On Dec. 19 at 1:34 p.m., ecologist Sophie Gilbert launched the first salvo in what has quickly escalated on Twitter into "The Great #Bestspots Smackdown of 2016." Like other epic social media battles between scientists, this one started innocently enough with a simple tweet:

While cheetahs and deer fawns are most certainly deserving of spot adulation, there were others in the scientific community that were eager to enter their own contenders. And thus, the #BestSpots hashtag was born. Prepare to have you eyes gifted with some incredibly beautiful spotted species.

For those that prefer stripes, Gilbert also recently launched a #BestStripes hashtag that has taken off. Have an animal you think might out-stripe the competition? Hop on Twitter and join the discussion.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.