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In fiction, often, adult Funny Animals and Petting Zoo People will be shown looking considerably more anthropomorphic than child ones. Their own offspring might even look like Nearly Normal Animals. Once they grow up, they suddenly start looking more humanoid than they did as children.

Sometimes this trope shows within one character, sometimes it shows between the parent(s) and child or children or between the aunt or uncle and nieces or nephews, and sometimes it shows between a younger or baby character and an unrelated older or adult character of the same species.

This could be a way of invoking a Furry Reminder but can create Furry Confusion instead. Many times this is a way of emulating human children, who lack several sexual characteristics until puberty and are born with no ability to walk or talk. The idea, then, is that these animal characters will eventually grow into an anthropomorphic form as they mature.

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Compare Humanoid Female Animal, a similar distinction based on gender rather than age, and Bishōnen Line, when becoming more humanoid in shape is tied to Power Levels rather than age. See also Humanlike Animal Aging, Anthropomorphic Shift, Appropriate Animal Attire, and Metamorphosis. Can result in Furry Confusion.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bagi, the Monster of Mighty Nature, the eponymous Bagi started out as a little kitten whose only unusual features are humanlike eyes (well, that, and the pinkish fur, which is pointed out only once). She starts displaying anthropomorphic behavior when she watches an exercise show and starts imitating the dancers. By the time she reaches adulthold, she has become a Petting Zoo Person and can speak the human language, but is still capable of animal-like movement and agility (such as when she and Ryosuke avoid the security systems of the laboratory complex she was born in). Towards the end of the movie, Ryosuke's mother does something to Bagi that causes her to lose her humanity and regress to a feral state.

    Comic Books 
  • In Avengers Academy, Tigra is mostly human-looking, but when her son William was a baby, he looked more like a tiger cub than a human baby.
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    Fan Works 
  • Flame's Shade depicts this behavior-wise with Faunus cubs. While adult Faunus can mostly behave like humans, very young Faunus have no such qualms. Ace is a particularly feral cat Faunus infant who plays like a cat, bites, snarls, and generally acts like a kitten.

    Film — Animation 
  • Baby Po from Kung Fu Panda 2 resembles a Nearly Normal Animal, unlike his Funny Animal adult form.
  • Disney's Pinocchio has two cat characters. One is a bipedal mute Funny Animal adult cat named Gideon and the other is a quadrupedal kitten named Figaro who, aside from crossing his arms the way a human would and sleeping in a bed human-style, behaves like a normal kitten.

    Film — Live Action 

    Literature 
  • Redwall: Babies are all tiny fluffballs with minor differences to tell species apart, once adult they're of different sizes and look more like their real-life counterparts (well, except the clothes, weapons and opposable thumbs).
  • Star Wars Legends: In The Crystal Star, Codru-Ji children are dog-like creatures called wyrwulves. Then they go through a chrysalis stage and emerge as Humanoid Aliens.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "Gridlock", we meet an interspecies couple — human female and catman male. They recently had a litter of children who all look like normal kittens (because they were all played by kittens).

    Video Games 
  • In the classic Spyro the Dragon games all the younger dragons (Spyro, Ember, Flame, hatchlings, etc) are quadrupeds, while the Elders and other adults are bipedal and wear pieces of clothing.
  • In Pokémon your evolutionary state doesn't signify age (for example, a Flareon could have been born yesterday while a Pikachu could be decades old, at least in the anime), however, some Pokémon start as a Ridiculously Cute Critter, but become anthropomorphic once they evolved. The list includes (but is not limited to):
    • Blaziken are anthropomorphic chickens who evolve from the chick-like Torchic.
    • Nidoqueen and Nidoking are large, bipedal monsters who start as rabbit-esque quadrapeds named Nidoran.
    • Braixen and Delphox are evolutions of small fox kit looking Pokemon named Fennekin. It turns bipedal and gains the ability to use its front paws as hands.
    • Dragonite, unlike Dratini and Dragonair, is one of the most striking examples: a bipedal dragon evolves from limbless serpentine creatures.
    • Beldum, which looks like a dumbbell, plays with this trope. By merging itself with another Beldum, it creates a Metang. According to the Pokedex, in order to create a Metagross, which looks like your typical Humongous Mecha, you've got to use four of these fellas. The intermiedary form, Metang, looks like a mecha without legs.
    • Ghastly is essentially a ghastly ball of smoke. Haunter and Gengar, its evolution, develop first arms and then legs.
    • Litten starts out as a Cute Kitten, but evolves into Incineroar, an anthropomorphic Heel wrestling tiger.
    • Meowth's evolved form inverts this, Meowth can walk on either two or four legs, but it evolves into Persian, which always walks on all fours like a real cat.
  • Inklings from Splatoon are born normal looking squids and can only fully transform into a humanoid form around age 14.
  • The blue bunny children in Epic Mickey appear less anthropomorphic than their Funny Animal dad, Oswald.
  • In Mega Man Zero Cyber-elves at first look like small critters. As you grow them by feeding them E-crystals, they become more humanoid (sans the Animal types).
  • In BlazBlue this happens with the Kaka Clan. As toddlers, or "kittens", they look more like little kittens in cute hooded coats who can walk on their hindlegs. As they get older, they become more humanoid-looking, though they still have their tails.

    Webcomics 
  • In Freefall, Florence began as a normal looking wolf pup before growing into the Petting Zoo Person wolf she is now as an adult.
  • In Sonichu, the adult sonichus are anthropomorphic ripoffs of Sonic the Hedgehog, but their young forms are teddy bear-like monstrosities with Pokémon Speak called rosies (if female) and sonees (if male).

    Web Original 
  • In a Monster High webisode, it's shown in a flashback that Toralei (a werecat girl) was basically a cat with human hair when she was younger, rather then the anthro catgirl she is now.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
  • Played straight and zigzagged with Slappy Squirrel in Animaniacs. Slappy as a youngster is a Funny Animal with the basic body shape of a squirrel, but as a young adult, she has a sexier, more anthropomorphic Borderline Petting Zoo Person body shape. However, when she gets old, she reverts to a Funny Animal squirrel body shape with bent legs.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Baby Plucky’s The Faceless parents are fully dressed and wear shoes and are far more anthropomorphic than he is.
  • Inverted with the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Daspletosaurus from Dinosaur Train. Adult ones stand more like their real counterparts, but juvenile ones stand more upright and have plantigrade feet. The Troodons show an inversion to a lesser degree and unlike the two aforementioned species. The juvenile ones are as digitigrade as the adult ones.
  • A flashback during the Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats episode "Debutante Ball" shows Cleo and her friend Muffy as non-anthro kittens... with Cleo still sporting her full head of blond hair.
  • Little Bear is a Funny Animal like his parents but lacks clothes and occasionally displays more animalistic behaviors, like when he drank from a river like a normal bear in The Movie.
  • The mother of Rudolph is anthropomorphic in the Fleischer short Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1948). Her son Rudolph looks like a normal deer.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • The young rabbit in the cartoon "Rabbit's Kin" appears less anthropomorphic than Bugs Bunny, with a traditional rabbit-like stance in contrast to Bugs' thin, straight legs.
    • Downplayed, or even averted, with Bugs' nephew Clyde (who appeared in a couple of cartoons, notably "Yankee Doodle Bugs"): he looks like Bugs, but shorter and chubbier.
    • Baby Lola Bunny in Baby Looney Tunes is a Funny Animal like the rest of the animal characters, but adult Lola in every other incarnation is a Petting Zoo Person with a buxom figure.
  • In Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. a duckling lookalike of Donald, Donald Jr., has wings instead of human-like hands. This makes him appear less anthropomorphic than Donald, who is a Funny Animal. Donald Jr. having regular wings is notable because other ducklings like Donald's nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, have arms for wings just like the adult ducks: Donald, Scrooge McDuck, Daisy, and Ludwig Von Drake.
  • Tuff Puppy: Baby and kid Kitty Katswell is a Funny Animal like most of the male animal characters, but teen and adult Kitty is a Petting Zoo Person.
  • The Raccoons has two sheepdog characters. One is a bipedal adult named Schaeffer and the other is a puppy named Broo who behaves like a normal dog.
  • The Spicy Latina butterfly in the Pluto the Pup cartoon Springtime for Pluto looks basically like a human with wings and antennae, but when she was a caterpillar, she looked like the typical cartoon caterpillar, segmented and with two antennae, four arms, and four legs.
  • Tom and Jerry: The young kitten in "The Unshrinkable Jerry Mouse" is a quadrupedal Nearly Normal Animal who behaves like a normal kitten whereas Tom is a bipedal Civilized Animal or Funny Animal adult cat.
  • The Tom and Jerry Show (2014): The yellow-orange female kitten, Button appears to be a Nearly Normal Animal or a Partially Civilized Animal whereas the adult cats (like Tom, Butch, and Toodles) are either Civilized Animal or Funny Animal in anthropomorphism level.
  • As a young cub, Grizzly from We Bare Bears seemed like a normal cub in the wild and made actual bear noises. As an older cub and as an adult he is a Civilized Animal who lives amongst humans, occasionally wears clothes, and generally behaves in an anthropomorphic manner.

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