A new study from an Iowa State University biologist shows human menopause is unique among primates.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that menopause in mid-life is uniquely human.
The study found that human women typically experience a decline in fertility in their 40s or 50s while females of other primate species remain fertile throughout their lifespan.
“We found that humans are doing something unique,” said Anne Bronikowski, senior author of the study.
“It’s still an open question as to why that is,” she added.
The debate over why women go through menopause is a question that has been studied for decades and currently remains unanswered. Many theories about the evolution of menopause are popular with scientists although none has been proven yet.
The study was the first to compare humans with multiple primate species living in the wild. The data from nonhuman primates came from observation of gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees, lemurs, and baboons.