1861 Punch Gorilla Cartoon

1861 Punch Gorilla Cartoon

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: "The Lion of the Season". Punch XL, May 25th, 1861. This cartoon refers to the French-American explorer Paul Du Chaillu (1835-1903). Du Chaillu was visiting Europe and gaining sensational publicity for his book "Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa etc" in which he described eyewitness accounts of Gorillas. He described the Gorillas size and exaggerated their ferocity. While it made him "the lion of the season" it also caused some to publicly doubt his honesty, and Huxley to dismiss it all as nothing new (Dr. Savage had produced many of the same observations in 1847). The impact of the Gorilla was heightened in this year because the debate about man's evolution from apes was gaining wide attention after Darwin's publication of "On the Origin of Species" in 1859. Punch was also in the habit of lampooning the Irish as Mr. G'Orilla.

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Keywords: artwork, black and white, black-and-white, caricature, cartoon, descent, du chaillu, evolution, explorer, gorilla, human, illustration, lion of the season, man, monochrome, origin of species, paul, people, person, punch, savage

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