Nounimals

This is a self initiated project, The A – Z of strange collective animal names.
Whether it’s a shrewdness of apes or a zeal of zebras, lots of animals have bizarre names when they cluster into crowds.

From social butterflies to solitary scavengers, virtually all animals gather into groups at some point in their lives. Safety in numbers is one reason for this, since a pack of prey is less vulnerable to attack by predators, but many animals also rely on collective wisdom to help them make better decisions. Some even blur the line between individual and group, while others limit their social time to mating season.

Whatever draws them together, something odd happens when creatures form crowds: They suddenly have bizarre, often silly names. These group nouns are rarely used, even by scientists, but they nonetheless represent our own species’ collective creativity for linguistics — not to mention our deep-rooted affinity for nature.

Taking the time to name a “richness of martens” or a “murmuration of starlings,” for example, suggests a basic lack of contempt for the wildlife in question. Even our more derogatory labels, like an “obstinacy of buffalo” or an “unkindness of ravens,” reveal a certain respect for the nonhuman neighbors that share our environment.

Without further ado, here are my A-Z of these groups.. ( Work is still in Progress ).