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

Anthropomorphism is making something that is not a human, but more human-like in stories or art.

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

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, and 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 storms or 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 characters.

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.

Other pages[change | change source]

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