Groups of Animals Adorn the 2012 Origami Holiday Tree

News posts

The Museum’s Origami Holiday Tree is back to ring in the season! This year, the tree features 500 folded origami models of groups of animals, from a “culture” of bacteria to a “tower” of giraffes. 

Giraffes under the Museum's 2012 Origami Holiday Tree. © AMNH/R. Mickens

Giraffes under the Museum's 2012 Origami Holiday Tree.

© AMNH/R. Mickens


Why groups? In the wild, many animals—even solitary ones, such as owls—spend at least some of their time with others of their species, whether for mating, protection, or feeding.

So it’s no wonder that, over time, farmers, scientists, perhaps even poets, developed terms—sometimes whimsical—for animals in groups. A group of owls is sometimes called a "parliament."

One of a "parliament" of owls. © AMNH/R. Mickens

One of a "parliament" of owls.

© AMNH/R. Mickens


 A group of jellyfish is called a “smack.” 

A smack of jellyfish, at far left. © AMNH/R. Mickens

A smack of jellyfish, at far left.

© AMNH/R. Mickens


A group of zebras is sometimes fancifully called a "zeal."

Zebras, Origami Holiday Tree, 2012.  © AMNH/R. Mickens

Zebras, Origami Holiday Tree, 2012. 

© AMNH/R. Mickens


Volunteers from the nonprofit OrigamiUSA began folding in July to complete the 500 creations, including at least one "mob" of kangaroos.

A mob of kangaroos. © AMNH/R. Mickens

A mob of kangaroos.

© AMNH/R. Mickens


Plan your visit to the Museum; the Origami Holiday Tree is on view through January 6, 2013, in the Grand Gallery, on the 1st Floor.