Desmond Morris Talks Candidly to Web of Stories About His Life and Career

London, United Kingdom, November 22, 2014 --( Zoologist, writer and surrealist painter, Desmond Morris, has many ‘firsts’ to his name. In 1950, he shared his first London exhibition of surrealist paintings with the acclaimed Spanish artist, Joan Miró. He, Morris, was the first person to observe artistic abilities in a chimpanzee called Congo and later, rather controversially, held an exhibition of Congo’s paintings at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. And in 1967, he published his first best-seller, The Naked Ape, which was also the first book in a series of works he wrote on the subject of human behaviour.

Recalling how he was inspired to write The Naked Ape, Desmond Morris says, “Previously, all studies of human behaviour had been done by sociologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, anthropologists… But zoologists had never really tackled human behaviour before. So I thought, why not? One day I'm going to write this book called The Naked Ape about human beings, and I'm going to write it as if I'm an alien landing on this planet and looking at this strange primate, clearly related to apes and monkeys, but it's a bit odd because it has a naked skin, it doesn't have a coat of fur and it stands on its hind legs and it talks; it's a very strange monkey, very strange ape.”

One form of human behaviour that receives particular attention from Morris, is tribal behaviour especially in the context of team games such as football. He says, “People have called [football] warfare, symbolic warfare, but I think it's more symbolic hunting because when you score that goal, that moment of triumph when you've made your kill, eventually what happens – you win a cup and you have a feast and you go feast and you parade around with this cup. And it's... the whole thing is a symbolic hunt.”

All of Desmond Morris’s inspirational and fascinating recordings can be watched as a number of short clips ranging in length between one and several minutes, with a fully searchable transcript. All Web of Stories videos are easy to share with friends and colleagues, and may be embedded into personal blogs and websites.
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