Nan’s role proved

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

GRANDMA has been bi­o­log­i­cally de­signed to babysit the grand­chil­dren, sci­en­tists have found.

The “grand­mother hy­poth­e­sis” is an evo­lu­tion­ary ex­pla­na­tion of why women’s bod­ies stop re­pro­duc­ing be­fore the end of their life – to pass on their genes by us­ing their ex­pe­ri­ence and cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties to have an in­flu­ence on the health and well­be­ing of the next gen­er­a­tions.

French sci­en­tists used com­puter mod­els of hu­man pop­u­la­tions to add weight to the ar­gu­ment that menopause ex­ists be­cause grand­moth­ers have a greater chance of pass­ing on their own genes by car­ing for their chil­dren’s chil­dren, rather than hav­ing more kids in old age. The re­search pub­lished to­day in PLOS Com­pu­ta­tional Bi­ol­ogy shows it was a nat­u­ral process for grand­moth­ers to help busy par­ents.

Sh­eryl Speed has seven grand­chil­dren aged from 21 down to her youngest, Ash­ton, 5. “I am def­i­nitely putting my ge­netic foot­print on my grand­chil­dren,” she said. “I pick up my grand­kids from school ev­ery day. What you of­fer as a grand­par­ent is very different to what a par­ent of­fers.”

Sh­eryl Speed and her grand­son Ash­ton Massey, 5.

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