This is year five of MMM (March Mammal Madness). Read all about it here.
There are four divisions. Sixty three mammals, plus the lizard. There are seeds, venues, home venue advantage and, on schedule, matchups.
The big thing to know? There are upsets. Like this one:
The rankings are not infallible and there are upsets in nature too. Upsets are what make March Mammal Madness exciting. Like in 2015 when #3 seed Quokka exited stage left for those sweet burger rings allowing #14 seed Numbat to advance!!! OMG! WHO SAW THAT COMING!?!?!?!
I did not.
Another important question:
Is the battle always to the death?
The battles are NOT always “nature, red in tooth and claw.” Sometimes the winner “wins” by displacing the other at a feeding location, sometimes a powerful animal doesn’t attack because it is not motivated to- a few years ago in the “Who in the What Now?” Division we had a dhole lose to a binturong because the night before the dhole had gorged on babirusa and the gut passage time of wild-canids is 24-48 hours. This meant that the dhole was still full from the night before and unwilling to take the risks of tangling with the binturong. Even a small claw cut or bite wound can get infected and lots of times an animal will back down rather than take a risk for little potential benefit.
So, play along, follow obsessively, or just read the charming and funny description of the event. And before registering your bracket in a bettering pool, keep in mind a rules change for this year that completely overshadows major league baseball’s recent changes: A mythical mammal can now defeat a real mammal. That wasn’t the case last year.