Snooty: an Acquired Taste?

I lived for nearly 25 years in Manatee County, Florida which has, as it’s mascot, Snooty, the longest living (in captivity) West Indian Manatee.


I admit that Snooty is not the best looking guy in the animal kingdom, but I never really considered him repulsive. But now I find out that his cousin, the West African Manatee, whose looks are not all that distinguishable, is famous for being overlooked. This article in the NY Times on ugly animals says this:

Assessing the publication database for the years 1994 through 2008, the researchers found 1,855 papers about chimpanzees, 1,241 on leopards and 562 about lions — but only 14 for that mammalian equivalent of the blobfish, the African manatee.

“The manatee was the least studied large mammal,” Ms. Trimble said. Speculating on a possible reason for the disparity, she said, “Most scientists are in it for the love of what they do, and a lot of them are interested in big, furry cute things.”