Cultivate Theme

An argument for living like elephants

I have always liked elephants. There is a row of six elephant plush animals in my office that my son likes to rearrange. (There used to be seven, but one has migrated to his room.) My son asks me why I like elephants so much, so I tell him:

  • They are the largest land animals, yet they are quite graceful on their feet
  • They are incredibly smart and forge long-lasting relationships
  • Elephants purr like cats do, as a way to communicate
  • They have complex matriarchal societies

He does not understand that last one, so I try to explain to him how all the female elephants live together and take care of the babies and form these very deep bonds. And that elephants have a really long lifespan, probably in part to the females all taking care of each other. He asks me if only elephants do that.

Well...

Not really - Grandmothers were probably integral to our longer lifespans, because they were the ones helping to feed the new babies. This research explains how the women were meeting the caloric intake requirements of their babies when the menfolk were not always successful in the big hunt. It is also similar to other theories around why our lifespans increased and surpassed other species: Because of Grandparents.

Full disclosure: My Mom shared that article with me. Which I will take as a sign that she wants me and my family to come over for dinner soon.

What do your children rely on their grandparents for? Tell me in the comments.

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