Moustachioed animals’ relationship with whistling thorn acacia trees resembles that of the Lorax with truffulas, researchers say

“I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees,” says the eponymous hairy hero of Dr Seuss’s children’s book after he climbs out of the stump of a truffula tree. An irate orange figure with a bristling moustache, the Lorax is an environmental activist who wastes no time in berating the axe-wielding Once-ler, a shady money-grabbing interloper who lays waste to the environment to produce peculiar knitted outfits called thneeds.

Now researchers say the book may have been inspired by the things Seuss saw on a trip to Kenya, and that the bristly character may have been based on the orange moustachioed patas monkeys indigenous to the area.

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