Parental Instinct

Parental Instinct


(biology), the actions of animals that ensure or improve conditions of survival and development of their offspring.

Sometimes parental instinct is limited to nest-building (lairs, hollows) and the preparation of food for the yet unborn offspring. In such cases, the female never encounters her hatched young. For example, some wasps deposit their eggs on insects that they have paralyzed; the paralyzed insects serve as food for the larvae.

A higher type of parental instinct is care of the young, which is observed in two forms—passive and active. With passive care, the adult individual carries its eggs or young in folds, pouches, or special depressions in the skin. The young animals sometimes feed on discharges from the mother. Passive care characterizes a number of echinoderms, crustaceans, mollusks, spiders, fishes (seahorse, pipefish, some chromids), amphibians (obstetrical toad, Surinam toad), and lower mammals (echidnas, marsupials).

With active care, the adult animals perform specific actions associated with concern for their offspring: they establish a shelter, and they provide warmth for, feed, clean, and protect their young. In addition, many higher animals (birds and mammals) teach their offspring to find food and to recognize enemies. In many bird species, such as partridges, the mother attempts to distract the attention of an enemy that is threatening her young or her clutch. A herd of ungulates will encircle their young to protect them from attack by predators.


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My perfected friend," he said, "my parental instinct recognises in you a noble evidence and illustration of the theory of development.
Once Tarzan had saved Taug's life; but the memory of an ape is not overlong, nor would gratitude rise above the parental instinct.
One must make allowances for a parental instinct that has been starving for twenty-five or thirty years.
The parental instinct to protect girls is natural and to some extent beneficial.
Parental instinct kicked in and we got to work cooling, making milk and preparing Moses baskets.
Her experiences have led her to conclude: "Children aren't being raised by parental instinct, they're being raised via Google, chatrooms, TV shows, books, magazines and other people's opinions.
With earthy humor and humbling honesty, Braestrup strikes a balance between the necessary letting go and the enduring parental instinct to protect.
As a teacher and a parent, I've found myself in situations with my son where my teacher training and parental instinct were at odds.
Does Bruce have the parental instinct that Khloe and Lamar wouldn't go through the struggles they experienced when they were still together?
As a result, McDougall's concept of the gregarious instinct served as the springboard for an exploration of a range of social instincts linked to derived affective states, such as the link between the parental instinct and patriotism, both of which involve a sacrifice of self-interest for the benefit of another.
Every fibre of my parental instinct told me that Sophie had to understand the consequences of breaking the law and that speeding can be a serious and dangerous issue," he pontificates.
Every fibre of my parental instinct told me Sophie had to understand the consequences of breaking the law.