When female killer whales As they enter menopause, their priorities change. Unable to reproduce, these killer whales seek the formula to keep their legacy alive for future generations. It’s a need they can see being met most of the time, thanks to their male children, who are the most partners in the animal kingdom. From here old orcas protect them at all costs to preserve their genetic background.
This conclusion was reached by a research group from the universities of Exeter, York and the Whale Research Center, and for the first time there has been indications that this is happening. protection among the old orcas and their children and grandchildren. Their results were published in the journal ‘Current Biology’..
They came to this conclusion thanks to the teeth marks on their dorsal fins. And these animals often show marks and scars in the form of a rake as a result of their mixing violent fights with other members of the species.
“Tooth rake marks tell us it’s there physical social interactions “It’s usually in killer whales that are acquired through fighting or rough play,” explains Charli Grimes, a researcher at the University of Exeter’s Animal Behavior Research Center and lead author of the paper.
Men under the protection of their menopausal mothers had fewer blemishes. “We were fascinated to find that it really was there is a benefit for men when their mothers are post-productive‘, says Grimes.
Interesting similarities with humans
Only six species, humans and five species of toothed whales, enter menopause., and scientists have long wondered why. This study resolves some of the doubts because, as he points out, females after menopause help prolong the lifespan of their offspringespecially men.
“These men showed up to 35% fewer teeth marks than other men,” Grimes says. This did not happen when the male was accompanied by a female who was still able to reproduce.
“We don’t know for sure why this happens right after menopause,” the scientist explains. One possibility is that when they stop breeding, the “mothers release. time and energy to protect your children”.
This means that female orcas have evolved to pass on their genes to female orcas, rather than competing with their daughters for reproduction. helping their children and grandchildren.
“Males can mate with more than one female, so they have more potential to pass on their mother’s genes,” says Grimes. Also, males mate with females outside of their social group, “so that the burden of rearing falls on another flock.”
How they do this is still a mystery. “Older females can use previous experience to help their offspring reduce the risk of fighting in social situations.“Getting away from what’s most dangerous,” explains Darren Croft, coordinator of the study and researcher at the University of Exeter. There is also the possibility of mothers interfering in fights.
“Their resemblances to humans are intriguing.”, emphasizes Croft. “It seems so old female whales play a vital role in their societyusing their knowledge and experience to gain benefits, including find food yearresolve conflictsinsists Croft.
Reference report: https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(23)00824-2
Whale Information Center website: https://www.whaleresearch.com/
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