Although we do have access to a lot of information on the internet, this information was not always widely available to us. This means that a lot of what we know or knew may originate from whispers on the wind or the spread of falsehoods that no one knew were being committed. This happens a lot with animals and what traits they actually exhibit and what traits they do not. Many truths about some animals are misconstrued or twisted away until it is no longer true.
One of the several animals affected by this centuries-long game of Chinese whispers is the lemming. While many believe that lemmings are likely to commit mass suicide, this is actually a myth. Lemmings are unlikely to commit mass suicide and are in fact more likely to be cannibals than suicidal. What some wildlife biologists believe is that this myth was blown out of proportion by a Disney documentary on the small critters. After some investigation, it turns out that the footage used to demonstrate the mass suicides of the lemmings were actually faked as the crew on the film actually threw the lemmings off of the cliff, rather than what was reportedly happening, that the lemmings were jumping into the water themselves. The documentary itself wasn’t even filmed in the natural habitat of the lemmings. The myth originated. The myth itself is that they jump off the cliffs to be carried on the wind as their own form of migration, but that many instead die because of this. This misconception may have come from the fact that one biologist believed that lemmings fell from the sky after being spontaneously created in the air.
Another common myth is that bulls are enraged by the colour red. They aren’t actually enraged by red. They aren’t enraged by any colour at all. Like many cattle, bulls are entirely colour blind and therefore cannot even see the colours that they are meant to be enraged by. The thing that enrages the bulls is instead the movement of the cape with which the bullfighters tempt the beasts. The bulls see the waving and charge at the flag regardless of its colour, shade or tone. The red capes aren’t even used in every bullfight but rather in the very final one. The cape is used to hide a bladed weapon with which the bullfighter uses to promptly kill the animal. The reason for the red colour is because it is easier to conceal blood on a red cape, rather than say, one of green or white.
All of the information that we have is being catalogued day by day, being added to the internet, likely as you read the remaining few sentences of this article. Perhaps by the time you have finished reading this, another myth will have been debunked, another truth will be revealed and maybe it will help to strengthen our knowledge of a living being or creature. Maybe the uncovering of truth is what we need for a better future.