When we see a newborn baby, we sometimes use the phrase “cute as a bug’s ear,” or even more commonly, “cute as a bug in a rug.” The term is purported to be a compliment, but if we put on our laboratory coats and think like a scientist, we have to ask ourselves, “What is a bug’s ear, really, and what does a bug in a rug actually look like?” How do we know if the comparison is a compliment? Unless we are provided metrics with which to actually measure cuteness, it seems dangerous to conclude that being “cute as a bug in a rug” is a compliment at all.
Scientific or empirical evidence must be measurable, unbiased and replicable to be valid, and because relative cuteness scales or indices do not lend themselves to empirical testing, we are left to make conclusions based on anecdotal evidence. While not as scientific, anecdotal evidence still can be used to draw conclusions IF proper metrics and assumptions are established and agreed upon beforehand.
Despite an exhaustive search, I failed to find any “animal cuteness” measurement scales published in peer-reviewed scientific literature. Therefore, I will attempt to establish a set of fair and standardized baby cuteness parameters to aid the scientific community as well as the general public to more fairly compare baby cuteness.