Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Grandparental investment and the epiphenomenon of menopause in recent human history

Douglas C. Broadfielda1

a1 Department of Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431.


The effects of grandparental investment in relatives are apparent in human groups, suggesting that a postreproductive period in humans is selective. Although investment of relatives in kin produces obvious benefits for kin groups, selection for a postreproductive period in humans is not supported by evidence from chimpanzees. Instead, grandparental investment is likely a recent phenomenon of longevity, rather than an evolved feature.