top of page

Killer Whales and Menopause

orca whales
Killer Whales go through Menopause

Only a few animals go through menopause, and the most well-known ones are humans and killer whales. However, other animals have also been observed going through menopause, including short-finned pilot whales, beluga whales, and narwhals. In these species, females stop reproducing in their 30s or 40s and then continue to live for several more decades.

While there have been limited studies on hot flashes in killer whales, there is evidence to suggest that they may experience similar hormonal changes to those seen in menopausal human females. In a study published in the journal "Scientific Reports," researchers found that older female killer whales experienced a decline in reproductive hormones, including estradiol and progesterone, as they approached menopause. These hormonal changes were associated with changes in the whales' behavior and social roles, including an increase in caretaking activities and a decrease in reproduction.

Additionally, in another study, researchers found that older female killer whales were more likely to develop a condition called "peanut head," which is characterized by sunken temples and a concave head shape. This condition has been associated with a decline in body condition and may be related to the hormonal changes seen in menopausal female whales. Now we humans may not get "peanut head" but the hormonal changes of our hot flashes and brain fog might make us feel like Peanut Heads.

We actually have more in common besides Menopause and Killer Whales. Research suggests that female orcas have complex social structures and long-term bonds with their family members. It is common for adult male orcas to stay with their mothers throughout their lives, and mothers often prioritize the care of their adult sons over reproducing. This behavior may be related to the survival and success of their family group.

When female killer whales have daughters, she grows up, leaves their mother and becomes full-functioning member of the pod, and begins breeding. But when a female Killer Whale has a son, he often stays by her side for years and sometimes for the rest of his life. Eating her leftovers, acting juvenile and when he does leave to make, he soon returns.

In the United States, according to a 2019 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, 52.8% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 lived at home with their parents, with slightly more males (54.2%) living at home than females (51.4%). We know that multigenerational living has tripled among young adults, especially since Covid and the economy. I guess since the killer whales haven't figured out to get the adults on their own, we should expect to be patient :)

0 views0 comments


bottom of page