Do dads care?

A recent publication in the Annual Review of Anthropology suggests that parental care is embedded in the biology of human males, as it is in many other animals.

In the majority of species where females and males care unequally for their offspring, it’s the mums who do the lion’s share of the work. There are exceptions – from seahorses to emus – where it’s the dads who take on the primary role of parenting. Anthropological studies have looked at the roles of men and women in early human societies and compared these with gender roles in other primates.

According to this study, “caring fatherhood is not only core to men’s parenting, but … may have come first in human evolution, before fathers provided food for their offspring. Indeed, if humans had not first developed early forms of caring fatherhood, then the provider father might never have arrived: Thus, “caring dad” may have laid the evolutionary foundations for “provider dad.” “

“As anthropologists, we know that cultural contexts have large effects on shaping human parents’ roles in families. So it might be most accurate to say that men are biologically evolved to be culturally primed as caregivers.”


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