Setting the second stage: the evolution of menopause & post-reproductive life

Published on February 28, 2017   32 min

Other Talks in the Series: Evolution and Medicine

Other Talks in the Series: Topical Talks

0:00
I'm Lynette Leidy Sievert. I'm a biological anthropologist. I'm currently a Professor of Anthropology at the Department of Anthropology at UMass Amherst. And I study human variation in age menopause, and human variation and symptoms during the menopausal transition. And I work all over the world, asking women who are 40 to 60 about their menopause, and the rest of their life. And I've become interested in the evolution of menopause and what makes us different from other animals. So today, I'm going to be talking about "Setting the Second Stage: the Evolution of Menopause, and Post-Reproductive Life."
0:44
So I'm going to be talking about the second stage of adulthood. And I'm using a quote here, from Mary Catherine Bateson from her book "Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom." And the reason I like this quote is because I've always thought about the evolution of longevity as tacking on this extra piece on to the lifespan. But Mary Catherine Bateson points out that, "humans have inserted a new developmental stage into the life cycle." She calls it, "a second stage of adulthood, not an extension tacked on to old age." And this helped me to think about this age as being inserted and we're still healthy during the second stage of adulthood. So this is what I've become interested in thinking about.
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Setting the second stage: the evolution of menopause & post-reproductive life

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