Taylor was an astronaut, taking part in a deep space mission. After a prolonged period in cryogenic suspension, Taylor's craft landed on what he believed had been an alien world populated by sentient simians with humans as the animals. Though mistreated by most of the society, particularly by the orangutan Zaius, he managed to befriend two sympathetic chimpanzees, Cornelius and Zira, as well as the mute human Nova. Taylor eventually managed to escape the apes' settlement only to find a ruined Statue of Liberty and realized that he had landed on Earth, millennia in the future, after the planet had been ruined by World War III.
Thinking himself the last human, Taylor initially assumed that a landing party from the USS Enterprise were the apes sneaking up on his camp before Starfleet Captain James Kirk convinced him of their good intentions. When informed of the arsenal aboard the Enterprise, Taylor hoped to use the ship to overthrow ape society and conquer Earth. Though seeming to stand down after a discussion with Kirk, Taylor secretly knocked out Pavel Chekov and took the Starfleet officer's communicator. (TOS - The Primate Directive comic: "Issue 2")
Beamed aboard ship, Taylor knocked out John Kyle and took his uniform as a disguise. Making his way to the shuttlebay, Taylor intended to steal the Galileo only to be flummoxed by its alien control console, allowing time enough for Kirk to confront him and convince him that destroying the apes would make him no better than them. (TOS - The Primate Directive comic: "Issue 3")slingshot effect to travel into Earth's past. (TOS - The Primate Directive comic: "Issue 5")