Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Research Shows How Evolution Explains Age Of Puberty

Date:
December 1, 2005
Source:
University Of Southampton
Summary:
Children aged 10 and 11 are sexually mature, and neither they nor society are suitably prepared for the implications of that. This is the message of Professors Mark Hanson and Peter Gluckman, whose review of the evolution of puberty is published online this week in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Children aged 10 and 11 are sexually mature, and neither they nor society are suitably prepared for the implications of that.

This is the message of Professors Mark Hanson and Peter Gluckman, whose review of the evolution of puberty is published online this week in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Hanson and Gluckman, who respectively head the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) at the University of Southampton, and the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, researched the age of puberty stretching back beyond the Stone Age.

They found that Paleolithic girls arrived at menarche - the first occurrence of menstruation - between seven and 13 years. This is a similar age to modern girls, which suggests that this is the evolutionarily determined age of puberty in girls.

'This would have matched the degree of psychosocial maturation necessary to function as an adult in Paleolithic society based on small groups of hunter-gatherers,' they write.

Disease and poor nutrition became more common as humans settled, causing puberty to be delayed. Modern hygiene, nutrition and medicine have allowed the age of menarche to fall to its original range.

However, today there is a mismatch between sexual maturity and psychosocial maturity, with sexual maturity occurring much earlier. This mismatch is a result of society becoming vastly more complex, with psychosocial maturity therefore taking longer to reach.

'For the first time in our 200,000 year history as a species, humans become sexually mature before becoming psychologically equipped to function as adults in society,' explains Professor Hanson.

'All our social systems work on the presumption that the two types of maturity coincide. But this is no longer the case and never will be again because we cannot change biological reality. We have to work out a new set of structures - schooling, for example - to deal with this reality.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Southampton. "New Research Shows How Evolution Explains Age Of Puberty." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051201022811.htm>.
University Of Southampton. (2005, December 1). New Research Shows How Evolution Explains Age Of Puberty. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051201022811.htm
University Of Southampton. "New Research Shows How Evolution Explains Age Of Puberty." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051201022811.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins