Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

The ultimate fathers

On this Father’s Day, I would like to pay tribute to a few of nature’s most ‘devoted’ fathers.

Take the emperor penguin for example. If you have ever watched the movie March of the Penguins, or even Happy Feet, then you know these avian fathers are rock stars of parenting. Males are responsible for keeping the eggs warm for two months while the females go away to feed. They do this by balancing the egg on their feet and covering it with their brood pouch. While incubating the eggs, the males forgo eating and endure extreme weather until the females return with food for the newly hatched chicks.

Emperor_Penguins_(15885611526)

Image of emperor penguins by Christopher Michel – Emperor Penguins, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Male South American marmosets also deserve recognition for parenting skills. After the babies are born, the female marmosets exit the scene and the males step up to the plate to take care of them. They not only carry the offspring, they are also known for feeding and grooming the infants.

Of course let’s not forget about male seahorses. These animals are rather unique in that the males are impregnated and give birth to thousands of babies. Although they are rock stars when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, the males do not care for the offspring after they are born.

Sources:

National Geographic

Youtube

Categories: Comparative Physiology

Tags: , , , , , ,

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