PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Orang-Outang carrying off a Negro Girl". Volume 2 Frontispiece engraving from Sibly 'An universal system of natural history : including the natural history of man, the Orang-Outang and the whole tribe of the Simia" 1794. In a scene reminiscent of an eighteenth century King Kong the ape (the name Orang Outang was also used for Chimpanzee at this time) carries away a woman. Her companion takes aim to stop the ape, while a group of different apes wait on the other side of the river for the outcome. Such images reach back deep into the ancient lore of the satyr or wild man of the woods, whose interest in humanity is primarily sexual. Sibly writes on page 18 " we might consider this animal the first of the apes, or most imperfect of men". Even in the 18th Century there was an understanding that Apes were in some way closer to people than other animals.
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