Animal Dads: The Best and Not-So-Good

Jun 20, 2011

I had lovely Father's Day yesterday. We had a dinnertime breakfast for my dad and the fathers in our extended family. As I looked around the table, I saw dads with vastly different personalities and parenting styles, but who are all great just the same.

I was pleased to stumble upon a piece in Scientific American that looks at the different approaches to fatherhood within the animal kingdom.

Maybe you've heard about the male emperor penguins, who take over incubating the egg after the mother lays it. (If they don't take this responsibility seriously, the father's can end up with some heavy guilt and artistically expressive children, according to Happy Feet).

At the other end of the spectrum, grizzly bears and lions aren't getting any awards. Male lions don't even do the hunting and grizzly bear fathers may go after their own young when food is scarce.

Then, there's my favorite: the marmoset. As you can see in the photo above, they love to hold their newborn babies! Marmoset moms usually give birth to twins and the pregnancies are pretty rough. The father takes over baby duty so mom can rest. Precious!

Take a look at the piece and learn about the approach to parenting for ostriches, red foxes, seahorse dads (awesome) and more.

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