APR 17, 2016 7:43 AM PDT

Nature

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Many babies in the animal kingdoms are born helpless, flailing creatures that require much energy and resources from its parents. Oftentimes, this responsibility falls on the female parent, hence why the phrase "maternal instinct" is usually associated with care and devotion to the offspring. In contrast, the paternal instinct for many animals is to mate with as many partners as possible without hindrance to childcare. However, there are some remarkable exceptions in the animal kingdom, whereby the males are the devoted dads that raise and protect their young.

One of the most familiar examples of devoted paternal care in the animal kingdom is the emperor penguin. In these animals, the father is the one who spends nearly two months cautiously guarding the egg between his feet and brooding pouch. During this time, he doesn't feed at all and moves very little in order to protect the egg from exposure to the Artic freeze. And if the mother doesn't return before the baby chick hatches, the already starved father regurgitates a curd-like substance to keep his chick alive. Talk about sacrifice and devotion!

For more remarkable examples of awesome dads in the animal kingdom, watch the video!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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