Saturday, November 3, 2018

Among primates, only humans have a maximum lifespan significantly longer than 50 years, & only human female life history includes a significant post-fertile stage of life; happens also in other long-lived taxa (resident killer & short-finned pilot whales)

Pavelka M.S.M., Brent L.J.N., Croft D.P., Fedigan L.M. (2018) Post-Fertile Lifespan in Female Primates and Cetaceans. In: Kalbitzer U., Jack K. (eds) Primate Life Histories, Sex Roles, and Adaptability. Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects. Springer. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-98285-4_3

Abstract: Popular and scientific interest in menopause in humans has led to an increased interest in the extent of post-fertile life in other animals, particularly in long-lived social species such as other primates and cetaceans. Information on maximum lifespan achieved and age at last birth are available from long-term observations of known individuals from 11 primate species in the wild. Comparable information from wild cetaceans are more difficult to obtain; however there are relevant fisheries data, as well as a small number of long-term individual-based studies. Using post-reproductive representation (PrR) as a population measure of post-fertile lifespan that allows comparisons across populations and species, this review confirms that among primates, only humans have a maximum lifespan significantly longer than 50 years, and only human female life history includes a significant post-fertile stage of life. We conclude that although a prolonged post-fertile stage of life is very rare in mammals, it does occur in some exceptionally long-lived taxa, such as humans and resident killer and short-finned pilot whales. Thus menopause evolved independently at least three times in mammals, and the reasons for its evolution may differ in different lineages.

Keywords: Evolution of menopause Whale menopause Post-fertile lifespan primates