Biology / Evolution

Killer whale menopause evolved from mother-daughter conflict

Killer whale Shawn McCready.jpg

From Cosmos Magazine, January 13, 2017 (Image: Shawn McCready via Flickr)

Menopause is an evolutionary anomaly. Only in three species – humans, orcas and short-finned pilot whales – does female reproduction grind to a halt part-way through life.

For orcas (Orcinus orca), a new study published in Current Biology shows that menopause isn’t just a quirk of nature, but a reproductive strategy that specifically evolved to match their social structure. Read more…

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