Actually, just because a characteristic is universal does not necessarily mean that it has an evolutionary advantage. Especially in the case of menopause. What is evolutionarily significant is whether the woman survived to reproduce. You don't know it, but you answered your own question when you mentioned that in early mankind, there were probably few women that lived long enough to go through menopause.What I'm asking is, why would menopause happen in woman everywhere (meaning it had to be very important evolutionarily) when most woman never got old enough to go through menopause?
You are also looking at this from a very limited viewpoint. Some years ago, in the days of extended families, the elderly assisted in raising the offspring of their children. Thus, they assisted in passing on their genes to further generations. There are examples of such activity in many species, where non-reproductive females assist in the caring of the young born of other females, usually a close relative.
I wonder, if menopause occurs even in egg bearing species/birds and fruit bearing trees !!!!
Aging seems to be only reason !! Since at older age it won't be possible to rare their (older specie's) young ones, nature has put an automatic check in reproduction!!!!
To my knowledge even fruit bearing trees stop fruit bearing after a particular time period ! A botanist can tell us better !
Long lived women played an important role in the survival of humanity.
I speak controversy so we have something to talk about. Don't take me too seriously.
Oh dear Athena, this seems to be ideal logic. I do not know how I missed this post for a month or so. In fact, I was out of station and then my system was also down.