The baboon was recognized as the spirit of the Egyptian god Thoth. As god of intellectual pursuits, and inventor of hieroglyphs, the baboon of Thoth may have had a special appeal to Freud because of its conflation of instinct and intellect. One of Freud’s missions, after all, was to reveal the profound influence of instinct – sexuality and aggression – on man’s intellectual achievements. Freud also used the metaphor of a pictorial language (hieroglyphics) to describe the dream-process. This figure stood on Freud’s desk and the Freud family's housekeeper Paula Fichtl noted he was in the habit of stroking the marble baboon when deep in thought.