[twitter]The title for Father of The Year is highly contested. In the human world, Chris Christie was picked this year. Sure, he may be a hardworking father that is committed to his kids, but that doesn’t make the cut for best father ever. Not even close.
In fact, despite all the efforts of modern dads to change the conversation and prove that we are worthy caregivers, what we do pales in comparison to the efforts fathers make in the animal kingdom. Here are the top 3 fathers on the planet:
Don’t call it babysitting, oh no! When male Emperor Penguins huddle in herds through long, cold, dark winter nights protecting their eggs, they are parenting. While the females are off searching for food (hotel minibars anyone?), the male penguins are the original Stay At Home Dad making sure everything is safe with the egg for when the moms come back from their GNO.
A male emperor penguin must withstand the Antarctic cold for more than two months to protect his egg from extreme cold. During this entire time he doesn’t eat anything. Most male penguins will lose about 12 kg (26 lb) while they wait for their chicks to hatch.
Pretty cool dads, but not the best.
One recent afternoon I crashed on the couch with the kids and watched The Octonauts. For 20 minutes I learned all about seahorses. The most stunning fact revealed in the show: male seahorses are the ones that get pregnant and give birth.
So of course I had to search YouTube for “seahorse giving birth” and I found this:
Wow. The male seahorse is equipped with a pouch on their front (like a female kangaroo). When mating, the female seahorse deposits up to 1,500 eggs in the male’s pouch. The male carries the eggs for 9 to 45 days until the seahorses emerge fully developed, but very small.
While giving birth is a pretty incredible sacrifice for the male to make, they are really deadbeat dads. Male seahorses offer nothing in terms of care of the 1500 kids they may give birth too and are known to go and mate with another female within hours of giving birth.
That’s not nearly enough to make seahorses the best fathers on the planet.
That honour rests with …
Did you know that if Finding Nemo was based on fact that Nemo’s dad, Marlin, would likely have become Nemo’s mom after her death?
Most clownfish, aka amphiprioninae, are hermaphrodites. They have strict social order in their colonies and usually organize around one reproductive male and female while other juveniles. Even though many males may surround a single female in the colony, there is no polygamy – only the “mom and dad” do the breeding. BUT .. should the female die, the breeding male becomes female. That, my friends, is the proper definition of Mr. Mom. The largest juvenile will then become the breeding male, and social order is restored in the world.
Put another way, Marlin likely would have become Marilyn.
They are the dad who will become mom. They will give up themselves to give birth to their children. Clownfish are the absolute extremes of selflessness demonstrated by Emperor Penguins and Seahorses combined.
That’s why Clownfish are the best fathers on the planet.