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Males Have Greater Reproductive Success if They Spend More Time Taking Care of Kids

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Researchers studying child care responsibilities among male mountain gorillas in Rwanda have found that males who spend a lot of time with groups of kids end up having more reproductive opportunities, Northwestern Now reports. “This research suggests an alternative route by which fathering behavior evolved in our own species,” one of the study authors said.

What was most interesting was that in the gorillas studied, the males cared for all the children, even those that weren’t their own. The findings helped the researchers gain insight on hormonal changes that occur in males, human or primate, with the birth of new infants in their surroundings.

It’s always fascinating to learn new insight on how our hormones affect not only our day-to-day lives, but even our innate processes, such as parenting skills. In human males, testosterone is often associated with “manhood.” Primarily, this hormone plays a crucial role in men’s sexual and reproductive function. It also contributes to their muscle mass, hair growth, maintaining bone density, red blood cell production, and emotional health.

As you are probably very much aware, though, in the human world, we have a skyrocketing male infertility that is occurring so dramatically it may even be threatening our survival as a species. According to the largest meta-analysis of its kind, sperm counts around the world declined by more than 50 percent, to 47 million sperm per mL, between 1973 and 2013, and it continues to dwindle to this day.

It’s believed that some of the causes for this are endocrine disrupting chemicals that surround us everywhere we go, from the plastic cups we drink from to the furniture we sit on. Excessive microwave radiation from wireless technologies, obesity and inactivity are also contributing actors to the dramatic decline among reproductive health in human males.

The disruptive chemicals include a “dirty dozen” list of the worst offenders, many of which are probably surrounding you right this minute, as you read this, with fire retardants being only one set of dangers. I’ve written about many of these in prior articles so, for more information about any particular one, please see my list of some of the most common sources of these hormone wreckers, "10 Sources of Endocrine Disruptors and How to Avoid Them."

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