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photograph of a dog faced baboon
figure 1  

 

dog-faced baboon. (Papio hamadryas) The nickname was also applied at times to the species Cynocephalus porcarius.

In ancient Egyptian religion, the Hamadryas Baboon was the attendant to—or perhaps an emblem of—Dihautī, better known by the Greek name, Thoth.reference 1In this same tradition, dog-faced baboons are sometimes depicted as guarding the gates to reincarnation.reference 2

These impressive mammals sometimes make the news, though usually not by this name. In 1892 the New York Times did offer some tidbits about Cynocephalus porcarius, “which, being interpreted, means dog-faced baboon.” The “remarkably intelligent” baboon named McGinty who was seized by Customs because the proper tariffs were not paid. Customs recouped $95.00, a remarkable sum in those days. The Times goes on to describe McGinty's intelligence and his various shenanigans including his predilictions for chewing tobacco and lager beer.reference 3

 

1. Wikipedia contributors. 2008. Hamadryas Baboon. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Accessed Feb 29 2008 from http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Hamadryas_Baboon.

2. ter Huurne, Suzanne. Hamadryas Baboon. Animal files. Suzanne ter Huurne. Accessed Feb 29 2008 from http:// www.dierinbeeld.nl/ animal_files/ mammals/ hamadryas_baboon/ index.html.

3. 'Times staffer. 1892. “M'ginty” The Baboon Auctioned Off by Uncle Sam: Sold for Ninety-Five Dollars. New York Times, Jul 17, 11. Accessed Feb 29 2008 from http:// query.nytimes.com/ mem/ archive-free/ pdf?_r= 1&res= 9D0DE2D61E31E033A25754 C1A9619C94639ED7CF.

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About the illustration: This beautifully lit profile of Papio hamadryas was taken by Evy Johansen.You can clearly see the dog-like shape of the “muzzle.” Used by permission. Ms. Johansen's home page is http://evyphotoart.mono-hq.com/.
cf: Cerberus Last updated: September 26, 2008
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