Monday, October 17, 2005

Animal of the Week October 17, 2005 -- Um Bongo, Um Bongo, They drink it in the Congo

Good day one and all.

This week's animal of the week is the marmoset that works for Libby's, manufacturer of popular 1980s soft drink Um Bongo. Apologies to those of you who are unfamiliar with the classic advert, but the anotated song lyrics below describe how the drink is made.

Way down deep in the middle of the Congo*, a hippo (AOTW: is this a full size hippo [Hippopotamus amphibius] or pygmy [Hexaprotodon liberiensis]? My guess is full sized, pygmy hippos live in west Africa, possibly getting as far east as Nigeria, but not known in the Congo) took an apricot, a guava and a mango. He stuck it with the others, and he danced a dainty tango. The rhino (AOTW: black [Diceros bicornis] or white [Ceratotherium simum]? Two species live in Africa, none are known from the Congo, prefering savanah/scrub habitat, although because over the past million years the forests have receded and expanded it is possible that some have in recent times lived in areas now covered by forest; there is a legend of the elephant killer, Mokele Mbembe, among natives of the Congo, sometimes reported to be a living dinosaur, when some inhabitants were asked to describe Mokele Mbembe by a National Geographic reporter, it was very reminiscent of a Rhino) said, "I know, we'll call it Um Bongo", Um Bongo, Um Bongo, They drink it in the Congo. The python (AOTW: possibly African rock python [Python sebae]) picked the passion fruit, the marmoset (AOTW: What the flip is a marmoset doing in the Congo? Marmosets are new world monkeys native to South and Central America**) the mandarin. The parrot (AOTW: many parrots live in the Congo, Poicephalus spp, for example) painted packets, that the whole caboodle landed in. So when it comes to sun and fun and goodness in the jungle, They all prefer the sunny funny one they call Um Bongo!

*used in a general sense to mean the forested river basin of the Congo river, not specifically Congo or the DRC.

**So, I don't know what type of marmoset it would be, but I'm going with Cebuella pygmaea (pygmy marmoset), because it is so little it could have more easily stowed away on a flight to get to the Congo from Peru. Like other Callitrichids (marmosets and tamarins), pygmy marmosets are polyandrous, living in groups with one breeding female and several males.


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