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The process of anthropomorphization of an animal character usually involves a lot of implicit decisions of what should be made human-like, and what should stay the way it is. One thing is certain, though, things will not be realistic. On the other hand, some breaks from reality are less acceptable than others...

Sometimes, body organs are shifted or added to funny animals, seemingly in a way to increase identification through anthropomorphism. Some other times, it's just a stylistic convention, used so the creature in question is more easily recognized than if it was drawn realistically.

Though Funny Animal Anatomy should not be noted under You Fail Biology Forever, since it's never meant to be serious, some Egregious decisions are made in this sense, for either stylistic or anthropomorphic reasons, and many people with just barely some knowledge of zoology will probably have shivers by seeing that. Some are so omnipresent they even are tropes unto themselves.

This trope page and its child tropes apply to animals on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism from Nearly-Normal Animal to Petting Zoo People.

This trope page is meant to catalog only examples which do not fit the child tropes below, are specializations of these tropes, or are especially Egregious.

Sub-Trope of Art Major Biology.


Subtropes


Comics

  • In Berkely Breathed's Bloom County days, the community is abuzz upon learning that one of them is actually female (after much paranoia and speculation, it later turns out to be Rosebud). Portnoy, in a panic, checks himself in the bathroom only to cry, "No dice! Comic strip animals aren't anatomically correct!!"
  • This was also addressed in Cerebus, post-syndrome: Cerebus is a hermaphrodite, so his male ganitalia is hidden inside his female outer genitalia when he's not "in position". Dead serious.
  • The human characters of Peanuts have hands that look like paws.


Film


General Examples

  • Critters which are faceless, or have their features in non-standard human places, usually have a full face drawn somewhere else:
    • Octopuses almost always will have faces -- complete with Cartoony Eyes -- placed on their huge foreheads. Sometimes they'll also have a stereotypical tube-like mouth. As a result, what appears to be a real octopus' mouth becomes a cartoon octopus' anus!
    • The same happens to squids, but to a lesser extent, since they normally keep their eyes where they originally are (near the tentacles).
    • Starfish usually have faces (eyes and mouth) on the back of their bodies.
  • Not only birds, but sometimes also toads, bugs, earthworms, et cetera... will have teeth. Especially Egregious when dealing with invertebrates.
  • Insects and arachnids also sometimes have anthro mouths, teeth and chelicera (if an arachnid) or mandibles (if an insect), making one wonder what those are for, if the teeth will hold and cut the food anyway.
    • They are also usually depicted with only two eyes (in Real Life, insects usually have five eyes and arachnids usually have eight eyes)
  • The borderline furry Squicky case of "male cows". Yes, bulls with udders.
  • It's a recurring joke in cartoons for animals, walking upright, being mysteriously devoid of any genitalia whatsoever (especially with males). In a similar way, cartoon animals almost always lack an anus, even when it should be clearly visible below the tail.
  • Bird beaks are pliable, like human lips. Or worse, they're like noses with a normal mouth underneath.
  • A lot of dogs and other animals with non-retractable claws tend to be drawn without their claws showing in cartoons. Only cats (except cheetahs, which have semi-retractile claws), fossas, and many civet species have fully retractable claws. If the animal has non-retractable or semi-retractable claws, they should be showing at least a little bit. But in cartoonland, most animals with claws are drawn without them showing, even those with non-retractable claws.
    • In the case of birds, ducks, geese, and other web-footed birds are the most likely to be drawn without claws showing.
    • On a related note: In a lot of cartoons, comics, and video games, humans and other primates tend to be drawn without their fingernails or toenails showing.
  • Even though snakes and fish (except sharks) can't blink in Real Life, they are shown being able to blink in cartoons anyway.
  • Owls, and a majority of other birds fact can't move their eyes, but this fact is ignored in cartoons and they are able to move their eyes just like humans.
  • Cartoon animals tend to be drawn with a head, muzzle, beak, or bill shape that is different from what it is in real life:
    • Ducks are usually drawn with bills that are wider than that of real ducks, often being as wide as a real platypus's bill.
    • Larger cat species are often drawn with longer muzzles than what they would have in real life, about as long as that of a dog with an average muzzle length, especially in older cartoons. Big cats may have longer muzzles than small cats, but their muzzles aren't as long as that of a mesocephalic (of normal muzzle length) dog.
    • Rats and even mice are sometimes drawn with muzzles as long as that of dogs with an average muzzle length, longer than that of a real rat or a real mouse.
  • Cartoon rabbits and hares are usually drawn with noses shaped more like either cat noses and even dog noses than real rabbit noses.
    • Cartoon reindeer are usually drawn with noses like dogs' noses. White-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, and mule deer may have noses that look somewhat like a dog's nose, but reindeer/caribou, moose, and elk noses look nothing like dog noses.
  • Beavers are usually drawn with white teeth even though real beavers have yellow or orange teeth.
  • Rabbits are often drawn with footpads, which real rabbits do not have.
  • Most animated giraffes are portrayed with pink tongues. In real life, a giraffe's tongue is black. Also, giraffes in animation are often drawn with necks longer than those in real life.
  • Most cartoon elephants will often appear to be Indian elephants even in African settings. They will also only have three toes on each foot.
  • Monkeys appearing in most animated works will almost always be depicted with prehensile tails (a trait exclusive to monkeys living in the Western Hemisphere), especially if the monkeys are of the "generic" type as opposed to a specific species, even if said works take place in the Eastern Hemisphere.
    • Also, monkeys appearing in many animated works are often depicted with longer arms than legs (In Real Life, monkeys usually have legs that are a little longer than their arms.) and a stance more like an ape than like any real monkey, especially if they are of the "generic" type.
  • Cartoon parrots will always be drawn with feet that have three claws in the front and a fourth in the back, instead of two claws in the front and two in the back.
  • Rattlesnakes in animated works will always be portrayed as egg-layers, despite the fact that in real life, rattlesnakes are live-bearers.
  • Most animated passerine birds (unless they are corvids) will always either look like sparrows or be colored like them.
  • Most animated fish (not counting the realistic-looking ones) will look absolutely nothing like actual fish species.
  • Many cartoon pelicans have oversized beak pouches even when they're empty.
  • Many prehistoric animals are portrayed inaccurately. For example, many theropods are portrayed having pronated hands when the palms actually faced each other like a person about to clap, plant-eating dinosaurs are shown having elephantine feet when this wasn't the case in real life, feathered dinosaurs like Velociraptor are shown as being covered in scales, and pterosaurs are shown as bipedal when actually they were quadrupeds. In many cases, this can be because the information was not available at the time.
  • Whiskers, common to furred animals, are details that can disappear with simplified art, but for some unfathomable cultural reason they are considered a necessary identifying feature of animals like cats, rabbits, mice, and rats more than other animals that have them, such as dogs and foxes. Often this is the easiest way to tell cats from dogs in the same work.
  • Human characters in some shows and comics are drawn with hands that look like paws, in other words, their fingers don't taper the way real human fingers do.


Video Games

  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series has some very prominent examples. While characters like Tails and Rouge the Bat can at least be identified as to which species they are, most other characters look nothing like their species. You probably wouldn't guess Sonic was a hedgehog unless you'd been told so.
  • Lampshaded in Crash Bandicoot: 'You don't even look like a bandicoot!'


Western Animation

  • Patrick Star from SpongeBob SquarePants has his face (eyes and mouth) on one of his arms.
  • Family Guy just barely averts this trope in one episode: Peter develops penis envy when he learns that his son is very well endowed. His friend Brian (a dog) consoles him by saying "Mine goes inside me when I stand up, how do you think I feel?"
  • Lampshaded in the Looney Tunes short Duck Soup to Nuts: the cartoon opens with Daffy Duck in a pond, filing his nails amid a group of realistic-looking mallards: "I kinda stand out in a crowd, don't I?"
  • Perry the Platypus has a bill that looks as narrow as a real duck's bill except in direct front-view shots.
  • Tweety the canary, Porky Pig, and Petunia Pig have heads that are shaped like human heads.
  • Beavers in The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! have the correct color teeth (which is orange).
  • Maurice, of Madagascar and The Penguins of Madagascar, is meant to be an aye-aye. Real aye-ayes are ... not that cuddly-looking.
  • The aardvarks from Arthur, including the title character, look absolutely nothing like actual aardvarks at all!
  • Stimpy from Ren and Stimpy has human-style fingernails on his hands.
  • While the character designs in the My Little Pony franchise are usually anatomically correct, the characters in the G3.5 cartoon have strange cone-shaped legs and bulbous circular heads. This design choice sparks the ire of most members of the show's fanbase, whom are used to the Friendship is Magic designs which are more realistic than the G3.5 designs but more cartoonish than the other previous gens.
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