Here at #2021MMM Headquarters, we not only love the science, we also love the humanities.

We find ourselves reflecting often, as one does, on Alfred, Lord Tennyson's long poem 'In Memoriam A. H. H.' (1850)...
The famous quotation "Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw" comes in Canto 56 & expresses "the sometimes violent natural world, in which predatory animals unsentimentally cover their teeth & claws with the blood of their prey as they kill & devour them." #2021MMM #Carnage
But sometimes nature is red in ways that have less to do with carnage... #2021MMM presents


(photo by Charles J. Sharp, Wikimedia Commons)
In the 1880s, homeless poet Francis Thompson expressed "In No Strange Land"

"The angels keep their ancient places;—
Turn but a stone and start a wing!
’Tis ye, ’tis your estranged faces,
That miss the many-splendoured thing."

Nature is a wondrous, many splendored thing... with biological organisms connected in a massive branching, knotty tree of life. #2021MMM
(also, great title Foley et al.)
For those mammal weirdos that give us fits on where it sits, #2021MMM presents

In 2015 March Mammal Madness featured a Mythical Mammal Division that was instantly beloved by scientists who didn't resent the displacement of real animals at all to make room for FAKE animals & never sent me messages about their thoughts #2021MMM
Indeed, our scientist colleagues were quick to celebrate how mythical mammals showcase adaptations of real animals that are dangerous to humans; build bridges to the humanities, classics, & cultural anthro! #2021MMM
Even cooler, a Mythical Mammals Division allowed us to discuss human cognitive & psychological adaptations for social learning, content biases, & credulity! #2021MMM
BUT just as mythical mammals reflect the exaggerated traits & recombinations of REAL ANIMALS...

Many REAL ANIMALS are named for stories and creatures created by human minds! #2021MMM
Returning to Alfred, Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam A.H.H.

"No more? A monster then, a dream,
A discord. Dragons of the prime,
That tare each other in their slime"

Within March Mammal Madness #2021MMM, the habitat in which the battle occurs can have a huge influence on the outcome...
And indeed match-ups between terrestrial & marine combatants often creates much ado about something!
"Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey, nonny nonny."

Indeed as Shakespeare posits, "The imperious seas breed monsters"

and Division Of Myths & Monsters was so full of land combatants, #2021MMM had no choice but to double down on our creature theme with


Red, In Fur: Rufus-hued mammals

Tricksy Taxonomy: Tangled placement in mammal phylogeny

Of Myths & Monsters: Real, terrestrial taxa named for myths

Sea Beasties: Real, aquatic taxa named for myths

Bracket Drops Feb 26.…
And keep an eye out for ANOTHER major #2021MMM announcement tomorrow... Monday Feb 22nd!

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More from @Mammals_Suck

21 Feb
Folks keep bringing up species that INSPIRED myths...

#2021MMM Division is *named* for a myth:
Let's pick a totally RANDOM example... such as the narwhal, colloquially the 'unicorn of the sea'

'origin may be the Icelandic words nar (corpse, due to pale colour) & hvalr (whale).

Scientific name derives from the Greek words for “single-toothed” & “single-horned" #2021MMM
And the reference to a myth/monster/creature is where in the English common name or Latin binomial for narwhal? #2021MMM
Read 4 tweets
20 Feb
Okay, let's do one more #2021MMM combatant guessing game...
Any idea whose got these footsies???
(pic by K. Aigner) Image
Alright clue o'clock... those feet aren't full grown! Here's more of tye chick! What modern-day dino is this? #2021MMM
(pic by Ron Magill) Image
Next clue o'clock!
This impresssive #2021MMM combatant is a fearsome predator and eats... oh dear God.
(pic by Rienus Van Der Wal) Image
Read 4 tweets
14 Nov 20
YESTERDAY 150,000+ people were diagnosed with COVID-19, & based on the prevailing conditions and epidemic curves... this is not the peak. The peak will come in the weeks ahead. It is going to get much, much worse...
I am terrified about the asymptomatic college students carrying covid home for Thanksgiving, the "just this once" bubble merging for the holiday dinner & as a result...

there will be empty chairs at Christmas dinners that should have had healthy, vibrant people sitting in them.
BUT unlike at the beginning of the pandemic in the United States, when we had so little knowledge of what behaviors were and weren't risky, we now have a much more evidence-based understanding of how to protect ourselves and protect our loved ones.
Read 15 tweets
20 Apr 20
A #COVID19 thread in many parts.

What no one wants to hear and everyone needs to hear:
We have not gotten past the peak.
From TODAY's numbers, look at that lower right hand corner. That is a plateau, or since I am writing from AZ, let's call it a mesa... or what we HOPE is mesa "an isolated flat-topped hill with steep sides"
If we relax social distancing carelessly, then the steep right side of that mesa will go UP- we won't know how catastrophically for a couple of weeks, but while the daily case load remains stably high is NOT when to relax distancing measures.…
Read 29 tweets
29 Mar 20
Frustratingly, COVID19 has become a partisan issue. This is catastrophic for many, MANY reasons. I want to address one of them here & now. Discussing the failures, ineptitude, and ignorance of the US response to COVID19 is 100% necessary RIGHT NOW. In real time. (1/N)
Anyone who suggests otherwise is either naive or disingenuous. (2/N)
Epidemics are explicitly a political topic because they require THE GREATEST of all coordinated responses among all levels of government, both executive and legislative domains, to protect the safety and security of the citizenry. #TheEssentialFunctionOfGovernments (3/N)
Read 11 tweets
13 Mar 20
Next Up: Kodkod (5-seed) vs Least Chipmunk (12-seed) #2020MMM ImageImage
Known as the guiña in Chile, but named the Kodkod by Araucanian AmerIndians, is the smollest felid in the Americas, maximally tipping the scales at 3kg. This greyish-redish-brownish squatty, spotty kitty has a chonky, medium-length striped tail #2020MMM Image
This reclusive, secretive felid is notably arboreal, using trees for lookout, naptime, & refuge from hunting humans & domestic dogs that are causing the kodkod to be listed as vulnerable by the @IUCNRedList #2020MMM
Read 18 tweets

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