Birds / Herps / Janimals / Mammals / Science & Research

March Animal Madness

March Animal Madness

In the spirit of college basketball (Go Bears, oh Bears) and to commemorate a new gig, here is my animal bracket composed of studies published in March that I covered for I Fucking Love Science.

Supplementary material: I rounded out the 32 with some plants, robots, and beer-related eukaryotes, and I also had to dip from CBS SmartPlanet as well as some late-February news. The winner of each game was totally, arbitrarily decided by me and the confines of the random, inexplicable (i.e. stuff I don’t understand) workings of the bracket generator I found online. In other words, everything’s made up (except the science!) and the points don’t matter.

Meet the teams in their first-round matchups:

Yellow-bellied sea snakes: Thirsty sea snakes go half a year without drinking
Burmese pythons: Pythons know their way home

Cuvier’s beaked whales: Beaked Whale Smashes Record with Nearly 2-Mile Dive
Loggerhead sea turtles: How baby sea turtles spend their “lost years”

Parasitic wasps: Parasitic wasps must lay their eggs in the right fly, or else
Great spotted cuckoos: Stinky, Parasitic Cuckoos Protect Host Chicks

Ancient aquatic sloths: Ancient sloths headed back to sea
North Atlantic right whales: “Gunshot” Sounds Used to Spot Whale Breeding Grounds

Torvosaurus gurneyi: New Dinosaur Was Largest Known Terrestrial Predator Of The Jurassic
Pygmy tyrannosaur: Pygmy tyrannosaur stalked the ancient Arctic

Ancient skimmer porpoises: The unprecedented chin size of an ancient porpoise
Dolphins: Scientists Translate Dolphin Whistles

Sharks: Fin cams reveal the secret lives of sharks
Atlantic bluefin tuna: Oil Spill May Have Caused Heart Defects In Fish

St. Andrew’s cross spiders: Male Spiders Can Detect Female Promiscuity
European garden cross spiders: Superhero-strength spider silk is coming to market

Colorado River delta birds: International flood experiment to restore Colorado River delta
African elephants: Elephants distinguish age, gender, and ethnicity in human voices

Brewer’s yeast: Functional Designer Yeast Chromosome Synthesized
Beer hops: Beer brewing hops to fight dental diseases

Silkworms: Fix fractured bones with silk screws
Bird cherry and orchard ermine moths: Turning tobacco plants into factories for cleaner pesticides

Bioluminescent jellies: This 500-pound “Iron Man” suit is ready for deep sea diving
Sea anemones: Sea anemone genetics are surprisingly plant-like

Armored spiders: Five armored spiders discovered in Chinese caves
Windowpane oysters: See-through, shatter-proof armor inspired by oysters

Chernobyl trees: The dead trees and fallen leaves near Chernobyl aren’t decaying
Fukushima robots: Meet the team of robots who will dismantle Fukushima

Bionic plants: Supercharged bionic plants to detect pollutants, explosives
Termite robots: Termite robot crew builds castles without blueprints

Human nose: Humans Can Detect One Trillion Odours
Cows: Dairy-based flame retardant could be a safer option

yellow bellied sea snake by Flaxington

Images: March Animal Madness created using Challonge (top), Yellow-bellied Sea Snake by William Flaxington 2012 via Cal Photos (CC BY-NC 3.0)

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