To get a sense and take a census, I analyzed 50 animal ABC books ranging in publication date from 1820 to 2013. They weren’t individually selected, but were simply the ones available to me: The older books were sourced online through OpenLibrary.org; the more recent ones were found in the San Francisco Public Library. (I couldn’t convince FiveThirtyEight to give me an Amazon card to buy the thousand or so I missed; we’ll have to go with a representative sampling, instead.)1 There were 1,300 data points (50 books multiplied by 26 letters) in all.
What I found was a whole lot of zebras.
A perfectly fascinating, useless, and data-driven article. FiveThirtyEight’s bread and butter.