Having Kids With An Older Man May Be The Best Evolutionary Decision You Made
Choosing an older man as your partner can come with a host of barriers, including but limited to that declining sperm count and just a cultural skittishness with male-to-female age gaps. But some research into the children of older fathers reveals that there might be some benefits to having an older daddy such as longer life and robust health — at least genetically.
TIME reports that Northwestern University researchers examined DNA from over 3,000 women and their children (all born in the 80s). A peek into blood samples revealed that the children born to fathers who ranged in age from late 30s to 50s had long telomeres — the tips of chromosomes that reportedly influence life expectancy:
The older the children’s dads were when they were born, the longer their telomeres, the researchers discovered. The finding held true even when the researchers looked back another generation: the older the kids’ grandfathers were when the children’s fathers were born, the longer the kids’ telomeres. The lengthening effect was compounded from one generation to the next. The researchers found no similar effect from the maternal grandfathers’ side.
Dan Eisenberg, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Northwestern and the lead author of the study, says that there are definitely evolutionary advantages to procreating with a man a decade or so your senior:
“If your father and grandfather were able to live and reproduce at a later age, this might predict that you yourself live in an environment that is somewhat similar — an environment with less accidental deaths or in which men are only able to find a partner at later ages,” said Eisenberg, in a statement. “In such an environment, investing more in a body capable of reaching these late ages could be an adaptive strategy from an evolutionary perspective.”
Eisenberg responsibly asterisks his findings by adding that fellas shouldn’t exactly kick back with no attention to their biological clock, as much like with ladies, having children later in life does up the risk for a variety of disorders including autism. But a longer life thanks to Daddy’s age isn’t too bad a perk either.