life-history

Thank You, Grandma, for Human Nature

Posted on 06/9/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Home & FamilyBy Alison Gopnik Why do I exist? This isn’t a philosophical cri de coeur; it’s an evolutionary riddle. At 58 I’m well past menopause, yet I’ll soldier, on, with luck, for many years more. The riddle grows more vivid when you realize that human beings (and killer whales) are the only species where females outlive their fertility. Our closest primate relatives — chimpanzees, for example — usually die before their 50s, when they are still fertile. This isn’t just a …