Human Sociology and the Sub-Human Primates
DOI link for Human Sociology and the Sub-Human Primates
Human Sociology and the Sub-Human Primates book
Buffon,® * and the Rev. W. Bingley,** as well as Griffith, Hamilton Smith, and Pidgeon,128f writing in the
eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, give delightful accounts of the lives and characters of monkeys and apes, and have spun around the subject a web of romance from which it has not yet been freed. The Rev. W. Bingley tells of troops of “ Oran Otans” , four thousand strong, living on the wooded banks of the river Gambia; and Buffon claims that “ this animal is as tall and as strong as man, and as desirous of the female sex” . We are told that it uses stones to attack its enemies, and sleeps in trees, where it forms a kind of arbour to shelter from the weather. The same animal is also said to display a charming modesty. Bontius, who was head physician at Batavia in 1650, viewed with admiration some orangs walking erect, and among them a female “which seemed to have an idea of modesty, by covering with her hand a particular part of her body, from the sight of men whom she was not acquainted with” .* M. Pallavicini, who was stationed at Batavia about a century later, kept two orangs, a male and a female, “which were extremely mild and gentle” . If “ the female was attentively looked at by any person, she would throw herself into the arms of the male, and hide her face in his bosom” , f Although modest, apes nevertheless appear to be alarmingly ferocious, showing no mercy to luckless negroes who happen to cross their paths. They kill only the men, in their passion abduct ing the women, “which they keep with them for the pleasure of their company, feeding them very plenti fully all the time.” 56 It is also said that during the breeding season male apes are almost equally considerate to their own females and offspring, to whom they sur render their arbours, and Battel, a Portuguese traveller, tells us-although Bingley found this hard to believe — that when an ape dies its fellows cover up the body with great branches of trees.