How I love a good David Attenborough nature video. The Life of Mammals is my most recent pleasure, and from it I get this week’s Friday Fact:
The female Emperor Tamarin lives with a “harem” (Attenborough’s word) of two or more males.
(mother and baby tamarin)
As she must provide milk for her babies, usually twins, she has to eat a lot. This is harder to do with babies clinging to her.
So when she is ready to forage for food, she signals the males of the group by sticking out her tongue. At this sign they flock over and remove the babies who cling to her.
The males care for the babies until the mother returns.
As the female has mated with all members of her harem, the males are all genetically invested in the offspring. They do not kill a competitor’s babies as do some species where males compete for females.
BTW the Emperor Tamarin is native to South America. It was named for its resemblance to Kaiser Wilhelm II, last German emperor and King of Prussia.
According to Wikipedia, the name was first intended as a joke but has become the official scientific name.