1757 Edwards' British Orangutan

1757 Edwards' British Orangutan

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: "The satier, savage, wild man, pigmy, orang-autang, chimp-anzee & c. " Copper plate with contemporary hand colouring printed 1757 for "Gleanings of Natural History" London: Royal College of Physicians, 1758 by George Edwards (1694-1773). This depiction by "the father of ornithology" appears to be of an orangutan and shows an animal that was "preserved in the British Museum in London". Edwards set the specimen up in this pose to draw it "before its parts too were too much dried or fallen in". The picture is interesting for its early date and for the fact that it does not reference earlier images such as those of Gesner or Tulpius (1641). This figure was later copied by Linnaeus's student Hoppius and named Pygmaeus edwardii. Edward's did not know where the animal had come from and wrongly concluded he was drawing the same animal as Tyson's Chimpanzee (1698). But see Loy's Ameranthropoides.

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Keywords: 18th century, ameranthropoides, anthropoid, ape, artwork, chimp, chimpanzee, color, cryptozoology, engraving, exotic, george edwards, gleanings, illustration, loy, man of the woods, orang, orangutan, royal college of physicians, satyr, tyson, wild man

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