The discovery of menopause in chimpanzees deepens the mystery surrounding its existence

We know of many species in which females are able to reproduce almost to death. When they lose this ability, they die. The mystery is that in a small group of species – including humans – females survive long after they stop reproducing.

Description in “Science” the exams The study was conducted on a group of 185 females from the Ngogo community living in Kibale National Park in Uganda. Scientists tracked their fate in the years 1995-2016. They observed the same pattern they had seen in other groups of chimpanzees and in humans: the number of young a female gave birth to began to decline after the age of 30, and by age 50, the females had stopped having children. Despite this, some of them lived for many years, and some were over 60 years old at the time of their death. Research shows that females of the Ngogo group are up to 20 percent more likely to live their adult lives when they stop reproducing. This is only half the number of women in hunter-gatherer societies.

However, the most important finding was the documentation of menopause. The researchers collected urine samples from the study animals. Their analysis showed decreased levels of estrogen and progesterone and increased levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and lyotropin (LH). Specialists were surprised by these typical signs of menopause. This means that female chimpanzees undergo the same physiological processes as female Homo sapiens, and that decreased fertility is not caused by disease, for example.

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