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Darwin's Bulldog. Thomas Henry Huxley was the leading scientific proponent of Darwin's theories. Huxley is said to have told Henry Fairfield Osborn, American paleontologist and later director of the American Museum of Natural History, “You know I have to take care of him—in fact, I have always been Darwin's bull dog.”reference 1

Huxley is famously and variously quoted for his response to Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, when asked whether he traced his descent from an ape on his mother’s or his father’s side. The shorter versions tend to be variations on: “I would rather be the offspring of two apes than be a man and afraid to face the truth.” But the Columbia World of Quotations provides a lengthier and more illustrative selection:

If the question is put to me would I rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessed of great means of influence and yet who employs those faculties and that influence for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion—I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape.reference 2

1. Blinderman, Charles, and David Joyce. 1998. Darwin's Bulldog. The Huxley File. Clark University. Accessed May 31 2006 from http:// huxley/ guide4.html.

2. The Columbia World of Quotations. 1996. (Release 1.1) Columbia University Press. Accessed May 31 2006 from

About the illustration: A portrait of the gentleman, courtesy of He does not have a particularly bulldogish look. © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation.
see also: bulldog Last updated: May 26, 2008