How many Youtube videos of cats doing crazy things have you seen?
Why is it that we are drawn to animals? Anthropomorphic goods are very popular on etsy and I wondered what draws us to want to wear cute animal things and have them in our homes. We can't seem to get enough of deer, bears, kangaroos and antelope in particular!
Well, it seems researchers from California Institute of Technology and UCLA recently reported that neurons in the area of our brains that processes emotional reactions, respond preferentially to images of animals. This suggests we are hard wired to notice animals more than other people or buildings! It comes from a long history for the necessity of being aware of animals around us and learning about which is to be avoided, which are useful and which to hunt. Dogs, for example have been companion animals for thousands of years. It is not surprising we like to have images and representations of the animal kingdom around us in our homes.
But we each have our particular favourites - animals that we are drawn to and collect - creatures we want to live with because perhaps we identify with them and their symbolism reflects who we are, or perhaps who we want to be. Whether it is the freedom of seagulls, the quick alertness of rabbits, the friendly domesticity of chooks, the sleepy relaxedness of koalas or the amusing antics of monkeys - talismans of the natural world continue to be part of contemporary life and I believe that we are better for it when we bring a sense of this wild into our domain.