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In the realm of animal parenting, dads don’t get as much love as moms. You don’t see pictures of polar bear cubs cuddling with their old man, or a baby otter snoozing on its father’s floating belly . It’s true that plenty of animal dads don’t contribute much to their offspring but their genes. In some species, males’ actions can seem far from fatherly: lemurs, lions, and grizzly bears sometimes kill infants of their own kind . But animal behaviorist Jennifer Verdolin , author of the book Raised by Animals, offers a counternarrative: She says many animal dads have been minimized and sidelined by society. “We have this narrative that mothers are caring and when a dad does it, it’s somehow miraculous,” she says. (Learn about six animal dads that go to extremes to raise their young .) Yet dads guard nests, sit on eggs, defend dens and territories, feed gaping mouths, carry youngsters on their backs, and play with their kids. Their methods and roles vary as much as the species themselves, but many of these fathers have something in common—they are bonded with females. “Usually you see a lot of male care when mom and dad have […]

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