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Animal Behavior

Behavior Basics

What is anthropomorphism?

Many humans are guilty of anthropomorphism—attributing human characteristics and feelings to nonhumans. For example, Bambi is a well-known story written by writer Felix Salten (1869–1945) in 1923; the inspiration for the story came from the wildlife he saw while vacationing in the Alps. When the story was eventually made into a Disney movie, Bambi had become a talking animal, complete with human feelings and emotions. Anthropomorphism can obscure the true motivation for an animal’s behavior—especially if a human actually thinks a wild Kodiak bear cub is just another “cute animal” that acts like the bear cubs portrayed by Hollywood movies or even “faked videos” over the Internet. (In other words, mother bears don’t act kindly to anyone getting near their cubs!)



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