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Study Shows 'Cute' Most Commonly Used Word at San Diego Zoo

Research at the Zoo
Anonymous reseacher at the San Diego Zoo shown here interacting with an Orangutan. One of the anonymous researchers shown here conducting research near the Orangutan habitat.
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San Diego, CA-- "Cute" is the most commonly used word at the San Diego Zoo, according to an independent study conducted by Generally Awesome Dotcom associates. To conduct the non-scientific study researchers went undercover, posing as average Zoo patrons to ensure the results were as natural as possible.

"We had been brainstorming for a while about a venue to do some pseudo-scientific research inside an artificial environment," said one researcher. "After careful consideration and a price comparison with Sea World, the Zoo was selected."

While 'cute' was the most commonly used word at the San Diego Zoo, its usage was not evenly distributed across the Zoo. The highest concentrations of the use of the word cute occurred near the panda bears and the polar bears. The monkeys were also often described as cute. One overarching trend was that as the number of baby animals in a given display increased so did the likelihood of the use of the word cute increase.

Other areas were much less likely locations for the use of the term 'cute.' These areas include the lions, pigs, and hippopotamus. The lowest concentrations of the term were found near the crocodiles, snakes, and spider displays.

The findings that the word cute was applied to describe many of the animals might naturally be expected. But researchers also discovered other less obvious uses of the word occurring.

"We observed the word 'cute' being used in some unanticipated ways. While we anticipated its use toward animals, we were surprised that adults were almost as prone to use the word 'cute' to describe the children attending the San Diego Zoo," one researcher noted in an e-mail message circulated within Generally Awesome Dotcom, obtained by Generally Awesome Dotcom.

According to the study findings, adults often used the word cute to complement the children of other San Diego Zoo Patrons. Sometimes this occurred in a direct exchange with parents, other times this occurred as couples not accompanied by young children observed young children from a distance. The findings also suggest that women are much more likely than men to use the term.

Other words commonly used at the San Diego Zoo included exclamations and verbs. The term "whoa!" was the most popular exclamation, especially among boys ages 4-9. The most common verb was "look," which was almost exclusively used as a command. The usage of the word "look" was more evenly distributed across all demographic groups and across all areas of the San Diego Zoo than any other word.

The study, as straightforward as it seems is not without its critics. The methodology of this study has come under scrutiny by the scientific community. With no written notes or tabulated sets of data, or even any raw data of any kind, this study is being called "one of the most non-scientific studies in recent history, even among non-scientific-non-scientific studies."

The study, conducted on Friday August 10, 2007, was performed by two researchers (one male and one female) walking around the San Diego Zoo posing as a young married couple. Their cover was strengthened by the fact that the two undercover researchers (who, for the sake of anonymity, we will call Cameron H. and D. Hatch) actually are a young married couple. Due to the undercover nature of their trip, these researchers determined that the task of taking notes presented too much of a risk of blowing their cover. Therefore the only notes kept were mental ones.

The researchers hired by Generally Awesome Dotcom are considering breaking off and forming their own group with the stated purpose of "helping to clean out the proverbial clogged intellectual bowels of scientific study and help loosen the up-tightness of so-called scientific methodology all the way to the nether regions of the science community." The group plans to take the name Pointless Research Under-the-Guise of Necessary Education (PRUNE).

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