NEXT UP: #1 seeded PYGMY HIPPO vs. #2 seeded CHEETAH! #2018MMM

(photo credit: #actuallivingscientist @AnneWHilborn, Dr. John Carroll (…), Dr. Hernandez (…) & @conservationorg (
Tonight's battle was a tag-team collab between @AnneWHilborn (Anne) and @am_anatiala (Asia)! #whapalabmates #2018MMM
ASIA: So, Anne, I wouldn't think that this 130lb/265 stoat-heavy fast cat would make it this far. Cheetahs aren't generally considered great fighters, right? *whispers* Unlike Kylo. #2018MMM #StoatsAsMeasurement
ANNE: That's right, Asia, but the cheetah has advanced thanks to a strategy worthy of Sun Tzu: a combo of naked aggression against smaller species & tactical retreats against scary ones. #2018MMM
ASIA: Meanwhile, the 220kg/1kilostoat pygmy hippo (smaller than #Fiona ), which sweats its own blood (#METAL) like sunscreen (#NOTSOMETAL) has both crushed & scared off the competition while safe inside its swampy home #2018MMM #StoatsAsMeasurement
ANNE: HOWEVER. Tonight, our setting is randomized. No more higher seed home court advantage for either of them. The dice have rolled & tonight's battle takes place in a...*squints at notecard* grassland? Is this right? #2018MMM
ASIA: Uh. Yes. This is correct. A grassland. So, through random chance, the battle takes place in a habitat the cheetah is very comfortable with. This is amazingly lucky. *chuckles, elbows Anne* What an aye-aye curse, huh? #2018MMM

Image used by permission of @PPricklepants
ANNE: Yeah I mean who would be scared of some sort of rumpled primate whose finger is thought to...lemme see here (rustles papers:…)...mark whoever they are pointing at for death.

ASIA: That doesn't sound scary at all. At all. #2018MMM
ANNE: Indeed. You'd think it was the hippo that was "cursed". The hippo is NOT happy with this setting. No trees/muck to hide among = jumpy hippo. One thing I know is that you don't want to be around a jumpy hippo, even a pygmy one #2018MMM
ASIA: Maybe time for a tactical retreat?

ANNE: Maybe, cheetahs are fast at the undignified exit if things go south. I've seen one get pushed off a kill by some aggressive vultures (I was so ashamed). Though in this pic retreating from a hyena is perfectly honorable #2018MMM
ASIA: Well, it looks like the action's starting. We're about, oh, two hours after sunset in the Serengeti, a time when hippos typically leave their rivers and look for food. And even if it's scared, a hippo's got to eat, right? #2018MMM
ANNE: Yep. Our pygmy hippo is still a bit twitchy, but right now it's nibbling on some grass. Different fare from swamp veg, but it'll do the job. Actually, did you know that the larger common hippo also eats meat?… #2018MMM
ASIA: No way. Like, how do they they just gum the meat up with their jaws or swallow it...wait...what's that?

Ah! Here's our other combatant, the cheetah, trotting in stage left. Actually, can they even see each other? #2018MMM
ANNE: The pygmy hippo is active at night, so it should be able to see the cheetah.

Our cheetah hunts mostly during the day, however here it is being all active at night & once again ruining my fieldwork plans.

He looks a bit jumpy too though #2018MMM
ASIA: Maybe lions harrassed it?

ANNE: *nods*. They're jerks. Karen Laureson found lions killed 57% of cheetah cubs in Serengeti .

ASIA: Uh the cheetah isn't really paying attention right''s going to trot right into the hippo. #2018MMM…
ANNE: And the hippo sees it.

ASIA: Uh oh.

ANNE: *gestures frantically for the cheetah to go the other way*

ASIA: OH! The cheetah's leaping away, must've just noticed the hippo...But it's not leaping far enough away. Uh...#2018MMM
ANNE: The hippo is doing what hippos do when alarmed on land, charging...

ASIA: Whoa, the hippo is not stopping.

ANNE: That hippo is mad.

ASIA: Really mad.

ANNE: The hippo has knocked the cheetah down. I repeat, CHEETAH DOWN... #2018MMM
ASIA: It's trampling on the cheetah's RIBS. You can hear bones snap.

ANNE: There's a reason cheetah researchers try hard not to get attached to their study animals.

ASIA: Can the cheetah come back from this? #2018MMM
ASIA: Hippo's mouth is open.

ANNE: THE HIPPO HAS BIT THROUGH THE CHEETAH'S CHEST. *whispers* I can't watch any more

ASIA: There's so much BLOOD! It's squirting in pulses *snaps fingers* That means it hit an important artery. #2018MMM
ANNE: *groans* No getting up from that. There goes my PhD.

ASIA: Nope. No way. Ugh, and the hippo is still trampling the cheetah. It's dead, for Pete's sake. Can we...okay, we're going to cut to commercial. This is too


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More from @am_anatiala

Apr 3, 2018
UP NEXT: #1 seed Orinoco Crocodile vs #2 seed Amebelodon! #2018MMM
Tonight's battle also brought to you by @chumblebiome, @drew_lab, @MarkKissel, and @c_n_anderson. #2018MMM
Our fierce competitors tonight have crushed all that have dared stand before them in previous rounds. #2018MMM
Read 32 tweets
Mar 29, 2018
'TIS THE FINALE!! #1 seeded Doedicurus clavicaudatus vs. #4 seeded Andrewsarchus mongoliensis!

(DC:…; AM: Bogdanov 2006) #2018MMM
Tonight's battle has been brought to you by the mighty collaboration of @PKurnath & I. #teamwork #TeamKylo #2018MMM
Doedicurus, a.k.a. #TankMammal, made it to the #Sweet16 by being large like a boulder and tough like a battering ram. #2018MMM
Read 20 tweets
Mar 27, 2018
NEXT UP: #4 seed Andrewsarchus mongoliensis vs #5 seed Thylacoleo carnifex! #2018MMM
To get here, Andrewsarchus taste-tested Nuralagus rex & the giant short-faced kangaroo blundered against our marsupial lion from down under, Thylacoleo! (AM: Bogdanov 2006; TC: Roman Yevseyev #2018MMM
Now the 135kg Thylacoleo has bought a ticket to Inner Mongolia to face off against the (estimated) 810kg Andrewsarchus. Whether that ticket is one-way or round-trip remains to be seen. #2018MMM
Read 19 tweets
Mar 23, 2018
#1 seed Harar hyena
#8 seed Bristol fox!
Less than two days ago, the hyena from the walled eastern Ethiopian city of Harar devoured the Belo Horizonte marmoset, & the Bristol fox scare off a raccoon from some choice eggshells. Now these carnivores will face each other! #2018MMM
The Harar hyena & Bristol fox diverged around 54 mya, near the beginning of the Eocene ( The Earth was warming, the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere doubled, & Antarctica was nearly tropical 🌴 (…). #2018MMM
Read 14 tweets
Mar 22, 2018
#1 seed Orinoco crocodile 🐊
#16 seed praying mantis! 🙏🏽🦗
The croc & mantis diverged ~797 mya ( Around this time the Earth went through an ice age that covered the entire world.

This might have led to the rise of algae due to glaciers grinding up stone into nutrients! #2018MMM…
The praying mantis showed itself to be a stealthy predator of the bigger goldcrest in the wildcard battle (here's a play-by-play of that battle:…). #2018MMM
Read 19 tweets
Mar 16, 2018
NEXT UP: #4 seed Andrewsarchus mongoliensis vs #13 seed Nuralagus rex! #2018MMM
Not much is known about A. mongoliensis because the only evidence we have of their existence is one massive, 3-foot long skull with enormous teeth (see quoted tweet). We know that they lived in Inner Mongolia about 45 mya. #2018MMM
Here’s a picture of what A. mongoliensis might have looked like (credit: Bogdanov 2006) #2018MMM
Read 17 tweets

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