SMS scnews item created by Leo Tzou at Tue 3 Oct 2017 2212
Type: Seminar
Distribution: World
Expiry: 4 Apr 2018
Calendar1: 3 Nov 2017 1430-1530
CalLoc1: Carslaw 275
CalTitle1: Modelling evolution of post-menopausal human longevity: The Grandmother Hypothesis
Auth: (ltzo2369) in SMS-WASM

Joint Colloquium: Kim -- Modelling evolution of post-menopausal human longevity: The Grandmother Hypothesis

Human post-menopausal longevity makes us unique among primates, but how did it evolve?
One explanation, the Grandmother Hypothesis, proposes that as grasslands spread in
ancient Africa displacing foods ancestral youngsters could effectively exploit, older
females whose fertility was declining left more descendants by subsidizing grandchildren
and allowing mothers to have new babies sooner.  As more robust elders could help more
descendants, selection favoured increased longevity while maintaining the ancestral end
of female fertility.  First, we develop a probabilistic agent-based model that
incorporates two sexes and mating, fertility-longevity tradeoffs, and the possibility of
grandmother help.  Using this model, we show how the grandmother effect could have
driven the evolution of human longevity.  Simulations reveal two stable life-histories,
one human-like and the other like our nearest cousins, the great apes.  This and other
related questions in social and evolutionary dynamics give rise to a variety of unique
mathematical models and problems using ODEs, PDEs, and agent-based models.  Thus, I will
also introduce some of the projects being addressed by others in our research group.