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If you ever find yourself scrolling through Twitter and stumble upon an impossibly cute animal photo, chances are it's part of the #CuteOff trend. Scientists, researchers, and other folks in the scientific community posted pics of the most adorable research organisms they can find—and it's adorable and inspiring all at once!
Why did the CuteOff trend catch fire? Well, for starters, there's never enough cute on Twitter, no matter where you look. But there are a few more practical reasons why scientists are getting involved too:
When scientists post their work or subject online, it gets plenty of visibility. This is essential for recognition. And when people see these photos, it helps put a face to what their work looks like—not just equations or graphs.
Posting pictures on Twitter can also make research more accessible to the public. When people can see the faces behind the research or the mugs of little-known critters, it helps bridge that gap between science and society. This means people get all warm and fuzzy inside when they learn something new—and science gets some much-needed love as well.
And finally, it's just plain fun! Who hasn't loved animals since they were wee ones? So what better way to get excited about scientific research than with an avalanche of adorableness? CuteOff is doing more than just showcasing furry faces, too; it's creating a real buzz around research that might otherwise be left unseen or unheard by those that need it most.
CuteOff once swept the internet. It's all about showcasing the adorable side of scientific research (and was also a more family-friendly version of the JunkOff trend). No longer do scientific discoveries have to be drab and boring. Thanks to the CuteOff hashtag, they can now be fluffy and squeezable too! Here are some of the cutest entries to this adorable trend!
Baby animals have always been adorable. But how about this really, really, REALLY adorably small turtle?
When you say the word "cute," an eight-legged species isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind. But look what we have here: an adorable jumping spider!
Have you ever seen a chubby baby salamander? Well, if not, you're in luck! Here's an adorable (and chonky) baby salamander pic—just look at that cute lil tummy.
Hmm....what's that I hear in the background? Frog whispers:: Feathers are a neat trick and fish scales are cool and all, but none of you would beat #TeamHerp in a #CuteOff.... #BirdsvsFish https://t.co/tDbgd9AJ0w pic.twitter.com/6Ib0tZZOPb— Dr. Jonathan Kolby (@MyFrogCroaked) September 17, 2019
Who said frogs couldn't be cute? Here's Dr. Jonathan Kolby's CuteOff entry: an adorable (almost smiling) frog pic!
Sharks aren't just predators; they can be adorable too! Just look at this picture of a tiny, open-mouthed Blackmouth catshark!
What makes an animal cute? It turns out that most of us find animals with exaggerated features, such as large eyes, chubby cheeks, and big heads, relatively cuter than those without such features. While some may think this is all just a subjective opinion, the findings suggest that there's actual science behind it—cuteness is deeply tied to our evolutionary past!
So, why do these exaggerated features evoke a feeling of cuteness in us? Well, it's because they tap into our instinctive nurturing urges—after all, these are the same features we tend to see in our babies! So next time you see an adorable pup online (or in real life!), you can thank evolution for the cuteness overload!
The CuteOff trend proves that science and research aren't just about plain old equations and stone-hard facts. There's room for some fun too! This trend showed us how there's beauty (and cuteness!) even in places we least expect to find it. Let's count ourselves lucky to be able to live with such diverse and precious creatures!
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