Every now and then, more often than you might expect, I mention something in lecture (usually in a classroom in front of students) and a small number of individuals express incredulity that the thing exists. Pygmies are one of those terms that garners disbelief. Many people assume they are made up. At the same time, a disconcerting number of times the opposite happens. Mermaids, aliens, dragons, Atlantis, etc. are not real but many students, educated by the History and Discovery channels, apparently, (I don’t watch them but I hear things), think they are.
Strangely, one of the things that people often think to be fiction is the venerable Reindeer. The first part of this confusion may be that we use two words for them: Reindeer and Caribou. Also, since Caribou is now a kind of coffee shop, there may be additional confusion.
Anyway, reindeer are real, and caribou too. And, the Como Zoo in Saint Paul, Minnesota has set up a web cam that lets you watch some of the deer (caribou is kind of deer, of which there are many) live. They don’t do a lot, but they are cute.
Click here to watch the Reindeer Cam, which really should be called the Caribou Cam but maybe they tried to use that term but got sued by some coffee shop, I don’t know.