Orangutans paint according to their mood | Science and life


If the orangutans are given paper and crayons, they will begin to draw. In nature, of course, they do not come across either one or the other, but in zoos and recovery centers for wild animals, monkeys are often given drawing supplies to diversify their lives. Monkey art looks like drawings of very young children – they are just strokes and strokes. However, they bear the stamp of authorship.

Employees of the University of Strasbourg and the Catholic University of Lille, along with colleagues from Japan, analyzed about 790 drawings from almost one and a half thousand, made from 2006 to 2016. five females of Kalimantan orangutan in one of the Tokyo zoos. Most of the drawings belonged to the orangutan Molly, who was caught back in 1952 and who died in 2011. She, according to eyewitnesses, spent quite a lot of time on drawings, sometimes more than an hour, while all the other monkeys finished drawing rather quickly. They did not do this every day, and when they did, they usually did no more than two drawings a day.

In orang-utan drawings, the researchers compared the area they occupied on paper (more precisely, not on paper, but on special white boards for drawing), the preference for colors, the nature of the strokes and the shape of random figures that were obtained in monkeys. It turned out that all these parameters are quite individual, that is, one orangutan consistently preferred some colors and pressed hard on the crayons, while the other loved other colors and drew with a lighter hand.

Also, as the magazine article says Animals, the drawings of the orangutans changed depending on their condition and life experience. For example, the same Molly preferred purple in spring, and green in summer and winter. When another female gave birth next to her, Molly painted a lot in red, and with age she generally began to choose fewer colors and her drawings began to take up less space (the aging Molly began to go blind in one eye, which, most likely, influenced her pictorial style) …

The same could be seen in the drawings of other orang-utans: in their “little skins” there was, on the one hand, individuality, on the other hand, some emotional experiences of the monkeys were clearly reflected in the drawings. Perhaps, if you take a closer look at the monkey drawings, you can understand what state the animal is in, whether it feels stress or is doing well. However, the authors of the article go further in their reasoning, hoping that the drawings of orangutans (and, probably, other great apes) will help us understand how a person himself learned to draw – after all, it is unlikely that the famous rock paintings appeared suddenly and immediately.


Source: Автономная некоммерческая организация "Редакция журнала «Наука и жизнь»" by www.nkj.ru.

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