030, the average life expectancy of women in industrialized countries could reach ninety-exceeding that of men by about ten years. At the present time, postmenopausal women represent

Menopause: Adaptation or epiphenomenon?

In this paper, the evidence for the adaptation, physiological trade-off and by-product of increased longevity explanations for the origin of menopause are reviewed.

Class, gender and culture in the experience of menopause. A comparative survey in Tunisia and France.

Testing evolutionary theories of menopause

A study based on a remarkably complete dataset from The Gambia that provides quantitative estimates for key parameters for the theoretical model, which were then used to assess the actual effects on fitness and provide important support for the hypothesized evolutionary significance of grandmothers.

Senescence of reproduction may explain adaptive menopause in humans: a test of the "mother" hypothesis.

The results show that menopause and subsequent post-reproductive life are significantly advantageous when two conditions are satisfied: a marked increase in stillbirth and risk of birth defects as well as in maternal mortality with mother's age.