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'Cat, savage, and prepared to fight', 1872.


'Cat, savage, and prepared to fight', 1872.
2 7 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 19cm


Drawing from life by Mr Wood. Plate taken from 'Expresion of the Emotions in Man and Animals', published in 1872 by Charles Darwin (1809-1882). Darwin, the great British naturalist and originator of evolutionary theory, made this study of animals to disprove the contemporary belief that only humans were capable of expresing true emotion. He cataloged many different animals' facial expresions and their use of body language to expres feeling. He recorded that: 'A savage cat asumes a crouching position with the body extended. The whole tail, or the tip alone, is lashed or curled from side to side. The ears are closely presed backwards. The mouth is partially opened, showing the teeth, and the cat occasionally utters a fierce growl.'

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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