In Dr. Seuss’s classic book The Lorax, a little orange creature with a giant moustache works to protect Truffula Trees from being cut down. Although neither the Lorax nor his beloved trees actually exist, a scientist recently found that a real-life animal may have inspired their story.
The discovery came after Nathaniel Dominy, a biologist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, learned that Dr. Seuss wrote The Lorax while on a trip to Kenya. “After that, it was easy to connect the dots,” he says. Dominy guessed that patas monkeys native to the African country might have been Seuss’s inspiration. He used a computer program to compare the Lorax with other monkeys. Patas monkeys matched.
Patas monkeys are threatened because people cut down the trees whose fruit they eat. Like it says in The Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”