In 1882, the prestigious journal Ward’s Natural Science Bulletin republished the poem “To the Gorilla in the Rochester University,” which appeared originally in 1864 in the Democrat and American.1 Its author, the late Dr. William Watson Ely, a Yale graduate and physician from Rochester, New York, structured the poem as a one-sided conversation (in iambic pentameter) between the narrator and a stuffed gorilla.2 Seeking to uncover the “scientifi c mystery” of man’s origins less than a decade after the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859), the narrator queries:

Are you the key, O Monkey, to unlock The sealed and scientific mystery? Were Apes the parents of the human stock Long ere the records of primeval history? What countless ages did it take to span The ethnic chasm from baboon to man?3