NOTE: Until the Libsyn feed has been restored you may find all episodes of the podcast here in this Google Drive. Enjoy!
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The Rating System
Each of the four following sub-categories can be rated on a scale of 1 to 25, making for a minimum score of 4 and a maximum score of 100. The reason why there is no “0” option is because an animal would basically need to be a rock to score a zero in any given category. A score of 25 is also very rare, but 25 doesn’t represent perfection, it’s simply the nearest thing to it that we can find. I felt compelled to reward the Killer Whale and Wasp scores of 25 in various categories, but things may change if a superior animal shows up sometime down the road. As of yet… no luck.
(Formerly: Intelligence/ Evolution)
When I first began reviewing animals I believed that Intelligence would definitely be a criteria used in the rating process. After reviewing about two animals, however, it became clear that most animals rely purely on instinct and evolved functions to go about their day to day lives. Some animals such as killer whales or crows have shown that they can learn and communicate in ways that demonstrate genuine intelligence. Animals like that are far between though, and in the end their “Intelligence” is a result of evolution, so if an animal is exceptionally intelligent then I decided I’ll just mention that under the “Instinct/ Evolution” banner instead of giving intelligence its own category.
Now this category focuses on the special abilities and behaviors that an animal has evolved that set it apart (good or bad), as well as how these behaviors and abilities play into their behavior (instincts). An effective evolved trait may be something like venom, whereas a less optimal trait may be something like, oh, these goats that feint at the slightest surprise.
I would like to point out that I do understand how evolution works. Obviously that goat has developed feinting as a defense mechanism because doing so proved more effective than running away at some point in the past. Or it happened through selective breeding, I have no idea.* Once you reach the end of this “About” page though, I think you will probably understand why I consider feinting a negative in the grand scheme of this podcast.
More recently I have also begun using this category to consider Apex status in animals. Killer Whales are apex predators who are also intelligent, among other cool traits, and they received a 25/25 in this category. The Crow was an animal that is not technically an apex animal, an apex predator being any animal which is not preyed upon once it is fully grown, but for reasons I explained in my Crow review, they make up for this and still managed to come out with a score of 24/25. You can listen in to find out why!
*I decided to do the two minutes of research into fainting goats and they actually faint due to a genetic disorder known as myotonia congenita. There may be a good reason why they faint, but science hasn’t determined what that might be just yet.
This is a pretty self explanatory category. Cats have claws, hippos’ll ram you, and honey badgers will tear your butt up. That’s offense. Turtles have shells, pufferfish have spines, and there’s a lot of colorful frogs out there that you can’t lick. That’s defense.
Society may be the wrong word, but this basically refers to how well an animal survives either in a group (Society), or on its own (Resourcefulness). You have lions who stay in prides, wolves in packs, and bees making hives, but you also have animals who don’t stay together at all. Sharks tend to be soloists (?), as do skunks and polar bears. These are two categories I put together because having an aptitude in one area can completely make up for a deficit in the other. If I had kept these categories separate then the Wasp’s score, for example, would be lowered because they would have almost a zero in Resourcefulness. Alternatively, the Armadillo would get a terrible Society score. Having these two categories as one lets us assign a more appropriate number and focus on an animal’s strengths, without worrying about “weaknesses” that aren’t really weaknesses.
This category is meant to highlight the ways that an animal has impacted society in the past (Legacy), and what their outlook is for the future (Future). Have they ever been featured on money? The platypus and bald eagle have. Are they going extinct? Panda bears and snow leopards are… so that would hurt their scores for sure.
The reason why this category is controversial to me is because the sum total of these four scores should ideally tell us which animals would win in an animal war. So what exactly does their “Legacy” have to do with that? That is why we really only consider an animal’s “Future” when it comes to scoring. And that is mostly a consideration of their population.
Did I gloss over that “animal war” comment? Oh yes, that’s right! We’re Deadliest Warrior–ing this thing. If an animal scores a 75, then it should hypothetically be able to take on an animal with a score of 70. There’s some other factors that come into play, like whether the animals are on land or in the sea, but for the most part this rule should be pretty ironclad. Every other week I will pit two animals against each other as well in an effort to determine who would win, and to put my rating system to the test.
Ranking the Kingdom Mission Statement
Okay, this is less of a mission statement and more of a regular statement. First off, I’m only human and I know that it’s ridiculous that I (a single person) have set out to review animals. To be fair though nobody else was doing it, so why not? Attenborough ain’t stepping up, so someone had to do something. Period.
I don’t want to go at this alone though. I am a simple guy named Dylan who thinks that animals deserve to be ranked and filed just as much as our pop culture and our prisoners. Our prisoners don’t have scores assigned to them though, which is something else I’d like to address at some point. Why not give the prisoners who do the most bad stuff more points? Let’s at least think about it, congress.
Like I said at the beginning of that last paragraph before switching subjects, I don’t want to review these animals on my own. Or more accurately, I don’t want to assign the scores on my own. One dude reviewing animals is a little ridiculous, and it’s also very insulting to a God if there is one. Or more than one. If there’s a whole Pantheon out there then I’d sure have egg on my face when they found out about this whole… “thing”.
So while I do assign a score at the end of each review, it’s purely personal opinion. At some point down the road we will all be able to offer our own scores to hopefully create a more accurate rating system, but for now I’ll throw out a number based on what I know and hope that you guys don’t try to knock me off my high horse.
Animals have had it too easy for too long. It’s time to settle the score.