Sharing parenting roles leads to healthier infants

Washington: Turns out, offsprings raised by both parents grow to a healthier weight and are more likely to reach adulthood than those raised by one parent.

A research on beetles is the first to offer evidence of whether being raised by two parents has benefits for offspring. It could help explain why many species including birds, mammals, fish, and insects have evolved to share the burden of nurturing their young.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh set out to examine whether care from two parents is greater than the sum of its parts, or if a conflict between parents over their shared workload has a negative impact on their young.

In an experiment with burying beetles, scientists examined how well pairs of adults compared with sole parents. Dozens of pairs of parents and single adult beetles were each given a brood to raise to adulthood, with single beetles given half as many young compared with the pairs.

The researchers eventually found that offsprings who were raised by both parents were better off despite male beetles being seen to do less when working alongside their female partners.

Scientists said their finding supports the idea that co-parenting may help ensure animals can pass on their genes, in a trade-off against producing more young. In addition, both parents may pass on good bacteria to their young through close contact.

The full findings are present in the journal- Proceedings of the Royal Society B.