Science students go crazy in March Mammal Madness


contributed photo by Melanie Branson

Make room for Megan! Senior Megan Small will be adding her name to the Burroughs March Mammal Madness perpetual trophy.

Simrin Khara, Senior Editor

Burroughs’ science classes have put their smarts to the test in a unique way through this year’s March Mammal Madness competition. Inspired by the NCAA college basketball March Madness tournament, the Mammal Madness is a national competition for schools to fill out a bracket of species provided by Arizona State University.

Inspired by an idea from Buzzfeed, Dr. Katie Hindie created her own animal tournament based on the actual strength and weaknesses of certain animals.

Armed with prior knowledge and extensive research, students theorize as to which species would win according to the selected mammals engaged in combat. After a thorough examination, students fill out the bracket provided by ASU and wait for published results.

A team of scientists, biologists, and behaviorist scientists all work together to determine the proven winners of each round. Strengths and weaknesses are based on a mammal’s home advantage, body mass, fight style, and adaptability to different environments.

This year’s bracket offered a wide variety of animals, ranging from the typical jaguar to an Indian fruit bat. Each play of battle is thoroughly researched by this team of scientists and results are published weekly through Twitter and its Youtube channel.

In the past, students have enjoyed participating in the event, and this year is no exception, based on the enthusiasm surrounding the competition.

“As I recall way back my freshmen year, March Mammal Madness was a great way to push me through the semester in a fun way,” said senior Alexis Glen.

Science Teacher Melanie Branson sees the Mammal Madness as a great way to experience fun in class while also learning associated topics in class.

The winner of all classes is celebrated on the Burroughs March Madness perpetual trophy that is signed by winners from previous years.

This year’s winner was Megan Small, who foresaw her victory before the competition began.

“I’m betting all my chances that the pride of lionesses will win,” said senior Megan Small when she first submitted her bracket.

“It’s an entire group of lions and is super adaptable, how could they not win?”

How indeed.

Regardless of the other participants’ “defeat,” the students still came away with a reason to celebrate.

“It feels so fun to start class by watching the published battles and experiencing the positive energy,” said junior Lydia Washburn. “It’s a nice break to come to from other classes, and it’s a plus that science is towards the end of the day!”