• Question: What is the most important animal to you and why.

    Asked by anon-305793 on 26 Nov 2021.
    • Photo: Luke Lythgoe

      Luke Lythgoe answered on 26 Nov 2021:

      I wish it weren’t the case, but for me it’s probably humans. We are driving a sixth mass extinction event on this planet. But we’re also capable of working on the solutions (scientific, political, social) to stop this huge biodiversity disaster. So yeah, what happens to lots of the other animals is directly down to our species.

      My favourite animal, though, is the tarantula hawk wasp.

    • Photo: Kes Scott-Somme

      Kes Scott-Somme answered on 7 Dec 2021:

      Luke is definitely right on the most important to the planet (or all the issues on the planet!) being humans. But the most important animal to me as a person – is fish. They’re a huge and really diverse group- A lot of fish show capacity for intelligence and can be taught all kinds of things and work their way out of mazes and so on, but for me its the incredible differences in the ways they live and the ways they evolve. Water adds another dimension to life, because you can also move through it, so fish have evolved all kinds of crazy things in order to float, swim, and move. Some live really deep, dealing with incredible pressures and darkness, some live in rockpools where temperatures can go from 1 degree to 30 in a day, and the water might dry up all together! The ways fish have found to live in so many different places is always amazing to me. We also rely on them a lot for food, with a large portion of people having fish as their main source of protein. We catch and sell fish we know almost nothing about, like the orange roughy, a fish which can live to be over 150 years old, and don’t start having babies until they are between 20 and 40 years old! That fish are not appreciated enough by so many people makes them really important to me, I always want to show people how cool they are and hope that people will want to learn more. My favourite species of fish is the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) they are critically endangered but you can still buy them for food, and we know almost nothing about them, including how and where they breed (we just know its around the bermuda triangle somewhere) -a truly mysterious animal.