Analysis / Somewhere, a Mammalogist Is Crying
General Taxonomy Mistakes Concerning Mammals
One of the most egregious
examples is mistaking cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) for fish.
There's also those who insist that orcas, or killer whales, are just whales and not dolphins as well. Orcas are dolphins, which are toothed whales, so people are right about them being whales, but wrong about them not being dolphins. (Or those who insist that killer whales are not whales, but dolphins).
Another example is the fact that many people mistake kinkajous for primates. Kinkajous
are not primates, but a member of the raccoon family within the order Carnivora. There are also a lot of mammals are mistaken for rodents, including weasels (in Carnivora, closely related to seals and raccoons and more distantly to dogs), rabbits, hares, and pikas (order Lagomorpha, closely related to rodents but their own thing),note
and shrews, moles, solenodons, hedgehogs, and moonrats (order Eulipotyphla, only very distantly related to rodents). We should note here that the weasels and Eulipotyphlans are more closely related to each other than the rodents, and the rodents are more closely related to humans
than either of those.note
There's also elephants being referred to as pachyderms. Pachydermata was a taxonomic group that included not just elephants but also rhinos and hippos, since these three animals have thick skin (hence the group's name meaning). But thanks to anatomical and ancestral differences, we now know elephants, rhinos, and hippos are from separate mammal groups. With rhinos being more closely related to horses, hippos to whales, and elephants to manatees.
And don't forget that humans are NOT descended from monkeys. We're descended from apes. And we still are apes. Great Apes, to be specific.note
General Mammal Anatomy Mistakes
People draw male kangaroos with pouches. The only extant (still existing) marsupial with both sexes having a pouch is the yapok
, a semi-aquatic opossum native to South America. The Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger, exhibited this trait too, but it is now extinct.
Rabbits and hares are often drawn with paw pads, which they don't have in Real Life
. And while real rabbits and hares have "V"-shaped noses, they'll usually be drawn with cat-noses or dog-noses in cartoons; the same mistake also occurs in certain rodents such as squirrels and chipmunks, which have rabbit-like noses only wider and more shaped like a "U". Also, rodents and lagomorphs do not have canine teeth.
Another example includes elephants drinking with their trunks instead of sucking up the liquid with their trunks and then squirting it into their mouths, like real elephants. Plus, they will usually be resembling Indian elephants in cartoons, even when set in Africa.
Gorillas are usually portrayed doing their Primal Chest-Pound
with clenched fists instead of cupped or open hands. As well as being violent and aggressive
, despite real gorillas being Gentle Giants
preferring to solve problems diplomatically. They, along with chimpanzees, often have their fur colored brown instead of black.
Other mistakes include porcupines shooting their quills, hippopotamuses being docile creatures, beavers having white teeth as opposed to orange teeth, big cats such as lions and tigers having vertical pupils like domestic cats, anteaters having flexible snouts (sometimes with their mouths located at the base instead of at the tip) and large aardvark-like ears, leopards and jaguars having solid spots like cheetahs instead of rosettes, reindeer being drawn as resembling whitetail deer (complete with the females lacking antlers all-year round), koalas having only one thumb instead of two, skunk spray being gaseous and emitting from the tail, sloth noses being dog-like rather than pig-like, and chipmunks having shorter deer-like tails instead of longer squirrel-like tails.
Other Mistakes Concerning Mammals
Another example is to refer to saber toothed cats, mammoths, and other Pleistocene megafauna as dinosaurs just because they are fierce and extinct and/or portraying them as being around during the Mesozoic era. Saber toothed cats are several groups of now-extinct, big-fanged
cats that first appeared during the Eocene, going extinct during the Pleistocene.