While the health of aging men has been a focus of biomedical research for years, evolutionary biology has not been part of the conversation—until now. How Men Age is the first book to explore how natural selection has shaped male aging, how evolutionary theory can inform our understanding of male health and well-being, and how older men may have contributed to the evolution of some of the very traits that make us human.
In this informative and entertaining book, renowned biological anthropologist Richard Bribiescas looks at all aspects of male aging through an evolutionary lens. He describes how the challenges males faced in their evolutionary past influenced how they age today, and shows how this unique evolutionary history helps explain common aspects of male aging such as prostate disease, loss of muscle mass, changes in testosterone levels, increases in fat, erectile dysfunction, baldness, and shorter life spans than women. Bribiescas reveals how many of the physical and behavioral changes that we negatively associate with male aging may have actually facilitated the emergence of positive traits that have helped make humans so successful as a species, including parenting, long life spans, and high fertility.
Popular science at its most compelling, How Men Age provides new perspectives on the aging process in men and how we became human, and also explores future challenges for human evolution—and the important role older men might play in them.
Richard G. Bribiescas is professor of anthropology and ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale University, where he also serves as deputy provost for faculty development and diversity. He is the author of Men: Evolutionary and Life History. He lives in Hamden, Connecticut.
"[T]he best short summation I've seen of a massive body of research."--Michael Shermer, Wall Street Journal
"Bribiescas draws on the latest findings in anthropology, endocrinology, and genetics to help us understand the male-aging process. . . . How Men Age is wry, sly, informative, and provocative."--Glenn Altschuler, Psychology Today
"Bribiescas makes a wonderful case for considering evolutionary ideas in human health, and provides a great introduction for anyone wishing to join the conversation."--Emily Gregg, Lateral magazine
"An enjoyable and humane look at what could have been a bleak subject, spiced with just the right amounts of humour, anecdote, and quirky personal perspective."--David Bainbridge, Literary Review
"[T]he lens through which Bribiescas views [male aging], evolutionary biology, offers a nuanced explanation of why, during almost every phase of human life, men die at a higher rate than women."--Brian Bethune, Maclean's
"[Richard Bribiescas] applies anthropological and evolutionary biological lenses to a sweeping, succinct review of the phenomenon [of male aging], and does so with good humor."--Harvard Magazine
"Biological anthropologist Richard Bribiescas covers some interesting uncharted territory. . . . Testosterone peaks in early adulthood, so that men are past their physical prime by the age of 30. It's tempting to see it as all downhill from there. But with wit and insight, Bribiescas shows convincingly that's not the case."--Kate Douglas, New Scientist
"[How Men Age] certainly enriches our understanding of male health and well-being."--Wan Lixin, Shanghai Daily
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1 A Gray Evolutionary Lens 1
Chapter 2 Dead Man’s Curve 17
Chapter 3 Getting a Handle on Love Handles 45
Chapter 4 Older Fathers, Longer Lives 70
Chapter 5 Dear Old Dad 88
Chapter 6 Darwinian Health and Other Contradictions 106
Chapter 7 Older Men and the Future of Human Evolution 133