Killer whale mama’s boys live longer

Survival benefits to sons may favor orca menopause

By Susan Milius, 13:24 PM September 13, 2012

Male killer whale thirtysomethings appear to live longer when mom’s nearby, especially if mom has stopped reproducing. This survival bonus for mama’s boys could be the first evidence from nonhuman animals for an evolutionary advantage to living long after reproduction stops.

In the Pacific Northwest, a male killer whale’s risk of disappearing, presumably from dying, seems to jump almost 14-fold if he’s older than 30 and his post-reproductive mom dies, says marine biologist Emma Foster of th...

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