Parenting Dynamics In The Animal Kingdom

Throughout the animal kingdom there are many different “family/parenting” dynamics. Some male species have a more active role than other. The males role can be anywhere between being the one that gets “pregnant” to having a nonexistent presence in their young’s life. So far in our reading and class discussions we have only discussed primarily primates. Among one of the primates the gorilla the male doesn’t take an active unless it is forced to due to being put in one of the following situation; the male has a long-standing familiarity with child, the child’s needs are urgent, or the male has a relationship to the child’s mother. In “Mother Nature” the example of Jambo the male silverback gorilla is given. Here is a video of Jambo and the child that fell into the gorilla enclosure, can you see which of the three situations forced Jambo to act?

During some research on this topic I have come across some other interesting dynamics among other species. Male seahorses get pregnant instead of the females. The female deposits her eggs into a pouch that the male has and that is the only thing the female does. The male carries the babies anywhere between 10-25 days and can carry up to 2,00 babies at one time. The fact that the male has such an extreme and active role is unusual. There are very few species in which the male carries the baby. The seahorse goes against the norm in which the father leaves the parenting to the female because the male can reproduce more.

There are many species in the animal kingdom that have allomothers on of which is the elephant. The elephant calf has very few instincts and has an unusually long childhood. The mother picks several allomothers to help raise the calf. Then there are others species where the bond between the mother and child is extremely lose, such as the Rhino. The bond between mother and child is so close they do not leave each others side.

Checkout this site for some more interesting dynamics between mother,father, and baby in the animal kingdom!






About tatumk

Student at ODU
This entry was posted in Alloparents, Primates. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Parenting Dynamics In The Animal Kingdom

  1. Ah, Animal Planet. You are like National Geographic meets VH1 Behind the Music. It’s amazing to think that Hrdy’s book was written eight years before anyone knew what YouTube was, and now one of my students can go and find the video that the author is talking about in just a few clicks!

    What did you get out of watching Jambo in action? The moment where he touches the boy is really brief – it may be that he was more curious than concerned, but then it does seem that he’s standing at attention while the boy lies there unconscious. Do you think too much is being read into this?

  2. tatumk says:

    I thought Jambo showed characteristics that are not the norm for male gorillas. I don’t think too much is being read into this. It is an example of how species can behave in ways that are uncharacteristic for them. It also shows how developed gorillas are and that not only gorillas but other animal species act and react in ways that are similar to humans.

Comments are closed.