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Tolkien and... Giraffes

A student inquired: "What is the connection between Tolkien and giraffes?"


There is a deep connection between J.R.R. Tolkien and giraffes that few people know about. The truth is, the first giraffe ever was born in the Paris zoo in 1908 from antilope parents because of a genetic mutation. The zoo had bought radioactive waste from Marie Curie's laboratory and used it as animal food. (The harmful effects of radioactivity were not widely known then.)

But this first giraffe had a trunk! It trumpeted day and night with it! In 1917, while J.R.R. Tolkien was in France to participate in World War I, he wanted to write some Elvish poems on his day off from the frontlines. But the trumpeting disturbed him. Tolkien was enraged! He ripped the trunk off the giraffe and gave it to the elephant instead!

The elephant was deeply grateful, because this new limb immensely improved his handwriting. His name was Moomacque (he was French, too, obviously). He allowed Tolkien to use his name in a novel.

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Tolkien A-Z

A comprehensive collection of short truths from J.R.R. Tolkien's life, and the many wonders and miracles he bestowed upon the world. Put together and published here for the first time!


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