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So many questions. Who were the Brasseys? What is a manis? How did they get one? How quickly can I post this awesomeness to the Museum?
A manis is an old term for a pangolin, taken from the species name (for example, the Common Pangolin is Manis temminckii). Here's how the Brasseys got one. Anna, Baroness Brassey accompanied her husband Lord Brassey on a number of voyages in their yacht "Sunbeam." On one of these they were guests of the Maharajah of Johore, who upon their departure presented them with many gifts. One of these was "...a live little beast, not an alligator, and not an armadillo or a lizard; in fact I do not know what it is; it clings round my arm just like a bracelet, and it was sent as a present by the ex-Sultan of Johore." By the time Anna Brassey's book was illustrated, someone had figured out it was a pangolin. Wonder how long the little guy lasted.