Primates I

In the University of Dundee, in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, there sits a taxidermied presentation of a young chimpanzee, it bares the classic proportions of a very young animal whose head to shoulder proportions, eye to face ratio, are such that most of us are hot wired to respond fondly to. Such emotions are of course conflicted by the mechanical act of preparing such a specimen and the aversion to the now decaying and worn through young face and hands. A duality exists within this century old youngster whose glass eyes are within sight of it’s own skull. In our image we extracted the chimp from it’s glass case and positioned it to gaze upon it’s perfect skull, evoking the moment when D’Arcy Thomson similarly scrutinised the young primate, a moment recorded in a letter from Thompson to his grandfather dated 7th February 1886:

I yesterday received a chimpanzee, one of the most manlike of apes: it is the rarest and most valuable specimen I have yet had and it came, like most of the others from Liverpool. One of the young doctors helped me to remove its brain at 11 o’clock at night. It was in beautiful condition.”