Friday, March 7, 2008

Where the deer and the antelope...hey, wait just a minute!

I was in the office today doing office-y things and my colleague, who shares the office space, started singing "Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play..." and I was humming along for some reason and then I sat straight up in my chair.
Me: "Hey, wait a minute!"
She: "Hmmm...what?"
Me: "They can't."
She: "They who can't what?" [clearly confused]
Me: "Deer. And antelope. Ya know, play. They can't play. At least with one another."
She: "Colleen, what the hell are you talking about?"
Me: "Antelope! There are no antelope in North America."
She: "What? Yes there are!"
Me: "No, there aren't. They're indigenous to Africa and Eurasia."
She: "Well, why would the put them in the song if they didn't roam with deer and buffalo?"
Me: "I don't know, but I know that no deer or buffalo ever played with an antelope in the United States. Unless, like, they were all in a poorly organized zoo."
She: "I'm sure there are antelope in America."
Me: "Have you ever seen one?"
She: "Yes! Near where I live!"
Me: "Dude, you live in Jersey."
She: "Oh, yeah. They were at a safari park."
Me: "Let's Google it!"

**** fifteen minutes later ****

Me: "Ah-HA! I was right! There are no antelope in America!"
Other Colleague Standing in Doorway: "What are you two going on about?"
She: "Antelope! Ya know, where the deer and the antelope play?"
Other Colleague: "Do they?"
She: "Do they what?"
Other Colleague: "Play. Do they play?"
Me: [deep sigh] "NO! There are no antelope in America!"
Other Colleague: [ blink blink ] "What about pronghorn antelope?"
Me: [ blink ]
She: [ blink ]
Me: [ Googling furiously ] "AH-HA! Pronghorn antelope are NOT REAL ANTELOPE!"
Other Colleague: "Well what the hell are they?"
Me: [ putting on nerd hat ] "They are antilocapra americana; literally: the antelope goat, unrelated to any species of true antelope."
She & Other Colleague: [peer over my shoulder]
Me: [continuing to be annoyingly nerdly]: "They are the only surviving member of the Antilocapridae family, dating back to the Pleistocene era. Also, they are the second fastest land mammal in the world."
She: [ blink ]
Other Colleague: [ blink ]
She: " need to date more."


Neth said...

ah hell, what's worse is I knew the answer to this one without google - the nert hat fits well.

S. E. Ward said...

You know, there are species of both deer and buffalo/bison native to Africa. Could the mysterious Home on the Range really be code for Home on the Savannah? ("Where can you see dikdiks? Only in Kenya! Come to Kenya, we've got dikdiks! Forget Norway!")

And that's probably a sign that it's time for me to get some sleep. (And that whole conversation? Sounds like a typical day in my house.)

Susan Adrian said...

Damn! I was all ready to say nope, we have a herd of wild antelope that hangs out nearby (in Montana).

But they're pronghorns. {sigh}

We would totally have that conversation in my house.

Elissa M said...

Yeah, nerd me knew all about pronghorns, too. But they do hang out with deer (and/or cattle) where I live in AZ. "Where the deer and the pronghorns play" just doesn't fit the tune though. And "buffalo" don't live in N. America either, but bison do.

pjd said...

This would have been a great entry into a recent Evil Editor writing exercise, "write like Cassie Edwards."

Except it appears to be non-fiction. Unless, of course, you are calling it a "memoir," then it must be classified as fiction.

It's sad that an entire generation will not know that song simply because they no longer see Bugs Bunny on Saturday mornings.

JS Bangs said...

Complaining that pronghorn are not real antelope is just silly, akin to saying that pandas are not really bears. It's true that they are technically classified in different taxa, but in common nomenclature (which is what the song refers to) treats them the same. So pronghorn *are* antelope in my house.

Courtney Allison said...

hehehe THANK you!! I've had this argument with my dad probably forty times. He hunts just about everything big and scary all over the world so he's CONVINCED he knows more about animals than I do. Just because he kills them.

Uh, no. Nerds win. We know all. O__o

I think where the confusion comes in is that yes, Pronghorns and Antelopes are both from the order Artiodactyla (which are even-toed ungulates), but true Antelopes are found in the family Bovidae, while Pronghorns are antilocaprids that evolved separately in North America. They're also the only antilocaprids that are not extinct :) There are no true Antelope native to North America. Just like there are no hooved animals native to Australia!

Darren T said...

You'll never see bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover, either. Native to the North American continent, never seen in Europe...

Damn those pesky songwriters and their appallingly lax background research methods!

makoiyi said...

Well they actually 'advertise' them in tourist brochures here - annoys stink out of me. When I saw the word 'antelope' both the dh looked at each other and ran to Google (I never leave home without my laptop)because we couldn't believe it either. But, yeah, pronghorns, which are cute, but ain't antelopes.

Oh, and 'here' was Medicine Hat - Alberta.

Loquacious Me said...

I'm amazed by how much this sounds like a conversation I would have had with my friends, googling and all.

Nerds of the world, unite!

makoiyi said...

*Shakes head*

Nerds. I never thought of myself as a nerd, but then, thinking about it, the other day I was talking over Skype to a friend in UK. While on the comp her cell phone rang and I couldn't help but listen to the conversation. Her daughter had rang to ask how big a dodo was. So, via a comp we had this three conversation about dodos across two countries and a county.

Er, yeah, I guess that is nerdish...

S. E. Ward said...

Darren, what about a blue tit? You'll see them over Dover.

"And there'll be blue tits over--"
"Big ones!"
"--The white cliffs of Dover--"
"You said tits!"

Hmm? Maybe? Maybe not?

finch said...

"Listen. In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right?"

Oh, they'd be proud, they would!

leesmiley said...

Someone get on the phone to Cormac McCarthy. He has Llewelyn Moss shooting at antelope in the first chapter of No Country for Old Men. Maybe they should take away his National Book Award for that oversight. And his Pulitzer. And his Oprah Book Club thing. And his library card.

Barn Cat said...

Well, Mountain Goats are members of the Bovidae family. They are pretty close to antelope. They have pointy horns and like to jump a lot. Some folks here in MT say that mountain goats are antelope and pronghorn antelope are goats!

Redzilla said...

Antelope racist. Not a true antelope, huh? As a Kansan, I find that attitude discouraging. Harrumpf.