Nearly a quarter of all National Geographic covers has an animal on it. This infographic shows which of them get featured the most.
NatGeo has been putting out illustrated covers for 55 years (the magazine itself has been around for 126 years). Since then, 153 of its 665 covers has featured an animal. Here's how they get sorted from most to least in terms of cover exposure:
At 30 covers, birds dominate the list. That's almost 20% of all covers featuring an animal. Next up are apes and chimps at 13, and bears at 12.
Why so many birds? NatGeo gives a partial explanation:
"It's not so much about bird species," points out Kathy Moran, the magazine's senior editor for natural history. "They're usually stand-ins to represent environmental issues." For example, the brown pelican coated in oil on the cover of October 2010, which illustrates a story on the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.
This is actually a really exclusive list. Lots of animals missing, like cats (!), rhinos, and giraffes. Oh, and dinosaurs (which must've been a deliberate omission because NatGeo has had some really cool covers with dinos on them).
Image: Emily M. Eng, NG Staff; Shutterstock/National Geographic