Why do animals care about their offspring?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by nds1, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. nds1

    nds1 Registered Senior Member

    Why do animals care about protecting and raising their offspring? If animals have no sense of ethics or morals, why don't they simply just have sex, have the offspring, and abandon them on the spot? I mean, these are animals, right? Why do they care at all about their offspring? There are no marriage laws or child support laws, so naturally if every animal lives purely for self-interest, why then do they protect and raise their offspring?

    If you really think about this concept, it is very mind boggling.

    The next question is, why do humans care about their offspring?

    The reason this subject has to do with religion is because this idea of "love." Most religions are based upon the concept of love for God. But does love even exist, or is it simply a product of biology? Do parents really "love" their kids, or they fulfilling their biological funtions?

    Social systems and parental care of birds

    The three mating systems that predominate among birds are monogamy (seen in approximately 91% of bird species), polygyny (2%) and polyandry (< 1%). Monogamous species of males and females pair for the breeding season. In some cases, the individuals may pair for life.

    One reason for the high rate of monogamy among birds is the fact that male birds are just as adept at parental care as females. In most groups of animals, male parental care is rare, but in birds it is quite common; in fact, it is more extensive in birds than in any other vertebrate class. In birds, male care can be seen as important or essential to female fitness. "In one form of monogamy such as with obligate monogamy a female cannot rear a litter without the aid of a male".

    The parental behavior most closely associated with monogamy is male incubation. Interestingly, male incubation is the most confining male parental behavior. It takes time and also may require physiological changes that interfere with continued mating. This extreme loss of mating opportunities leads to a reduction in reproductive success among incubating males. "This information then suggests that sexual selection may be less intense in taxa where males incubate, hypothetically because males allocate more effort to parental care and less to mating".[4] In other words, in bird species in which male incubation is common, females tend to select mates on the basis of parental behaviors.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird#Nesting
  2. spidergoat

    spidergoat alien lie form

    Many animals and most plants do not care for their young at all.

    The ones that require this care to survive do so because the extra development time provides a survival advantage. They either need to grow more, or learn behaviors from parents. This allows more resources to devote to a few offspring, rather than none to alot.

    The evolutionary reason is that animals share genes with their offspring, each parent shares 50%. If genes did not code for this parenting behavior (or the ability to learn it), this animal would have died out long ago. Any animal that had offspring of a type that needed care, and who didn't, wouldn't exist.

    Yes, I think love has biological origins. I think love is real, even if the capacity for it developed for sound evolutionary reasons.
  3. Baron Max

    Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    So what happens to that "parental love" after the offspring is grown? It disappears, don't it. In fact, it's sometimes the case where the father and son battle it out to the death over some female in heat.

    Love? No, I don't think so. Wanna' try some other explanation?

    Baron Max
  4. Mosheh Thezion

    Mosheh Thezion Registered Senior Member

    WHEN A new male lion.... takes over a pride of females...

    he usually eats the other males children.

    animals... only care about their kids.

    just like humans... not a big surprise.

    just as yourself.... why do you care about yours?

    because they are yours.

  5. nds1

    nds1 Registered Senior Member

    True MT, lions only care about their own kids, but why exactly do they care about them? Why does any animal care about their offspring at all? How does it benefit them to take care of their offspring?

    With birds, over 90% of them find one mate and raise their kids with that one mate for the rest of their lives. This seems very odd to me. Why would the male bird stay around the house and help the female raise the children? How does it benefit him? Why does he only stay with one partner? There are no child support laws, so he need not worry about anything like that.

    There are many animals which get very defensive if their kids are threatened. They will fight to the death for them. Why?

    I think in a pride of lions there are usually around 4 male lions which protect the children and the territory from intruders. The four male lions agree to share rulership of the pride because they know it logically benefits them to work as a team instead of "every man for himself."

    Similarly, humans know that their standard of living can only improve if they form a society in which everyone performs one task and then trades with another person, forming an economy. Animals follow this same principle.

    But still, in both humans and animals there is no logical reason why any living creature should care about the life of any other creature, or even their own offspring, as long as the other creature's life can provide some economic value to them.
  6. Chatha

    Chatha big brown was screwed up

    "To be or not to be", thats probably what the lion told the cubs before he annihilated them
  7. Kendall

    Kendall ......................... .....

    It might have something to do with the animal being able to think from the position of the offspring or in a way thinking for the offspring when needed.
  8. wsionynw

    wsionynw Master Queef

    If lions or humans didn't care for their offspring then said offspring would die before they had a chance to reproduce. Before long humans and lions would become extinct. We are hard wired to care for our offspring, it's biology, evolution.
  9. nds1

    nds1 Registered Senior Member

    Is there some kind of "love" present with animals? Do birds, lions, or bears actually form an emotional love for their offspring. Do they have the capability to love the same way humans do?
  10. Chatha

    Chatha big brown was screwed up

    We are hard wired to continue the world
  11. Mosheh Thezion

    Mosheh Thezion Registered Senior Member


    animals... that dont care for... or protect their young.... wont.

    and their young will die.

    if they die... no more animals.

    only the only that defend their young... and care for them... will be able to survive..... period.


    ONLY SOME ANIMALS.... dont have to... have to.. care for their young.

    like some fish.... or sea turtles.

    but that is because they lay massive numbers... and they have some natural odds for survival.. due to enviorment and such.
  12. nds1

    nds1 Registered Senior Member

    Yeah but why would we care about our species becoming extinct? We're all gonna die anyway, so who really cares what happens to our species. As far as Global Warming is concerned, I really don't care what happens to future generations of humans so I will continue to consume just as much pollution emitting products as I was before.

    Does anyone really care about whether or not their species will continue after they are dead?
  13. Kendall

    Kendall ......................... .....

    I was thinking that the change between animals not caring for there offspring and caring for there offspring might corespond with the develoment of some part of the brain that enables the animal to think for or as if the offspring, II can't remember much of biology at all now
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2007
  14. nds1

    nds1 Registered Senior Member

    You think when a lion eats another lions cubs they feel empathy for the cubs they just ate alive?
  15. wsionynw

    wsionynw Master Queef

    I believe that studies in sheep show them to have 'love' for their partners and offspring. No animal loves the same way us human animals love, but only because of how we define love.
  16. wsionynw

    wsionynw Master Queef

    If you don't care then chances are your offspring will not care about you or their offspring. Do you think that's true? If so then there would probably be no offspring at all. Do you not care what happens to all life on this planet?
  17. wsionynw

    wsionynw Master Queef

    What does this have to do with religion???
  18. spidergoat

    spidergoat alien lie form

    Um, no I don't. The exception proves the rule. We only notice the cases where parental love goes wrong because usually it's very strong. There is probably a secondary mechanism that influences adolescents to seek independence from parents.

    Because the gene is the unit of natural selection, not the individual animal. A child shares 50% of a parent's genes. A child that survives due to parental care that is genetically influenced will reproduce and spread the parental care gene, which will increase in the population.

    The evolutionary reason for caring for your own tribe is related to this, only less so, since your tribe shares a lesser percentage of your own genes.

    Altruism toward those unrelated to you probably derives from the same principle, but misplaced (from an evolutionary perspective), since interaction with those outside your tribe is a fairly recent human phenomenon.

    Also, even in birds which ostensibly mate for life, there is divorce.
  19. nds1

    nds1 Registered Senior Member

    Because almost every religion is based on the concept of "love." Love to God and love to everyone around you. What exactly is love?

    An animal raises and protects its children. Why? Because it loves them? A human raises and protects its children. Why? Because it loves them?

    Why do humans get married? Because they "love" their spouse? What exactly is love? What is it based on?
  20. Mosheh Thezion

    Mosheh Thezion Registered Senior Member

    IT is a chemical inbalance in the brain... a nice one.

    but.. it maynot be an inbalance... just a developed state.

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