“I often describe it as babysitting,” Stacy Rosenbaum, an anthropologist at Northwestern University and lead author on the study, told Ed Yong at the Atlantic.

The male gorillas “can be very gentle, or even loving,” Rosenbaum said. “Even males who aren’t interested will let infants climb on their back, or sit under them while eating…. It’s certainly not the stereotypical image you have of male mountain gorillas.”

The correlation between this sort of behavior and having more offspring contrasts with the conventional wisdom about male animals’ priorities when it comes to reproduction. “Social relationships between adult males and infants are quite rare among group living mammals, due to the relatively high payoffs for males of investing in mating rather than parenting,” Rosenbaum and her colleagues write in the paper. But the results “suggest a strategy by which selection could generate more involved male parenting.”

Toxic masculinity, it seems, could really use a mountain gorilla moment.

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