Thomas Jung, a wildlife biologist with the Yukon Government Department of Environment, authored this unpublished entry.
From 50 meters away, Jung saw this Canadian lynx (Lynx canadensis), who is fearless despite the presence of people in the vicinity. The investigator took out his cell phone and filmed the scene for 30 seconds.
The event took place on August 29, 2020, but it took more than two years to document the discovery and confirm that it was the first photographic record of a black-furred lynx.
A harmful adaptation for the lynx
Bobcat fur is typically silvery-gray in winter and reddish-brown in summer. These changes allow him to blend into the terrain associated with the season.
There were records of specimens with albinism (white fur), but none Melanism (black fur). Both of these conditions are caused by certain genetic mutations, usually driven by environmental factors.
“The adaptive significance of melanism in lynx is unknown, but Loss of camouflage “It may be a poor adaptation when hunting in winter,” Jung wrote in his Science article.
Due to the short time span of the sighting and the instability of the images, a detailed analysis of the coat coloration of the lynx was not possible. However, Tung recounted his own fleeting observations as an eyewitness.
“It had a black coat with white gray hairs all over and a facial ruff and whitish gray hairs on the rostrum and dorsal areas,” he notes.
In the animal kingdom, scientists know that fur color that blends with the terrain helps it stalk or sneak up on prey. Meanwhile, bright colors can help attract mates or deter predators.
A hypothesis of the origin of melanism Increased industrial activity and the resulting increase in smog and a darker background in landscapes.
Dung proposes to monitor color variations in lynx populations to better understand these adaptive processes.
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