COMEDY

Funny Animals Pictures From 1900s Show Viral Creature Photos Predate Internet (PICTURES)

25/06/2013 08:44 BST | Updated 25/06/2013 09:24 BST

Thought your picture of a pet in a top hat was hilariously original? Well think again...

The sharing of funny animal pictures has become widespread on social media in recent years, but newly released newspaper archives show it has been happening for over a century.

Researchers from The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) website uncovered a number of amusing photographs as they trawled through publications from the 1900s.

Story continues after slideshow...

Vintage Funny Animal Pictures

An issue of the Exeter Gazette from 1912 which shows a chimpanzee sporting the bizarre combination of a dinner suit and roller skates is among the newspapers made available online for the first time today.

The article described the animal, named Consul, as "almost human" and stated that he was a popular attraction at the Exeter Hippodrome.

During the same year the Hull Daily Mail published a photograph of a cat wearing a gown and matching parasol. According to the newspaper, the pet and its owner - a Miss B Colman of Ilford, Essex - could be seen "taking walks together" and would venture out daily "for a morning airing".

Even earlier than BNA research way back in the in the Victorian ages, the supposedly modern phenomenon of lolcats make an appearance.

American photographer Harry Whittier Frees took many pictures of cats in various poses and costumes.

Another newspaper found by the BNA, the Gloucester Journal, pictured a dog named Susan winning the Cranham Fancy Dress Show for Dogs in September 1949.

Susan appeared less than thrilled to be wearing a summer dress, bonnet and matching booties, but her owner, a Mrs K Daniels, was clearly delighted to win the prize.

Amy Gregor, spokeswoman for The British Newspaper Archive, said: "It seems that the 21st Century online community is infatuated with sharing cute photos of animals, videos of animals doing funny things and even dressing up pets as humans.

Our research suggests that this theme has strong foundations in local newspapers of the past.

"Looking back at social and cultural trends in newspapers more often than not shows that what goes around comes around, and The British Newspaper Archive website contains over seven million pages of fascinating and diverse content from human disasters and war, to philanthropy, triumph, and even cats dressed as aristocrats."