Lots of baby animals look like smaller, chubbier versions of their parents—baby beavers look like beavers. Puppies look like dogs. Kittens look like cats. In some animal species, though, babies look completely different from their parents—why?
In some cases, offspring look different from their parents in order to better blend in with their surroundings to hide from predators. Fuzzy, gray baby swans aren’t as dignified-looking as their sleek, white parents, but their drab coloring keeps them safe. (Plus, in the Ugly Duckling’s defense, baby swans are actually pretty adorable.) White-tailed deer fawns have a spotty pattern on their backs that goes away when they grow up—that dappled coat works as camouflage in a sun-dappled forest.
Other animals’ life cycles mean that they undergo a lot of changes from birth to adulthood. Tadpoles grow legs and lose their gills when they become frogs, caterpillars develop butterfly wings, and while kangaroo joeys look like fuzzy mini-adults once they’re a few months old, newborn kangaroos are the size of a bumblebee, hairless, and helpless. Their different methods of development mean that they don’t share much of a family resemblance with their parents for a while!