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1861 Du Chaillu ape The Gorilla

1861 Du Chaillu ape The Gorilla

C011/0977

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Credit

PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Frontispiece illustration, natural tone, of Paul Du Chaillu's 1861 "Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa" published by John Murray, London. Du Chaillu popularised the virtually unknown Gorilla in London in the early 1860's. This caused a sensation partly on account of Darwin's recent publication of "On the Origin of Species" in 1859. Du Chaillu's accounts made himself the first European to have seen the species alive, and the gorilla to be very fierce. Gorillas had been described by Dr. Savage, a missionary in "The Gaboon", in 1847 from native accounts rather than personal observation. Du Chaillu's image is based closely on that of Marie Firmin Boucourt 1858 (with an added 'fig leaf'). Du Chaillu brought back preserved specimens for European Museums and delivered several to Sir Richard Owen at the British Museum.

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