Young couple sitting on bench outdoor.
Young couple sitting on bench outdoor.

New York : If you have finally discovered who is going to be your life partner, do not just thank your stars but all grandmothers since human evolved as the act of “grandmothering” has helped us bond well throughout the history, interesting research has shown, reports IANS.

According to anthropologist Kristen Hawkes from University of Utah, it looks like grandmothering was crucial to the development of pair bonds in humans. Pair bonds are universal in human societies and distinguish us from our closest living relatives.

“Our hypothesis is that human pair bonds evolved with increasing payoffs for mate guarding, which resulted from the evolution of our grandmothering life history,” Hawkes proposed.

The famed “grandmother hypothesis” credits pre-historic grandmothering for our long human lifespan. Hawkes used computer simulations to link grandmothering and longevity to a surplus of older fertile men and, in turn, to the male tendency to guard a female mate from the competition and form a “pair bond” with her instead of mating with numerous partners.

The findings contradict the traditional view that pair bonding resulted from male hunters feeding females and their offspring in exchange for paternity of those kids so the males have descendants and pass on genes. For the study, the researchers ran computer simulations of human evolution – 30 simulations with grandmothering and 30 without.

The new study indicates the ratio of fertile men to fertile women increased over time. “That’s what made it advantageous for males to guard a female and to develop a pair bond with her,” Hawkes said.

The grandma hypothesis holds that “the key to why moms can have next babies sooner is not because of dad bringing home the bacon but because of grandma helping feed the weaned children”. “That favoured increased longevity as longer-lived grandmothers helped more,” Hawkes noted.

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