Humans seem to defy the theory of evolution by living long beyond their reproductive years. A recent study suggests that the key to our species’ success lies in the extended post-reproductive life stage of humans, particularly grandparents.
The study found that grandparents contribute significantly to our species’ thriving through activities like food sharing, foraging, aiding parents’ survival, and teaching crucial skills and socialization to the young. This theory is termed the “Grandmother Hypothesis,” and highlights how grandmothers indirectly enhance their daughters’ reproduction by increasing their grandchildren’s survival chances.
Human distinctiveness comes from cooperation among different generations. Despite the vital role elders play in society, modern culture often overlooks their significance. The study calls for a reconnection between generations to tap into the wisdom and expertise of elders, especially considering the underappreciation and ageism often faced by older adults.