Live long, and then prosper

Humans mature slower and live longer than most animals. Older individuals increase a group’s accumulated knowledge and cultural memory. They also create larger family groups—older family members are like living links to distant relatives.

Bigger families probably had the extra advantage of being able to provide more care for kids during our long childhoods. Humans have a longer childhood than any other animal. It means we reproduce slower and need to be taken care of longer, but taking more time to mature gives young humans a greater opportunity to experiment and learn before becoming adults.

Our longevity builds larger family groups, and allows multiple generations to take care of us during our lengthy childhoods.
Our longevity builds larger family groups, and allows multiple generations to take care of us during our lengthy childhoods.Courtesy Liza Pryor via flickr.com
 
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Our lost siblings