Fathering in Nature

Male Gambel's Quail with chicks BK3015

Male Gambel's Quail with chicks BK3015

"Imagine spending four months upside down, half starved, babysitting a brood of tiny eggs under a leaf. Parenting is tough for daddy longlegs living in the Brazilian Atlantic forest, but their efforts aren't in vain. Having a parent to watch over the eggs makes a huge difference to their survival; without one, a third of clutches are eaten. 

Although we humans no longer need to protect our progeny from hungry predators, we are accustomed to thinking that parenting is crucial if offspring are to survive and thrive. Yet, among the myriad organisms on our planet, this is rare. What's more, in those species that do care for their young there is a strong bias towards females doing all the work. That makes the daddy longlegs a real oddity - it is among the few examples where males alone raise the young." - Lesley Evans Ogden, The father enigma: Why do nature's devoted dads care?, The New Scientist, June 14, 2014

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Male ostrich on nest BA1407

Male ostrich on nest BA1407