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Nature's 10 best animal dads

By: Bryan Nelson on June 15, 2011, 1:03 p.m.
emperor penguin and young penguin

Photo: KeithSzafranski/iStockPhoto

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Emperor penguin

There are few examples in nature of a father more dedicated than the emperor penguin. After the female lays the egg, her nutritional reserves become depleted and she must return to feed in the ocean for two months. This leaves the responsibility of keeping the egg warm through the freezing Antarctic winter to the father.

The father spends the two months holding the egg precariously between the tops of his feet and his brooding pouch, without feeding, throughout the brutal winter (when freezing winds can reach 120 mph). If he moves too suddenly or the egg becomes exposed to the freezing temperatures, the chick will perish. But his dedication — and his balance — ensures the survival of a new generation. What a dad!