group of baboons
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are a group of baboons called a congress
In fact, a collection of baboons can be called either a “flange” or a “troop.” But it is also called a congress of baboons
is a group of baboons called a flange
what family do baboons belong to
what is the name for a group of baboons
a group of baboons
What is a group of baboons?
I’m a sucker for trivia questions. My head is full of obscure and useless information, and my friends are always trying to test my knowledge of such.
Just recently, a friend said he had a great trivia question for me.
“I have a great trivia question for you,” he said. “Do you know what you call a group of baboons?”
I didn’t. But I was determined to come up with an answer. I have a reputation to protect, you understand.
I couldn’t be that difficult, I thought. I’ve always liked learning the collective nouns that are used to describe a group of a certain kind of animal. So many of the collective nouns are obvious. We’ve all heard of a pack of dogs, a herd of cattle, a school of fish and a barrel of monkeys.
collectives aren’t so obvious
But a lot of collectives aren’t so obvious, and those are the ones I like the best. Did you know, for instance, that a collection of buzzards is called “a wake?” What about a group of eels? It’s “a seething.”
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the answer couldn’t be an obvious one. Why would my friend think it was such a great trivia question if the answer were “a pack of baboons?”
Perhaps, I thought, the answer is alliterative. Many collectives, such as a gaggle of geese, start with the same consonant as the name of the animal. Those are fun, too. I’ve always liked a flamboyance of flamingoes, a prickle of porcupines, a coalition of cheetahs and a pandemonium of parrots.
But “band of baboons” didn’t sound exciting enough to be the answer, either, so I turned to another theory.
Maybe it has a military tone, I thought – an army of ants, a corps of giraffes, a squadron of pelicans. It made some sense. All the gorillas in the “Planet of the Apes” movies were the military types, and baboons sort of resemble gorillas.
Besides, “a battalion of baboons” is both militaristic and alliterative. It kills two birds with one stone, so to speak.
But my friend was quick to point out the error of my ways.
“Wrong!” he said, almost gleefully.
the most interesting collectives
So I moved on. Some of the most interesting collectives are those that somehow give a visual image of the animal. For instance, a bunch of butterflies is called “a kaleidoscope,” which perfectly describes what it looks like when butterflies are swarming around together.
A collection of cockroaches is called “an intrusion.” A large number of gnats is called “a cloud.” A group of hyenas is called “a cackle.”
But I couldn’t quite put my finger on a noun that describes a baboon. I knew “an ugly of baboons” wasn’t right. I began to think the answer was something that was completely made up. Despite my best efforts, I was drawing a blank.
“Do you give up?” my friend asked.
I did. Reluctantly.
“It’s a congress,” he said. “A congress of baboons.”
At first, I didn’t believe him. So I looked it up. In fact, a collection of baboons can be called either a “flange” or a “troop.” But it is also called a congress of baboons.
In retrospect, it certainly makes sense.
At the very least, it explains all the monkeying around that’s going on in Washington.
A congress of baboons?
Yesterday, I received one of those chain e-mails that seem to touch on the truth and strike the funny bone:
“We are all familiar with a herd of cows, a flock of chickens, a school of fish, and a gaggle of geese. However, less widely known are a pride of lions, a murder of crows (as well as their cousins, the rooks and ravens), an exaltation of doves. And, presumably because they look so wise, a parliament of owls.
Now consider a group of baboons. Baboons are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive, and least intelligent of all primates. And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons? Believe it or not, a congress! That pretty much explains the things that come out of Washington! You just can’t make this stuff up.”
I really wanted to believe this. It would make a great lead-in to a story about the latest shenanigans of that esteemed body (occasional trumped by a Supreme Court decision). However, it’s not true. I checked it out on The Providence Journal Politifact website to be sure, and my hopes were crushed. However, Politifact found out a good deal more, which almost makes up for the disappointment. They consulted several experts, and found that the president of the Dictionary Society of North America, Orin Hargraves, could find no evidence that congress is the correct term. “Apparently someone just made it up,” he told Politifact. “It has the ring of truthiness and so people like it. They do behave like the caricature of the baboons, but I think real baboons probably behave a lot better.”
Swedell disputed the chain e-mail’s description of baboons. “Least intelligent? No way… Among monkeys, baboons are pretty smart,” she said, “Baboons are socially sophisticated and incredibly smart.”
Among primates, Strum stated, “no species is as dangerous as humans.”
So there’s no doubt the chain email is wrong. However, we can find some consolation in the fact that the experts agree on this: Being governed by this Congress is worse than being governed by baboons!
Baboons are primates comprising the genus Papio, one of the 23 genera of Old World monkeys. There are six species of baboon: the hamadryas baboon, the Guinea baboon, the olive baboon, the yellow baboon, the Kinda Baboon and the chacma baboon. Each species is native to one of six areas of Africa and the hamadryas baboon is also native to part of the Arabian Peninsula. Baboons are among the largest non-hominoid primates and have existed for at least two million years.