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Lemmings

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Bunter
62709.  Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:48 am Reply with quote

This has been touched on before by the other Justin, but worth a question in its entirety:

Lemmings…

a) migrate
b) commit suicide by jumping over cliffs
c) attack polar bears
d) can swim up to 200 metres
e) were murdered on film by Walt Disney



You couldn’t make this stuff up. Really.

In 1958, Walt Disney productions set off to Alberta, Canada, to make a spectacular nature documentary called White Wilderness. One of the animals the filmmakers most wanted to capture was the lemming, a small herbivorous rodent famed for migrating en masse in spring and autumn when food and shelter becomes scarce. Unfortunately for the filmmakers, there was a problem. A big problem. Namely, that lemming populations are found in or near the Arctic, but not in Alberta.
Not letting small details like authenticity get in their way, the production team first imported a dozen or so lemmings by purchasing them from Inuit children in Manitoba, two provinces away. In order to recreate a large-scale lemming migration, the crew then put the animals on a spinning turntable covered with snow, before filming the animals from several angles.
But worse was to come. The folk at Disney decided to create an artificial sequence depicting the lemmings stampeding to their deaths. They herded them towards a cliff, where they plunged to their deaths into a river. In doing so, Disney – and the unsuspecting lemmings – converged to create on of the most bizarre myths of our time, namely that lemmings commit suicide.
Saying that, there’s nothing new about lemming myths. In the 1530s, the exotically named geographer, Zeigler of Strasbourg, explained the variations in lemming populations by suggesting that they fell out of the sky in stormy weather, and died when grass appeared in spring.

But back to the original question. We’ve learned that lemmings migrate, and met a sticky end with Walt Disney. Despite being predominately timid animals, they are capable of attacking polar bears if no escape route presents itself. And although they naturally dislike water, they are good enough swimmers to swim in calm waters. So the only wrong answer is (b): lemmings commit suicide.

There are four genera of lemmings - Collared Lemmings, "True" Lemmings, Wood or Red-Backed Lemmings and Bog Lemmings..

http://www.wildlifenews.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlife_news.view_article&issue_id=6&articles_id=56

 
Flash
62793.  Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:57 am Reply with quote

I have a children's encyclopedia printed in the 1930s which says that lemmings commit suicide, so this idea isn't a Disney original. However, I think the idea that it was invented by the Disney film is quite widespread, so there might be a trick question coming from that angle, but:

I think lemmings were covered in the first series, before my time.

 
Bunter
62843.  Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:14 am Reply with quote

This is culled from book stuff, so I thought it best to pop it on the site for future reference. x

 
Gyndawyr
585239.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:03 pm Reply with quote

During mass migration lemmings have been known to get into various unfortunate situations, such as falls, as prey to other animals, or attempting to cross rivers with overwhelming currents.

I dont believe Disney started the idea but that they perhaps helped spread it.
So did the videogame :D

 

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