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March Mammal Madness

The official location for March Mammal Madness tournament information and resources! If you're learning, you're winning!

Busted Bracketeers

2024MMM bracket starting with the sweet 16

Sometimes our pick for Champion meets an unfortunate early exit from the tournament. Upsets happen, and they are called upsets not because people respond to them with cordial equanimity. BUT in 2024, in collaboration with MMM graphic design guru, Prof. Will Nickley, we present the Busted Bracketeers Bracket! While you can’t update any digital bracket submissions, you CAN print out this bracket starting with the Sweet Sixteen, pick a new champion to cheer & keep following the MMM action through to the end! Rally your fellow friends with busted brackets to form your own local club!

Celebrating MMM

Our friends at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science are excited for 2024 MMM!

2024MMM Tournament Schedule

The action starts at 8 PM Eastern / 5 PM Pacific on all game nights.

2024 March Mammal Madness CALENDAR 

Game Time is 8 PM Eastern/5 PM Pacific for all tournament nights.

Date Event
March 10 (SUN) Wild Card Eve
March 11 (MON) WILD CARD
March 13 (WED) Round 1: Epic Animals
March 14 (THURS) Round 1: Connoisseur Critters
March 18 (MON) Round 1: Rainbow Collection
March 20 (WED) Round 1: Take a Bow
March 21 (THURS) Round 2: Epic Animals & Connoisseur Critters
March 25 (MON) Round 2: Rainbow Collection & Take a Bow
March 27 (WED) SWEET 16

Getting Started Resources

Scoring the Tournament


Participants fill out their brackets with their choices for the winners for each bout. Scoring occurs at the end of the tournament, points allocated as follows:

  • Wild Card = 1 point
  • Round 1 = 1 point each
  • Round 2 = 2 points each
  • Round 3 = 3 points each
  • Round 4 = 5 points each
  • Round 5 = 8 points each
  • Champion= 13 points

NERD ALERT: This sequence of numbers may seem familiar! The scoring system used by MMM is the Fibonacci sequence related to the Golden Ratio... and found so often in Nature!


How do I play?

We can only suggest the following for maximal fun and learning. Print out the bracket, predict who will win in each of the match-ups in round one, then round two, and so on and so forth, all the way out to your prediction who wins the championship! Get your friends, colleagues, and/or family to play. Post brackets on wall prominently. Trash talk their selections different from yours. Follow along in real time with battle play by plays on Twitter by following hashtag #2024MMM or @MMMletsgo on scheduled bout nights. If Twitter isn't your thing, especially lately, check this library guide for updates a couple hours AFTER the bouts conclude for the night (or the next morning).

Is the battle always to the death?

The battles are NOT always “nature, red in tooth and claw.” Sometimes the winner "wins" by displacing the other at a feeding location, sometimes a powerful animal doesn't attack because it is not motivated to- in 2014 for the “Who in the What Now?” Division, dhole lost to a binturong because the night before dhole had gorged on babirusa and the gut passage time of wild canids is 24-48 hours. This meant that the dhole was still full from the night before and unwilling to take the risks of tangling with the binturong. Even a small claw cut or bite wound can get infected and lots of times an animal will back down rather than take a risk for little potential benefit.

Are the battles one on one, or do social animals get their buddies?

Typically, battles are one on one. However, in 2017 there was a team: the Neanderthal Hunting Party, which was a small group of hunters working together with Neanderthal technology. In general, assume that the combatants represent the most prime-aged, healthy and strong specimen of that species. Also, just as in nature, there can occasionally be scientifically-grounded outside interference.

Should I always pick the better ranked mammal?

Not necessarily! Real fans don’t abandon their favorite animals just because they are pathetic at this kind of battle (although hopefully well-suited to their particular environmental niche). People will clown you if your bracket is TOO conservative by always picking the better-ranked combatant. Also the rankings are not infallible and there are upsets in nature too. Upsets are what make March Mammal Madness exciting.

Wait, this is called March Mammal Madness… what are all these other species from across the Tree of Life doing in the tournament?!

Although originally the tournament only featured mammals, for many years many animals and sometimes plants, fungi, lichen, and bacteria are invited to the big show. Most importantly, all species are awesome, so we’ve expanded the combatant line-up and but kept the name for tradition.

What a second… isn’t there another March Madness?

MMM is indeed inspired by, but in no way affiliated with or representing, the NCAA College Basketball March Madness Championship Tournament. But we’re pretty sure the term March madness, at least in part, comes from the long-time English idiom about fast-paced and sometimes unpredictable animal battles.

I want to learn more about March Mammal Madness, how it is used by educators, the origin of the tournament, and what is up with all these jokes about stoats as measurement, plant carnage, cat scandal, figs, & incidental orcas?!

Have we got you covered in our MMM Scholarship & Data section!

I love otters! Can I call them my "spirit animal" without perpetuating racism and settler colonialism?

Most probably not. If you have a deep affinity for an animal, but your identity means you are culturally appropriating when you use the term, there are many options. We suggest: "inner animal", "anima", "emblem", or "animal quiddity/quidditas." #WordNerds. And please be thoughtful about those reaction gifs too.

March Mammal Madness Scholarship and Data

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.