I was watching the National Geographic channel today and there was a scene which involved a wildebeest. I couldn't help but think that it was the most gnu-looking wildebeest I'd ever seen, so I looked up the two animals to see how closely related they are.
Turns out they're two different words for the exact same animal.
No, no way. A gnu and a wildebeest are the same? They gave this poor animal 2 names, one makes sense (wild beast = wildebeest) and one is a, well, something to make jokes with. It will always be a gnu to gme....
Loads of animals have two names--there's nothing gnu (sorry
) there! Reindeer and caribou, manul and Pallas' cat, pygmy/gracile/slender chimpanzee and bonobo, the red cat-bear and the lesser panda, moose and elk, chevrotain and mouse deer, cougar and puma, white ants and termites, etc. all spring to mind, but there are probably thousands more. I just had no idea that wildebeest were gnus! I though wildebeest were large, stocky antelope creatures, whereas gnus were more cow-like animals with funny, curvy muzzles.
I'd love to share a list of animals with alternative names, but Google isn't being helpful.