Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oh So Fugly

ABC Rural Queensland has a fantastic story and photo collection of QLD's Ugliest Pets for 2009. Worth a read and a run through of all the photos, many good laughs and sympathetic 'awwwws' will result. The photo caption writer also had plenty of fun.

A few of my favourite entrants :

From the ABC News story :
Ugly animals aren't going away, in fact, in an evolutionary sense they are essential.

Just like humans, animals can change their opinions rather quickly on what turns them on, meaning traits considered undesirable can quickly come into favour.

Some of these traits seem downright bizarre to humans, even ugly, but Australian National University evolutionary biologist Professor Jenny Graves says that's natural.

"There are lots of animals which have what we call sexually selected traits, that don't look beautiful to us."

"For instance, the red bums of female baboons don't appeal to us very much, but they certainly appeal to a male baboon very much."

"We might not find a hump on the head of a fish beautiful, but that's the way that a female measures this particular kind of fish as a potential mate."

"I don't know that she's assessing beauty, she's just assessing is this animal going to give me more eggs and a better chance of passing my genes on to the offspring," Professor Graves says.

Many evolutionary biologists believe these 'desirable traits' come into popularity through accident.

It's a process known as co-evolution, where a fine specimen of male fish with a lump on his head happens to meet a female who thinks it's a desirable trait

The traits animals don't like often remain lower frequency in the population - but what's unpopular today might not be unpopular down the track.

"The environment is patchy enough that you've always got little niches where it's not good to have a big tail, or it's not good to have a red rump, or it's not good to have a bump on your head."

Go Here For The Full Story And Photo Collection