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1861 Gorilla for Owen British Museum

1861 Gorilla for Owen British Museum

C011/0978

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Credit

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

Caption

The "leisure Hour" January 1859. A pickled gorilla propped up with stick from the barrel in which it was preserved. It is a specimen from Paul Du Chaillu intended (as the label on the barrel lid states), for Sir Richard Owen in the British Museum (though Waterton notes it should credit Dr. Gray who received it). It was the first complete UK specimen. Du Chaillu popularised the Gorilla in London in the early 1860's. This caused particular sensation on account of Darwin's publication of "On the Origin of Species" in 1859. Du Chaillu's accounts made himself out to be the first European to have seen the species alive, and the gorilla to be a very fierce animal. The taxidermist Bartlett who preserved this specimen thought Du Chaillu lied when he said he had taken it - Du Chaillu knew too little of its early preparation. The Gorilla became part of the infamous evolutionary Hypothalamus debate.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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