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Thursday, December 22, 2005
Study might help zoos improve how tahey care for animals.

Jenny, Shamba, Timbo, Beta and Elaine are son gorillas, but they have something in common with million of women: They have undergone menopause.

A study of gorillas at 17 North American zoos, led by Brookfield Zoo, is the first to document gorilla menopause, researchers not involved in the study said.

The findings may help zoos improve how they care for aging female gorillas and change the way evolutionary biologists think aboutmenopause in humans.

"Do they have hot flases? Do they get grouchy> We haven't been able to measure those thing syet, but give us time", said study co-author Sue Margolis, a former Brookfield Zoo researcher and now curator of primates at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Many biologists think menopause evolved because it gave human grandmothers more time to help care for grandchildren, said Steve Austad, a researcher at teh University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio who was not involved in the study. The new findings argue against that hypothesis because female gorillas in the wild migrate away from their family groups and don't hang around to care for the grandkids.

Instead of an evolutionary adaptation, menopause could result from humans -- and captive gorillas -- living longer, Austad said.

The oldest gorilla in capttivity is thought to be 51 year old Jenny at the Dallas Zoo. She was one of the 30 gorillas in the study and among the 23 percent of the older gorillas found to have undergone menopause when researchers measured their hormones.

(Source: Associated Press by: Carla K. Jonhson)
posted by infraternam meam @ 2:59 PM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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