Caturday felid

August 8, 2009 • 7:51 am

by Greg Mayer

Having been thinking about the taxonomic distribution and adaptive significance (if any) of spots and stripes, I recalled that my cat, Peyton (see here and here), had some pattern elements quite reminiscent of tigers (beyond being a tiger tabby– the “tiger” stripes of tabby cats are not very like the stripes of tigers).  So I went to the Racine Zoo to look at the tiger.

The particular pattern element that seemed tiger-like was the striping on the inside of her legs, which is not well seen on the tiger here. I was more intrigued by the fact that along the back, some of the stripes of the tiger form rosette-like ovals (rosettes are found in leopards, jaguars, and young lions), which can be seen in this photo (blurred by the glass keeping me and the tiger separated).

Siberian tiger at Racine Zoo; note oval markings

6 thoughts on “Caturday felid

  1. Interesting as always. Thanks for posting

    ps. You can remove the blur from the images by adjusting the “levels” of the image. This is very easily done in most image editing programs. Doing this on your images yeilds the following result:

    Keep up the good work!

  2. I hate to get off-topic but:a couple posts ago about the tapirs the author (can’t remember if it was Greg or Jerry) said something about human babies have a coat of hair in-utero.This sounds fascinating and I have never heard of this before.Can someone please give me a link or some more info on this?Sounds like excellent ammo against the creotards.

    1. I mentioned it in regard to tapirs, but it’s one of Jerry’s favorite examples. The coat of hair is called the lanugo. Jerry discusses it in WEIT, chap. 3, and has also mentioned it in other writings. He does, as you suggest, use it as an example of something that only makes sense in terms of an evolutionary history of descent from haired ancestors.


      1. that was Greg; this was JAC. Yes, it’s in my book, but you can also google “lanugo.” The coat of hair develops at about six months of age and is almost always shed before birth. The ape coat develops around the same stage of development but is not shed.

      2. Thank you both for the wonderful information and I apologize if my last post or this one contains any errors,spelling or gramatically,as both were written on about four hours of sleep.

        P.S. Thank you and all of your staff/guest bloggers for running such a wonderful site,you rock 😉

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