Who has seen a fang-baring puppy?

Something struck me for the first time today: felids fang-bare from infancy onwards, whereas canids do not.

In the many species of wild cats which have fang-baring expressions, it is easy to find photos of infants and juveniles 'fang-baring before they have fangs'.

Examples are the puma (https://www.mindenpictures.com/stock-photo-mountain-lion-puma-concolor-three-month-old-orphaned-cub-snarling-in-naturephotography-image00589036.html and https://www.reddit.com/r/aww/comments/2es4z2/mountain_lion_cub_roar/ and https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-10-08/rescued-mountain-lion-cub-recovers-her-roar and https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/06/03/santa-monica-mountains-mountain-lion-birth-p-54-p-63/), the Eurasian lynx (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2329550/I-m-mean-kitty-Cute-baby-lynx-shows-s-REALLY-got-claws.html), the caracal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ49jtlz_3I and https://www.dreamstime.com/caracal-cub-snarling-image196844006), the lion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBjKntYuUIk and https://www.123rf.com/photo_135641227_close-up-view-of-lion-cub-growling-while-lying-on-table-in-veterinary-clinic.html and https://changingwomanphoto.photoshelter.com/image/I0000wdsztKabseY and https://i.redd.it/73xcn5fgqra71.jpg), the leopard (https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-big-cat-baby-or-young-leopard-cub-panthera-pardus-snarling-ranthambore-95865539.html and https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-leopard-cub-roar-image17505522), and the cheetah (https://www.123rf.com/photo_457119_angry-cheetah-cub-growling.html and https://www.gettyimages.com.au/detail/photo/cheetah-cub-snarling-royalty-free-image/973918718 and https://www.dreamstime.com/one-baby-cheetah-cub-snarling-south-africa-single-small-cute-kruger-park-image182912632).

However, in the few species of canids which have fang-baring expressions (virtually restricted to the genus Canis, see https://depositphotos.com/260523004/stock-photo-close-snarling-gray-wolf.html and https://www.alamy.com/a-wolf-with-an-expression-of-aggression-to-other-components-wolf-park-image63114123.html), these displays seem relatively late to develop (https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/european-grey-wolf-cubs-begging-for-food-from-pack-member-canis-lupus/MEV-10789758 and https://www.masterfile.com/image/en/700-06512702/gray-wolf-canis-lupus-pups-play-fighting).

Furthermore, in those species of felids in which bold facial colouration produces a 'warpaint' effect accentuating the fang-baring expression, this is so precocial that it is present already at birth. By contrast, infantile facial colouration in the genus Canis usually differs from that in adults (https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-wolf-canis-lupus-mother-and-cub-running-side-by-side-minnesota-usa-48742606.html and https://www.alamy.com/white-arctic-wolf-with-pup-isolated-on-black-background-canis-lupus-arctos-image365031080.html and https://blankgc.com.au/friend-or-foe-the-fraser-island-dingo/ and https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/lost-puppy-found-australia-actually-rare-dingo-dna-test-shows-180973473/ and https://www.theepochtimes.com/rescued-baby-koala-turns-out-to-be-ultra-rare-purebred-alpine-dingo-puppy_3554008.html and https://www.heraldsun.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=HSWEB_WRE170_a_GGL&dest=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.heraldsun.com.au%2Fnews%2Fvictoria%2Fget-up-close-and-cuddle-a-dingo-pup-at-the-dingo-discovery-sanctuary-and-research-centre%2Fnews-story%2F35cf7c8cad171f949432b44939abdbad&memtype=anonymous&mode=premium and https://cdn.britannica.com/92/171292-050-AA6ABC3A/species-authorities-dingos-wolf-subspecies.jpg).

It is unsurprising that infants and juveniles of wolves, jackals and the domestic dog are rarely seen fang-baring, because sociality in canids usually involves a strict hierarchy in which insubordination is not tolerated. However, this fails to explain the difference fully because the sociality of the lion seems to have made no difference to the readiness of infants and juveniles to fang-bare.

Given that infant felids begin to fang-bare long before their teeth present a credible threat, what adaptive value is there in the precociality of fang-baring expressions and displays among felids?

One possible explanation is that the claws are already well-enough developed in infants to present a credible threat, that infants of felids have extremely precocial co-ordination of the scratching reflex, and that the facial display is an indirect reminder of the claws. Another possibility is that, in resembling adults so precisely (except for the presence of significant canine teeth), infant felids display as a way of reminding would-be attackers of the identity of the mother, which may be about to arrive and certainly does present a credible threat.

פורסם על-ידי milewski milewski, אוגוסט 06, 2021 11:07 לפנה"צ

תגובות

it's a fascinating analysis of developmental biology. I'm still reading.

פורסם על-ידי bobasil לפני 4 חודשים (סמן)

I happen to be looking for any studies on wolf mothers showing their cubs, and tracking humans with potentially dangerous inclinations, as in holding a stick, a rifle, sitting by a fire, hunting, etc.

פורסם על-ידי bobasil לפני 4 חודשים (סמן)

This is the clearest evidence I have found of fang-baring in a puppy: Canis latrans https://i.redd.it/ter2u099lw121.jpg.

פורסם על-ידי milewski לפני 3 חודשים (סמן)

הוספת תגובה

כניסה או הרשמה להוספת הערות