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Voters pick their favourite molluscs – for science

As adults, we’re expected to make hundreds of decisions every day. Sometimes they’re mundane and sometimes they’re important. But they’re probably rarely as quirky as choosing one’s favourite…mollusc? Molluscs are a phylum (hello high school biology) of invertebrates that includes octopuses, snails, clams and squid. Genetically, molluscs aren’t very well understood, so scientists in Germany asked the public to choose their favourite of five nominees – including the Naval Shipworm and the Barge-footer. The winner will be announced tomorrow (no word about the venue, though we hope it’s somewhere under the sea). It won’t get a teeny-tiny tiara: instead, the public’s favourite mollusc will have its genome sequenced. That allows scientists to understand the creature’s entire genetic makeup, which is a gateway to better understanding both it and the ecosystem in which it … floats about, we guess.  

If you’re sad to have missed out on voting, take heart. There are also annual competitions of this kind relating to plants and insects so that we can all learn more about undervalued wildlife, The Guardian reported. Meanwhile, we’ll be frantically refreshing the mollusc contest’s website tomorrow to see whether the Sea Butterfly can pip the Painted Snail to the crown.

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 17 March  2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.