Colbert’s mistake highlights misconception endangering us all

This is the threatdown.

Tonight on the “Last night on The Colbert Report” Report:

Dramatic Chipmunk

Now, you might recognize that face from the 2007 viral video:

Just one problem: that’s no chipmunk; that’s a prairie dog!

Colbert is hardly the first person to make this mistake — after all, the meme is known as “Dramatic chipmunk”, and Google Trends reveals that the ignorant narrative came to predominate rather quickly:

Google trends

But the well-documented American disinterest in biology should not get Colbert — and everybody else — off the hook this time. Rodent taxonomy is serious business. Something tells me you’d be happy to know the difference between a chipmunk and a guinea pig and a beaver when the zombie beaver apocalypse hits.

And if you remain unconvinced, need I remind you that “beaver” is only two letters away from “bear”?

Update, 6/20: Good to see at least one government agency fighting the good fight on the rodent education front:

For the record, Rodent Education Front – great name for a mad scientist terrorist organization.


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