Grandmothers and the evolution of human longevity

@article{Hawkes2003GrandmothersAT,
  title={Grandmothers and the evolution of human longevity},
  author={Kristen Hawkes},
  journal={American Journal of Human Biology},
  year={2003},
  volume={15}
}
  • K. Hawkes
  • Published 1 May 2003
  • Biology, Medicine
  • American Journal of Human Biology
Great apes, our closest living relatives, live longer and mature later than most other mammals and modern humans are even later‐maturing and potentially longer‐lived. Evolutionary life‐history theory seeks to explain cross‐species differences in these variables and the covariation between them. That provides the foundation for a hypothesis that a novel role for grandmothers underlies the shift from an ape‐like ancestral pattern to one more like our own in the first widely successful members of… 
The Centrality of Ancestral Grandmothering in Human Evolution
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This model is an agent-based model (ABM) that accounts for the coevolution of both expected adult lifespan and end of female fertility as selection maximizes reproductive value and finds that grandmother effects not only drive the population from an equilibrium representing a great ape-like longevity to a new human- like longevity, they also maintain the observed termination of women's fertility before the age of 50.
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  • K. Hawkes
  • Biology, Medicine
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2010
In the first paper to present formal theory explaining that senescence is a consequence of natural selection, W. D. Hamilton concluded that human postmenopausal longevity results from the
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It is found that grandmothers can facilitate the evolution of a shorter reproductive period when their help decreases the weaning age of their matrilineal grandchildren, and this finding holds true for any form of allocare that helps mothers resume cycling more quickly.
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Evidence of the pace of growth and maturation in fossil australopiths and early members of Homo is detailed to evaluate the merits of each of these scenarios and new data on the relationship between dental development and life history in extant apes are synthesized.
Evolution of sexually dimorphic longevity in humans
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An evolutionary hypothesis is presented that could answer all three questions about why humans live longer than other higher primates, and that the gender gap in aging is attributable to androgens, which appears more likely given a recent report of exceptional longevity in eunuchs.
Plasticity in Human Life History Strategy
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A “phenotype-first” model of the evolution of human life history is proposed, in which novel phenotypes were first generated by behaviorally or environmentally driven plasticity and were later gradually stabilized into species-defining traits through genetic accommodation.
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