Desmond Morris  

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Desmond Morris (born 24 January 1928 in the village of Purton, north Wiltshire, UK) is most famous for his work as a zoologist and ethologist, but is also known as a surrealist artist and author.


In addition to his scientific pursuits, he is a surrealist artist. His work has been exhibited alongside works by Spanish painter Joan Miró and contributed significantly to the British Surrealist movement. He had his first solo show in 1948, and has shown regularly since then. In 1957, he curated an exhibition of chimpanzee paintings and drawings at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, including paintings by a young chimpanzee called Congo. Details from various of Morris's paintings can be seen on the cover art of early editions of Richard Dawkins's books The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker.

Morris was the executive director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London from 1967-68.


  • The Biology of Art (1963) – a look at the paintings of primates and their relation to human art
  • The Mammals: A Guide to the Living Species (1965) — a comprehensive and compelling listing of all mammal genera, all non-rodent non-bat species, and additional information on select species.
  • The Naked Ape (1967) — an unabashed look at the human species. The book is notable for its focus on humanity's animalistic qualities and our similarity with other apes. Reprinted many times and in many languages, it continues to be a best-seller.
  • The Human Zoo (1969) — a continuation of the previous book, analysing human behaviour in big modern societies and their resemblance to animal behaviour in captivity.
  • Intimate Behaviour (1971) — In "Intimate Behaviour" Morris studies the human side of intimate behaviour from clapping to cutting hair, from the embrace to copulation. Morris examines how natural selection shaped human physical contact in and how intimate behaviours are expressed and/or repressed in modern culture. Morris explains the origins of complex and mundane human signaling and body contact relating much of it to the pre-natal condition in the womb and the experience of the protection and attention that children receive when young and helpless. Morris infers that most intimate contact is a variation or repetition of such comforting and secure contact which is expressed in thinly disguised forms from pats on the back to massage "therapy". Morris describes an increasingly rigid modern society empty of typical physical interaction in public and how people compensate by enacting intimate behaviour in other forms in private or through deviant behaviour in public.
  • Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behaviour
  • Gestures: Their Origin and Distribution (1979)
  • Animal Days (1979) — Autobiographical
  • The Soccer Tribe (1981)
  • Pocket Guide to Manwatching (1982)
  • Inrock (1983)
  • Bodywatching – A Field Guide to the Human Species (1985) — Hundreds of photos analyzing the human body from hair down to the feet.
  • Catwatching: & Cat Lore (1986) — a study of one of the most popular of household pets across the centuries.
  • Dogwatching (1986) — an in-depth study of "man's best friend".
  • Horsewatching (1989) — subtitled "Why does a horse whinny and everything else you ever wanted to know"
  • Animalwatching (1990)
  • Babywatching (1991)
  • The Human Animal (1994) — book and BBC documentary TV series
  • The Human Sexes (1997) — Discovery/BBC documentary TV series
  • Cat World: A Feline Encyclopedia (1997)
  • The Naked Eye (2001)
  • Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of over 1,000 Dog Breeds (2001)
  • Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language (2002)
  • The Naked Woman: A Study of the Female Body (2004)
  • Linguaggio muto (Dumb language) (2004)
  • The Nature of Happiness (2004)
  • Watching (2006)
  • The Naked Man: A Study of the Male Body (2008)
  • Baby: A Portrait of the First Two Years of Life (2008)
  • Planet Ape (2009)
  • Owl (2009)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Desmond Morris" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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