07 December 2011

"The tragedy of having no menopause"

Jane Goodall discusses the aging process of chimpanzees -
What you notice, wherever, in the wild or captivity, is teeth getting worn down, the body getting shrunken, losing its gloss; instead of being glossy black, it becomes brown gray. Their eyes become sunken. Their movement gets slower. They tend to get more solitary. They tend to move away from excited groups.

Here is where you notice a huge difference in an old male and an old female. Old females have no real menopause. They continue to have a baby every five years. Even when she is very old, she has her youngish child. It’s the tragedy of having no menopause. The last child is likely to die because the mother is too old to provide proper nutrition. 
At the Washington Post article she goes on to discuss other aspects of chimp aging - and her own (77 years).


  1. "Even when she is very old, she has her youngish child."

    Her youngish child? As opposed to...?

  2. Presumably as opposed to having only older children, which would be the case had she undergone menopause.


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