Lemming Suicide Myth

One myth deeply entrenched in our language is that of the "Lemming Suicide Plunge" – where lemmings, apparently overcome by deep-rooted impulses, deliberately run over a cliff in their millions, to be dashed to their deaths on the rocks below, or to drown in the raging ocean. Indeed, this myth is now a metaphor for the behaviour of crowds of people who foolishly follow each other, lemming-like, regardless of the consequences. This particular myth began with a Disney movie.

Disney’s True Life Adventures film series did great things for the advancement of understanding the world around us. However, the lemming suicide plunge debacle was not one of them. Dr. Karl, from Great Moments in Science examples the complete lemming myth.

2 thoughts on “Lemming Suicide Myth”

  1. Faking the plunge

    The myth of lemmings engaging in mass suicidal cliff dives dies hard, having entered our language as a metaphor for senseless crowd behavior. From an evolutionary perspective, of course, it makes no sense whatsoever. Not even kin selection could justif…

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