Human fathers might pride themselves on being dedicated breadwinners, diligent carpool drivers or convenient camping buddies. But plenty of other dads in the natural world go above and beyond the average animal call of duty as a matter or course—as egg incubators or food providers.

Most reptile, amphibian and bug offspring never meet their fathers (or mothers, for that matter); they often emerge from eggs into the cold cruel world to fend for themselves. Even among us mammals, active fathering is the exception rather than the rule. But being a dutiful dad does have its evolutionary advantages. By boosting one's offspring's odds of survival, fathers can help to ensure that their genes get passed on to the next generation—and the next.

So, in no particular order, here are eight of the most magnanimous dads of the animal kingdom. Have another species to nominate? Submit it below in the comment section.

» View a slide show of 8 Great, Super-Dedicated Animal Dads