Lemmings vì chưng not commit mass suicide. It"s a myth, but it"s remarkable how many people believe sầu it. Ask a few.

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"It"s a complete urban legend," said state wildlife biologist Thomas McDonough. "I think it blew out of proportion based on a Disney documentary in the "50s, & that brought it lớn the mainstream."

Lemmings are a kind of short tailed vole, a mouse-lượt thích rodent that favors tundra and open grasslands. Three kinds are found in, including the collared lemming, the only rodent that turns trắng in winter.

In 1958 Walt Disney produced "White Wilderness," part of the studio"s "True Life Adventure" series. "White Wilderness" featured a segment on lemmings, detailing their strange compulsion to commit mass suicide.

According khổng lồ a 1983 investigation by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation producer Brian Vallee, the lemming scenes were faked. The lemmings supposedly committing mass suicide by leaping into lớn the ocean were actually thrown off a cliff by the Disney filmmakers. The epic "lemming migration" was staged using careful editing, tight camera angles và a few dozen lemmings running on snow covered lazy-Susan style turntable.

"White Wilderness" was filmed in Alberta, Canada, a landlocked province, and not on location in lemmings" natural habitat. There are about đôi mươi lemming species found in the circumpolar north - but evidently not in that area of Alberta. So the Disney people bought lemmings from Inuit children a couple provinces away in Manitotía & staged the whole sequence.

In the lemming segment, the little rodents assemble for a mass migration, scamper across the tundra and ford a tiny stream as narrator Winston Hibbler explains that, "A kind of compulsion seizes each tiny rodent &, carried along by an unreasoning hysteria, each falls into step for a march that will take them to a strange destiny."

That destiny is to jump into lớn the ocean. As they approach the "sea," (actually a river -more tight cropping) Hibbler continues, "They"ve become victims of an obsession -- a one-traông xã thought: Move on! Move on!"

The "paông chồng of lemmings" reaches the final precipice. "This is the last chance to turn baông xã," Hibbler states. "Yet over they go, casting themselves out bodily inkhổng lồ space."


Life-loving lemming: lemmings bởi not commit mass suicide, although in lean times they may become cannibalistic. These mouse-lượt thích rodents are found in & in northern countries around the world, mostly favoring tundra và open grasslvà.

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Lemmings are seen flying inlớn the water. The final shot shows the sea awash with dying lemmings.

Certainly, some scenes in nature documentaries are staged. In Sir David Attenborough"s recent documentary, "The Life of Birds," the close-up footage of a flying duchồng, filmed razor-sharp from the bird"s wingtip, was shot from a oto using a mallard drake trained to fly alongside the car. But faking an entirely mythical sự kiện is something else.

"Disney had to lớn have sầu gotten that idea from somewhere," said Thomas McDonough, the state wildlife biologist. Disney likely confused dispersal with migration, he added, và embellished a kernel of truth.Lemming populations fluctuate enormously based on predators, food, climate & other factors. Under ideal conditions, in a single year a population of voles can increase by a factor of ten. When they"ve sầu exhausted the local food supply, they disperse, as bởi moose, beaver và many other animals.

Lemmings can swim & will cross bodies of water in their quest for greener pastures. Sometimes they drown. Dispersal và accidental death is a far cry from the instinctive, deliberate mass suicide depicted in "White Wilderness," but Hibbler explains that life is tough in the lemmings" "weird world of frozen chaos." The voice-over implies that lemmings take the plunge every seven lớn ten years lớn alleviate overpopulation.

"What people see is essentially mass dispersal," said zoologist Gordon Jarrell, an expert in small mammals with the University of Fairbanks. "Sometimes it"s pretty directional. The classic example is in the Scandinavian mountains, where (lemmings) have been dramatically observed. They will come to lớn a body toàn thân of water và be temporarily stopped, và eventually they"ll build up along the shore so dense & they will swyên ổn across. If they get wet lớn the skin, they "re essentially dead."

"There"s no question that at times they will build up khổng lồ huge numbers," Jarrell added. "One description from Barrow does talk about them drowning và piling up on the shore."

Jarrell said when people learn that he works with lemmings, the mass suicide issue often comes up.

"It"s a frequent question," he said ""Do they really kill themselves?" No. The answer is unequivocal, no they don"t."

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