Babies Named for TV Cougar Taneha

taneha, 1975, TV
Col. Steve Austin with Taneha

To younger people, “Steve Austin” is the (stone cold) professional wrestler. Back in the ’70s, though, that name belonged to an iconic TV cyborg.

The main character of The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1978) was former astronaut Col. Steve Austin, who acquired superhuman powers after being bionically rebuilt following a serious accident.

In an episode that aired early 1975, Steve’s goal was to track and capture the infamous “Taneha” — the last surviving member of a particular cougar species — before angry local ranchers could find him and kill him.

The same year, the baby name Taneha debuted in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: 6 baby girls named Taneha
  • 1978: unlisted
  • 1977: 5 baby girls named Taneha
  • 1976: 7 baby girls named Taneha
  • 1975: 24 baby girls named Taneha [debut]
  • 1974: unlisted

Though the cougar was male, the name only ever charted for baby girls.

I’m not sure how the writers came up with “Taneha” for the fictional cat, but the Oklahoma town of Oakhurst was originally known as Taneha. It was built on land formerly owned by the Creek, and sources say the name was based on a Creek word meaning “oil is below.”

Do you like the name Taneha?

Sources:

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