OK - I'm just kidding.
I did not actually win the contest for the world's ugliest animal.
But when I wrote about the Ugly Animal Preservation Society's efforts to identify a mascot for the world's less adored species, at least one commenter felt that the award should go to me or one of my fellow homo sapiens:
Its a noble aim as all species should be protected but Ugly Animal Prevention Society? Oh thats really funny. Except no animal is ugly and its rude to call them that. Perhaps an ugly Human Prevention society would be better. Not nice? Well, exactly. Lets show a little sensitivity and class in reference to animals.
Call me insensitive, but I suspect that animals are more concerned with their own survival than they are with the aesthetic biases of us humans. And if it takes a tongue-in-cheek celebration of all things slimy, asymmetrical, blob-like or just downright unusual to remind us that all biodiversity has value and needs protecting, then I for one applaud that effort.
All that ranting is a long-winded preamble to announce that The Ugly Animal Preservation Society, through local elections across the length and breadth of Britain, recently picked a winner.
And that winner is [drum roll, please]...
Inhabiting the waters off the coast of Tasmania and mainland Australia, the blobfish (psychrolutes marcidus) lives deep in the ocean. Whether or not its relative reclusiveness has anything to do with its appearance is not exactly clear. One can speculate, however, that before the internet and the proliferation of irony-laden humor, there was little evolutionary advantage to being cute if nobody ever saw you and thus never got inspired to campaign for your survival.
Whether or not the blobfish will be flattered or offended by the newfound attention is hard to say. If you'll permit me a little anthropomorphism here, I for one would be more offended if a species drove me to extinction because I wasn't cute enough than if it called me ugly and then decided I might be worth saving anyway.
But that's just me.
And I'm an ugly human. So what do I know?