Microkhan has a longstanding fascination with non-human primates, and so was intrigued to stumble upon the homepage of Kenneth Gouwens, a history professor at UConn. One of Gouwen’s specialties seems tailor-made for us: “Distinctions drawn between humans and simians in the Renaissance and in our own era.”
Alas, Microkhan wasn’t able to locate any of Gouwens’ work on this particular subject. But in the process of poking around The Tubes, we did stumble upon an equally delectable prize: The Aberdeen Bestiary, a digitized version of a 13th-century English manuscript. The collection contains this priceless description of apes (illustrated above), as penned by a Medieval zoologist:
The female monkey gives birth to twins, loving one and hating the other. When hunted, she carries the loved one in her arms while the other clings to her back. Eventually she tires, drops the favoured baby and the other one is saved. The ape does not have a tail.
The whole bestiary is well worth your time, particularly the sections on the delicate interplay ‘twixt lions and tigers. Please note that Microkhan does not endorse the “glass trick” for stealing tiger cubs.