Beautiful predators

I’m still laughing about the Gang of Violent Otters, every time I say or think the phrase. It’s such a Monty Python idea.

But it got me thinking. Otters are cute and cuddly-looking, beautiful in their own way, but they’re known to be fearsome aquatic predators. And that got me thinking about other predators. Eagles, hawks, mountain lions, wolves, tigers – all beautiful predators. Polar bears, orcas, grizzlies, domesticated cats – same.

So why are most predators beautiful? There are exceptions – sharks (one could argue their beauty), hyenas (definitely not beautiful), and spiders (again, one could argue).

I asked my friend Google, and I can’t find’s any scientific study of the correlation between beauty and predators. I’m not the only person who’s had this thought, as seen in this website.

And, what about humans? I’m not sure where we would fall on the beauty scale, but compared to tigers, orcas, etc., I’d say pretty low. We’re a mangy bunch.

And finally, another big question. What caused humans to become predators, as opposed to all our ape cousins who are primarily herbivores?

A recent study discussed this idea, and posits that humans were the original superpredator, and that eating lots of fatty meat fed the development of larger and larger brains. I suppose it’s possible, but again, what triggered humans to start hunting animals? Perhaps we’re just built that way – no trigger required.

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