March Mammal Madness returns to Wayne State University

Pick up your brackets outside the Grosscup Museum in Old Main. Submit them by 5 p.m. on March 11 for a chance to win prizes! 

The main March Mammal Madness bracket hangs outside the Grosscup Museum of Anthropology in Old Main.
The main March Mammal Madness bracket hangs outside the Grosscup Museum of Anthropology in Old Main.

Wayne State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and the Grosscup Museum of Anthropology are excited to announce the return of March Mammal Madness (MMM) to campus. 

This nationwide educational initiative uses a bracketed tournament format to engage students and the public in learning about the fascinating adaptations and behaviors of all living organisms. 

"Engaging the public in scientific inquiry is one of our museum missions, so we really love sponsoring a March Mammal Madness contest in Old Main," says Megan McCullen, associate director of the museum. "In the past, we've had categories like Urban Animals, and each year we get a chance to highlight different species and make it relevant to our campus community."

CLAS and the Department of Anthropology are inviting students, staff and faculty to participate in the MMM challenge. Brackets can be picked up outside the Grosscup Museum of Anthropology and submitted by 5 p.m. on March 11 for a chance to win prizes. Museum staff will track the campus competition and share updates on a large bracket displayed near the museum.

Learning through competition

MMM pits creatures big and small in hypothetical matchups, with scientists crafting engaging narratives that highlight their unique traits and survival strategies. Participants can test their animal knowledge by predicting the winners of these imaginary battles.

Started over a decade ago by Anthropologist Katie Hinde, March Mammal Madness has expanded from a celebration of mammals to all life on Earth. Dozens of scientists collaborate to create a virtual competition bracket and create narratives describing imagined encounters between pairs of organisms. Using cited research articles, these stories highlight the behaviors and adaptations of the animals. The motto for the event is "if you're learning, you're winning."   

Primate pride

The Grosscup Museum will cheer on this year's primates, including Lucy the Australopithecus afarensis fossil that was famously discovered 50 years ago, and was highlighted in their exhibit, The Science of Culture, in 2023. A total of six primates compete this year. 

Get social!

Follow the official March Mammal Madness scientists on Twitter for a behind-the-scenes look at their creative battle narratives. Follow along in real-time with battle play-by-plays by following hashtag #2024MMM or @MMMletsgo on scheduled bout nights. The Grosscup Museum of Anthropology will also share fun facts about primates and encourage support for these amazing creatures throughout the competition.

Faculty spotlight

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