Middle-Aged Folks Are Evolution's 'Pinnacle': Scientist

They pass on vital knowledge to help societies thrive
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2012 5:21 PM CST

(Newser) – Middle aged? Don't get down on yourself: You're the "pinnacle of evolution," according to a Cambridge scientist. Middle age is a period "not of decline but of development," says David Bainbridge. Humans are unusual in that they remain healthy well beyond their child-bearing years. They have long helped societies flourish by acting as "super-providers," passing on survival knowledge and traditions, whether they have their own kids or not.

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"Each of us depends on culture to survive, and the main route by which culture is transmitted is by middle-aged people telling children and young adults what to do," Bainbridge says. That remains the role of the middle-aged in indigenous societies; in the Western world, middle-aged people run the workplace. "Middle-aged people can do more, earn more and, in short, they run the world," the scientist notes, according to the Telegraph. Indeed, "it could be argued that they are the most impressive living things yet produced by natural selection." (Read more middle age stories.)

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