Do Orcas Have Hot Flashes?

In a recent issue of The Lenny Letter (source of the headline and image above) writer Ferris Jabr reports on emerging science exploring whether other mammals undergo the menopause and, if so, what is its evolutionary advantage?

Why, in non-human animals, would a lifespan that extends beyond reproductive years matter? Researchers think it’s all down to matriarchy. And grandmothers. If the survival of the species (defense, food, teaching survival skills. etc.) depends on females, mothers of the very young can’t do it all. They’re too busy. And here’s where post-reproductive members of the group are invaluable.

Of course, it’s all more complex than this synopsis, check out the article for more in depth reporting.

Menopause is not so much an ending as it is a rebellious beginning — the unfolding of a new chapter in life inked with the requisite wisdom to keep entire societies alive and thriving.

The Lenny Letter overall is a great resource. Delivered via email twice a week, it features feminist writers on a range of subjects: health, culture, art, politics, horoscopes, empowerment, and humour. It’s American-based, but publishes international authors. For information on a free subscription, check them out here.

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Image credit: Jenny Smith for The Lenny Letter