Animal Species Names and Human Characteristics

We’re all familiar with the use of animal species names (general and specific) as labels for a sets of human charateristics, for descriptions of types of people, some good, some bad; for example; lion, tiger, weasel, rabbit, rat, dinosaur, pigeon, shark, albatross, crow, snake, (teddy) bear, sloth, insect, rodent, bug, cat etc. I haven’t heard a new usage; or rather, I don’t know of one that doesn’t have a good history.

So, it’s time for a new contest. Let’s identify a group of animals that aren’t associated with a human stereotype and then see if we can identify the stereotype to be associated. The first step is to agree on the contents of the group. Once we have that we can suggest the traits – I’m being lazy – it’s open to anybody to suggest both. I’m open to including apocryphal animals, just because I want to include some.

I suggest 12 for the group – 10 real, 2 apocryphal and propose: platypus, shmoo

Any takers? 


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