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The NewsBiscuit Guide to Natural History

Aardvark. This edentate mammal focuses all its energy on two activities - foraging for dead insects and holding onto the number one spot in encyclopaedias and dictionaries. "Let's face it, being first in reference books is the only way we'll ever get invited to feature in wildlife documentaries", says an aardvark spokesman. "We're not exactly cute and cuddly. Even David Attenborough described the aardvark as looking like 'a shaved donkey from some weird porn video'".

"The zebras are particularly jealous of us", he goes on, "stuck there at the very end where nobody notices them. They're so desperate for attention they have to dress up like a pedestrian crossing - good luck with that when you're trying to hide from a predator".

Homo sapiens. Bipedal hominid. It progressed from hunter-gathering to agriculture, but now spends most of its time proving it's anything but sapiens (see Breakfast TV, TikTok challenges, etc.)

H sapiens narrowly escaped becoming extinct in the notorious homophobia riots of 40,000 BC. Fortunately, somebody appealed for calm and explained that homo doesn't mean gay and there's nothing unmanly about decorating your cave with drawings of bison.

After carefully studying episodes of the Jeremy Kyle show in 2020, experts decided to withdraw the sapiens part of the title from this species. Alternative names that have been suggested are Homo vapiens and Homo whatsappiens.

Pterodactyl. A Jurassic/Cretaceous reptile that survived by impersonating a bird and getting people to feed it crumbs. But the bird act backfired badly. It coincided with the notorious Cambrian explosion of celebrity chefs. Having driven one species to extinction with their dinosaur recipes, these morons then took a fancy to anything with wings.

Soon there was stuffed pterodactyl at Christmas, pterodactyl a l'orange and Kentucky fried pterodactyl. Today the sole remaining relic of this tragic reptile is a Bargain Bucket of fossilised nuggets in the Natural History Museum.

Dodo. Didus ineptus. When this species heard Disney was bringing out a Donald Dodo character it committed suicide en masse. Anything to escape the shame of seeing characters in giant dodo costumes welcoming people to a kitsch Florida resort.

Of course Disney ended up switching to a duck, but that came too late for the dodos, who were all belly-up on the ground by then after drinking Kool-Aid. They narrowly escaped another round of Hollywood degradation in 1993 when Steven Spielberg hired DNA scientists to resurrect them but switched to dinosaurs at the last minute.

Zatbird. This has been consistently voted the most ugly and obnoxious species on the planet. It nests on desolate windswept rocks, shunned by fauna and flora alike. Even environmentalists can't stand it. Just Stop Oil protesters often carry placards saying SAVE OUR WILDLIFE - EXCEPT THE ZATBIRD.

Then there's the iconic footage from 1975 of David Attenborough silently tiptoeing up to a zatbird with his long-range camera - and a 12-gauge shotgun. "The only good zatbird is a dead one", he whispers. The earliest reference to this species in Western literature is from a tract by St Francis of Assissi, who says it "deserves to starve".

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