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The Young Gorilla Of The Jardin Des Plantes

Nature volume 30, pages 128129 | Download Citation

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Abstract

THROUGH the courtesy of the editor of La Nature we are able to give an illustration from an instantaneous photograph of a young male gorilla obtained at the commencement of last winter by the Natural History Museum at Paris. It had been imported from the Gaboon, and it was the first living specimen of this great anthropomorphic ape which had been brought to France. Its study would have presented many points of interest, not alone from the Natural History point of view, but also from the opportunity it would have afforded of studying the development of its intellectual faculties. This young specimen was about three years of age, he had already his full complement of milk-teeth, and the long and sharp canines were decidedly longer than the molars. In disposition he appeared to be very different from either the orang-outan or the chimpanzee. While these in a state of captivity are mostly gentle and sociable, this young gorilla on the other hand was savage, morose, and brutal; he never gave his keeper the least mark of affection; he never allowed himself to be touched without evidencing the greatest aversion, and for the most part he returned caresses by snappings. He never took the least part in the games of the other apes, and he most reluctantly tolerated having them near him. He was but little active, and most generally kept himself crouched up in a corner of the cage, or sitting on a branch with his back up against the wall, and scarcely ever moved but to look about for something to eat. He used his hands with much readiness, and they were extremely well developed. His lips were less mobile than in the chimpanzee, especially the lower lip, which was never pouted out when drinking into a spoon-shaped form. His eyes were extremely mobile, and were crowned with immense superciliary ridges; his nose was flat, with excessively large nostrils, giving him a quite peculiar physiognomy. His intelligence was feebly developed, and was in any case quite below that of the other anthropoid apes, or even of the gibbons. Since the above note was presented by Alph. Milne-Edwards to the Paris Academy of Sciences the young gorilla died at the Jardin des Plantes.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/030128a0

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