21 October 2010
Thursday 21 Oct 2010, 11:00 - 12:00, Verdon-Smith room, IAS, First Floor, Royal Fort House
Abstract: Menopause, or post-reproductive survival, is absent in non-human primates and rare among mammals. From an evolutionary perspective, it is anomalous because post-reproductive survival reduces consumption for current offsprings without producing future offspring. This talk suggests a theory of menopause in humans based on human intelligence. Unlike other mammals, humans understand the reproductive process. Since child bearing and rearing is individually costly and more costly for mothers than fathers, mothers will choose to delay childbearing. As aging reduces the health of the mother, delay in child bearing will reduce the fitness of the child. Menopause raises the cost of delay to the mother and mothers will choose to have their children earlier than otherwise. Non-intelligent mammals cannot choose to delay childbearing to purposefully delay their individual childbearing and rearing costs. Thus menopause is redundant for non-intelligent mammals. The theory implies that menopause developed in humans or non-modern humans after they became intelligent.
In addition to this research student seminar, Professor Siow will also present a seminar on Estimating Sibling Peer Effects in Schooling Attainment in the Department of Economics and a paper, Large Shocks and Small Changes in the Marriage Market for Famine Born Cohorts in China, as part of the Sex Selection and Parental Investment conference organised by Sonia Bhalotra, Professor of Economics, Centre for Market and Public Organisation.
For a short biography on Professor Siow and details of his visit, please contact Professor Bhalotra or see: