Over the past few years, scientists from the University of Minnesota have collected millions of photographs of wildlife from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, and now they're asking you to help identify the creatures caught on camera. To accomplish this, they created Snapshot Serengeti — a website launched this week that allows users to look at sequences of photos captured by hundreds of motion-activated camera traps in the park and identify their contents.
The team's ultimate goal is to understand how communities of large animals interact in the wild; they hope to discover how carnivores and herbivores coexist, and whether herbivores tend towards areas without predators, even if the food isn't as good. To get there they will study the distribution of more than 30 species in the region and examine how they interact with one another. It's not the first time a project like this has been done on the web — the project's sponsor has previously enlisted the public to help identify ocean life, cyclone data, and cancer samples — but Serengeti Snapshot has the added appeal of getting a close, candid look at big cats and other animals in their natural habitat.