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Humans as Animals

Humans as Animals


Tibo-Tib, the Monkey-Man

'Tibo-Tib, l'uomo scimmia,' from Petrosino: Il Grande Poliziotto Italo-Americano, No. 43, c. 1948-1949, published by Nerbini: Florence, Italy

Tibo-Tib, the monkey-man, consistently acquires the title of ‘monster’ in this horrific story. The creature can speak some of the human tongue, but overall has an inferior ability to communicate, thus lacking one of the most distinctive characteristics of humankind. The appearance of both man and gorilla in one being shocks and repels the protagonists. Even more appalling than the form, the humans baulk at the knowledge that the creature is the son of a professor in their acquaintance – a possible jab at scientists involved in the ‘monkey question.’




Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particuliére, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi, Vol. XIV, p. 82, Plate I, 1766, Buffon, Georges Louis Leclerc, comte de, published by L'Imprimerie Royale: Paris, France

Buffon uses the term ‘Jocko’ to define the chimpanzee, an animal with a human mask.[1] The illustration of Buffon’s Jocko shows a remarkably manlike creature which stands erect – a distinctly human characteristic. Jocko even holds a walking stick as a sort of tool, another mannerism typical of people. Yet this creature cannot speak. Although it can understand human forms of communication better than most animals, Buffon and others still regard the Jocko as a beast among other animals.



[1] Representing the Passions: Histories, Bodies, Visions, p. 155, 2003, Meyer, Richard Evan, published by the Getty Research Institute: Los Angeles, USA