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Article

I Wanna Draw Like You: Inter- and Intra-Individual Differences in Orang-Utan Drawings

1
Anthropo-Lab, ETHICS EA7446, Lille Catholic University, 59000 Lille, France
2
UFR LLSHS, Université Sorbonne Paris Nord, 95100 Paris, France
3
Department of Animal Sciences, Teikyo University of Science, Uenohara 409-0193, Japan
4
Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, IPHC UMR 7178, F-67000 Strasbourg, France
5
Institut Universitaire de France, 75231 Paris, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lucia Regolin and Charles Snowdon
Animals 2021, 11(11), 3202; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113202
Received: 14 September 2021 / Revised: 4 November 2021 / Accepted: 8 November 2021 / Published: 9 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Behavioural Methods to Study Cognitive Capacities of Animals)
Drawing has increasingly been proposed as an enrichment activity for captive primates in zoological parks and research institutes. The monkeys and apes are free to use the materials at their disposal and are not constrained or conditioned to show this behaviour. This provides a good opportunity to collect drawings by non-human primates and allows for comparative studies between hominids. This study is based on 749 drawings recovered from five orang-utans (Pongo pygmaeus) at Tama Zoological Park in Japan, where caretakers regularly facilitated drawing activities for the apes. Analyses showed that individuals differ in their drawing style, especially in the colours used, the space they filled, and the shapes they drew. One individual, Molly, did more complex drawings than other individuals and drew differently according to the seasons and her age. This study is the first to reveal such individual differences and can give some clues about the emergence of drawings in human beings.
This study analyses 749 drawings by five female Bornean orang-utans (Pongo pygmaeus) at Tama Zoological Park in Japan. We searched for differences between individuals but also tried to identify possible temporal changes among the drawings of one individual, Molly, who drew almost 1300 drawings from 2006 to 2011. An analysis of the drawings was carried out after collecting quantitative and qualitative variables. Our findings reveal evidence of differences in the drawing style of the five individuals as well as creative changes in Molly’s drawing style throughout her lifetime. Individuals differed in terms of the colours used, the space they filled, and the shapes (fan patterns, circles, or loops) they drew. Molly drew less and less as she grew older, and we found a significant difference between drawings produced in winter, when orang-utans were kept inside and had less activity, and those produced during other seasons. Our results suggest that the drawing behaviour of these five orang-utans is not random and that differences among individuals might reflect differences of styles, states of mind, and motivation to draw. View Full-Text
Keywords: primate cognition; scribbles; evolutionary anthropology; art; aesthetics primate cognition; scribbles; evolutionary anthropology; art; aesthetics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pelé, M.; Thomas, G.; Liénard, A.; Eguchi, N.; Shimada, M.; Sueur, C. I Wanna Draw Like You: Inter- and Intra-Individual Differences in Orang-Utan Drawings. Animals 2021, 11, 3202. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113202

AMA Style

Pelé M, Thomas G, Liénard A, Eguchi N, Shimada M, Sueur C. I Wanna Draw Like You: Inter- and Intra-Individual Differences in Orang-Utan Drawings. Animals. 2021; 11(11):3202. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113202

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pelé, Marie, Gwendoline Thomas, Alaïs Liénard, Nagi Eguchi, Masaki Shimada, and Cédric Sueur. 2021. "I Wanna Draw Like You: Inter- and Intra-Individual Differences in Orang-Utan Drawings" Animals 11, no. 11: 3202. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113202

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