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Nature's 10 best animal dads

By: Bryan Nelson on June 15, 2011, 1:03 p.m.
Emperor penguin keeps watch over a hatchling

Photo: AtlasImages/iStockphoto

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Here's to you, Pops

Let’s face it: When it comes to paternal instincts in the animal kingdom, there are more than a couple of lousy dads.

In the natural world, a majority of dad critters are programmed to follow the familiar "dude meets lady; dude impregnates lady; dude leaves lady (if he hasn't already) and their new offspring to go meet and impregnate new ladies" mating ritual. It's all about the act of producing as many heirs as possible and not about sticking around.

However, there are some exceptions to the father non grata theme that dominate the animal kingdom parenting scene. In fact, in some species, the proud father plays an integral role in raising the young along with — or sometimes in place of — the mother.

With Father's Day around the corner, we thought we'd celebrate a few standout fauna fathers who prove to be an exception to the prevalent "most animals are crappy dads" rule. Non-deadbeat dads of the animal kingdom, we salute you.