the first great ape to reach Britain and survive for any length of time was a chimpanzee called Tommy, who was exhibited in London Zoo in 1835 before he died of tuberculosis. He was replaced in 1837 by an orang-utan called Jenny. She died in 1839 but was replaced by another, also called Jenny.
These apes caused a small sensation. Queen Victoria, who saw the second Jenny, typified the reaction of horrified fascination. Jenny, she wrote, was “frightful, and painfully and disagreeably human.” It was disconcerting that an animal could look and behave so like a human. It posed uncomfortable…
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