We're Trying to Help Classify Animals of the Serengeti, and It's Not Going Well

Snapshot Serengeti planted photos to capture images of wildlife, leaving it to the world to interpret.

The vast ecosystem of the Serengeti is an African plain of wildlife and wonder spread over 5,700 square miles. To get a good look at the animals there, a group of scientists deployed 225 camera traps over nearly 700 miles to produce 1.2 million sets of images over five years. Then the public classified each image in a program they called Snapshot Serengeti. We’ve tried to help.

1. This is definitely some kind of bird — a hawk, maybe? Deep in the Serengeti, even birds come heavy. Except here they will literally eat you alive, so this bird is showing off all like, “Come at me bro,” before attempting to peck your eyes out. Note: Could simply be the Angel of Death with its back turned.

2. This looks like a vicious radioactive nightmare bear just got done tearing the life out of whatever poor animal it has in its jaws, but it’s probably just a creepy hyena who stumbled upon the camera while doing what creepy hyenas do best: creeping and eating.

3. This is what Brad Pitt would look like if Brad Pitt were a majestic lion who just happens to stroll up to a hidden camera in the middle of his massive 80-bathroomed mansion, except this mansion is the Serengeti and you could probably go to the bathroom wherever you want. Also, I’m pretty sure this photo is of a female lion, but that still doesn’t mean it can’t be Brad Pitt.

4. These poor water buffalos were most likely minding their own business, just chilling on the vast, unbelievably gorgeous plains like normal water buffalos do, when out of nowhere a gigantic round stripey thing just plops down in the middle of their chill session sending them scrambling like, “Oh, shit, you guys, run!” How sad is man’s cruel intrusion on nature. That one on the right gets points for a majestic stride, though, and what water buffalo would’ve bothered to tell him that?

5. What am I looking at here? This is like one of those magic eye puzzles except I can’t tell whether I’m looking at the bottom of a giraffe’s neck or the square center of a cheetah’s ass. The former would make this a splendid example of the eccentricities of the expansive animal kingdom; the latter would just be a Ph.D.-level photobomb. Seriously, I’ve stared at this thing for like 15 minutes and have gone back and forth at least a dozen times.

6. So fetch. This antelope (??) with the Disney princess lashes caught himself in a quality light. Impressive lines, impressive horns. This is one fine selfie.

7. Ladies and gentlemen: the mopiest lion on earth. There’s a 100 percent guarantee this king of the Serengeti is a Morrissey fan who writes poetry to all the attractive lionesses that ignore him, hoping one will recognize the dejected genius that he is. Who would ignore this guy with that magnificent mane? Except he always keeps his bedroom door closed, so who even knows what’s up with him.

Media via Snapshot Serengeti, Swanson, A.