The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H.G. WellsRead about the other entries on Newitz's list.
Made into several movies during the twentieth century, including one with Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando, this is perhaps the first scientific animal uplift tale — previous tales of talking or humanoid animals generally involved magic or sorcery of some kind. Here the titular mad scientist has created an entire race of human-animal hybrids on a remote island, subjecting them to cruel mistreatment. Eventually the experiment is discovered by a shipwrecked sailor, who lives among Moreau's beast-folk but is terrified to discover that without authoritarian rule they all return to their bestial ways.
The Island of Doctor Moreau is one of Sjón's top ten island stories.