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Patterns of philopatry and longevity contribute to the evolution of post-reproductive lifespan in mammals.

ABSTRACT: While menopause has long been known as a characteristic trait of human reproduction, evidence for post-reproductive lifespan (PRLS) has recently been found in other mammals. Adaptive and non-adaptive hypotheses have been proposed to explain the evolution of PRLS, but formal tests of these are rare. We use a phylogenetic approach to evaluate hypotheses for the evolution of PRLS among mammals. In contrast to theoretical models predicting that PRLS may be promoted by male philopatry (which increases relatedness between a female and her group in old age), we find little evidence that male philopatry led to the evolution of a post-reproductive period. However, the proportion of life spent post-reproductive was related to lifespan and patterns of philopatry, suggesting that the duration of PRLS may be impacted by both non-adaptive and adaptive processes. Finally, the proportion of females experiencing PRLS was higher in species with male philopaty and larger groups, in accordance with adaptive models of PRLS. We suggest that the origin of PRLS primarily follows the non-adaptive 'mismatch' scenario, but that patterns of philopatry may subsequently confer adaptive benefits of late-life helping.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4780556 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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