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8 Animals With Misleading Names

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5. Killer Whale.

They may be big, they may be mighty, and they may be tough, but, for the most part killer whales are not dangerous to humans… as long as they are not kept in captivity. There has never once been a documented case of a wild killer whale killing a human, and the few attacks that have occurred are incredibly rare. Even the “whale” moniker is a bit off: killer whales are actually more closely related to dolphins, not what most of us are referring to when we mean whales.

See Also: 5 Formerly Trendy Foods (Slideshow)

 

6. Guinea Pigs.

Of course, guinea pigs are not pigs at all — but they’re not from Guinea, either! This rodent is from South America, not Africa. So what’s with the confusing name? Experts aren’t sure, but there are several theories, largely having to do with the way the animal was marketed to 17th century British consumers. Here are a few possibilities: in English, the term “Guinea” has meant an exotic, far-off locale, so it could have just been a way to market a then-unknown pet. Or, it could be that the guinea pig was shipped to Europe through the African country of Guinea, losing its origin place along the way. The most common possibility, that the guinea pig is so named because the animal was once sold for a guinea coin, can’t be true, because the guinea pig’s arrival in Europe predates the guinea coin by a decade.

Earlier: 6 Surprising Sources of Probiotics (Slideshow)

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

218 comments

+ add your own
4:06PM PDT on Jun 7, 2014

Thank you for sharing Katie. Interesting!

6:45AM PDT on May 29, 2014

interesting article, thanks for sharing :)

4:14PM PST on Dec 28, 2013

Interesting information. Thanx.

4:38PM PST on Nov 11, 2013

love this type of post. thank you!

3:54AM PST on Nov 9, 2013

The two species of Choloepus, or Two-Toed Sloth, actually have three toes and two fingers. The four species of Bradypus, or Three-Toed Sloths, also have three toes, but they have three fingers. To learn more about sloths please visit aiunau.org , where information about AIUNAU and its slothful projects can be read in English or Spanish. ¡Viva perezosos! Long live sloths!

Sloths, Anteaters and Armadillos make up the mammalian Order Xenarthra.

2:59PM PDT on Oct 24, 2013

Let's add Painted Dog (African Wild Dog) which are actually in the wolf family. Learn more of this highly social pack animal at www.painteddog.org

7:28AM PDT on Oct 21, 2013

Interesting. Thanks.

7:46PM PDT on Oct 13, 2013

interesting. ty

7:00AM PDT on Oct 13, 2013

Thanks

5:38PM PDT on Oct 11, 2013

Thanks :)

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