No. 12.—The Ape.
Fig. 1. An ape in his natural habitat, as documented by Mr. Aubrey Beardsley.
APES ARE GROTESQUE parodies of human features and behavior, willed into existence by a benevolent Creator to puncture the vanity of his human creatures. They inhabit old dark houses, second-rate circuses that conceal dark secrets, and fourth-floor Parisian apartments in the Rue Morgue. Bananas are their only known food, and their primary occupation is abducting young women (see Fig. 1). Apes commonly have a very short lifespan, generally dying in the last reel during the thrilling rescue of the abducted lady.
The simplistic view that humans evolved from apes is no longer taken seriously by evolutionary biologists, and indeed may be regarded as thoroughly exploded. In fact, apes evolved from humans, and history shows that individual cases of spontaneous human-to-ape evolution are not at all uncommon (see Fig. 2).
The Ape teaches us the virtue of humility. Dr. Boli is well aware that he has already spoken of the Chicken as teaching humility, but humility is a tough lesson to learn, and more than one allegorical beast may be employed in teaching it.
Fig. 2. Notable case of spontaneous human-to-ape evolution.