Grandmothers, it turns out, are super duper important – not just in their own families, but for the human species overall.
A new study published today in the British biological journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” gives new mathematical support for a long standing theory called the “grandmother hypothesis” – basically the idea that humans developed longer lifespans than apes because grandmas (or nanas, grammies, gogos, bubbas; take your pick) helped feed their grandchildren.
The theory goes basically like this:
Since grandma was keeping an eye out for the nutrition of Baby 1, mom could concentrate on making Baby 2. On average, then, women with able-bodied mothers had more kids, which meant that long-living grandmothers passed along their longevity genes to more descendants.