19 September 2012

Mother whale

Humans, pilot whales and killer whales are the only known species [besides humans] in which females have a prolonged period of menopause — a time of life when they cannot reproduce. Now, a study in the journal Science reports the purpose that menopause serves in orcas: for females to care for their sons and make sure their genes are passed on to future generations.

Females have a really unique life history,” said Emma Foster, a marine biologist at Exeter University in England. “They stop reproducing in their 30s and 40s, but they can live into their 90s.”
-- report

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