This Currier and Ives print of Barnum's What Is It? depicted him in the wild, dressed in fur and leaning on a pole to stand upright. Despite the bared teeth, Barnum described him as being "playful as a kitten." The exhibit claimed to prove that Africans descended from monkeys and thus merged supposedly objective scientific findings about evolution with ongoing antebellum debates over racial definition, the morality of slavery, and sectional politics.
Source: Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, VT