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Groups of Animals Adorn the 2012 Origami Holiday Tree

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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. 

Giraffe figures placed standing on surface. Various sizes. One yellow, one orange, three spotted. Fine detailed shape of head, ears, shoulders, legs.
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."

Owl Origami Holiday Tree 2012
One of a "parliament" of owls.
© AMNH/R. Mickens

 A group of jellyfish is called a “smack.” 

Origami Holiday Tree, 2012
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
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.

Kangaroos, Origami Holiday Tree 2012
A mob of kangaroos.
© AMNH/R. Mickens