Wildt and O'Brien decided to confirm this hypothesis by taking skin samples from a number of cheetahs, and attempting to graft them onto a number of other cheetahs. In a healthy population of animals, the skin grafts would be immediately rejected. This is because the body of the animal who received the skin graft would recognize the skin to be from another individual, a foreign body, and attack it, just as it would attack any foreign body (i.e., germs or bacteria.) Even in humans, skin grafts are often rejected, even ones from close relatives.
|Normally a very majestic looking animal, this particular cheetah seems to have been caught at a bad time. Photo Credit: Ted and Gail Neher|
|A cheetah scratching a log at the Denver Zoo. The cheetahs incredibly slender build can help distinguish it from other cats.|
Gugliotta, G. (2008, March 1). Rare Breed: Can Laurie Marker Help the World's Fastest Mammal Outrun Its Fate? Smithsonian Magazine.
Scott, J., & Scott, A. (2005). Cheetah. London: Collins.