You’re A Dad Because Science and Evolution Said So

Doug FrenchFatherhood on Friday

If you’re like us, you’ve spent the last several weeks developing a deep appreciation for science (and not just because it’s suddenly your job to teach your kid how a cell divides). No matter how much knee-jerk conjecture and political posturing we see, we know we’ll overcome this pandemic through the work of the scientists, who are studying how Covid-19 operates, extrapolating its impact, and experimenting how to bring it under control as soon as possible. In Fauci We Trust.

In the context of these adverse ecological conditions, you may be encouraged to learn that the National Academy of Sciences reports it’s precisely catastrophes like these, occurring over millions of years, that have driven the evolution of human fatherhood. So says a new study — from our friends at Boston College, among others — which contends that, as living conditions worsened, males began to see “sexual fidelity and paternal provisioning” as a more effective survival instinct than “humping anything with a pulse.”

Thus, “Dads” evolved an evolutionary advantage to “Cads.”

Evolution is slow but inevitable, and it shouldn’t surprise that developing “complementarities” between parental partners (dividing labor, pooling resources, hunting in packs, etc.) is why we’ve learned to overcome adversity by developing more flexible diets, using tools, and inventing Netflix. So if weeks of nonstop contact with your families is starting to take its toll, remember that right now is an important evolutionary watershed moment, and none of what you’re about to read below would have happened if the African savannah hadn’t started drying up eight million years ago. The family unit emerged stronger from that, and it will from this, too.

IN THE NEWS

Hospital systems are starting to reverse their restrictions and allow partners from NY, NJ, and CT into labor and delivery rooms.

This man has chosen an excellent quarantine project: transcribing his father’s letters home from World War II. He has about five months to go, so let’s hope his project outlives the #StayHome orders.

Child Development Resources is a nonprofit that provides a host of programs, from child therapy sessions to parents’ support groups, for families of kids with disabilities, low income, or other risk factors during the pandemic.

The Atlanta Falcons’ first-round pick A.J. Terrell models his fatherhood on his dad’s example: “He let me know all the sacrifices and love you have to give to your children. He taught me unconditional love.”

You know how male penguins are great caregivers? That goes for Penguins, too.

17-year-old Vaneeza Rupani, who won the right to name the Mars Rover helicopter, has been inspired by science ever since he and her dad would pretend they were in a spaceship on the way to school.

New dads have more resources than ever to grow into their parenting roles.

Only a few weeks after recovering from Covid-19, Boris Johnson became the third British prime minister in the past two decades to have had a child while in office.

Zoom funerals may lack intimacy and human contact, but they can make the sendoff much more inclusive and surprisingly moving.

PORCHLIGHT POSTS

“Assuming you can cut hair because you’ve been going to a barbershop all your life is akin to thinking you can edit a newspaper because you’ve always had a subscription.” — Alex Hanson, A Boy, His Dad, and a Coronavirus Buzz Cut

“Forgiveness is the pre-eminent relationship skill in many ways, whether it be small everyday issues or big life issues.” — Noel McDermott to John Adams, Dads’ and Men’s Mental Health During Lockdown

“My dad had had Stage II colon cancer in 2011, but he was 58 then. We just thought I was way too young for me to have it.” — Trey Mancini, I Am So Lucky

“To all the moms and dads and caregivers struggling under quarantine, know that you’re not alone. — Michael Kwan, Dads Under Quarantine (featuring Chris Read, Matt Todd, Kevin McKeever, John Adams, and Art Eddy

“Material things fade away, possessions are lost and forgotten, but knowledge lasts. — Glen Henry, Instagram post

‘GRAM OF THE WEEK

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