The Truth About Lemmings, The Rodent, Not The Political Animal
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And now we have this note as we continue America's most comprehensive coverage of the government shutdown. We have this morning, a scientific clarification about lemmings. Last week, you may recall a Republican lawmaker called his colleagues lemmings. He meant his fellow Republicans were following Senator Ted Cruz on a disastrous mission that led to the government shutdown.
Lemmings supposedly follow each other over a cliff. But we have learned - NPR has learned - that lemming mass suicide is a myth.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Scientists say that while lemmings will sometimes jump into a body of water as a traveling pack, and some will perish, those deaths are accidental - lemmings can swim. The notion of the furry, little rodents following each other mindlessly off a cliff, to certain death, was popularized by 1958 Oscar-winning Disney documentary called "White Wilderness."
INSKEEP: An investigation years later, showed that the lemming suicide scene in that movie was faked. Disney faking something? Anyway, they were herded by the filmmakers off a cliff. We are now told that most lemmings survived.
(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)
INSKEEP: It's NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.