Misleading since 1719: the historic opossum mom tail meme [...]

The commonly accepted image of baby opposums riding on their mother’s back, with their tails hanging from hers which is pointed towards her head, actually has little scientific basis. It seems to be an early example of a meme – a contagious, self-contained idea. This meme was both started and debunked long ago and yet persists in popular perception to this day.
(http://leslie.wikity.cc/files/2016/11/msmn72_1.jpg “”)
In the original image, made in a 1719 by renowned scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian, the animals’ tails are behind them. The images later evolved to show the babies hanging on to the tail like a railing. Since the 20th century, scientists have established that, while baby opossums do often ride on their mothers’ backs, the entwining of their tails is not characteristic behavior. However, the meme with its memorable image remains so persistent that one biologist recorded his surprise at finding out that they contain little truth. [Source: Grzimek’s Tierleben, print encyclopedia on animals in my personal library].

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