If you are in a monogamous relationship with that special person you should thank grandmothers. According to a recent research, grandmas worldwide played a huge role in convincing men to form a “pair bond” with their special women, rather than erratically couple with whomever happened to be nearby.
University of Utah ’s Kristen Hawkes is the promoter of the “grandmother hypothesis,” which also states that grandmothers helped us live longer. Hawkes explained that her team based their findings on computer models and on the field data.
The team believes that without grandmothers we would not have the concept of pair bonds nowadays. Unlike animals, humans who are in a pair bond also make an emotional investment rather than just coupling and making sure that the partner is not stolen by a rival.
But the grandmother theory is at odds with the hypothesis that human pair bonds formed while our ancestors were using the prey they hunted to feed the women who would transmit their genes to their offspring.
Utah researchers claim that females were able to have more kids because their mothers helped them take care of the ones already born. That encouraged grandmothers to live longer to take care of the kids more.
Hawkes and two of her fellow researchers published the hypothesis in the late 1990s, after the team observed a tribe in Tanzania that had the same habits as our ancestors.
The study on the tribe which began in 1984 revealed that the tribe’s grandmothers had an important role in the community because they fed the children that were too young to feed themselves.
Researchers believe that active grandmothers needed to live longer to feed their grandchildren and to help their daughters have more kids. As a result, the longevity genes of grandmothers were transmitted to next generations so the human lifespan steadily increased.
According to researchers, grandmas also helped us to develop pair bonds with our significant others. The team explained that even polygamists have a pair bond but with multiple women. Pair bonding was defined by the research team as “a special and persistent relationship between a man and a woman.”
Study authors explained that even going out with someone for a few months counts as a pair bond if there is also emotional investment not just copulation.
Additionally, because there are more fertile men than women in our species, men learned that it was wiser to guard their fertile mate from rivals than trying to find another fertile mate with all the competition out there. That’s how they settled for monogamous relationships, researchers suggest.
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