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March Madness 2013: Mammals Edition!

March Madness 2013: Mammals Edition! post image

Did you know hippos have 20-inch canines and are responsible for more human deaths in Africa annually than any other animal? That when attacked the wombat runs to its burrow and protects the entrance with its armored rear end? And the capybara is the largest South American rodent and keeps anacondas fat? Well, you would if you were playing the Mammals March Madness brackets this season. Some background from Katie Hinde, professor of human evolutionary biology at the Comparative Lactation Lab and leader of this here racket, er, I mean, bracket:

In honor of the NCAA College Basketball March Madness Championship Tournament, Mammals Suck is featuring *simulated* head to head combat competition among mammals.

… We have a crack team of R virtuosos putting together code to generate match-up outcomes with some random probability upsets and surprise Cinderellas. Battle outcome is a function of the two species’ attributes within the battle environment.  The battles are one on one meaning that only one individual represents a species against one individual from another species. Attributes considered in calculating battle outcome are temperament, weaponry, armor, body mass, fight style, and magic.

If you want to join, print out and fill in the bracket here. If you do play, Katie asks you to take a photo of yourself holding up your bracket and send it in to the blog or post it on Twitter, addressed to @Mammals_Suck with the hashtag #2013MMM. If you wish to save paper or simply keep score at home, I’ve recreated the bracket in MS Excel and you can download it here. Get in quick – Round Two is tonight!

I’m in to win it, baby! That’s my bracket above and RHINO is going all the way. There is no getting past that armor, horn, bulk, strength and momentum.

220829614_8fad93540e_z Rhino grassloads before the big fight. Flickr photo by nashih – MVP belt by me

Some notes:

1) These animals are tremendously cool.
2) Honey Badger beat Wolverine in Round 1 of Carnivores! YES! Honey Badger don’t care about Michigan.


3) River Otter beat Leopard? How is that even possible? Rematch. (And don’t say “magic.”)
4) Hanuman Langur and Anubis Baboon made it to the second round of Primates. Macaque is back to hitting the bottle.
5) Possum is making it to the Final Four. Why? Because POSSUM. All it has to do is play dead and then ninja attack when Kangaroo and Sloth aren’t looking.
6) Again, the animals here are awesome and a pleasure to learn about. When searching the nets for pictures of animals/mammals fighting, I came across some really sad images of dogs and other critters bit, scratched and beaten up in blood sport for human entertainment. Animals do fight, maim and kill one another in nature, but they do so to defend their territory, food and young, not because some peckerless humans forced them into it. Do I really want to see a gorilla and rhinoceros fight one another? No, and even if it does happen, this is how I imagine it.

As I said, Round Two is tonight. Come on, Possum, Anubis Baboon, Chimpanzee and RHINO! Now to stir up some sort of Team Rhino cheer set to appropriate music. Does anyone have this album?

The Brain Opera
2 comments… add one
  • Blathering March 14, 2013, 4:55 PM

    Love a good bracket! Thanks for sharing

  • Anita March 14, 2013, 5:45 PM

    You rule, Matri! Great fun.

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