A study published in the Mammal Review Journal on Monday has revealed that scientists prefer studying more pleasant-looking mammals like cuddly koalas and kangaroos over less attractive bats and rodents.
The past records have indicated that mere a 11 percent of scientific studies have researched on “ugly” mammals since 1901. Although less attractive wildlife constitute 45 percent of the total population, the scientists look more focused in researching on the better-looking wildlife inhabitants.
According to Take Part, Murdoch University Associate Professor Trish Fleming and Curtin University’s wildlife biologist Bill Bateman divided 331 mammal species found across Australia into three categories to examine whether scientists get affected by the external appearance of the animals. The “good” category included attractive mammals like kangaroos and koalas while the “bad” category included invasive species such as cats and rabbits. The last category is the “ugly” category comprised of bats and rodents.
After going through the 14,248 research articles, it was found that there were 6,693 publications that fell under the category of “good” mammals and 1,740 for the “bad” category of species. The surprising inference was the publication of a mere 622 research articles on “ugly” mammals, particularly of the continent’s 83 species of microbats.
“For the majority of species, researchers have been able to do little more than catalogue their existence,” Fleming said in a statement. “We need to document observations of their diets, habitat selection, space use and reproduction in order to identify threats and management options.”
Fleming told Reuters through the Sydney Morning Herald that research funding is generally issued for conducting studies on “cute and charismatic” species. “It’s very hard to make a tourist attraction of a rodent.”
“For the ugly animals, the small bats and rodents, it’s very difficult for people to understand how important they are,” Bateman told the ABC. “But they are very important seed dispersers, pollinates and sources of food for multiple other species. I think it would be tragic if we ended up causing the extinction of even more without even knowing anything about them.”