We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I am not sure why it is a mystery. Everything decays, wears out. Entropy is like gravity, and I doubt that humans in a natural environment were ever designed to live much past child-producing years (knees, ovaries, penile weakness, heart valves, loss of collagen, cancers, etc,). But we do, now. Most of us.
Evolution is a imperfect system. It depends on chance and whatever works. There are a dozen or so physical characteristics of human anatomy that are inadequate but work well enough for us to survive. It doesn't have to make sense or be perfect to survive the test of time.
The Bible says threescore-years-and-ten or if we are lucky, eighty years. So they lived to about the same age a few thousand years ago, but not many made it. Only recently has 80 come to be regarded as our due, and 100 the lucky number.
So many wish to live long. I do not. We wear out unevenly, so that until some balance is achieved, life will be impaired. Yet more than that, I find young people tiring and irritating.
Assistant Village Idiot
And their so-called music so gol-darned loud and GET OFF MY LAWN!
Sorry, AVI; couldn't resist the set-up you gave me.
From the article: "As one recent book on primate ecology puts it: “Menopause is still considered a distinctly human trait.” That we live so far beyond our reproductive usefulness is a puzzle that was answered, supposedly, by the ‘grandmother hypothesis’. By this reasoning, human females live beyond their reproductive years because their presence benefits their children and grandchildren. One aspect of this relates to the fact that humans are no longer well-designed to give birth, because walking upright and having a large brain has led to a pelvis size which makes giving birth standing up or without help extremely difficult. Older females, then, can be useful even when they are not producing offspring."
No mystery there.
Some years ago, I heard an "authoritative" voice on menopause. The received wisdom then was that menopause was good because women would stop having babies when they were too old to look after them for the required years. As well, a menopausal woman would be available to help care for her grandbabies, which would increase the likelihood of said grandbabies surviving.