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We all Appreciate the Same Animals: Cross-Cultural Comparison of Human Aesthetic Preferences for Snake Species in Papua New Guinea and Europe


Frynta Daniel, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Sciences, Charles University, Viničná 7, 128 44 Praha 2, Czech Republic.


We examined the aesthetic perception of animal species in two culturally contrasting societies. Students from the Czech Republic and villagers from Papua New Guinea were asked to rank photographs of the python and boa species according to the perceived beauty of the depicted snake. The ranking of the species in Europe and Papua tightly correlated in spite of ethnic differences that were significant in the case of six species. This result suggesting basic similarity in animal beauty perception between two distant ethnic groups is not only a partial argument for perceptual unity of humankind. This cross-cultural congruence may be important for conservation policies as humans may be predetermined to appreciate and thus support some species more than others.