Good to Know

The Evolutionary Need for Grandmothers

April 17, 2013

I came across an article titled “New Evidence that Grandmothers were Crucial for Human Evolution” written by and was immediately intrigued. Read the full article here.

Anthropologists and scientists studying the evolutionary purpose of menopause were led to form the grandmother hypothesis”

Basically, God did not create women to mother children their entire lives. But innately, the majority of woman want to, in some capacity, still be caregivers. By helping the younger generations (aka moms), grandmothers help prolong young children’s lives.

Without grandmothers present, if a mother gives birth and already has a two-year-old child, the odds of that child surviving are much lower, because unlike other primates, humans aren’t able to feed and take care of themselves immediately after weaning. The mother must devote her time and attention to the new infant at the expense of the older child. But grandmothers can solve this problem by acting as supplementary caregivers.

Since we are not able to fend for ourselves immediately out of the womb and most mothers have more than one focus, grandmothers are there to swoop in and give attention, feed, change, bathe, etc. thus, over time, prolonging life and the human species

It’s an interesting hypothesis that seems a bit far-fetched, but, if nothing else, I’m grateful that science is giving grandmothers a round of applause.

My maternal grandmother, Nana, passed away a couple of years ago. I do, however, have great memories of spending weeks at her and my Papa’s house being “the only child” and doing whatever I wanted to do. It was HEAVEN! My paternal grandmother, Grandmama, is alive and well. She’s got an infectious laugh, wants to feed everyone she sees (and is great at it!), and is one of the silliest people that I know. (You can see it in her big smile in the picture below!) Both grandmothers were and are vital parts of our family. As 1 of 5 children, they were both there to help my mom and would have done anything in the world for any of us–thus, supporting the grandmother hypothesis!

Mark’s grandmothers are also lovely, wonderful women. Well into their 80’s, both grandmothers still cook, clean and care for the husbands and grandchildren to this day. They’re both the sweetest ladies! I love them like they’re my own!


Mark's maternal grandmother: Ma-Ma with me and MarkMark’s maternal grandmother: Ma-Ma with me and Mark


Mark's paternal grandmother: Mom-mom with Mark

Mark’s paternal grandmother: Mom-mom with Mark


My paternal grandmother: Grandmama and her son, my Dad

My paternal grandmother: Grandmama and her son, my Dad


Grandmas are the best! Have you hugged yours today???!


After all of this science and seriousness, I leave you with a laugh…




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