Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Science. 2012 Sep 14;337(6100):1313. doi: 10.1126/science.1224198.

Adaptive prolonged postreproductive life span in killer whales.

Author information

  • 1Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QG, UK.

Abstract

Prolonged life after reproduction is difficult to explain evolutionarily unless it arises as a physiological side effect of increased longevity or it benefits related individuals (i.e., increases inclusive fitness). There is little evidence that postreproductive life spans are adaptive in nonhuman animals. By using multigenerational records for two killer whale (Orcinus orca) populations in which females can live for decades after their final parturition, we show that postreproductive mothers increase the survival of offspring, particularly their older male offspring. This finding may explain why female killer whales have evolved the longest postreproductive life span of all nonhuman animals.

PMID:
22984064
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk