Paper suggests Kenyan monkey inspired Dr. Seuss' Lorax
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Researchers at the alma mater of Dr. Seuss say the furry orange protagonist of "The Lorax" and the Truffula trees for which he spoke may have been inspired by specific monkeys and trees in Kenya.
The 1971 book pits a mustachioed creature who "speaks for the trees" against a greedy industrialist. In a paper published Monday, a Dartmouth College anthropology professor suggests Seuss was inspired by patas monkeys and whistling thorn acacia trees in Kenya, where he wrote much of the book.
While the Lorax has been criticized for being an angry "eco-policeman," Nathaniel Dominy argues his anger makes more sense given that patas monkeys are utterly dependent on the trees for food.
He sees the Lorax not as an indignant steward of the environment but as a participating member.