Tracing the interpretation of the human-like great apes and ape-like earliest ancestors of present-day humans, this study demonstrates how from the days of Linnaeus to the present, the sacred and taboo-ridden animal-human boundary was constantly tested. The unique dignity of humans, a central value in the West, was, and to some extent still is, on the minds of taxonomists, ethnologists, primatologists, and archaeologists. This book thus offers an anthropological analysis of the burgeoning anthropological disciplines in terms of their own cultural taboos and philosophical preconceptions.
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