Nan’s role proved
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.”