Anthropomorphism

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A 40,000 year-old carving of a lion with human traits.

Anthropomorphism is making something which is not a human, more human-like in a story or art.

This can mean making the thing shaped more like a human. It can mean giving it human emotions, goals, or the ability to talk. It is often used in stories. The thing or object may be an animal, plant, deity, sound, storm, idea, or anything else.

The story of the "Three Little Pigs" has a wolf and pigs who talk and act like humans. Mickey Mouse also talks and acts like a human. These are examples of a type of anthropomorphism called furry.

The novel The Call of the Wild also uses anthropomorphism. The main character is a dog named Buck. Many other characters are dogs and wolves. In the story, the animals think and act more like humans than real dogs do.

Reasons for anthropomorphism[change | change source]

Humans are good at knowing why other humans do things. Humans are not as good at knowing why non-human things (like animals) do things. This can lead to people assuming non-human things will act or think like humans. This is the reason art that shows gods or alien life often shows them as human-like.

Another reason is that humans easily relate to characters who look human, but having them look like different animals makes them easy to tell apart. This is why children's stories often have anthropomorphic animals as people.

Anthropomorphism can happen by mistake too. Scientists have to be careful not to assume the things they are studying will act or think like humans. Doing that can stop them from better understanding what they are studying.

Related pages[change | change source]

  • Furry - Anthropomorphism where animals are shown as human-like in stories or art.