In recent times, a rare occurrence unfolded as a newborn giraffe without its usual distinctive patterns was welcomed into the world at a zoo in Tennessee. This exceptional event prompts a closer look at various animals that deviate from their expected patterns, such as leopards and zebras, and examines the reasons behind their unique appearances. Here, MailOnline delves into the stories of these extraordinary creatures:
- Albino Panda: Albinism, an uncommon condition, arises due to genetic mutations affecting melanin production, the pigment responsible for determining skin, hair, and eye color. In 2019, a remarkable discovery was made in China’s Wolong National Nature Reserve—a completely white panda with red eyes. This distinctive appearance, lacking the typical spots, is attributed to albinism, a genetic anomaly causing a lack of melanin. Albinism’s inheritance pattern is usually autosomal recessive, necessitating the presence of two mutated genes for its manifestation. Individuals with one mutated gene typically do not exhibit signs of albinism.
- Spotless Giraffe: The birth of a spotless baby giraffe in July at The Brights Zoo in Tennessee intrigued experts. Unlike the albino panda, this giraffe’s coat is entirely brown, suggesting an unconventional genetic alteration unrelated to albinism. A hypothesis involving a reaction-diffusion process, influenced by Alan Turing’s work, posits changes in pigment distribution across the giraffe’s body. Such mutations are possibly rare, either due to new dominant mutations or shared recessive variants in giraffes’ genomes. While a brown giraffe might face challenges in the wild, its spots contribute to camouflage and temperature regulation.
- Stripeless Tiger: Fareeda, a stripeless Bengal cub, emerged as the first entirely white tiger born in Africa at South Africa’s Cango Wildlife Ranch in 2008. Born to parents carrying a rare gene for striped white tigers, Fareeda was one of approximately 20 white stripeless tigers globally. Distinctive blue eyes ruled out albinism as the cause. These stripeless tigers once thrived in Northern India before becoming extinct. Fareeda’s birth is a rare occurrence with odds estimated at 100 to one.
- The ‘White Death’ Orca: An albino killer whale nicknamed ‘Iceberg’ and ‘White Death’ was captured in a groundbreaking photograph by scientists in 2012. Amid a pod of 12 normal orcas, this unique creature’s appearance intrigued researchers. Albinism, which often occurs more frequently in captive or endangered animals due to close relations, was evident in Iceberg’s case. These orcas’ population, such as the endangered South Resident Orcas off the coast of California and Washington, faces dwindling numbers. Iceberg, discovered near Russia’s Commander Islands, highlights the importance of maintaining ocean health to safeguard such rare and remarkable occurrences.
These instances showcase the intriguing variations that can arise in the animal kingdom, driven by genetics, mutations, and environmental factors.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn