Natural curiosity: how we have always wanted to talk to the animals

By Tim Dee

From wild cats to catalogues to a fake apeman, a new show at the Wellcome Collection explores our attempts to explain the natural world

If you have any interest in animals that aren't humans, it is easy to find yourself sympathising with Rex Harrison as he struggles to communicate with a pushmi-pullyu in the 1967 film of Doctor Dolittle, then singing along as he dreams of not only talking to the creatures in his menagerie (“grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals”) but having them answer back.

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