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<   No. 1776   2007-12-07   >

Comic #1776

1 Stewardess: The pilots aren't looking good. We need to land.
1 Terry: Delhi and Lahore are no good. Tashkent has baboons on a balloon.
2 Stewardess: Moscow?
2 Terry: Weasels on a diesel.
2 Stewardess: Warsaw?
2 Terry: Sheep on a jeep.
3 Stewardess: Stockholm?
3 Terry: Goats on a boat.
3 Stewardess: Copenhagen?
3 Terry: Gnus on a canoe.
4 Stewardess: What's with all the animals?!
4 Steve: Yeah, bonza isn't it?!

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Speaking of those brainstorming sessions which I mentioned yesterday, this comic is the long-awaited fruition of another one of them, which we had ... lordy... over a year ago? When Snakes on a Plane was first released, anyway.

Gnus, by the way, are more commonly known as wildebeest. Interestingly, the word "wildebeest" comes from the Dutch language, via its Afrikaans progeny, yet the word is not used in Dutch itself. The Dutch word for wildebeest is "gnoe".

Irregular Webcomic!, providing education in useless facts since 2002.


2018-07-24 Rerun commentary: Just a couple of weeks ago I was in Tanzania, taking one of the dream vacations that I've wanted to do for decades: an African wildlife safari. It was wonderful! My wife and I spent time in Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We saw many different animals, including wildebeest!

Here are some I photographed in Ngorongoro crater:

Blue wildebeest

Of course this was the first time I'd seen these animals in the wild. It's just barely possible that I've seen some in captivity in Australia. Taronga Zoo in Sydney definitely had a few, however the last one died in 1977 (according to this discussion). Nowadays with Australia's more stringent quarantine restrictions, it would be virtually impossible to import any more. But I'm pretty sure I would have visited the zoo before 1977.

Here's a close up I took in Serengeti National Park:

Say "gnus"!

These are blue wildebeest, which is one of the two species of wildebeest, the other being the black wildebeest. The blue ones are more common (estimated population 1.5 million animals) and have a larger, more northerly range, extending as far north as the equator. The black wildebeest were hunted almost to extinction and have rebounded to an estimated 18,000 animals, confined to South Africa plus a small introduced population in Namibia.

Our safari guide told us that the wildebeest is a "spare parts" animal, assembled from the horns of a buffalo, the mane of a lion, the stripes of a zebra, the back of a hyena, and the legs of an antelope. But unfortunately there were no brains left over...

Apparently no gnu is a good gnu.

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