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A Gorilla in Liverpool

('From the Liverpool Cottrer.)

A young gorilla, captured in the central wilds of South Africa, has just become, immediately after being landed at Liverpool, the property of Mr William Cross, the well-known naturalist, of Oldhallstreet, Liverpool. The animal has been seen since its arrival by Mr Moore, curator of the T>erby Museum, who pronounces it to be a genuine specimen of the gorilla class of apes. The newly arrived anthropoid is from a year and a-half to two years old, and is in point of stature as well, yet in the baby stages of gorilladom, being about three feet in height when standing erect. The most elaborate arrangements have been made in Mr Cross’s establishment for its accommodation, and it occupies a sitting-room in common with a companion in the shape of a chimpanzee, of somewhat older growth, which performed the journey from Africa at the same time in the same vessel. The two animals are much attached to each other, and besides having the same lodgings, enjoy the same board and bed. Both sleep in a square wooden cage, fitted with bars and an entrance door, which the animals are as adept in opening as any human wisdom could make them. There is, however, no danger such as implied by the use of cages, and the only attention necessary is the continual presence of a male attendant, not only to prevent the gorilla from meddling with the fire, which keeps the air of the room at the necessary temperature, but also to place gentle checks upon his roving tendencies, and prevent the baby gorilla from breaking any more furniture, his first exploit o n introduction to the sitting-room having been the pulling down and smashing of two large vases. The distinctive peculiarities of the two annuals —the gorilla and the chimpanzee—and their vastly different positions in the ape family are seen at a glance. The chimpanzee has a very projecting muzzle, long out-stretched ears, and altogether a more animal physique than his companion. The gorilla’s face, apart from the color of it, is not unlike some of the extreme varieties of the negro type, were it not that the animal’s nose is altogether unhuman, exposing the nostrils in front instead of below. The ears lie close to the head, and the hair is much finer than the coat of the chimpanzee. In walking the gorilla strides along in a cm ious manner, leaning half forward, and using both feet and legs in locomotion. The habits of the animal are singularly human. Retiring to rest about 10 p.m, it awakes about 8 a.m, and forthwith partakes of its morning allowance of food, its rations consisting of milk, Indian corn, dry rice, sugar, or hard bread. The day is partly spent in that “sweet doing nothing” of which even apes know enough to appreciate, and when their simian highnesses are tired of this they amuse themselves by t ossing about a couple of skittle balls which have been provided. for their use. After midday meal, there is a short siesta, during which the animals are only to be seen in their sleeping apartments, reclining on soft hay. The nap over, they descend from their bed with the celerity' of boys dropping over an orchard wall. Should hunger be felt between meals, the gorilla at once seizej the am of the attendant, and by squeezing that member conveys to its

owner a knowledge of what la wanted. The attendant has little trouble with his charge, and both animals follow him about like children, but it is a significant circumstance that they are fonder of each other than of their thoughtful guardian, or of any other variety of human society. When not otherwise actively engaged, the chimpanzee squats in his favorite sitting attitude on the carpet, his long arms folded, his chin resting on his knees, looking weirdly unconscious of all that is going on. The gorilla, on the contrary, is rarely motionless, and stalks ever and anon with that measured, deliberate step peculiar to it, along the floor, peering about with its large brown eyes, as if in search of objects upon which to exercise its capacities for mischief. Although its food is chiefly vegetable, an occasional bone is not, refused ; and if you select for your visit, the time when it is enjoying fragments a mutton chop, and endeavor to remove tno meat in order that yon may obtain a faillook at the brilliantly white teeth that, have been masticating it, the gorilla will snap at you, and being victorious, will retire to a comer with something on its face which an enthusiastic Darwinian would call a smile of triumph. It should be added that this gorillaship is tailless, and when emotionally excited, gives utterance to a cry not unlike that of a child. We understand that failing a purchaser, Mr Cross, who claims to be the only naturalist in this country who has ever had in his possession one of the gorilla class of anthropoid apes, will make arrangements for the exhibition of the animal in Liverpool.

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Bibliographic details

A Gorilla in Liverpool, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 21, 13 November 1879

Word Count

A Gorilla in Liverpool Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 21, 13 November 1879

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