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Frotn a drmving by J. H olj J 

Head and Fore-Limbs of the Aye-Aye of Madagascar. 
Showing the attenuated middle finger. 


Mostly Mammals 

Zoological Essays 












O.J^ ^^^i^. c^isS.. .J«? 


THE whole of the articles collected in this 
volume have previously appeared in period- 
ical literature ; the great majority in Knowledge y 
but others in Nature, the Field, and the Asian. 
To the editors of these journals the Author herewith 
returns his best thanks for the kind permission 
to reproduce the articles in their present form ; 
special thanks being due to Messrs. Witherby, 
the publishers of Knowledge, for the loan of some 
of the original illustrations. 

The importance of "nature study," now coming 
so much to the fore, is strongly insisted upon in 
several of the articles. 

In a few instances two or more articles have 
been combined, but for the most part they are re- 
produced as much as possible in their original form, 
with such alterations as have been found necessary 
in order to bring them up to date, and with a 



few omissions to avoid unnecessary repetition. A 
certain amount of repetition will, indeed, still be 
found to exist, as somewhat similar ground is, in 
certain instances, traversed in the course of two 
separate articles. To have avoided this, would 
have entailed practically re-writing some, or the 
total omission of others ; and it was consequendy 
decided to print the entire series almost as it 

Harpenden Lodge, Herts, 
April ^ih, 1903. 


















































Head and Fore-L;mbs of the Aye-Aye of Madagascar. Frontispiue 

From a Drawing by J. Wolf. 

East African Giraffes in Covert . ... To face page 

From a Photograph by Lord Dclanitrt. 

Arctic Foxes „ 

Frotn Photographs by the SchoUtstic Photographic Agency. 

African Elephants ,, 

From a Photograph by Lord Ddamere. 

Monkey Hand-Prints „ 

White-tailed Guereza , 

Male Proboscis Monkey ,, 

Orange Snub-nosed Monkey ,, 

An African Scale-Tail in Flight . . . ,, 
The Woolly Flying-Squirrel of Astor and Gilgit ,, 

A Colony of Beavers ,, 

A Peking Stag with the Antlers in Velvet . ,, 

From a Photograph by the Duchess of Bedford. 

PiRE David's Mi-lou Deer ,, 

From a Photograph by the Duchess of Bedford. 

Young Bull Musk-Ox with the Horns about 

half grown ,, 

Frotn a Photograph by the Duchess of Bedford. 

Male and Female Anoa, or Dwarf Buffalo . ,, 

From a Photograph by the Duchess of Bedford. 

The Giant Tortoise of South Aldabra Island . ,, 

Fro>n a Photograph by S. G. Payne, by permission of 
the Hon. VVaher Rothschild. 













While the century which has lately closed may fairly lay 
claim to the gratitude of posterity on account of the mag- 
nificent tale of zoological work accomplished during its 
course, it is, on the other hand, undoubtedly open to the 
charge of having permitted the total extermination of not 
a few animals, and of having allowed the numbers of 
others to be so reduced that their disappearance, at least 
as truly wild creatures, can scarcely be delayed very many 
years longer. Possibly, if not probably, the sweeping away 
of the enormous herds of many species, like those of the 
American bison, may have been an inevitable accompani- 
ment of the march of civilisation and progress ; but there 
is no sort of excuse to be made for the fact that in 
certain instances naturalists failed to realise that species 
were on the very verge of extermination, and that they 
were actually allowed to disappear from the world without 
being adequately represented in our museums. Nor is it 
by any means certain that even the present generation is 
altogether free from reproach in this matter, for although 
it cannot be said that any species hovering on the verge 
of extermination are absolutely unrepresented in collections, 


yet whether, sufficient specimens of such species are 
being preserved for our successors may be an open 

It is not my intention in this article to allude to the 
hosts of animals whose numbers have been reduced in 
such a wholesale manner during the century as to render 
them in more or less immediate danger of impending 
extermination, but to confine our attention in the main to 
those on whom this fate has already fallen. And here it 
may be mentioned with satisfaction that India enjoys a 
remarkably good record in this respect, for, so far as we 
are aware, it has not lost a single species of mammal, 
bird, or reptile, either during the nineteenth century or 
within the period of definite history. It is true that the 
numbers and range of the Indian lion have been sadly 
curtailed during the last fifty years, and that if steps are 
not promptly taken for its protection that animal may ere 
long disappear from the Indian fauna. But, at any rate, 
it has not done so at present ; and even were it ex- 
terminated in that country, this would not mean the 
extinction of a species, and possibly not even of a local 
race, since it is not improbable that the Persian represen- 
tative of the lion (which is still abundant) may not be 
distinguishable from the Indian animal. Of large animals 
peculiar to India, perhaps the great Indian rhinoceros is the 
one that requires most careful watching in order that its 
numbers and its range may not be unduly reduced before 
it is too late to take adequate measures for its protection. 

We have said that the century is responsible for the 
extinction of no inconsiderable number of the world's 
animals. But it must not for one moment be supposed 
that, within the historic period, no such exterminations by 
human agency had taken place in previous centuries. We 


have to go back so far as the year 161 5 for the last evidence 
of the existence, in a living state, of the great flightless 
rail {Aphanapteryx) of Mauritius and Rodriguez ; while the 
journal of the mate of the Berkeley Castle, in 168 1, is the 
last record of the dodo being seen alive. Again, the tall 
and flightless solitaire of Rodriguez is not definitely known 
to have been met with by Europeans after 1691, although 
there is some evidence to indicate that it may have lingered 
on in the more unfrequented portions of the island till as 
late as 1761. Of the extinct geant, or Mauritian coot 
{Leguatid), we have no evidence of its existence subse- 
quent to 1695 ; while our last record of the crested parrot 
{Lophopsittacus) is as far back as 1601. The great northern 
sea-cow {Rhytina gigas), which was only discovered on the 
islands of the Bering Sea in the year 1741, had entirely 
ceased to exist by about 1767. Moreover, the giant tortoise 
of Reunion appears to have become extinct in its native 
island previous to the dawn of the nineteenth century, 
as was probably the case with some of the other species 
formerly inhabiting the islands of the Indian Ocean.* 

Neither can the nineteenth century be held responsible 
for the extermination of the South African blaauwbok 
{Hippotragus leucophaeiis)^ a smaller relative of the roan 
antelope, since the last known example is believed to have 
been killed in or about the year 1799. It had always a 
curiously restricted habitat, being confined to a small area 
in the Swellendam district. 

On the other hand, the great auk is a bird whose loss 
we owe to the carelessness of the naturalists of the middle 
of the nineteenth century, for there is little doubt that if 
protective measures had been taken in time, it might have 
been alive at the present day. From the American side 
* See the article in the sequel on " Giant Land-Tortoises. 


of the Atlantic it probably disappeared somewhere about 
the year 1840; while the summer of 1844 witnessed the 
destruction of the last European pair of this remarkable 
bird, the last British representative of the species having 
been hunted to death in the neighbourhood of Waterford 
Harbour ten years previously. 

One of the most sad storiesof extermination, and that, 
too, at a comparatively recent date, is revealed in the case 
of the South African quagga. Since a full account of the 
species is given in a later article, it will suffice to state here 
that in Cape Colony the extermination apparently took 
place about the year 1865, although the species may have 
survived a few years longer in the Orange River Colony, 
which was the last stronghold of the species. 

Mention has already been made of the extermination of 
the giant land-tortoise of Reunion during the eighteenth 
century ; and in the early part of its successor four other 
species became extinct in the neighbouring islands of the 
Mascarene group — namely, Testiido indica, T. triserrata, and 
T. inepta in Mauritius, and T. vosmaeri in Rodriguez. It 
has hkewise been considered probable that the thin-shelled 
tortoise (T. abingdoni) of Abingdon Island, in the Galapagos 
group, is also no longer existing, although it was certainly 
alive as recently as 1875- 

Of birds that have disappeared during the century, in 
addition to the great auk, reference may first be made to 
the black emeu {Dromaeus ater) of Kangaroo Island, South 
Australia. When this island was explored in 1803 by a 
French expedition, these birds were abundant, and three 
were sent home to Paris, where a pair lived till 1822. On 
their death, the skin of one and the skeleton of the other 
were mounted for exhibition in the Paris Museum, where 
they still remain. Of the third specimen no record was 


obtainable till 1900, when its skeleton was discovered by 
Prof. Giglioli in the museum at Florence. These three 
priceless specimens are the only examples of a species 
which became extinct in the native state previous to the 
death of the Paris pair, and before it was even known to 
be different from the larger emeu of the mainland. For 
it appears that some years after the visit of the French 
expedition (to which Peron was naturalist) to Kangaroo 
Island, a settler squatted there and forthwith set to work 
to make a clean sweep of the emeus and kangaroos — a 
task in which he was only too successful. 

Before the middle of the century another large bird 
appears to have made its final exit from this world. When 
Steller discovered the northern sea-cow in the islands of 
Bering Sea, he also brought to the notice of science a 
new species of cormorant {Phalacrocorax perspicillatus), 
which was especially interesting on account of being the 
largest representative of its kind, and likewise by the bare 
white rings round its eyes and the brilliant lustre of its 
green and purple plumage. Stupid and sluggish in dis- 
position, Pallas's cormorant, as the species is commonly 
called, appears to have been last seen alive about the year 
1839, when Captain Belcher, of H.M.S. Sulphur, was pre- 
sented with a specimen by the Governor of Sitka, who also 
forwarded other examples to St, Petersburg. Captain 
Belcher's specimen is preserved in the British Museum, 
and three other skins are known to be in existence 

The great white water-hen (Notorm's albus), formerly 
inhabiting Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, must be added 
to the defunct list. And the same is the case with the 
Tahiti white-winged sandpiper, or rail {Hypotoenidia pacified), 
which in Captain Cook's time was abundant in the island 


from which it takes its name, as well as in the neighbouring 
Eimeo, The New Zealand quail {Coturnix novae-zealandiae) 
is likewise entered in the British Museum as extinct. The 
beautiful " Pigeon hollondais,^^ so called from its plumage 
presenting the Dutch colours, and technically known as 
Alectoroenas nitidissima, is a Mauritian species whose ex- 
termination probably took place during the century. It 
is known solely by three examples, one of which is pre- 
served at Port Louis, the- second in Paris, and the third 
in Edinburgh. 

Nor must we omit from our list two species of Kaka 
parrot, one of which {Nestor productus) was a native of 
Philip Island, while the home of the second (A^. norfolcensis) 
was the neighbouring Norfolk Island. A species of para- 
quet {Palaeornis exsul), peculiar to the island of Rodriguez, 
is also believed to be exterminated. 

Neither has the duck family escaped, for the well-known 
pied duck {Camptolaemus labradorius), an ally of the eider 
from the North Atlantic coast of America, appears in the 
defaulters' list, the last known example having been killed 
in 1852. 

Passing on to Passerine birds, a notable loss is the hand- 
some crested pied starling {Fregilupus varius), of Reunion, 
believed to have become extinct about the middle of the 
century. Of the few remaining examples of this striking 
species, one is preserved in the British Museum. Another 
species, exterminated within approximately the same period, 
is the gorgeous black and gold mamo, or sicklebill {Drepanis 
pacified) of Hawaii, whence it was first brought to Europe 
by Captain Cook. As narrated in the " Birds of the Sand- 
wich Islands," by Messrs. Scott Wilson and Evans, the 
extermination of this beautiful species is to be attributed 
to persecution for the sake of its yellow feathers, which 


were used for the cloaks of the native chiefs. About four 
specimens are known to be preserved in museums. 

Of birds that have been locally exterminated, such as 
the burrowing petrel {Oestrelata haesitata), known in the 
Antilles as the diablotin, it is not our intention to speak 
on this occasion. This article may accordingly be fitly 
brought to a close by an extract from Prof. A. Newton's 
" Dictionary of Birds," referring to two instances where 
species may have perished within the century without 
having ever come definitely under the notice of ornitho- 
logists. After stating that one Ledru accompanied an 
expedition dispatched by the French Government in 1796 to 
the West Indies, the Professor proceeds to observe that 
this explorer " gives a list of the birds he found in the 
islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix. He enumerates 
fourteen kinds of birds as having occurred to him then. 
Of these there is now no trace of eight of the number ; 
and, if he is to be believed, it must be supposed that 
within fifty or sixty years of his having been assured 
of their existence they have become extinct. ... If this 
be not enough, we may cite the case of the French islands 
of Guadeloupe and Martinique, in which, according to 
M. Guyon, there were once found six species of Psittaci, 
all now exterminated ; and it may possibly be that the 
macaws, stated by Messrs. Gosse and March to have 
formerly frequented certain parts of Jamaica, but not 
apparently noticed there for many years, have fallen victims 
to colonisation and its consequences." 


To the more observant class of sportsmen the stay-at-home 
naturalist is, of necessity, indebted for most of his infor- 
mation with regard to the habits of large animals and 
their adaptation to their inanimate environment. And it 
must be acknowledged that, in the main, he has but little 
cause of complaint as to the accuracy, fulness, and abund- 
ance of the information thus supplied. One subject, and 
that a very interesting and important one, in connection 
with large animals in the field, seems, however, to have 
attracted but a small share of attention on the part of 
sportsmen and travellers, although it is obvious that what- 
ever theories and conclusions the naturalist may draw 
from the study of museum specimens must be put to the 
test by observations in the field before they can be regarded 
as of any definite and established value. I refer to the 
connection between the different types of coloration of the 
larger animals and their natural surroundings. Apart 
from casual remarks with regard to the harmony existing 
between the dappled coloration of a South African giraffe 
and the splashes of light and shade in the mimosa groves 
it inhabits, the resemblance presented by a tiger's stripes 
to the dead grass of the surrounding jungle, and such-like, 
I can recall scarcely a single observation recorded by 
sportsmen or travellers which is of any real scientific value 
in connection with the subject in question. One important 



exception — namely, the observation made several years ago 
that zebras standing on the open veldt in bright moonlight 
are practically invisible at a short distance — must, however, 
be made to this sweeping assertion. And it is scarcely 
too much to say that this important observation — which 
applies also, I believe, to a considerable extent to the 
same animals in daylight — has formed the starting-point 
of modern ideas with regard to the purport and meaning 
of many types of mammalian coloration. 

Before alluding in detail to these ideas and theories, in 
order to show what has been done and what remains to 
be done in this line of research, it may be well to point 
out that, with the aforesaid exception of the zebras, practi- 
cally all our conclusions with regard to the purport of the 
coloration of most of the larger mammals have been drawn 
from the examination of stuffed specimens or skins, sup- 
plemented by observations upon domesticated animals, or 
species living in a semi-domesticated state in parks or 
zoological gardens. With regard to foreign species kept 
in parks or menageries, the observations are not, in most 
cases, of any real value, on account of the circumstances 
that the animals are living under changed conditions, and 
not amid their natural surroundings. When skins are once 
deposited in a museum the naturalist has no means what- 
ever of ascertaining by actual experiment how their 
coloration harmonises, or otherwise, with their natural 
environment, all that he can do being to glean as much 
as possible with regard to the latter from the accounts of 
eye-witnesses, and to draw his conclusions accordingly. 
Something might doubtless be done if it were permissible 
to take the skins into the woods and open country and 
test their conspicuousness or invisibility by experiment ; 
but even such experiments cannot, in most cases at any 


rate, be conducted with museum specimens ; and, if practi- 
cable, they would, at the best, give us but a poor inkling 
of the real truth. What we want are precise and accurate 
observations made on living animals with regard to the 
harmony between their colours and their surroundings ; 
and such observations can only be made by sportsmen and 
travellers, and more especially by the former. And to be 
of any real value such observations must be made under 
all conditions : in the case of a forest animal, for instance, 
both when the creature is in the woods and when out 
feeding in the open. Nor is this all, for it is necessary 
to ascertain what portions of an animal's coloration are 
adapted to render the body inconspicuous under all 
circumstances — such as the white of the under-parts to 
counteract the effect of shadow — and what portions have 
been developed in correlation with the particular natural 
surroundmgs of a species or group. Then, again, we have 
to distinguish between protective coloration and what are 
known as " recognition marks," such as. the white under- 
surface of the tail of a rabbit. Furthermore, there is the 
distinction between both these types and the so-called 
" warning colours," like the black and white of the skunks, 
which are apparently intended to render their owners con- 
spicuous, and thus protect them from attack, either on 
account of some noxious emanation they possess or from 
their fighting power. These warning colours are, however, 
comparatively rare among mammals ; and observation is 
mainly required in regard to protective coloration, especially 
when some species of a group are brilliantly spotted or 
striped, while others are uniformly clad in a less gorgeous 

Speaking generally, and excepting certain unusually 
bulky kinds, such as elephants, rhinoceroses, and hippo- 


potamuses, it is fairly safe to assert that among the 
medium-sized and larger mammals the primitive type of 
coloration took the form of either striping or spotting. 
This is demonstrated by the many known instances there 
are of the young being striped or spotted, while the adults 
are more or less uniformly coloured. As well-known 
examples of this kind we may cite tapirs, wild swine, many 
kinds of deer, lions, and pumas. In many cases the sub- 
stitution of a uniform dull livery for a spotted or striped 
coat has evidently been in adaptation to an existence in 
open or desert country. Instances of this kind are afforded 
by the lion and the Cape eland, the latter of which has lost 
the stripes characteristic of its more northern representa- 
tive and of the kindred antelopes such as the kudus and 

The fact that the young of certain animals haunting 
more or less arid districts, such as the lion, still retain 
their spots, while others, like the eland, differ from their 
relatives inhabiting more wooded country only by the loss 
of their stripes, indicates that in these cases, at any rate, 
the acquisition of a uniformly coloured tawny coat is a 
comparatively recent event. Possibly an explanation of 
this may be afforded by the history of deserts and semi- 
deserts themselves. In contradistinction to the old idea 
that they are ancient upraised sea-beds, it is now well 
known that all desert areas have been formed very slowly 
by the gradual decomposition of the rocks in countries 
where there is no rain to wash away the debris. And it 
seems by no means improbable — owing to the enormous 
lapse of time necessary for their formation, coupled, perhaps, 
with a greater rainfall over most parts of the world in 
earlier epochs — that such tracts never existed until late 
in the earth's history. 


Be this as it may, we have no sort of difficulty in 
realising why many desert-haunting animals have ex- 
changed a striped or spotted coat for one of which the 
colour is manifestly in harmony with the natural surround- 
ings. Our real difficulties occur in the cases where animals 
have a very similar kind of habitat, but display a total 
difference in their type of coloration. Why, for instance, 
have many kinds of deer — notably the Indian sambar and 
its kindred— discarded their original spotted dress for one 
of a sombre brown or red, while others, like the chital 
(at all seasons) and the fallow-deer (in summer), have 
retained the primitive dress ? Or why, again, are the 
African bushbucks and kudus, which are as much forest 
animals as the sambar, some of the most brilliantly 
coloured of all hoofed animals ? If a variegated and 
brilliantly coloured coat is essential to the well-being of 
these animals, why is it not equally essential to the 
sambar, or vice versa ? It is in regard to questions like 
these that naturalists want help and assistance from 
sportsmen and travellers, for at present they are working 
to a great extent in the dark owing to lack of definite 
and accurate observations in regard to the relation of 
the colouring of these and other mammals to their 

In spite, however, of our ignorance of the reason why 
some forest animals should be uniformly dark-coloured 
while others are more or less brilliantly striped, the con- 
clusion is being gradually forced upon us that in both cases 
protection is the object. Apparently, as pointed out in the 
sequel, the true explanation is that the spotted and striped 
species inhabit bush, or the more open parts of the forest, 
while dusky species like the sambar frequent dense thickets, 
as, indeed. Sir Samuel Baker states, is the habit of the 


latter animal in Ceylon. Moreover, spotted species seem to 
be more essentially diurnal than sombre-coloured forms. 

When the meaning and purport of the coloration of 
mammals first began to receive careful attention on the 
part of naturalists, there was a tendency to classify brilliant 
markings hke those of the African bushbucks, bongo, and 
kudus as " recognition markings " — that is to say, markings 
designed to enable all members of a species to recognise 
with facility their own kind. Animals have, however, 
other modes of mutual recognition in addition to colour; 
besides which different species, whether they go about in 
pairs, in small family parties, or in herds, keep, as a rule, 
more or less to themselves, and are in no danger of mis- 
taking other species for their own kind. Probably among 
the great majority of mammals the only " recognition 
marks " are the white or light-coloured areas on the tail 
or hindquarters, which are displayed to their fullest extent 
in many cases when the members of a party or herd have 
to " bolt " suddenly to covert. In some species, like the 
rabbit and the white-tailed American deer, the white area 
is restricted to the under-side of the tail and the adjacent 
portions of the buttocks, and in such cases the tail is 
always raised when in flight, so as to expose a large and 
conspicuous blaze of white. In other species, such as the 
Japanese deer and its relatives of the Asiatic mainland, or 
the roe, the white area takes the form of a patch of long 
hairs on the rump, which are erected and expanded when 
the animals are alarmed. Probably the straw-coloured 
rump-patch of the wapiti and red-deer is of the same 
nature, but as these animals are less likely to miss their 
leader when in flight than is the case with smaller species, 
the "recognition mark" is less conspicuous. 

In regard to spotted deer and striped antelopes, it 


seems probable, as has been suggested by Mr. R. I. 
Pocock in an article published a couple of years ago in 
Nature^ that the white markings belong to two different 
categories so far as their purpose is concerned. In many 
of such animals not only is the under-surface of the body 
white, but there are several white gorgets on the throat 
and white spots on the side of the face and chin. Now 
there can be little doubt that such white areas are for the 
purpose of counteracting the dark shade thrown by the 
body, and thus rendering the animal much less conspicuous 
when seen at a distance than would otherwise be the case. 
That this is the true explanation is rendered practically 
certain by the circumstance that such white markings, 
especially the gorgets on the throat, persist in species 
which, like the Indian nilgai and the American prongbuck, 
have lost the ancestral stripes and spots. In neither of 
the two species referred to, it may be well to observe, are 
the young spotted or striped, and it is therefore only 
from analogy that we speak of their ancestors being thus 
coloured; but the nilgai is so closely related to the bush- 
bucks and kudus that there can be little doubt that the 
assertion is justifiable. Even, however, if it were not so, 
the case as regards the purport of the white gorgets and 
under-parts remains unaltered. It may be added that such 
white patches can only be effectual where there is plenty 
of light to throw the shadow ; and this is in accordance 
with the fact that kudu and chital inhabit less dense 
forest than sambar. 

Having indicated, then, the special purpose of the white 
under-parts and throat-markings of deer and antelopes, 
we may consider the object of the stripes and spots char- 
acteristic of certain species and groups. All the bushbucks, 
save the males of one or two species, together with their 


near relatives the bongo, the kudu, and the elands, are 
characterised, as a rule, by having the whole body marked by 
narrow white stripes, which are, for the most part, vertical 
(although in some cases they form a kind of network) 
upon a fawn or rufous ground. And these animals, as is 
attested by the large size of their ears, are chiefly dwellers 
in forest. Directly, however, any member of the group has 
left the forest for more open country, as in the case of the 
Cape eland and the Cape bushbuck, the stripes more or 
less gradually disappear. Further, those species which 
inhabit the densest forest have their colours the most 
brilliantly developed, as is well exemplified in the case of 
the lesser and the greater kudu, the former of which is 
more of a forest animal than the latter. One of the 
most brilliantly coloured of all is the bongo of the 
equatorial forests. 

Clearly, then, narrow vertical white stripes on a fawn 
or chestnut ground, which we have reason to regard as a 
very primitive type of animal coloration, are connected 
with a forest life, and the presumption is that they are 
of a protective nature. Confirmation of this view — if con- 
firmation be needed — is afforded by two animals belonging 
to widely different groups — namely, Grevy's zebra and the 
Somali giraffe. The former of these animals differs from 
all its kindred by its enormous and heavily fringed ears, 
and these proclaim it to be a dweller in brushwood or 
forest rather than in open plains, a supposition which 
receives definite confirmation by the photographs taken 
during Lord Delamere's East African journey. But 
Grevy's zebra likewise differs from all its kindred by the 
extreme narrowness of its stripes, white stripes alternating 
with black ones of the same width. Here, then, narrow 
white stripes are clearly an adaptation to a forest life. And 


we further learn, from contrast with the bushbucks, that 
when the ground-colour is fawn or rufous the intervals 
between the white stripes must be large, while in the case 
of a black ground such intervals are no greater than the 
width of the stripes. Whether such modifications of the 
pattern according to the shade of the ground-colour produce 
the same effect in forest or brushwood, can be learnt only 
by actual observation, and here again we must look to the 

As regards the Somali giraffe, those who have had the 
opportunity of seeing Lord Delamere's photographs can 
scarcely fail to notice that the type of coloration differs 
markedly from that of the common species, while the 
animal itself appears to be found in much more jungly 
country than is the case with the former. In place of 
having a buff ground-colour blotched with large irregular 
chocolate patches, the Somali giraffe is a liver-coloured 
animal marked with a coarse network of fine white lines, 
the type of coloration coming very close to that of some 
of the smaller bushbucks. Clearly this colouring is an 
adaptation for a mode of life not very different from that 
of the bushbucks, whereas the coloration of the ordinary 
giraffe is suited to an animal dwelling in open plains 
dotted here and there with tall scattered trees. The two 
types of coloration are, in fact, precisely analogous to 
those of Grevy's zebra as compared with Burchell's zebra, 
the one being a dweller in brushwood and the other in 
open country. The Somali giraffe has not, however, ac- 
quired the broad ears of essentially forest animals like its 
cousin the okapi, and for a very sufficient reason. The 
brushwood amid which this giraffe is commonly found 
does not reach more than half-way up its neck, as is 
clearly shown in the photographs already alluded to, so 

From a photograj'h by Lord Dclaniere.^ 

East African Giraffes in Covert. 

[To face p. i6 


that ears of ordinary size suffice for the creature's 

The mention of the okapi recalls the fact that the colora- 
tion of the upper part of the legs and hindquarters takes 
the form of narrow black and white stripes, running, how- 
ever, more horizontally than vertically, but evidently 
conforming to the characteristic forest type. To attempt 
to discuss why the coloration of the rest of this remarkable 
animal is uniform would be premature in the absence of 
any definite information with regard to its mode of life. 

From the foregoing observations it seems evident that 
in Africa, and in that country alone (for there are no 
vertically striped ungulates in Asia), there are two distinct 
types of protective coloration, the one generally associated 
with large ears, for animals frequenting forest or brush- 
wood, and the other for those living in more open country. 
The forest type takes the form of white stripes, either upon 
a fawn or chestnut or upon a black ground (the dark 
intervals being broad in the former case and narrow in 
the latter), or of a white network upon a liver-coloured 
ground. On the other hand, in the plain type we have 
either an alternation of broad dark and light vertical 
stripes or dark blotches upon a buff ground. Both forms 
of the latter type have been definitely stated to render the 
animals in which they occur more or less inconspicuous 
at comparatively short distances. But, so far as I am 
aware, there are absolutely no observations to indicate the 
degree of invisibility in the wild state of the two modi- 
fications of the forest type. Probably, however, the 
alternations of dark and light vertical stripes harmonise 
with the vertical lines formed by stems of underwood and 
the spaces between them. 

We also want to know whether either or both of these 


types of apparently protective coloration are for their special 
purpose as good as (or better than) a uniform colora- 
tion, or under what circumstances, if any, the latter is 
superior to the former. For, curiously enough, both the 
forest and the plain type of coloration appear to have 
been transformed, in some instances, into a uniformly 
coloured coat. As regards the plain type, the now extinct 
quagga shows the partial loss of the stripes, which have 
completely disappeared from the wild asses of Northern 
Africa. Very remarkable is the circumstance that from a 
fully striped animal like the so-called Grant's zebra of 
Abyssinia there is a complete graduation to the typical 
Burchell's zebra of the Transvaal, in which the stripes have 
disappeared from the legs, and the dark stripes are inter- 
calated with paler " shadow stripes." One step from this 
animal and we reach the quagga, which, be it noted, in- 
habited the same country as the uniformly coloured Cape 
eland. Evidently in the Cape district both the forest and 
the plain types of striping were unsuitable and tended to 
disappear. In the North African wild asses the disappear- 
ance of the striping is complete. Before we can attempt 
to explain this it is necessary to know whether a Grant's 
zebra and a wild ass are equally inconspicuous in their 
own particular habitats, and whether any difference in this 
respect would be noticeable if the one were transported to 
the habitat of the other. 

An instance of the replacement of the forest type of 
striping by a uniform coat (otherwise than in the case of 
a desert-dwelling species) is afforded among the bushbucks 
by the males of the nyala, which have long, shaggy brown 
coats with but very indistinct traces of striping. Is this 
dark coat a better protection than the brilliantly striped 
one of the female, or is it assumed because the males 


have (on account of their horns) no longer any need of 
protection ? On the other hand, is it due to the fact that the 
bucks keep more to the heart of the forest, and are more 
nocturnal than their partners ? 

Another phase of coloration for the development of 
which no satisfactory reason can be assigned is presented 
by the males of certain ruminants, such as the Indian 
blackbuck, the white-eared kob, and Mrs. Gray's kob of 
the White Nile, and the banting, or wild ox, of Java. In 
all these four species (the first three of which are antelopes) 
the adult males exchange the foxy red coat of the younger 
members of their own sex and of the females at all ages 
for a sable livery relieved by larger or smaller white 
areas. Clearly this coloration, in place of being protec- 
tive, renders the animals in which it occurs conspicuous. 
The only suggestion which seems at all reasonable is that 
it must either be a " warning colour " or one adapted to 
attract females towards the leader of the herd. If it come 
under the former category, it has apparently been developed 
in order to deter other animals from attacking the leaders 
of the herd, on account of their prowess in fight. That 
such an immunity would be an advantage to the individuals 
in question cannot be doubted ; and possibly it receives 
support from the circumstance referred to in the next 

Although both sexes of the banting carry horns, the 
females of the aforesaid three species of antelope are 
hornless. In certain species, such as the sable antelope 
of Africa and the gaur (the miscalled bison) of India, in 
which both sexes are horned, the adult females as well 
as the males have assumed a blackish coat ; and, so far 
as it goes, this phase is in favour of the view that the 
acquisition of a sable livery by certain species is for the 


purpose of warning off foes, both sexes in the above 
instances having formidable weapons of offence and defence, 
and being thus perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. 

Probably the black hue of the Asiatic buffaloes and of 
the typical race of their African relatives was originally 
developed in the same manner and for the same purpose 
as in the case of the sable antelope. It may, however, 
now have acquired a higher significance, and be connected 
with the general prevalence of blackness among large hoofed 
mammals, such as elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, 
buffaloes, and, to a great extent, tapirs. Among such 
animals it will not fail to be noticed that in many instances 
both sexes are armed with either horns or tusks ; and 
that where such weapons have been discarded the animals 
are sufficiently protected either b}^ their huge bodily bulk 
or by the nature of their haunts. Although we have the 
testimony of many sportsmen as to the difficulty of seeing 
an Indian elephant, even at close quarters, when in thick 
covert, we have yet to learn whether the prevalence of a 
black or dark grey skin among so many of the larger 
mammals is or is not for the purpose of protection. But 
since large herds of animals thus coloured are frequently 
to be met with in open country, it has probably been 
developed for some other purpose, although what this may 
be it is difficult even to conjecture. 

Returning once more to deer, and taking first the case 
of the fallow-deer, which (with the exception of the dark 
race) is spotted in summer and uniformly coloured in winter, 
there seems no doubt that the dappled summer coat is 
for the purpose of harmonising with the chequered shade 
cast by the leafy boughs of the trees under which the 
animals are wont to repose. This harmony has doubtless 
been noticed by many of my readers, and is well expressed 


in the following passage from Dr. L. Robinson's "Wild 
Traits in Tame Animals," which refers to a scene in 
Greenwich Park : — 

" The dappled fallow-deer were grazing among the 
chestnut-trees or lying down upon the soft grass. I sat 
down on a seat to watch them, determined, if possible, 
to learn something fresh from them before I moved from 
the spot. One could not help noticing how remarkably 
their mottled skins, angular outlines, and branching horns 
fitted them for concealment in the glades of the forest. 
Even here, where the surroundings were to a large extent 
artificial, every now and then the eye would suddenly 
chance upon a deer resting among the chequered shadows, 
which was so inconspicuous that it had previously escaped 
notice." "* 

Assuming, then, that the object of the dappled coat is to 
harmonise with the splashes of sunlight and shade beneath 
forest trees in summer, it is perfectly obvious that in tem- 
perate latitudes such a type of coloration would be quite out 
of place in winter, when the forest trees have shed their 
leaves. Accordingly the fallow-deer exchanges its dappled 
summer livery for a uniform coat of fawn more in harmony 
with the sombre colour prevalent in nature generally during 
the northern winter. A precisely similar change takes place 
in the Japanese deer and its relative, the Peking deer of 
Manchuria, both of which have bright chestnut coats dappled 
with large white spots in summer, while in winter they 
are clothed in sombre brown. It is, moreover, noticeable 
that in the Peking deer the summer coat is exchanged 
for the winter dress comparatively early in the season — 
doubtless in correlation with the early advent of winter 
in its native habitat. 

The Japanese and Peking deer have, however, a repre- 


sentative in the island of Formosa, which Hes just on the 
northern tropic. Now, this Formosan deer — or Formosan 
sika, as it is properly called — differs from its northern 
relatives by retaining its spots more or less distinctly 
throughout the winter — obviously in correlation with its 
southern domicile, where perpetual summer reigns. 

But, as being probably descended from northern repre- 
sentatives of the group, the Formosan sika has not been 
able to get entirely rid of the change from a spotted to 
a uniformly coloured coat. On the other hand, the chital, 
or spotted deer of India, which is essentially a tropical 
or subtropical form, is just as brilHantly coloured and as 
fully spotted in winter as in summer. 

Regarding the haunts of the chital. Dr. Blanford, in " The 
Fauna of British India — Mammals," writes as follows : — 

" The especial habitat of this deer, perhaps the most 
beautiful in form and coloration of the whole family, is 
amongst bushes and trees near water and in bamboo jungle. 
. . . Many of its favourite haunts are in some of the most 
beautiful wild scenery of the Indian plains and lower hills, 
on the margins of rippling streams with their banks over- 
grown by lofty trees, or in the grassy glades that open 
out amidst the exquisite foliage of bamboo clumps. Spotted 
deer are thoroughly gregarious, and associate at all times 
of the year in herds, sometimes of several hundreds. They 
are less nocturnal than sambar, and may be found feeding 
for three or four hours after sunrise, and again in the 
afternoon for an hour or two before sunset. They generally 
drink between eight and ten o'clock in the morning, the 
time varying with the season of the year, and repose during 
the day in deep shade." 

From this account it is clear that the habits and haunts 
(allowing for the difference between Indian and English 


foliage and scenery) of the chital are practically the same 
as those of the fallow-deer in summer. Both species fre- 
quent forest glades in large herds during the daytime, and 
seek repose under the shade of spreading trees. It may 
be added that another species of spotted deer inhabiting 
the tropics — namely, the Philippine spotted deer — resembles 
the chital in retaining its dappled livery at all seasons. 

From these facts it is safe to conclude that among the 
members of the deer tribe a white-spotted coat is a pro- 
tective adaptation to a diurnal life among the glades of 
leafy woods. When such woods, as in the tropics, retain 
their foliage throughout the year, the deer likewise retain 
their spots. On the other hand, when, as in the northern 
temperate zone, the trees become bare and leafless in winter, 
the deer assume a dull-coloured uniform livery in harmony 
with the sombre conditions of their inanimate surroundings. 

One other point in connection with the above-mentioned 
species of spotted deer deserves brief mention. All of 
them, whether spotted in summer only or throughout the 
year, have " recognition marks " on their hindquarters. In 
the fallow-deer and chital these take the form of a white 
under-surface to the tail and white on the portion of the 
buttocks against which it rests, while in the sikas there is 
a patch of extensile white hairs on the buttocks. When 
the tail is raised in flight, as is always the case, a large 
white '' blaze " is displayed, which serves not only to 
indicate the direction in which to fly, but likewise as a 
danger signal to the entire herd. Evidently these strongly 
pronounced " recognition marks," which are not developed 
in nocturnal and thicket-haunting deer of the sambar type, 
are correlated with the habit of frequenting the outskirts 
or glades of forests during daylight in large herds. 

The various races of the sambar which have exchanged 


the primitive spotted coloration of the chital for a dull 
brown and shaggy coat are proclaimed to be essentially 
animals of the thick forest by the large size of their ears, 
although this characteristic is more strongly marked in the 
larger than in the smaller races of the group. Dr. Blanford's 
account of the habits of the Indian sambar runs as follows: — 

"This is the woodland deer of South-Eastern Asia 
generally, and is more widely and generally distributed 
than any other species. ... It comes out on the grass 
slopes when such exist, as in the Nilgiris and other hill- 
ranges, to graze, but always takes refuge in the woods. 
It is but rarely found associating in any numbers ; both 
stags and hinds are often found singly, but small herds 
of four or five to a dozen in number are commonly met 
with. Its habits are nocturnal ; it may be seen feeding 
in the morning and evening, but it grazes chiefly at night, 
and at that time often visits small patches of cultivation 
in the half-cleared tracts, returning for the day to wilder 
parts, and often ascending hills to make a lair in grass 
amongst trees, where it generally selects a spot well shaded 
from the sun's rays." 

Contrasting this with the account given above of the 
mode of life of the chital, the reason of the colour of 
the sambar will be apparent. It is essentially a deer of 
the thickets, nocturnal and more or less solitary in habits, 
and shunning the sunlit glades. Hence not only is the 
coat uniformly dusky brown, but the white " recognition 
marks " on the rump, so useful in the case of the fallow- 
deer and the sikas, are entirely wanting. 

As regards the change from a grey fawn-colour in summer 
to a foxy red in winter exhibited by many kinds of deer 
— most markedly by the American white-tail and the 
European roe, and, in a somewhat less degree, by the 


red-deer — it seems to be certainly analogous to the change 
from a spotted to a uniform coat in the Japanese and fallow- 
deer, and must therefore be for the purpose of protection. 
Prima facie, it might have been thought that the winter 
dress would be red, since this tint would apparently har- 
monise well with the russet hue of fallen leaves and dead 
bracken^ The tone of the summer dress is, however, very 
similar to the ground-colour of the coat of the Peking and 
Japanese deer at the same season, although we have yet 
to learn why a uniformly red tint is more advantageous 
in the case of the roe and the white-tail than a spotted 
dress. Possibly it may be owing to the more open nature 
of the country frequented by these and other species in 
which this type of coloration prevails. 

That the change in the roe, the red-deer, and the white- 
tailed deer from red in summer to grey in winter is 
analogous to the change from a spotted to a uniform coat 
in the Peking deer and the fallow-deer, is demonstrated 
not only by the nature of the colour itself, but more 
emphatically by the circumstance that in tropical and 
subtropical countries red-coated deer, such as the Indian 
muntjac and swamp-deer, or barasingha, retain their colour 
throughout the year. A similar condition is noticeable 
in the case of the small tropical representatives of the 
Virginian white-tailed deer, most or all of which do not 
change their colour with the season. In the last-men- 
tioned instance it appears, indeed, that the coat is brownish 
or greyish, instead of red ; but this may be connected with 
the tendency to melanism, so often noticeable in the case 
of animals inhabiting moist tropical forests. Be this as 
it may, it is quite clear that the change from a red 
summer coat to a grey winter dress in species like the 
while-tail and the roe is for the purpose of protection, 


and is correlated with the presence of foliage on the trees 
at the one season and its absence at the other. It may 
be added that the white-tail and the muntjac have the 
under-side of the tail and the inner surfaces of the buttocks 
white, and thus display a conspicuous patch when running 
to covert with the tail elevated. Somewhat curiously, the 
roe generally develops a white rump-patch only when in 
the grey winter dress. 

Although the reason for many details remains to be 
worked out — and for this naturalists must rely on the good 
offices of sportsmen — I venture to think that the foregoing 
theory affords a satisfactory explanation of most of the 
different types of coloration prevailing among the deer. 
Probably the coloration of the chital — spotted at all seasons 
— was the primitive type. From this was evolved the 
seasonal change characteristic of the fallow and Peking 
deer, and from this, again, the absence of spots at all 
seasons distinctive of the white-tail and roe. A further 
specialisation is displayed in the tropics by the sambar 
in one direction and the muntjac and barasingha in the 
other. If these conclusions be well founded, it is evident 
that deer were originally a tropical group. It should be 
mentioned that the Indian hog-deer, which develops spots 
in summer, is an exception to the rule that tropical deer, 
if spotted at all, retain their markings all the year. 

The foregoing summary of the extent of our knowledge 
— or, rather, of the depth of our ignorance — with regard 
to the meaning and object of the different types of colora- 
tion prevalent among the larger mammals may, it is to be 
hoped, direct the attention of travellers and sportsmen to 
an extremely interesting, but much neglected, subject, and 
thus lead to a real advance being made in the interpreta- 
tion of the facts. 


Such of my readers as have considered the subject at 
all may be aware that in those animals whose fur is 
ornamented with dark or light markings, these markings 
generally take the form either of longitudinal or transverse 
bands, or of spots ; the latter being frequently arranged in 
more or less distinctly defined longitudinal lines, but never 
in transverse bands. Moreover, these markings, especially 
in the case of stripes and bands, are generally most de- 
veloped on the upper surface of the body, although spots 
may be equally present on both the upper and the lower 
surfaces of the body. Many mammals, again, whether they 
be spotted or whether they be striped, have their tails 
marked by dark rings on a light ground ; but this feature 
is also present in others in which the colour of the body 
is of a uniform tint. It must not, however, be supposed 
that there is any sharply defined distinction between spotted 
and striped mammals, many of the civets, as well as some 
of the cats, having markings intermediate between true 
spots and stripes. Spots, again, are somewhat variable in 
configuration, some animals, like the hunting-leopard, having 
solid circular dark spots, while in others, such as the 
leopard and jaguar, they assume the form of dark rings 
enclosing a light centre. In other cases, as in the giraffe, 
the spots are enlarged so as to form large and more or 
less quadrangular blotches. 



A survey of a museum or a menagerie will likewise 
show that spots and stripes are by no means equally 
prevalent in all groups of mammals. In the apes, monkeys, 
marmosets, and lemurs, for instance, they never occur ; and 
when these animals are diversely coloured, the coloration 
takes the form of patches symmetrically disposed on the 
two sides of the body, but otherwise not following any 
very clearly defined mode of arrangement. Then, again, 
in the hoofed mammals, or ungulates, many species are 
more or less uniformly coloured, although the zebras are 
notable instances of transversely striped animals, while the 
giraffe is an equally notable instance of the blotched type 
of coloration. Among the even-toed {Artiodactyle) sub- 
division of this order it may be also noticed that while in 
the more specialised forms, such as wild cattle and sheep, 
the coloration is more or less uniform, many of the 
antelopes show white transverse stripes on a dark ground. 
Dark transverse stripes are, however, known only in the 
case of the little zebra-antelope {Cephalophns doriae) of 
Western Africa, and the gnus ; while, although a lateral 
dark flank-stripe is present in some antelopes, and in the 
gazelles, none of these animals have the whole body marked 
by longitudinal dark stripes. In the case of the deer it 
has been mentioned in the preceding article that certain 
species, hke the fallow-deer and the Indian spotted deer, 
are marked with longitudinal rows of white spots at all 
ages ; while in the case of other species it will be found 
that the young are similarly marked, whereas the adults 
are uniformly coloured. A similar state of things occurs 
among wild pigs, and also in the tapirs, from which we 
are naturally led to infer that in this group of mammals, 
at least, a spotted or striped type of coloration is the 
original or generalised condition, while a uniformly coloured 


coat is an acquired or specialised feature. And the same 
holds good for other groups. 

Turning to the carnivorous mammals, we find that in 
many families, more especially the cats, hyaenas, and civets, 
stripes and spots are far more generally present than 
a uniform coloration ; although some groups, such as the 
bears, form a marked exception to this rule, the majority of 
the species being uniformly coloured, while none are striped 
or spotted. In some species of the weasel family — notably 
the badgers — it may be also noticed that while the sides 
of the head are marked by longitudinal dark and light 
stripes, the remainder of the body is uniformly coloured. 
And it may be mentioned here that many animals, such as 
donkeys and dun-coloured horses, retain a longitudinal dark 
stripe down the back, frequently accompanied by dark trans- 
verse bars on the limbs, while a uniform coloration prevails 

In the gnawing mammals, or rodents, although many 
species are uniformly coloured, stripes and spots are pre- 
valent ; and a survey of the collection of these animals in a 
good museum will show that, whether the pattern take the 
form of stripes or of spots, the arrangement is invariably 
longitudinal and never transverse. Indeed, it may be 
observed that when spots are present, these are invariably 
light-coloured on a darker ground. Although in many 
cases the longitudinal stripes occupy the whole or a con- 
siderable portion of the upper surface, in some of the 
squirrels they are reduced to a dark and light stripe, or 
even a single light stripe on each flank, this remarkable 
type of coloration recalling the " speculum " on the wing 
of a duck. 

I might extend this survey to other orders of mammals, 
but sufficient has been said to indicate the variability of 


the prevalent type of coloration in different groups, and 
I accordingly proceed to give a list of some more or less 
well-known mammals arranged according to the plan of 
their markings. 

1 . Mammals with dark longitudinal stripes. — Striped mon- 
gooses {Galidictts) of Madagascar, in one of which the 
stripes are very narrow and close, while in the other they 
are broader and more widely separated ; these animals 
belonging to the civet family. The three-striped palm- 
civet {Arctogale) ; the genet, the markings here tending to 
break up into spots ; the three-striped opossum ; the palm- 
squirrel, and chipmunks (Tamias). 

In all the above the stripes are dark upon a greyish 
ground, but in the following they take the form of black 
and white stripes, the white area being generally the 
larger ; and it may be noted that all belong to the weasel 
family. They include the skunks, the South African weasel 
(Poecilogale), and the Cape polecat (Ictonyx) ; while similar 
markings obtain on the head of the badger. 

2. Mammals with dark spots. — These may be divided 
into several sub-groups, according to the form of the 
spots. Those in which the spots are small, more or less 
nearly circular, and solid, include the hunting-leopard, the 
tiger-cat, serval, lynx, spotted hyaena, large-spotted civet 
(Viverra megaspila), the African linsang (Poiana), and the 
young of the puma. The blotched genet {Genetta tigrind) 
forms a transition to blotches. Some of the civets are 
more or less distinctly spotted, in others the coloration is 
intermediate between spots and longitudinal stripes. 

As species in which the spots are enlarged to form more 
or less quadrangular blotches, we may cite the common 
giraffe and those Oriental civets known as linsangs. 

By a splitting-up of a certain spot into a more or less 


complete ring of smaller ones, we have the rosette-like type 
of ornamentation, as exemplified in the leopard, the snow- 
leopard, and the jaguar. In the two former the ring 
encloses a uniform light area ; but in the latter the central 
area generally carries two or more dark spots. A further 
development of the ring leads to the so-called clouded type, 
as displayed by the Oriental clouded leopard and marbled 
cat, and the American ocelot. Here the ring becomes en- 
larged into a large squarish or oblong area, enclosing an 
area of darker hue than the general ground-colour of the 
fur, and bordered by a narrow black line ; the black line 
in the two former species being, however, confined to the 
hinder half of the cloudings. 

3. Mammals with dark transverse stripes. — Tiger, young 
lions, wild cat, striped hyaena, aard-wolf (Proieles), banded 
civets {Hemigale), banded mongoose (^Crossarchus), zebra- 
antelope, gnus, zebras, thylacine, and the water-opossum 
{Chironedes). Among these it may be noted that in the 
zebras the stripes on the hindquarters have a more or 
less marked longitudinal direction ; and whereas in the 
mountain zebra and Grevy's zebra they consist of simple 
dark bands on a light ground, in some forms of Burchell's 
zebra the light areas between the dark stripes are traversed 
by an intermediate stripe of somewhat darker hue than the 

4. Mammals with white spots arranged in longitudinal 
lines. — Fallow-deer and Indian spotted deer, young tapirs ; 
the paca (Coelogenys) among the rodents ; and the dasyures 
among the marsupials. Both in young tapirs and the paca 
the spots tend to coalesce into more or less complete 
longitudinal stripes. 

5. Mammals with white transverse bands. — The kudu, 
eland, bongo {Boocercus euryceros), and harnessed antelope 


{Tragelaphus scriptus) among the antelopes, and Gunn's 
bandicoot {Perameles gunni) and the banded ant-eater 
{Myrmecobius) among the marsupials. In the harnessed 
antelope spots occur as well as stripes. 

Many other species might be incorporated in these lists, 
but the foregoing instances are sufficient to show that no 
one type of coloration is confined to any particular group, 
although it may be much more common in one assemblage 
of animals than in another. 

Several attempts have been made to reduce the colora- 
tion of animals to some general law, and among these one 
of the most notable was published some years ago by 
Prof, Eimer, of Tubingen, who based his conclusions on a 
comprehensive study of vertebrates in general. As the 
result of his investigations, this observer declared that the 
following laws might be laid down in regard to colour- 
markings of animals in general. Firstly, the primitive 
type of coloration took the form of longitudinal stripes. 
Secondly, these stripes broke up into spots, retaining in 
many cases a more or less distinct longitudinal arrange- 
ment. Thirdly, the spots again coalesced, but this time 
into transverse stripes. And fourthly, all markings dis- 
appeared, so as to produce a uniform coloration of the 
whole coat. As a further development of this theory, it 
was added that the more specialised features were assumed 
in many cases more completely by the male than the female, 
while the primitive coloration often persists in the young. 
It was also stated that the primitive longitudinal stripes 
frequently persist on the middle of the back, and likewise 
on the crown and sides of the face, examples of the latter 
survival being shown by the head- and face-stripes of 
many spotted cats, and the dark and light streaks on the 
sides of the face of the badger. 


Whether these laws hold good for other groups of ver- 
tebrates, it is not within the scope of the present article 
to inquire, and attention will accordingly be concentrated 
on mammals. If they be true, we should, prima facie, 
expect to find a large number of longitudinally striped 
forms among the lower members of the class ; while those 
of intermediate grades of evolution would be spotted, and 
the higher types either transversely striped or uniformly 
coloured. This, however, could only be the case, as a 
whole, if all mammals formed one regularly ascending 
series ; whereas, as a matter of fact, they form a number 
of divergent branches, each containing specialised and 
generalised forms. The inquiry is thus rendered one of 
extreme complexity, although there ought, if the theory 
were true in its entirety, to be a considerable number of 
longitudinally striped species among the lowest groups of 
all. Unfortunately, palaeontology, from the nature of the 
case, can afford us no aid, which very materially adds to 
the difficulty. It may be added that in Prof Elmer's 
scheme no distinction is drawn between light and dark 
markings — that is to say, between the total disappearance 
of pigment and an ultra-development of the same — and 
it is obvious that this may be of such prime import- 
ance that these two types of coloration may have nothing 
whatever to do with one another. Nevertheless, we 
may provisionally consider light and dark stripes and 
light and dark spots as respectively equivalent to one 

With regard to uniformly coloured animals, there can be 
no question as to the truth of the theory, since the young 
of so many animals, such as lions, pumas, deer, pigs and 
tapirs show more or less distinct striped or spotted mark- 
ings, which disappear more or less completely in the adult. 



The occurrence of bands on the legs and sometimes on 
the shoulders of mules and dun-coloured horses, and like- 
wise the presence of dark bars on the limbs of otherwise 
uniformly coloured species of cats, like the Egyptian cat 
and the bay cat, are further proofs of the same law. 
Moreover, the fact that in the young of pigs — and, to a 
certain extent, those of tapirs — the markings take the form 
of longitudinal stripes, whereas in the more specialised 
deer, whether young or old, they are in the shape of spots 
arranged in more or less well-defined lines, is, so far as it 
goes, a confirmation of the theory that spots are newer 
than stripes. And the presence of transverse stripes in 
the still more highly specialised antelopes tends to support 
the derivation of this type of marking from spots, es- 
pecially if it be remembered that the harnessed antelopes 
are partly spotted. Still, it must be borne in mind that 
these instances apply only to light markings, which, as 
already stated, may have a totally different origin from 
dark ones. 

There are, however, apparently insuperable difficulties as 
regards longitudinal and transverse striping in mammals. 
In the first place, instead of finding a number of the 
polyprotodont, or more primitive marsupials, showing longi- 
tudinal stripes, we have in this group only the three- 
striped and single-striped opossums thus marked, and in 
these the stripes are respectively reduced to the numbers 
indicated by their names. This, however, is not all, for 
the banded ant-eater takes its name from the narrow trans- 
verse white stripes with which the back is marked ; while 
the thylacine, which cannot in any sense be regarded as a 
specialised type, is similarly marked with broader dark 
stripes, neither of these animals having any trace of a 
longitudinal stripe down the back. The water-opossum. 


again, may be regarded as a transversely striped marsupial, 
although here the stripes are few in number and approxi- 
mate in form to blotches. Although in the same order the 
dasyures are spotted with white, we have no black-spotted 
marsupial ; and if such a type formed the transition 
between longitudinal and transverse stripes, surely some 
species showing such a type of coloration ought to have 

Then, again, in the ungulates we have the zebra- 
antelopes, the gnus, and the zebras showing most strongly 
marked transverse dark stripes ; but we have no dark- 
spotted forms in the whole order except the giraffes, while 
the only ones with dark longitudinal stripes are young 
pigs. And it would thus appear that, although all the 
animals above mentioned are highly specialised species, 
these tranverse stripes and dark blotches must have 
originated de novo quite independently in each of the 
groups in question. Indeed, when we remember that the 
coloration of zebras, antelopes, and giraffes is generally 
of a protective nature — the stripes of the former rendering 
the animals invisible on sandy ground in moonlight, and, 
to a great extent, also in sunlight, while the blotches of 
the latter harmonise exactly with the chequered shade 
thrown by the mimosa-trees among which they feed — it 
is incredible that both types should have been evolved, 
according to a rigid rule, from animals marked by dark 
longitudinal stripes. 

Another instance of the same nature is afforded by the 
cats, in most of which the coloration appears to be 
mainly of a protective nature, plain-coloured species, like 
the puma and lion, having tawny coats harmonising with 
the sandy deserts which these animals often inhabit, while 
the vertical stripes of the tiger, although in some degree 


resembling the perpendicular lights and shadows of a 
grass-jungle, are probably for the purpose of breaking 
up the outline of the body. The clouded markings of 
the marbled cat and clouded leopard assimilate with the 
boughs on which these species repose, and the spotted 
coat of the Indian desert-cat renders the creature almost 
invisible in stony deserts. To suppose that all such 
adaptations have been produced in the regular order re- 
quired by the theory is as incredible as in the last case. 
There is, moreover, the circumstance that the young of the 
uniformly coloured lion and puma are spotted, thus giving 
an instance of the direct passage from a spotted to a 
plain-coloured form without the intervention of a trans- 
versely striped stage, precisely the same thing also 
occurring in the case of the deer. It should, however, 
be mentioned that lion cubs occasionally have their tails 
ringed like that of a tiger, instead of spotted in leopard- 
fashion ; so that in this particular instance transverse 
stripes are intercalated between the spotted and the uni- 
formly coloured stages. 

If we look for the most primitive mammals with longi- 
tudinal dark stripes over the greater part of the upper 
surface, such types being wanting in the marsupials, we 
shall find them in the striped mongooses {Galidictis) of 
Madagascar, already mentioned. And as the civets and 
their allies are certainly the most generalised of existing car- 
nivora (although the modern members of that order occupy 
a somewhat high position), this case tends, in a certain 
degree, to lend some support to the view that longitudinal 
dark stripes are an early type. The rarity of animals 
exhibiting this pattern over all their bodies, coupled with 
the frequent retention of a longitudinal dorsal stripe, are 
likewise in some degree confirmatory of the same view. 


With regard to the conspicuous black and white stripes 
on the cheeks of the badger, and throughout the head and 
body in the skunks, South African weasel, and Cape polecat, 
it may perhaps be argued, with some show of reason, 
that we have an old type of coloration. In the badger 
this type of coloration is restricted to the face, where it 
is evidently retained to render the animal inconspicuous 
among the streaks of light and shadow as it peers out of 
its burrow. On the other hand, they may have been 
acquired for this special purpose. In the other forms, 
all of which are more or less evil-smelling creatures, a 
conspicuous general coloration is an advantage, as warning 
off other animals from attacking them in mistake for 
harmless kinds, and the boldly alternating stripes have 
accordingly been retained all over the body and rendered 
as conspicuous as possible. 

I might dilate to almost any extent on the subject of 
spots and stripes ; but sufficient has been adduced, in this 
and the preceding article, to indicate the interest attaching 
to the coloration of mammals, and to show how far we 
are from understanding what has brought about the 
present state of things. That uniformly coloured mammals 
form the climax of colour-evolution in the case of stripes 
and spots may be pretty safely admitted. It may further 
be considered probable that longitudinal dark stripes are 
an old type of coloration in at least some groups, although 
it does not follow that this will hold good for all, the 
marsupials being possibly an exception. Transverse stripes 
cannot, however, be made to accord with Prof Eimer's 
theory, since not only do they exist in some of the most 
primitive of all mammals, but they reappear in certain 
specialised groups where there is no evidence of a pre- 
vious spotted stage having been passed through. While, 


therefore, it is far from improbable that there may be a 
certain substratum of truth in what we may call the 
" longitudinal-spotted-transverse-uniform " theory of colora- 
tion, I submit that in its present guise it cannot adequately 
explain the whole evolution of spots and stripes in 


Some time ago the Societe d'Acclimatation de France 
published in its Bulletin an address delivered by Dr. E. 
Trouessart at the Conference held on January I2th, 1900, 
to discuss the question of the animals most suitable for 
acclimatisation and domestication. The author commences 
his address by stating that the present age is one of 
machinery and electricity ; and that eventually the use of 
these will result in the total consumption of all the stored 
vegetable fuels, such as coal and petroleum, buried in the 
crust of the earth. When such a time comes, he argues, 
man will be compelled to rely once more exclusively on 
the labour of animals, which derive their nutriment and 
their power from the consumption of the living vegetable 
products of the earth. It is, therefore, urged that it is 
important to domesticate and acclimatise as many kinds of 
wild animals as possible before they are finally extermi- 
nated. And to support his argument for domesticating 
animals other than those now commonly held in subjection, 
Dr. Trouessart points out that while a certain area of 
country is only capable of nourishing a definite limited 
number of one kind of animal, such as oxen, it is perfectly 
able to sustain in addition some of another description, 
such as sheep, which are able to pasture on ground over 
which cattle have already gone and eaten all they could 
obtain. Pigs, again, have a totally different class of nutrj- 



ment ; while the goat can obtain a living on ground where 
a sheep would starve. Moreover, the ass and the mule 
replace the horse in arid and mountainous countries, where 
they thrive on a much less luxuriant diet than is necessary 
to the well-being of the latter animal. 

Then there are climates in which many of the domesti- 
cated animals of Europe will not flourish, dying either 
from the general effects of the climate itself, or succumbing 
to the attacks of insect-pests, as in the familiar instance 
of the African tsetse-fly. 

As regards the supplementing of the existing domesti- 
cated animals of Europe — whether they be used for labour 
or for food — by newly domesticated wild species, I venture 
to think that, in the main, there is very little chance of 
success. In the first place, the species we now possess in 
this condition are amply sufficient to serve all needs, and 
are capable of indefinite multiplication. And in the second 
place, it has to be borne in mind that it would probably 
take scores of generations to make a wild animal equal in 
point of utility to the old-established domestic breeds — 
that is to say, it would take an immensely long period 
of time in order to make any wild animal as immune to 
the effects of in-and-in breeding as is the case with our 
domesticated species ; while it is quite likely that the time 
would be still longer before the former would approach 
many of the latter in flesh-forming power or in the capacity 
for early maturity. And in this connection it is most 
important to bear in mind that the great majority of our 
domesticated animals are very different in physical characters 
from their wild ancestors ; and that, in most instances, it 
is these highly modified breeds that are of the greatest 
economic importance to mankind. To produce an animal 
like the sheep, for instance, which differs from all its wild 


kindred by possessing a coat of wool instead of hair, 
must have taken hundreds, if not thousands of years. 
And it is obvious that no newly domesticated species can 
by any possibility assail the established supremacy of the 
sheep. Again, it was attempted during the early decades 
of the last century to domesticate in England the South 
African eland, which it was thought might vie with the 
ox as a beef-producer, the experiment being carried out 
by a former Earl of Derby at Knowsley Park. But the 
experiment was a total failure, as these animals breed 
comparatively slowly, are long in coming to maturity, and 
bear no sort of comparison with shorthorns in capacity 
for rapidly putting on flesh. 

Although, as noticed later on, there is a large field for 
the advocates of acclimatisation in introducing new species 
of animals into European parks and coverts, either for 
ornament or for sport, it seems to be tolerably evident 
that, in England, at any rate, the introduction and acclima- 
tisation of new kinds of domesticated animals is not at 
all likely to be attended with successful results. Possibly, 
indeed, something of this kind may be accomplished in 
France, where the habits of the peasantry are different 
from those which obtain in England. But, so far as 
economical considerations are concerned, the chances of 
success in domestication are probably more hopeful in 
Africa than anywhere else. There • the experimentalists 
have before them the grand opportunity of taming the 
African elephant, which, if its disposition is at all similar 
(and the individuals who carry loads of our young friends 
along the gravel paths of the London " Zoo " seem to 
indicate that it is) to that of its Indian cousin, ought to 
be invaluable as a means of transport. And they have a 
second scope for their ingenuity in producing a tsetse-proof 


breed of zebra-hybrids, whose capacity for work and powers 
of endurance should be somewhat on a par with those of 
the horse and the mule. 

Turning to the list of animals given by Dr. Trouessart 
as suitable for domestication or acclimatisation, we find it 
headed by the Patagonian cavy {Dolichotis patagonica) of 
the open plains of South America ; a creature singularly 
like a hare in general appearance, although its affinities 
are with the guinea-pig. The mara, as this animal is 
called by the natives, has already been introduced into 
several English parks, notably those of the Duke of Bedford 
and Sir Edmund Loder, where it appears to flourish well, 
with a certain amount of protection. It does not burrow, 
but merely makes a ** form " among long grass, after the 
manner of the hare. Its flesh is of excellent quality ; and 
this, together with its interesting habits, is urged as the 
chief reason for its introduction. It is not, however, a 
rapid breeder, and to a considerable extent is diurnal in 
jts habits and slow in its movements (except when tho- 
roughly frightened) ; so that its chances of making its way 
in European countries, where hares are year by year 
diminishing in numbers, would appear to be but small. A 
second species {D. salinicold) inhabits the salt-plains of 
the Argentine, and it is accordingly urged that it would 
be suitable for turning down in the so-called Chotts of 
Algeria and Tunisia. But would the game be worth the 
candle ? is the natural question. 

With regard to the domestication of the African elephant, 
so much has been written elsewhere that I may be brief on 
the present occasion. It is interesting to notice, however, 
that the French missionaries of Fernan-Vaz, in the north 
of French Congoland, have succeeded in taming a young 
individual of this species, which appears to be the first of 


its kind that has been domesticated in modern times in its 
native land. This animal was captured out of a herd of 
twenty, when apparently five or six years of age ; and 
when the account was sent home had already become 
perfectly tame and docile. It was trained to draw a 
waggon for carrying agricultural produce, and also a brake 
for passengers. As Dr. Trouessart observes, this individual 
renders the domestication of the African elephant practically 
an accomplished fact. 

There remains the question of breeding in captivity ; but 
British experiences in Burma indicate that this is merely 
a matter of expense in the case of the Asiatic species. 
And it is worth considering whether domestication is not 
the only chance of saving the African elephant from 
ultimate extermination. 

Perhaps even more has been written of late years with 
regard to the possibility of domesticating zebras than has 
been devoted to the case of the elephant. The general 
opinion seems to be that individuals caught wild and trained 
to harness are too " soft " to be of any great permanent 
value for draught purposes, and that either the stamina 
and staying powers of these animals will have to be im- 
proved by judicious breeding in captivity, or that mules 
between zebras and ponies will be found more efficacious 
for the needs of African transport. In either event it will 
be essential to domesticate a large stock of zebras, as other- 
wise in the course of a few years these handsome animals 
might become so scarce as to be practically unobtainable. 
Whether, however, " zebroids," as it is proposed to call the 
hybrids, will maintain the immunity against tsetse attack 
characteristic of pure-bred zebras, remains to be proved. 
There is also the question as to the fertility or otherwise of 
these hybrids, and the consideration that if they produced 


offspring, these would almost certainly resemble their 
grandparents and not their parents. Another factor in the 
case must not be overlooked — namely, the absence of wild 
zebras from the great forest tracts, like Congoland, of 
Africa ; and the consequent uncertainty whether these 
animals when domesticated v;ould thrive in such districts. 
Possibly the hybrids might be found to do so, but it 
is quite likely that the pure-bred animals would require 
several generations of domesticity. Probably Grevy's zebra, 
on account of its large size and good shape, would be the 
species best adapted for domestication. 

With regard to the acclimatisation of various species of 
foreign deer in European parks and forests, there is little 
doubt that many of the larger kinds, such as the American 
wapiti, would flourish and multiply. But such deer, es- 
pecially after being kept in captivity, are apt to be spiteful 
at certain times of the year, on which ground their in- 
troduction is not altogether advisable. 

The same remark will apply in a degree to the Altai 
wapiti, the Manchurian wapiti, and the large red-deer of 
the Caucasus and Persia. The pretty little Japanese deer 
(Cervus sica), and their somewhat larger cousin the 
Manchurian deer (C st'ca manchuricus), both of which are 
fully spotted in summer, have, however, already been success- 
fully introduced into parks in Ireland, England, and the 
Continent, where there is every prospect that they will 
continue to thrive. Moreover, the much larger and still 
more brilliantly coloured Peking deer (C. hortulorum) may 
be seen at liberty in numbers in the Duke of Bedford's park 
at Woburn ; and from its comparatively large size, fine 
antlers, beautifully spotted summer coat, and generally 
handsome appearance, it is a species in every way suited 
for acclimatisation in Europe. 


In spite, too, of the warm climate of its native home, 
the Indian spotted deer, or chital, takes kindly to a semi- 
wild life in Europe, where it may be seen in some of the 
parks of England, France, and Germany, the acclimatisation 
on the Continent dating from more than fifty years ago. 
At the time of its first introduction on the Continent 
nearly all the fawns perished owing to having been born 
in winter; but the females subsequently took to calving in 
spring, after which change of habit breeding has gone on 
successfully. Still it must be acknowledged that such an 
essentially exotic animal as the chital is much less likely 
to become permanently acclimatised in northern and central 
Europe than is a species like the Peking deer, whose home 
is in the steppes of Manchuria. 

Hog-deer, which have the advantage that they do no 
damage to foliage, seeing that they are grazing animals, 
have been introduced into two French parks, and also run 
wild in the woods at Woburn. And the same is the case 
with the Indian and Chinese species of muntjac. During 
the cold winters of 1879-80 muntjacs were seen in a French 
park during the winter lying out on the snow and apparently 
enjoying themselves. For small parks these little deer are 
specially to be commended, as their diminutive size removes 
nearly all danger of a serious attack with their antlers. 

The hornless Chinese water-deer is, however, absolutely 
innocuous in this respect ; and it also has the further re- 
commendation that it is much more prolific than any other 
member of the Cervidae, producing as many as half a dozen 
fawns at a birth. Of antelopes, several kinds have been 
more or less acclimatised in Europe. Most notable is the 
case of the nilgai in Italy, where in 1862 Signor Comba 
introduced a dozen head into his park at Mandria. Ten 
years later no less than 172 individuals were running at 


liberty in the domain ! A small herd is now in a thriving 
condition in the open park at Woburn Abbey. Reference 
has already been made to the eland, which may now be 
said to be thoroughly acclimatised in several French parks. 
There it apparently thrives without any winter shelter ; but 
it would seem that this is an absolute necessity in England. 
All the above-named species of deer and antelopes have 
flesh of excellent quality; but for the most part, at any 
rate, their introduction into European parks must be re- 
garded as a luxury, or for the sake of the sport they might 
afford, rather than as a commercial experiment- 

The African sing-sing water-buck is likewise an antelope 
which appears to take kindly to wild life in Europe. It 
has bred for many successive years in Paris, and likewise 
flourishes in the park at Woburn. Other species of ante- 
lopes, as well as gazelles, might be mentioned, which there 
is good reason to believe would thrive in Europe ; and it 
may be added that among the deer the Siberian roe, which 
is a much larger and finer animal than its European relative, 
is already established in the Bedfordshire woods. 

Both the American and the European bison would almost 
certainly thrive in the parks of Western Europe, if the number 
of individuals introduced at first starting were sufficiently 
large ; and herds of the former animal are now flourishing 
both in Bedfordshire and Northumberland. But the fierce 
disposition of these huge animals will almost certainly be a 
bar to their general introduction, in spite of the circumstance 
that " buffalo-robes " have a high commercial value. 

Finally, as regards kangaroos and wallabies, numerous 
experiments have demonstrated that these animals, under 
certain conditions, are admirably adapted to thrive in most 
parts of Europe. By reason of their strange form and 
bizarre postures, they make attractive objects in a park, 


especially where the ground is hilly or rocky ; and their 
flesh is said to be highly palatable, while their skins are 
used both in the manufacture of gloves and as furs, although 
neither of these two latter considerations are likely to be 
of any importance in England. On an estate in Prussia 
a drove of the large kangaroo was kept in a condition of 
almost complete liberty in 1890; and at the present time 
various species of both kangaroos and wallabies are flourish- 
ing on the estates of the Duke of Bedford, Lord 
Rothschild, and Sir Edmund Loder. According, however, 
to information furnished to the writer by the owner of 
some tame wallabies, it is inadvisable to keep these animals 
in a small enclosure where there is any considerable extent 
of deep water occupying the line of country they are likely 
to take when frightened. Otherwise they are prone, when 
disturbed, to plunge headlong into the water, where not 
only will the adults stand a good chance of being drowned, 
but the helpless young in the pouches of the females must 
of necessity perish miserably. 

As the result of all that has been written on the subject, 
it may be gathered that, with the exception of the domesti- 
cation of the elephant and zebras in Africa (if this be 
found practicable), the acclimatisation of animals is unlikely 
to yield profitable results of any importance, at any rate in 
England ; but that as a means of largely increasing the 
number of species of herbivorous animals kept in a wild 
or semi-domesticated state in parks and enclosures, it has 
an important future ; and it may also prove to be the 
means of saving some of the most beautiful species from 
the fate of impending extermination which threatens not a 
few. In the case of persons of comparatively small means, 
Dr. Trouessart recommends that they confine their efforts 
to acclimatising a single species. 


Few subjects are hidden in greater obscurity than is the 
origin of many of our domesticated animals ; and seeing 
that man in all probability began to exercise his power of 
dominion over the wild creatures by which he was sur- 
rounded at a very early date indeed, this is not more 
than might be expected. When animals were first domes- 
ticated, and which were the species that first came under 
the yoke of servitude, we -shall never know. The available 
evidence points, however, very clearly to the conclusion that 
Asia was the great original centre of the early domestication 
of Old World animals ; although North-Eastern Africa 
seems also to have participated to a certain extent. So far 
as it goes this tends to confirm the conclusion that Asia 
has been the cradle of the human race, although it must be 
borne in mind that different races exhibit wide differences 
in their capacity for domesticating animals ; those of Africa 
being far inferior in this respect to many Asiatic tribes. 

When any species of animal — provided that it will breed 
in this state — had once been domesticated, it is probable 
that the descendants of such domesticated stock have formed 
the basis of all or most of the later breeds ; for it is 
obviously much easier to train such stock than to commence 
again de novo with a wild strain. Still, there are many 
cases where subsequent crosses have taken place with a 


wild race, or races. From the point of view of their 
origin, domesticated animals may be divided into three 
classes. In the first class we have those which but seldom 
or never breed in captivity, and of which the domesticated 
race has constantly to be replenished by the capture and 
training of wild individuals. Apparently, the only two 
mammals coming under this category are the Indian elephant 
and the hunting-leopard. The latter can, however, only by 
courtesy be termed a domesticated animal, and may accord- 
ingly be dismissed from further notice. With regard to 
the elephant, the most curious feature is the readiness with 
which wild individuals submit themselves to servitude, and 
the aptitude they display for learning their allotted duties. 
Fortunately the elephant is an extremely long-lived animal, 
and therefore it has time to learn much during its period 
of captivity, while the necessity for fresh captures is pro- 
portionately diminished. Modern naturalists insist — and 
rightly so — on the inferiority of the intelligence of the 
elephant as compared with that of many domesticated 
creatures — the dog, for instance. But it is generally for- 
gotten that, in consequence of its not usually breeding in 
captivity, there is no domesticated race which has acquired 
the experience and docility of years of servitude. And it 
is a subject for reflection to consider what might be the 
intellectual capacity of this animal had it been in continuous 
domestication for as long a period as the dog. 

In the second class come those animals of which the 
ancestral wild stock is either still existing, or was so within 
the historic or prehistoric period. In this category come 
the horse, ass, ox, goat, and probably the cat and dog. 
The third class includes those domesticated animals of 
which the wild stock is not only extinct, but is likewise 
totally unknown. 



Commencing with the camel, it is probably known to 
most of my readers that there are two kinds of this animal — 
namely, the two-humped Bactrian camel {Cameliis bactrianus) 
of Central Asia, and the one-humped Arabian camel (C. 
dromcdarius), now common to Asia and North Africa, It 
has been affirmed that wild Bactrian camels occur in the 
deserts of Turkestan, but it is almost certain that some at 
least of these are descendants of a domestic race which 
escaped from captivity about two hundred and fifty years 
ago. Others may, however, be truly wild. The only clue 
to the original habitat of the genus is afforded by the 
remains of fossil camels in North-Eastern India, Eastern 
Europe, and Algeria ; and as the former occur in the older 
deposits, it seems probable that Central Asia is the cradle 
of the race. At what period the camel was first domesti- 
cated is lost in the mists of antiquity. From its absence 
in the Egyptian frescoes, it has been stated that this 
animal was unknown to the early inhabitants of the Delta 
of the Nile ; but this is controverted by a papyrus of the 
fourteenth century b.c, in which reference is made to 

Considering the very large number of existing wild 
species of the genus Ovis, it is a very remarkable fact 
that we are unable to point to the ancestral stock of the 
sheep. As we know them in this country, domesticated 
sheep differ from their wild kindred by their woolly fleece, 
the wild species having hair more like that of a deer. But 
as some of the native domesticated sheep of Asia and 
Africa have a more or less hairy coat, the difficulty does 
not lie here. With the single exception of the arui, or 
Barbary sheep of Northern Africa, all wild sheep have 
short tails ; whereas in the domesticated races this appen- 
dage, until docked, is very long. The reader may ask why 


we do not regard the arui as the parent stock. To which 
it may be replied that the latter species has smoother horns, 
with a curvature quite unlike those of any of the domesti- 
cated races, which approximate to the horns of the Corsican 
muflon. It seems somewhat difficult to believe that a 
long tail can have been developed from a short tail — as 
precisely the opposite development is the only one with 
which we are acquainted ; but, nevertheless, it has been 
suggested that the long tails of the domesticated breeds 
are a kind of degenerate development. If this be sub- 
stantiated, there is no reason why the muflon — a European 
wild sheep, which in former times probably had a wider 
distribution — or some allied Asiatic species, should not have 
been the original progenitor of the domesticated breeds. A 
small breed of long-legged sheep, with somewhat goatlike 
horns, was in existence at the long-distant epoch when the 
inhabitants of the Swiss pile-villages flourished, and its 
descendants still survive in some of the more remote 
districts of the Swiss Alps, where the breed is known as 
the bilndnerschafe. So far as it goes, this form suggests 
that the domesticated breeds are derived from an extinct 
species. Although domestic breeds were possessed by the 
ancient Egyptians, the sheep represented in the frescoes 
seems to be the wild arui. 

With domesticated goats the case is very different ; it 
being practically certain that most, if not all, of the breeds 
of Europe and Western Asia are derived from the Persian 
wild goat, or pasang, which ranges from Asia Minor through 
Persia to Afghanistan and Sind. This handsome species 
has long scimitar-like horns, with the front surface forming 
a sharp ridge, instead of being flattened and knobbed, as 
in the ibex. Many domesticated breeds have very similar 
horns ; but in others, especially from Central Asia, the 


horns are more or less corkscrew-like. As the wild markhor 
of the Himalaya has horns of a similar type, it has been 
suggested that many of the Asiatic breeds are derived 
from that species. Against that view is the circumstance 
that the direction of the spiral in the domesticated breeds 
is generally, although not invariably, just the reverse of 
that in the markhor. Although it is possible that some 
Asiatic breeds may trace their origin to the latter, it is more 
probable that they are derived from the pasang but have 
been crossed with the markhor. Most likely the goat was 
first domesticated in Western Asia, whence it was imported 
into Africa, where it has departed very widely from the 
original type. A superstition prevails in countries so wide 
apart from one another as Scotland and Kashmir that goats 
are deadly foes to snakes (the name " markhor " signifying 
snake-eater), and it would be very interesting to discover 
whether the legend has any foundation in fact. 

The numerous breeds of domesticated cattle of Europe 
all trace their ancestry to the great extinct wild ox, or 
aurochs, which, as stated in another article, lived on in 
England at least as late as the Neolithic period, and sur- 
vived to a much later date on the Continent. It has often 
been said that the white cattle of Chillingham Park are the 
direct descendants of the aurochs, but it is practically 
certain that they are derived from a domesticated breed. 
Many breeds, such as the so-called Celtic shorthorn, were 
established at an early period of human progress, and 
these have been incorrectly regarded as distinct species, 
although there is no doubt that they have the same ancestry. 
The geographical range of the aurochs was very extensive, 
and the original domestication may have taken place in 
Western Asia. The humped cattle of India seem to trace 
their origin to a distinct wild species now extinct, and the 


ancestral form may perhaps be looked for among the extinct 
oxen whose remains are found in the gravels of the Narbada 
Valley. Some have, indeed, considered that humped cattle 
originated in Africa, where they are represented by the 
so-called Galla ox ; but it is more probable that they are 
really of Oriental extraction and have been introduced into 
the Dark Continent. 

During the immense period that they have been domesti- 
cated, the true oxen have displayed great adaptability to 
modification, as is exemplified by the difference between 
such breeds as Highland, Polled Angus, Galloway, Kerry, 
Devon, Longhorns, Shorthorns, and Jersey. Not so the 
buffalo of Asia, which, although long domesticated in India, 
and subsequently introduced into Egypt, and thence into 
Italy, has in nowise departed from the wild type, save as 
regards a somewhat smaller stature and a diminished 
length of horn. Certain other species of cattle, such as the 
gayal (Bos frontalis) of North-East India and the banting 
{B. banting) of the Malay countries, have been more or less 
domesticated by various Oriental races, although in the 
latter case the domesticated breed seems to be renovated 
from time to time with a cross of the wild stock. All these 
forms seem to be unadapted for variation, and consequently 
breed true. No attempt ever seems to have been made to 
domesticate the bison ; while, true to their instincts, the 
natives of South Africa have never enthralled the buffalo 
of that country. 

Till within the last few years the origin of the domesti- 
cated ass was a matter of some uncertainty, seeing that 
all the Asiatic wild asses differ considerably from the 
familiar animal. Recently, however, a wild ass has been 
brought from Somaliland which differs in no important 
character from the domesticated form, and is its undoubted 


ancestor. Some of these Somali asses are, it is true, more 
striped on the legs than is commonly the case with the 
domesticated breed ; but then some examples of the latter 
are nearly or quite as fully marked as the wild race, while 
some African specimens have nearly uniformly coloured 
limbs. Possibly the Somali wild ass may originally have 
ranged into Syria and Arabia ; and, in any case, it is 
probable that it was first tamed there, and thence intro- 
duced into Europe. Indeed, the Greek name (onos) of the 
ass is stated to be derived from a Semitic root ; and since 
this name occurs but once in the " Iliad," and not at all 
in either the " Odyssey " or in Hesiod, it has been inferred 
that the ass was a rare and little-known animal in Greece 
during the epic period. 

Whether any truly wild horses have survived till 
modern times has been disputed. With the exception of 
the Mongolian Przewalski's horse, which does not seem 
specifically distinct from the domesticated Equus caballus, 
the only animals which can lay claim to that title are the 
so-called tarpan of the steppes of Central Asia, vi'hich for- 
merly ranged as far westward as the Volga, but are now 
exterminated. Some authorities are of opinion that these 
tarpan are a truly wild race, while by others they are 
regarded as feral — that is to say, descended from a domes- 
ticated stock. It is certain that the droves of tarpan 
at times received an influx of feral animals ; but whether 
they were feral or truly wild — and the evidence seems 
rather in favour of their wild origin — they undoubtedly 
resembled the ancestral type of the horse. This, of course, 
will be due in the one case to reversion, and in the other 
to direct inheritance. They were rather small, clumsily 
built animals, with remarkably ugly heads ; their general 
colour being dun. During the Pleistocene period horses 


of apparently similar type to the tarpan wandered over a 
great part of Europe and Western Asia, as is attested by 
their fossilised remains ; and from other evidence it is 
probable that at the epoch in question the physical con- 
dition of much of Europe was similar to that of the Asiatic 
steppes at the present day. Such conditions would seem, 
indeed, to be essential for the existence of wild horses, 
which are animals specially adapted for a life on the open 
plains, where they find safety in flight. It is true that 
wild horses were found in parts of Europe at a much later 
epoch, when the country had become forest-clad ; but it is 
quite possible that these were really feral races. When we 
come to the consideration of the place and time of the first 
domestication of the horse, the usual difference of opinion 
prevails among those most capable of forming a judgment. 
It was at one time considered that the horse was first 
domesticated in the East, but later authorities are more 
inclined to think that the wild horse was also subjugated 
by the stone-implement makers of Western Europe. This 
race is considered to have given rise to the ordinary 
European breeds ; but thoroughbred horses are probably 
of Eastern origin. We naturally look to Arabia as the 
ancestral home of the Eastern breed ; but this is a 
mistake, as the horse is known to be a comparatively late 
introduction into that country, the Arabs even as late as 
the time of Strabo having neither horses nor asses, and 
going to battle mounted on camels. 

In the early days of Egypt — that is to say, during the 
period known as the "old kingdom"— the horse was un- 
known in the Nile Valley ; the animal not making its appear- 
ance in the frescoes till about the year 1800 B.C. Probably 
the horse entered Egypt via Mesopotamia and Syria, where, 
as we learn from the Nineveh sculptures, it had long been 


known. It has been well remarked that even these sculp- 
tures afford evidence that the horse was a comparatively 
new animal to the Assyrians — that is to say, these warriors 
were not such splendid riders as were the Parthians at 
a later date, and as are the Turkomans now. If any of 
my readers will visit the British Museum and inspect the 
Assyrian sculptures, he will scarcely fail to notice that, 
whereas those mounted warriors who are armed with the 
spear manage their own horses, such as carry a bow have 
their horses led by a comrade. Manifestly, the Assyrian 
warrior was incapable of managing his steed when both 
his hands were occupied with his weapon ; and he was 
thus a far less accomplished horseman than the Parthian 
or the Turkoman. 

Although the evidence is not decisive, the probability is 
that the horse was first introduced into Assyria from Persia. 
The ancient records of India indicate that horses were by 
no means common there, while such as there were excelled 
neither in strength, speed, nor beauty. The Indian climate 
is, indeed, unsuited to the animal ; and there is no doubt 
that it was originally introduced from the north. But the 
original horse must have come from somewhere, and the 
probability is that the nomad Mongols in the east and 
the Turkomans in the west — still some of the most splendid 
horsemen the world has ever seen — were the first Asiatic 
tribes to subdue the noblest of man's servants. This being 
so, and Turkestan and Mongolia being the home of the 
tarpan and other wild horses, it follows not only that 
the latter are really wild, but that the thoroughbred of 
the East has the same ancestry as the underbred animal 
of the West, and consequently that " blood " is merely a 
matter of careful selection and breeding for countless 
centuries, and is not due to inherent superiority of origin. 


From the plains of Turkestan the horse spread in one 
direction to the Punjab and the plains of Hindustan, and 
in the other through Persia to Mesopotamia and Assyria, 
and thence westwards to Egypt and southwards to Arabia. 
Among the Arabs it soon became indispensable to its 
master ; and, as already said, this intimate union between 
man and quadruped renders it difficult to believe that Arabia 
is not the original home of the horse. Uncivilised races, 
though highly conservative in some matters, in others soon 
adapt themselves to new circumstances ; and the case of 
the North American Indians affords an example of the 
rapidity with which a people among whom the horse was 
unknown can develop into a race of horsemen. Had we 
not historic evidence to the contrary, there is, indeed, no 
saying but that the original subjugation of the horse might 
have been attributed to the Indian of the prairies. 


Although I have not the details of any one particular case 
before me, so many instances are chronicled in which the 
hair of human beings, under the influence of strong mental 
emotion due to terror or grief, has become suddenly 
blanched within a single night or some such period of 
time, that the occasional occurrence of such a phenomenon 
must apparently be accepted as a fact. Such a change is, 
of course, due to the bleaching of the pigment with which 
the hair is coloured, although we need not stop to inquire 
by what particular means this bleaching is accomplished ; 
all that concerns us on the present occasion being to know 
that the hair in man may turn white in this manner under 
abnormal circumstances. And there appears to be evidence 
that under equally abnormal conditions a similar change 
may take place suddenly in the hair of the lower animals. 
This is exemplified by the well-known experiment made 
considerably more than half a century ago by Sir John 
Richardson on an Arctic lemming — a small mouse-like 
rodent, which habitually turns white in winter, although 
dark-coloured in summer. In this instance the little 
animal was kept in a comparatively warm room till winter 
was well advanced, when it was suddenly exposed to a 
temperature of 30° below zero ; a continued exposure to 
this and a still more intense degree of cold eventually 
resulted in its death, which took place within three 



weeks of the commencement of the experiment. In con- 
sequence of the conditions under which it had been kept, 
this lemming was still brown in midwinter, when it ought 
to have been white. As the result of its first night's 
exposure, the fur on the cheeks and a patch on each 
shoulder became completely white, and by the end of the 
first week the whole coat had turned white. On exami- 
nation it was found that only the tips of some of the hairs 
had become blanched, and that these white-tipped hairs 
were longer than the rest of the coat, apparently owing 
to a sudden growth on their part in the course of the 
experiment. By clipping these long white-tipped hairs the 
animal was restored to its original brown condition. 

Nothing is said with regard to any change of coat on 
the part of this lemming previous to the experiment, but 
it is probable that none occurred. It seems, however, to 
be clearly demonstrated that the tips of the hairs lost their 
colour by bleaching, induced by sudden exposure to the 
intense cold, and that the hairs thus blanched increased 
considerably in length in a very short period. 

In spite of the very obvious fact that these changes 
occurred under extremely abnormal circumstances, it has 
been argued that Arctic mammals which turn white in 
winter do so normally by a similar blanching of the hair 
of the summer coat, and that the greater length of the 
winter, as compared with the summer dress of such white 
animals, is due to a lengthening of the individual hairs of 
the former.* Moreover, it has been inferred that the 
colour-change is directly under the control of the animals 
themselves. Quite apart from many other considerations, 
one weak point in this argument is that the hairs in the 
subject of the experiment were white only at their tips. 

* See E, B. Poulton, " The Colours of Animals," chap. vii. (1900). 


It was doubtless assumed that, had the experiment been 
extended over a longer period, the white would have 
gradually extended downwards till the whole hair became 
blanched. But had this been the normal way in which 
the change from a black to a white coat is brought about, 
it is obvious that animals ought frequently to be captured 
in which the coat is in the same condition as that of the 
lemming. So far, however, as I am aware, no such con- 
dition has ever been described. 

Moreover, it is perfectly well known that, apart from 
those which turn white in winter, a large number of 
animals have a winter coat differing markedly in colour, 
as well as in length, from the summer dress. The roebuck, 
for instance, is of a brilliant foxy red in summer, while in 
winter it is grey-fawn with a large patch of pure white on 
the buttocks. And it is quite clear that the change from 
red to grey, and the development of the white rump-patch, 
is due to the shedding of the short summer coat and its 
replacement by the longer winter dress. Obviously, there- 
fore, it is natural to expect that a similar change of coat 
takes place in the case of mammals which turn white in 

That the change in spring from a white to a dark dress 
is due to a shedding of the fur seems to be admitted on 
all hands, for it would obviously be quite impossible for 
long hairs to become short, or for white ones to turn 
brown. And even in animals which do not alter their 
colour in any very marked degree according to season, the 
spring change of coat is sufficiently obvious. For the 
winter coat, owing to the long time it is carried and the 
inclemency of the season when it is in use, becomes much 
faded and worn by the time spring comes, and the con- 
trast between it and the fresh and brilliant summer coat 


other hand, the summer 
atively short season, and 
t does not become much 
;ather. Consequently no 
le long winter hairs grow 
iingly become a common 
:re is a change of colour 
roduced by a lengthening 

mimals like the roebuck 

existence of an autumn 

n a difference in colour, 

the fur is demonstrated 

y species, as, for instance, 

I hairs themselves, as seen 

iably in calibre at the two 

n that species, for example, 

of a much finer character 

t dress of summer, which 

ck. Moreover, in spite of 

in blanching on account 

ices of turning white in a 

evidence to show that even 

in human hair the change from dark to white as age 

advances is brought about by the replacement of dark 

hairs by white ones, and not by the bleaching of the 

former. In this case, however, the change, instead of 

being seasonal and sudden, is gradual and due to age. 

If the change was due to blanching, we should, of course, 

find some hairs which were partially white and partially 

brown (or black, as the case may be). And here it 

may be remarked that if such partially blanched hairs 

were met with, we should naturally expect to find that 



It was doubtless assumed that, had the experiment been 
extended over a longer period, the white would have 
gradually extended downwards till the whole hair became 
blanched. But had this 
the change from a black 
it is obvious that animals 
in which the coat is in I 
lemming. So far, howeve 
dition has ever been desc 

Moreover, it is perfect! 
those which turn white 
animals have a winter cc 
as well as in length, from 
for instance, is of a brilli; 
winter it is grey-fawn wit 
the buttocks. And it is 
red to grey, and the deve 
is due to the shedding of 
replacement by the longer 
fore, it is natural to expe 
takes place in the case oi 

That the change in spr 
is due to a shedding of 
all hands, for it would o 
long hairs to become s 
brown. And even in ai 
colour in any very markec 
spring change of coat i 
winter coat, owing to the long time it is carried and the 
inclemency of the season when it is in use, becomes much 
faded and worn by the time spring comes, and the con- 
trast between it and the fresh and brilliant summer coat 




• ■ 


is very striking indeed. On the other hand, the summer 
coat is only donned for a comparatively short season, and 
that at a time of year when it does not become much 
damaged by the effects of the weather. Consequently no 
marked change is noticeable as the long winter hairs grow 
up through it, and it has accordingly become a common 
article of belief that, whether there is a change of colour 
or not, the long winter coat is produced by a lengthening 
of the summer dress. 

Apart from the evidence of animals like the roebuck 
and many other deer as to the existence of an autumn 
change of coat, as deduced from a difference in colour, 
the fact of such a shedding of the fur is demonstrated 
by the circumstance that in many species, as, for instance, 
the mountain hare, the individual hairs themselves, as seen 
under a microscope, differ appreciably in calibre at the two 
opposite seasons of the year. In that species, for example, 
the hairs of the winter coat are of a much finer character 
than are those forming the short dress of summer, which 
are comparatively coarse and thick. Moreover, in spite of 
the natural tendency to believe in blanching on account 
of the aforesaid abnormal instances of turning white in a 
single night, there is abundant evidence to show that even 
in human hair the change from dark to white as age 
advances is brought about by the replacement of dark 
hairs by white ones, and not by the bleaching of the 
former. In this case, however, the change, instead of 
being seasonal and sudden, is gradual and due to age. 
If the change was due to blanching, we should, of course, 
find some hairs which were partially white and partially 
brown (or black, as the case may be). And here it 
may be remarked that if such partially blanched hairs 
were met with, we should naturally expect to find that 


it would be the basal half which was white, and the 
terminal half which retained its natural colouring — in other 
words, precisely the reverse of the condition obtaining in 
Sir John Richardson's lemming, thereby affording further 
presumptive evidence as to the abnormal condition of the 
change in that animal. 

As a matter of fact, however, those of us who have 
reached an age when silver hairs have begun to make 
their appearance among the brown can easily satisfy them- 
selves that such hairs are white throughout their entire 
length, and that a hair half white and half brown is quite 
unknown. From this we infer that the change from brown 
to white takes place in human beings by the gradual 
shedding of the dark hairs and their replacement by new 
ones from which pigment is entirely absent. So that 
normally there is no such thing as bleaching of individual 
hairs. The change is, indeed, precisely similar to the one 
which takes place at the approach of winter in mammals 
that habitually turn white at that season, with the exception 
that, as a general rule, it is extremely slow and gradual, 
instead of being comparatively rapid, and also that the white 
hairs differ from their dark predecessors solely by the 
absence of colouring-matter. Unfortunately, there is no 
subsequent replacement of the white hairs by dark ones ! 

The fact that the change from brown to white in the 
mountain hare {Lepus timidus) is really due to a change 
of coat and not to bleaching was known at a very early 
period to the English naturalist Pennant ; and the exist- 
ence of this change was likewise recognised by Macgillivray. 
It was not, however, till Dr. J. A. Allen, in a paper on 
the colour-change in the North American variable hare 
published in the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural 
History for 1894, demonstrated by actual experiment the 


truth of Pennant's statement, that the fact of the com- 
plete autumnal change of the coat in animals that turn 
white in winter was generally recognised by naturalists. 
So far as the spring change from the white to the brown 
dress is concerned, his conclusions are fully confirmed by 
Capt. G. E. H. Barrett-Hamilton, who communicated some 
interesting notes on the change in the European mountain 
or variable hare to the Proceedings of the Zoological Society 
of London fqr 1899. The fact that the vernal colour-change 
is due to the shedding of the coat seems, however, as 
already mentioned, to have been much more generally 
admitted than was the case with regard to the autumnal 

Dr. Allen arrives at the conclusion that both the autumn 
and the spring change take place periodically and quite 
independently of the will of the animal, and also that they 
are but little affected by phases of the weather, although 
they may be somewhat retarded or accelerated by the 
prevailing atmospheric temperature. 

So far as the fact of the seasonal change being normally 
beyond the control of the animal in which it occurs, Capt. 
Barrett-Hamilton is in full accord with the American writer ; 
but he goes somewhat further, and believes that it is quite 
uninfluenced by temperature, or at least by such variations 
of the same as may be met with in different parts of the 
area of the British Islands ; and, as we all know, these are 
considerable ! 

As in the case of many other animals — deer, for instance 
— the change from the winter to the summer coat takes 
place very late in the season in the mountain hare in 
Scotland, specimens undergoing the change being often 
seen early in May. But the date of the spring change 
is no earlier in the south of Ireland, where the chmate 


is much milder, although the amount of whiteness assumed 
in that district is very much less than in the north. This 
seems to demonstrate the contention that temperature has 
little or no influence on the change, so far as season is 

That the animal has no control over the change from 
brown to white in autumn seems to be proved by instances 
referred to by Capt. Barrett-Hamilton, " in which variable 
hares transported from Scotland and from Irish mountains 
to southern and low-lying regions continued for some 
seasons to appear in the northern garb of snowy white- 
ness. This persistence of the habit of turning white, even 
in unsuitable conditions, together with the lateness of the 
moult, resulted frequently in the curious spectacle of a 
mountain hare running about in all its conspicuous Arctic 
livery under the bright rays of an April or May sun. 
After a few years such imported hares, or more probably 
their offspring, ceased to turn completely white, and the 
breed assumed the appearance of the ordinary hares of 
the southern locality to which they had been transported." 

It would, of course, be extremely interesting to ascertain 
whether such transported individuals ever do give up the 
practice of turning white in winter, or whether it is only 
their offspring that do so ; but, in any case, it is clearly 
demonstrated that the habit is very deep-seated and difficult 
to overcome. 

Very curious is the circumstance that the mode in which 
the coat is changed in the variable hare at the two seasons 
of the year differs in toto as regards the parts of the animal 
first affected. On this subject, with one verbal change in 
the first sentence, I quote from Dr. Allen, who writes as 
follows : — 

" In the fall the change begins with the feet and ears, 


the sides of the nose and the front of the head, which 
often become radically changed before the body is much 
affected ; while as regards the body, the change begins 
first at the base of the tail and extreme posterior part of 
the back, and at the ventral border of the sides of the 
body, working thence upward towards the middle line of 
the back, and from behind anteriorly, the crown of the 
head and a narrow median line over the shoulders and 
front part of the back being the parts last changed. In 
the spring the order of change is exactly the reverse, the 
moult beginning on the head and along the median line 
of the anterior half of the dorsal region, extending laterally 
and gradually to the ventral border of the sides of the 
body and posteriorly to the rump, and then later to the 
ears and down the limbs to the feet, which are the parts 
last affected, and which often remain but little changed 
till the head and body have pretty completely assumed 
the summer dress." 

It is very hard indeed to conjecture any satisfactory 
reason for this remarkable difference. 

The American variable hare ranges, at ordinary levels, 
about as far south as Massachusetts — that is to say, nearly 
to the latitude of Madrid, and throughout the whole of 
this extensive tract it turns white in winter. On the other 
hand, owing to the much milder climate of Western Europe, 
no colour-change takes place in the mountain hares of 
Ireland, while it is reported that in those introduced into 
Ayrshire and the neighbouring counties of south-western 
Scotland the change is much less complete and regular 
than in those inhabiting the northern parts of the 

An impression appears to be prevalent that in the more 
northern portion of their range both the mountain hare and 



the ermine (or stoat) are white at all seasons, but this does 
not seem to be authenticated. 

Observations are wanting as to whether the changes of 
coat and colour in the mountain hare bear any relation 
to the appearance and disappearance of snow, or whether 
they occur regularly at the same season of the year. In 
the case of the ermine in the Adirondack region of New 
York, Dr. C. H. Merriam tells us that in this animal the 
white livery is assumed only after the first fall of snow, 
while the resumption of the brown coat does not take 
place till the snow begins to melt. Unfortunately, he 
says nothing in regard to change of coat. The late 
Dr. Coues stated, however, that in the case of the ermine 
the bi-annual change of coat takes place at the same 
season, but that it depends upon the condition of the 
temperature at the time whether the new coat differs in 
colour from its predecessor. In other words, the change 
from brown to white might be due either to shedding the 
coat or to bleaching of the hair subsequent to such 
shedding. The case of the mountain hare is, however, 
strongly suggestive that the colour-change is in all instances 
coincident with the shedding of the coat. 

It is, of course, quite evident that the assumption of a 
white winter livery by mountain hares and ermines living 
in regions where the snow lies on the ground for a con- 
siderable portion of the year is for the purpose of rendering 
such animals as inconspicuous as possible when in their 
native haunts. And, so far as we know, such a change 
is universal among the species named when dwelling in 
high northern latitudes. 

There is, however, another animal inhabiting the North 
Polar regions of both hemispheres in which the change 
to a pure white winter dress is limited to certain indi- 

From pliotographs by the Scholastic Photographic Agency.} 

Arctic Foxes. 

The lower figure shows the white phase in winter coat ; the upper figure is 
probably the same phase in summer dress ; the central figure may be the blue 

\To face p. 66 


viduals. The species in question is the Arctic fox, of 
which the beautiful fur, in both the white and the blue 
phase, is, as mentioned in a later article, now much 
affected by ladies. That both the white and the blue 
individuals of this species are in the winter dress will 
be evident to every one who examines such furs carefully, 
the length and thickness of the hair being quite decisive 
on this point. 

With the single exception of Iceland, where they are 
always blue, it appears that the white and the blue phase 
are met with throughout the habitat of the species. In 
other words, the animal is " dimorphic," if it be permis- 
sible to apply this term to a case where the difference 
between the two phases of a species is restricted to 

What makes the matter so puzzling is this : if blue foxes 
are able to thrive during winter in a snow-clad country, 
what necessity is there for their fellows — and, indeed, for 
any species — to turn white at that season of the year ? 
An explanation of the case of the blue foxes has been 
attempted in the article already referred to. 

Since the present article was written important additional 
information with regard to the manner in which hair 
bleaches has been afforded by a communication from 
Mr. E. Metchnikoff, published in the Proceedings of the 
Royal Society for 1902. It is there stated that the all- 
devouring cells known as phagocytes are the cause of 
the mischief. These cells, which frequently have amoeba- 
like processes, are developed in the central or medullary 
part of the hair, whence they make their way into the 
outer or cortical layer, where they absorb, and thus destroy, 
the pigment-granules. Numbers of these phagocytes may 
be seen in hair which is commencing to turn white. 


"The part played by phagocytes," writes the author, 
" in the whitening of the hair explains many phenomena 
observed long ago, but not as yet sufficiently understood." 
Thus the phenomenon of hair turning white in a single 
night, or in a few days, may be explained by the increased 
activity of the phagocytes, which remove the pigment 
within an abnormally short period. 


Next to Australia, which, as regards its fauna, stands quite 
apart from the whole of the rest of the world, South America 
possesses a greater number of peculiar types of animals than 
any other region at the present day. A traveller, for 
instance, starting from Europe may wander eastwards across 
the northern part of Asia as far as Japan without ceasing to 
meet with types of mammals and birds perfectly familiar 
to him, while the same is, to a great extent, the case if 
his footsteps are directed to India or Africa. It is true, 
indeed, that in both the latter countries he will come across 
creatures like elephants and rhinoceroses, which are now 
unknown in Europe, while in Africa he will be confronted 
by hippopotamuses, giraffes, okapis, and ostriches. All 
these animals, however, once existed in Europe during the 
later portions of geological history, and may accordingly be 
counted as pertaining to the European fauna. Still more 
striking is this similarity of the fauna with that of Europe 
if the traveller's route happen to lie across the northern 
half of the New World, where he may meet with many 
mammals, such as the bison. Rocky Mountain sheep, grizzly 
bear, wapiti, elk, reindeer, wolf, and fox, more or less closely 
allied to Old World forms. On the other hand, when South 
America is reached, it will be found that not only are all 
the mammals and birds specifically different from those of 
Europe, but likewise that many of them belong to genera 



or groups absolutely unknown beyond the confines of that 
country, while Old World types are relatively scarce. For 
instance, the whole of the typical representatives of that 
group of mammals technically termed edentates, such as 
armadillos, ant-eaters, and sloths, are exclusively confined 
to South and Central America ; while the monkeys of that 
continent are quite different from those of the Old World, 
and, like the pretty little marmosets, are peculiar to the 
former area. The camel-like animals known as guanacos 
and vicunas, together with their domestic representatives, 
the llamas, are likewise at the present day exclusively 
characteristic of South America, although there is reason 
to believe that they were originally introduced from the 
north. Then, again, opossums (which, by the way, must 
not be confounded with the creatures commonly so called 
in Australia) are among the most characteristic of South 
American mammals, although some range as far north as 
the United States. The rodents, or gnawing mammals, 
are likewise remarkable, not only for their numerical 
abundance, but likewise for the large size of several of 
their members which belong to genera peculiar to the 
continent. Among these the capivara or carpincho {Hydro- 
choerus\ commonly known as the river-hog, is the largest 
living member of the order, its skull measuring about a 
foot in length. Another characteristic aquatic type is the 
coypu {Myocastor), generally termed by Europeans nutria 
(properly the Spanish name for an otter), and easily recog- 
nised by its red incisor teeth. Of the terrestrial species 
the most familiar is the viscacha, which inhabits warrens, 
like the prairie marmot of North America, with which, 
however, it has no affinity. 

But not only is South America remarkable for the number 
of peculiar types of mammals it contains, but it is likewise 


noteworthy for the absence of a number of Old World 
and North American forms, this paucity being specially 
noticeable among the ungulates or hoofed mammals, which 
are represented solely by the aforesaid guanaco and its 
allies, by a group of deer differing considerably from all 
Old World species, although represented in North America, 
and by several species of tapirs- — the latter animals being at 
the present day known elsewhere only by a solitary kind from 
the Malay region, although they were formerly abundant 
over a large portion of the Old World. Consequently, 
such well-known and important groups of ungulates 
as oxen, goats, sheep, antelopes, horses, rhinoceroses, 
hippopotamuses, and elephants are totally unknown in a wild 
state at the present day in South America, although two 
of them — viz., horses and elephants — formerly existed there. 
Equally characteristic are the birds of South America. 
Although it is only possible here to make allusion to 
a few among these, I may especially mention the entire 
group of humming-birds, together with a peculiar family 
of perching birds commonly known as wood-hewers, and 
technically as the Dendrocolaptidae, of which the well-known 
oven-bird (so called on account of its dome-shaped mud 
nest) is a familiar example. The large gallinaceous birds 
termed curassows and guans are also very characteristic, 
while still more distinctive of the country are the tinamus, 
which, although structurally allied to the ostriches, are so 
like partridges in form and habits that by English residents 
in the country they are universally so termed. Another 
characteristic South American bird commonly misnamed 
by Europeans is the rhea, this bird, which is almost always 
designated an ostrich, differing from its African relative 
by having three toes instead of two. Yet another remark- 
able avian type is to be found in the large and somewhat 


goose-like chaja (pronounced chaha), or horned screamer, 
which takes its EngHsh name from the spur on its wing 
and its loud cry, the latter being sometimes heard when 
the bird is so high in the air as to be almost or quite 
invisible. The long-legged seriema, which stalks over the 
plains in the manner of the African secretary-bird, is 
like-wise a very characteristic type. Among characteristic 
South American reptiles may be mentioned iguanas (a 
name often applied incorrectly to lizards from other parts 
of the world) and caimans ; the latter being a group of 
alligators distinguished by having an armour of bony 
plates on the under as well as on the upper surface of 
the body. The huge horned frogs {Ceratophrys) are like- 
wise distinctive of the country among the batrachians. 

Such are a few of the leading features of the existing 
fauna of South America, which are sufficient to show how 
totally different is the animal life of this country from 
that of all the rest of the world. If, however, we go back 
to the later geological periods of the earth's history, we 
shall find that this peculiarity and distinctness of the 
South American fauna was even more intensified than at 
the present day, this being largely due to the circumstance 
that at one time the isthmus of Darien seems not to have 
existed, so that the northern and southern portions of the 
New World were disconnected. Since the time when a 
connection was formed between the two continents, their 
faunas have, however, naturally tended to blend together, 
and hence at the present day, and during the Pleistocene 
period, the animals of South America are less sharply 
differentiated from those of the northern half of the con- 
tinent than would have been the case had the isthmus 
of Darien not been formed. It is further interesting to 
note that during the Tertiary period there appears to have 


been some kind of connection between the faunas of South 
America and Australia. 

The country that has afforded the most information with 
regard to the extinct fauna of South America is the Argen- 
tine Republic, which includes not only Buenos Aires and 
the adjacent provinces forming Argentine proper, but like- 
wise the whole of Patagonia. Confining our attention, in 
the first place, to the province of Buenos Aires and some 
of the neighbouring districts, we may note that the greater 
part of this vast tract of country is one boundless level 
plain formed by an alluvial deposit of rich black mud 
brought down from the higher lands of the interior by the 
tributaries of the Rio de la Plata, and constituting the most 
extensive pasture-land in the world. Near Buenos Aires 
and the valley of the Rio de la Plata this alluvial deposit, 
which in places alternates with sandy beds, is of immense 
thickness ; * but farther to the south it thins out rapidly. 
In some places in the neighbourhood of La Colina, about 
a hundred miles from Bahia Blanca, for instance, the black 
soil is not more than a couple of feet in thickness, and 
is underlain by a hard white calcareous deposit, locally 
known as " tosca," and much resembling some of the 
deposits formed by hot springs.f That the black alluvial 
deposit, which, from forming the whole of the Pampas, or 
plain country, is known to geologists as the Pampean 
formation, is of fresh-water origin is perfectly clear, and it 
is probable that it was largely formed in marshes and 
swamps, one of its most striking features being the total 
absence of pebbles or stones. Indeed, throughout the 
country, except in the neighbourhood of the mountains, 

* Near Buenos Aires it has been bored into for depths of fifty 
and ninety feet. 

t At Buenos Aires the alluvial deposit itself is called "tosca." 


there is not a vestige of rock or stone to be seen, unless 
it be in the few places where the aforesaid " tosca " has 
been brought to the surface. In spite of its fresh-water 
origin, there is, however, evidence that portions of the 
Pampean formation have been submerged beneath the sea. 
For instance, in the neighbourhood of the city of La Plata 
there occurs a bed of marine shells overlying the alluvial 
mud, all the species of molluscs being now found living 
in the Bay of Monte Video. I have also observed a 
similar bed at Santa Lucia, in the Banda Oriental, at an 
elevation of about one hundred feet above the sea, which 
was overlain by a considerable thickness of sands ; and 
the same deposit occurs far inland, at the town of Parana. 
From these data it may be inferred that after the temporary 
subsidence of the Pampas, during which the marine beds 
were deposited, there has been a considerable elevation 
(which is probably still going on) of the whole country ; 
and that these movements have taken place at a very recent 
epoch indeed. 

At the present day the Argentine Pampas, with the 
exception of a few willows along the river courses, is 
practically destitute of trees (save where they have of late 
years been planted around the various settlements), and 
forms a boundless sea of grass, relieved here and there by 
tussocks of the tall Pampas-grass, or giant thistles, and 
adorned in spring with scarlet verbena and other bright- 
hued flowers. Till the introduction of the countless herds 
of horses, cattle, and sheep, which now roam over its 
extent, this vast tract of country was tenanted by the 
guanaco, the Pampas-deer, the viscacha, and the rhea, 
which, with the exception of certain carnivores, were 
almost the only animals of any size to be found throughout 
its length and breadth. 


The rich black alluvial mud of the Pampas, which, as 
we have seen, is entirely of fresh-water origin, is, how- 
ever, the tomb of thousands, if not millions, of the 
skeletons and bones of a host of extinct animals, which 
tell us that the country was once inhabited by a fauna 
stranger than that found in any other part of the world at 
any epoch of its history. While many of these extinct 
creatures were allied to the existing South American 
mammals, although of vastly greater bodily size, others, of 
equally gigantic dimensions, were quite unlike all known 
animals, either living or extinct. As some of these extinct 
mammals are noticed in the next article, I make but brief 
mention of them here. It may be observed, however, that, 
while the gigantic glyptodons were the representatives of 
the diminutive armadillos of to-day (although some of the 
latter flourished side by side with their huge cousins), 
the megalothere, which rivalled an elephant in bulk, together 
with its allies the mylodons, were akin both to the sloths 
and the ant-eaters of Brazil, and as they were certainly 
terrestrial in habits, they are called ground-sloths. From 
the structure of these animals, which were evidently adapted 
to sit up on their massive haunches and tear down the 
branches of trees with their powerful front claws, it may 
be inferred that the physical features of this part of 
Argentina were once very different from what they 
are at present, and that in place of continuous tracts of 
unbroken grassy plain there were probably large areas 
of forest-land, as in Brazil at the present day. In these 
forest tracts probably wandered the two species of mas- 
todons which were the contemporaries of the ground- 
sloths ; but the existence at the same time of several 
species of horses (some closely akin to living species, 
while others were markedly distinct) seems to point to 


the presence of grassy plains alternating with the forest. 
The same is probably indicated by the numerous species 
allied to the guanaco, which flourished at the same time, 
and some of which attained the dimensions of a camel, 
while the various kinds of deer may also have inhabited 
the same regions. The gigantic hoofed mammal known 
as the Toxodon^ which had ever-growing teeth like those 
of a rodent, was, however, probably an inhabitant of swamps 
and marshes, while the still more extraordinary Macrau- 
chenia, with its slender, camel-like neck and long, three- 
toed Hmbs, probably stalked over the plains, cropping here 
and there the foliage from some tree or copse. Rodents 
nearly related to existing South American types were 
likewise common, and there were also certain large carni- 
vores, such as a species of sabre-toothed tiger and a huge 
bear-like creature. With the exception of these carnivores, 
together with the guanacos, horses, deer, and mastodons, 
which are unknown in the older formations, and are there- 
fore probably late immigrants from the north, all the animals 
of the Pampean formation are peculiar to South America. 
A further distinctive feature of this fauna is the large bodily 
size attained by so many of its representatives, this being 
especially the case with the glyptodons, mylodons, megalo- 
theres, guanacos, mastodons, macrauchenias, and toxodons, 
all of which would come under the designation of giant 
animals. In this respect the Pampean fauna corresponds 
with that of the Pleistocene period of Europe, with which 
it also agrees approximately in age, seeing that there is 
evidence of the contemporaneous existence of man with 
several of the extinct mammals. 

In certain parts of the Pampean formation the remains 
of these animals occur in extraordinary profusion, and 
generally in a perfect state of preservation. At times they 


are found sticking out from the perpendicular cliffs, or 
barancas, bordering the river- valleys, while many are met 
with in sinking wells or making other excavations. In 
well-digging, of course, only a portion of a skeleton is 
obtained in the case of a large animal, which is the cause 
of the imperfect condition of many specimens in European 
museums, and it is only when excavations like those 
during the construction of the docks at La Plata or Buenos 
Aires are made, that entire skeletons are obtained, unless, 
indeed, special works are undertaken for the purpose of 
obtaining fossils. It does not, however, appear that the 
remains are at all evenly distributed through the mud of 
the Pampas, some localities being much richer than others, 
among these Lujan (pronounced Luhan), near Buenos Aires, 
being especially notable. 

Although the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons 
contains an entire skeleton of a megalothere, together with 
the shell of a glyptodon, while the British Museum is the 
fortunate possessor of a complete specimen of a mylodon, 
the museums of Europe afford a very poor idea of the 
number and beautiful preservation of these marvellous 
fossils. To gain any idea of the true state of the case 
it is necessary to visit the museums of Buenos Aires and 
La Plata, and more especially the latter. There the visitor 
will be absolutely lost in astonishment at the long array 
of perfect mounted skeletons of numbers of these creatures, 
while the unmounted skeletons and isolated bones displayed 
in the wall-cases will convince him that I am not 
exaggerating when I call Argentina a land of skeletons. 

That the animals I have spoken of should have died off 
one after another through the long ages during which the 
mud of the Pampas was accumulating, is in accordance 
with what we should expect to occur, while the perfection 


of their preservation is sufficiently accounted for by the 
nature of the deposit itself. The marvel, however, is in 
regard to the total disappearance of the whole of the larger 
forms and the reduction of the fauna of the Pampas to its 
present condition, together with the concomitant loss of 
the forests. It is not that the country is unsuited at the 
present day to the existence of the larger types of animal 
life, as witness the countless herds of horses and cattle 
with which its plains are now covered, together with the 
luxuriance and rapidity with which many kinds of trees 
flourish when introduced. Neither, I think, can it be due 
to a glacial epoch (although there appears to be evidence 
of the prevalence of a cold period in Patagonia), since any 
glaciation of the Pampas would have assuredly removed the 
greater part of the alluvial formation, besides having left 
indisputable evidence of its presence. Man can scarcely 
be credited with the extinction of either the fauna or the 
flora. It has been suggested that the number of guanaco 
with which the country was overrun previous to European 
settlement may have caused the destruction of the forests ; 
but we must remember that similar animals existed in 
greater variety during the Pampean period, while even if 
the disappearance of trees were due to their agency, this 
would have had no effect on plain-loving forms like horses. 
That the disappearance of the latter animals may have been 
due to the number of pumas is another suggestion, but it 
will be obvious that this could have had nothing to do with 
the destruction of gigantic creatures like the glyptodons 
and ground-sloths. The problem is further complicated 
by the circumstance that the remains of many of these 
creatures occur in caverns in the interior of Brazil, where 
the climate is still, and probably always has been, tropical. 
It would seem, therefore, that we must be content to regard 


the depletion of the fauna and flora of Argentina as one 
of the unsolved problems of science. 

In regard to other formations, it must suffice to say that 
at Parana, and also on the coast at Monte Hermoso, near 
Bahia Blanca, there occur certain Tertiary deposits which 
are evidently somewhat older than the Pampean beds, 
although containing a closely allied fauna. The most 
interesting feature connected with this formation (which 
may probably be correlated with the upper Pliocene of 
Europe) is that the mammals are for the most part of 
smaller size than their relatives of the Pampean, this being 
especially shown by the glyptodons, and by those ground- 
sloths known as scelidotheres, which are near allies of the 
mylodons. When we reach the still older beds of Santa 
Cruz, in Patagonia, which are probably of Miocene age, we 
find not only this diminution in the size of the mammals 
still more marked, but we likewise notice the disappearance 
of all the northern forms, such as deer, horses, guanacos, 
and mastodons, thus showing that we have reached the 
period when South America was disconnected from the 
northern half of the continent, and possessed an absolutely 
peculiar fauna. Instead of glyptodons with a shell of eight 
or ten feet in length, we meet with species in which the 
carapace did not measure more than a yard; while in place 
of mylodons bigger than a rhinoceros we are confronted with 
a species not so large as a Highland sheep. The camel-like 
Macrauchenia was likewise represented by several much 
smaller allies, while the various species of Nesodon, which 
represented the gigantic Toxodon of the Pampean, were either 
small or moderate-sized animals. Somewhat curiously, there 
were, however, several kinds of gigantic flightless birds, 
which are quite unknown in the higher beds, and appear 
to have been allied to the existing seriema of Brazil. 


In the preceding article I brought under the notice of the 
reader some of the leading peculiarities of the living and 
extinct faunas of South America in general and of Argentina 
in particular, while something was said as to the geological 
features of the latter country. I now propose to take into 
consideration the leading features of a few of the more 
remarkable types of certain groups. As most of these animals 
are known solely by their bones, it is, of course, impossible 
to avoid the introduction of a certain amount of anatomical 
details, although I have endeavoured to put these in as 
popular a manner as possible. 

As mentioned in the last article, among all the fossil 
animals of Argentina some of the most remarkable are the 
extinct ungulates, or hoofed mammals, which, exclusive of 
the horses, deer, guanacos, and mastodons, belong to groups 
almost unknown in any other part of the world.* Before 
going further, I must, however, remind my readers that 
existing ungulates are divided into four groups or sub- 
orders, distinguished from one another by the structure 
of their feet. Of these the elephants, or proboscideans, are 
specially characterised by having five toes to each foot, 
and by the two rows of bones in the wrist and ankle 
being arranged one above another in a linear manner ; 

* During the Pleistocene period a few ground-sloths and glyptodons 
entered North America. 



while the huckle-bone, or astragalus, of the ankle articulates 
with the leg-bone by a flat surface. On the other hand, 
in both the odd-toed or perissodactyle ungulates, as repre- 
sented by the rhinoceros and horse, and the even-toed or 
artiodactyle group of the order, of which we have familiar 
examples in the pig and the deer, the toes are never more 
than four in number, the bones of the wrist and ankle 
interlock or alternate, and the huckle-bone has a pulley- 
like surface for articulation with the large bone of the leg. 
Whereas, however, in the former of these two groups the 
middle toe is larger than either of the others and sym- 
metrical in itself, in the second group it is the two toes 
corresponding to the second and third of the human foot 
which are larger than the others, while they are also 
symmetrical to a line drawn between them. There is like- 
wise a well-marked difference between the huckle-bones of 
the two groups. The fourth group, represented only by 
the various species of hyrax — the coney of Scripture — need 
not detain us here. 

Turning to the proper subject of this article, I com- 
mence my notice with one of the largest of the Argentine 
mammals, which derives its name of Toxodon from the 
peculiarly curved or bow-Hke form of its long molar-teeth. 
This gigantic animal, which rivalled the large Indian 
rhinoceros in size, is remarkable for the peculiar lowness 
of the forequarters, in consequence of which the enormous 
head is carried much below the line of the back. Since 
the creature has much the general appearance of a rhino- 
ceros, as shown by its relatively short and stout neck and 
limbs, while the number of toes to each limb is three, of 
which the middle one is symmetrical in itself, an observer 
might, at first sight, be disposed to place the toxodon 
among the odd-toed ungulates. A closer examination 



would, however, show that while the middle toe is not 
markedly larger than either of the others, the bones of the 
wrist are arranged on the linear plan, while in the ankle 
the upper surface of the huckle-bone is nearly flat, or 
intermediate between that of the elephants and the odd- 
toed ungulates. Omitting mention of certain other minor 
peculiarities in the structure of the limbs, if we now turn 
our attention to the teeth, we shall see that these also 
present features unknown in any living ungulates. We 
find, for instance, in the first place, that the upper jaw is 
furnished with two pairs of permanently growing chisel- 
like teeth, comparable to the single pair of incisors in the 
rodents or gnawing mammals ; these being opposed by 
three pairs of nearly similar, although horizontally placed, 
lower teeth. Such permanently growing incisor-teeth are 
paralleled among existing ungulates in the hyrax, but the 
toxodon stands alone in the order from the circumstance 
that the cheek-teeth likewise grow throughout life, instead 
of forming roots. Here, then, we have another point of 
resemblance in the toxodon to the rodent order. When 
we examine the form of the grinding surface of these 
cheek-teeth, there does not appear any marked resemblance 
to those of any existing ungulates. The link is, however, 
furnished by certain allied forms from the older Ter- 
tiary beds of Patagonia, known by the name of Nesodon, 
of which the first fragmentary remains were brought to 
Europe by Darwin, in the Beagle ; the toxodon being 
confined to the Pampean deposits and the underlying beds 
of Monte Hermoso. Now, in the nesodons, the structure 
of the cheek-teeth clearly approximates to that character- 
ising the odd-toed ungulates, although belonging to what 
naturalists term a more specialised type. It is further 
noteworthy that in these nesodons, although the cheek- 


teeth grow for a considerable portion of life, yet they 
eventually form roots in the ordinary manner; the same 
being true of the incisors, with the exception of a single 
pair, which grow permanently. We see, therefore, that the 
permanently growing teeth of the toxodon are a specialised 
feature, and the older genus shows that these animals 
are clearly allied to the odd-toed ungulates, although 
sharply distinguished by the structure of the feet. Indeed, 
since their feet are of a more generalised type than those 
of the latter (as is especially shown by the almost flat 
huckle-bone), while their teeth are more specialised, it is 
evident that neither group can be ancestral to the other. 
Hence the toxodon and its allies may be regarded as 
forming a separate group of equal value with the other 
subdivisions of the great ungulate order. When these re- 
markable creatures branched off from the primitive ancestral 
types of the latter, and how they first obtained an entrance 
into South America, where they gradually increased in 
size and specialisation till the period of the Pampean, when 
they finally disappeared, are still unsolved problems. 

The interest of the toxodons does not, however, by any 
means end here. Although, as we have seen, the toxodon 
itself shows certain resemblances to rodents in the structure 
of its teeth, it will be evident that such resemblances indi- 
cate no genetic affinity between the two groups, since 
rodents are neither the ancestors nor the descendants of 
the toxodons. In a much smaller animal, known as the 
typotherium, these rodent resemblances are still more 
pronounced, as is especially shown by the incisor-teeth, 
which are essentially those of a rodent. Moreover, in the 
hind-feet the toes have lost the hoofs characterising the 
more typical ungulates, and were probably protected by 
small nails. A still further step is exhibited by a much 


smaller Argentine mammal, of the approximate size of a 
hare, named Pachyrucus. If it were not for the intermediate 
links, this creature would almost certainly be put down as 
a rodent, with which group it agrees in the structure of 
its teeth and toes, as well as in many other parts of the 
skeleton. Nevertheless, it is clearly a near ally of the 
typotherium, and therefore a member of the toxodon group. 
Here, then, we have one of the most remarkable instances 
of the phenomenon of parallelism in development. We 
have, in fact, displayed before us the origin of what we 
may call a rodent-imgulate : that is to say, an animal 
which, while certainly an ungulate by descent, has acquired 
such a marked resemblance to a rodent that, if we had not 
the intermediate links, it might be regarded as a member 
of the same order. This instance gives us some insight 
into the intricacies of evolution, and serves to show the 
amount of value attaching to many phylogenies of the 
animal kingdom. 

In addition to the .slightly grooved huckle-bone, the 
toxodon group is characterised by at least one of the upper 
incisor-teeth growing throughout life, and by the cheek- 
teeth being either rootless or not forming roots till very 
late. There is, however a second group of allied extinct 
ungulates peculiar to the Argentine in which all the molars 
are rooted at the usual period, while the huckle-bone is as 
flat as in the elephants, although of somewhat different 
form. This group is represented solely by two genera, 
both of which are confined to the Patagonian deposits, 
where they are represented by animals rivalling rhinoceroses 
in size, and furnished with molar-teeth somewhat resembling 
those of the latter. One of these creatures, on which the 
name of Homalodontotheriuni has been conferred, presents 
the rare peculiarity of having the teeth arranged in a 


regular even series without gap or interval, and with 
their crowns of equal height. Very different in dental 
character are the members of the allied genus Astra- 
potherium, in which each jaw was furnished with a huge 
pair of tusks, those of the lower jaw curving outwards 
and upwards after the manner of those of a wild boar, 
while both were kept sharp and keen by their points 
wearing against one another. In the presence of these 
enormous upper tusks, the astrapotheres resembled the 
extinct uintatheres of North America, although they differed 
in the possession of tusks in the lower jaw, while it is 
probable that those of the upper jaw were incisors instead 
of canines. One of the most curious features connected 
with these animals is the close resemblance of their upper 
cheek-teeth to those of rhinoceroses, the similarity being 
so marked that .if we were acquainted with the South 
American animal only by these teeth, it would probably 
be classed with the rhinoceroses. From the structure of 
the bones of the ankle it is, however, quite certain that 
these two groups of ungulates have no direct connection 
with one another, and that their common ancestor had 
teeth of a much simpler type of structure. It follows, 
therefore, that the form of cheek-teeth characterising both 
the astrapotheres and the rhinoceroses has been evolved 
independentiy in the two groups, and that we have con- 
sequently here another case of parallelism. Although this 
type of tooth (which, it must be remembered, is one of 
considerable complexity) is admirably adapted for crushing 
vegetable substances, it is by no means the only one which 
could have been evolved from what we may probably regard 
as the primitive type, and it is therefore difficult to see how 
it can have been produced by evolution unaccompanied 
by design. 


Strange as are the foregoing creatures, they are exceeded 
in this respect by the long-necked and long-hmbed animal 
named Macrauchenia (on account of the elongation of the 
vertebrae of the neck), specimens of which were first 
brought back by Darwin from the superficial deposits of 
Patagonia. In general form the macrauchenia somewhat 
recalls a camel ; and it is a curious circumstance that, in 
common with that animal and its allies, it differs from all 
other ungulates, with the exception of certain kindred 
Argentine forms, in that the arteries of the neck pierce 
the sides of the vertebrae to take a course within the 
spinal canal, instead of passing merely thi-ough a loop of 
bone on the exterior. This remarkable resemblance is not, 
however, indicative of any affinity between the two animals, 
since, if we look at the feet of the macrauchenia, we shall 
find that they are of the odd-toed type, and each furnished 
with three digits. Moreover, the huckle-bone has the 
pulley-like upper surface characterising the odd-toed ungu- 
lates ; and as the teeth approximate to those of the latter, 
we might be inclined to place the creature in that group. 
The wrist- and ankle-joints are, however, formed on the 
linear plan, and exhibit certain other departures from the 
odd-toed type, and it is therefore evident that the macrau- 
chenia and its allies constitute a third group of extinct 
ungulates peculiar to South America. Although it is by 
foot-structure that the macrauchenia is separated from all 
other members of the order, its most remarkable peculiarity 
is to be found in the structure of its skull. In an ordinary 
mammal the aperture of the nose is situated quite at the 
anterior extremity of the skull. In the macrauchenia, on 
the other hand, this aperture forms an egg-shaped vacuity 
in the forehead, almost between the eyes. Some approxi- 
mation to this remarkable arrangement is presented by 


the living tapirs, but it is more nearly paralleled by the 
elephants, and still more closely by the aquatic dugong, while 
among whales the backwardation (if I may coin a word) 
of the nostrils is carried to a still greater degree. That 
a land mammal with its nostrils situated in this unusual 
position could not have managed to exist without a trunk 
seems evident, and we may therefore conclude that the 
macrauchenia was so furnished ; while, from its long 
slender neck and limbs, it may further be inferred that 
it was an inhabitant of open plains or thin forest, and 
was not a frequenter of marshes and swamps. It may be 
added that in its uninterrupted and even series of teeth 
the macrauchenia differs from all existing mammals save 
man, and agrees with its distant cousin, the homalodonto- 

From its large size, the peculiar position of its nostrils, 
and the characters of its cheek-teeth, the naturalist is led 
to infer that the macrauchenia was a highly specialised 
creature ; and it is interesting to find that this inference 
is converted into a certainty by the existence of certain 
kindred forms in the older formations of the Parana and 
Patagonia, which are evidently the ancestral types from 
which the Pampean genus has originated. All these crea- 
tures were of relatively small size, with cheek-teeth more 
closely resembling those of the odd-toed ungulates, and 
they show a gradual transition in regard to the position 
of the nostrils from the type of the macrauchenia to the 
ordinary form. The evolution of such an extraordinary 
creature as the one under consideration is therefore fully 
explained, although we have yet to learn the special reason 
for the peculiar position of its nostrils and the development 
of a trunk. 

More or less intimately allied to the ancestors of the 


macrauchenia were certain contemporaneous ungulates from 
Patagonia, of which the largest did not exceed a tapir in 
size. With cheek-teeth so like those of the odd-toed 
ungulates from the Paris basin described by Cuvier as 
Palaeotherium, these Patagonian ungulates differed from 
the macrauchenia in having the dental series reduced in 
number and interrupted by gaps. Their most remarkable 
peculiarity is, however, to be found in the structure of 
their feet, which, in some forms at least, resembled those 
of the extinct three-toed horses, or hipparions, in which 
the middle toe is very large, while the two lateral ones 
are small and functionless. In one genus, moreover, the 
toes were reduced to a single large one on each foot, as 
in the modern horse. And the fact that there existed in 
South America a group of ungulates which exactly paralleled 
the horses in the evolution and structure of their feet is 
one of the most wonderful features in mammalian de- 

Among all the extinct mammals of the Argentine, none 
strike the beholder with more astonishment than those 
gigantic cousins of the modern armadillos of South America, 
collectively known as glyptodons, their name being derived 
from the peculiar sculpture with which the grinding surfaces 
of their cheek-teeth are ornamented. Both armadillos and 
glyptodons differ from the other members of the group to 
which they belong in having their bodies protected by a 
bony shell, or carapace, covering all but the under-parts, 
the top of the head being covered by a similar bony shield, 
while the tail is encased by a series of bony rings, or in 
rings at the base and a long tube at the tip. Whereas, 
however, the armadillos (exclusive of the aberrant little 
pichiciago) have a larger or smaller portion of the middle 
region of the carapace formed of movable transverse bands 


of plates, in the glyptodons the whole structure is welded 
into a single piece. It must not, however, be supposed that 
this carapace consists of a single solid dome of bone, as, 
if it did, there would, of course, be no possibility of growth. 
On the contrary, the carapace is composed of polygonal 
or rhomboidal plates articulating at their edges, and thus 
allowing of free growth. In very old individuals a consider- 
able number of these plates may, however, become com- 
pletely fused together. During life these bony plates were 
covered with small horny shields, as in the living arma- 
dillos, and they frequently show incised lines formed by the 
lines of union between such shields. For instance, in the 
members of the typical genus of the group, or ring-tailed 
glyptodons, each bony plate was smooth and polygonal in 
shape, while the lines indicating the borders of the horny 
shields take the form of a rosette. Another important 
point of difference from the armadillos is to be found in 
the contour of the skull, which is short, deep, and rounded, 
instead of being long, flattened, and pointed at the muzzle. 
Then, again, whereas the armadillos have small cylindrical 
teeth, those of the glyptodons are large and fluted at the 
sides, with their grinding surfaces marked by the aforesaid 
sculpture ; while the whole series is in close contact, 
and forms one of the most efficient grinding machines 

To support the enormous weight of the carapace, which 
in some of the larger kinds is considerably more than an 
inch in thickness, special modifications are needed in the 
internal skeleton. Here we find that nearly the whole of 
the vertebrae are welded together, so that a large portion 
of the backbone forms a continuous solid tube. The ver- 
tebrae of the neck are also very short, and may be partially 
united, so that the movements of the head must have been 


somewhat limited. The observer will not fail to notice 
also the great strength and upright position of the haunch- 
bones and the powerful build of the legs and feet, the 
latter terminating in five toes armed with broad, flattened 
nails. As an illustration of the various modifications of 
the same general plan of structure in use in the animal 
kingdom, it may be well to point out how essentially the 
arrangement of the armour of a glyptodon differs from 
that of an ordinary tortoise or turtle. In the latter the 
carapace is completely welded to the ribs, which are situated 
externally to the haunch- and shoulder-bones, whereas in 
a glyptodon there is no sort of connection between the 
carapace and the ribs, while the latter are internal to 
the haunch- and shoulder-bones. In these respects the 
leathery turtle holds a somewhat intermediate position 
between ordinary turtles and the glyptodons, the carapace 
being composed of polygonal plates totally unconnected 
with the ribs, while the latter are situated externally to 
the bones of the shoulder and haunch. 

Not less remarkable are the modifications of the vertebrae 
of the tail for the support of the rings or tube with which 
the latter is encased. In the first place, most of the ver- 
tebrae of this region are welded together so as to form 
a hollow, tapering rod, while from each segment are given 
off radiating processes upon which the bony plates are 
borne, and as the whole of the latter are firmly welded 
together, the entire structure is of great strength. 

When standing with the edges of its impenetrable cara- 
pace resting on the ground, its mail-crowned head partially 
withdrawn within the front aperture of its shell, and only 
the lower portions of the limbs exposed, a glyptodon must 
have been safe from all foes save savage man, and even 
he must have had a tough job to slaughter the monster, 


if, indeed, he ever succeeded in doing so. That man did 
exist with the later glyptodons, or those which flourished 
during the deposition of the Pampas mud, is, however, 
proved by more than one kind of evidence. For instance, 
crude drawings of these animals have been found incised 
on some of the rock surfaces of Patagonia, while in other 
cases human implements have been disinterred side by side 
with the bones and shells. Probably the empty carapaces 
of the larger members of the group were employed by the 
primitive inhabitants of Argentina as huts, and it is said 
that they are sometimes even so used at the present day 
by the Indians. That these animals were not killed off 
by any living foe — either human or otherwise — may be 
taken for granted, and we must therefore conclude that this 
result was probably due to the same general cause which 
brought about the extermination of the larger Argentine 
mammals. It may be well to mention that, although some 
of the living armadillos are carnivorous, it is perfectly 
evident, from the structure of their teeth, that all the 
glyptodons subsisted exclusively on a vegetable diet. 

The earliest known representatives of the group occur in 
the older Tertiary beds of Patagonia, and may be designated 
pigmy glyptodons, although known scientifically as Propalaeo- 
hoplophorus. These creatures, which lived side by side with 
armadillos nearly akin to existing forms, were the dwarfs 
of their race, the carapace not being more than a couple 
of feet in length. The plates of the carapace were smooth, 
and ornamented with a rosette-like sculpture, of which the 
central ring in the fore part of the shell was raised into 
a prominent boss. In the form of these plates, as well as 
in the circumstances that the tail was surrounded from base 
to tip with a series of knobbed rings, these pigmy glyptodons 
resembled the ring-tailed glyptodons of the Pampas, of which 


they may accordingly be regarded as the ancestral type. In 
the intermediate deposits of Monte Hermoso we meet with 
other glyptodons, which, while much larger than those of 
the Patagonian beds, were generally inferior in this respect 
to the giants of the Pampean, some of the species being 
nearly allied to the small Patagonian representatives of the 
group, while others belong to the same genera as those 
found in the Pampas. 

Passing on to a survey of the leading t3'pes of these 
creatures found in the alluvial mud of the Pampas, where 
they occur in great numbers, we may first notice the one 
to which the name of glyptodon was originally applied. 
The carapace in this form is characterised by the polygonal 
plates being nearly smooth and marked by a rosette of 
incised lines, while those along the margin are raised into a 
series of bold knobs. In general contour the whole carapace 
forms a nearly regular oval dome, with the plates on the 
front and hind margins knobbed and ridged. Although in 
the specimen first sent to England the tail of another 
species was unfortunately affixed to the carapace, it is now 
known that the armour of the tail took the form of a 
number of rings, gradually diminishing in diameter from 
the root to the tip, and severally ornamented with a series 
of conical knobs, thus forming a protective case against 
which little short of a steam-hammer would have been of 
any avail. 

Although one might have thought that these ring-tailed 
glyptodons, as they may be conveniently termed, were suffi- 
ciently large and bizarre to have stood alone in the world, 
they were exceeded in size and strangeness of form by a still 
more extraordinary creature. In this stupendous monster, 
which measured upwards of 1 1 ft. 8 in. in a straight 
line, the carapace is characterised by its peculiar hump- 


backed form, while its margins lack the prominent knobs 
characterising those of the preceding group. On closer 
examination it will be found that each of the com- 
ponent plates of the carapace, instead of being polygonal 
and marked by a rosette of lines, is rhomboidal and pierced 
by from two to five large circular holes. From the analogy 
of the living hairy armadillo — known in Argentina by the 
name of peludo, or hairy animal — it is quite evident that 
during life the holes in the plates of the carapace of this 
extinct monster — which, by the way, may be known as 
the "club-tailed glyptodon," or technically as Daediciirus — 
must have formed the exits of large bristles, which were 
equal in diameter to a cock's quill, and were doubtless many 
inches in length. The whole body of the animal must, 
therefore, have resembled a gigantic porcupine. Still more 
extraordinary is the conformation of the huge tail, which 
had a length of about five feet. At its base this appendage 
was encircled by about half a dozen double bony rings, 
nearly as large at the base as the iron hoops in the middle 
of an ordinary beer-barrel, their component plates being 
pierced by the aforesaid holes for bristles. The whole of 
the terminal half of the tail is formed by one continuous 
piece of hollow bone, which, if we exclude whales, is one 
of the most massive bony structures in the animal kingdom, 
and is almost as much as a man can lift. Starting at its 
base in the form of a nearly cylindrical tube, this sheath 
rapidly expands at the sides, and becomes flattened on the 
upper and lower surfaces, until at the tip it finally assumes 
the form of a depressed, flattened club, which would have 
formed a most effective weapon for a giant. Along the 
sides of its extremity this club is marked by a number of 
oval depressed discs, showing a sculptured pattern of 
ridges and grooves radiating from the centre, and some 


of them attaining a length of six or seven inches. From 
the structure of their sculpture it seems evident that 
during life these discs formed the bases of huge horns 
projecting at right angles to the tail, which would thus 
have formed a veritable cheval de frise. If, as is quite 
probable, these horns were as long as those of the common 
African rhinoceros, the tail of the daedicurus must have 
presented a most extraordinary appearance as it dragged 
on the ground behind its owner (for it is impossible to 
believe that any muscles could have raised such a stupen- 
dous structure). The use of these horny appendages is, 
however, hard indeed to guess, since the creature was 
amply protected by the underlying bone ; and it is there- 
fore probable that they must come under the category of 
ornamental appendages. Be this as it may, with its bristle- 
clad body and horned tail, the club-tailed glyptodon may 
well lay claim to the right of being one of the most 
extraordinary creatures that ever walked this earth during 
the whole duration of the Tertiary period. Another species 
belonging to the same genus, of which the remains are 
found in the Tertiary beds of Monte Hermoso, is remark- 
able for possessing a cone-shaped aperture in the middle 
of the hinder part of the carapace, of which the only 
conceivable use is that it acted as the point of discharge 
of a gland. 

Nearly equal in size to the Pampean representative of 
the preceding genus, but distinguished markedly by the 
characters of the skull and the more regularly dome-like 
form of the carapace, is another monster from the Pampas 
which has been described under the name of Panochthus. 
Although the plates of the carapace have the same oblong 
form as in the club-tailed glyptodon, they lack any per- 
forations for bristles, and are marked by a number of 


patches of minute tubercles, so that this species may be 
spoken of as the tuberculated glyptodon. Doubtless the 
carapace was covered during life by thin horny shields, 
although the marks of these are not generally shown on 
the bone ; and from the absence of bristles the creature 
must have been as smooth as the small existing mulita, 
or three-banded armadillo. The tail was much smaller than 
that of the club-tailed species, consisting at the base of a 
number of relatively small rings, and terminating in a tube 
of about a yard in length. This tube lacks, however, the 
terminal expansion and flattening of that of the preceding 
form, while the large discs with which it is ornamented 
take the form of prominent rough bosses, which probably 
carried flattened horny knobs, instead of spines, during life. 

The last representatives of the group to which I shall 
allude are much smaller species from the deposits of 
Monte Hermoso and the Pampas, known as smooth-tailed 
glyptodons, or, technically, Hoplophorus. In these creatures 
the carapace was much more elongated and depressed than 
in the other kinds, while it projected forward on the sides 
of the shoulders in a manner somewhat like that of the 
armadillos. The plates of the carapace show a rosette 
pattern, not unlike those of the ring-tailed glyptodon, but 
they are still smoother, and of an irregular oblong shape. 
As regards the tail, this consisted at the base of a number 
of smooth rings, fitting into one another at their junctions 
like the joints of a telescope, while at the end it terminated 
in a slightly flattened tube ornamented with a number of 
small, smooth oval discs of about an inch in diameter, 
interspersed with which were arranged a few much larger 
but equally smooth and prominent discs along the sides. 
These discs, of all dimensions, were evidently coated with 
smooth scales of horn during life, and, from the absence 


of apertures for bristles, the same smoothness doubtless 
characterised the carapace. The head was protected by a 
smooth shield of small tesselated plates, and the skull was 
characterised by the peculiar twisting and curvature of 
the bones of the nose. 

Such are the chief characteristics of the better-known 
representatives of the mailed monsters of Argentina — a 
group which was continued in a straight line from the 
pigmy gl3'ptodon of Patagonia to the ring-tailed species of 
the Pampas, while all the other giant forms of the latter 
must be regarded as lateral offshoots from the original 
stock, which continued, as is so often the case, to develop 
more and more bizarre characters until the date of their 
final disappearance. In conclusion, it should be added that 
a strange, gigantic armoured creature, found commonly in 
the cavern deposits of Brazil, and also rarely in Argentina, 
seems to have been a kind of connecting link between 
the glyptodons and the armadillos, having the carapace 
formed of a number of movable plates, arranged in a series 
of overlapping bands as in the latter, but with teeth of 
the type of the former. Unfortunately, however, this 
interesting creature, which must have been as big as a 
large rhinoceros, is known by such fragmentary remains 
that its full affinities cannot yet be determined, as we are 
still ignorant whether its skull approximated to the glypto- 
don or the armadillo type. 

Sufficiently protected from all attacks on the part of the 
wolf-like marsupials and such other large carnivorous 
mammals as may at the same period have roamed over 
Argentina, the pigmy glyptodon of the Santa Cruz beds of 
Patagonia could have had no difficulty in maintaining its 
existence against foes of all kinds, and subsequently giving 
rise to the gigantic mailed monsters described above. 


Side by side with this well-defended creature there lived, 
however, another not less remarkable mammal, of nearly 
similar dimensions, and likewise belonging to the great 
order of edentates, then, as now, so characteristic of 
South America. This creature had, however, no such 
coat of mail as that which defended its contemporary 
(though there is a possibility that some bony granules 
may have been embedded in its skin), and as it appears 
to have been equally devoid of weapons of offence, while 
it did not derive protection from an arboreal life, it may 
be a matter of wonder how it managed to fight its way 
through the struggle for existence. That it did so is, 
however, perfectly clear, since the pigmy ground-sloth, as the 
animal in question may be called, is clearly the ancestral 
type from which were subsequently evolved those gigantic 
edentates of the Pleistocene deposits of the Argentine 
scientifically known by the names o( Megalotherium, Mylodon^ 
etc., but which may be collectively designated ground-sloths. 
These, although in some cases unprotected by any means 
of defence, were among the most gigantic of mammals, and 
they had, it is needless to say, no difficulty in holding their 
own ; and it is only with regard to their pigmy ancestors 
that we have any cause for wondering how they managed 
to survive. Possibly these pigmy ground-sloths were 
burrowing creatures, like the great ant-eater of the present 
day, and lived in holes excavated by their powerful claws ; 
and if this should be the case, the difficulty as to their 
survival vanishes. 

Sloths are, however, such essentially arboreal creatures, 
as characteristic of the Brazilian forests as are squirrels 
and dormice of our own woods, that my readers will want 
to know what I mean by using such an apparently contra- 
dictory term as ground-sloths. 



To justify myself, and at the same time to enable my 
readers properly to understand the structure of these 
strange extinct edentates, it is necessary to enter into a 
short dissertation on the subject of sloths, and likewise of 
their distant cousins the ant-eaters. 

The external form and long shaggy hair of the sloths are 
too well known to require description, and I pass on to 
draw attention to certain peculiarities in regard to their 
skeletons and teeth which will aid in explaining the reason 
for the term ground-sloths. In the first place, then, sloths, 
which are comparatively small animals, are characterised 
by their peculiarly short and rounded heads, of an almost 
spherical form. If the skull of one of these animals be 
examined, a total absence of front teeth will be noticed ; 
while the cheek-teeth comprise five pairs in the upper 
and four in the lower jaw. 

As already stated, the teeth in all edentates are devoid 
of the enamel so characteristic of those of other mammals; 
and in the sloths they form short cylinders, of which 
the outer layer is harder than the central core, in con- 
sequence of which their grinding surfaces become slightly 
cup-shaped. In the three-toed sloths {Bradypus) the whole 
of the teeth are of this extremely simple type ; but in 
their two-toed cousins {Cholaepus) the first pair in each jaw 
are longer than either of the others, and modified into a 
somewhat tusk-like form, the upper ones wearing against 
the front of the lower ones so as to produce by mutual 
attrition an oblique bevelled surface at the top of each. 
Both limbs of sloths are remarkable for their length and 
slenderness, but the front pair are much longer than the 
hinder ones. The narrow and curved feet terminate in 
long hooked claws, which in the three-toed species are 
three in number in each foot, although in the fore-feet of 


the two-toed sloth they are reduced to two ; in fact, the 
feet are reduced to the condition of Httle more than hooks, 
admirably adapted for suspending the animal back-down- 
wards from the boughs of trees, but forming poor instruments 
for terrestrial progression. Indeed, when on the ground 
sloths walk slowly and awkwardly, with the soles of the 
feet turned inwards, and the weight of the body supported 
on their outward edges. It is important to notice that 
in the skeleton of the feet the terminal bones, or those 
ensheathed in the long claws, are not longitudinally grooved 
on the upper surface. 

The South American, or true ant-eaters, one of which is 
terrestrial while the other two are more or less arboreal 
in their habits, are so unlike the sloths that it is difficult 
to believe they have any near relationship with the 
latter ; and, indeed, were it not for the extinct creatures 
now under discussion, it would have been very difficult 
to discover how close the connection between these two 
groups really is. In place of the short and rounded 
heads of the sloths, the ant-eaters have the head greatly 
elongated and very slender, while the thin jaws are totally 
devoid of teeth, and the tongue is long, cylindrical, and 
highly extensile. There is, however, some degree of 
variation in regard to the elongation of the skull, the 
maximum development occurring in that of the great 
ant-eater. If possible, a still greater difference obtains in 
the structure of the feet, the fore-foot of the great ant-eater 
having five toes, of which the middle one is vastly more 
powerful than either of the others, while all but the fifth 
have strong claws. In walking, the extreme outer side 
and part of the upper surface of the fore-foot are applied 
to the ground ; but in the hind-foot, which has the fourth 
toe the largest and all the five digits furnished with claws, 


the whole of the short sole touches the ground in the 
ordinary manner. An important difference from the sloths 
is to be found in the circumstance that the bones of the 
terminal joints of the feet have a longitudinal median groove 
on the upper surface at their tips. 

With these remarks on some of the leading features of 
the sloths and ant-eaters, the reader will be in a position 
to appreciate the peculiarities in the structure of the ground- 
sloths, and likewise to understand the appropriateness of 
the name by which they are designated. 

Apparently the first of these extinct animals known in 
Europe was the giant ground-sloth, or Megalotherium, of 
which a nearly complete skeleton was discovered in the year 
1789 near Lujan, in the province of Buenos Aires. This 
skeleton was soon after sent to Madrid, and described by 
Cuvier in 1798, who gave it the name by which the animal 
has ever since been known. Cuvier recognised the affinities 
of the megalothere to the sloths ; and other skeletons sub- 
sequently obtained from the superficial deposits of Buenos 
Aires, and which are now in the Museum of the Royal 
College of Surgeons, the British Museum, and the museums 
of Milan, Paris, and La Plata, have in their turn served to 
confirm the general truth of the original determination. 

One of the most gigantic of land mammals, measuring some- 
where about eighteen feet in total length, the megalothere, 
although with a more elongated skull, agrees with the sloths 
in the number of its teeth. In structure, however, these 
teeth are decidedly different from those of the sloth. In 
form they are square prisms, with a length of over ten 
inches, and a diameter of fully an inch and a half. The 
summit of each tooth carries a pair of transverse ridges, 
produced by the alternation of vertical plates of different 
hardness in the tooth itself ; and since the teeth are rootless 


and grow continuously throughout the life of their owner, 
this transversely ridged structure is likewise permanent. 
To contain such enormous teeth, the lower jaw is remark- 
ably deepened in the middle of its length, where it descends 
suddenly. A long median channel, extending between and 
in front of the anterior teeth, is evidently for the reception 
of a large and fleshy tongue, which from its size was 
probable extensile like that of the giraffe. 

If we had only the megalothere to deal with, there 
might be some hesitation, judging from the skull and 
teeth (which in the group are the only portions of the 
skeleton showing sloth-like affinities) in regarding the 
group of animals to which it belongs as closely allied to 
the sloths. Fortunately, however, the same Pleistocene 
deposits of Buenos Aires (to say nothing of the caverns 
of Minas Geraes, in Brazil) have yielded remains of other 
and somewhat smaller ground-sloths, known as mylodons, 
which effectually bridge, in these respects, the gap between 
the megalothere and the sloths. In these animals the teeth 
are either cylindrical or triangular in section ; and from 
having a harder external coat, wear in the same cup- 
shaped manner as those of the latter. Moreover, in 
some mylodons the front pair of teeth in each jaw have 
the elongated tusk-like form and oblique wear character- 
ising those of the two-toed sloth, while in others they 
resemble the hinder teeth, as in the three-toed sloth. 
We thus have an exact parallelism in this respect among 
the mylodons to the two genera of sloths ; and as their 
skulls in their more rounded and shorter form, and the 
absence of a descending expansion in the middle of the 
lower jaw, are Ukewise more sloth-like than is the skull 
of the megalothere, we can have no hesitation in re- 
garding the ground-sloths, so far as cranial characters 


are concerned, as closely allied to the sloths. It may be 
added that the great divergence of the two series of 
teeth in the mylodon skull indicates the presence during 
life of a tongue of great width and size. Mylodons had 
a number of ossicles, like large beans, embedded in the 
outer surface of the skin ; but in the nearly allied 
glossothere, of which portions of skin covered with long 
sloth-like hair have been discovered in a cave in Pata- 
gonia, nearly similar ossicles were embedded in the inner 
side of the skin. Strange to say, these ground-sloths 
appear to have been kept in caves as domesticated 
animals by the ancient inhabitants of Patagonia. 

Thus far I have shown how the ground-sloths are 
related to the sloths in the characters of their skulls ; 
but other members of the group, known as the scelido- 
theres {Scelidothermni), although still retaining the same 
number of teeth, present a certain approximation in these 
respects to the ant-eaters. Thus their skulls, instead of 
being short and broad like those of the mylodons, are very 
long and narrow, and have the muzzle much produced in 
advance of the anterior teeth. Indeed, it would require 
only a still greater elongation and narrowing of the skull 
of a scelidothere, coupled with the total loss of the 
teeth, to produce one very similar to that of an ant-eater. 

So far as I am aware, palaeontologists have not yet 
been able to trace a complete transition from the gigantic 
ground-sloths of the Pleistocene deposits of Buenos Aires 
to their diminutive representatives from the older Tertiary 
deposits of Patagonia, although it is known that some of 
the species from the intermediate formations were inferior 
in point of size to their more recent allies. It is, how- 
ever, very interesting to find that the pigmy ground-sloths 
of these Patagonian deposits had transversely ridged 


prismatic teeth like those of the megalothere, and not the 
cyhndrical or triangular ones of the mylodons and scelido- 
theres ; thus apparently indicating that the former type 
of tooth is the oldest. The contrast between the pigmy 
ground-sloth and the giant ground-sloth {Megalotherium) 
is, however, most remarkable. The total length of the 
skeleton of the former was only about three feet, while 
its skull was less than six inches, whereas that of the latter 
was over a couple of feet in length. Then, again, the 
whole series of five upper teeth occupy in the pigmy 
ground-sloth a space of less than an inch and a half, 
or less than the diameter of a single tooth of its 
gigantic relative. That such a diminutive creature, if as 
naked and undefended as its huge cousin appears to have 
been, needed some special protection, is evident ; and it 
is the need of such defence from attack that has led me 
to suggest that the creature may have been fossorial in its 

Leaving for a moment the mutual relationships and 
affinities of all these different animals, a glance may be 
directed at the skeleton of the body and limbs of the 
ground-sloths. In the first place this differs from that 
of the sloths in the shortness and extreme massiveness of 
the Hmbs ; and especially in the extraordinary stoutness 
and width of the bones of the hind-leg and haunches. 
In the general form of the scapula or blade-bone, and 
more especially in the presence of a complete pair of 
clavicles or collar-bones, the ground-sloths resemble the 
sloths and differ from the ant-eaters ; the clavicles of the 
latter being rudimentary. The skeleton of the fore-foot 
is, however, essentially that of an ant-eater, the inner toe 
being rudimentary, the next three, and more especially 
the middle one, enormously enlarged, and furnished 


during life with huge claws, while the outermost was small 
and clawless. That during life the creature rested on the 
outer side of this fifth claw and the backs of the three 
large toes, in ant-eater fashion, may, from the structure 
and arrangement of their bones, be considered certain. 
Unlike the ant-eater, in which it rests upon the sole, the 
hind-foot of the Pleistocene ground-sloths is even more 
strangely modified than the front one, these creatures 
walking only on its outer edge, while the enormous 
middle toe, with its gigantic claw, does not appear to 
have touched the ground in walking, and was thus 
always kept sharp. The first toe is wanting, and the 
second rudimentary, while the two outer ones were rela- 
tively small and unprovided with claws. Some idea of 
the gigantic proportions of the megalothere may be 
gathered from the circumstance that its hind-foot measures 
nearly a yard in length. Of the pigmy ground-sloths of 
Patagonia the complete skeleton has not yet been de- 
scribed ; but so far as my recollection of a specimen in 
the La Plata museum goes, I believe that it was not of 
the extremely specialised type characterising the later 
gigantic forms. Moreover, while in the latter the terminal 
joints of the feet were neither grooved nor split at the 
extremities, in the small Patagonian species these were 
deeply cleft at the end, as in the scaly ant-eaters or 
pangolins of India and Africa. As regards the structure 
of the vertebral column, the ground-sloths exhibit certain 
peculiarities distinctive of the ant-eaters, which are only 
rudimentary in the sloths. 

When to this brief survey of the chief structural 
peculiarities of the skeleton of the creatures under considera- 
tion is added the circumstance that, from their enormous 
size, they must necessarily have been terrestrial in their 


habits, we are in a position to realise the appropriate 
nature of the term " ground-sloths " by which they are 
designated. These creatures may, in fact, be briefly 
described as edentates with a skull, teeth, and shoulder- 
girdle very similar to those of the sloths ; while as regards 
their backbone and feet they come very close to the ant- 
eaters, although in the later and more gigantic forms the 
specialisation characterising the fore-feet of the latter has 
been extended to the hinder pair. 

Turning to the question of the mutual relationships and 
phylogeny of the three groups of edentates discussed in 
the course of the foregoing paragraphs, we shall have 
little hesitation in regarding the pigmy ground-sloths, 
which are the earliest known representatives of the group, 
as the direct ancestors of the gigantic megalothere. A 
modification in the structure of the teeth would equally 
well permit of their having likewise been the ancestors 
of the mylodons, which, as we have seen, possess sloth- 
like teeth. This, however, will not permit us to regard 
the mylodons as having been the forerunners of the sloths, 
seeing that the latter have a less specialised type of 
hind-foot ; and we must accordingly regard the sloths as 
a side branch derived from the pigmy ground-sloths or 
some nearly allied forms after the acquisition of cylindrical 
teeth, but before the hind-foot had acquired the specialisation 
characterising the mylodons and megalotheres. Hence 
the curious structural similarity between the front teeth 
of some of the mylodons and the two-toed sloth must be 
another instance of that parallelism in development to 
which reference has so often been made. 

With regard to the ant-eaters, we have already seen 
that the fore-foot of these animals resembles that of the 
pigmy ground-sloths in that the terminal joints of the 


larger toes are marked by a longitudinal groove repre- 
senting the cleft of those of the latter; and as in both 
groups the middle toe is the largest, there is no reason 
why the ant-eaters should not trace their origin to these 
same pigmy ground-sloths or a closely allied type. In 
this case the specialisation has resulted in a lengthening 
of the skull and the loss of the teeth, the hind-foot having 
retained more or less of the primitive type. Here like- 
wise we must notice that the resemblance presented by 
the skull of the scelidotheres to that of the ant-eaters 
must be regarded as an instance of parallel development. 

From the structure of their teeth, the ground-sloths 
were evidently pure vegetarians ; and the same may be said 
of the sloths, which are animals specially modified for the 
exigencies of an arboreal existence. On the other hand, 
the ant-eaters, as their name implies, have given up a 
vegetable diet and taken to living on ants, and to this may 
be attributed their total loss of teeth. Should germs of 
teeth ever be found in their jaws during an early stage of 
existence, I venture to predict they will approximate in 
structure to the teeth of the ground-sloths. 

I cannot conclude without saying a few words as to the 
probable mode of life and external appearance of ground- 
sloths. The Patagonian specimens have shown that, like 
sloths and ant-eaters, they were clothed with a thick 
covering of coarse hair. Further, from their massive 
proportions, and also from their kinship to the sloths, 
it is most likely that ground-sloths were as slow and 
deliberate in their movements as the latter. That such 
monstrous creatures could not have existed in a treeless 
country like the Argentine Pampas has been already pointed 
out, and we may hence assume that in the days of the 
ground-sloths Argentina was much like what Brazil is at 


the present day. Browsing on the leaves and perhaps the 
smaller branches of forest-trees, the ground-sloths probably 
obtained their food by rearing themselves up against the 
trunks, supported on the tripod formed by their massive 
hind-limbs and powerful tail, the ponderous structure of 
the haunch-bones being eminently adapted for maintaining 
the body in such a posture. The same massiveness of 
structure conclusively proves that the creatures were not 
arboreal, since no tree capable of being climbed could 
carry such an enormous weight. It was suggested, indeed, 
by Sir Richard Owen that the megalothere was in the 
habit, when reared up in the manner indicated above, of 
clasping a tree in its arms and swaying it backwards and 
forwards until it fell with a crash to the ground ; but 
although such a radical mode of procedure may have been 
occasionally resorted to, we have no right to assume that 
such was the ordinary habit of the ground-sloths. 


Probably at least nine out of every ten of the readers of 
the present article would pronounce the name of the island 
Celebes with the second syllable short ; and if it were an 
English name, they would be right in so doing. But the 
Malays have a habit of accenting the middle syllable of 
three-syllabled words, and we thus have Sardwak, Basflan, 
Celebes, etc. In this respect Malay names are the exact 
opposite of South American, in which the accent falls on 
the third syllable, as in Panamd, Bogotd, and Ecuador. 
Doubtless it is a small matter, but it is well to be correct 
even in the pronunciation of names. 

Having put matters right in this respect, the next point 
is to inform my readers why Celebes has been selected 
as the subject of an article at all ; and why Borneo, 
Sumatra, or Java would not have done just as well. To 
render this point clear I must refer briefly to the geo- 
graphical position of Celebes and the neighbouring islands. 
Borneo, Sumatra, and Java are the three largest of the 
Malayan islands lying nearest to the Malay Peninsula ; 
and although they possess many peculiar animals — notably 
the orang, which is confined to Borneo and Sumatra — yet 
their fauna as a whole is very similar to that of the Malay 
mainland, and thus intimately connected with that of India, 
Accordingly, naturalists are pretty well agreed in including 
these islands in what is called the Oriental region of 

1 08 


zoological distribution, of which the Philippine Islands 
likewise form a part. 

Now, Celebes lies due east of Borneo, from which it is 
separated by the Macassar Strait, and also nearly midway 
between the Philippines on the north and the small islands 
of Lombok, Sumbawa, and Flores on the south ; these 
three latter islands forming the continuation of the line 
of Sumatra and Java, which evidently indicates an old 
peninsula. Eastward of Celebes lie the Moluccas (or 
Spice) Islands on the north, and Ceram (which forms the 
lowest member of the same group) in the south ; both 
these being nearly midway between Celebes and Papua 
or New Guinea. And when we reach the latter country 
we are practically in Australia, the animals being quite 
unlike those of the typical Malayan islands and the other 
countries of the Oriental region. We have, for instance, in 
New Guinea, tree-kangaroos, cuscuses, flying-phalangers, 
bandicoots, echidnas or spiny ant-eaters, cassowaries, cocka- 
toos, birds of paradise, and bower-birds, all of which are 
essentially Australian types, although some, like the birds 
of paradise, attain their maximum development in New 
Guinea itself The little island of Ceram has also a fauna 
of an Australian type, including, among other forms, a 
cassowary. Accordingly, all naturalists are agreed that 
Australia, New Guinea, Ceram and the other Moluccas, 
together with the Aru and some of the other small islands 
in the neighbourhood, form one great zoological province, 
which may be called the Australasian. But the problem 
has been in which region to place Celebes, whose fauna 
is in some respects intermediate between that of the 
Australasian and Oriental regions. By Dr. A. R. Wallace, 
the great authority on the geographical distribution of 
animals, it was at first classed with the former, although 


subsequently given a doubtful position ; and his views 
have been followed by most later writers. Recently, how- 
ever, several writers have come to the conclusion that it 
should be included in the Oriental region. 

A glance at the map will show that Celebes is an island 
of very peculiar and unusual shape. It consists of an 
irregular central region, from which are given off four 
still more irregular peninsulas, of which the one running 
in the direction of the Moluccas is considerably the largest. 
Its general outline is more like that frequently assumed 
by an amoeba than anything else, and it is quite clear from 
this remarkable shape that the island is situated in a 
subsiding area, and once formed a portion of a much 
larger land-mass. From the pecuHarity of its animals it 
is evident that Celebes has existed as an island since an 
epoch comparatively remote ; and the question naturally 
arises whether its last connection was with Borneo and 
the other Malay islands, or with Ceram and New Guinea. 
In a question of this nature the depth of the surrounding 
seas has, of course, a most important bearing. 

Putting, however, the evidence of soundings on one side, 
we may endeavour to find out how much light the animals 
of Celebes are capable of throwing on the problem. 

Those of my readers who have any acquaintance with 
the geographical distribution of animals, are probably aware 
that no marsupials at all are found to the westward of 
Celebes, and that to the eastward of that island monkeys 
are quite unknown ; while hoofed animals are represented 
only by a deer in Timor and a second in the Moluccas, 
and likewise by a semi-wild pig in Ceram and another in 
New Guinea. In fact, the quadrupeds of the Australasian 
region, with these exceptions, consist exclusively of egg- 
laying mammals, marsupials, and various peculiar kinds of 


rats, mice, and bats ; while, as already said, their birds 
include cassowaries, cockatoos, birds of paradise, bower- 
birds, and a host of other kinds more or less completely 
unknown in the regions to the westward. 

But, unfortunately, there is another element in the 
problem which introduces a further complexity. The 
Malays are bold and clever sailors, fond of voyaging from 
island to island in these summer seas. And they are also 
wonderful adepts in taming animals of various kinds. 
Many of these they carry about with them in their 
voyages — some probably for food and others as pets. 
When they land on a strange island some of these animals 
may occasionally escape, or possibly may be turned loose 
intentionally. Now there is a very considerable probability 
that the wild pigs of Ceram and New Guinea have been 
thus introduced ; and if this be the case, the fauna of the 
Australasian region is made more absolutely distinct from 
that of the Oriental province. The deer of the Moluccas 
and Timor present a case of greater difficulty; but as the 
Moluccas cannot well be separated from the Australasian 
region, they would seem, in these islands at least, to have 
been introduced, and, if so, the same will hold good with 
regard to certain smaller mammals of an Oriental type, 
such as civets. 

We are now in a position to consider how the animals 
of Celebes compare with those of the neighbouring islands. 
Now, the only mammals of a purely Australian type found 
in that island are two species of cuscuses — sleepy creatures, 
with beautifully soft fur, often very brilliantly coloured, 
and showing great individual or sexual variation in the 
markings. They are near relatives of the so-called 
opossums (phalangers) of Australia, and are entirely arboreal 
creatures, passing the day comfortably coiled up in slumber 


and feeding at night. If these creatures were of a type 
near to that from which the other marsupials of Australia 
have sprung, they might be considered as survivors from 
a migration of marsupials which it has been suggested 
took place at a remote epoch from Asia to Australia. But 
they are not so, and it is therefore clear that this hypo- 
thesis will not account for their presence in the island. 
As they are so completely arboreal in their habits, they 
are, however, just the kind of creatures which we might 
naturally expect to be wafted from one island to another on 
floating timber; and it is far from improbable that it is to 
this mode of transport they owe their presence in Celebes. 
All the other mammals are of an Oriental type, although 
several of them are quite unlike their relatives on the 
mainland and other islands. Among them one of the 
most remarkable is the babirusa, a curious little pig in 
which the tusks of both jaws in the males attain a most 
extraordinary development, the lower ones rising straight 
upwards, while the upper ones grow right through the 
skull to curve backwards in a bold sweep towards the 
eyes. Although nothing definitely is known as to the 
origin of this strange animal, yet it is evidently a highly 
specialised offshoot from the ancestral pigs of Asia. Equally 
peculiar is the tiny little black buffalo, or anoa, described 
in another article, which is not much larger than a good- 
sized ram, and has upright horns quite unlike those of the 
ordinary Asiatic buffalo. In the island of Mindanao, the 
most southern of the Philippine group, there is, however, 
a considerably larger buffalo, known as the tamarao, which 
serves to connect the anoa with the ordinary Asiatic species. 
More important still is the occurrence in the Tertiary 
deposits of Northern India of several species of buffaloes 
intimately related to the anoa. Clearly, then, this animal 


has originated from an Oriental stock, and the occurrence 
of an allied species in the Philippines tends to show that 
these islands were connected at no very remote epoch with 
Celebes. Now the Philippines themselves, as shown by 
their deer, have intimate relationships with Borneo, and 
thus with the mainland. 

The deer reported to occur in the island is a variety of 
the rusa of Java, and apparently identical with the form 
found in the Moluccas. It is generally considered to have 
been introduced, but as Celebes shows so many signs of 
affinity with the more western Malay islands in its animals, 
this does not by any means appear certain. Anyway, the 
Moluccan race may well have been exported from Celebes 
by the Malays. 

The next most noteworthy animals in the mammalian 
fauna of the island are two species of monkeys, both 
remarkable for their black colour. The first of these is 
the short-tailed black baboon, a species representing a 
genus by itself, but with relationships to the true baboons 
of Africa and South-West Asia. Such relationship, from a 
geographical point of view, might seem difficult to account 
for, and to those who neglect the animals of a past epoch 
it would appear well-nigh inexplicable. But it happens 
that extinct baboons occur in India ; and as they doubtless 
also existed in other parts of the Oriental region, there 
is no difficulty in accounting for the origin of the Cele- 
besian representative of the group. The other species — the 
moor macaque — belongs to a widely spread Oriental genus. 

But the most curious of all the mammals of the island 
is a species of tarsier — small creatures with enormous 
goggle eyes, slender, lanky limbs, and toes terminating 
in suckers, distantly related to the lemurs. Now, these 
tarsiers are strictly limited to the islands of Sumatra, 



Borneo, Java, Celebes, and Mindanao, together with some 
of the neighbouring islets, and are totally unknown to the 
eastward of the Molucca Sea. Although, being arboreal 
animals, it may be argued that, like the cuscuses of Celebes, 
they may have been carried about by floating timber, yet 
it seems in the highest degree unlikely they should have 
reached all the islands with an Oriental type of fauna and 
avoided all those where the true Australian type comes 
in. Moreover, they are very delicate animals, exceedingly 
difficult to keep alive in captivity, and there is accordingly 
a strong probability that they are native to the islands 
where they occur. Like so many of its other animals, the 
tarsier of Celebes is black — as, indeed, are the species 
from the other islands. 

So far, then, as their mammals are concerned, it seems 
probable that at no very distant epoch Celebes, Borneo, 
and the Philippines formed one land area; while Borneo 
itself was connected with the mainland, probably by way 
of Sumatra, the orang and some other species being common 
to these two islands and unknown elsewhere. It is further 
probable that Celebes, and most likely a portion of the 
Philippines, became isolated before Borneo ceased to be 
connected with Sumatra — or at all events with the main- 
land. Possibly this early separation may account for a 
very curious difference between the fresh-water fishes of 
the two areas ; Celebes having no carps {Cyprinidae) or 
cat-fishes {Siluridae), both of which are abundant in Borneo, 
as in Asia generally. With regard to the south-western 
portion of the Philippine group, it is important to notice 
that the island of Palawan shows evidence of a closer con- 
nection with Borneo than with the rest of the archipelago 
to which it belongs. On the other hand, the mountains 
of Luzon, in the Northern Philippines, are the home of 


a remarkable group of rats, some of which show affinity 
to those inhabiting Austraha ; and it therefore seems 
highly likely that the Philippines mark a portion of the 
line by which Asia was probably in communication at a 
still earlier epoch with New Guinea and Australia. Still, 
there are some difficulties in this view of the case, because 
the more primitive types of marsupials now found in 
Australia are at present unknown in New Guinea. Possibly, 
however, some still remain to be discovered in the un- 
explored mountains of that country ; while, since the ex- 
ploration of the Luzon Mountains by the late Mr. John 
Whitehead yielded such wonderful zoological results, there 
is the possibility that when the mountains of the other 
islands have been as carefully worked we may find a few 
marsupials still surviving. Should such a fortunate "find " 
turn up we should have much support to the view that 
the ancestors of the present fauna of Australia travelled 
from Asia by way of the eastern archipelago. 

There are many other points connected with the present 
distribution of animal life in this wonderful region, and 
their bearing on the former relations of the various islands 
to one another, to which the limits of this article forbid 
reference. A word may, however, be said in reference to 
Timor, which, as already mentioned, forms the eastern 
extremity of the line of the Sunda Islands — that is to say, 
the fine including Sumatra, Java, and Flores, which is 
evidently a broken-up peninsula. By most writers that 
portion of the chain lying to the eastward of Java and 
Bali has been assigned to the Australasian region, and it 
has consequently been assumed that the deer found in 
Timor must have been introduced by man. Timor and 
Flores also contain several other mammals common to the 
Oriental region, notably a monkey, a civet, a porcupine, 


and a palm-civet ; and although it is quite possible that 
they may have been introduced by the Malays (as some of 
them appear to have been into the Moluccas), the absence 
of any typically Australasian mammals except a cuscus 
(whose presence may be accounted for in the same way as 
in Celebes) is, to say the least, very remarkable. More- 
over, the birds of Timor show at least as many Oriental 
as Australasian features, and it accordingly seems more 
consonant with the known facts to regard the whole 
chain of the Sunda Islands, which are geographically one, 
as having formed a part of the old Asiatic continent. 

Possibly my readers may think I have written a very 
dull and uninteresting article, and that it is a matter of 
very little importance indeed what were the former relations 
of a number of obscure Malay islands. And in one sense 
this is undoubtedly the case. But all those who have once 
essayed the study of the distribution of animals cannot fail 
to be fascinated by the problems it presents ; and in no 
case are these problems more difficult to solve than in the 
eastern islands of the Malay Archipelago. As evidence of 
the interest attaching to Celebes, I cannot do better than 
conclude by an extract from Dr. Wallace's " Island Life." 

" There is no other example," it is written, " on the 
globe of an island so closely surrounded by other islands 
on every side, yet preserving such a marked individuality 
in its forms of life ; while, as regards the special features 
which characterise its insects, it is, so far as is yet known, 
absolutely unique. Unfortunately, very little is known of 
the botany of Celebes, but it seems probable that its plants 
will to some extent partake of the speciality which so 
markedly distinguishes its animals ; and there is here a 
rich field for any botanist who is able to penetrate to the 
forest-clad mountains of its interior." 


A FEW years ago deep boring operations were undertaken 
in the island of Funafuti, in the Ellice group of Polynesia, 
with the primary object of ascertaining the depth to which 
coral-rock, or limestone of coral origin, extends. As it was 
found that such coral-made material extended to depths 
far below the level at which living coral can exist, evidence 
was afforded that the island had subsided. And as sub- 
sidence was thus proved to have taken place in a single 
island selected almost at random, the conclusion could 
hardly be resisted that the greater part, if not the whole, 
of Polynesia must likewise be a subsiding area, or, in other 
words, the remnants of a drowned continent, some of the 
higher lands of which are indicated by the atolls and other 
islands of the Coral Sea. This raises the whole question as 
to the permanence or otherwise of the great oceanic basins 
and continental areas of the globe : a subject, it need 
scarcely be said, having not only an intense interest of its 
own, but also one of the utmost importance in regard to 
many puzzling problems connected with the present and 
past geographical distribution of terrestrial animals and 
plants on the surface of the globe. 

Although it might well have been thought that opinion 
in scientific matters would be unlikely to veer suddenly 
round, and after tending strongly in one direction incline 
with equal force in the one immediately opposite, yet 



there are few instances where the swing of the pendulum 
of opinion to one side has been more swiftly followed by 
its oscillation to the other than has been the case in the 
problem of the permanency of continents and oceans. 
When geology first began to take rank among the exact 
sciences, and it was demonstrated that most of the shells 
and other fossils found in the solid rocks of many of 
our continents and islands were of marine origin, it was a 
natural, if hasty, conclusion that land and sea had been 
perpetually changing places, and that what is now the 
centre of a continent might comparatively recently have 
been an ocean abyss. Accordingly, when any difficulty 
in finding an adequate explanation in regard to the 
geographical distribution of the animals or plants of two 
or more continents or islands occurred, the aid of an 
" Atlantis " or a " Lemuria " was at once invoked without 
misgiving, and a path thus indicated across which the 
inhabitants of one isolated area could easily have passed 
to another. 

This was one swing of the pendulum. But as the 
methods of geological observation and investigation became 
more exact and critical, it was soon obvious that, in many 
areas at least, the alternations between sea and land could 
not have been so frequent or so general as had been at 
first supposed. It was, indeed, perfectly true that many 
portions of some of our present continents had for long 
periods been submerged, or had been at intervals alter- 
nately land and sea. But at the same time it began to 
be realised that the fossihferous marine deposits commonly 
met with on continents and large islands were not of such 
a nature that they could have been laid down in depths 
at all comparable to those now existing in certain parts of 
the basin of the Atlantic. Even a formation like our 


English chalk, which had been supposed to have analogies 
with the modern Atlantic deposits, appears to have been 
laid down in a sea of much less depth and extent, and 
probably more nearly comparable with the modern Medi- 
terranean. Then, again, it was found that large tracts in 
some of our present continents, such as Africa and India, 
had existed as dry land throughout a very considerable 
portion of geological time. Moreover, it was asserted that 
no formations exactly comparable to those now in course 
of deposition in the ocean abysses could be detected in 
any of our existing continents or islands ; while it was 
further urged that in none of the so-called oceanic islands 
(that is, those rising from great depths at long distances 
from the continental areas) were there either fossiliferous 
or metamorphic rocks similar to those of the continents 
and larger continental islands. 

This was the second swing of the pendulum, and for a 
long period it was confidently asserted that where con- 
tinents now exist there had never been any excessive 
depth of ocean ; and, conversely, that in the areas now 
occupied by the great ocean abysses there had never been 
land during any of the later geological epochs. It was, 
indeed, practically affirmed that wherever the sounding-line 
indicates a thousand fathoms or more of water, there sea 
had been practically always, and that no part of the 
present continents had ever been submerged to anything 
like that depth. 

Almost as soon as the pendulum of opinion had attained 
the full limits of its swing in this direction (and this swing 
had been largely due to the influence of geologists and 
physicists), there began to be signs of its return to a less 
extreme position. It was, in the first place, proved that 
a few deposits — and these of comparatively recent date — 


analogous to those of the ocean abysses do occur in 
certain areas. And, in the second place, it was shown 
that a few oceanic islands do contain rocks like those of 
the continents, and are not solely of volcanic or organic 
origin. Zoological and palaeontological discoveries were at 
the same time making rapid advances ; and the students 
of these branches of science, who had been among the 
foremost in giving the swing of the pendulum on the side 
of continental instability its first impulse, now began to 
press their views — only in a more moderate manner — in 
the same direction. Evidence had long been accumulating 
as to the identity of certain fresh-water formations and 
their included animal and plant remains occurring in South 
America, South Africa, India, and Australia ; and it was 
urged that during the Secondary period of geological history 
not only was Africa connected with India by way of 
Madagascar and the Seychelles, but that land extended 
across what is now the South Atlantic to connect the Cape 
with South America, and that probably India was likewise 
joined to Australia by way of the Malay Archipelago and 
islands. In fact, there seems good evidence to indicate that 
at this early epoch there was a land girdle in comparatively 
low latitudes encircling some three-fourths of the earth's 
circumference from Peru to New Zealand and Fiji. 

Even taking into account its comparatively early date, 
the existence of this girdle of land, the evidence in favour 
of which can scarcely be shaken, gave a heavy blow to 
the adherents of the absolute permanency of continents 
and oceans, as it clearly indicates the relatively modern 
origin of the basin of the South Atlantic. But this is not 
all : South America, which, as mentioned in an earlier article, 
was once more or less completely cut off from the northern 
half of the New World, shows certain indications of affinity 


in its fauna with that of Europe in early Tertiary times, 
and to a certain extent with that of modern Africa ; and 
the most satisfactory way of explaining these relationships 
is by assuming either the persistence of a land connection 
between the Cape and South America across, the South 
Atlantic till a comparatively late geological epoch, or that 
such connection took place farther south by means of the 
Antarctic continent. There are several objections, which 
need not be considered here, in regard to the latter alter- 
native, and since there is other evidence in favour of the 
comparatively recent origin of the South Atlantic depres- 
sion, the persistence of a land connection in lower 
latitudes seems the more probable explanation. 

In addition to all this there are indications of a relation- 
ship between the land faunas of Australasia and South 
America; and as similar types are not met with in Africa, 
and several of them belong to groups unlikely to have 
endured Antarctic cold, it has been suggested that America 
and Australasia were in connection at no very remote epoch 
by way of the Coral Sea. It is known, for instance, that 
some of the AustraUan marsupials are more or less closely 
allied to others which inhabited South America before it 
was connected with North America ; and as no kindred 
types are met with either in the latter area, in Europe, 
or in Africa, a land connection by way of the South Pacific, 
and that at a comparatively recent epoch, offers almost the 
only satisfactory explanation of the means of transit, if the 
Antarctic theory be rejected. And it may be mentioned 
in passing that the acceptance of even the latter would 
imply a large modification from the existing distribution 
of land and water in the southern hemisphere. Similar 
evidence is afforded by certain extinct tortoises common 
to South America and Australia, 


But the evidence for a land connection by way of the 
Pacific does not by any means rest on the testimony of 
marsupials and tortoises alone. Passing over certain 
groups, it may be mentioned that the earthworms of 
Australia and New Zealand are strangely like those of 
Patagonia, and have no very near relatives in Africa ; 
while an almost equally strong affinity is stated to exist 
between the Patagonian and Polynesian land-slugs. Neither 
of these groups of animals are fitted to withstand the cold 
of high latitudes, and it is difficult to see how the members 
of the second, at any rate, could have reached the two 
areas by any other means than a direct land connection. 

Turning to the reports of the Funafuti boring, it appears 
that this has been carried far below the limits of coral 
life, and was still in coral limestone. So far, therefore, 
the advocates of the theory that Polynesia is the remains 
of a sunken continent have scored a great triumph ; and 
although there is still the possibility that some of the 
atolls in this vast area may prove to be perched on the 
denuded summits of extinct submarine volcanoes, even 
this would not interfere with the general conclusion. If 
deeper borings should result in touching rocks more or 
less similar to ordinary continental sedimentary deposits 
or metamorphic crystallines, an even firmer basis would 
be afforded to the hypothesis of subsidence which has 
now received such striking confirmation. 

As the result of the boring, it appears, then, that there 
is a possibility that the community between the South 
American and Australasian faunas may admit of being 
explained by means of a direct land connection between 
the two areas at a comparatively recent geological date. 
Even, however, if this explanation receive future support 
and acceptation, there are, as in all similar cases, still 


many difficulties with which to contend. One of these 
is the practical absence of all non-volant mammals from 
Polynesia, with the exception of the Solomon group, where 
a few cuscuses and rats are found. But the case of the 
West Indies — where there is every probability that there 
was formerly a large mammalian fauna, the majority of 
which were drowned by submergence — may very likely 
afford the solution of the difficulty. Worms and slugs 
would probably find means of survival in circumstances 
where mammalian Yik would disappear. This explanation 
will, however, clearly not apply in the case of New Zealand, 
where, if mammals had ever existed, their remains would 
almost certainly have been discovered. It must be assumed, 
then, that if Polynesia was the route by which the faunas 
of Australia and Patagonia were formerly connected, New 
Zealand was at that time isolated. And, indeed, seeing 
that the presumed land connection between the areas in 
question must have existed at a comparatively late epoch, 
it is most likely that the ancient Polynesian land was 
already broken up to a considerable extent into islands and 
archipelagos, so that the main line of communication may 
have been but narrow, and from time to time interrupted. 
Indeed, it must almost of necessity have been very in- 
complete and of short duration after the introduction of 
modern forms of life, as otherwise the types common to 
Australia and Patagonia would have been much more 
numerous than we find to be the case. Hence there is 
no improbability in the suggested isolation of New Zealand 
during the period in question. 

But, putting these interesting speculations aside, the 
results of the Funafuti boring indicate almost without 
doubt that Polynesia is an area of comparatively recent 
subsidence, and it has already been mentioned that there 


are good reasons for regarding a large part of the basin 
of the South Atlantic as of no great antiquity, while the 
area of the Indian Ocean seems to have been considerably 
enlarged during the later geological epochs. Apparently, 
therefore, the great extent of ocean at present characteristic 
of the southern hemisphere is a relatively modern feature. 

Hence it is clear that the extreme views prevalent a few 
years ago as to the absolute permanency of the existing 
continental and oceanic areas stand in need of some 
degree of modification. And what we have now to avoid 
is that the pendulum should not once more take too long 
a swing in the opposite direction. 

So far as the great continental masses of the northern 
hemisphere are concerned, it would appear that portions 
of these have always existed to a greater or lesser extent 
as land. But the great extent and homogeneous character 
of formations like the Mountain Limestone, the Chalk, and 
the NummuUtic Limestone, suggest that sea was much 
more prevalent in this area than it is at present, and that, 
so far as the Old World is concerned, the continental area 
has been growing. The North Atlantic, and probably also 
the North Pacific, may apparently be regarded as basins 
of great antiquity. On the other hand, in the southern 
hemisphere, although Africa, parts of Australia, and at 
least some portions of South America, are evidently land 
surfaces of great antiquity, they, together with the islands 
of the Coral Sea, seem to be mere remnants of a much 
more extensive southern continent or continents. Con- 
versely the southern oceans have gained in area by swallow- 
ing up these long-lost lands. Obviously, then, although 
true in a degree, continental permanency has not been 
the only factor in the evolution of the present surface of 
the globe, 


If popular errors connected with matters scientific are hard 
to kill, still more is this the case when the erroneous 
opinions have been held by scientists themselves. The 
idea that flints and other stones grow is, I have good 
reason to believe, still far from extinct among the non- 
scientific, and it is not improbable that there are persons 
possessing some acquaintance with science who still cherish 
the belief that deserts are uninterrupted plains of smooth 
sand, originally deposited at the bottom of the sea, from 
which they have been raised at a comparatively recent 
epoch. At any rate, there are several books, published 
not very many years ago, in which it is stated in so many 
words that the Sahara represents the bed of an ancient 
sea, which formerly separated Northern Africa from the 
regions to the southward of the tropics. 

As a matter of fact, these opinions with regard to the 
origin and nature of deserts are scarcely, if at all, less 
erroneous than the deeply ingrained popular superstition 
as to the growth of flints and pudding-stones. And a 
little reflection will show that the idea of the loose sands 
of the desert being a marine deposit must necessarily be 
erroneous. Apart from the difficulty of accounting for the 
accumulation of such vast tracts of sand on the marine 
hypothesis, it will be noticed, in the first place, that desert- 
sands are not stratified in the manner characteristic of 



aqueous formations ; and, secondly, even supposing that 
they had been so deposited, they would almost certainly 
have been washed away as the land rose from beneath 
the sea. Then, again, we do not meet with marine shells 
in the desert-sands, of which at least some traces ought 
to have been left had they been marine deposits of com- 
paratively modern age. 

Whether or no the subjacent strata have ever been 
beneath the ocean, it is absolutely certain that the sands 
of all the great deserts of the world have been formed in 
situ by the disintegration of the solid rocks on which they 
rest, and have been blown about and rearranged by the 
action of wind alone. All deserts are situated in districts 
where the winds blowing from the ocean's surface have 
to pass over mountains or extensive tracts of land, which 
drain them more or less completely of their load of 
moisture. Hence, in the desert itself, when of the typical 
kind, little or no rain falls, and there is consequently 
no flow of water to wash away the debris resulting from 
the action of the atmosphere on the rocks below. 

In other words, as has been well said, desert-sands 
correspond in all respects, so far as their mode of origin 
is concerned, to the dust and sand which accumulate on 
our high roads during a dry summer. On our highways, 
indeed, the summer's dust and sand are removed by the 
rains of autumn and winter, only to be renewed the following 
season ; but in a desert no such removal takes place, and 
the amount of sand increases year by year, owing to the 
disintegration of the solid rock here and there exposed. 

Only one degree less untrue than the idea of their 
submarine origin is the notion that deserts consist of 
unbroken tracts of sand. It is true that such tracts in 
certain districts may extend on every side as far as the 


eye can reach, and even much farther ; but sooner or 
later ridges and bands of pebbles, or of solid rock, will 
be met with cropping up among the sand, while fre- 
quently, as in the Libyan Desert, there are mountain 
ranges rising to a height of several thousand feet above 
the level of the plain. And it is these exposed rocks 
which form the source whence the sand was, and still is, 
derived. These mountains naturally attract what moisture 
may remain in the air, and in their valleys are found a 
more or less luxuriant vegetation. Oases, too, where the 
soil is more or less clayey, occur in most deserts ; and it 
is in such spots that animal and vegetable life attains 
the maximum development possible in the heart of the 

In the most arid and typical part of the Libyan Desert 
the sand is blown into large dunes, which are frequently 
flat-topped, and show horizontal bands of imperfectly con- 
solidated rock ; and between these are open valleys, partly 
covered with sand and partly strewn with blocks of rock 
polished and scored by the sand-blast. In such sand- 
wastes the traveller may journey for days without seeing 
signs of vegetation or hearing the call of a bird or the 
hum of an insect's wing. But even in many of such dis- 
tricts it is a mistake to suppose that vegetable and animal 
life is entirely absent throughout the year. In the western 
Sahara, for instance, showers generally moisten the ground 
two or three times a year; and after each of these a 
short-lived vegetation springs suddenly up, and if no other 
form of animal life is observable, at least a few passing 
birds may be noticed. 

Among the most important and extensive deserts of the 
world we have first the great Sahara, with an approximate 
area of sixteen thousand square miles, nearly connected 


with which is the great desert tract extending through 
Arabia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia. By means of 
the more or less desert tracts of Baluchistan, Sind, and 
Kuch, this area leads on to the great Rajputana Desert 
of India. More important is the vast Gobi Desert of 
Mongolia, and other parts of Central Asia. In Southern 
Africa there is the great Kalahari Desert, of which more 
anon. In North America there is a large desert tract 
lying east of the Rocky Mountains, and including a great 
part of Sonora ; while in the southern half of the New 
World there is the desert of Atacama, on the borders of 
Peru and Chili. Lastly, the whole of the interior of 
Australia is desert of the most arid and typical description. 
But among these there are deserts and deserts. Tracts 
of the typical barren, sandy type are, as already said, 
extensively developed in the Sahara, as they are in the 
Gobi and the Australian deserts. Between such and the 
plains of the African veldt there is an almost complete 
transition, so that it is sometimes hard to say whether 
a given tract rightly comes under the designation of a 
desert at all. A case in point is afforded by the South 
African Kalahari. Although there are endless rolling dunes 
of trackless sand, and rivers are unknown, yet in many 
places there is extensive forest, and after a rain large 
tracts could scarcely be called a desert at all. Mr. H. A. 
Bryden, for instance, when describing the Kalahari, writes 
as follows : " And yet, during the brief weeks of rainfall, 
no land can assume a fairer or more tempting aspect. 
The long grasses shoot up green, succulent, and elbow- 
deep ; flowers spangle the veldt in every direction ; the 
giraffe-acacia forests, robed in a fresh dark green, remind 
one of nothing so much as an English deer-park ; the 
bushes blossom and flourish ; the air is full of fragrance ; 


and pans of water lie upon every hand. Another month 
and all is drought ; the pans are dry again, and travel is 
full of difficulty." During the grassy season herds of 
springbok used to migrate in the old days to the Kala- 
hari, in the northern part of which giraffes live the whole 
year, although they must exist without tasting water for 

Although such a district can scarcely be termed a 
desert in the proper sense of the word, yet its sands have 
precisely the same origin as those of deserts of the typical 

For sand to accumulate to the depths in which it occurs 
in many parts of the Sahara and the Gobi by the slow 
disintegration of the solid rocks under the action of 
atmospheric agencies must require an enormous amount 
of time, to be reckoned certainly by thousands, and, for all 
we know, possibly by millions of years. And we accord- 
ingly arrive at the conclusion that the larger desert tracts 
must not only have existed as land for an incalculable period, 
but also as desert. Hence we can readily understand why 
the animals of Algeria and the rest of Northern Africa 
differ for the most part from that portion of the continent 
lying to the south of the northern tropic, the Sahara 
having for ages acted as an impassable barrier to most, if 
not all. 

But if other evidence were requisite, there is another 
reason which would alone suffice to compel us to regard 
deserts as areas of great antiquity. The habitable parts 
of all deserts — and it is difficult for the inexperienced 
to realise that barren tracts will suffice for the mainten- 
ance of animal life — are the dwelling-places of many 
animals whose colour has become specially modified to the 
needs of their environment. And it will be quite obvious 



that such modifications of colour, especially when they 
occur in animals belonging to many widely sundered 
groups, cannot have taken place suddenly, but must have 
been due to very gradual changes as the particular 
species adapted itself more and more completely to a 
desert existence. 

To obtain an idea of the type of coloration character- 
istic of the smaller desert animals, the reader cannot do 
better than pay a visit to the Natural History branch of 
the British Museum, where, in the Central Hall, he will 
find a case devoted to the display of a group from the 
Egyptian desert, mounted, so far as possible, according 
to their natural surroundings. 

Among such animals may be mentioned the beautiful 
little rodents respectively known as jerboas and gerbils, 
together with various birds, such as sand-grouse, the 
cream-coloured courser, the desert-lark, desert-finches, and 
desert-chat, and also various small snakes and lizards, 
among the latter being the common skink. Although 
some of the birds retain the black wing-quills of their 
allies, in all these creatures the general tone of coloration 
is extremely pale, browns, fawns, russets, olives, greys, 
with more or less of black and pink, being the pre- 
dominant tones ; and how admirably these harmonise with 
the inanimate surroundings one glance at the case in the 
Museum is sufficient to demonstrate. Very significant 
among these are the desert-finches {Erythrospiza), which 
belong to the brightly coloured group of rose-finches, 
one of these specially modified species ranging from the 
Canaries through the Sahara and Egypt to the Punjab, 
while the second is an inhabitant of the Mongolian desert. 
Among larger animals, a considerable number of the 
gazelles are desert-dwellers, these including the palest- 


coloured members of the group ; and lions are likewise 
to a great extent inhabitants of deserts — as, indeed, is 
true of tawny and pale-coloured animals in general. 

All the animals above mentioned belong, however, to 
widely spread groups, which are common to the desert 
tracts of both Africa and Asia, and they do not, therefore, 
serve to prove the antiquity of any particular desert, as 
they or their ancestors might have (and probably did) 
migrate from one desert to another. Birds of such groups 
are, of course, even more untrustworthy than mammals, 
owing to their power of flight. And among those referred 
to, some, such as the sand-grouse, can scarcely claim to 
be regarded as exclusively desert birds, since they are 
partial to any open sandy plains, like those of the Punjab, 
or even Norfolk. 

The case is, however, very different with certain of the 
larger mammals, a notable instance being afforded by the 
antelopes allied to the South African gemsbok (Oryx). 
All the members of this group are inhabitants of more or 
less sandy open districts, and never range eastwards of 
Arabia, or possibly Bushire. The gemsbok itself, together 
with the beisa of Eastern and North-eastern Africa, are 
inhabitants of districts which do not, for the most part, 
come under the designation of typical deserts. And we 
accordingly find that both are by no means very pale- 
coloured animals, while both are remarkable for the bold 
bands of sable ornamenting their face and limbs. On the 
borders of the Sahara there occurs, however, a very 
different member of the group — the sabre-horned oryx 
(O. leucoryx) — differing from the others by its curving horns, 
and likewise by the extreme pallor of its coloration, which 
is mostly dirty white, with pale chestnut on the neck and 
under-parts. Obviously this species has been specially 


modified as regards coloration for the exigencies of a purely 
desert existence, and as it is also structurally very different 
from all its existing kindred, it must clearly be looked upon 
as a very ancient type, which commenced its adaptation to 
the surroundings of the Sahara ages and ages ago. The 
Arabian desert is the home of another species of oryx 
{O. beatrix), which, although more nearly allied to the 
East African beisa, is a much smaller and paler-coloured 
creature. In this case also there would seem little doubt 
that the period when this animal first took to a purely desert 
existence must have been extremely remote. 

But an even more striking instance is afforded by 
another antelope remotely connected with the gemsbok, 
which is an inhabitant of the Sahara and the Arabian 
desert, and is commonly known as the addax. It is an 
isolated creature, with no near relation in the wide world, 
and is easily recognised by its dirty white colour, shaggy 
mane, and long twisted horns. It must have branched off 
at a very remote epoch from the gemsbok stock, and 
affords almost conclusive evidence of the antiquity of the 
deserts it inhabits, as we have no evidence of the occurrence 
of allied extinct species in other countries. 

Some degree of caution is, however, necessary in drawing 
conclusions that all isolated desert animals have been 
evolved in the precise districts they now inhabit. A case 
in point is afforded by the saiga, a pale-coloured antelope 
without any very near kindred, inhabiting the steppes of 
Eastern Russia and certain parts of Siberia, where it is 
accompanied by the hopping Kirghiz jerboa {Aladaga). 
Now, since fossilised remains of both these very peculiar 
animals have been discovered in the superficial deposits of 
the south-eastern counties of England, it is a fair inference 
that physical conditions similar to those of the steppes 


(which, by the way, are by no means true deserts) 
obtained in that part of our own country at an earlier 
epoch of its history. From their comparatively isolated 
position in the zoological system, as well as from their 
occurrence in the strata referred to, both these desert 
animals evidently indicate very ancient types, and they 
accordingly serve to show not only that the semi-desert 
steppe area formerly had a much greater western extension 
than at present, but probably also that the existing portion 
of that area dates from a very remote epoch. Hence 
they confirm the idea of the early origin of the present 
deserts of the Old World and their inhabitants. 

It will be gathered from the foregoing that the deserts 
and steppes of Africa and Asia possess a large number of 
animals belonging either to species which have no very 
near living relatives, or to altogether peculiar genera. In 
the Arizona Desert of the Sonoran area of North America 
it seems, however, to be the case that its fauna is largely 
composed of animals much more nearly related to those 
inhabiting the prairie or forest-lands of the adjacent 
districts, of which, in many cases at any rate, they con- 
stitute mere local races distinguished by their paler and 
more sandy type of coloration. This is well exemplified 
by the mule-deer, which in the Rocky Mountains is a 
comparatively dark and richly coloured animal, but be- 
comes markedly paler on the confines of the Arizona Desert, 
assuming again a more rich coloration when it reaches the 
humid extremity df the Californian peninsula. Most of 
the North American mammals, indeed, acquire similar 
pale tints as they reach the Arizona desert-tract, and a 
practised naturalist can pick out with comparative ease 
the specimens coming from this area from those of the 
moister districts. 


It is not easy to obtain information as to the physical 
features of the Arizona Desert as compared with the 
Sahara, and especially as to the amount of sand it contains 
area for area ; but, judging from the comparatively slight 
modifications which its mammals appear to have under- 
gone as compared with those of the more humid regions 
adjacent, it seems not unlikely that these deserts are of 
more modern origin than the Sahara and the Gobi. 

Whether or no it be true in this particular case, it may 
be laid down as a general rule that the greater the amount 
of sand to be found in a desert, and the greater the 
difference between the animals inhabiting that desert from 
those dwelling in the adjacent districts, the greater will be 
the antiquity of the desert itself. In the case of a desert 
forming a complete barrier across a continent, like the 
Sahara, if the animals on one side are quite different from 
those on the other, its antiquity will be conclusively 
demonstrated. If, on the other hand, they are more alike, 
the age of the desert will be proportionately less. 


If we take a map of the world, and, after tracing upon a 
sheet of thin paper the outUne of the British Islands, cut 
out the tracing and lay it upon India, we shall find that it 
covers a mere patch of that great area. Repeating the same 
process with India, and placing the tracing thus obtained 
on Africa in such a manner that the sharp angle on the 
tracing formed by Assam overlies the projecting point of 
Somaliland, which it almost exactly covers, it will be found 
that the whole area embraced in the tracing occupies only 
a small patch in the middle of the eastern side of the Dark 
Continent. As a matter of fact, the patch thus marked 
out ends in a blunt point northwardly some distance above 
Khartum, thence it runs south to the neighbourhood of the 
Victoria Nyanza, from which district it rapidly narrows to 
terminate in a sharp point a little distance to the southward 
of Zanzibar. Allowing some slight overlaps, no less than 
six Indias can indeed be traced on the map of Africa ; 
and as these leave between them and on their margins 
considerable spaces of the country still uncovered, it would 
be but a moderate estimate to say that Africa includes at 
least seven times the area of British India. Some idea, 
especially to those familiar with our vast Indian dominions, 
may in this manner be most readily gained of the huge 
extent of the African continent. 

Having made these comparisons of the actual size of the 



three areas under consideration, I must ask my readers to 
regard them for a moment from another point of view. 
Every one famiHar with the birds and mammals of the 
British Isles is aware that, even excluding Ireland, the same 
species are not found over the whole area. The Scottish 
hare, for instance, is specifically distinct from the ordinary 
English kind ; while the red grouse is unknown in the 
southern and eastern counties of England, and the ptarmigan 
is confined to the colder districts of Scotland. These are 
accordingly indications that even such a small area as 
the British Isles contains local assemblages of animals, or 
faunas, differing more or less markedly from those of 
other districts. 

Turning to India, we find such local faunas — as might 
be expected from its larger area — more distinctly defined, 
and more markedly different from one another. One great 
fauna occupies the southern slopes of the Himalaya from 
their base to about the upper limit of trees ; this fauna, 
which includes many peculiar types unknown elsewhere, 
being designated the Himalayan. The second, or typical 
Indian fauna, occupies the whole of India, from the foot of 
the Himalaya to Cape Comorin, exclusive of the Malabar 
coast, but inclusive of the north of Ceylon. The third, 
or Malabar fauna, occupies the Malabar coast and some of 
the neighbouring hills, together with the south of Ceylon ; 
the animals of these districts being very different from 
those of the rest of India. The fourth, or Burmese fauna, 
embraces only the province of Assam, in what we commonly 
term India ; and many of its animals, again, although of the 
general Oriental type, are very different from those of 
the other districts. But even such divisions by no means 
give the full extent of the local differences between the 
animals of the whole area. In the second or typical area, 


for example, the creatures inhabiting the open districts of 
the Punjab and the North-West Provinces display re- 
markable differences from those dwelling in the forests of 
Southern India (the home of the strange loris) ; while the 
dwellers in the jungly tract of the south-western districts 
of Bengal are equally distinct from those of either of the 
other areas. 

Seeing, then, that while slight differences are observable 
in the local faunas of such a small area as the British 
Islands, and that much more important ones characterise 
the different zoological provinces of the vastly larger extent 
of country forming British India, it is but natural to suppose 
that distinctions of still higher value would be characteristic 
of different parts of Africa, accordingly as they differ from 
one another in climate, and consequently in vegetable 

As a matter of fact, such differences do occur to a most 
marked degree ; but when the vast superiority of Africa 
over India is taken into consideration, the marvel is that 
the fauna of the greater part of that area is not more 
dissimilar than it is, and that it has been found possible 
to include the more typical portion of the continent in one 
great zoological region or province. 

But the reader will naturally inquire what is meant by 
calling one portion of a continent more typical than the 
rest. As has been pointed out in the last article, Northern 
Africa has, so far as its animals are concerned, been cut off 
from the districts lying south of the Tropic of Cancer by 
the great barrier formed by the Sahara ; and as the animals 
of the districts to the north of that desert are for the 
most part of a European type, while Southern Europe and 
Northern Africa were evidently joined by land at no very 
distant epoch of the earth's history, the districts north of 


the Sahara are for zoological purposes regarded as part 
of Europe and Asia. Typical, or Ethiopian Africa, as it is 
more generally termed, includes, therefore, only such portion 
of the continent as lies to the south of the northern tropic. 

But some critical reader may perhaps be led to remark 
that some at least of the animals of Northern Africa 
are common to the south ; the lion, whose range extends 
from Algeria to the Cape, affording a case in point. To 
this it may be replied that, popular prejudice notwith- 
standing, the lion cannot in any sense be looked upon as 
a characteristic African animal. Although year by year 
growing rarer, it to this day still lingers on in certain parts 
of Western India, while it is likewise found in Persia and 
Mesopotamia, and within the historic period was common in 
South-Eastern Europe. At a still earlier epoch, as attested 
by its fossilised remains, it was an inhabitant of our own 
island. It may, therefore, to a certain degree be regarded 
as a cosmopolitan animal, which may have obtained entrance 
into Africa by more than one route. In a minor degree 
the same may be said of the hippopotamus, which was 
formerly found in the lower reaches of the Nile, and at 
a much earlier epoch in many parts of Europe, inclusive 
of Britain. Being an aquatic animal, it can avail itself of 
routes of communication which are closed to purely terrestrial 

Of the fauna of typical Africa, as a whole, some of the 
most striking features are of a negative nature ; that is to 
say, certain groups which are widely spread in most other 
districts of the Old World are conspicuous by their absence. 
This deficiency is most marked in the case of bears and 
deer, neither of which are represented throughout the whole 
of this vast expanse of country. Pigs allied to the wild 
swine of Europe and India are likewise lacking, their place 


being taken by the bush-pigs and the hideous wart-hogs, 
both of which are among the most characteristic of African 
animals. Except for a couple of species of ibex in the hills 
of the north-east, sheep and goats are likewise unknown 
in a wild state. Among other absentees in the fauna, 
special mention may be made of marmots, and their near 
allies the susliks, as well as of voles, beavers, and moles. 

Of the mammals (and space permits of scarcely any 
reference to other groups) which may be regarded as 
characteristic of typical Africa as a whole, the following, in 
addition to the bush-pigs and wart-hogs already mentioned, 
are some of the most important. Among the monkeys the 
most widely distributed are the hideous baboons {Papio\ 
now restricted to Africa and Arabia, the southern portion 
of the latter country being included in the same great 
zoological province. The guenons {Cercopithecus), species 
of which are the monkeys commonly led about by organ- 
grinders, have also a wide distribution on the continent, 
although of course more abundant in the forest regions 
than elsewhere ; and the guerezas {Colobus), one of which 
is described in a later article, have also a considerable 
range. In a totally different group, the curious little 
jumping-shrews {Macroscelides) form a peculiarly charac- 
teristic family of African mammals belonging to the 
insectivorous order. There are also many peculiar genera of 
mongooses, but as most of these have a more or less local 
distribution, they can scarcely be considered characteristic 
of the continent as a whole ; still, they are quite different 
from those found elsewhere. A very curious carnivorous 
mammal known as the aard-wolf {Protelcs), strikingly like 
a small striped hyaena, is not the least peculiar among the 
animals of Africa, where it has a comparatively wide range. 
The hunting-dog {Lycaon), which presents a considerable 


resemblance to the spotted hyaena, is an equally remarkable 
representative of the dog family. Although formerly found in 
Europe, the spotted hyaena itself is now exclusively African. 

Passing by the rodents, or gnawing mammals, as being 
less familiar to non-zoological readers, we have the two 
species of hippopotamuses absolutely confined to Africa at the 
present day ; we are all familiar with the common species 
in the "Zoo," but the small West African kind, which has 
more the habits of a pig, is much less commonly known. 

The stately giraffes are solely African, but are mainly 
confined to more or less open districts ; while their ally 
the okapi is a forest species. The herds of antelopes, for 
the most part belonging to generic types unknown elsewhere, 
with the exception of a few in Arabia, form one of the most 
distinctive features of African life. Many of them, like the 
strange gnus and the graceful gemsbok group, are confined 
to the open districts of the south and east ; but others, 
such as the bush-bucks and the harnessed antelopes, have 
representatives in the forest districts of the west. Both 
species of African rhinoceros are quite different from their 
Oriental relatives ; but only one of these, the common 
species, has a wide distribution in the country. Zebras 
and the extinct quagga are familiar and striking African 
animals, although most of them are confined to the open 
plains and mountains. On the other hand, the African 
elephant, which differs so widely in the structure of its 
teeth from its Asiatic relative, has a much more extensive 
distribution, and may therefore be classed among the most 
characteristic of Ethiopian animals. Even more peculiar 
are the little dassies {Procavia), the miscalled coneys of 
our version of the Bible, which form a family absolutely 
peculiar to Africa, Arabia, and Syria ; some of the species 
dwelling among rocks, while others are active climbers, and 






^m ':m 

African Elephants. 

\_Tofacep. 140 


frequent the forest districts. But perhaps the strangest 
mammal that may be regarded as characteristic of Africa 
as a whole is the aard-vark {Oryderopus), commonly known 
to the colonists as the ant-pig. It is a strangely isolated 
creature, having at the present day no near relations, 
either poor or otherwise. 

The African buffaloes, with their several races or species, 
also belong to a type quite peculiar to the continent. To 
a great extent the ostrich is characteristic of Africa and 
Arabia, although there is evidence to show that it formerly 
enjoyed a considerable range in parts of Asia. 

The above are only a few of the more striking instances 
showing how different are the animals of Africa as a whole 
from those of the rest of the world. Many others might be 
added, but they would only weary my readers. Of course, 
there are many groups, like the cats, common to other 
countries, the lion and the leopard being found alike in 
Africa and India ; but such do not detract from the pecu- 
liarity of the African fauna as a whole. And here it may 
be mentioned that a large proportion of the types now 
peculiar to the Dark Continent once had a much wider 
geographical range, fossil remains of baboons, giraffes, 
hippopotamuses, ostriches, antelopes of an African type, 
and not improbably zebras, having been discovered in the 
Tertiary deposits of India. 

But if the animals of Africa as a whole stand out in 
marked contrast to those of the rest of the world, much 
more is this the case when those characteristic of certain 
districts of that huge continent are alone taken into con- 
sideration. And most especially is this the case with the 
inhabitants of the great tropical forest districts extending 
from the west coast far into the interior of the continent — • 
reaching, in fact, the watershed between the basins of the 


Congo and the Nile in the neighbourhood of Wadelai. As 
a large number of the peculiar animals of this district are 
more or less exclusively confined to the west coast, extend- 
ing from Sierra Leone to the Congo, the area is appropriately 
termed the West African sub-region. It is here alone that 
we find the gorilla and the chimpanzee, the former being 
restricted to the neighbourhood of the coast, whereas the 
latter ranges far into the heart of the continent. And this 
district is likewise the exclusive home of the pretty little 
mangabeys, or monkeys with white eyelids (Cercocebus). 
The galagos, which are near relatives of some of the 
lemurs of Madagascar, extend throughout the forest region ; 
but the even more curious pottos, or thumbless lemurs, are 
confined to the west coast. Huge and forbidding fox-bats, 
some of them with remarkable tufts of long white hairs on 
the shoulders, are likewise restricted to this portion of the 
tract, as is the insectivorous otter, or Potamogak, first 
discovered during the travels of Du Chaillu. The equatorial 
forest-tract is also the sole habitat of the African fl^^ing- 
squirrels, to which further reference is made in the sequel ; 
all these being distinguished from the flying-squirrels of Asia 
by the presence of a number of scales on the under-surface 
of the tail. Most of them belong to the genus Anomalunis, 
but the smallest of all forms a genus {Idiurus) by itself, 
while a flightless type {Zenkerclld) also belongs to the 
group. Dormice of peculiar types and tree-mice are also 
very characteristic of this tract. But far more generally 
interesting are the pigmy hippopotamus of Liberia and the 
water-chevrotain {Dorcatherium) of the west coast, the latter 
an ally of the chevrotains of India and the Malay countries. 
So far, indeed, as the equatorial forest tract fauna has any 
representative in other parts of the world, it is to the 
Malay Peninsula and its islands that the resemblance is 


closest. It is there alone that the other large manlike 
ape — the orang— dwells ; and there is a group of brush- 
tailed porcupines common to these two districts, and 
unknown elsewhere throughout the wide world. Both 
faunas, however, in all probability trace their descent from 
the animals inhabiting Europe during the Pliocene and 
Miocene epochs, among which was an extinct species of 
water-chevrotain. As already mentioned, the okapi is 
restricted to the forest area, as is the beautiful white-striped 
bongo antelope, and its much smaller relative the zebra- 

The other great sub-regions include the open grazing 
grounds and mountains of South and East Africa, the fauna 
of which is quite different from that of the equatorial forest- 
tract. Minor divisions may also be recognised in this area, 
the Cape having many animals not found farther north. 
Among the latter are the extinct quagga, the pretty little 
meerkat {Suricata), and the Cape sand-mole {Bathyergus), 
which, by the wa}^, has nothing to do with the true moles, 
being a member of the rodent order. The tract as a whole 
may be termed the east central sub-region ; and to it belong 
the great hosts of antelopes, the zebras, and the aard-wolf 
and hunting-dog. Very characteristic of the southern and 
eastern parts of this tract are the beautiful golden moles 
(Chrysocklori's), unique among mammals for the lovely play 
of iridescent colours on the fur, and which have nothing 
in common with the moles of Europe and Asia. To 
the northward, in Abyssinia, this tract is the home of 
another very remarkable animal, the great gelada baboon 
{Theropithecus), easily recognised by the lionlike mantle of 
long hair on the forequarters, whose nearest relative is 
the Arabian baboon. 

Whether SomaUIand should be included in this area, or 


should have a division to itself, may admit of argument ; 
but at any rate it has many peculiar animals, among which 
are a number of antelopes. 

Lastly we have the Saharan sub-region, which contains a 
comparatively limited fauna, passing by almost insensible 
degrees into that of Northern Africa. 

In some respects, especially in its galagos, the fauna of 
Africa presents a certain resemblance to that of Madagascar ; 
but the connection between that island and the mainland 
was evidently very remote, and must apparently have 
taken place before the great incursion of antelopes, zebras, 
rhinoceroses, monkeys, elephants, etc., from the north, as 
none of these are found in the island. Madagascar, there- 
fore, is best regarded as forming a zoological province by 

Within the limits of a single article it is manifestly 
impossible to give anything like an adequate sketch of the 
fauna of such an extensive area, but such points as have 
been noticed serve to show in some faint degree its richness 
in peculiar forms of animal life. 

It may be added that North-Eastern Africa has an extinct 
mammalian fauna of its own, which seems to include the 
ancestors of the elephant tribe. 


The arrangement of the fine ridges and grooves on the 
palmar aspect of the human hand has of late years been 
studied with great attention — first by Sir Francis Galton, 
and subsequently by Mr. Henry, now Chief Commissioner 
of the Metropolitan Police — in order to develop a satisfactory 
system of identification by means of " finger-prints." That 
exceedingly important and interesting subject is not discussed 
in the present article, in which attention is restricted to the 
arrangement of these lines on the hands of monkeys, and 
their function in both men and monkeys. This study 
seems to have been first seriously taken up by Dr. D. 
Hepburn, of Dublin, who communicated to the Dublin 
Society the results of his investigations, which were duly 
published in the Transactions of that Society. The method 
employed by Dr. Hepburn was to take impressions of the 
hands of living monkeys on plates of glass coated with 
printers' ink ; but there are many difficulties connected with 
this operation, and in preparing a series of impressions for 
the Natural History Museum, it occurred to me that I might 
be able to take them on paper from the hands of monkeys 
recently deceased. I accordingly communicated with the 
Prosector to the Zoological Society, asking him to be good 
enough to send me the right hands of some of the monkeys 
that died in the Society's menagerie. With this request he 
very kindly complied, and from the specimens which from 

I4S lo 


time to time arrived at the Museum, I was enabled to 
take, among others, the impressions herewith reproduced. 
Although they are not quite so successful as might be 
desired, they are yet amply sufficient to show the general 
plan of arrangement of their lines, and the variation to which 
they are subject in different genera. Enlargements from 
these same impressions are now exhibited in the British 
(Natural History) Museum. 

Before proceeding farther I must disclaim any intention 
of poaching on the preserves of the so-called science of 
" palmistry." This, so far as I can understand its methods, 
deals exclusively with the folds or creases on the human 
palm (corresponding with the white lines in the annexed 
figures) ; while attention is here concentrated on the mode 
of arrangement of the raised ridges and their intervening 
grooves. It may, however, be mentioned that the creases 
in question have, both in man and monkeys, a definite 
mode of arrangement, which appears to be due to the 
position and action of the palmar muscles. What possible 
connection there can be between such muscular creases and 
the duration of human life or the vicissitudes of our mortal 
career may well be left for the professors of palmistry to 
explain as best they can. 

As regards the structure of the palmar ridges, an 
examination of the reader's own hand with a lens will 
easily show that these consist of a series of very minute 
cone-like elevations, placed close together, and on the 
summits of which are situated the apertures of the 
sudoriferous or sweat-glands. If a section of the skin 
be examined under a microscope, it will also be evident 
that within these papillae are certain organs of touch 
know as the tactile bodies. Between the papillary ridges, 
as we may term them, are situated the equally narrow 



Monkey Hand-Prints. 

A. — Right Palmar Imprint of a Macaque Monkey {Macaciis cynomolgus) ; a, b, c, 

interdij^ital eminences ; d, radial eminence ; e, ulnar eminence. 
B. — Right Palmar Impression of a Spider Monkey [Ateles aler). 
C. — Right Palmar Imprint of a Marmoset {Hapale jacchiis). 
D. — Right Palmar Imprint of a Red-fronted Lemur {Lemur rufifrons.) 

\_To face p. 146 


grooves, which contain neither sweat-glands nor tactile 

Looking carefully at fig. A in the plate, and, if necessary, 
employing a lens, it will be seen that the arrangement of 
the ridges and grooves, instead of being uniform over 
the entire palm, takes the shape of a series of definite 
patterns in certain areas, between which a more or less 
regular linear arrangement obtains. On the ball of each 
finger and the thumb, for example, it will be noticed that 
the ridges assume what may be termed a concentric pattern, 
in which the central ridges run longitudinally. Again, on 
the three eminences situated on the palm opposite the 
clefts between the four fingers, they take the form of 
concentric whorls (a, b, c). A similar radial eminence (d) 
with a whorl-like pattern is situated opposite the cleft 
between the thumb and the forefinger ; while yet another 
whorl-bearing elevation {e), which may be termed the ulnar 
eminence, has its position at the basal angle of the palm 
opposite the little finger. Minor eminences, with much 
less distinct patterns, also occur on the palmar surfaces 
of the two basal joints of the fingers. Between these 
various pattern-bearing eminences, as is especially well 
shown on the fingers, the ridges and grooves tend to 
arrange themselves either in transverse lines, or (in the 
words of Dr. Hepburn) with such slight modification of 
this direction as would place them parallel to the long 
axis of any cylindrical object which might be grasped by 
the foot. It may be added that although in the human 
hand the patterns found on the balls of the fingers are 
frequently more complex than those in the monkey's hand, 
yet the converse of this is true with regard to the eminences 
on the palm itself, the ulnar whorl being generally quite 
obsolete in man. 


In ordinary five-fingered monkeys, whether they hail 
from the Old World or from the New, the foregoing type 
of eminences is very constant. This is well exemplified 
by the impression of the hand of one of the South American 
capuchin monkeys (fig. A). Here, however, the fingers 
are much longer and more slender than in the Old World 
macaque. In consequence of this the bulbs of the fingers 
are much less developed, so that it was found impossible 
to get a good impression of them. These features are 
even more developed in the hand of the tiny American 
marmosets (fig. D), in which the digits are more like 
claws than fingers, and consequently afford only a narrow 
and blurred impression. A peculiarity of the marmoset 
hand-print is to be found in the circumstance that the 
radial eminence has come up to form an arch with the three 
interdigital elevations, and that the ulnar elevation and 
pattern are obsolete. Seeing how comparatively wide apart 
from one another (both zoologically and geographically) are 
the ordinary monkeys of the Old and New Worlds, it is 
not a little remarkable that the palm-print of the macaque 
should be so strikingly like that of the capuchin. 

This similarity (since everything in nature has a use) 
suggests that the patterns on the hands of these two 
monkeys are due to the same physiological cause ; and 
we have now to inquire what that cause is. The best 
clue to the problem seems to be afforded, somewhat 
strangely, by the tails of such of the South American 
monkeys as are endowed with prehensile power in those 
appendages ; confirmatory evidence being likewise afforded 
by the prehensile tails of the American opossums and 
tree-porcupines, as well as by those of the Australian 
phalangers. In all these animals the naked, grasping 
portion of the tail, which is situated at the extremity, is 


covered with papillary ridges and grooves precisely similar 
to those on the hands and feet of monkeys, but invariably 
arranged; in simple transverse lines across the tail, so that 
in the act of grasping they would be parallel to the long 
axis of the branch around which the tail was coiled. 
Clearly, then, papillary ridges are primarily connected 
with the grasping power, and when they are intended 
solely for that function, they are so arranged as to be 
parallel to the axis of the object grasped. As regards 
this function of the papillary ridges. Dr. Hepburn observes 
that although they are comparatively low, "yet they must 
cause a certain amount of friction, and thereby prevent 
slipping, while the naturally moist and clammy condition 
of the palm and sole of monkeys must be of material 
assistance to the firmness of the grasp. A man instinctively 
moistens the palms of his hands when he wishes to make 
his grasp more secure ; and the grasping power of monkeys 
must be considerably increased by the application of the 
numerous papillary ridges which are capable of intimate 
adaptation to the surface of the object grasped." 

In a later passage the same observer adds that, apart 
from the hook-like manner in which the orang-utan and 
the American spider-monkeys employ their hands in trapeze- 
like movements, there can be no doubt that the palms are 
capable of a considerable amount of lateral folding, as is 
proved by the creases to which allusion has been already 
made. And it appears probable that the papillary ridges 
are designed to afford increased firmness of grasp when 
the palms are thus folded. Consequently, simple transverse 
ridges on the palms, except in the second joints of the 
fingers, are conspicuous by their absence ; and we find 
instead the complicated patterns on the eminences already 


A somewhat different type of arrangement obtains in 
the hand of the South American spider-monkeys (fig. B), in 
which the thumb is wanting. In this group, although whorl- 
like patterns are observable in the interdigital eminences, yet 
they are much smaller and less distinct than in ordinary 
monkeys ; the same being the case with the ulnar eminence. 
The radial pattern at the inner side of the thumb is, 
however, practically wanting, owing doubtless to the absence 
of that digit. It will further be noticed from an examination 
of the figure that elsewhere on the palm, not even excepting 
the fingers, the general arrangement of the ridges is longi- 
tudinal. Since the hands of the spider-monkeys are, as 
already mentioned, largely used in a hook-like manner 
during the arboreal evolutions of these active creatures, it 
would seem at first sight that the arrangement of the ridges 
precisely controverts what has been said above as to their 
being parallel with the long axis of the object grasped. 
But the palms of even these monkeys, as is indicated by 
the numerous creases, are evidently much folded laterally; 
and it must also be borne in mind that an equally important 
function of the hand is the plucking and holding of spherical 
or sub-spherical fruits. And for such a combination of 
functions the mode of arrangement of the ridges is doubtless 
the one most suitable. If the ridges were transverse, the 
fruit would very probably have a tendency to slip out of 
the hand on one side or the other ; but this is clearly 
prevented by the longitudinal arrangement. 

The above are the chief modifications displayed by the 
palm-prints of monkeys ; and it may be added that a very 
similar general plan of arrangement of the papillary ridges 
and grooves obtains on the sole of the foot of these animals, 
subject, however, to such modification as is necessary for 
the different function of the foot as compared with the 


hand. But in some at least of their alhes, the lemuroids, 
as represented by the true lemurs of Madagascar, the 
galagos and pottos of Africa, and the lorises and tarsier of 
Asia, a very curious departure from this arrangement 
obtains. In regard to the true lemurs, it is generally stated 
that on the outside of the palm of the hand and under the 
base of the fingers are situated fleshy pads, giving them 
greater grasping power. This, however, is scarcely an 
adequate statement of the true state of the case. Fig. C 
shows the palm-impression of the red-fronted lemur, a well- 
known Malagasy species. In this it will be seen that the 
balls of the digits are expanded into large convex circular 
pads upon which are a number of papillary ridges ; but 
instead of these ridges covering the whole surface of the 
pads, they are interrupted by an irregular network of 
relatively large canals, producing the white lines in the 
impression. On the palm of the hand are seen the three 
interdigital eminences of the monkey's hand, together with 
a large radial and a somewhat smaller ulnar eminence. 
The radial eminence is, however, divided into two portions 
by a deep groove, and on all five eminences are observable 
the usual papillary ridges and grooves traversed by the 
aforesaid irregular network of grooves. On the palmar 
aspect of the second joint of the fingers, and on such 
portion of the centre of the palm as exhibits an impression, 
the papillary ridges, instead of being uniformly distributed 
in regular lines, are restricted to certain small pustule-like 
eminences, on which, however, the linear arrangement is 
distinctly visible with the aid of a lens. And if it had 
been possible to obtain an impression of the basal joints 
of the fingers, a similar pattern would doubtless have 
been noticeable there also. Whether the curious arrange- 
ment of canals characteristic of the palm of the red-fronted 


lemur, or a modification thereof, obtains in all the true 
lemurs, must wait the acquisition of additional fresh 
specimens of the hand ; but in that species at all events 
it seems certain that these pads have a kind of sucker- 
like action, which must greatly increase the firmness of their 
owner's hold on the boughs it grasps. 

Apparently this type of palm-structure culminates in the 
curious little tarsier of the ]\^alay Islands, in which the long 
and slender toes terminate in round sucker-like discs ; 
similar discs occurring on the toes of the hind-foot. 
Unfortunately I have had no opportunity of taking the 
palm-impression of a recently deceased tarsier, and it will 
probably be long before such a chance occurs, so that I 
can say nothing as to the mode of arrangement of the 
papillary ridges. 

It may be added that the finger- and toe-pads of those 
curious lizards commonly known as geckos are likewise 
modified into adhesive discs. But in this case the sucking 
action is caused by the skin being raised into a series of 
parallel plates, and as palmar eminences, as well as papillary 
ridges, are wanting, the structure is not apparently strictly 
comparable with what obtains in the tarsier and the lemurs. 

But even the foregoing by no means exhausts the 
subject of palmar and plantar eminences. Any one of my 
readers who takes the trouble to examine the feet of a 
cat, a dog, or a rabbit will find a number of bare elevated 
pads, covered with rough granular skin, interspersed 
among the generally hairy surface. In all cases, both in 
the fore and hind limb, one of these bare pads will be 
found occupying the lower surface of the terminal joint 
of each toe, lying immediately below the claw. And it 
will be quite obvious that these correspond to the pattern- 
bearing eminences occupying the balls of the thumb and 


fingers of the monkey. In regard to the pads on the 
palm and sole, these are subject to some degree of variation 
in the carnivora, and they may sometimes coalesce to such 
a degree that their original relations are more or less 
obscured. But in some of these animals * three distinct 
pads are observable in the forefoot corresponding in position 
with the interdigital eminences of the monkey's palm. 
Continuing the semicircle formed by these three is a fourth 
pad, representing the radial eminence of the monkey, while 
farther down on the palm is one corresponding to the 
ulnar eminence of the latter ; a small additional pad being 
intercalated between the radial and the ulnar pads. 

It is thus fully demonstrated that the pads on the fore- 
foot of the dog and the cat correspond with the pattern- 
bearing eminences of the monkey's palm, and these again 
with the much less distinctly defined eminences on the 
human hand. In animals which use both feet exclusively 
for walking, it will, however, be obvious that delicate 
papillary ridges, designed partly for the purpose of obtaining 
a firm grip on any object seized, and partly to act as 
organs of touch, would be perfectly useless. And we 
accordingly find the papillary ridges of man and monkeys 
replaced in the cat, the dog, and the rabbit by granular 
conical elevations, which have, however, doubtless the same 
structure, and are foreshadowed by the pustules on the 
fingers and palms of the lemurs. 

One other point remains to be mentioned. In all the 
lower monkeys that have been examined both by Dr. 
Hepburn and myself the pattern of the papillary ridges 

* Those who are interested in the subject may turn to the figure 
of the foot-pads of the Linsang, given by the late Prof. Mivart 
on p. 158 of the Proceedings of the Zoological Society for the 
year 1882. 


is of the concentric type (as shown in fig. A), in which 
the central ridges are longitudinal and the external ones 
form broad ellipses. In the chimpanzee, however, and 
probably also in some or all of the other manlike apes, the 
pattern on the balls of the fingers is of the form known as 
the looped type, which is of common occurrence in the 
fingers of the human hand. On the finger-tips of man 
alone occurs the still more complicated whorled type ; and it 
is thus evident that even in such a minute detail as the 
arrangement of the lines on the fingers the manlike apes 
and man stand apart from their kindred, and that in man 
alone is the most complicated type ever developed, although 
even in him it is comparatively rare. 


The mill-like action of their own upper and lower molar- 
teeth upon one another may have been quite sufficient to 
suggest to our prehistoric parents the idea of opposing a 
pair of corrugated stones in such a manner that by mutual 
rotation or revolution they should be capable of reducing 
to powder hard substances placed between them. Indeed, 
the idea of millstones is such a simple and natural one 
that it is quite probable it may have occurred to the human 
mind without any reference to any prototype in nature ; and 
in any case, if such a natural prototype is to be sought, it 
is not necessary to go farther in search of it than our own 
dental organs. Excellent, however, for their special purpose 
as are these organs (when not subject to premature decay), 
there are other types of tooth-structure to be met with in 
the animal kingdom which present a much closer approxima- 
tion to millstones, and might well have foreshadowed these 
instruments, had they only been accessible to the primeval 
savage. But since these natural millstones occur only in 
marine fishes, some of which inhabit distant seas, while 
others are met with only as fossils deeply buried in the 
rocks, it is evident that the idea of artificial millstones 
is not derived from these natural prototypes. In other 
words, to use an expression now fashionable in natural 
science, the development of artificial and natural millstones 
is a case of parallelism. 



In spite of the fact that their early ancestors were provided 
with a good working set of sharply pointed dental organs, 
birds in these degenerate days manage to get along without 
teeth at all. A few mammals, too, like the South American 
ant-eaters, are in the same condition ; and some people have 
thought that in a few more generations civilised man himself 
will be reduced to the same toothless state. The great 
majority of mammals, however, possess a more or less 
efficient set of teeth, varying in shape, size, and number 
according to the need of each particular species or group. 
But there is one feature common to these organs in mammals 
of all descriptions ; and this is that they are strictly confined 
to the margins of the jaws, never extending either on to the 
palate, or to the space enclosed between the two branches 
of the lower jaw. In many reptiles, such as crocodiles and 
a large number of lizards, the same law of dental arrange- 
ment obtains. In some lizards, and still more markedly in 
certain extinct members of the reptile class, we find, however, 
a number of teeth developed on the palate, having flattened 
crowns, and thus tending to make the mouth act the part of 
one large millstone. But we must descend a stage farther 
in the scale of animated nature before we come to structures 
which are strictly comparable with artificial millstones and 
crushing cylinders. And it is in the class of fishes that we 
meet with these organs in the full perfection of this type of 
development. Not that they occur by any means in all the 
groups of that class ; the fact being that at the present day 
living millstones are going out of fashion, the great pre- 
ponderance of modern fishes having their dental armature 
mainly restricted to the margin of the jaws, with or without 
a minor development of crushing teeth on the palate or the 
bones of the gullet. With the exception of a comparatively 
limited number of cases, showing a different type of develop- 


ment, to which it is not my present intention to allude, these 
dental millstones are confined at the present day to those 
hideous marine fishes commonly known as skates and rays, 
and to the singular Port Jackson shark and a few allied 
species inhabiting the Pacific and Malayan seas. On the 
other hand, the seas of the Cretaceous, Jurassic, and ante- 
cedent epochs absolutely swarmed with numerous kinds of 
sharks more or less nearly related to the Port Jackson 
species, whose mouths were filled with pavements of teeth 
showing marvellous variety of structure and beauty of 
ornamentation. The skates and rays, too, displayed types 
of dental millstones quite unlike any of those of the present 
day. And in addition to these, there were hosts of enamel- 
scaled fishes whose m.ouths were likewise crammed with 
beautiful crushing teeth, albeit of a totally different type 
of structure to that obtaining in either the sharks or the 
rays. Although well-nigh extinct, these enamel-scaled 
fishes are still represented by the bony pike of the rivers 
of North America and the bichir (remarkable for its fringed 
fins and the row of finlets down its back) of tropical 
Africa. But it is noteworthy that in neither of these sur- 
vivors of an ancient group do we find the mouth furnished 
with an apparatus of millstones ; while, as already said, 
among the host of sharks that infest the warmer seas of 
the globe it is only in the Port Jackson species and its three 
kindred that we find similar structures retained ; all the 
other members of the group having developed cuspidate 
teeth adapted for seizing and tearing soft-fleshed prey, 
instead of for grinding-up mail-clad food. 

Clearly, then, there has been some general cause at work 
which has rendered crushing teeth, so to speak, unfashion- 
able among the fishes of the present day and the imme- 
diately antecedent epochs. And in this connection it is 


important to notice that there has been an even more 
strongly marked tendency to the extinction of the enamel- 
scaled fishes, and their replacement by the ordinary soft- 
scaled fishes so abundant in the present seas. As the 
majority of these old mail-clad fishes, as well as a large 
proportion of the ancient sharks, were provided with 
crushing teeth, it is a fair inference that their food con- 
sisted largely of shell-fish and crustaceans, with a certain 
proportion of their own mail-clad relatives. When, how- 
ever, the swift-swimming, soft-scaled fishes came to the 
fore, they would naturally offer a more tempting and 
nourishing diet to such sharks and other predaceous 
members of their own class as were swift enough in their 
movements to make them their prey. And consequently 
the old millstone-jawed sharks would tend more or less 
completely to disappear. On the other hand, the skates and 
rays, which are for the most part slow-moving creatures, 
flapping sluggishly along on the sea-bottom by means of 
their fan-like fins, would be quite unable to capture the 
modern type of swift-swimming fish. And they have thus 
had to content themselves with the old-fashioned diet of 
shell-fish and crabs, in consequence of which a large pro- 
portion of them have retained the dental millstones which 
have been so steadily going out of fashion among their 
more advanced relatives. Not that these rays and skates 
have by any means been content with the kind of molar 
machinery that did duty for their forefathers, since some 
of them, together with their Tertiary ancestors, have de- 
veloped what appears to be an absolutely perfect type of 
living mill, far superior to that which served the purpose 
of their predecessors. And it must always be remembered 
that these beautiful living millstones and cylinders (which 
are some of the most exquisite bony structures to be met 


with in the whole animal kingdom) excel their artificial 
substitutes in that they never wear out ; being renewed 
either by the development of new teeth on the inner or 
hinder aspect of the cylinder, or by vertical successors 
replacing the individual teeth from below or above. 

And now that the dental millstones of the rays have been 
mentioned, it will afford a convenient starting-point for a 
brief survey of some of the most remarkable types of 
structure presented by these curious organs. 

The teeth of rays always form a pavement-like structure, 
of which the component elements are arranged in straight 
longitudinal rows, although they sometimes likewise show 
a quincunxial mode of arrangement. The individual teeth 
are not replaced by vertical successors ; but, being in the 
form of a half-cylinder, as those in front become worn 
down, the whole series is pushed forwards, and new teeth 
are developed on the hinder margin of the cylinder. The 
supreme development of a dental structure adapted for 
crushing in this group occurs in the family of the eagle- 
rays {Myliobatidae)^ in which the millstone of each jaw 
forms a perfect semi-cylinder or plate, made up of flat- 
crowned prismatic teeth united at their edges, often so as 
to constitute a mosaic-like pavement. No piece of modern 
machinery can be better adapted for crushing hard sub- 
stances than are these beautiful ivory cylinders and 
plates, the crushing power of which, when worked by the 
strong jaws, must be enormous, and sufficient to grind 
the strongest shell that can be introduced between them 
to powder. Although in all cases pavement-like, the 
millstone differs considerably in the different species in its 

As an illustration of the group, we may take one of the 
millstones of the beaked eagle-rays {RJiinopterd). Here the 


millstone is in the form of a semi-cylinder, consisting of five 
or more rows of teeth ; a very usual number being seven. 
Generally the teeth of the middle row are the widest ; those 
of the rows on either side being considerably narrower, 
while the two or three marginal rows on each side may be 
compared to the tesserae in a mosaic pavement. A further 
development of the same type is exemplified by the typical 
eagle-rays {Myliobatis), in which the middle row of teeth 
in the millstone becomes still wider, while the three lateral 
rows on each side are reduced to the condition of hexagonal 
tesserae. Moreover, whereas in the species of Rhinobatis 
both millstones are in the form of half-cylinders, in 
Myliobatis the upper one alone retains this form, the lower 
being a flattened plate. The culmination of this type of 
sculpture is displayed in the rays belonging to the allied 
genus Aetobatis, in which both upper and lower millstones 
are flat and composed only of the middle row of teeth, 
which are of great width ; the lateral rows having com- 
pletely disappeared. The existing representative of this 
genus is not very large (for a ray), seldom, if ever, measuring 
more than about five feet across ; but some of its extinct 
predecessors must have been monstrous fish, as the teeth 
measure some five or six inches in diameter. 

Quite a different type of dental armature is presented 
by the millstones of the beaked rays {Rhinobatidae). 
Here the teeth take the form of closely packed diamond- 
shaped knobs, arranged in an alternating manner, so that 
although they present longitudinal rows, yet they also 
show oblique series, so as to give rise to a quincunxial 
pattern. Then, again, the entire millstone in each jaw is 
thrown into a series of undulations, so that the upper 
one exhibits a large median boss, flanked by a pair of 
smaller undulations, which are received into corresponding 


depressions in the lower millstone. It is difficult to 
conceive a machine better adapted for crushing than is 
presented by the jaws of the beaked rays. 

Of a much less powerful type are the millstones of the 
ordinary rays or skates {Raiidac) of our own coasts ; and 
among these the common thorn back {Rata clavata) presents 
a very remarkable condition, since the individual teeth take 
the form of obtuse knobs in the female, whereas in the 
male the centre of each of these knobs acquires a sharp 
recurved point. Since everything in nature has a meaning, 
it would seem a fair inference that there must be some 
important difference between the food of the male and 
female thornback, but I have not come across any obser- 
vations bearing upon the subject. 

Among the fossils to be obtained occasionally from the 
workmen in large chalk-pits are teeth in the form of convex 
quadrangular bosses, the marginal portion of which consists 
of a broad granular area, while the centre is occupied by a 
variable number of bold ridges, or folds, between which are 
often irregular knobs. It is from these ridges that the fish 
takes the name of Ptychodus. For a long time it was un- 
certain how these teeth were arranged, but careful comparison 
of a number of more or less incomplete series in situ has at 
length solved the problem. In the lower jaw the complete 
millstone was formed by a median row of large teeth, 
on each side of which were six or seven other rows 
composed of teeth gradually decreasing in size from the 
centre to the margin. In the upper jaw, on the other 
hand, there was a central row of small teeth, flanked 
on each side by a row of large ones, externally to which 
came a series of rows gradually diminishing in size. From 
this mode of arrangement it is inferred that Ptychodus was 
a ray; and the whole dental structure is as remarkable 



for its perfection as a crushing machine as it is for its 
intrinsic beauty. 

Even more elegant from an aesthetic point of view are 
the " millstones " of the Port Jackson shark {Cestracion) 
and its allies. In place of forming a continuous plate 
across the palate after the fashion of the eagle-rays, the 
individual teeth in this group are arranged in oblique 
bands round the edges and inner sides of the jaws,* showing 
in the hinder region a melon-shaped swelling of remarkable 
gracefulness, which would form an attractive ornament for 
the capital of a pillar. In this melon-like portion of the 
millstone the individual teeth form bluntly convex oblongs ; 
those of one row being remarkably larger than all the rest, 
while the rows in front and behind this do not correspond 
with one another in size. Examined with a lens, each of 
these blunt teeth is seen to have a minutely pitted structure, 
while its median longitudinal line is marked by a narrow 
smooth streak. New teeth are being continuously produced 
on the margin of the series on the inner side of the jaw ; 
and as the outer ones become worn away, the whole series 
is pushed over towards the edge of the jaw. Proceeding 
from the larger rows of teeth towards the front of the jaw, 
it will be seen that as the individual teeth become gradually 
shorter their smooth median line gains prominence, till it 
finally develops into the sharply pointed cusp surmounting 
each of the front teeth. 

As already said, the Port Jackson shark and a few other 
nearly related species (all of which, by the way, feed on 
shell-fish and crustaceans) are the only sharks with mill- 
stones met with in our present seas. And it is fortunate 
that these have lived on, as otherwise we should never 

* Strictly speaking, the tooth-bearing cartilages of sharks are not 
true jaws. 


have gained a true idea of the dental armature of their 
extinct relatives which abounded in the seas of the Jurassic 
epoch. Visitors to Whitby must be familiar with certain 
black oblong fossils of about an inch and a half in length 
known to the quarrymen as " fossil leeches." These are 
the hinder teeth of an extinct shark {Asteracanthus) nearly 
allied to the Port Jackson species, but of much larger size ; 
and although they are more rugose than pitted, they show 
the same smooth line on the summit. A beautiful specimen 
from Caen, in the British Museum, shows that the arrange- 
ment of these hinder teeth was almost exactly the same 
as in Cestracwn, which may thus be regarded as a survivor 
from a long-past epoch of the earth's history. 

But there were other " millstone-mouthed " sharks at a 
still earlier period which appear to have been allied to 
Cestracion, although the degree of relationship is uncertain. 
In these Palaeozoic sharks, as exemplified by Cochliodiis, 
the series of hinder teeth seems to have had an arrangement 
very similar to that obtaining in Cestracion, but the indi- 
vidual teeth of several series were more or less completely 
fused into a single solid plate, the ridges on which mark 
the original lines of division between the component series. 
These sharks exhibit, therefore, one among many instances 
where the earlier forms of a group are in some respects 
more specialised than their descendants. 

So much space has been taken up by the rays and sharks 
that only a few lines remain for the millstones of the enamel- 
scaled fishes. In none of these do the teeth, which are 
developed on most of the bones of both the upper and lower 
jaws, ever form continuous plates ; and they are generally 
either spherical or kidney-bean-shaped and arranged in more 
or less longitudinal rows. Unlike those of the sharks and 
rays, these teeth, as in the familiar Lepidotus of the Wealden, 


are replaced by vertical successors ; and their mode of 
development is so peculiar that in some cases the new tooth 
is placed wrong way up beneath the one it is destined 
to replace. In other instances, as in Coelodus from the 
Folkestone Gault, successional teeth have not been ob- 
served, and the mode of renewal is consequently still 
unknown. Although within the limits of a single article 
it is impossible to do more than give the crudest sketch 
of a vast subject, yet what has been written may be sufficient 
to attract my readers' interest to an extremely fascinating 
branch of zoological study. 



In most English dictionaries the verb " to mimic " has for 
its synonyms *' to ape, imitate, counterfeit, or mock " ; and 
it is thus intimately connected with the monkey tribe, whose 
imitations of human gestures and actions form one of their 
most prominent characteristic features. Till a few years 
ago naturalists were, however, totally unacquainted with 
any instance among these animals of " mimicry " in its 
scientific sense — that is to say, no case was known where 
a monkey, for the sake of protection, resembled in form 
or coloration either some other animal or an inanimate 
object. During a journey to Mount Kenya and Lake 
Barengo, in East Africa, Dr. J. W. Gregory, late of the 
Natural History Museum, discovered that the peculiar type 
of coloration characterising certain African monkeys is 
protective in its nature, and that these monkeys, when 
in their native haunts, are thereby rendered practically 

The monkeys in question (one of which is represented 
in the annexed plate) are known to the natives of certain 
districts of East Africa by the name of "gueieza." They 
belong to the group of thumbless apes {Cohdus), which 
are restricted to the African continent, where they take the 
place of the langurs, or sacred apes, of India and other 
Oriental countries. From the other thumbless apes the 
guerezas (or those species to which that name properly 



applies) are distinguished by their long silky black and 
white coats, which are much sought after by the natives 
of Africa as articles of costume and for purposes of deco- 
ration. In the typical Abyssinian guereza, the greater part 
of the fur of the body and Hmbs is of a deep shining 
black, but from the shoulders there depends a mantle of 
long white silky hairs extending down each side and 
meeting on the lower part of the back, so as to hang down 
over the sides of the body as well as over the hips and 
thighs. The terminal third of the tail is also clothed with 
long white hairs. Strikingly handsome as is this species, 
it is excelled in this respect by the East African guereza, 
in which the base of the tail is alone black, the whole of 
the remainder of that appendage being developed into a 
magnificent white brush, which may be compared to an 
Indian cliowri^ or fly-whisk. 

Black and white is a type of coloration so conspicuous, 
and, at the same time, so rare among the larger mammals, 
that whenever it occurs we may be quite sure it is developed 
for some special purpose, although, unless we have an 
opportunity of seeing the animals in their native haunts, 
it is almost impossible to divine what that purpose may 
be. It is met with elsewhere in the zebras, and also in 
the great panda {Aeluj'-opus) of Tibet. Although the former 
animals are conspicuous enough in a stall at the " Zoo," 
or when stuffed in a museum, travellers tell us that when 
seen in the haze of an African desert their black and 
white stripes fade at a very short distance to an almost 
invisible grey. This may even be observed in a hot 
summer, when the grass is burnt brown, in the Duke of 
Bedford's seat at Woburn Abbey, where several of these 
beautiful animals roam at will in the park during the 
summer months. 


With regard to the great panda, we have at present no 
information. It may be suggested, however, that the start- 
Hng contrast presented by its streaks and patches of creamy 
white on a jet-black ground may harmonise with patches 
of snow on black rocks, or possibly with the hnes of light 
between the dark stems of forest trees. 

Be this as it may. Dr. Gregory's observations have solved 
the problem of the use of the remarkable coloration of 
the guerezas, which has so long puzzled naturalists. Like 
others of their kind, these monkeys pass most of their 
time high up on trees, where they sleep either resting on 
a bough or hanging beneath by their hands, or hands and 
feet Now, in the dense forests clothing Mount Kilima 
Njaro and other districts of East Africa, the black-barked 
boughs are thickly draped with pendent masses and wreaths 
of grey beard-moss or lichen, which reach for several feet 
below them. "As the monkeys hang from the branches," 
writes Dr. Gregory, " they so closely resemble the lichen 
that I found it impossible to recognise them when but a 
short distance away." 

We have thus decisive evidence that the black and 
white coloration of the guerezas protects these animals 
by a close resemblance to their inanimate surroundings. 
There are, however, certain smaller mammals with a 
similar type of coloration in which the startling contrast 
of black and white seems to be for the purpose of rendering 
them conspicuous ; and as some at least of these creatures 
are endowed with a most disgusting odour, their con- 
spicuousness has been regarded as warning other animals 
from attacking them. The best known of these creatures 
are the ill-famed American skunks, which are in the habit 
of stalking over the Argentine Pampas in full daylight, 
with the most consummate indifference to the presence of 


other and more powerful animals. And any one who is in 
doubt as to the cause of this proud indifference should 
read Mr. W. H. Hudson's account of the terrible and 
lasting effects of their foetid excretion, as detailed in " The 
Naturalist in La Plata." Less familiar is the so-called 
Cape polecat {Ictonyx), an animal of about the same size 
as an ordinary polecat, but having its fur marked with 
broad longitudinal bands of blackish brown alternating 
with white. As this creature is stated to have an odour 
as disgusting as that of a skunk, there can be little 
hesitation in classing it among animals possessing "warning 

Another member of the same family {Poecilogale albinuchd) 
from South Africa is likewise conspicuously banded with 
blackish brown and white, and thus closely resembles the 
Cape polecat, for which it might readily be mistaken. 
Unfortunately, its habits seem very imperfectly known, and 
it is difficult to ascertain whether it has an odour as- 
powerful as that of its larger cousin. It is very probable 
however, it has not, and that its coloration is a true 
mimicry of that of the latter. If this be so, we shall 
have the pied coloration of the animals above mentioned 
attributable to three distinct causes. In the case of the 
guereza it affords protection, from its resemblance to in- 
animate surroundings ; in the skunk and Cape polecat it 
serves to warn other animals from attacking a noisome 
beast, which is thereby protected ; while the South African 
weasel enjoys immunity from attack from being mistaken 
for the similarly coloured polecat. 


Of all the features of the human countenance none seems 
more prone to exhibit marked variations in size and shape 
than the nose. A broad and flattened nose, is, for instance, 
characteristic of negroes and Australian natives, whereas 
the classic or Grecian nose is found only among the highest 
types of the Caucasian races of Europe. But while the 
nasal organs of the lower races of mankind differ in general 
from those of the higher peoples of Western Europe, yet 
it is among the latter that perhaps the greatest amount 
of variation in this respect may be noticed. And although 
even among these mixed Western nations a considerable 
amount of such nasal variability is evidently hereditary 
and distinctive of particular families or races, yet there 
are many instances in which it appears largely individual, 
although it may, of course, be due to reversion. Be this 
as it may, it will suffice for our present purpose to note 
that among European races a distinctly " snub-nosed," or 
" tip-tilted," type is not uncommon on the one extreme, 
while at the other we have what is commonly called the 
" long-nosed " type ; the latter being broadly distinguished 
from the arched Roman, or aquiline, nose. 

Now, it is a remarkable fact in natural history that 
whereas the great majority of the monkeys and apes of 
the Old World have noses of an ordinary pattern — that is 
to say, not very far removed from the type characterising 



the inferior representatives of the human race — three of 
them have developed peculiarities in this respect which 
entitle them to be regarded as among the most extraordinary 
of all four-footed beasts. And not the least remarkable 
circumstance in connection with these nasal eccentricities 
is that the two extremes are found in members of a 
single group inhabiting widely distant and completely 
isolated areas. 

Before referring to the species displaying these remark- 
able peculiarities, it will be well to briefly refer to their 
nearest relatives. These are most familiarly known by 
the sacred Hanuman monkey, or langur, of India, which 
is one of a large group of species inhabiting most of the 
Oriental countries ; one kind, the Himalayan langur, being 
found at a considerable elevation in the outer hills of the 
mighty range from which it takes its name. And in winter, 
or early spring, these large grey monkeys may frequently 
be seen disporting themselves among pines heavily laden 
with snow. As distinctive features of the langurs, reference 
may be made to their slim build, long hind-legs and tail, 
and the absence of pouches in the cheeks for the storage 
of food. Their hair is long and coarse, and may be of 
any colour from slaty grey to bright foxy red or black. 
All have, for monkeys, fairly well-formed noses, of ordinary 
dimensions. Unlike the majority of the members of their 
order, they feed on leaves in preference to fruits ; and, as 
showing how similarity of habit gives rise to similarity of 
structure (or, if the reader so please, vice versa), it is inter- 
esting to note that the langurs have complex stomachs, 
strikingly similar to those of sheep and ruminants in 
general ; most other monkeys having simple stomachs of 
the normal type. 

As already mentioned, the three species of monkeys 

Male pRuBubCib-AluNKEV. 
A species confined to Borneo. 

[To face p. 172 


which have gone in for eccentric nasal development are 
near relatives of the langurs. The first of these, which 
has been known in Europe since 1781, is an inhabitant 
of Borneo, where, be it observed, there are also true 
langurs with normal noses. As may be seen from the 
figure, which represents a male in the Natural History 
branch of the British Museum, the proboscis monkey, as 
the species is called, is characterised by the inordinate 
length of the nasal organ of the adult male, which projects 
far in front of the line of the mouth, and gives to the 
whole physiognomy a most grotesque appearance. So 
remarkable, indeed, is the face of this monkey, that the 
first view of a stuffed specimen suggests to the beholder 
that it has been ** faked," after the fashion of the " bogus " 
animals formerly manufactured by our Japanese friends. 
The nostrils are situated on the under surface of the tip 
of this ungainly proboscis, and are separated from another 
by an extremely narrow partition. According to recent 
observations, the nose, instead of projecting straight forward, 
should bend down in front of the mouth. In the case of 
the female the degree of nasal development is considerably 
less ; and in the young of both sexes the nose is com- 
paratively short, with the nostrils visible from the front, 
instead of being directed downwards. In point of size, 
the proboscis monkey is a comparatively large animal, the 
length of the head and body of the adult male being about 
thirty inches, and that of the tail some three inches less. 
Its colour is likewise conspicuous and striking, the upper 
parts, with the exception of a light band across the loins, 
being brilliant chestnut, and the face, which is fringed 
with long yellowish hair, a reddish flesh-colour. 

Far more brilliant in colour is the first of the two 
Tibetan species which exhibit the opposite type of nasal 


eccentricity in the langur group. But these snub-nosed 
monkeys, as they may be appropriately called, are fully 
as large as the Bornean species, and as they are of much 
stouter build, both as regards body and limbs, they look 
considerably bigger. Instead of a proboscis-like develop- 
ment of nose these two very peculiar monkeys have their 
nasal organs bent suddenly upwards at a sharp angle to 
the line of the face, so that the nostrils are fully visible 
from the front ; the whole aspect of the face being curiously 
piquant. The species here figured — the orange snub-nosed 
monkey — was first made known to European science by the 
French missionary. Abbe David, who obtained specimens 
while travelling in the province of Moupin, in Eastern Tibet. 
Some of his specimens are preserved in the Zoological 
Museum at Paris ; and the coloured plate of a female has 
long been the only figure available to naturalists. Thanks, 
however, to an energetic English naturalist resident in 
China, the British Museum a few years ago acquired a 
pair of these monkeys ; the figure being taken from the 
male, which has been mounted for exhibition, and forms 
one of the most attractive specimens in the large monkey 
case. Since the photograph does not attempt chromatic 
effect, it is necessary to mention that the general colour of 
the upper-parts is rich olive-brown, flecked with yellow 
and suffused with rufous, while the sides of the face, the 
lower part of the forehead, and the under-parts are brilliant 
yellowish orange, tending to full orange on the face, the 
naked portions of which are pale blue. Across the loins 
there is a light patch comparable to that of the proboscis 
monkey ; the tail being proportionately rather shorter than 
in the latter, with a distinct tendency towards a club-shape. 
Altogether, the appearance of the animal is highly peculiar, 
both from the point of view of form and of coloration. 

Orangi: Sm'11-xosei) Monkey. 
A native of Sze-Chuen. 

\_Tofacep. 174 


The head, for example, in addition to its " tip-tilted " nose, 
is noticeable for its extreme massiveness, which gives an 
almost leonine appearance. And this general massiveness 
is equally observable in the limbs, which are relatively shorter 
than in the true langurs ; the feet being especially heavy 
and broad, with their toes almost concealed by long hair. 

And here the attention of the reader may be directed to 
the circumstance that animals inhabiting cold countries 
(and Sze-chuan, where the British Museum specimens 
were obtained, can be very cold) are almost always much 
more heavily and substantially built than their relatives 
from warmer climes. An excellent instance of this phe- 
nomenon is afforded by the case of tigers in the same 
collection ; the Bengal tiger being a long lanky beast, 
while its cousin from Mongolia is a heavily built creature, 
with extraordinarily massive limbs. Of course the longer 
hair of the Central Asiatic animal tends to exaggerate its 
general massiveness, which, however, would be perfectly 
apparent even without this extraneous aid. Possibly a 
stout and heavy build, especially as regards the limbs, 
may aid in protecting the circulatory system from the 
effects of extreme cold. 

As regards the habits of the orange snub-nosed monkey, 
our information is of the most meagre description. These 
animals are stated, however, to congregate in troops of 
considerable size, and to ascend the tallest trees (the part 
of Tibet they inhabit being more or less wooded) in search 
of fruits, which they much prefer to leaves. When pressed 
by hunger, leaves and the tender shoots of bamboo are 
said to form their staple nutriment. Bearing in mind 
this alleged partiahty for fruits, it would be interesting to 
determine whether the stomach of these monkeys is as 
complex as that of the true langurs. 


In 1899 the professors of the Paris Museum were enabled 
to publish, with excellent coloured plates, the description 
of a second species of the same group, also coming from 
Tibet and the adjacent districts of North-Western China. 

This second species, which may be popularly known as 
the slaty snub-nosed monkey, is fully as large as its more 
brilliantly coloured relative, which it also resembles in the 
form of its nose. The tail is, however, much more bushy, 
and long-haired throughout. And while the colour of the 
upper-parts and outer and front surfaces of the limbs is 
dark slaty brown, the cheeks, under-parts, and thighs are 
mostly pure white ; the naked portions of the face being 

The specimens of the slate-coloured species in the Paris 
Museum were obtained in the north-west extremity of 
Yun-nan, on the left bank of the River Mekong, in the 
neighbourhood of Yerkalo, and it seems evident that the 
species inhabits the crest of the long range separating 
the valley of the Mekong from that of the Yang-tsi-kiang. 
During the summer it is probable they frequent that side 
of the range which overlooks China, while their winter 
quarters would appear to be the side directed towards 
Tibet. The native name of " tchru-tchra," or snow-monkey, 
sufficiently indicates the severity of the climate of the 
region they inhabit. Probably the Blue River forms the 
line of division between the distributional areas of the slaty 
and the orange species, the latter being found in Southern 
Kansu, Northern Sze-chuan, and Moupin. 

Despite their long isolation from the sphere of European 
science, one, if not both, of these peculiar monkeys seems 
to have been known to the Chinese from time immemorial, 
for in a work entitled " Shan-Hoi-King," or " Mountain and 
Sea Record," which has been supposed to date from earlier 


than 2000 B.C., a so-called man of the Heu Yeung 
kingdom appears, from his tip-tilted nose, to be one or 
other of the species under consideration. 

In the foregoing remarks we have treated the three 
species of monkeys with eccentric nasal development 
merely as zoological curiosities. But it will be evident 
to every thinking mind that there must be a reason for 
such strange departures from the normal, and until we 
discover such reason we cannot be said to know anything 
worth knowing about these animals. Unfortunately, those 
who have had the opportunity of seeing these monkeys in 
their native haunts have not assisted us in this matter, and 
there is an absolute lack of information in regard to this 
all-important point. That the problem cannot be solved 
by guessing on the part of the stay-at-home naturalist 
may be regarded as practically certain. At the present 
day, owing partly to the anxiety to describe new species 
and varieties, and partly to the desire to obtain specimens 
of every animal for our museums, there appears a great 
tendency for intelligent explorers and travellers to de- 
generate from field-naturalists into mere collectors. And 
the pity of this is too obvious to need more than mention. 
It is indeed often said that it is most important to obtain 
specimens of species before they become extinct ; but the 
discovery of the raison d'etre of the tip-tilted nose of the 
Tibetan monkeys, or of the proboscis-like organ of their 
Bornean cousin, would be a thousand times more valuable 
than the acquisition of untold specimens of either. And 
even the recently acquired knowledge of the existence of 
the second species of snub-nosed monkey pales into un- 
importance when contrasted with the unsolved problem. 
By all means, then, let all those who have the opportunity- 
put mere collecting into a very subsidiary place, and devote 



all their energies to the solution of problems of this nature 
(and their name is legion) before it becomes for ever too 

After what has been said as to the necessity of actual 
observation to determine the reason for the peculiar nasal 
development of these monkeys, it would obviously be out 
of place to attempt to solve the problem in any other way. 
Attention may, however, be directed to the circumstance 
that the chiru, or Tibetan antelope, has a remarkably 
swollen and puffy nose. And although the saiga antelope, 
of the plains of Central Russia, has an equally remarkable'^ 
nasal development, yet it seems highly probable that in 
the case of the chiru, at any rate, the enlarged size of the 
nasal chamber and nostrils is correlated with the rarefied 
atmosphere of the elevated plateau on which that ruminant 
dwells. The snub-nosed monkeys, although living at a 
considerably lower elevation than the chiru, are yet " well 
up in the world " ; and since the shape of the nose in the 
former would appear designed to admit the passage of as 
much air as possible with the least impediment, it may 
perhaps be suggested that the habitat has something to do 
with the nose structure. As to the reason for the genesis 
of the ungainly proboscis of the Bornean monkey, I have 
not even the rudiment of a theory to offer my readers. 


My readers are not to imagine that the animal whose 
portrait appears as a frontispiece to this work is one new 
to science, or even one whose structure has hitherto been 
imperfectly known. On the contrary, it has been known 
to science for nearly a century and a quarter ; but it is 
altogether such a peculiar and interesting creature that it 
may well form the text of an article. 

Like so many of its cousins the lemurs, the aye-aye 
is an inhabitant of Madagascar, from the west coast of 
which island the first specimen known to European 
science was brought to Paris in 1780 by the French 
traveller Sonnerat, who discovered several other curious 
mammals and birds. By the naturalists of that time, 
despite the remarkable peculiarity in the structure of 
the forepaws mentioned later on in this article, it was 
regarded as a squirrel, and accordingly named Sciurus 
madagascariensis. It was, however, soon after apparent 
that, whatever might be its real affinities, it could 
not rightly be retained in the same genus as the true 
squirrels ; and it was accordingly renamed, at first 
Daubentonia^ and subsequently Chiromys {Cheiromys). 
The justification for the proposal of this second title was 
that the first had been previously employed in botany, 
which was then (although not now) regarded as a bar 
to its use in zoology. And at the present day some 



naturalists think that the almost forgotten Daubentonia 
ought to be resuscitated, and the familiar Chiromys 
abolished. This, however, is a matter which may be left 
for the specialists to settle among themselves. 

But it is not with regard to its scientific name alone 
that the creature has been unfortunate ; a difference of 
opinion having arisen as to its right to the name " aye- 
aye," by which it has been universally known since 
Sonnerat's time. That traveller, it appears, had at first 
two living specimens captured on the west coast of 
Madagascar ; and when these were seen by the natives 
of the east coast (where the species is unknown), they 
ejaculated "aye-aye" — or more probably "hai-hai" — which 
seems, not unnaturally, to have been regarded as the 
native name of the animal. At least as early as i860 
it was, however, suggested that in place of being the 
animal's name, it was merely an exclamation of surprise 
at the sight of a strange and unknown creature. And 
this view of the case is maintained to be correct by 
Mr. Shaw, a missionary who resided for many years in 
Madagascar. On the other hand, another missionary, 
Mr. Baron, affirms that the name "hai-hai" is derived 
from the creature's peculiar cry. 

When those who have the best opportunities for 
deciding arrive at such opposite conclusions, it is difficult 
for others to form a judgment. I have, however, con- 
sulted a naturalist familiar with Madagascar, who tells 
me that "hai" is undoubtedly the Malagasy expression 
of surprise or wonderment ; and that as the aye-aye 
is a shy and rare creature, seldom seen even by the 
natives of the districts where it is found, and then 
regarded with superstitious awe, the colloquial expression 
of wonderment may well have become its accepted name. 


If, however, "hai-hai" be, as Mr. Baron asserts, the 
creature's own cry, then it would seem more hkely that 
the exclamation has been derived from the animal, and 
not that the animal has taken its name from the exclamation. 
Anyway, there seems undoubtedly to be some kind of 
connection between the exclamation " hai-hai " and the 
name " aye-aye," and we may therefore be content to 
accept the latter as the popular title for Chiromys 
madagascariensis. The naturalist to whom allusion is 
made above tells me, however, that the creature certainly 
has another vernacular title in some parts of the island. 

As already mentioned, the naturalist Gmelin, by whom 
the aye-aye was originally described, regarded it as a 
kind of squirrel — an opinion shared at first by the great 
anatomist Cuvier. This view of its relationship was 
doubtless formed from the somewhat squirrel-like appearance 
of the animal, and the approximation made by its teeth to 
the rodent type. When, however, the Paris specimen was 
more carefully examined, and its skull and certain other 
bones removed from the skin, it became apparent that its 
relationships were evidently with the lemurs ; the German 
naturalist Schreber being the one to whom the honour of 
this identification is due. 

From Schreber's time till i860 little or nothing more 
was done to advance our knowledge of the aye-aye, of 
which the Paris specimen remained the only example 
in Europe. In 1858, however. Dr. Sandwith left England 
for Madagascar, and previous to his departure Sir Richard 
(then Professor) Owen impressed upon him the importance 
of endeavouring to obtain specimens of this rare animal. 
A year later the Professor received a letter stating that 
with much difficulty a specimen had been secured ; and 
this in due course arrived in England preserved in spirit. 


It was dissected and described by Owen in i860; and 
from the beautiful drawing by Wolf which accompanies 
that memoir the figure illustrating the present article is 

Soon after the arrival of the specimen sent to Owen 
a living example of this strange animal was received at 
the menagerie of the Zoological Society in Regent's Park ; 
this being a female presented in 1862 by Mr. E. Mellish. 
An excellent account of the habits of this animal in 
captivity was published by the late Mr. A. D. Bartlett in 
the Society's Proceedings for the same year. A male and 
female were also received in the menagerie in the summer 
of 1883, while a fourth specimen was purchased in the 
autumn of 1887. 

The ordinary public saw, however, little or nothing of 
these specimens, for as might be inferred by its large 
eyes, the aye-aye is essentially a nocturnal creature, 
remaining comfortably curled up during the daylight hours, 
and only venturing out as darkness comes on. In this 
respect it resembles the majority of its cousins the lemurs ; 
and were we naming animals afresh, the name lemur would 
in some ways have been more appropriate to this particular 
species than to those to which it properly belongs. For 
the word " lemur " in its original signification means a 
ghost, and not only is the aye-aye stealthy and ghost-like 
in its movements, but it is regarded with superstitious 
dread by the Malagasy, who believe it to be a kind 
of spirit. 

As already mentioned, the aye-aye has somewhat the 
appearance of a large dark-coloured squirrel ; and in size 
it may be compared roughly to a cat, the total length 
being about three feet. The head and face are short and 
rounded ; and the large eyes are furnished with a membrane 


which can be drawn across them from one side. The 
large and rounded ears, which are inchned backwards, 
are naked and dotted with a number of small tubercles. 
The blackish brown hair all over the body is long and 
coarse, but becomes longer still on the long and bushy 
tail. Nothing very remarkable exists in the structure of 
the hind-limbs, which somewhat exceed the front pair in 
length ; but the forepaws, or hands, which are unusually 
elongated, display a most strange peculiarity. As in lemurs 
generally, the thumb is capable of being opposed to the 
index finger, which is short ; the latter, together with 
the fourth and fifth digits, being of normal thickness and 
provided with long compressed and pointed claws. The 
third or middle finger, as is beautifully shown in the 
figure, is, however, quite unlike the others, being extremely 
thin and spider-like. Of its use, mention will be made 

This attenuated middle finger is one of two marked 
peculiarities whereby the aye-aye differs so strangely from 
its relatives the lemurs. Its other peculiarity is to be 
found in its dentition. Ordinary lemurs, it may be observed, 
have from thirty-two to thirty-six teeth ; the incisor or front 
teeth, although presenting certain peculiarities of form, 
agreeing numerically with those of monkeys and man in most 
cases. In the aye-aye, however, there are only eighteen 
teeth, all told ; the incisors being reduced to a single pair in 
each jaw, the canines, or tusks, wanting, and the cheek-teeth, 
or grinders, comprising four pairs in the upper and three 
in the lower jaw. Nor is this all, for the incisors, which 
grow throughout life, are large somewhat chisel-like 
teeth, recalling in many respects those of a beaver or 
other rodent, although with peculiarities of their own 
which render them easily distinguishable from those of all 


the members of that group. Still, the whole character 
of the dentition is so essentially rodent-like that there is 
little wonder the old naturalists regarded the aye-aye as 
a near relative of the squirrels. 

The general anatomy of the aye-aye, especially the 
structure of its skull, shows, however, that it is certainly 
a near relative of the lemurs, which are themselves distant 
cousins of the monkeys, from which, among many other 
peculiarities, they differ by their expressionless, fox-like 
faces. The aye-aye is therefore classed as a lemuroid ; of 
which group, owing to the peculiarity of its dentition and 
its attenuated middle finger, it must be regarded as a highly 
aberrant and specialised member. 

Unfortunately, in spite of recent explorations in the 
superficial deposits of Madagascar, where bones of huge 
extinct lemuroids have been disinterred, nothing whatever 
is known as to the ancestry of the aye-aye. Evidently, 
however, it must be a comparatively ancient type, for, if 
we may judge from the analogy of other groups, a long 
period of time must have been required to allow of the 
gradual evolution and development of its characteristic 
peculiarities of dental and manual structure. 

Evidently these peculiarities must be connected with its 
mode of life. And we learn from those who have observed 
the creature in its native forests or in captivity, that the 
aye-aye, unlike the true lemurs, subsists largely upon wood- 
boring insect larvae, especially on the larva of a beetle known 
to the Malagasy by the name of andraitra. Apparently the 
aye-aye possesses a sense of hearing so acute that when 
on a bough it can hear the faint rasping sound made by 
the jaws of the andraita as it bores its way through the 
wood in the interior. Thereupon it at once sets to work 
with its powerful front teeth to chisel away the intervening 


wood till it opens up the tunnel of the burrowing 
larva. As soon as the tunnel is reached the attenuated 
middle finger is thrust in, either to act as a probe to 
determine the position of the larva, or to drag it out from 
its hiding-place, or perhaps for both purposes. Some un- 
certainty still obtains as to the exact details of these and 
other operations of a like nature, for our information on 
these points appears to be mainly, if not exclusively, based 
on native accounts. There is, however, little doubt that 
the modus operandi is in the main as described above. 

We thus have a sufficient and satisfactory explanation 
of the reason why the aye-aye differs so remarkably in its 
dentition and in the structure of its hand from all its living 
kindred. If, however, we attempt to account for the gradual 
development of these peculiarities by v/hat is commonly called 
natural selection, we encounter considerable difficulty. It is 
easy to conceive how the ancestors of the horse lost their 
lateral toes by disuse, but how an ancestral aye-aye gradually 
reduced the size of its middle finger till it assumed the 
attenuated proportions of its existing representative is very 
hard to understand, seeing that a slight diminution in the 
calibre of this digit would be of little or no advantage. 
Some much more potent cause than " natural selection " 
seems necessary in this, as in many other instances. 

As regards its general mode of life, the aye-aye wanders 
through the silent forest at night in pairs, and never appears 
to associate with others of its fellows than its partner. Pro- 
bably the partnership is for life, but on this point we have 
no definite information. The aye-aye is one of the com- 
paratively few mammals which build a regular nest ; this 
being constructed, according to Mr. Baron, of the carefully 
rolled up leaves of one particular kind of tree, and lined 
with small twigs and dry leaves ; the whole structure having 


a diameter of about a couple of feet. Apparently the sole use 
of this nest is as a nursery, and in it at the proper season 
the female brings forth a solitary offspring — whether born 
naked or clothed with hair does not seem to be ascertained. 
The female alone builds the nest, which is placed securely 
in the fork of a tree. 

In addition to the use described above, the attenuated 
middle finger is employed to comb the hair and clean the 
eyes, mouth, and nose ; the animal, when thus engaged, 
generally suspending itself head-downwards from a bough 
by its hind-feet ; at any rate, this is the case in captivity. 
As a rule, the food is not held in the paws, after the 
usual monkey and lemur fashion, although the act of 
drinking is performed in an ape-like manner, the fingers 
being first dipped in water and then sucked. 

Besides the boring larvae already alluded to, it is certain 
that the aye-aye will eat various other kinds of food, 
although native accounts differ to a considerable extent on 
this point. Some say, for instance, that it subsists largely 
on birds and their eggs, while others assert that honey is 
its favourite food. Probably there is some degree of truth 
in all these accounts, and that the creature is to a certain 
extent omnivorous. It will eat sugar-cane with considerable 
gusto, and in captivity has been known to take bananas. 
But that these latter are not its natural food would seem to 
be evident from the fact that they stick in and clog its teeth. 

As regards its distribution, the aye-aye is a very local 
animal ; its chief habitat being the great forest clothing the 
eastern border of the great central plateau of the island. 
Here, however, it is apparently restricted to the district 
forming the confines of the provinces of Sihanaka and 
Betsimisaraka, which is situate about five-and-twenty miles 
inland in latitude 17° 22' S. I am, however, informed by 


the friend mentioned above that an aye-aye occurs in the 
south of the island, which, if its habitat is isolated from 
that of the typical form, may turn out to be a new local 
race, or possibly even a distinct species. 

Although the aye-aye is certainly far from being a common 
animal, yet it is probably less rare than is often supposed. 
Its supposed great rarity appears to be largely due to the 
dread in which it is held by the natives, who can seldom 
be induced to capture a specimen. It is believed to be 
endowed with the power of causing the death of those who 
attempt its capture, and it is consequently only some of the 
bolder natives who will venture on this undertaking, and 
then only after providing themselves with a charm to 
counteract the effects of the creature's supposed super- 
natural power. Occasionally, according to Mr. Baron's 
notes, it is taken in traps set for lemurs ; but it is 
then, unless the owner is possessed of the aforesaid charm, 
invariably set at liberty, after being anointed with fat in 
order to propitiate its goodwill and forgiveness. Only 
very occasionally is a specimen offered for sale in the 
market at Tamatave, when a good price — presumably from 
Europeans — is always obtained. 


Although it is a common notion that our ordinary " tabby " 
is the direct descendant of the European wild cat {Felis 
catus), now nearly exterminated in Britain, the best modern 
authorities are of opinion that the real ancestor is a wild 
species inhabiting North-Eastern Africa, and commonly 
known as the Egyptian cat {Felts libycd) ; a reputed 
variety of the same species being stated to inhabit parts of 
Southern Europe. The facility with which several of the 
smaller species of wild cats will breed together, and likewise 
the circumstance that the domesticated cats of Asia appa- 
rently have an origin distinct from that of the European 
breeds, renders the subject one of more difficulty than 
might at first seem to be the case. 

With regard to the differences between the domesticated 
and the wild cat, it has been generally asserted that the 
latter is considerably the larger animal of the two, although 
the comparisons made by Dr. E. Hamilton, who has 
published a book on the subject, indicate that this is not 
really the case. The statement that the tail of the wild 
species is shorter and stouter seems largely due to the 
circumstance that the fur is more abundant and bushy, 

* A portion of the substance of this and the next article appear 
in the one on " the Origin of Domesticated Animals." In spite, 
however, of a certain amount of repetition, it has been thought 
advisable to let all three stand in their original form. 



so that the tail of the domesticated breeds appears longer 
and more slender ; but, on the whole, it seems that in 
domesticated cats the tail does differ to a certain extent in 
this respect from that of the pure-bred wild animal, although 
individuals of the domesticated breeds are sometimes met 
with which exhibit scarcely any difference in this respect 
from the wild cat. Obviously, then, the tail — on which so 
much stress has been laid — is not a matter of very much 
importance in the inquiry. With regard to the general 
coloration of the fur, although both the wild cat and a 
large number of individuals of the old European domesticated 
breed are what is commonly known as the " tabby " type, 
the markings of pure-bred specimens of the former are 
stated to present certain differences from those of the latter, 
and are described as being more tiger-like. Then, too, the 
dark rings on the tail of the wild cat appear blackish 
brown when held against the light, whereas those of the 
domestic tabby are jetty black. 

Perhaps the most important point in which domesti- 
cated cats differ from the pure-bred wild cat, and thereby 
resemble the Egyptian cat, is in the coloration of the hind- 
foot. Dr. A, Nehring, of Berlin, who first brought the 
fact to notice, states that in the Egyptian animal the pads 
on the under-surface of the toes are black, this colour 
extending upwards on the foot as far as the heel-bone, the 
under-surface of this part of the limb being in some cases 
wholly black, but in others marked with black stripes 
on a lighter ground. On the other hand, the pure-bred 
wild cat has only a small black spot on the pads, while the 
colour of the fur on the under-surface of the foot as far 
up as the heel-bone is some shade of yellow or yellowish 
grey. Since all European domesticated cats — except, of 
course, those which are wholly black or white — agree with 


the former type of coloration, there seems full justification 
for regarding them as the descendants of the Egyptian 
cat. Moreover, the tail of the latter is distinctly longer 
and less bushy than that of the wild cat, and thus more 
like that of the domestic breeds. Additional evidence in 
favour of the southern origin of our domesticated breeds 
has been furnished by Dr. G. Martorelli, of Milan, who 
has described two European wild cats, the one from 
Sardinia and the other from the Tuscan Maremma. These 
are stated to be very different from the ordinary wild cat, 
and to approximate to the Egyptian cat, of which they 
are regarded as forming a race or variety, under the name 
of the Mediterranean cat {F. mediterranea). As these cats 
are stated to present considerable resemblance to domes- 
ticated breeds, there can be little hesitation in accepting 
the view that, so far as Europe is concerned, the latter 
were originally derived from the Egyptian cat. 

But Prof Martorelli goes one step farther than this, 
and suggests that the European wild cat, through the 
intervention of the Mediterranean race of the Egyptian 
cat, is hkewise descended from the latter. Curiously 
enough, Dr. Hamilton, from the circumstance that certain 
fossil remains found in Belgium and England seemed to 
belong to F. libyca rather than F. caius, had previously 
hazarded the conjecture " that the European wild cat and 
the Egyptian domestic cat are derived from one common 

Although it is going a little out of the way, it may be 
mentioned here that, in the opinion of Prof Martorelli, the 
Egyptian cat has given rise to another line of descendants. 
The first species on this line is the jungle-cat (^F. chaus) 
of India and Africa, while the second place is occupied by 
the various species of lynxes, between which and the 


Egyptian cat the jungle-cat forms a connecting link. From 
a side branch of this line the steppe-cat (/^ caudatd) of 
Bokhara is considered to have sprung. 

Returning to the domesticated cat of Europe, it may be 
mentioned that the animal termed ailnros by the ancient 
Greeks, and kept by them in a domesticated state, was 
not really a cat, although the word is so rendered in our 
translation of the classics. On the contrary, it appears, 
from the researches of the late Prof Rolleston, of Oxford, 
to have been a species of marten {Musteld). That cats 
were tamed by the ancient Egyptians is proved by the 
number of their mummified remains entombed in various 
parts of the country, notably at Bubastis. Indeed, so 
plentiful are mummified cats, that a few years ago they 
formed a brisk article of trade, being employed for manure. 
From a careful examination of these remains, it has been 
inferred by Prof Virchow that the animal to which they 
belonged was indistinguishable from the wild Egyptian 
cat, and was not truly domesticated. In one of the ancient 
frescoes of the country there is, however, depicted a cat 
presenting a striking likeness to the ordinary " tabby," 
and it is therefore quite possible that a distinct domesticated 
race may also have existed in ancient Egypt. There is, 
indeed, a possibility that if the so-called Mediterranean cat 
be really a wild variety of the Egyptian cat, a domesticated 
race may have originated in South-Eastern Europe, rather 
than in North-Eastern Africa. In suggesting that the 
original domestication took place in the latter area, Dr. 
Hamilton cites the occurrence of representations of undoubted 
Egyptian cats in Etrurian tombs dating from a period 
between 350 and 200 B.C. And a correspondent from 
Rome wrote to him as follows : "I should think there 
was no doubt whatever that the Etruscans received the 


domestic cat from the Egyptians by means of the Phoenician 
traders, as in the very earliest and rudest Etruscan tombs 
in the neighbourhood of Civeta Castellani (the contents 
of which are now in the Museum of Papa Giulio, near 
Rome) there are unmistakable traces of the Phoenician 
trade." Without denying that such may have been the 
case, the discovery of the Mediterranean cat, as already 
mentioned, suggests the possibility of a European origin 
for the domesticated breed. On the other hand, the 
Mediterranean cat itself may prove to be merely a feral 
race derived from an Egyptian importation. 

Be this as it may — and the problem is one hardly 
capable of decisive solution — Dr. Nehring is of opinion 
that wild cats were originally brought under subjugation 
by stationary agricultural tribes, to whom it must have 
been of the utmost importance that their hoards of grain 
should be protected as much as possible from the ravages 
of rats and mice. 

When once a domesticated breed had become established 
in Europe, it would certainly have freely crossed with the 
wild cat. And it seems highly probable that to such 
crossing is due the great prevalence of " tabbies " in Europe 
previous to the introduction of the now fashionable Persian 
breed, the wild cat having the dark stripes broader, and 
frequently more numerous, than they are in the Egyptian 

As to the date of introduction of the domesticated cat 
into Britain, the earliest written evidence of its existence 
there occurs in the laws of the Welsh prince Howel 
Dhu, which were enacted about the middle of the tenth 
century. Certain remains of cats have, however, been dis- 
covered in Roman villas in this country, which appear to 
belong to the domesticated breed ; and if these be rightly 


identified, the first introduction of the animal must have 
been at a much earlier date, the Roman evacuation 
having taken place about the middle of the fifth century 
of our era. 

Although cats of all colours are now met with, and some 
of them at least have been long known there, the preva- 
lence of " tabby " is, as already said, very characteristic of 
the old domesticated breed in Europe. In Eastern Asia, 
on the other hand, as was long since pointed out by that 
very observant naturalist the late Edward Blyth, " tabbies " 
are unknown, and either spotted or uniformly coloured cats 
are prevalent. In India, for instance, where they have not 
been crossed with a European stock, the ordinary cats are 
either spotted or fulvous, with barred limbs. In Siam we 
have the peculiar and valuable Siamese cat, characterised 
by the uniformly tawny fur of the body, the dark muzzle, 
under-parts, and limbs, the short legs, and blue eyes. 
Again, the long-haired Persian or Angora breed is also 
uniformly coloured, the prevalent tints being white, yel- 
lowish, or greyish. 

Among the smaller wild species of the genus indigenous 
to India is the desert-cat {Felts ornata), of which the 
general colour is pale sandy, with small roundish black 
spots on the body and elongated spots or streaks on the 
neck and face, two dark bars being present on the inner 
side of the fore-hmb. From this species have probably 
originated the spotted domesticated cats of India, in which 
the spots tend to aggregate into streaks on the fore-part 
of the body, while the slender tail is ringed. Probably, 
however, considerable crossing has taken place with two 
other wild Indian species — namely, the leopard-cat {F. ben- 
galensis) and the tiny rusty-spotted cat {F. rubiginosa). 
Many of these spotted Indian domesticated cats have run 



wild, and one such has been described as a distinct 

With regard to the fulvous domesticated Indian breed, 
in which the fur of the body is uniform tawny, the legs 
barred, and the tail ringed, it seems probable that this too 
was originally descended from the desert-cat, but that it 
has derived its uniform coloration from the jungle-cat 
(F. chaus), which, as already said, is related to the lynxes. 
That it is not the direct descendant of that species seems 
evident from the different relative lengths of its tail and 
limbs, and the absence of pencils of hair on the ears. 

I have already said that in the opinion of Prof. 
Martorelli the jungle-cat and steppe-cat are descendants 
of the Egyptian cat ; and as the desert-cat and steppe-cat 
are closely allied, it follows that, if his views be correct, 
all the Indian domesticated cats trace their ultimate origin 
to the Egyptian cat. 

Nothing definite is known as to the origin of the beau- 
tiful Siamese cat, but it seems possible that it may be 
the descendant of the golden or bay cat {F. temmmckt) of 
the Malay countries, which is a uniformly coloured bright 
ferruginous-red or dark-brown species, with a relatively 
short tail. 

There is likewise no certain information with regard to 
the pedigree of the Persian or Angora cat. The deserts 
of Central Asia are, however, the home of a very peculiar 
species of the genus Felis, which was first described by the 
Russian naturalist Pallas, under the name of F. manul, and 
is popularly known as Pallas's cat. This species, which is 
about the size of an average domesticated cat, differs from 
all other wild Old World members of the genus by the 
great length and softness of its fur. Its general colour is 
pale whitish grey, with some narrow dark markings on the 


chest, loins, and limbs, the tail being short and ringed. 
With the exception of the shortness of the tail and its 
dark rings, all the characters of this species are just 
those which might be expected in the ancestor of the 
Persian breed, and it is quite probable that the points 
mentioned may have been eliminated by careful selection 
or crossing. 

To discuss certain other less well-known domesticated 
breeds would probably be wearisome to the reader. Suf- 
ficient has been said to indicate that the origin of the 
animal commonly known as Felis domestica is probably a 
composite one, and that it is scarcely entitled to be called 
a single species. 

If the views of Prof, Martorelli be found substantially 
correct, the following will be the lines of evolution : Firstly, 
we have the ancestral type of the Egyptian cat {F. libyca), 
inhabiting North-Eastern Africa and a considerable part 
of Europe during the Pleistocene, and perhaps a part 
of the Pliocene, period. From this original species origi- 
nated in the eastern side of the Old World the Mediter- 
ranean cat {F. mediterraned) and the wild cat {F. catus). 
When man became dominant he produced the European 
domesticated breed, either directly from the typical Egyptian 
cat or from its variety the Mediterranean cat. And this 
original domestic breed soon became crossed with its im- 
mediate cousin the wild cat. 

On the other hand, in the East the original Egyptian cat 
gave rise to the jungle-cat {F. chaus), the steppe-cat {F. 
caudatd), and presumably, therefore, that near ally of the 
latter, the Indian desert-cat {F. ornatd). From the latter 
are derived the spotted Indian domesticated cats, while 
the fulvous domesticated breed of the same country has 
been produced by a cross with the jungle-cat. Both these 


are now largely crossed with their somewhat remote cousin, 
the striped domesticated cat of Europe. 

The Persian cat, as we have seen, may probably be 
derived from Pallas's cat, which has no sort of connection 
with the Egyptian cat ; and the cross between the Persian 
and European " tabby," now so common, is consequently 
a very mixed breed indeed. Finally, it is probable that 
the Siamese cat has an ancestry totally distinct from that 
of all the rest. 


The number of breeds and varieties of the domesticated 
dog is so great that it is at first rather hard to believe 
that all are descended from a few wild types. Neverthe- 
less, the differences between these are not greater than 
those met with among domesticated pigeons and fowls, 
which are known to be respectively descended from the 
wild pigeons of Europe and the jungle-fowls of Asia. A 
peculiarity of most domesticated dogs is their power of 
barking, which seems to be entirely unknown among all 
wild members of the family Cam'dae, even the semi-domes- 
ticated dogs of the Eskimo being unable to bark, as are 
the dingos of Australia. But if kept among barking dogs, 
both these breeds, and apparently also wolves and jackals, 
will soon learn to bark in a more or less thorough manner. 
Barking is, therefore, evidently an acquired habit ; but that 
it affords no argument against the derivation of the domes- 
ticated breeds from the wild races is evident not only from 
the above instance, but also from the circumstance that the 
Asiatic jungle-fowl are unable to crow in the manner 
characteristic of their domesticated descendants. Several 
traits — such as turning round several times on a hearthrug 
in order to make a hole before lying down, and scratching 
up earth with their fore-feet and throwing it backwards 
with the hind pair, common to wolves and jackals — are 
inherited by even the most domesticated of domestic 
dogs ; and these are evidently of great value in helping to 



trace the ancestry. A German writer, the late Prof. L. 
Fitzinger, considered that domesticated dogs might be 
divided into seven well-marked groups, which included 
close upon a couple of hundred of more or less well-marked 
breeds and varieties. Other authorities are, however, of 
opinion that the number of main groups might be reduced 
to half a dozen, these including wolf-like dogs, such as the 
Eskimo breed, the various kinds of greyhounds, spaniels, 
hounds, mastiffs, and lastly terriers. 

All who have written on the subject are in accord in 
regarding all domesticated dogs, with the exception of the 
Australian dingo, as constituting but a single species — the 
Cajiis familiaris of Linnaeus. But if it be true, as seems 
probably the case, that domesticated dogs trace their 
ancestry to more than a single wild species, it will be 
obvious that Canis familiaris cannot in any sense be re- 
garded as equivalent to an ordinary wild species ; and that, 
properly speaking, if this were possible, the various true 
breeds ought to be affiliated to the wild species from w^hich 
they are respectively derived. Still, for practical purposes, 
the ordinary classification may be accepted, if it be remem- 
bered that Canis familiaris, like Felis domestica, is in all 
probability a "convergent" species. 

By naturalists all the members of the dog tribe are in- 
cluded in the great family Canidae, which thus embraces 
wolves, jackals, foxes, wild dogs, the African hunting-dog, 
the long-eared fox of the Cape, and the bush-dog of Guiana. 
Somewhat different views are entertained as to how many 
of these should be included in the typical genus Canis, but 
this is a matter which needs no consideration here, and we 
may accordingly proceed to eliminate from the list those 
groups which have certainly no claim to be on the ances- 
tral line of the domesticated breeds. 


First of all we may dismiss the rare South American 
bush-dog (Speoihos), which is a small somewhat fox-like 
creature with a short tail and teeth of a quite peculiar 
type. Equally far removed from the line are the long- 
eared Cape fox {Otocyon) and the African hunting-dog 
{Lycaon), the former having more teeth than the domes- 
ticated breeds, while the latter has fewer toes. Next we 
may eliminate the wild dogs of Asia, which are frequently 
separated from the other members of the family under 
the name of Cyon^ as all these have one pair less of 
cheek-teeth in the lower jaw, and therefore obviously can- 
not be the ancestral stock, as an organ once lost cannot 
be replaced. Rather nearer to the domesticated races are 
the foxes and fennecs {Vulpes), exclusive of the South 
American species commonly so called. But if we examine 
the skull of the British or any other species of true fox, 
an important difference will be found between it and the 
skull of any domesticated dog, wolf, or jackal. This 
difference is best displayed in the shape of the projecting 
process of bone forming the hinder border of the socket of 
the eye ; this process in a fox being distinctly concave, 
whereas in all the others it is highly convex. 

We thus arrive at the conclusion that the only existing 
members of the family that can possibly be the ancestors 
of the domesticated breeds are wolves, jackals, the Aus- 
tralian dingo, and certain South American species which, 
although commonly termed foxes, are really more closely 
allied to the jackals and wolves ; and it is further obvious 
that the only extinct species which can claim a place in the 
line of descent are those having skulls and teeth of the 
wolf t3'pe — in other words, species of the genus Canis in 
its restricted sense. 

Before proceeding farther, it may be mentioned in con- 


firmation of the foregoing views that in all the late Mr. 
Bartlett's long experience at the " Zoo " he never met with 
a well-authenticated instance of a fox interbreeding with 
either a dog, wolf, or jackal ; and although newspaper 
reports have subsequently mentioned a hybrid between a 
fox and a dog, it is obvious that such crosses are, at the 
most, of extreme rarity. 

On the other hand, when suitably matched, there is no 
sort of difficulty in obtaining crosses between wolves and 
jackals and domesticated dogs; and it is a well-known 
fact that the Eskimo are constantly in the habit of crossing 
their sledge-dogs with wolves in order to impart strength 
and stamina to the breed. Indeed, Eskimo dogs are so 
closely related to wolves that there can be no question 
that they are descended from them, Mr. Bartlett remarking 
that they are undoubtedly " reclaimed or domesticated 

This being so, Eskimo dogs should properl}^ be called 
Cants lupus instead of Canis familiaris ; and if it could be 
shown that all domesticated dogs have the same ancestry, 
the former name should stand for all. On the other hand, 
as was long since pointed out by that acute observer the 
late Sir John Richardson, the Hare Indians of North 
America, who inhabit a zone lying considerably to the 
south of Eskimo territory, have dogs very closely resem- 
bling the small American prairie-wolf, or coyote, which 
is the wild species most commonly met with in their 
territory. And it may be affirmed with a considerable 
degree of confidence that the Hare Indian dog presents 
the same relationship to the coyote as is borne by the 
Eskimo dog to the wolf. Accordingly, if we base our 
nomenclature on descent, the former breed ought to be 
called Cam's latrans. 


We have now arrived at the conclusion that domesticated 
dogs trace their descent back to at least two wild species, 
and we may quote once more from Mr. Bartlett, who writes 
as follows : " All wolves, if taken young and reared by 
man, are tame, playful, and exhibit a fondness for those 
who feed and attend to them. The same may be said for 
all the species of jackals. This being so, it is highly 
probable that both wolves and jackals were for many ages 
in the company of man, and that owing to this association 
the different species of these animals may have bred 
together and become domesticated." 

This introduces the various species of jackals into the 
problem, and since there is a marked similarity between 
certain domesticated breeds of dogs and jackals, while the 
native domestic dogs of nearly every country present a 
more or less markedly striking likeness to one or other of 
the indigenous wild Cantdae of the same district, there can 
be little doubt that Canis familiaris has a multiple origin, 
and that man has tamed various wild races at different 
times in different parts of the globe. And it will be obvious 
that where the domestication has taken place in very 
remote ages, and there has been much subsequent mingling 
and shifting of population, the resemblance to the wild 
species will be the least marked. On the other hand, 
where the taming has been comparatively recent, where 
there has been no shifting of population, or where the 
original breed was best adapted to the needs of its masters, 
then the resemblance to the original stock will be most 
likely to persist longest. 

To give a few instances. Mr. Blyth was much struck 
with the marked resemblance between many of the Indian 
pariah dogs and the wolf of the same country — a resem- 
blance to which I can testify from my own experience. In 


many parts of Europe the wolf-dogs and sheep-dogs are 
remarkably like the races of wolves inhabiting the same 
districts ; and the black Florida wolf-dog is strikingly similar 
to the black wolf of that country. Sheep-dogs may there- 
fore be included among the breeds descended from wolves, 
and are some of those which have undergone the least 
amount of modification from the parent type. On the 
other hand, when we proceed to South-Eastern Europe 
and the South of Asia, we meet with breeds of dogs so 
like the jackals of the same districts that it is hard to 
believe they are not very closely related. South Africa 
is the home of that very peculiar species, the black-backed 
jackal, and in many districts dogs are met with showing 
a marked resemblance in form and coloration to that 
species, although having lost the deep black patch on the 
back from which it takes its name. It has also been 
noticed that certain domesticated breeds in South America 
are so like the Cams azarae of the same region as to lead 
to the belief that the one is the descendant of the other. 

From these and other considerations Darwin was led to 
the following conclusion: "It is highly probable that the 
domestic dogs of the world are descended from two well- 
defined species of wolf — namely, C. lupus and C. latrans — 
and from two or three doubtful species — namely, the 
European, Indian, and North African wolves ; from at 
least one or two South American canine species ; from 
several races or species of jackal ; and perhaps from one 
or more extinct species." 

In all the above-mentioned instances the domesticated 
breeds belong either to half-savage races, or are those 
which, like wolf-dogs, sheep-dogs, and pariah dogs, have 
departed but little from the original wolf or jackal type. 
In some cases we have seen these breeds are kept true 


by crossing with the original stock, and several of them 
may be comparatively modern. Such breeds throw no 
light on the origin of the more specialised domesticated 
breeds, such as mastiffs, spaniels, hounds, and terriers, all 
of which are quite unlike any wild species, and have 
evidently undergone a long course of modification, dating 
back in some cases for hundreds if not thousands of years. 
To trace the pedigree of such breeds is probably quite 
impossible, although the investigations of archaeologists 
and palaeontologists are most important in proving the 
extreme antiquity of the domestication of the dog. Ancient 
monuments show that at a very early period domesticated 
dogs were differentiated into two very distinct breeds — 
namely, those which hunt by scent like hounds, and 
those which, hke greyhounds, depend upon sight in the 
chase ; and when once these were established further 
modifications would doubtless have soon arisen if attention 
was paid to breeding. Many of these breeds and strains 
were doubtless produced by crossing those derived from 
different wild species, by which means all trace of the 
original ancestry would gradually have been lost. 

In the Roman period not only were sight-hounds and 
scent-hounds fully differentiated, but there were also various 
kinds of lap-dogs and house-dogs, although none quite like 
our modern breeds. Even as far back as about 3000 b.c. 
Egyptian frescoes show not only greyhound-like breeds, 
but one with drooping ears like a hound, and a third 
which has been compared to the modern turnspit ; while 
house-dogs and lap-dogs came in soon afterwards. Whether 
any of these are the direct ancestors of modern breeds, or 
whether all such have been produced by subsequent cross- 
ing, is a very difficult question to answer, more especially 
when we recollect that if an ancient Egyptian artist had 


to draw the portrait of a modern dog it would be very 
doubtful whether it would be recognised by its master or 

But the record of the antiquity of domesticated dogs 
does not even stop with the earliest known Egyptian 
monuments. Not only were such breeds known in Europe 
during the Iron and Bronze Ages, but also during the 
antecedent Neolithic or polished stone period. These have 
been described by the late Prof. Riltimeyer and Dr. 
Woldrich ; and those who are acquainted with the diffi- 
culty of distinguishing between some of the living species 
by their skulls alone will understand the laborious nature 
of the task. Still, these authorities appear to have made 
out that the Swiss Neolithic dog {Canis paluslris) had 
certain cranial resemblances to both hounds and spaniels, 
and thus indicated an advanced type, which is considered 
to have been derived from neither wolves nor jackals, but 
from some species now extinct. Certain other breeds have 
also been recognised from the superficial deposits of the 
Continent ; and if, as is very likely to be the case, any 
or all of these races are the forerunners of some of the 
modern breeds, it will readily be understood how complex 
is the origin of the mixed group which we now call Canis 
familiaris. Even in South America there is evidence of the 
great antiquity of domesticated dogs, for I have described 
a skull from the superficial deposits of Buenos Aires, 
which, though apparently contemporaneous with many of 
the wonderful extinct mammals of the Pampas, yet shows 
unmistakable signs of affinity with domesticated breeds, 
although the precise relationship has not yet been estab- 

Perhaps, however, the greatest puzzle in the group is 
the dingo, or native dog of Australia, which has been 


regarded as a distinct species, under the name of Cams 
dingo, and is found both in the wild condition and also 
in a semi-domesticated state among the natives. In 
appearance it is somewhat like a rather small wolf, with 
pointed ears and a bushy tail ; its usual colour being 
rufous tawny, although some individuals are much paler, 
and others so much darker as to be almost black. 

As, with the exception of numerous peculiar kinds of 
rats and mice and a few bats, Australia is populated with 
marsupials to the exclusion of ordinary mammals, it was 
long supposed that the dingo, which appears to be very 
closely related to the Indian pariah dog, was introduced by 
man. But of late years a quantity of its fossilised remains 
have been dug up in various parts of Australia in association 
with those of gigantic kangaroos, diprotodons, and other 
extinct marsupials, in beds where there appears to be no 
evidence of the presence of man. And it has consequently 
been urged that the dingo is as truly indigenous to 
Australia as are kangaroos and wombats. There is, 
however, great difficulty in accepting this view, as the 
rodents might have obtained an entrance by being carried 
on floating wood, or by some other means of transport ; 
and if the dingo travelled by land to Australia, other 
placental mammals ought to have accompanied it. More- 
over, the dingo is neither a wolf nor a jackal, but in all 
essential characters a true dog of the domesticated type, 
which seems scarcely separable from Cams familiaris. We 
have, therefore, the further difficulty of determining, if it 
be really a distinct species, from what Asiatic form it took 
its origin. This difficulty is enhanced when we recollect 
that throughout the Malay countries there are no wild 
species of the restricted genus Canis known, the so-called 
wild dogs of Java and Sumatra belonging, as already said, 


to Cyon. It is true that Messrs. Kohlbrugge and Jentink 
have recently described a dog from the Tennger Mountains 
in Eastern Java under the name of Canis familiaris teng- 
gerana, which is apparently a semi-domesticated race living 
in a partially wild condition. When more is known about 
it, and its resemblances or dissimilarities to the dingo are 
fully indicated, there may be a possibility of some rays of 
light being shed upon the problem of the introduction of 
that animal into the Antipodes. 


To those who are of an observant nature, an afternoon's 
stroll through any of the fashionable London thoroughfares 
during any of the past few winters must have revealed 
the prevalence of a fashion for the beautiful furs respectively 
known as blue fox and white fox. The skins of these 
animals are either worn entire as boas (or " necklets," as 
I am told they are called by ladies) or made up as muffs, 
and in either condition are strikingly beautiful. Blue fox 
has long been highly esteemed as a fur, skins selling for 
between ten and fourteen guineas ten years ago. White 
fox, on the other hand, has only during the last few years 
been appreciated as its beauty deserves, the price per skin 
having risen from between half a crown and sixteen 
shillings and sixpence during 1891 to three or four 
guineas, or even more, during recent years. 

But it is not the price of either the blue or the white 
skins I propose to discuss in detail in the present article. 
The circumstance to which I desire to draw the attention 
of my readers is the very remarkable one that both the 
blue and the white skins belong to one and the same kind 
of animal. At first sight this may seem, perhaps, a fact 
of no special interest or importance. For, as we all know, 
certain species of mammals, such as the stoat or ermine, 
the mountain-hare, and the lemming, are normally white in 

certain parts of their habitats in winter and dark-coloured in 



summer. Again, many mammals vary to a great extent 
in coloration according to locality, so that there may be 
dark-coloured and light-coloured races inhabiting different 
localities. The most striking instance of this is, perhaps, 
the big-horn wild sheep of North America, which in the 
Rocky Mountains is a khaki-coloured animal with a white 
rump, but in Alaska is nearly pure white all over through- 
out the year. It is true, indeed, that American naturalists 
prefer to regard the big-horns of the Rocky Mountains and 
Alaska as distinct species rather than local races of a 
single variable animal, but for our present purpose such 
slight differences of opinion do not really affect the case 
one way or the other. 

That white fox and blue fox skins are not (as was once 
supposed to be the case by some naturalists) the summer 
and winter coats of the same individual animals will be 
apparent by a comparison of furs of the two descriptions 
worn by our lady friends. Both descriptions have the 
same long thick hair, with a woolly under-fur at the base, 
and are evidently the winter coats of the animals to which 
they respectively belong. Indeed, with all long-haired 
animals of the northern parts of the Old World, with the 
possible exception of the Polar bear, it is the winter coat 
that is alone valued by the furrier. 

That blue and white foxes are not local races of the 
same species (or distinct species) is evident from the fact 
that in certain districts both occur together, although in 
other localities (as in Iceland, where all the foxes are 
blue) only one form may be met with. It is, indeed, 
possible that in some cases blue and white cubs may appear 
in the same litter. For instance, Prof. A. S. Packard, in 
his work entitled " The Labrador Coast," states he was 
informed by a native " that the white and blue fox littered 


together, but that the blue variety was very rare." Again, 
in answer to inquiries on this subject, Dr. Einar Lonnberg, 
of Upsala, whose observations are based on personal ex- 
perience, wrote to me as follows : — 

"The 'blue' foxes are uniformly dark-coloured summer 
and winter, and do not change to white at any time. In 
the summer they are very dark — dark brown, in fact ; in 
winter they are also dark, but more bluish. The indi- 
viduals which turn white in winter are during the summer 
ashy grey on the upper-parts and limbs, but have the tail, 
under-parts, more or less of the flanks, and the ears and 
muzzle white. The distribution of the grey and white is, 
however, subject to individual variation. The ' blue ' fox 
is, in fact, merely an individual variety of the white one. 
Both breed together, and sometimes there are dark and 
light individuals in the same litter. A friend of mine 
observed on Bear Island a pair in which the female was 
white and the male blue. In Iceland it is stated that all 
the Arctic foxes are blue." 

More precise information is required on the subject of 
their interbreeding, but it is quite certain that the blue fox 
and white fox of the furrier are only individual phases of 
the winter coat of a single species of fox. 

Although it is stated that white specimens are occa- 
sionally met with in summer, the white phase of the Arctic 
fox (as the species is called) normally assumes a dark 
coat in summer. The difference between the winter and 
summer coats of this phase of the species is well illustrated 
by a couple of specimens which have recently been placed 
in the central hall of the Natural History branch of the 
British Museum. In the case containing the mountain- 
hare, ptarmigan, stoat, and weasel in their white winter 
dress has been introduced a specimen of the Arctic fox in 



the same coat. In contrast with this, the case in which 
are placed the above-mentioned animals in their dark 
summer costume contains a specimen of the white phase 
of the Arctic fox in its dark summer coat. In this speci- 
men, the hair (which is much shorter than that of the 
example in the winter dress) is dirty rufous brown shading 
into grey on the upper-parts and outer side of the limbs, 
and yellowish white below. In other examples the colour 
of the upper-parts is greyer, while the under-parts are 
nearly pure white. Sometimes also, it is stated that grey 
hairs are largely mingled with the white winter coat, so 
that we have a more or less marked tendency towards the 
blue phase even in the winter dress. In all cases the 
muzzle remains black, and it is stated that there may 
occasionally be a black tail-tip in the white winter dress. 
I have not seen a " blue fox " in the summer dress, 
but am told that the coat is then chiefly distinguished 
from its winter condition by its much shorter hairs and 
less pure blue colour. 

Of course, the so-called " blue " of even the best skins 
is a slaty or French grey rather than a blue in the proper 
sense of the word, and in many instances it tends to drab 
or dark purplish. Alaskan blue fox, which is somewhat 
coarse in the texture of the fur, has this purplish or sooty 
tinge most strongly developed, and at one time was 
specially valued on this account, although of late years 
the lighter varieties seem to have been chiefly in demand. 

Lest any of my readers should be led to think that the 
Arctic fox is a near relative of the common species, it 
may be well to state, before going any farther, that it is 
a very distinct animal indeed. Apart from its coloration, 
the most distinctive features of the species are to be 
found in its short, rounded ears (which look almost as 


though they had been cropped), moderately sharp muzzle, 
very long and bushy tail, and the coat of hair on the 
soles of the feet. From this latter feature the species 
takes its name of Canis lagopus; the object of the hairy 
soles being, of course, to afford the animal a firm foothold 
on the ice and frozen snow on which it passes so much 
of its time. In having two distinct colour-phases at all 
seasons of the year, which may be met with in the same 
locality, the Arctic fox stands practically unique among 
mammals. It is true that black-maned and yellow-maned 
lions may be occasionally met with in the same litter, 
while black leopards and black jaguars occur now and then 
among litters of cubs of the ordinary colour. But neither 
of these instances is exactly on all fours with the case 
of the Arctic fox. With regard to the lion, it has now 
been ascertained that the black-maned and tawny-maned 
specimens belong, in most cases at any rate, to distinct 
local races; and it is most probable that when light- and 
dark-maned cubs are met with in the same litter, it is due 
to crossing between two of these races. Black or melanistic 
leopards and jaguars, on the other hand, are more analogous 
to albinoes, and generally occur in hot and damp climates. 
The black phase of the common water-vole, found high up 
in many British valleys, is an instance somewhat analogous 
to that of black leopards, being apparently due to climatic 
conditions, and therefore not strictly comparable with the 
case of the Arctic fox. 

Many invertebrate animals exhibit two or more distinct 
phases — generally differing to a certain extent from each 
other in details of form or structure — and to such the 
name of dimorphic animals is technically applied. Natural- 
ists have agreed to designate the Arctic fox by the same 
title, although, were it not that it might be taken to 


convey an altogether different meaning, the term " dichroic " 
would be more appropriate, seeing that the difference 
between the two phases is solely one of colour, and has 
nothing to do with shape or structure. Using, then, the 
term " dimorphism " as indicative of the existence in one 
animal of two distinct colour-phases totally unconnected 
with either locality or season, the Arctic fox appears to be 
the only mammal to which this designation can be 
properly applied. 

The reason for this remarkable dimorphism in the Arctic 
fox is hard indeed to discover, and no satisfactory explana- 
tion of the puzzle appears hitherto to have been offered. 
It is almost unnecessary to say that the reason why 
Arctic and sub-Arctic animals turn white in winter is that 
they may be as inconspicuous as possible in their environ- 
ment of snow and ice. And if blue foxes were met with 
only in countries where snow lies but a short time in 
winter, while white ones occurred solely in more northern 
lands, some clue to the puzzle might be forthcoming. But, 
as a matter of fact, this is not the case. 

The distribution of the Arctic fox is circumpolar, ex- 
tending in the New World about as far south as latitude 
50° — that is to say, nearly to the southern extremity of 
Hudson Bay — and in the Old World to latitude 60°, or, 
approximately, to the latitude of Christiania and the Shet- 
land Isles. Northwards the species extends at least as far 
as Grinnell Land. 

In Iceland all the Arctic foxes appear to belong to the 
blue phase, and as that island is far to the south of many 
portions of the habitat of the species, it might be thought 
that this is the reason why the white phase is unrepre- 
sented there. But that island is far north of the line 
where the mountain-hare and the stoat begin to assume 


a white winter livery ; and if it is essential for these species 
that they should assimilate their colour to that of their 
surroundings, why is it not equally so in the case of the 
Arctic fox ? 

Again, although, as already mentioned, blue foxes are 
rare in Labrador, in. Alaska they are comparatively common, 
and the same is the case in Greenland, whence the Royal 
Greenland Company imported 1,451 skins to Copenhagen in 
1 89 1. And if it be essential for animals to turn white in 
winter in any country in the world, it is surely Alaska. It 
is difficult to ascertain the proportion of blue to white foxes 
in either Alaska or the PribilofF Islands, but it is certain 
that in both localities the two phases are found together, 
living apparently under precisely the same physical con- 

As regards the islands last named, Mr. Elliot, in his 
work on "The Seal Islands of Alaska," writes that "blue 
and white foxes are found on the Pribiloff Islands, and 
find among the countless chinks and crevices in the 
basaltic formation comfortable holes and caverns for their 
accommodation and retreat, feeding upon sick and pup 
seals, as well as water-fowl and eggs, during the summer 
and autumn, and living through the winter on dead seals 
left on the rookeries and their carcases on the killing- 

This account, then, fully establishes the fact that blue 
and white foxes occur in regions where, according to all 
accepted rules, there ought to be none but white in- 
dividuals during the long and dreary winter. It gives, 
however, no definite clue to the reason for the strange 

There is, however, a description of the habits of Arctic 
foxes in Grinnell Land given by Colonel Fielden, in his 


"Voyage to the Polar Sea," which may possibly throw 
some light on the subject, although, unfortunately, it 
does not tell us whether blue as well as white foxes 
are found in that region. After referring to the numbers 
of lemmings to be seen looking out from the mouths of 
their holes, or feeding in the vicinity, the author proceeds 
as follows : — 

" We noticed that numerous dead lemmings were scat- 
tered around. In every case they had been killed in the 
same manner — the sharp canine teeth of the foxes had 
penetrated their brain. Presently we came upon two 
ermines killed in the same manner. . . . Then, to our 
surprise, we discovered numerous deposits of dead lem- 
mings ; in one hidden nook under a rock we pulled out 
a heap of over fifty. We disturbed numerous 'caches' 
of twenty and thirty, and the earth was honeycombed with 
holes, each of which contained several bodies of these 
little animals, a small quantity of earth being placed over 
them. In one hole we found the greater part of a hare 
hidden away. The wings of young brent-geese were also 
lying about ; and as these birds were at this time just 
hatching, it showed that they must be the results of suc- 
cessful forays of prior seasons, and consequently that the 
foxes occupy the same abodes from year to year. I had 
long wondered how the Arctic fox exists in winter." 

Now, it will be evident that in this instance the foxes 
killed the prey stored up for winter use while they were 
in the dark summer coat. And since in winter, when the 
birds have left and the lemmings have retired to the 
depths of their burrows, they have no game to capture 
and no enemies to fear save Polar bears (which would 
not be likely to do them much harm), it would appear 
to be a matter of no consequence whether their coats be 


dark or light. Consequently, it seems a possible explana- 
tion of the phenomenon under consideration that the blue 
phase of the Arctic fox indicates a reversion to the 
ancestral coloration of the species, due to the fact that 
no advantage is to be gained by the assumption of a 
white livery. Such reversion might well take place only 
in certain individuals of a species, and would probably 
tend to become more or less completely hereditary. Before 
such an explanation can, however, be even tentatively 
accepted, it is necessary to ascertain whether the blue 
Arctic foxes of Iceland are in the habit of making winter 
stores of provisions. If they are not, but hunt their prey 
in winter, the theory will not hold good. 

For animals which hunt their prey in winter, or are 
themselves hunted, it would seem essential that they should 
be white even in the highest latitudes, where the long 
Polar night lasts three-quarters of the year, since in the 
bright starlight — to say nothing of moonlight — they would, 
if dark-coloured, be almost as conspicuous on the snow 
as in daylight. 

As regards the number of Arctic fox skins which find 
their way into the market, Mr. W. Poland, writing ten years 
ago, states that from twenty-five thousand to sixty thousand 
of the white phase were then annually imported from 
Siberia, the greater number of these coming to Leipsic. 
The fur of these is of a rather coarse quality, quite different 
from that of the fine-haired Greenland skins. In 1891 about 
nine thousand white skins were imported by the Hudson 
Bay and Alaska Companies, and nearly one thousand by 
the Royal Greenland Company. Of blue skins, about 
two thousand were annually imported into London by the 
Alaska Company, and some five hundred to Copenhagen 
by the Greenland Company, although in 1891 the number 


of skins sold by the latter body reached 1,451. It is note- 
worthy that in the fur trade Greenland blue fox skins are 
well known to be of the same fine-haired quality as the 
white skins from the same locality, while the Alaskan blue 
skins are equally coarse-haired. Consequently there is 
presumptive evidence of the existence of a Greenland and 
an Alaskan race of the species ; and, as a matter of fact, 
American naturalists have recently split up the Arctic fox 
into several distinct forms, some of which are regarded as 


A FEW summers ago a gentleman with whom I am 
acquainted spent his hoHday in shooting and fishing on 
the west coast of Ireland, and in the course of his trip 
procured several fine otter-skins, taken in some of the 
bays of that picturesque district. As these otters lived in 
the sea, my friend, who does not profess to be a naturalist, 
jumped to the conclusion that they were sea-otters ; and 
as he had heard of the value attaching to the pelts of the 
latter animal, was not a little elated at having obtained 
such spolia opinia at such small cost. And it came some- 
what as a shock to him when he heard that otters living 
in the sea were not necessarily sea-otters in the zoological 
sense of the term, and that to procure specimens of the 
latter he would have to journey to the shores of the islands 
and continents of the North Pacific. 

Now although it is improbable that many of my readers 
would be likely to confound an ordinary otter which has 
taken up its residence on the coast with its truly marine 
cousin, yet before entering upon the consideration of the 
habits and impending extermination of the latter, a few 
words relating to some of the leading points of distinction 
between the two animals will scarcely be wasted. 

Ordinary otters, then (of which there are numerous 
species, ranging over nearly all the habitable parts of the 
globe where water is plentiful), are animals nearly allied 



to the martens and weasels, but specially modified for the 
needs of an aquatic life, and furnished with teeth adapted 
to seize and hold the slippery prey on which they subsist. 
Since, however, they are much less exclusively aquatic 
than seals, spending much of their time on shore, their 
structural variations from the ordinary mammalian type 
are far less marked than is the case in the members of 
the latter group. The toes, for instance, are not webbed, 
and neither pair of limbs shows a tendency towards a 
paddle-like form, although both are relatively short. In 
addition to this shortening of the limbs, the points chiefly 
noticeable as adaptations for swimming are the great breadth 
and flatness of the head, the small size of the ears, the 
absence of a distinctly defined neck, the elongated and 
flattened body, moderately long and powerful tail, and the 
denseness and softness of the fur. As regards the teeth, 
it will suffice to mention that while these conform to the 
general marten type, the hinder ones are remarkable for 
the greater extent of grinding surface, the last upper molar 
especially being distinguished by the peculiarly squared 
form of its crown. In all these teeth the cusps are re- 
markably strong and sharp, and thus suited for piercing 
the scales of fish. 

Contrast these features with those distinctive of the sea- 
otter — which, by the way, is the only representative of 
its kind. In addition to its being a shorter- and thicker- 
bodied creature, with a still broader muzzle and no 
definable neck at all, the sea-otter is at once distinguished 
by the structure of its hind-feet, which are fully webbed, 
and so lengthened and expanded as almost to simulate 
paddles ; the extremities of the toes being, it is said, 
turned down beneath the sole when on land. The tail, 
too, is thicker, less tapering, and more flattened than that 


of an ordinary otter. The skin invests the body as loosely 
as a pillow-case covers a pillow ; and the dark brown fur 
is unrivalled for its softness, depth, and density. But 
even more remarkable is the difference between the cheek- 
teeth of the two animals. In place of the sharply cusped 
grinders of the common otter, the marine species has the 
crowns of these teeth surmounted by smooth ill-defined 
bosses, separated by narrow crack-like lines ; the one type 
having been aptly compared to freshly chipped flints, and 
the other to water-worn pebbles. Clearly such structural 
differences must be correlated with a totally different 
description of diet, and, in place of being a fish-eater, 
the sea-otter subsists by grinding up sea-urchins, clams, 
mussels, and such-like, shells and all. 

Had we living animals alone to guide us, there might 
be some hesitation in saying that the sea-otter is a highly 
modified offshoot from the stock of the ordinary otter, but 
the evidence of extinct forms indicates the probability of 
this being the case. Fossil remains of true otters occur 
comparatively low down in the series of rocks belonging 
to the Tertiary period ; and somewhat higher in the scale 
are found, both in Europe and India, those of an extinct 
genus {Enhydriodon), in which the cheek-teeth are to a 
certain extent intermediate between the types respectively 
characteristic of the ordinary and the sea-otters. These 
intermediate extinct otters appear, however, to have been 
fresh-water animals, so that purely marine habits would 
seem to have been acquired only with the advent of the 
modern sea-otter. 

The geographical range of the latter on the American 
side formerly included Alaska, the Aleutian and Pribiloff 
Islands, Sitka, and Vancouver Island, and thus down 
the coast to California; while on the opposite shore it 


embraced Kamtchatka and the Komandorksi and Kurile 

Numerous accounts of the habits and capture of this 
valuable animal have been published as the results of the 
observations of naturalists and hunters on both sides of its 
habitat, many of these relating to times when it was still 
more or less abundant, and its pelts consequently did not 
realise the extravagant prices now current. The attention 
recently directed to the fur-seals of Bering Sea has resulted 
in equally important observations with regard to the sea- 
otters of the same region, and the results of some of these 
are recorded in a pamphlet issued by the Treasury Depart- 
ment of the Washington Government, drawn up by the 
Commandant of the Bering Sea Patrol Fleet, Captain 
C. L. Hooper. As in the case of the fur-seals, the same 
sad story of ruthless destruction and relentless persecution 
is unfolded ; and while the animal has already been com- 
pletely swept away from several of its original haunts, 
there is great danger of its complete extermination from 
this side of the Pacific unless adequate means for its pro- 
tection are promptly devised and effectually carried into 

From the same report it appears that when the Russians 
first visited Alaska its shores literally abounded with sea- 
otters, which were relentlessly hunted and slain, affording 
a rich harvest to their captors. In consequence of this, 
after a period of about fifty years — that is to say, towards 
the close of the eighteenth century — a notable decrease 
in numbers was observable ; and by the same date the 
otters, which were said to have swarmed on the Pribiloffs 
at the time of their discovery in 1786, had almost com- 
pletely disappeared from these islands. From the close of 
he eighteenth century till the taking over of the country 


by the United States, the Russian-American Company had 
the practical control of the Alaskan territory, and formu- 
lated regulations for otter-hunting, by which the total 
catch was limited and a restriction placed upon the number 
captured by individual natives. 

In the earlier days the sea-otters were in the habit of 
coming ashore, both to feed on the sea-urchins and shell- 
fish thrown up by the tide, and also for the purposes of 
repose and breeding. The otters were either captured in 
nets or killed by means of spears or clubs. Only males 
were, however, then slaughtered ; the hunters being taught 
to distinguish the females, even when in the water, by the 
difference in the colour and shape of the head and neck. 
And when hunting on shore the utmost care was taken to 
prevent disturbing the animals more than necessary, and 
also to leave as few traces as possible of human presence. 

Notwithstanding these regulations, the sea-otters con- 
tinued to diminish in number; and, in addition to the 
Pribiloffs, had already disappeared from certain districts 
at the date of the transference of Alaska to America. 
After this date, although the hunters for several years 
adhered to some extent to the old rules, the destruction 
became much more rapid, and all precautions for the 
preservation of the breed were ignored. Numerous cod- 
fisheries were established on some of the banks ; and the 
people thus collected, together with the refuse left on the 
shore, rendered many districts unsuitable to the otter. 
Moreover, there were no regulations to prevent white 
men from killing as many animals as they pleased ; and 
as the sea-otter was by far the most valuable inhabitant 
of the shores, it naturally came in for the largest share 
of attention. 

Harassed on all sides — netted in the sea, clubbed and 


shot on shore, its landing-grounds rendered uninhabitable by 
human presence as well as by the refuse of the fisheries 
and the decaying bodies of its own companions — the sea- 
otter, as might have been expected, has totally changed 
its original mode of life. Instead of hauling out on shore 
to feed, repose, and breed, it now sleeps and breeds on 
floating masses of seaweed, while its feeding-grounds are 
banks in some thirty fathoms of water. But even in these 
situations the unfortunate animals enjoy no peace, but are 
hunted and harassed by fleets of schooners from March 
till August. From many of its old habitats it has more 
or less completely disappeared, all the grounds to the 
west of Unimak Pass being practically deserted. On a 
few of the banks, indeed, a stray otter may now and then 
be captured at long intervals, but on others not a single 
head has been observed for the last ten years or so. At 
the present day most of the otters captured in the Aleutians 
are taken on the banks lying to the south-west of Kadiak. 
These banks are bounded on the north-west by the Alaska 
peninsula, on the north-east by Kadiak Island, to the 
south-east by the Trinity Islands, and to the south-west 
by the Semedi Islands. 

Between the years 1873 and 1883 inclusive, the approxi- 
mate number of sea-otters annually captured by the 
natives of the Aleutian Islands varied between 2,500 and 
4,000. The latter number was exceeded in 1885, but from 
that year there has been a rapid decrease, as is shown by 
the following figures — viz., 1886,3,604; 1887,3,095; 1888, 
2,496; 1889, 1,795; 1890, 1,633; 1891, 1,436; 1892, 820; 
1893, 686; 1894, 598; 1895, 887; 1896, 724. 

This very heavy numerical decrease has been accom- 
panied by an equally marked rise in the price of the 
skins. In 1888 the average price per skin was £21 lOs., 


in 1889 it had increased to £l2)t ^-^d in 1891 to £S7, since 
which date the price has again risen. For specially fine 
skins ^88 was considered a record price some years ago, 
but now ;^iOO is by no means uncommon, and ;^200, and 
even ^^^225, have been paid for unusually splendid specimens. 

As regards the methods of capture, clubbing and spearing 
are probably the least wasteful, few, if any, of the animals 
thus killed being lost. The gun is less satisfactory, as 
many wounded animals escape to die a lingering death. 
But the most wasteful of all is the net. Unless the animals 
be removed from the net within a few hours after death 
their skins are irretrievably ruined by the attacks of the 
myriads of minute crustaceans which swarm in the Arctic 
seas. Netting can be effected only in stormy weather, the 
nets being stretched from the shore to some convenient 
rocks ; and frequently it is impossible to visit them for 
days together, when such captures as they may contain 
are valueless. 

But the great diminution in the numbers of the sea-otter, 
although bad enough, is by no means the most serious 
element in the matter. Ever since the Russians took 
possession, hunting the sea-otter has afforded the chief 
means of livelihood to the Aleutian islanders. On this 
point Captain Hooper writes as follows : " The decrease 
in the yearly catch has already brought some of the settle- 
ments to the verge of want, and if they are allowed to 
become exterminated, actual suffering and even starvation 
can only be averted b}/ Government aid. Properly pro- 
tected and reserved exclusively for the use of the natives, 
the otter, while it can probably never be brought up to 
its former numbers, can be preserved from extermination, 
and will furnish a means of subsistence for these people 
for many years." 


Although there is some little doubt in the matter, it 
appears probable that the whole of the present haunts of 
the sea-otter are within the territory of the American 
Government, and if this be the case there will be no need 
for an international agreement. Captain Hooper has com- 
piled a code of regulations for provisional acceptance by the 
Government, and as these appear in every way admirably 
suited to effect the object for which they were drawn, it 
must be the earnest hope of every naturalist that they will 
be sanctioned and put into operation with the least possible 


Few generalisations have taken a firmer hold of the 
popular imagination than the notion that the animals of 
to-day bear no sort of comparison with their predecessors 
of the past in respect of bodily size, and that, so far as 
the giants of the animal kingdom are concerned, we are 
living in a dwarfed and impoverished world. Like most 
popular conceptions, this idea contains a considerable 
element of truth mingled with a large amount of mis- 
conception. In the first place, there is no accurate defi- 
nition of what is meant by " the past." If it mean only 
those epochs of the earth's history previous to the advent 
of man, it is unquestionably inaccurate. If, on the other 
hand, it also embrace the prehistoric portion of man's 
sojourn on the globe, it has scarcely a claim to be regarded 
as a fair or accurate statement of the true state of the 
case, seeing that the extermination of a very considerable 
percentage of the large animals of the epoch in question 
has been the work of man himself — a work, unhappily, 
which is still proceeding apace. 

But, in addition to this, the animals of one geological 
epoch are very frequently confounded with those of another, 
so that dinosaurs and mosasaurs, ichthyosaurs and plesio- 
saurs, mastodons and mammoths, and glyptodons and 
ground-sloths are often spoken of as if contemporaries and 
inhabitants of the same country. 

225 IS 


If such were really the case, we should indeed be living 
in an impoverished epoch of the world's history ; but if 
we take the term "present" in not too narrow a sense, 
and also bear in mind that Europe, and such other parts 
of the world as have been more or less thickly populated 
for untold ages, scarcely form a fair basis of comparison, 
it will be manifest that the idea in question is to a con- 
siderable extent due to misconceptions and inaccuracies of 
the nature of those referred to above. 

It is true that in certain portions of the world the 
larger forms of animal life disappeared at an epoch when 
man can scarcely be regarded as having taken a promi- 
nent part in their extermination ; a notable example of this 
kind being South America, where the huge ground-sloths, 
toxodons, and macrauchenias of the latter part of the 
Tertiary epoch disappeared with seeming suddenness in 
what is to us an unaccountable manner. The extermi- 
nation of the mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros, and the 
hippopotamus from Europe, although partly, perhaps, 
attributable to climatic change, has not improbably been 
accelerated by man's influence; and the same may be true 
with regard to some of the larger mammals of ancient 

In the latter country we have, however, still the Indian 
elephant, the great one-horned rhinoceros, and the wild 
buffalo, which, although not actually the largest repre- 
sentatives of their kind, are yet enormous animals. In 
Africa the presence of animals of large corporeal bulk is 
more noticeable. Although the extinct elephant of the 
Norfolk " forest-bed " is stated to have been the biggest 
of its tribe, it is very doubtful if it was really larger 
than the living African elephant ; and the so-called white 
rhinoceros, in the days of its abundance, was certainly not 


inferior in point of size to any of its extinct relatives. 
The giraffe, again, which in the Mount Elgon district is 
stated to tower to twenty feet, is much taller than any extinct 
quadruped yet known to us ; and the hippopotamus falls 
but little short of its ancestors of the Pleistocene epoch. 
The elands, again, are by far the largest of antelopes 
known at any period of the earth's history ; and the 
ostrich, although not comparable with some of the New 
Zealand moas (which, by the way, were probabl}' exter- 
minated only a few centuries ago by the Maoris), is yet 
the largest member of its own particular group. Again, 
no fossil ape is known which is anywhere in the running 
as compared with a full-grown male gorilla. It is, more- 
over, probable, despite the old-world legends of giants, 
that man at the present day is, on the whole, a taller and 
finer animal than he ever was before. 

Of course, there are certain cases where the animals of 
to-day cannot compare with some of their predecessors, 
and a case in point is afforded by the extinct atlas tor- 
toise of Northern India, which (although its size has 
been vastly exaggerated) far exceeded in bulk its living 
cousins of the Galapagos and Mascarenes. This, however, 
may perhaps be accounted for by the larger area of its 

Among the inhabitants of the ocean we shall find even 
more striking testimony as to the large bodily size (either 
absolute or relative) attained by many animals of the 
present day. Probably no mollusc was ever larger than 
the giant clam, whose valves measure a yard or more in 
length ; and we have no evidence that the enormous cuttles 
and squids forming the food of the sperm-whale were 
ever rivalled in size during past epochs. The huge long- 
limbed crab of the Japanese seas, and the cocoanut crab 


(which is but a marine creature that has taken to a ter- 
restrial existence) of the islands of the Indian Ocean, are 
likewise probably the giants of their kind. At no epoch 
of the earth's history have we any record of an animal 
approaching in size the blue rorqual, with its length of 
between eighty and ninety feet, and its weight of, probably, 
at least as many tons. The sperm-whale and the Green- 
land right-whale were, at the time of their abundance, 
certainly the largest of their respective kinds ; while the 
basking-shark has probably been unequalled in bulk by 
any of its predecessors. The great white shark of the 
present day is indeed considerably inferior in size to its 
cousins whose teeth now strew the floor of the Pacific ; 
but these latter lived at no very distant period, and may 
possibly still survive. Walruses were never larger than 
they are at the present day, and the dugongs and manatis 
of the seas of our own days were fully as large as any 
of their ancestors of which we have ken ; while the north- 
ern sea-cow of Bering Sea — exterminated only a century 
and a half ago — was in this respect far ahead of all other 

The same is true with regard to the animal forming 
the subject of the present article — the sea-elephant, or, 
better, the elephant-seal — which so vastly exceeds in size 
all other members of its tribe, that even the largest sea- 
lions and walruses, when placed alongside its huge bulk, 
look dwarfs by comparison. But it is not only from its 
vast size that this seal is of more than ordinary interest, 
since it is remarkable for many peculiarities in structure 
and habits, approaching the eared seals (or sea-lions and 
sea-bears) more closely than is the case with any other of 
the true or earless seals. It has also, unhappily, an interest 
attaching to it on account of its impending extermination. 


Elephant-seals frequent the shores of many of the 
islands of the South Seas, where they spend a long time 
on land during the breeding season, and also occurred 
formerly on the Pacific Coast of North America from Cape 
Lazaro to Point Reyes, California, where they are now 
practically extinct. As these Californian elephant-seals 
were completely isolated from those inhabiting the South 
Sea Islands, they are regarded by American naturalists as 
constituting a species by themselves ; but since their 
distinction from the typical southern form is but slight, it 
seems preferable to look upon them in the light of an 
isolated local race. These seals never appear to wander 
south to the Antarctic pack-ice. 

Our first definite, if not actual, knowledge of the elephant- 
seal seems to have been derived from a specimen brought 
to England by Lord Anson in 1744 from the island of 
Juan Fernandez, and the figure and account given in the 
" Voyage Round the World " of that great commander, 
where the species is called " sea-lyon." Lord Anson 
seems to have obtained a male and female specimen 
(" lyon " and " lyoness " he calls them), the former ot 
which was stuffed and exhibited in the British Museum. 
What its dimensions were is now unknown — a somewhat 
unfortunate matter, since it was probably a full-grown 
adult male of larger size than any, or the majority, of 
those to be met with at the present day. After being 
exposed in the Museum galleries for considerably more 
than half a century, probably without any protection 
from dust and the still more mischievous hands of 
visitors (who then, as now, doubtless displayed an irre- 
sistible impulse to handle every accessible object), the 
specimen must certainly have shown marked signs of 
wear and tear. Anyway, if we may judge by the fact 


that the jaws and teeth, which had been mounted in 
the skin, were sold by the Museum to the Royal College 
of Surgeons in 1809, the specimen appears to have been 
destroyed early in the last century. The aforesaid jaws 
and teeth are still preserved in the museum of the College 
of Surgeons. 

Although many years later a female skin, presented by 
the Admiralty, was mounted and exhibited, from the date 
of the destruction of Lord Anson's specimen the British 
Museum till quite recently had no example of either skin 
or skeleton of an adult male of this giant seal to show 
the public. The deficiency has been made good by the 
generosity of Mr. Walter Rothschild, and the mounted 
skin and skeleton of two nearly adult males are now 
exhibited in the same case. Unfortunately the taxidermist 
has not been as successful as he might have been in the 
mounting of the skin ; but nevertheless the specimens 
suffice to convey an adequate idea of the huge bulk of 
the creature and the leading peculiarities of its form. 

It may be mentioned here that Anson's figure and 
description afforded to Linnaeus his only knowledge of the 
species, and upon this evidence was established his Phoca 
leonina, the specific title being the equivalent of Anson's 
"sea-lyon." As the real sea-lions are totally different 
animals — eared seals, in fact — it is a great pity that this 
name was ever given, but, as being the earliest, it has to 
stand, and cannot be replaced, as proposed by some writers, 
by the more appropriate elephantina. As the elephant- 
seal differs very widely from the common seal and its 
immediate relatives, it could not, of course, with the advance 
of zoological science, be suffered to remain in the same 
genus, and it accordingly now typifies a group by itself 
under the name of Macrorhinus leoninus. 


The generic title Macrorhinns refers to the most dis- 
tinctive feature of the species, the pecuHar trunk-Hke form 
of the muzzle of the old males. Not only do the male 
and female elephant-seal differ in regard to the form of 
the muzzle (the trunk being undeveloped in the last-named 
sex), but there is also a vast inferiority in the size of the 
latter as compared with the former. So marked, indeed, 
is this discrepancy, that an early observer is stated in 
WeddelFs " Voyage " to have mistaken the two sexes for 
mother and young. 

From the testimony of old "beach-combers" and others 
who have hunted them in their native haunts, it seems 
evident that the dimensions now attained by sea-elephants 
fall far short of those reached in the old days, when they 
abounded on the islands of the South Seas, and were 
permitted to grow to their full size. In the majority of 
text-books twenty feet is given as the length of the species ; 
but it is definitely known that specimens at the present 
day frequently reach or exceed this length, and as none 
of these (as exemplified by the condition of the bones in 
the British Museum and other skeletons received of late 
years in England) appear to be fully adult, it seems well- 
nigh certain that old bulls must have grown to much 
greater size. Probably twenty-five feet would not be an 
undue estimate for the length of an adult male, and it is 
far from improbable that close upon thirty feet may have 
been reached in some cases. 

Among the favourite haunts of the elephant-seal were 
the islands of the Crozet group, Kerguelen, and St. Paul, 
in the Indian Ocean, as well as Heard Island. In the 
South Atlantic these monsters formerly abounded on 
Tristan-da-Cunha, and nearer the American coast they are 
again met with farther south on the Falklands, South 


Georgia, and the South Shetlands. On the eastern side 
of the Pacific they occur, as recorded by Lord Anson, on 
Juan Fernandez, and thence by way of the Marquesas to 
the Macquarie and other islands south of New Zealand, 
where the British Museum specimens were obtained. The}^ 
were likewise common on the coasts of Tierra del Fuego 
and Southern Patagonia ; and the occurrence of the isolated 
colony north of the equator in California has been already 

The trunk-like muzzle of the old bull sea-elephant, like 
the sac on the crown of the head of its relative the bladder- 
seal, is capable of inflation during periods of excitement, 
but at other times is small and relatively inconspicuous. 
Probably it is only when the animals are on shore, and 
more especially during the breeding season, that the trunk 
is inflated to its full extent. The sketch in Lord Anson's 
" Voyage," although true to nature in some respects, is in 
many ways a caricature, and it is only of late years that 
photographs have been obtained showing the true form of 
the animal. From these it appears that when on land the 
old bulls are in the habit of supporting the fore-part of 
the body on the front flippers and raising the neck and 
head into a nearly vertical posture, so that the latter is 
fully six feet above the ground. When the trunk is 
inflated to its fullest extent, the mouth is opened, and the 
animal emits a succession of terrific roars, which may be 
heard for miles. 

In using its front flippers as a means of support to this 
extent, the elephant-seal is quite unlike the rest of the 
earless seals, and resembles the sea-lions and sea-bears. 
It also agrees with the latter group in the great superiority 
of the males to the females in point of bodily size. A 
third point of resemblance between elephant-seals and 


eared seals is shown by their breeding habits, which are 
in many respects similar. On the Crozet Islands, for 
example, where they arrive about the middle of August, 
the old bulls secure a station for themselves. They do 
not, however, pass any long period without taking food, 
neither do they collect "harems" for themselves after the 
manner of the sea-bears and sea-lions ; the females selecting 
a station for themselves some distance away. Soon after 
landing the females give birth to their young, which are at 
first black, and, although there is some discrepancy between 
different accounts, it seems probable that both sexes remain 
with their offspring till the latter are ready to enter the 
sea, which they usually do when about six or seven weeks 
old. When they have once taken to a maritime life, the 
young sea-elephants are said to grow at a prodigious rate ; 
and, indeed, unless they take many years to attain full 
maturity, this must necessarily be the case. 

As just indicated, the few accounts that have been given 
of the breeding habits of these seals by no means accord 
with one another, and this is the more to be regretted 
since, owing to the comparative scarcity of the species at 
the present day, it is very unlikely that an authentic 
history will ever be given to the world. 

The extermination of this giant seal, so far as it has as 
yet gone, is a sad story, accompanied as it is by details of 
revolting and fiendish cruelty. In the eighteenth and the 
early part of the nineteenth century these seals were met 
with in thousands on most of their island haunts as well 
as on the shores of Patagonia, but the ease with which 
they could be killed, and the value of their hides and oil, 
soon led to a vast reduction in their numbers ; and in 
many of their old breeding-places, such as the Falklands, 
they are either very scarce or are altogether exterminated. 


On Heard Island they still survive in considerable numbers, 
owing to the difficulty of gaining access to their favourite 
breeding-ground, to reach vi^hich from the shore two 
glaciers have to be crossed. The difficulty of removing 
the oil and hides from such a locality has, however, been 
to a considerable extent overcome by driving the seals to 
sea during stormy weather, when they are compelled to 
seek an easier landing-place. In the Macquarie Islands 
elephant-seals appear to be still found in considerable 
numbers, but the difficulty, or impossibility, of obtaining a 
fully adult male tells its own tale as to the persecution to 
which the species is subject ; and it is only too palpable 
that long before the middle of the present century elephant- 
sealing will have been abandoned as an unprofitable trade. 
But by that time we shall really be living in an impoverished 
world, so far as large animals are concerned. 



Despite the repetition of the statement as to their essential 
structural difference in almost every work on popular natural 
history issued to the public, few persons, save those who 
have made anatomy a special study, can be induced to 
believe that swallows and swifts are not closely allied 
birds. And it may be presumed that an equal degree of 
increduHty will prevail in the minds of most people when 
they are told that the two animals whose portraits are 
given in the plates accompanying have no sort of intimate 
relationship, being in fact much more widely sundered from 
one another than are such apparently dissimilar creatures 
as a squirrel and a beaver. An instance of this incredulity 
has indeed been actually published with regard to the 
figured species of the so-called African flying-squirrels, or, 
as they might be better termed, scale-tailed squirrels. Now 
this particular species of the group was sent home from 
Central Africa by Emin Pasha in the 'eighties, and described 
and figured under the name of Anomalurus pusillus by Mr. 
Thomas, of the British Museum, in 1887 and 1888. Three 
years later the figure (the one here reproduced) appeared 
in Major Casati's " Ten Years in Equatoria," with the 
following remarks : — 

" The flying squirrel {Mboma) lives in the forests, almost 
always upon the branches of the trees, whence it throws 



itself, expanding the membrane which joins the feet to the 
body, Uke a parachute. The skin is used as an ornament. 
I think it is identical with one very common in the island 
of Ceylon, which is almost tame." 

The extraordinary misconception as to the affinities of 
the creature displayed in the last sentence of this quotation 
will be apparent when I say that the scale-tailed squirrels 
—whether furnished with a flying membrane or not — are 
absolutely restricted to Africa, where not a single repre- 
sentative of the true flying-squirrels of Asia and Europe 

The reason why these two very dissimilar groups of 
animals are regarded in popular estimation as near relatives 
is, of course, due to the fact that both are furnished with 
expansions of skin by means of which they are enabled 
to take flying leaps from bough to bough. Such flying 
membranes are developed in very few mammals, and the 
popular idea is that the presence of such a membrane must 
necessarily imply intimate affinity between all the forms in 
which it occurs. Hence not only are the African flying 
scale-tailed squirrels associated with the typical flying- 
squirrels, but the still more widely separated flying-phalangers 
of Australasia are likewise regarded as members of the same 

In making such associations the public fail to recognise 
that similar structures may be produced in totally different 
groups of animals owing to their living under similar special 
conditions, or having peculiar habits of the same nature. In 
external appearance rodents belonging to different families, 
such as squirrels and dormice, may be very much alike ; 
and if certain members of each group had acquired the same 
mode of life as the flying-squirrels, their similarity would 
probably have become still more noticeable. For unless 

Ax Ai KiL.v.N S( Ai l-Tail in Vi.u.ii 

[To face p, 236 


the whole skeleton of the fore-limbs be so modified as to 
form a wing, as in bats, it is difficult to see how ordinary 
mammals could be endowed with the power of taking flying 
leaps save by the development of an expanse of skin along 
the sides of the body in the manner which obtains in the 
true flying-squirrels, the scale-tailed flying-squirrels, the 
flying-phalangers, and, it may be added, the flying-lemurs. 

The development of flying membranes in all these four 
groups of mammals has, in fact, taken place quite inde- 
pendently, and affords an interesting example of what is 
known as parallelism in development. Such parallelisms 
are due, so to speak, to the poverty of possibilities in 
the way of modification of animal structures. As already 
said, the simplest and most obvious way of endowing an 
ordinary four-limbed mammal with the power of taking 
flying leaps is by the development of lateral expansions 
of skin. Similarly, the only easily conceivable method by 
which a primitive short-limbed and many-toed hoofed 
mammal could be converted into one cut out for speed, 
like a horse or a gazelle, is by reducing the number of 
the digits and increasing the length of the lower segments 
of the limbs. Accordingly, we find parallehsm in this 
respect between the horses and the zebras on the one hand, 
and the gazelles, antelopes, and deer on the other. 

But the parallelism is by no means exact in this latter 
case, as indeed would be naturally expected if the lines 
of evolution were distinct ; and the structure of the lower 
portion of the limb of a horse differs essentially from the 
same part in a gazelle. 

Neither is the parallelism exact in the case of the two 
groups of flying-squirrels. In the flying-squirrels of Europe 
and Asia, such as the one depicted in the plate, the 
flying membrane, or parachute, is merely a lateral expansion 


of the ordinary skin of the body, which extends outwards 
between the limbs as far as the wrists and ankles. In 
addition to the two lateral membranes, there is a narrow 
and inconspicuous one passing from each cheek along the 
front of the shoulder to the front of the wrist ; and another, 
at least in the larger forms, connecting the two hind-legs 
and involving the base of the tail. 

In general characters the parachute of the scale-tailed 
flying-squirrels of Africa conforms to the above type ; and 
a superficial observer might say that the two were in all 
respects similar. A closer examination will, however, reveal 
the fact that the parachute in this group is supported by 
a process of cartilage projecting like a yard-arm from the 
elbow and extending to the edge of the membrane. As 
this is present in all the scale-tails (as we may call them 
for short, especially as they have no right at all to the 
title of squirrels) and absent in all the true flying-squirrels, 
it evidently indicates an important difference between the 
two groups. 
^ A further important distinction between them is afforded 
by the presence on the under-surface of the basal portion of 
the tail of a series of overlapping horny scales, from which 
the African group takes both its popular title of scale-tail 
and its scientific name of Anomalurus. Evidently these 
scales are intended to aid in supporting the animals as 
they climb the boughs or stems of trees, and they are 
thus strictly analogous to the stiff tail-feathers of wood- 

Yet another difference between the two groups is to be 
found in the structure of the crowns of their cheek-teeth. 
In ordinary squirrels the grinding surfaces of these teeth 
are surmounted by simple tubercles, which in some cases 
may be elongated into ridges. And a similar type of 

The Woolly Flying-Squirrel of Astor and Gilgit. 

\To face p. 23S 


tooth-structure obtains in most of the flying-squirrels of 
Europe and Asia, although in the species shown in the 
plate the structure has become somewhat more complicated 
owing to the taller crowns of these teeth. In the scale-tails, 
on the other hand, a totally different type of tooth-structure 
obtains, the crowns of the molars being divided by trans- 
verse folds of enamel, after a fashion recaUing that which 
prevails in certain South American rodents. 

To the anatomist these differences are sufficient to render 
it quite certain that the scale-tailed flying-squirrels are, at 
most, but very remotely connected with their non-scaled 
namesakes of the northern hemisphere. The non-scientific 
person might, however, say that the " yard-arm " in the 
parachute and the scales on the tail are features which 
have been developed concomitantly with the acquisition of 
the parachute itself in certain species of flying-squirrels, 
and that, like the differences in the structure of the teeth, 
they are of no particular importance one way or the other 
in regard to the affinities of the animals in which they 

A few years ago it would have been impossible to 
produce absolutely decisive evidence as to the futility of 
such specious arguments. Recently, however, there has 
been discovered on the West Coast of Africa — that home 
of strange and primitive types of animal life — a rodent 
looking not unlike a large dormouse, which is really the 
"grandfather" of all the flying scale-tails. For this creature 
(known as Zenkerella), although without a parachute, has 
scales on its tail like Anomalurus, and teeth of the same 
type as the latter. Whether it is the actual form from 
which the flying scale-tails are descended, or whether it 
is itself a descendant of such ancestral form, may be left 
an open question, as it is one of no practical importance. 


But it may be taken as certain that the flying scale-tails — 
of which, by the way, there are two distinct generic types 
{Anomalurus and Idiurus) — are the specialised descendants 
of a creature closely allied to, if not identical with, Zenkerella. 
It may further be affirmed with certainty that the evolution 
of the flying from the non-flying scale-tails has taken place 
in Africa. Whether, however, Zenkerella itself is an aborigi- 
nal African type, or an immigrant into the dark continent 
from the north, is a question difficult to answer at the 
present time. 

Although the flying-squirrels of Europe and Asia have 
been known from time immemorial, their pedigree is not 
so easy to trace as is that of the scale-tails. Probably 
they were evolved from non-flying squirrels at an earlier 
date than that at which Anomalnnis branched off from 
Zenkerella (or its prototype), as they appear to be repre- 
sented by teeth in some of the earlier Tertiary deposits 
of Europe. It is therefore quite probable that even the 
generic types from which they trace their descent have 
died out. Nevertheless, it may be considered practically 
certain that they are descended from rodents more or less 
nearly allied to the true squirrels of the genus Sciurus. 
Their pedigree is therefore wholly distinct from that of their 
reputed cousins, the scale-tailed flying-squirrels of Equatorial 

In appearance the true flying-squirrels, of which there 
are three distinct generic types, are very similar to 
ordinary squirrels, as indeed they are in their habits ; 
their long flying leaps, during which they half float in the 
air by the aid of the parachute, being only an extension 
of the bounds taken by the ordinary red squirrel in its 
passage from tree to tree. Many of them are even more 
beautifully coloured than ordinary squirrels. Compared 


with the latter, flying-squirrels are more strictly nocturnal 
animals ; and their shrill scream is familiar to all travellers 
in the wooded districts of the Himalayas, as they are 
attracted by the light of the camp-fire. 

The smallest members of the group are the pigmy 
flying-squirrels, typified by Sciuropterus volans of Eastern 
Europe and Siberia, and represented in North America 
by the closely allied S. volucella. They are pretty little 
creatures, with soft velvety fur and enormous staring 
black eyes. In all the pigmy flying-squirrels the mem- 
brane connecting the hind-legs and the base of the tail is 
absent ; but, in compensation, the tail itself is broad, flat, 
and laterally expanded, so as to form an efficient aid in 

The typical and larger flying-squirrels, formerly known 
as Pteromys but now called Petaurista, are confined to 
Europe and Asia, having no transatlantic representative. 
Unlike that of the pigmy flying-squirrels, the tail of these 
rodents is cylindrical and comparatively thin, while, as 
already said, the parachute is fully developed between the 

In the last and finest representation of all the flying- 
squirrels — the species shown in the accompanying plate — 
the writer has a special personal interest. About the 
year 1878, when in Srinagar, Kashmir, he purchased 
the skin of a large flying-squirrel from a chamra-walla 
(tanner), who stated that it came from Astor or Gilgit, 
and that he had never previously seen its like. In due 
course this skin was brought to England, and converted 
into a perambulator-rug, in which capacity it was in use 
for several years, on one occasion narrowly escaping 
complete destruction by the jaws of a favourite pug-dog. 
At this period, it may be mentioned that the writer was 



less well acquainted with mammals, so far as their exteriors 
are concerned, than he is at the present day. And 
although he had a suspicion that the skin in question 
was peculiar, no steps were taken to ascertain whether 
this was really the case. One day, however, in 1888, 
when paying a visit to the Natural History Museum, he 
was shown a living flying-squirrel from Astor, remarkable 
for its dark colour and bushy tail, which was pronounced 
to represent a then unknown species. A brief inspection 
was sufficient to render it evident that the skin serving as 
a perambulator-rug belonged to the same species as the 
living animal, although a much larger and finer individual. 
It was soon after presented to the Museum, and described, 
in conjunction with the complete specimen, not only as 
the type of a new species, but of a new genus, under the 
title of Eupetaurus cinereus. Owing to the splendid de- 
velopment of the tail in the flat skin, the figure of which 
a reproduction is given in the plate was partly drawn 
from that specimen. 

The main reason for making the woolly flying-squirrel 
(as, from the nature of its coat, it has been called) the 
type of a genus by itself is afforded by the characters of 
its cheek-teeth, which differ from those of other members 
of the group by their tall crowns and imperfectly developed 
roots. This character indicates greater specialisation than 
the ordinary flying-squirrels. Unfortunately little or 
nothing is known as to the life-history of this splendid 
representative of the flying-squirrels, but there is some 
reason to believe that it dwells, at least to a certain extent, 
among rocks rather than in trees. 

Although they do not properly come within the scope 
of the present article, a few words may be said with 
regard to the flying-phalangers (the flying-squirrels of the 


colonists) of Australia, since in one respect they present 
a curious analogy with the flying-squirrels of the Old 
World, It need hardly be said that these Australian 
flying-phalangers are true marsupials, with a dentition 
resembling that of the ordinary phalangers, or, as they 
are locally called, opossums. The larger flying-phalangers, 
which constitute the genus Petaurns, are characterised by 
the full development of the parachute and the rounded 
bushy tail. As in the case of the Asiatic flying squirrels, 
we are unable to point out the non-volant type of 
phalanger from which they are descended. 

On the other hand, the beautiful pigmy flying-phalanger 
{Acrobates\ which differs from the larger forms by the 
scantier development of its parachute, as well as by its 
tail being formed after the type of a feather — that is to 
say, being flattened, with a line of hair along each edge — 
is evidently descended from the non-flying feather-tailed 
phalanger (Distichurus), or the immediate ancestor of the 
latter. In this case, therefore, we have an exact parallelism 
to the descent of the flying representatives of the scale-tails 
from the non-flying Zenkerella. 


Had not the use of its hair in the manufacture of hats 
been superseded by that of silk, there is Httle doubt that 
the beaver, both in the Old World and in America, would 
by this time have been numbered among extinct animals. 
As it is, the creature has but a hard time of it at best, 
for although there is no longer a demand for its hair by the 
hat-manufacturer, yet beaver-fur is an article highly valued 
by the furrier, and equally highly esteemed by the fair 
sex. Although a few survive in the Rhone and the Rhine, 
while more numerous colonies are found in parts of Russia, 
the beaver has been practically swept away from most 
European countries, though place-names frequently bear 
testimony to its former presence. Among the countries 
where it still maintains a foothold is Norway, where Dr. 
Robert Collett, the well-known Zoological Professor at the 
University of Christiania, has described its present condition 
and habits. 

It appears that for some years the beaver has enjoyed 
a certain amount of protection in Norway, and if this pro- 
tection be continued. Dr. Collett is of opinion that the 
animal will survive well into this century. The two most 
important colonies now remaining are situated at Aamli 
and Nedrethelemarken. 

The Norwegian beaver began to decrease in numbers 
from the early part or middle of the eighteenth century, 



and by 1800 had already disappeared from most parts of 
the country, with the exception of the northern districts 
of Finmark and Nordland, and the southern province of 
Nedenas, or Christiansand. The work of extermination 
went on more or less rapidly till the year 1845, when it 
was somewhat checked by the enactment of protective 
statutes ; but either these could not have worked very 
effectually, or the war of extermination had been only too 
well carried out, for in 1880 the number of individuals 
surviving throughout the country was estimated at only 
about three score. Three years later the number of head 
was put down roughly at a hundred, and since that date 
it is probable that the number has been fully maintained, 
if, indeed, it has not actually increased. 

The statutes which have been enacted for the preserva- 
tion of the beaver in Norway are not, for the most part, 
of a very effectual nature, and have a decidedly feudatory 
smack. The statute of 1845 provided that no beavers at 
all should be killed for ten years, and then only by the 
proprietors of the estates on which they were found. This 
was admirable so far as it went, but as from the beginning 
of 1856 proprietors were again allowed to kill, without 
either restriction as to time or number, it is obvious that 
the good results of the first enactment might very well 
have been speedily lost. Probably this was found to be 
the case, as in 1863 a fresh statute was propounded, 
establishing a close time and fixing a limitation in number. 
According to this statute, beavers were only allowed to 
be killed during the months of August, September, and 
October, and then only by owners of estates, who were 
permitted to kill but one individual annually on each 
separate estate. 

Special exemptions might, however, be granted by the 


sovereign, who was enabled to give permission for the 
killing of several individuals on large estates, or even 
to permit the proprietors to kill the whole number of 
animals on an island or enclosed property, thus putting 
some of the colonies, like the one at Aamli, entirely in 
the power of the owner. Moreover, although slaughter is 
entirely forbidden on Crown or municipal lands, beavers 
might be killed to any extent, and apparently in any 
number, on private estates where they inflicted appreciable 

Two much more effectual statutes have, however, come 
into operation: the one, dated August 31st, 1894, pro- 
tecting all the beavers in the Amt of Sondre Bergenhus 
till the end of 1904, and the other, dated September 3rd, 
1895, doing the same for the colony of Aamli till the end 
of 1905. The penalty for illegally killing beaver is a fine 
of eighty kronors (about £4. lOs.), which can be inflicted 
on all the participators in the offence. 

The chief food of the beaver in Norway consists of the 
fresh bark of deciduous trees, more especially the aspen, 
the larger branches being barked, but the twigs consumed 
entire, and the coarse bark of the trunk generally rejected. 
For winter use small branches are sunk near the entrance 
to the lodge, but no store of stripped bark is collected. 
Most of the trees felled are situated close to the water, 
with beaten tracks leading to them from the lodge, but 
occasionally some are chosen a considerable distance away 
from the river. The trees are gnawed all round until 
the portion left is so thin that the stem breaks from its 
own weight, the stump remaining being generally about 
half a yard in length, and terminating in a point like a 
pencil, as does the lower end of the felled stem. Small 
trunks or branches are, however, gnawed in a slanting 


direction. Only healthy trees are selected for felling, 
and sometimes these are left half gnawed through without 
any apparent reason. No attempt appears to be made 
to make the trees fall in any particular direction, as they 
may be seen lying pointing all ways. The trunks and 
boughs, after being stripped of their bark, are cut into 
convenient lengths and employed for building, the current 
being used for their transport whenever practicable. Many 
lodges are, however, constructed in still water, and the 
animals are then compelled to convey the timber by their 
own exertions, this being effected by holding the log in 
the water between the fore-paws and swimming with the 

The construction of the lodge is a serious business, 
occupying at least two years, and annual repairs are 
necessary to keep it in habitable condition. Building 
operations take place in the autumn, lasting from Sep- 
tember till well into November, and as they are nearly 
always undertaken at night, it is but seldom that an 
opportunity occurs of seeing the animals at work. In 
Norway the lodges are either conical or elliptical in shape, 
the majority being now of the latter type. The conical 
lodges, which appear to have been more common formerly 
than they are at present, are placed on the banks of ponds 
in which the water level is constant, such ponds being 
either natural or made by the animals damming up the 
stream. On the other hand, the elliptical or elongated 
lodges are invariably formed on the banks of a river with 
running water subject to constant change of level. Although 
the majority are considerably smaller, they may be as 
much as fifty feet in length, the width seldom exceeding 
eight or nine feet. One half generally lies under water, 
and thus prevents the edifice from being left high and dry 


when the river runs low. The main entrance is invariably 
placed at the end of the submerged portion, but another 
outlet may be made on shore beyond the lodge itself, and 
is then generally covered with a layer of twigs, or twigs 
and earth. As a rule, the lodges are isolated, although a 
couple may be built in contact. Seen from a distance, the 
lodge looks like a confused pile of timber and earth with- 
out any definite arrangement. The logs employed are 
usually from a couple of feet to a yard in length, although 
they may sometimes be double this size ; twigs are also 
largely used, and sometimes take root and develop into 
saplings on the roofs. Stones are but seldom employed. 
Many of the logs are stripped of their bark, but others are 
built in just as they are felled ; and not infrequently drift 
logs of pine and other trees which are men-felled are 
annexed. The logs and twigs are thrown together pell- 
mell, and the interstices tightly rammed with earth, the 
thickness of the walls being about a couple of feet. The 
passage leading from the submerged edge of the lodge to 
the central dwelling-chamber is usually single, and about 
twenty inches in diameter, its interior, when in clayey soil, 
becoming worn perfectly smooth. 

A double lodge opened in 1895 is described by Mr, Collett 
as follows : " The left or short lodge contained an unoccu- 
pied chamber without lining. The right, which was long 
and of considerable age, extended for some way under an 
oak coppice. The chamber in this was situated about six 
yards from the water, half a yard underground, and con- 
sisted of an enlargement of the passage to about three- 
quarters of a yard in height." It was thickly lined with 
the under-bark of the aspen. 

Ice-floes and floating timber do much damage to the 
lodges, and thus entail an annual repair, which, as already 


said, is carried out in autumn. Spring and autumn floods 
also frequently submerge the lodges, from which large 
portions are loosened and swept away. From twenty to 
thirty years is the probable period during which a lodge 
is habitable. 

On the bank of the river in the neighbourhood of the 
lodge numerous burrows are met with, a few of which are 
in connection with the lodge, although most are entirely 
separate. Burrows are the first refuges formed by the 
beaver when taking possession of a fresh spot, and they 
may accordingly be likened to the rude sheds erected by 
workmen employed on building a mansion. Probably 
each lodge is tenanted only by a single couple and their 
young family, the young beavers, when able to do without 
parental assistance, either settling down temporarily in 
burrows in the immediate neighbourhood, or wandering 
away to found new colonies. Small lodges constructed in 
a kind of jerry-building fashion appear to be run up by 
bachelor beavers who have not yet ventured to take upon 
themselves the responsibilities of a wife and family. There 
may, however, be also spinster beavers to whom such 
accommodation is also necessary — it is to be hoped only 

Dams are constructed where beavers have quartered 
themselves by the sides of gently flowing streamlets, or 
small ponds through which a current runs, in order to 
obtain water of sufficient depth and maintaining a constant 
level. The dam is substantially built and difficult to 
demolish. One examined in 1895 was constructed at the 
outflow of a small stream through a forest-marsh ; and 
where there was formerly but a small shallow pool, a 
pond or lake of some few hundred yards in diameter soon 
resulted from the labours of these indefatigable rodents. 


The dam, which was about fifteen feet in length, with 
a cross-section of some two feet, was entirely made in the 
course of three weeks during the summer of 1890. In 
Canada, when the dam is sufficiently stout, the pool will 
eventually silt up and form a " beaver-meadow," but Mr. 
Collett does not record any of these " meadows " in 

During the cold winter months the beavers, although 
not hibernating in the proper sense of the term, pass what 
appears a somewhat dull existence in the central chamber 
of the lodge, the roof of which for most of the time is 
buried in snow. Sometimes, however, when the weather 
is mild for the season, and an unusually cold autumn has 
prevented the completion of the annual repairs at the 
proper time, the beavers will venture out from their 
retirement for a short period in order to remedy such 
dilapidations as stand in urgent need of immediate atten- 
tion. When they have been engaged on such works their 
footprints are visible in the snow. Immediately after the 
breaking up of the ice in spring the animals issue forth 
to procure a fresh supply of food and resume their daily 

The young beavers are born in April or May, three 
being apparently a common number in a litter. At first 
their eyes are closed, but they grow rapidly, and by 
September or October are about the size of a cat. When 
able to shift for themselves, they leave the parental lodge, 
and frequently start off to found a family in some fresh 
locality, although sometimes they set off on their wanderings 
alone. Following the courses of small streams, they 
frequently track straight across the open mountain-slopes 
for many miles, so that one or more not infrequently 
make their appearance in valleys where none have been 


known for years. They will even occasionally cross 
small arms of the sea, and the perils of the journey end 
in death to no inconsiderable number. 

Several old-time superstitions still cling round the beaver. 
One of the most persistent and most incorrect is that 
the flat scaly tail is employed as a trowel for plastering 
down the mud during building operations. Another is 
that the secretion of the tail-glands — the castoreum of the 
old pharmacopoeia — has the property of frightening away 
whales or porpoises when approaching the boat ! Still 
more strange is the old idea that some individuals were 
compelled to lie on their backs and be laden with building 
materials, when they were dragged by their companions 
to the scene of operations. Probably this fable originated 
from the circumstance that many individuals have the 
hair worn off the back from constantly passing up and 
down the narrow burrow or entrance to a lodge. 


When the Dutch first colonised that part of Africa of 
which Cape Town now forms the capital, they found the 
country absolutely swarming with a great variety of species 
of large game and other animals, whose form and appear- 
ance were for the most part unfamiliar. As they them- 
selves came from a land which had long since been stripped 
of the larger members of its fauna, it is possible that 
unfamiliarity with these prototypes was one of the causes 
which led to the indiscriminate and often inappropriate 
bestowal of the names of the large mammals of Europe, 
or compounds of the same, on the animals of the new 
country. What, for instance, can be more inappropriate 
than the transference of the Dutch name for elk (eland) 
to the largest of the Cape antelopes — unless, indeed (which 
is scarcely likely), the settlers were acquainted with the 
fact that etymologically the word signifies, in its Greek 
original, " strength " ? Neither is hartebeest (stag-ox) much 
better, although wildebeest (wild ox) is by no means an 
unsuitable designation for the animals known to the 
Hottentots by the title of gnu. Bastard hartebeest, on 
the other hand, is a cumbrous and senseless name for the 
antelope the Bechuanas call tsessabe, and it is much to 
be regretted that the Boers did not see fit to adopt for 
South African animals the native titles they found ready 

to hand. 



In two instances, and apparently in two only, so far 
as the larger animals are concerned, they did, however, 
adopt this practice. The first instance is that of the 
large and handsome spiral-horned antelope now univer- 
sally known as kudu, a name which is certainly not Dutch, 
and is believed by Sir Harry Johnston to be of Hottentot 
origin, since it is unknown to the Kaffirs or other tribes 
who speak dialects of the Bantu language. The second 
case is that of the animal forming the subject of this 
article, which is now universally known as quagga, from a 
corruption of its Hottentot name quacha, pronounced by 
the natives as " quaha." Even in this instance, however, 
the Boers appear at first to have displayed considerable 
reluctance to adopt the native name, for they originally 
called the animal wilde esel (wild ass) in the same way 
as they christened its cousin, Burchell's zebra, wilde 
paard, or wild horse. Eventually, however, better counsels 
prevailed, and Equus quagga became known to the Cape 
Dutch by the aforesaid native name, while the wilde paard 
(whose early title still survives in Paardeberg) was 
renamed bonte quacha, or striped quagga. When, how- 
ever, the true quagga became very rare and eventually 
exterminated, the prefix bonte was dropped from the Dutch 
designation of Burchell's zebra, which was henceforth 
known throughout South Africa as the quacha, or quagga 
pure and simple. Hence much confusion, and possibly 
also a factor in the extermination of the species to which 
that title of right belonged. For as the name in question 
continued to be in common use in South Africa at the 
time the true quagga was on the point of extermination, 
it is quite probable that this may have been the reason 
why the attention of naturalists in Europe was not drawn 
to its impending fate while there was yet time. 


According to the best obtainable evidence the quagga 
appears to have become extinct, in Cape Colony at any 
rate,* about the year 1865, at which date a specimen 
was actually living in the London Zoological Society's 
menagerie ', while another had died there only the year 
before. Of the latter example, a male, presented to the 
Society in 1858 by the late Sir George Grey, the carcase 
was fortunately acquired by the British Museum, where 
both its skin and skeleton are now preserved. The former 
specimen — a female purchased in 185 1 — survived till the 
summer of 1872, when its carcase was sold (apparently 
without the least idea of its priceless value) to a London 
taxidermist, from whom the mounted skin was acquired 
many years after by Mr. Walter Rothschild, for his museum 
at Tring. Not impossibly, this specimen was actually the 
last survivor of its kind, although, as already said, there 
was not even a suspicion that it belonged to a rare species. 
Most fortunately for natural history, a photograph of this 
animal was taken in the summer of 1870 by Messrs. 
York & Son, and it is from that picture that most of the 
later figures of the animal appear to have been taken. It 
is probably the only photograph of a living specimen in 

According to a note published by the Secretary, in the 
Proceedings for 1891, the only other example of the quagga 
in the London Zoological Society's menagerie was one 
purchased in 183 1. No record of its death appears to 
have been preserved, but it may have been the same 

* From the fact that a skin was purchased by the Edinburgh 
Museum in 1879, Mr. G. Renshaw {Zoologist, February, 1901) has 
suggested that the species may have survived in the Orange River 
Colony till about that date ; but the Edinburgh specimen appears to 
have been an old one at the date of its purchase. 


specimen of which the skin was exhibited in the Society's 
old museum in 1838, or thereabouts. These, however, 
were by no means the only specimens brought alive to 
England, for as early as 181 5 one was in the possession 
of Lord Morton, while somewhat later on in the last 
century Mr. Sheriff Parkins was in the habit of driving 
two quaggas in a phaeton about London, and in narrating 
this circumstance the late Colonel Hamilton Smith men- 
tions that he himself had been drawn in a gig by one of 
these animals, which showed " as much temper and delicacy 
of mouth as any domestic horse." Another quagga was 
in the possession of a former Prince of Wales, and there 
are records of others in England. The skulls of the two 
driven by Mr. Parkins, as well as a portrait of one of 
them, are preserved in the Museum of the Royal College 
of Surgeons. 

In addition to the specimens in the British, Edinburgh, and 
Tring museums, several skins are preserved on the Con- 
tinent. With one exception, all appear to be of the same 
general type as the London example photographed by Messrs. 
York in 1870. The exception is one in the Imperial Museum 
at Vienna, of which a description and photograph have 
recently been published by the Director, Dr. L. von Lorenz, 
in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 
Unfortunately there is no record as to the locality where 
the Vienna specimen (which is a female) was obtained, all 
that is known being that it was acquired by purchase 
in 1836. 

Compared with the ordinary type of quagga, as exemplified 
by York's photograph, the Vienna animal is of somewhat 
larger dimensions, with a creamy buff (instead of greyish or 
chocolate-brown) ground-colour on the upper parts, with the 
exception of the head, which is clay-brown. A more striking 


difference is to be found in the broader dark stripes (of which 
there seem to be more in a given space), and a corresponding 
decrease in the width of the intervening Hght intervals. The 
stripes also seem to extend farther back on the body. 

But there is also a difference between quaggas of the type 
of the one photographed by York and those figured by the 
early writers, as exemplified by the plate in Colonel Hamilton 
Smith's volume on horses in the " Naturalists' Library." In 
the specimen there represented, which not improbably came 
from Cape Colony, the head, neck, and forequarters are 
marked by narrow black stripes on a chestnut ground. 
The markings are, indeed, as Dr. von Lorenz remarks, just 
the reverse of those of the Vienna specimen ; the British 
Museum example and the one figured by York being in 
some degree intermediate between these two extreme types. 

With some hesitation. Dr. von Lorenz suggests that there 
may have been local races of the quagga, as there are of 
Burchell's zebra. 

Even in the days of its abundance the quagga (which, 
by the way, takes its name from its cry) had a comparatively 
limited distribution, ranging from the Cape Colony up the 
eastern side of Africa as far as the Vaal River, beyond 
which it appears to have been unknown. In this respect 
it closely resembled the white-tailed gnu, which, however, 
is known to have crossed that river in one district. 
Curiously enough, the two species lived in close comradeship, 
and in the old days their vast herds formed a striking 
feature in the landscape of the open plains of the Orange 
River Colony. Both have now disappeared from the face 
of the country, for the white-tailed gnu, if, indeed, any are 
now left, only exists in a semi-domesticated state on a 
few farms. 

Owing to its rank flavour, and especially its yellow fat, 


the flesh of the quagga was almost uneatable by Europeans, 
although it was keenly relished by the Hottentots, who, 
in the early days of the Cape Colony, were largely fed 
upon it by their Dutch masters. Whether this was the 
cause of its comparatively early disappearance from that 
part of the country, it is now impossible to say, but 
certain it is that when Sir Cornwallis Harris made his 
trip to the interior in 1836, quaggas were no longer to 
be met with in any numbers in Cape Colony, although 
Colonel Hamilton Smith, writing a few years later, states 
that they were still to be found within its limits. North 
of the Vaal River they occurred, however, in their original 
multitudes, and it was not till about the middle of the 
last century that the Boers took to hide-hunting, and 
thus in a few years accomplished the extermination of the 

Allusion has already been made to the facility with 
which the quagga could be broken to harness, and it 
seems probable that the species could have been more 
easily domesticated than any of its South African relatives. 
Another trait in its disposition is worth brief mention. It 
was said to be the boldest and fiercest of the whole equine 
tribe, attacking and driving off both the wild dog and the 
spotted hyaena. On this account the Boers are stated 
to have frequently kept a few tame quaggas on their 
farms, which were turned out at night to graze with the 
horses in order to protect them from the attacks of beasts 
of prey. 

Throughout the whole of the plain country to the south 
of the Vaal River the quagga was the sole wild representa- 
tive of the horse family, the true zebra being confined to 
the mountains of Cape Colony and adjacent districts. 
North of the Vaal River the veldt was, however, dotted 



over with herds of Burchell's zebra, the aforesaid bonte 
quagga, which, inclusive of its local races, has a very 
extensive geographical distribution in East and Central 
Africa. It is scarcely necessary to say that this species 
differed from the quagga in having the whole or the 
greater part of the body striped, as well as by the more 
brilliant coloration and the pattern of the striping. One 
very remarkable feature in connection with this species 
must not be passed over without notice. In the original 
and typical race (now nearly extinct), which was obtained 
just north of the Vaal River, in British Bechuanaland, 
and therefore immediately adjacent to the northern limits 
of the quagga, the whole of the legs, as well as a 
considerable portion of the hindquarters, are devoid of 
stripes. In this respect the typical form of the Transvaal 
species comes much nearer to the last-mentioned animal 
than do the races from more northern districts, in which 
the hindquarters and legs are more or less completely 
striped ; the striping attaining its fullest development in 
the most northern race of all, the so-called Grant's zebra 
of Somaliland and Abyssinia. 

Of course, these gradations towards the quagga type of 
coloration of the more southern representatives of Burchell's 
zebra, as well as the differences in the coloration of the 
quagga itself as compared with zebras, have a meaning 
and a reason, if only they could be discovered. And it 
may be remarked incidentally in this place that unless we 
attempt to account rationally for such variations, there is 
little justification for the modern practice of distinguishing 
between the local races of variable species. 

The striping of the zebras, which there is considerable 
cause for regarding as the primitive type of coloration of 
the horse family in general, is evidently of a protective nature. 


It was stated some years ago that zebras a short distance 
off were absolutely invisible in bright moonlight, and I 
have reason to believe that the same is to a great extent 
the case in sunlight. For some reason or other the species 
inhabiting the plains (not the mountains, be it observed) of 
South Africa have tended to discard this striped coloration, 
the southern race of Burchell's zebra exhibiting the first, and 
the quagga the second stage in this transformation. In 
North Africa the transformation has been carried a stage 
farther, the wild asses of the Red Sea littoral having 
discarded their stripes almost completely in favour of a 
uniform grey or tawny livery. In this part of the continent 
there is now no trace of a transitional form, whatever may 
have been the case in the past, and we thus have the 
sharp contrast between the uniformly coloured wild asses 
of the coast of the Red Sea on the one hand, and the fully 
striped zebras of Abyssinia and Southern Somaliland on 
the other. 

Whether there is anything in the climatic and other 
physical conditions of the plains of Cape Colony which 
renders a partially striped species less conspicuous than one 
in which the striping is fully developed, the disappearance of 
the quagga makes it now impossible to determine. But 
observation might advantageously be directed to the com- 
parative invisibility, or otherwise, of the wild asses of the 
Red Sea littoral and the fully striped zebras of the interior, 
and whether this would be affected in any degree by the 
transference of the one to the habitat of the other. What- 
ever be the explanation, the fact remains that at the 
opposite extremities of Africa some of the members of 
the equine tribe have developed a tendency to the replace- 
ment of a striped livery by one of a uniform and sober 
hue, and that in the south of the continent this tendency 


exists only in the species inhabiting the plains. Moreover, 
it is only in South Africa that the transitional form is met 
with, and only in the north of the continent that the 
striping has been completely lost. 

But, as I have already mentioned in earlier articles, this 
is only one phase of a general tendency among mammals 
to replace their spots or stripes by a uniformly coloured 

So far as I am aware, no one has ever attempted to 
give a philosophical reason for this remarkable tendency. 
But till an adequate explanation of the phenomenon be 
forthcoming, naturalists, to repeat the words of a well- 
known ornithologist, have left half their work (and I am 
inclined to think the more important half) undone. Without 
ascertaining the reason for phenomena of this nature, our 
zoological work is, indeed, as though a man were content 
with describing the mechanism of a complicated machine 
without an inkling as to its use. 

One word more, and I have done. To the systematic 
zoologist, the quagga is an animal of special interest as 
affording evidence of the intimate relationship between 
the zebras and the wild asses. Although, judging from 
its geographical distribution, it was probably not the actual 
transitional form between the two groups, yet it serves to 
show the manner in which the transition was effected. 


The popular conception of hippopotamuses is that they 
are clumsily built creatures of enormous size and bulk, 
spending the greater part of their time in the rivers and 
lakes of Africa, where they are more at home than on land, 
diving with the readiness of a crocodile, and even walking 
on the river bed with their bodies submerged many feet 
below the surface of the water. As regards the common 
hippopotamus {Hippopotamus amphibhis), which is the one 
that alone has been exhibited in our Zoological Gardens, 
this conception is a perfectly true one. As, however, 
is so frequently the case in popular zoology, this concep- 
tion, excellent as it is so far as the common species 
are concerned, does not cover the whole ground, for it 
happens that there exists in Liberia a second species of 
the genus, known as the pigmy hippopotamus (//. 
liberiensis\ differing not only in size, but likewise in 
habits, from the one with which we are all familiar. In 
place of a total length of about eleven feet, measured in 
a straight line, and weighing probably between three and 
four tons, the pigmy hippopotamus is not larger than a 
good-sized wild boar, although it has the short and stout 
limbs of its gigantic cousin, with which it also agrees to 
a certain extent in the relatively large size of its head. 
As regards its mode of life, this species differs, however, 
in toto from the common one. Instead of passing at least 



as much of its time in the water as on land, and never 
hving away from rivers or lakes, the pigmy hippopotamus 
is an inhabitant of the dense tropical forests of that part 
of Western Africa which is its home, where it apparently 
leads a life very similar to that of wild pigs, wallowing 
in swamps after the manner of those animals, but apparently 
not habitually frequenting rivers, though it is doubtless, 
like almost all mammals, able to swim well when the 
necessity arises. Moreover, in place of associating in large 
herds after the manner of the common species, and never 
moving far from one particular locality, the Liberian 
hippopotamus is a comparatively solitary creature, going 
about at most only in pairs, and wandering long distances 
through the woods, where it seems to have no definite 
place of abode. At the present day the creature appears 
to be very rare, and there are even rumours that it is 

Out of a large number of representatives of the genus 
once spread widely over the Old World, the common 
and pigmy hippopotamuses, both of which are confined to 
Africa, are the only species which have survived to the 
present day ; and the reader will at once see, when we 
take into consideration the probable habits of the extinct 
kinds, how fortunate it is that these two widely different 
forms have been preserved. Were there only the common 
species, we should have had no conception that any hippo- 
potamus possessed the habits characterising the smaller 
kinds, and might thus have been led into drawing very 
erroneous inferences as to the mode of life and habitat 
of fossil species. 

The general appearance of the common hippopotamus is 
so familiar that but little is necessary in the way of descrip- 
tion. It may be observed, however, that the enormous size 


of the head, and especially the great width of the mouth, 
the prominent position of the eyes and nostrils, the minute 
ears, bulky body, short and stout limbs, and short tail, 
are among the most striking external features of the 
creature. The presence of hoofs (four in number on each 
foot) shows that the hippopotamus belongs to the great 
order of hoofed, or ungulate, mammals, and the thickness 
of its nearly naked hide led the older naturalists to place 
it among what used to be called the pachyderms. It has 
been shown, however, by anatomical investigations that the 
group thus designated, which included such totally different 
forms as elephants, rhinoceroses, and hippopotamuses, is 
an entirely artificial one, and that the last-named animals, 
together with their near relatives the pigs, are much more 
closely connected with the ruminants. 

If the reader desires to know why zoologists place such 
very dissimilar-looking animals as the hippopotamus and 
the giraffe in the same great group, while they sunder 
from the former the apparently more similar rhinoceroses, 
it may be replied that this is largely due to the difference 
in the structure of the feet of the two groups. In that 
the bones of the skeleton of the two middle toes are 
symmetrical to a line drawn between them, the hippo- 
potamuses and pigs resemble the ruminants, whereas the 
rhinoceroses agree with horses in having the middle toe 
(which is alone present in the latter) symmetrical in itself. 
One of the essential characteristics of the ruminants is 
the circumstance that in the lower part of the leg the 
two middle toes are supported by a single bone known 
as the cannon-bone, which consists anatomically of two 
originally distinct elements welded together, while the 
supporting bones of the small lateral toes are incompletely 
developed. If, on the other hand, we examine the skeleton 


of a hippopotamus, we shall find that in each foot the four 
nearly equal-sized toes are severally supported by four 
complete and distinct bones, known in the fore-limb as 
the metacarpals and in the hind-limb as the metatarsals ; 
and it will be obvious that this is a much simpler or more 
generalised type of foot-structure than that which charac- 
terises the ruminants. If, again, we contrast the foot of a 
hippopotamus with that of a pig, we shall find that whereas 
in the latter the lateral pair of hoofs are considerably 
smaller than the middle pair and do not touch the ground 
when the animal is walking on a hard surface, in the 
former the two pairs are nearly equal in size and are all 
applied to the ground in walking. In this respect the 
hippopotamus is the most primitive of all the even-toed 
hoofed mammals that have survived to the present day, 
and is, therefore, a creature of special interest to the 
believer in evolution. It is, indeed, a member of the great 
group from which the ruminants are considered to have 
originated ; although, if the reader should be led from this 
statement to jump to the conclusion that a hippopotamus 
was in any sense an ancestor of the giraffe, he would be 
led into a grievous error. As is the case with nearly all 
existing animals of a primitive type, the hippopotamus, in 
place of being an ancestral form, is a side branch from 
the original stock, which has developed certain specialised 
features not found in the latter. To show that this is the 
case, we have but to study the teeth of the various species 
of hippopotami, which are of such a nature as to show 
conclusively that those of the ruminants could not have 
been derived from them. 

In the group of animals last mentioned the molar-teeth 
have crescent-shaped columns on their grinding surfaces. 
Extinct animals show a complete passage from such teeth 


to a simple type not unlike that now found in the pigs. 
The molar-teeth of the hippopotamus, though of the same 
general plan as those of the latter, have, however, their 
four main columns, when partially worn, with a distinctly 
trefoil-shaped pattern ; and it is quite evident that such 
a tooth could never have given rise to the crescent-teeth 
of the ruminants. The hippopotamus molar is, indeed, 
quite peculiar, and its structure is so well marked and 
characteristic that any person who has once seen a 
specimen could immediately identify any example that 
might come under his notice. 

As regards their front teeth, it may be mentioned that 
hippopotamuses have an enormous pair of curved tusks or 
canines in each jaw. In the common species, between 
these huge tusks are two pairs of incisors, those of the 
upper jaw being of nearly equal size, whereas in the lower 
jaw, where these teeth are cylindrical and project nearly 
horizontally forwards, the central ones are very much 
larger than the lateral pair. If, however, we examine 
the lower jaw of the pigmy Liberian species, we shall 
find that normally there is but a single pair of incisors 
between the tusks, which would lead to the conclusion 
that this animal is a more specialised type than its larger 
relative. The truth of this inference is curiously confirmed 
by the circumstance that individuals of the Liberian hippo- 
potamus are occasionally met with in which there are two 
incisor-teeth on one side, while on the other there is but 
the single tooth ; this being an excellent example of what 
evolutionists term reversion or atavism. This, however, 
by no means brings us to the end of the variation in the 
number of these teeth obtaining in the group under 
consideration ; but before proceeding farther it is necessary 
to remark that, since in ordinary mammals the typical or 


full complement of incisor-teeth consists of three pairs, it is 
natural to suppose that one pair has been lost in the common 
species. That such is really the case is demonstrated by 
the extinct Siwalik hippopotamus (//. sivalensis) of the 
Pliocene deposits of the outer ranges of the Himalaya. 
Here between the two large tusks there are three pairs of 
incisor-teeth, which differ from those of the common species 
in being all of nearly equal size ; and if we were to 
examine the upper jaw, we should find that in this also 
there is the same number of teeth. In the presence of 
these three pairs of incisors the Siwalik hippopotamus 
resembles the pig, from which it departs less widely than 
does the common species in that these teeth are relatively 
smaller and also of nearly equal size. The Siwalik hippo- 
potamus must accordingly be regarded as a less specialised 
species than either of its living cousins ; and since, together 
with an allied species from the Irrawady Valley known as 
the Burmese hippopotamus (//. iravaticus)^ it is the oldest 
representative of the genus, its generalised features are 
precisely what evolutionary considerations would have led 
us to expect. 

There is, however, yet another curious point in con- 
nection with these teeth demanding a moment's notice. 
From the evidence of the two species mentioned, it is 
quite impossible to determine which of the three pairs of 
lower incisors found in the Siwalik hippopotamus have 
disappeared in the common species. Fortunately, however, 
palaeontology here once more comes to our aid, showing 
not only which pair has been lost, but how the loss was 
brought about. From the gravels of the Narbada Valley 
in Central India, which are probably intermediate in age 
between the Pliocene deposits yielding remains of the 
Siwalik hippopotamus and the brick-earths of our own 


country in which occur those of the common African species, 
there are found two extinct members of the genus, one 
known as the Narbada hippopotamus {H. namaclicus), and 
the other as the Indian hippopotamus (//. palaeindicus). In 
the former of these the lower incisors are similar in size 
and number to those of the Siwalik species ; but in the 
latter, while the inner and outer pairs are very large, 
there occurs on each side between them a minute and 
rudimentary tooth, squeezed out from the general line to 
the upper margin of the jaw, and evidently just about to 
disappear altogether. We have thus decisive evidence that 
the missing pair of lower incisor-teeth in the common 
hippopotamus is the second ; and we further see how a 
complete transition can be traced, as regards the number 
of these teeth, from the Siwalik species through the 
common one to the Liberian hippopotamus. While it is 
possible that the African hippopotamus may have been 
directly derived from the Siwalik species, it is quite clear 
that the pigmy hippopotamus is not the descendant of its 
giant existing cousin. 

With regard to the geographical distribution of the genus, 
we have already said that the two living species are confined 
to Africa, to which it may be added that there is no record 
of their having ever occurred in the districts lying to the 
north of the Sahara during the historic period. They are, 
therefore, essentially inhabitants of what naturalists term 
the Ethiopian region, although they are quite unknown in 
the island of Madagascar, which belongs to the same 
zoological province. So far as I am aware, there is no 
evidence that the pigmy species ever ranged beyond its 
present habitat of Liberia, although the case is very different 
with regard to the range of the common species. At the 
present day this animal is found from the Cape Colony 


northwards to the cataracts of the Nile, and it extends 
westwards to Senegal ; but while for several centuries it 
has been very seldom met with on the Nile below the 
entrance of the Atbara and Blue Nile, there is abundant 
evidence that in the time of the Pharaohs it was common 
in Egypt, where in the temple of Edfu, as well as several 
other buildings, there are frescoes representing the mode in 
which it was hunted and speared. That the hippopotamus 
is the animal indicated in the Book of Job under the name 
of behemoth is, according to Canon Tristram, undoubted, 
but there is no evidence that the Jews were acquainted 
with it otherwise than during their sojourn in Egypt. It 
is true, indeed, that the writer just mentioned suggests 
that its range may have extended eastwards as far as 
Palestine, but this is mere conjecture, and had the creature 
ever lived there the expeditions which have from time to 
time explored that country ought to have found some of 
its remains. In the Pleistocene and upper Pliocene deposits 
of Southern and Central Europe there occur, however, 
numerous remains of a hippopotamus which cannot be speci- 
fically distinguished from the existing African form, although 
it is generally of rather larger size. The difference in size 
was at one time thought to indicate that the fossil form 
was a distinct species, but the discovery many years ago 
of a half-fossilised jaw in the alluvium of the Nile near 
Kalabshi, in Nubia, showed that in former times the 
African hippopotamus attained dimensions as large as the 
European form. In England the hippopotamus ranged at 
least as far north as Leeds, and it is a remarkable circum- 
stance that in many places its remains have been found 
in association with those of the reindeer. How animals 
now inhabiting countries with such totally different climatic 
conditions as tropical Africa and Lapland could have lived 


in the same country at the same time, is very difficult to 
understand. If the hippopotamus had been different from 
the Hving African one, we might have regarded it as a 
terrestrial species, like that of Liberia, and thus perchance 
capable of standing a colder climate ; but being identical 
with the former, we are perforce compelled to believe 
that its habits were similar, and that in its home the 
rivers must have been more or less free from ice through- 
out the year. Whatever may be the true explanation of 
the difficulty, it is pretty clear that no theory of summer 
and winter migrations will hold good, as the hippopotamus 
is essentially a resident animal. 

Returning once more to Africa, we may notice that in 
Algeria, where the genus is now unrepresented, a small 
species (//. hipponensis) flourished during the Pleistocene 
period ; this species being distinguished by carrying three 
pairs of lower incisor teeth, which differed from those of 
other members of the genus in having their enamel 
smooth and their extremities somewhat expanded, thus 
approximating to the corresponding teeth of the pigs. 
Equally noteworthy is the occurrence of another species, 
Lemerle's hippopotamus {H. lemerlei\ in Madagascar, 
where its remains are common in the great marsh of 
Ambulisatra. Somewhat intermediate between the common 
and the Siwalik species, this rather small hippopotamus 
had sometimes three and sometimes two pairs of lower 
incisors. Certain traditions current among the Malagasy 
suggest that this species may have lived within the historic 
period, and it may even be one of several mysterious animals 
alluded to by an early European voyager. 

In addition to the common species. Southern Europe, 
inclusive of Cyprus, Malta, and some of the other Medi- 
terranean islands, was the home of several smaller species, 


one of which, the Cyprian H. minutus, had much the 
proportions of the Liberian species, although its molar- 
teeth are of a simpler type. Possibly these small forms 
may have been more or less completely terrestrial in their 

The three Indian species have been already sufficiently 
discussed, while mention has been likewise made of the 
Burmese hippopotamus. The latter species, by the way, 
was decidedly pig-like in many parts of its structure, and 
may well, therefore, have been a marsh-haunting animal. 
It was at one time thought that one of the later Indian 
hippopotamuses was an unknown animal referred to in 
Sanscrit literature, but further investigation has shown 
this view to be untenable. Eastwards of Burma, we are 
unaware that there is any evidence of the existence of 
these animals, and they appear to have been always 
unknown in the New World. 

Although it is possible that in Madagascar Lemerle's 
hippopotamus may have been exterminated by human 
agency, such an explanation will not hold good with regard 
to the other fossil species. So far as can be seen, India and 
Burma are now in every way as well fitted to be the 
dwelling-places of hippopotamuses, giraffes, and ostriches as 
they were during the Pliocene period, when those animals 
either wallowed in their lakes and rivers, or stalked over 
their plains ; and as the former countries have not been 
completely swept during the interval by a glacial period, 
it seems impossible to divine the reason why these creatures 
should have so completely vanished from the one area 
and have survived in full strength in the other. 


October I2th, i860, will always be memorable as the date 
of the burning of the Imperial " Summer Palace " in the 
Yuangming Yuan, the wonderful pleasaunce situated to the 
north-west of Peking. The Yuangming, which at the time 
had apparently been unvisited by Europeans, occupies an 
area of many hundred acres, and is in fact a park diversified 
with lakes, and containing a collection of buildings of 
immense extent, among which was the Summer Palace. 
The most beautiful part is the forest clothing the flanks of 
the Hiang-chan hills, which attain a height of a thousand 
feet, and from which may be viewed at the foot the ex- 
tensive lake, and in the far distance the walls of Peking 
enveloped in a smoky haze. Dotted through the gardens 
were temples, lodges, and pagodas, groves, grottos, lakes, 
bridges, terraces, and artificial hills. ** It certainly was," 
writes a spectator, "one of the most beautiful scenes I 
had ever beheld." In the Summer Palace were gathered 
together all the treasures and curiosities accumulated by 
the reigning dynasties of China during untold centuries. 
All these perished in the conflagration, which lasted two 
days. Whether this burning of the palace, which was 
ordered by Lord Elgin as a punishment for the atrocities 
inflicted by the Chinese on British subjects, was justifiable, 
it is not our province to inquire. Mr. Justin McCarthy, in 
his " History of Our Own Times," considers that it was. 



All that concerns us here is the fact that among the loot 
sent home from the destruction of the Yuangming Yuan 
were the skins and antlers of certain deer which had been 
shot in the gardens. These specimens, now in the British 
Museum, appear to have been obtained by Colonel Saul, 
although Consul Swinhoe was the gentleman by whom they 
were sent to this country. 

Although there does not appear to be any record that 
such was the case, these specimens may be taken as an 
indication that among the other attractions of the grounds 
of the Summer Palace were herds of deer, kept either for 
the purposes of sport or to enhance the beauty of the 
landscape. The best of the three specimens sent home 
was a young stag in the winter coat, of which a coloured 
figure was given in the Proceedings of the Zoological 
Society of London for i86i. By the late Dr. Gray, then 
keeper of the Zoological Department of the British Museum, 
this deer was regarded as belonging to an ill-defined species 
named many years before. Two years later this identifi- 
cation was disputed by Mr. Swinhoe, by whom it was 
regarded as representing a new species, for which the 
name Cerviis hortiilorum — the deer of the (Summer Palace) 
Gardens — was, appropriately enough, suggested. 

For many years this species was regarded as inseparable 
from one inhabiting Manchuria, which is now known to 
be a very different animal. But among the deer now 
living in the Duke of Bedford's park at Woburn are a 
herd of a very beautiful species from Northern Manchuria, 
which is now ascertained to be identical with Mr. Swin- 
hoe's Cervus hortulorum. These Peking deer (as it has 
now been agreed to call the species) are remarkable for 
the extraordinary difference between their summer and 
winter dress — a difference so great that persons who have 

From a photograph by the Duchess of Bedford.\ 

A Peking Stag with the Antlers in Velvet. 

[To face p. z'jz 


seen them at one season may well be excused for not 
recognising them at the other. In the summer coat, as 
shown in the plate, they are of a brilliant reddish chest- 
nut, profusely spotted with white ; in winter, on the other 
hand, when the coat of the old stags becomes very long 
and shaggy, they are uniformly umber-brown, although 
traces of spots may persist in the younger stags and 
hinds. The old stags are but little inferior in size to red- 
deer, with which species certain hinds from the Summer 
Palace were indeed identified by Mr. Swinhoe, who quite 
failed to recognise that they were really the adult form 
of his " garden-deer." 

In England the Peking deer seems to thrive as well 
as red or fallow deer, and in time we may hope to see it 
established in many of our parks. 

But the Yuangming Yuan was not the only park where 
deer were kept by the Chinese Emperors. To the south 
of Peking lies a park known as the Non Hai-tzu (or 
Nanhai-tze), far exceeding in extent the Yuangming Yuan, 
the brick wall by which it is enclosed being forty-five 
miles in circuit. This imperial hunting-park, as it is 
commonly called by Englishmen, is separated from the 
city by a plain, which is marshy in places, and gives rise 
to a river flowing in part of its course through the park 
itself. The whole tract is thickly forested, but villages and 
military posts are dotted here and there in the clearings. 

The park was in former days strictly guarded, and no 
Europeans were allowed entrance, although there are 
reports that by the aid of disguises a few entered from 
time to time. According to rumour the park was the 
home of large herds of deer of various kinds, as well as 
of flocks of the Mongolian gazelle, or yellow sheep, as it 
is called by the Chinese. 



Till the year 1865 naturalists had no idea as to the 
species of deer to be found in the Non Hai-tzu, the 
Anglo-French expedition of i860 having confined their 
attention to Peking and the Yuangming Yuan. In February 
of the former year, however, the vv^ell-known French 
missionary, explorer, and naturalist, Pere Armand David, 
obtained an opportunity of looking over the wall, and was 
much astonished at the sight which met his eyes. In 
addition to Mongolian gazelles, he saw herds of a species 
of deer which he then regarded as an unknown kind of 
reindeer, although he described it as somewhat donkey- 
like in appearance, with a long well-haired tail. At that 
season of the year the stags were without antlers. At 
this time the energetic missionary was quite unable to 
obtain a specimen of the new deer, but by bribing the 
Tatar guards of the park he succeeded, in January of the 
following year, in acquiring the skins of a stag and hind. 
Meantime the French Minister at Peking had been en- 
deavouring to procure a living pair of this deer by 
diplomatic means, and in February of that year succeeded 
in his efforts. The stag, however, unfortunately died soon 
after its removal from the park, and its skin was sent to 
Paris with those of the two specimens obtained from the 
Tatar guards. 

When these specimens arrived at the Paris Museum 
they were examined by Prof. Milne-Edwards, who in due 
course described them as representing a new genus and 
species of deer, under the name of Elaphunis davidianus. 
By the Chinese, it may be well to mention, the animal is 
known by the name of mi-lou, or, more commonly, sen- 

The accompanying photograph gives an excellent idea 
of the external appearance of the stags of this very 

From a photoe:raJ>li by the Duchess of Bcdjord.''i 

PfeRE David's Mi-lou Deer. 
The antlers are not completely free from velvet. 

[ To face p. 274 


remarkable and interesting species of deer. To describe 
its characteristics in anything like detail would obviously 
be quite out of place in an article of the present nature, 
and it will suffice to allude to a few of its more striking 
peculiarities. One feature by which the stags of this 
species differ from those of all other Old World deer, save 
the elk and the roe, is that the antlers are of the forked 
type — that is to say, in place of having a forwardly pro- 
jecting brow-tine immediately above their base, the main 
shaft, or beam, is undivided for a short distance, and then 
splits in a fork-like manner. A peculiarity of the mi-lou 
deer, and one whereby it differs from all the numerous 
species of American deer carrying antlers of the forked 
type, is that the hind prong of the main fork forms an 
undivided tine of great length directed backwards. The 
front prong, on the other hand, is forked at least once, 
and has but Uttle forward inclination till the point of 
bifurcation is reached. The long donkey-like tail, which 
attracted the attention of the Abbe David at his first sight 
of the animal, is particularly well displayed in the photo- 
graph. The general colour of the coat is fawn-grey, 
becoming lighter on the face, rump, inner sides of the 
limbs, and under-parts. Unlike the majority of deer, 
there is but little change in the colour of the coat accord- 
ing to season. One very curious peculiarity displayed by 
the stags in the herd of mi-lou deer at Woburn Abbey 
is that they shed and renew their antlers twice a year, 
instead of once, as in other deer. Whether, however, this 
peculiarity has always been inherent in the species, or 
whether it is the result of long domestication, is impossible 
to say, for the species is quite unknown in a wild state. 
Indeed, it cannot now be ascertained whether this double 
change of antlers took place among the herds in the 


Non Hai-tzu, or even in the specimens first brought to 

The date of the introduction of these deer into the 
imperial hunting-park is probably very remote, seeing 
that, as already said, they have never been found wild in 
any part of Asia by Europeans, It is true that, according 
to Dr. S. W. Bushell, to whose account reference is again 
made in the sequel, a Chinese writer of the latter part of 
the eighteenth century mentions Kashgaria as the native 
country of these deer ; but even if that be correct, the 
species may have been exterminated there centuries ago. 
Anyway, there is but little hope of its survival in that 
district at the present day. 

As China became slowly opened up to European 
enterprise, the difficulty of obtaining specimens of the 
mi-lou deer gradually decreased, and in August, 1869, ^ 
male and female were received at the menagerie of the 
Zoological Society as a gift from Sir Rutherford Alcock. 
A second pair were acquired by purchase in 1883, since 
the death of which the species appears to have been 
unrepresented in the Society's collection. Meanwhile 
specimens were from time to time received by various 
menageries on the Continent ; and the species has bred at 
the gardens of the Societe d'Acclimatation at Paris and 

The subsequent history of this interesting and remark- 
able species is extremely sad, no one apparently having 
had the least idea that it was on the point of extermina- 
tion until too late. No definite statements are made by 
the earlier travellers as to the numbers of these deer in 
the Non Hai-tzu when they first came under the observa- 
tion of Europeans. Writing, however, in the summer of 
1898 to the Secretary of the Zoological Society, Dr. Bushell 


stated that he had formerly ridden among the herds which 
swarmed in the imperial park, where they appear to have 
been reserved for the sport of the Court, and were care- 
fully protected. Whether, in later years, less care was 
taken than formerly to see that the park and its sur- 
rounding wall were in good condition, the account does 
not state; but during or about the year 1894 the Hun-ho, 
which flows through the park, became flooded, and 
breached the wall in several places. Through the gaps 
thus made all the mi-lou deer escaped, and appear to 
have been killed and eaten by the peasantry of the sur- 
rounding districts, who were suffering at that time from 
famine. In his letter Dr. Bushell promised to make in- 
quiries on his return to China if any of the deer had 
escaped destruction, but as nothing more has been heard 
from him on the subject, it may be presumed that all were 

Assuming, then, that the mi-lou deer does not exist 
in a wild state in some unexplored part of Kashgaria, 
or other remote part of Central Asia, it seems only 
too evident that its sole living representatives are those 
preserved in European collections. By far the greater 
number of these are now at Woburn Abbey, where they 
run in the open park with the other deer. They breed 
freely, without an undue proportion of males among the 
fawns ; a very hopeful sign being that some hinds pur- 
chased from Paris, where they were sterile, bred after they 
were transferred to their new quarters. Some time ago 
the herd at Woburn numbered over twenty head, and it 
has probably increased since that date. One point in 
favour of the prospects of the survival of the Woburn 
herd is the fact that the species has for centuries been 
kept in a state of semi-domestication — that is to say it has 


lived in an enclosed park without, apparently, any infusion 
of fresh blood. It would, therefore, seem probable that it 
will be less likely to suffer from the effects of inbreeding 
than is the case with animals suddenly transferred from 
the wild state to captivity. Every care is, of course, 
taken of these valuable animals, and naturalists will watch 
with interest the results of the attempt to renew and 
preserve a decadent and almost exterminated race. 

So far as I am aware, Pere David's mi-lou deer is 
the only example of a mammalian species used neither as 
a food-supply nor as a beast of burden which has been 
preserved from extermination in a semi-domesticated state. 

Readers of this article who may be desirous of seeing 
the mi-lou deer, will find a handsome stag, with fully 
developed antlers, exhibited in the Natural History branch 
of the British Museum, where there is also the mounted 
head of a female — both the gift of the Duke and Duchess 
of Bedford. Unfortunately, the taxidermist to whom the 
task of mounting the stag was confided (and taxidermists 
are the despair of naturalists, whose name they are prone 
to appropriate !) took for his model a red-deer instead of 
photographs like the one here reproduced. Consequently, 
instead of having the slouching, donkey-like carriage so 
essentially characteristic of the species, the Museum 
specimen is represented with its head elevated, after the 
fashion of Landseer's picture, " The Monarch of the Glen." 

As already mentioned, the mi-lou deer, which is the 
sole representative of its kind, has no near relatives in 
the Old World. In spite of a certain not very important 
difference in the structure of the bones of the fore-foot, it 
appears, however, to be a not very distant cousin of the 
typical American deer — that is to say, the numerous species 
other than the elk, the wapiti, and the reindeer, which 


are really Old World forms, whose entrance into America 
is apparently a comparatively recent event. Probably both 
the mi-lou and the American deer are the descendants of 
an extinct group, with antlers of the same general type, 
which flourished in Europe during the later portion of 
the Tertiary epoch. The greater the pity that such an 
ancient and remarkable type as the former should be on 
the point of extermination ! 


Of late years, at any rate, the attention of British breeders 
of sheep and cattle has been directed to the obliteration 
rather than to the development of horns ; these weapons of 
offence and defence being not only quite unnecessary to 
domesticated animals which are never exposed to the attacks 
of beasts of prey, but often being the cause of serious 
damage, either from the animals fighting when in the open, 
or goring one another when crowded together during transit 
by rail. Among cattle the estimation in which " polled " 
breeds are held at the present day, and the practical dis- 
appearance of the old longhorns, are excellent examples of 
this fashion ; while among sheep, if we except the mountain 
and Dorset breeds, the majority of those bred in this country 
are hornless. 

If, however, fashion and custom had set in the opposite 
direction, there is little doubt that some extraordinary 
developments in the form, size, or number of horns might 
have been witnessed in both these groups of animals. 
Length of horn was indeed a feature in the old-fashioned 
breed of British long-horned cattle, and the massiveness and 
size of the horns of the humped cattle of Gallaland and 
Abyssinia, as well as the length frequently attained by the 
same appendages in the trek-oxen of Cape Colony, bear 
testimony to the facility with which developments in this 

direction can be encouraged. 



Horn-development among domesticated cattle, however, 
seems to be restricted to increase in size, with some com- 
paratively slight degree of modification in regard to general 
form and curvature ; and it does not appear that any breed 
is known in which the horns are permanently characterised 
by an abnormality in structure. 

Very different is the case in sheep, in which the horns 
seem to lend themselves with great facility to abnormal 
development in several directions. The typical form of 
horn is familiar to us in the wild sheep of Europe and 
Asia as well as in the old classical sculptures of Jupiter 
Ammon ; and this type, although much reduced in size, 
is fairly well retained in the modern Dorset and merino 
breeds. In old rams of both breeds there is, however, a 
tendency to produce a spiral of greater length than 
ever occurs in v/ild sheep ; and this tendency is perhaps 
even more noticeable in the mountain breeds of Scotland 
and Wales. In all the above breeds the original close 
and incurved horizontal spiral is, however, preserved. 
But in the so-called Wallachian breed of Eastern Europe 
the horns take the form of upwardly directed corkscrews, 
mimicking in fact to a certain degree those of the beau- 
tiful African kudu antelope. A single skull in the old 
Hunterian collection of the Royal College of Surgeons 
indicates the existence of a closely allied if not identical 
breed of sheep in Sumatra. 

A far more curious modification produced by domesti- 
cation is, however, displayed by the augmentation in the 
number of the horns ; two, three, four, or even six extra 
horns being sometimes noticeable. When a pair of such 
additional horns are developed they usually occupy the 
upper and fore part of the head, and are of a more slender 
shape and take a more upright direction than the normal 


pair, which generally retain their ordinary position and form, 
although frequently showing a more or less pronounced lack 
of symmetry. When the Zoological Society possessed a 
farm at Kingston Hill, in the year 1829, several of these 
four-horned sheep were kept there ; but, although llamas 
and alpacas, which are just as much domesticated animals, 
are exhibited at the present day in the Society's menagerie 
in the Regent's Park, four-horned and other abnormal 
breeds of sheep are not on show. Flocks of four-horned 
sheep are, however, kept in several British parks. 

Bearing in mind the close affinity existing between 
sheep and goats, it is not a little remarkable that the 
additional horns developed in the four-horned breed of the 
former should approximate to a considerable degree both 
in direction and in curvature to those of the latter. This, 
however, must not be taken as an indication that the 
additional pair in the four-horned sheep represents the 
normal pair of the goats. 

Four-horned sheep belong to at least two distinct breeds, 
one of which is of great antiquity. According to report this 
breed originally came from Iceland and the Faroe Islands, 
where these sheep still exist, as they also do in the Orkneys, 
Shetlands, Hebrides, and the Isle of Man. Occasionally, it 
is said, the little brown sheep of the island of Soa, in the 
Hebrides, develop four horns, although they are normally 

Like the Soa breed, European four-horned sheep are 
of very small size, and dark in colour, the fleece being not 
infrequently mottled with patches of brown and white. The 
wool, too, as in nearly or quite all the inferior breeds of 
sheep, is much mixed with hair, so that it is by no means 
of a fine quality. 

From the islands of north-western Europe four-horned 


sheep may be traced eastwards across the northern districts 
of Continental Europe and Asia into China, where they 
appear to be comparatively numerous. Among the flocks of 
the nomad Tatars, the presence of four horns is associated 
with an enlargement of the base of the tail, owing to the 
deposition in that region of a large amount of fat. Although 
such a difference might be produced by crossing Icelandic 
four-horned sheep with the two-horned fat-tailed breed, 
it quite possibly indicates an altogether distinct breed. 
Moreover, Brian Hodgson, a late Anglo-Indian naturalist, 
in a paper on the tame sheep and goats of the Sub- 
Himalayas and Tibet, published in vol. xvi. of the Journal 
of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (1847), stated that the 
Hunia sheep of the Himalayas, which are white with black 
faces, occasionally develop four or more horns. Again, 
Darwin, in his " Animals under Domestication," mentions 
that merino sheep when exported to Chili display the same 

A breed of black and white sheep, originally natives of 
Zululand and other parts of South Africa, not unfrequently 
develop an additional pair of horns which are quite different 
in shape from those of the Icelandic breed, as indeed are 
both pairs in colour, which is black. A flock of this breed 
is kept by the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth. 

In most, if not in all cases, the two horns on each side 
of the head in these sheep are perfectly distinct and separate 
from one another at the base ; but this does not prove that 
they may not in the first instance have originated by a 
splitting or division of the young horns of the normal pair. 

In this connection it is very noteworthy that the antlers of 
deer are occasionally bifurcate for a portion or the whole of 
their length on one side of the head, although there does not 
seem to be an instance on record where such a feature occurs 


on both sides. That such duphcated antlers are due to a 
splitting during early development is rendered perfectly 
manifest by the head of a fallow-deer figured on p. 855 of 
the Proceedings of the Zoological Society for 1896. In this 
instance it is the right antler which is double throughout its 
length ; but instead of the two divisions of this antler being 
complete in every detail, the front one corresponds only 
with the fore half of the normal complete antler, and vice 
versa. Hence the proof of bifurcation. 

On the other hand, in a three-horned red-deer head in the 
collection of Lord Powerscourt at Enniscorthy the dupli- 
cated antlers of the right side are practically replicas of one 
another; both being somewhat simpler than the normal left 
antler. In this case there is no evidence of bifurcation, but 
the three-horned fallow-deer seems sufficient to demonstrate 
that the origin of the abnormality is the same in both 
instances. If this be the case, there seems no reason why 
additional cranial appendages developed in the four-horned 
breeds of sheep should not have been originally due to 
fission, although no trace of such original splitting can now 
be detected. As a matter of fact, a specimen in the British 
Museum actually shows the occurrence of such a splitting in 
the horns of a ram of this breed. 

Splitting seems, indeed, to be a very common mode by 
which abnormalities are produced. The Museum of the 
Royal College of Surgeons possesses, for instance, the skull 
of a dog in which both the upper tusks, or canine teeth, are 
longitudinally split for about half their length, and there is a 
similar specimen in the British Museum. This splitting is 
clearly due to a partial fission of the crown of the tooth- 
gum. And it is not improbable that a similar fission, carried 
to a greater extent, may explain the condition obtaining 
in the skull of a fox killed during the winter of 1900 by the 


South Oxfordshire Hounds, in which there are two complete 
canines on each side of the upper jaw, one behind the other, 
giving a most remarkable appearance to the head. As 
already said, the complete duplication of the upper canine 
may quite possibly be an extreme development of the 
imperfect fission noticeable in the other specimens ; but, on 
the other hand, it may be due to the growth of a supple- 
mental germ which exists at the root of most mammalian 
teeth, but, as a rule, remains dormant throughout life. 

To return to our sheep. It has now to be mentioned 
that the development of two or more additional horns in 
these animals is by no means the only abnormality which not 
infrequently makes its appearance in connection with these 
appendages. There is, on the contrary, an equally marked 
tendency to "sport " in the opposite direction — that is to say, 
to the coalescence of the normal pair so as to give rise to 
what are practically unicorn-sheep. 

These unicorn-sheep have a much more restricted habitat 
than their many-horned cousins, being apparently confined 
to a certain portion of the Himalaya or Tibet, although they 
are not referred to by Brian Hodgson in his paper on the 
tame sheep and goats of the Sub-Himalayas and Tibet, 
already referred to. 

Three specimens of the horns of this remarkable breed 
of sheep are known to be preserved in England, two of 
them being in the British Museum (to which they were 
presented by Hodgson), while the third is in the Museum 
of the Royal College of Surgeons, as the gift of Colonel 
Finch in 1830. The latter is described in the Museum 
Catalogue in the following words : '* The horns have grown 
parallel to each other, and are firmly united throughout 
their whole extent, producing the appearance of a single 
horn, the extremity of which has been sawed off, probably 


to relieve the animal of the inconvenience of pressure upon 
the neck." 

Precisely the same description, inclusive of the sawing off 
of the top of the amalgamated horns, would apply to the 
two skulls of this breed in the British Museum, 

In the case of the many-horned breed of sheep it would 
seem that the redundancy in horn-development is more 
probably a disadvantage than a benefit to the animals in 
which it occurs. And if, as seems to be the case, the 
amalgamated horn in the unicorn-sheep tends to run into 
the neck of the owner so as to necessitate the amputation 
of the tip, the abnormaUty is altogether harmful ; so that 
if it occurred in a state of nature it would probably soon 

This amalgamation of the horns in the unicorn-sheep 
presents a curious analogy to the so-called solid-hoofed pigs, 
which have been known from a very early period. " From 
the time of Aristotle to the present time," wrote Darwin, 
" solid-hoofed swine have occasionally been observed in 
various parts of the world. Although this peculiarity is 
strongly inherited, it is hardly probable that all the animals 
with solid hoofs have descended from the same parents ; it is 
more probable that the same peculiarity has reappeared at 
various times and places." The peculiarity is produced by 
the welding together of the middle pair of hoofs into a single 
large hoof. 

Although we may at present be unable to explain the 
curious variations displayed by different organs among 
animals under domestication, this is surely no reason why 
we should refuse to study them at all. 


Some persons are unfortunate in their names, and the 
same is the case with certain animals. The ruminant 
popularly known as the musk-ox and scientifically as 
Ovibos moschatus is an instance of this, for although no 
objection can be taken to the prefix " musk," and its Latin 
eqivalent moschatus, yet the English title " ox " is in the 
highest degree misleading, while the technical "Ovibos," 
which suggests characters intermediate between the oxen 
and the sheep, is equally unsatisfactory. To say that the 
creature is an animal sui generis would be a truism, seeing 
that it is the sole existing representative of the genus 
Ovibos ; and yet this expression, perhaps, best conveys 
the real state of the case — namely, that it is a more or 
less isolated member of the ruminant group, coming under 
the designation neither of an ox nor a sheep, nor yet 
being a connecting link between the two. Under these 
circumstances it would be much better if the name 
" musk-ox " could be dropped altogether, and (unless it 
be altogether unpronounceable) its native Greenland equi- 
valent adopted instead. Unfortunately, however, I have 
hitherto been unable to ascertain by what name the creature 
is known to the Greenlanders. 

Although now restricted to Greenland and Arctic America 
eastward of the Mackenzie River, the musk-ox was formerly 
a circumpolar animal, its remains being occasionally met 



with in the interior of Alaska, more commonly in the frozen 
cliffs of Eschscholtz Bay, and also in the ice-bound soil of 
the Lena and the Yenisei valleys. Although unknown in 
Franz Josef Land and Spitzbergen, the musk-ox extends 
polewards through Parry Island and Grinnell Land into 
North Greenland, where its northward range is probably 
only limited by the limits of vegetation. South Greenland 
at the present day is, however, too hot for such a cold- 
loving beast, and Melville Bay now forms the southernmost 
point to which it wanders on the west coast. Consequently 
it would seem probable that the musk-oxen on the west coast 
are completely isolated from those on the eastern seaboard ; 
the central mountain range of the interior of Greenland 
being apparently impassable even by such hardy animals, 
while a transit vid Cape Farewell is, as we have seen, 
barred by climatic conditions of an opposite nature. 

In America, however, the musk-ox still ranges consider- 
ably farther south, its limits in this direction being 
approximately formed by the sixtieth parallel of north 
latitude ; but it is stated that year by year its southern 
range is slowly contracting — possibly owing to pursuit by 
man. When the musk-ox ceased to be an inhabitant of 
the Siberian tundra, or why it should ever have disappeared 
from regions apparently so well suited to its habits as are 
Northern Asia and Alaska, there are no means of ascer- 
taining. But the date of its disappearance was probably 
by no means remote, comparatively speaking, and it is 
even possible that man himself may have taken a share 
in its extermination. However this may be, it is beyond 
doubt that the musk-ox was an inhabitant of the south 
of England, as well as of parts of France and Germany, 
during or about the time of the glacial epoch ; its remains 
occurring not uncommonly in the gravels of the English 


river-valleys, such as those of the Thames and Severn, as 
well as in the brick-earths of Kent. It is also probable 
that they occur in the " forest-bed " of the Norfolk coast, 
which somewhat antedates the great glaciation of Britain. 

This being so, it is evident that the musk-ox was a 
living British animal within the period during which our 
islands have been inhabited by man, for in many of the 
deposits in which its remains occur flint implements and 
other evidences of human presence are likewise found. 
Probably, indeed, the early human inhabitants of Britain 
not infrequently made a meal of musk-ox beef; but the 
disappearance of the animal from the British fauna may 
apparently be attributed rather to a change in climatic 
conditions than to pursuit by man. 

From that long-distant day when the last indigenous 
British musk-ox departed this life no living representative 
of the species appears to have been brought to our islands 
till the autumn of 1899, when a couple of young bulls were 
added to the collection of the Duke of Bedford at Woburn 
Abbey, These were captured in August in Clavering Island, 
situated off the coast of East Greenland, opposite Konig 
Wilhelm Land, about latitude 74° 5' N. When they arrived 
they were about the size of a rather large sheep, but by 
March of the following year the solitary survivor had 
increased considerably in size, although the horns were then 
only just visible above the long hairs of the sides of the 

Probably most of my readers are more or less familiar 
with the general appearance of the adult musk-ox ; but 
those who are not would do well to turn to its portrait 
as shown opposite next page, or, still better, to pay a 
visit to the British Museum at South Kensington, where 
both the mounted skin and the skeleton are exhibited. The 



absence of the large flattened, fibrous, and downwardly 
curving yellow horns, which almost meet in the middle 
line of the forehead of the adult bull, renders the aspect 
of the head of the calf very different. In other respects, 
however, the calves are very like the full-grown animals 
in general appearance, showing the same long, straight, 
and rather coarse hair, the conspicuous light-coloured 
" saddle " on the back, the white *' stockings," the woolly 
triangular ears, the broad and almost completely hairy 
muzzle, and the entire burying of the rudimentary tail in 
the long hair of the hindquarters. Owing, however, to 
the inferior length of the hair on the flanks, more of the 
legs is exhibited in the young than in the adult ; and 
this enables the peculiarly heavy and massive form of the 
pasterns and feet to be better seen. Nothing was more 
curious about the calves at Woburn Abbey than their 
movements, which recalled those of a Polar bear more 
than those of an ox or a sheep, the hocks being turned 
outwards in an altogether pecuHar and distinctive manner. 
If this strange gait is also characteristic of the adult, it is 
probably adapted for progression on glaciers and other 
ice-coated surfaces ; firmness of foothold being secured by 
the presence of a considerable amount of hair on the 
under-surface of the foot. 

But there is one respect in which the Clavering Island 
calves differed from the adult specimens exhibited at the 
time of their arrival in the British Museum, as well as from 
the description then given of the species. This is the 
presence of a large patch of white hair on the forehead, 
as well as of an ill-defined white streak down each side of 
the face, and some scattered white hairs in the middle line 
between the muzzle and the eyes. 

As these differences have been found to be constant. 


the Greenland musk-ox is now regarded as representing 
a distinct local race. 

To discuss the affinities of the musk-ox on this occasion 
would obviously be out of place ; but my readers may 
probably like to be informed of some of the reasons which 
preclude its being classed either with the oxen or with the 
sheep. As regards the horns, it will suffice to say that 
they are quite unlike those of either of the groups in 
question. From the oxen the animal is broadly dis- 
tinguished alike by the structure of its upper teeth and 
also by its hairy muzzle. But this broad and hairy 
muzzle, in which there is a narrow naked and granular 
area immediately above and between the nostrils, is equally 
unlike the narrow and short-haired muzzle of the sheep 
and goats. In the structure of its upper teeth, as well as 
in the presence of glands below the eyes and of only two 
mammae in the female, the musk-ox is, however, much 
more like the latter group. But these two latter features 
are of no great zoological importance, some sheep lacking 
face-glands, while one species of goat has four mammae ; 
and they in no wise serve to prove the existence of any 
close relationship between musk-oxen and sheep. It may 
be added that the aborted tail of the musk-ox separates 
it very widely from the oxen, in all of which this appendage 
is of great relative length ; but in this respect the animal 
comes closer to the sheep, nearly all the wild forms of 
which have short and stumpy tails. In the extremely 
late development of the horns (as attested by the survivor 
of the Woburn pair) the species seem to stand apart from 
both groups. 

Judging from the photographs in an account by Dr. Nathorst 
of the hunting of these animals, it would seem that in East 
Greenland musk-oxen are commonly found in small herds of 


from eight to nine or a dozen in number. Their favourite 
haunts seem to be the gently sloping and boulder-strewn 
short valleys at the foot of the cliffs. Here they can be 
approached without much difficulty, and killed in the open, 
the members of the herd standing to gaze unconcernedly 
at the aggressor after one or more of their number has 
been shot down. When separated from their mothers, 
the young calves are by no means difficult to capture. I 
have been told by a friend that during an expedition to 
Greenland some officers succeeded in capturing a number 
of these calves, which they were carrying down on their 
shoulders to the coast; but the captive animals squealed 
so loudly as to attract the attention of all the Polar bears in 
the neighbourhood, which thereupon started in pursuit and 
soon induced the unarmed captors to drop their booty 1 


Among many losses attributable, directly or indirectly, to 
the first French Revolution appears to be one which is 
absolutely irretrievable, and must ever remain a source of 
the deepest regret to the naturalist. Up to that time there 
were preserved in Alsace two huge horns commonly 
reputed to belong to the great extinct wild ox of Europe. 
The one was kept in the cathedral at Strassburg, the 
other in the episcopal palace at the neighbouring town of 
Zabern, or Saverne. The former was of great length 
(6 ft, 6 in.), and comparatively slender, while the second 
(which was mounted with silver and used as a drinking- 
horn) was also very large and apparently stouter. Its 
length is not given, but its capacity was so great that it 
would hold four litres of wine. 

The French naturalist Buffon, who saw the Strassburg 
specimen, believed that it was truly the horn of a wild 
ox, or aurochs, but this opinion is disputed by Prof. 
Nehring, of Berlin, who, on account of its great length and 
slenderness, considers that it belonged to a domesticated 
Hungarian bullock. This is confirmed by an ancient 
tradition that the horn in question was that of one of 
the oxen employed in carting stones for building the 
cathedral, and Dr. Nehring's view may accordingly be 

On the other hand, the Zabern horn, whose capacity, as 



already said, was four litres, may, in the opinion of the 
same authority, be confidently regarded as that of an 
aurochs. For if it be assumed that its capacity has been 
somewhat enlarged by shaving away the inner surface, it 
would seem to accord fairly well in size with large fossil 
specimens of the bony horn-cores of that animal. For 
three centuries the Zabern horn was the emblem of an 
association known as " the brotherhood of the horn." 
This society was founded in May, 1586, by Bishop John 
von Manderscheid, who came into possession of the horn 
as a hunting-trophy, or heirloom, from his ancestors. The 
meeting-place of the society was the castle of Hoh-Barr, 
near Zabern. The horn was regarded with great veneration 
by the members of the confraternity, to which distinguished 
strangers were occasionally admitted as " honorary members." 
Like the Strassburg ox-horn, the Zabern aurochs-horn 
mysteriously disappeared during or soon after the French 

With its disappearance vanished apparently the last 
relic of an aurochs killed within the historic period. It is 
true that Prof. W. B. Dawkins * has stated that a pair of 
aurochs-horns were borne in procession on certain occasions 
in the canton of Uri, Switzerland, so late as about the year 
1866, but it does not appear that the practice is continued, 
or that the horns are still in existence. 

In the Middle Ages aurochs-horns were commonly pre- 
served — although even then as rarities— in churches and 
castles, where they were generally used as drinking-vessels ; 
and it is mentioned in the "Commentaries" of Julius Caesar 
that even in his time such horns, mounted in silver, were 
employed for the same purpose. In the year 1 5 50, Conrad 
Gesner mentions that an entire aurochs-skull (apparently 
* Quart. Jonrn. Geol Soc, vol. xxii. p. 393. 


with the horns) was preserved in the town-hall at Worms, 
and another at Mayence. Probably both have long since 

Seeing that horns are almost unknown in a fossil state, 
it might well have been thought that, with the loss of the 
historic Zabern specimen, the last example of an aurochs- 
horn has disappeared for ever. By a lucky chance, a 
nearly perfect horn of the wild ox has, however, been 
recently discovered in a peat-bog in Pomerania, together 
with a fragment of the bony horn-core on which it was 
supported during life. The specimen has been described 
by Dr. Nehring, and proved to belong unquestionably to 
the aurochs, as distinct from the bison. 

The mention of both aurochs and bison in the preceding 
sentence renders it desirable to allude to a matter which 
has been the cause of considerable confusion and mis- 
conception. Until within the last few years, nearly all 
naturahsts regarded these two names as synonymous, and 
appHed them both to the bison ; or rather, in many cases 
dropped the latter name altogether, and miscalled the 
animal to which it belongs the aurochs. The same practice 
is largely followed by sportsmen at the present day. 
In old German the wild ox appears to have been called 
indifferently either iiy or auerochs ; the former name being 
Latinised by Caesar into Urns. Auerochs, according to the 
usual interpretation, signifies mountain or wild ox ; but 
opinions differ as to whether ur has a similar meaning, or 
whether it signifies the old or primeval ox. Be this as it 
may, the wild ox, which may even in Caesar's time have 
been growing scarce, gradually became rarer and rarer 
during the Middle Ages, till it finally disappeared in the 
first half of the seventeenth century. The name, however, 
still remained among the peasantry of Eastern Europe, and 


as there was no species to which it could possibly apply 
save the bison, which then still survived in Poland and 
elsewhere, it was transferred to that animal, of which, as 
already mentioned, it became the common designation. 
A precisely analogous instance has occurred in Eastern 
Russia. The bison, in place of being restricted, as now, 
to Lithuania and the Caucasus, was formerly much more 
widely distributed. When it disappeared from certain 
districts, its name still survived, and became transferred 
by the peasants to the eastern race of the red-deer, 
as the only large wild ungulate with which they were 

As regards the gradual extermination of the aurochs 
as a wild animal during the Middle Ages, much important 
evidence has been collected of late years by Messrs. Nehring 
and Schiemenz. 

During the Pleistocene epoch, when the mammoth and 
the woolly rhinoceros inhabited the British Islands and 
the Continent (which were then one), the aurochs was a 
common animal, as is attested by the abundance of its 
remains in formations of that age. Some of the finest 
and largest skulls of this so-called Bos primigenius were 
obtained by the late Sir Antonio Brady from the brick-earths 
of Ilford, in Essex. Other skulls have been obtained from 
the peat of Perthshire, from Burwell Fen, Cambridgeshire, 
and from a peaty deposit at Newbury, in Berkshire. A 
skull from Burwell Fen, in the Woodwardian Museum at 
Cambridge, has a flint implement embedded in the fore- 
head, thus showing that the animal was hunted by the 
prehistoric inhabitants of our islands at a time when the 
mammoth and rhinoceros had already disappeared. 

As to the date of the extermination of the wild aurochs 
in Britain there is no decisive evidence, but no skulls or 


other remains have hitherto been identified from deposits 
of Roman or later age. It is, of course, possible that it 
may have survived till the epoch in question, or later, in 
the more remote parts of the kingdom, and Prof. Dawkins 
has even suggested that the tauri sylvestres mentioned by 
Fitzstephen, who wrote his " Life of Beckett " in the reign 
of Henry II., as inhabiting the forests round London, 
were aboriginally wild animals. On the other hand, they 
may equally well have been cattle that had run wild, and 
this is confirmed by Bishop Leslie, of Ross, who stated in 
1598 that the Bos sylvestris of the Caledonian Forest was 

On the Continent, we have the evidence of Caesar as to 
the co-existence of the aurochs or urus in the Hercynian, 
or Black, Forest with the bison and the elk. And it is 
related how the young German warriors of that time 
prepared themselves for war by hunting and killing the 
fierce aurochs. A remarkable confirmation of the truth of 
Caesar's statement as to the co-existence of the aurochs 
and bison on the Continent during the period of the Roman 
occupation is afforded by the discovery in Swabia, during 
the widening of a railway in 1895, of two statuettes of oxen 
belonging to the Roman period. They were dug up in loam 
at a depth of nine feet below the surface, and have been 
described and figured by Prof E. Fraas.* The one, as 
shown by the great elevation and depth of the fore- 
quarters, clearly represents the bison. The other, on the 
contrary, is as evidently intended for the aurochs. The 
horns have been broken off in both specimens, but what 
remains of them agrees in each instance with the form 
they should assume. In stating that both species inhabited 
the Black Forest contemporaneously, it is not meant that 
* "Fundberichte aus Schwaben," vol. vii. p. ^il (1899). 


they were actually found in company. On the contrary, 
it is more probable, as pointed out by Dr. Nehring, that 
while the one frequented the low-lying and swampy forests, 
the other resorted to the higher and drier woods. 

Of later chronicles than Caesar's one describing the 
wars of Charlemagne in the early part of the ninth century 
alludes to the king going to hunt bisons or aurochs 
{bisontium vel urorum) in the forests of Aix-la-Chapelle. 
The use of the term vel is a little ambiguous, but Prof. 
Dawkins considers that the passage indicates the occurrence 
of both species in the forest, while he is also of opinion 
that the animal slain by Charlemagne was undoubtedly an 
aurochs. Of special importance is the mention of both 
bison and aurochs (urus) in a grace used at the Abbey of 
St. Gall about the year 1000. Another important state- 
ment is to the effect that aurochs and elk were met with 
by the First Crusade when crossing Germany at the close 
of the eleventh century, special reference being made to 
the enormous size of the horns of the former animals. 
Again, in the " Nibelungen-Lied," of the twelfth century, 
Siegfried is related to have killed a bison and four aurochs 
near Worms. 

A work by the German writer Herberstain, entitled 
" Moscovia," of which an Italian translation was published 
at Venice in 1550, affords the most important evidence 
of any as to the survival of the aurochs in Poland (and 
probably also in Hungary) during the later Middle Ages. 
In this work appear woodcuts — rude, it is true, but still 
characteristic and unmistakable — of two perfectly distinct 
types of European wild cattle, one being the aurochs, or 
ur, and the other the bison. As Herberstain had travelled 
frequently in Poland, it is probable that he had seen both 
species alive, and the drawings were most likely executed 


under his own immediate supervision and direction. It 
has been suggested that the figure of the aurochs was 
taken from a domesticated ox, but Messrs. Nehring and 
Schiemenz have shown that this is quite a mistaken idea. 
Not the least important feature of the work of Herberstain 
is the application of the name "aurochs" to the wild ox, 
as distinct from the bison. The locality where aurochs 
survived in Herberstain's time was the forest of Jakto- 
zowka, situated about fifty-five kilometres west-south-west 
of Warsaw, in the provinces of Bolemow and Sochaczew. 
From other evidence it appears that the last aurochs was 
killed in this forest in the year 1627. It is important 
to notice that Herberstain describes the colour of the aurochs 
as black, and this is confirmed by another old picture 
of the animal. Gesner's figure of the aurochs, or, as he 
calls it, "thur," given in his " His tor}' of Animals," pub- 
lished in 1622, was probably adapted from Herberstain's. 
It may be added that an ancient gold goblet depicts the 
hunting and taming of the wild aurochs.* 

As a wild animal, then, the aurochs appears to have 
ceased to exist in the early part of the seventeenth century ; 
but as a species it is still among us, for there can be no 
doubt the majority of the domesticated breeds of European 
cattle are its descendants, all diminished in point of size, 
and some departing more widely from the original type 
than others. Aurochs' calves were in all probability cap- 
tured by the prehistoric inhabitants of Britain and the 
Continent and tamed ; and from these, with perhaps an 
occasional blending of wild blood, are doubtless descended 
most of our European cattle. 

Much misconception has, however, prevailed as to which 
breeds are the nearest to the ancestral wild stock. For 
* See Keller, Globus, vol. Ixxii., No. 22 (1897). 


instance, in 1 866, Prof. Dawkins wrote as follows : 
"The half-wild oxen of Chillingham Park, in Northumber- 
land, and other places in northern and central Britain, 
are probably the last surviving representatives of the 
gigantic urus of the Pleistocene period, reduced in size 
and modified in every respect by their small range and 
their contact with men." 

When this was penned, it is only fair to state, the fact 
that the colour of the aurochs was black does not appear 
to have been known to the writer ; neither was it then 
generally recognised that the park cattle (which are always 
white) are semi-albinoes. Such semi-albinism is always 
the result of domestication, as is mentioned in Bell's 
" British Quadrupeds," and could not have arisen in the 
wild state. Moreover, the park cattle display evidence of 
their descent from dark-coloured breeds by the retention 
of red or black ears and brown or black muzzles. In the 
Chillingham cattle the ears are generally red, although 
sometimes (probably as the result of crossing) black, and 
the muzzle brown ; while in the breed at Cadzow Park, 
Lanarkshire, both ears and muzzle are deep black, and 
there are usually flecks of black on the head and fore- 
quarters. It is further significant that, in the Chillingham 
herd at any rate, dark-coloured calves, which are weeded 
out by the keepers, make their appearance from time to 

Now, it is a remarkable fact that when the black Pem- 
broke breed of domesticated cattle tends to albinism, the 
ears and muzzle, and more rarely the fetlocks, remain 
completely black or very dark grey, although the colour 
elsewhere is whitish, more or less profusely flecked and 
blotched with pale grey. In the shape and curvature of 
the horns, which at first incline outwards and forwards. 


and then bend somewhat upwards and inwards, this breed 
of cattle, which is known to be of great antiquity, resem- 
bles both the gigantic aurochs and the (by comparison) 
dwarfed park breeds. Moreover, in both the Pembroke 
and the park breeds the horns are light-coloured with 
black tips. 

Important evidence as to the close affinity between these 
two breeds is furnished by Low, in his "Domesticated 
Animals of the British Islands." It is there stated that a 
breed of cattle very similar to that at Chillingham was 
found in Wales in the tenth century, these cattle being 
white with red ears, " The individuals of this race yet 
existing in Wales are found chiefly in the county of 
Pembroke, where they have been kept by some individuals 
perfectly pure as a part of their regular farm-stock. Until 
a period comparatively recent, they were relatively 
numerous, and persons are yet living who remember when 
they were driven in droves to the pasturages of the Severn 
and the neighbouring markets. Their whole essential 
characters are the same as those (of the cattle) at Chil- 
lingham and Chartley Park and elsewhere. Their horns 
are white, tipped with black, and extended and turned 
upwards in the manner distinctive of the wild breed. 
The inside of the ears and the muzzle are black, and 
their feet are black to the fetlock-joint. Their skin is 
unctuous and of a deep-toned yellow colour. Individuals 
of the race are sometimes born entirely black, and then 
they are not to be distinguished from the common cattle 
of the mountains." 

It is thus evident that the white park cattle are a 
specialised offshoot from the ancient Pembroke black breed, 
which, as Low mentions in a later passage, from their 
soft and well-haired skins, are evidently natives of a humid 


climate, such as that of the forests in which dwelt the 
wild aurochs. This disposes, once and for all, of a theory 
recently broached that the park cattle are descendants of 
a white sacrificial breed introduced by the Romans. 

A further inference is that the Pembroke cattle are 
themselves the most immediate descendants of the wild 
aurochs (which, as we have already seen, was black) now 
living in the British Islands, or perhaps, indeed, anywhere 
else. That the park cattle have in some cases reverted to 
a semi-wild state, whereas the Pembrokes are thoroughly 
domesticated, has nothing to do with the argument, and 
is merely the result of the force of circumstances. 

To some persons the red ears of the Chillingham and 
some of the old Welsh white cattle may give rise to a 
doubt as to the relationship with the aurochs and Pem- 
broke breed ; but it should be borne in mind that red is 
the primitive coloration of all wild cattle, and that, for 
aught we know to the contrary, the calves, or even the 
cows, of the aurochs may have been of this colour, as are 
those of the banting, or wild ox, of Java, of which the 
old bulls are black. The red ears of the Chillingham breed 
are therefore, at most, a reversion to the colour of the 
ancestors of the aurochs. 

From the foregoing statements it is evident that the 
aurochs and the Pembroke and park cattle belong to one 
and the same species, and since the latter do not appear 
specifically separable from the domesticated cattle of Scan- 
dinavia, which probably formed the type of the Bos taurus 
of Linnaeus, it is clear that the aurochs has no right to 
a distinct species name. Instead of Bos primigenms, it 
should be called Bos taurus priimgenius. 


Among the larger mammals the species or varieties in- 
habiting islands are more or less markedly inferior in 
point of size to their nearest continental relatives. In 
the case of the smaller islands, like Sardinia and Corsica, 
the reason of such a diminution in stature is not far to 
seek, and it is therefore not in the least surprising to 
find that the Corsican red-deer is a very inferior edition 
of its prototype of the mainland. The buffalo of the 
small island of Mindoro, in the Philippines, is greatly 
inferior in size to the wild buffaloes of the tall grass- 
jungles of Assam. In the case of islands of the 
dimensions of Sumatra and Borneo the reason of the 
phenomenon is by no means apparent, especially when 
we find them inhabited by a man-like ape (the orang- 
utan) almost rivalling in bulk and stature the gorilla 
of Western Africa, Nevertheless, even in such areas 
the same feature is to a certain extent noticeable, the 
wild buffalo of Borneo being considerably smaller than 
its Indian relative. As regards its actual area, the 
island of Celebes occupies a kind of intermediate position, 
since it is much inferior in extent to either Sumatra or 
Borneo, although far too extensive to come under the 
denomination of a small island. From its peculiar shape, 
which recalls the form often assumed by an amoeba, it has, 
however, a much smaller area that could be enclosed by 



a ring fence than many islands of less than half its 
acreage, and this may really bring it, so far as the de- 
velopment of animal life is concerned, into the same 
category as a small island. 

Be this as it may, Celebes has the distinction of being 
the home of the smallest living representative of the wild 
cattle, or, indeed, of the wild cattle of any period of the 
earth's history, for no equally diminutive fossil member of 
the group appears to be known. An idea of the extremely 
diminutive proportions of the anoa, or sapi-utan, as the 
animal in question is respectively called by the inhabitants 
of Celebes and the Malays, may be gained when it is 
stated that its height at the shoulder is only about 3 ft. 
3 in., whereas that of the great Indian wild ox, or gaur, 
is at least 6 ft. 4 in. In fact, the anoa is really not 
much, if at all, larger than a well-grown Southdown sheep, 
and scarcely exceeds in this respect the little domesticated 
Indian Bramini cattle. 

The anoa has many of the characters of the large 
Indian buffalo, but its horns are relatively shorter, less 
curved, and more upright. In this, as well as in certain 
other respects, it is more like the young than the adult 
of the last-named species ; and as young animals fre- 
quently show ancestral features which are gradually lost 
as maturity is approached, it would be a natural suppo- 
sition that the anoa is a primitive type of buffalo. This 
idea receives a remarkable confirmation from the circum- 
stance that in the later Tertiary strata of Northern India 
there occur skulls of anoa-like buffaloes, which, however, 
in correlation with the continental area where they are 
met with, indicate animals of considerably larger dimen- 
sions than the living Celebes animal. In fact the latter, 
together with the somewhat larger wild buffalo, or 


k/ '^ 


From a />/ioiogiafih by the Vuc/uss oj Bca/vnl.] 

Male and Female Anoa, or Dwarf Buffalo. 
The bull has unfortunately lost the greater part of his tail. 

\_Toface p. 304 


tamarau, of the island of Mindoro, and the aforesaid 
extinct Indian species, constitute an altogether peculiar 
and primitive group of the buffalo tribe. 

In its young state and during middle life the anoa is 
covered with a fairly thick coat of somewhat woolly hair, 
which is at first yellowish brown, but eventually becomes 
dark brown or blackish. In common with other Asiatic 
buffaloes, the hair is reversed along the middle line of 
the neck and back as far as the haunches ; that is to 
say the tips are directed towards the head instead of 
towards the tail. What may be the precise object of this 
reversal (which is also met with among many antelopes 
and deer) is not yet ascertained. Possibly it may have 
something to do with the manner in which the animals 
rub themselves against the stems or boughs of trees and 

In old individuals, especially those of the male sex, 
the coat of hair almost completely disappears, leaving the 
black skin bare and shining, like that of old buffaloes in 
general. This condition has been attained by the bull 
shown in the foreground of the accompanying photograph. 
And here it should be remarked that this particular 
animal has suffered the loss of the greater portion of 
its tail, which somewhat alters the appearance of its 
hindquarters. With the usual fatality that attends the 
grouping of animals, it has also happened that the hind- 
quarters of the bull are in full view, while those of the 
cow are concealed. The somewhat spiteful and uncertain 
temper of the bull is indicated by the circumstance that 
it was found necessary to affix brass knobs to its horns. 
From the more typical buffaloes the anoa differs by the 
general presence of white markings. These usually take 
the form of a gorget on the lower part of the throat, 



and of one or two spots on each side of the under-jaw, 
as well as patches above the lateral hoofs ; but there may 
also be white blotches on the neck and back, and in front 
of the eyes, while more or less of white may appear on 
the muzzle and the whole of the lower portion of the 
limbs. The special interest attaching to these white 
markings is that the spots on the sides of the face as 
well as the gorget on the throat are also met with 
among certain antelopes, such as the kudu and the bush- 
bucks ; and from this it has been inferred that the anoa 
is more nearly related to the antelopes than is any other 
member of the ox tribe. Although this may be true to 
a certain extent, the connection with the kudu tribe is 

According to the meagre accounts we at present possess 
of the creature in its native haunts, the anoa dwells in 
pairs on the elevated ground of the interior of Celebes, 
where it passes most of its time in thick forests in the 
neighbourhood of water. In associating in pairs it is 
quite unlike all other wild cattle, with the possible excep- 
tion of the Philippine tamarau ; and here again it presents 
a resemblance to the kudu and bushbucks, which also 
generally go about in pairs or small family parties. 

Examples of the anoa are but rarely seen alive in 
England, although they do not appear very difficult to 
procure. The first specimen exhibited in the London 
Zoological Gardens was purchased in May, 1871, and a 
second was obtained by exchange in June, 1880. Between 
the latter date and 1896 (when the last complete list 
of the animals in the menagerie was published) not a 
single example of this very interesting little buffalo was 
obtained. At Woburn Abbey the pair represented in the 
accompanying photograph dwelt in a good-sized paddock 


by themselves, and flourished for a considerable period. 
Unfortunately, however, one of the two has died since 
the photograph was taken. 

Apart from the interest attaching to it as a primitive 
island type, and as being the smallest representative of 
the ox tribe, it cannot fairly be said that the anoa is a 
very attractive animal. It has nothing specially to com- 
mend it from an aesthetic point of view, being, in fact, 
a rather ugly and ungainly creature ; and from its pug- 
nacious disposition it is not adapted for turning out in 
British parks among other horned animals. Moreover, 
it has a decidedly delicate constitution, which alone 
would be sufficient to render it unfit for this kind of 


Among the many wonderful palaeontological discoveries that 
have startled the scientific world during the last few years, 
none, perhaps, is more unexpected than the assertion that 
the ancestral whales were protected from attack by a bony 
armour analogous to that with which the armadillos of South 
America are covered. Scarcely less marvellous is the fact 
that vestiges of this ancient coat of mail are still borne by 
such familiar cetaceans as the porpoise and its near relative, 
the Japanese porpoise {Neophocaena phocaenoides), the latter 
species being distinguished by the absence of a back-fin. 
That creatures like the modern pelagic whales and porpoises, 
or even the river dolphins, could ever have been invested 
with a complete bony armour, is, of course, an absolute 
impossibility. The rigidity of such a panoply would have 
interfered far too much with the mobility of their supple 
bodies, while its weight would have impaired their buoyancy. 
Consequently it is necessary to assume that in even the 
earlier representatives of these types the armour must 
have been in a condition of degradation and elimination, 
so that we must go back to more primitive forms to find it 
in its full development. As every one knows nowadays, 
whales and dolphins trace their ancestry to land animals, 
and nothing is more likely than that when such ancestral 
creatures began to take to an amphibious life on the 
seashore, or at the mouth of a large river, they should 



have developed a dermal armour which would serve to 
protect them alike from the breakers and from the attacks 
of sharks and other marine monsters. For the idea that 
the terrestrial ancestors of the cetaceans were clad in 
armour cannot for a moment be entertained, since the 
primitive mammals were not so protected, and the American 
armadillos afford an instance of the development de novo 
of such a bony panoply at a comparatively recent 

Years ago the late Dr. H. Burmeister described a porpoise 
from Argentina as Phocacna spinipinnis, on account of its 
possessing a number of spiny tubercles embedded in the skin 
in the neighbourhood of the back-fin as well as on the fin 
itself. " Some small spines," he wrote, " begin in the middle 
of the back, at the distance of twenty-five centimetres 
in front of the fin, as a single line of moderate spines ; 
but soon another line begins on each side, so that in the 
beginning of the fin there are already three lines of spines. 
These three lines are continued over the whole rounded 
anterior margin of the fin and are augmented on both sides 
by other small spines irregularly scattered, so that the whole 
number of lines of spines in the middle of the fin is five." 
In a section of the skin of the back-fin the tubercles are 
distinctly seen, many of them being double. 

Similar tubercles were described on the back-fin of a 
porpoise taken in the Thames in 1865 ; and quite recently 
a row of no less than twenty-five well-developed tubercles 
has been detected on the front edge of the back-fin of a foetal 
porpoise, these tubercles being nearly white and thus showing 
up in a marked contrast to the dark-coloured skin. Even 
more distinct are the tubercles in the skin of the finless 
back of the Japanese porpoise, where they form several 
rows of polygonal plates. 


In a fossil porpoise {Delphmopsis freyerz) from the middle 
Tertiary deposits of Radoboj, in Croatia, the tubercles are 
still more strongly developed, and form a series of regu- 
larly arranged and parallel rows in the neighbourhood of 
the back-fin. They clearly indicate one step from the 
modern porpoises in the direction of a species provided 
with a functional bony armour in this region of the body. 
Between the extinct Croatian porpoise and the much more 
ancient whale known as Zeuglodon, some parts of whose 
body are believed to have been protected by a bony armour 
as solid as that of the giant relatives of the armadillos, the 
intermediate links are at present unknown, although they 
may turn up any day. Zeuglodon was first discovered 
in the early Tertiary strata of the United States, but its 
remains have subsequently been found in the equivalent 
deposits of Egypt and elsewhere, and in early times it 
was probably the dominant cetacean of the world. Years 
ago there were discovered with the bones of the internal 
skeleton of this whale a number of bony plates which 
originally formed a dermal armour ; but these plates were 
regarded as belonging to a species of leathery turtle and 
as having nothing to do with the whale. 

In microscopic structure, as well as in their arrangement, 
these polygonal bony plates are said, however, to differ from 
the armour of the leathery turtle ; while their structure is 
generally similar to the undoubted bones of Zeuglodon 
with which they are found in association. Moreover, a 
fragment covered on one side with armour of this type has 
been discovered which cannot apparently be any part of 
the shell of a turtle, but which may well be the back-fin 
of Zeuglodon. And as the aforesaid bony tubercles of 
the porpoises are always found on or near the back-fin, it 
has been assumed that in Zeuglodon the entire dorsal fin, 


as well as some portion of the back, was covered with a 
complete tesselated armour of bony plates. 

The majority of the living toothed whales (inclusive of 
porpoises and dolphins) are furnished with a dorsal fin, 
and it is therefore reasonable to suppose (apart from the 
evidence of the specimen just referred to) that Zeuglodon 
was similarly provided ; and if this be so, that cetacean 
was evidently a pelagic creature. For the function of a 
dorsal fin is to act as a kind of keel in maintaining the 
balance of the body, this appendage being most developed 
in purely pelagic cetaceans like the killer, while in littoral 
or fluviatile forms such as the narwhal, the white whale, 
and the Japanese porpoise, it is either small or wanting. 
It is, further, noticeable that cetaceans with pointed muzzles 
(of which Zeuglodon is one) nearly always have a larger 
back-fin than those in which the muzzle is short and 
rounded. In the whalebone bones, among which the 
dorsal fin is either small or wanting, its function may be 
discharged by the keel on the middle of the upper jaw, 
or, owing to corporeal bulk, no such function is required 
at all. 

If, then, we are right in regarding Zeuglodon as a pelagic 
cetacean, it is evident that it could not have been completely 
armoured, but that such armour as it retained was merely 
a survival from a fully armoured non-pelagic ancestor. For 
it is almost impossible to believe, if they were armoured at 
all, that the ancestral form was not invested in a complete 
panoply, at least on the dorsal region. 

The v;hole argument is tersely summed up as follows 
by Dr. O. Abel [Beitr. Pal. Oster.-Ung., vol. xiii. p. 4, 
1 901), to whom naturalists are indebted for these interesting 

In their earliest stage of development the toothed whales 


were full armoured. The object of the armour was as a 
defence against enemies, such as sharks, such an armour 
being also very valuable to animals exposed to the force 
of a strong surf on rocky shores. As the creatures took 
more and more to an aquatic life, the acquisition of greater 
speed would be of greater value to them, and this would 
be accomplished by diminishing the specific gravity and 
friction of the body, the shortening of the extremities 
and the development of a caudal fin to serve as the sole 
instrument of locomotion. 

Accordingly the armour would very soon be lost by the 
pelagic cetaceans in order to diminish friction and lighten 
the specific gravity. Only among certain types, which 
diverged at an early epoch from the ancestral stock and 
took to a fluviatile or estuarine life, did vestiges of the 
armour remain, while the dorsal fin remained undeveloped 
(Neophociiena). That in this form, as well as in the closely 
allied true porpoises {Phocaena), we have the most primitive 
type of living toothed whales, is confirmed by the nature 
of the dentition as well as by the circumstance that in this 
group alone the premaxilla is toothed. The relation of the 
interparietal to the parietal bones of the skull is likewise 
confirmatory of the antiquity of the porpoises. 

It may be added that Zeuglodon differs from modern 
cetaceans by the characters of its teeth, those of the 
lateral series being double-rooted and having compressed 
and serrated crowns, distantly recalling those of the leopard- 
seal. Between Zeuglodon and the shark-toothed dolphins 
{Squalodon) the gap is very great, but still one which 
might readily be bridged were the missing links forth- 
coming ; and as it is, the molars of the one type seem 
derivable from those of the other. In Squalodon the molars 
alone retain the double-rooted character of Zeuglodon, and 


a transition from the former, in respect of tooth-characters, 
to the modern dolphins and porpoises is afforded by Sauro- 
delphis, of the Argentine Pliocene, in which the roots of the 
teeth, although single, are elongated antero-posteriorly and 
thus display clear evidence of their original duality. By 
Dr. Abel, Saurodelphis is indeed regarded as occupying 
the middle position between Squalodon and the modern 
dolphins ; the porpoises being considered to form a side 
branch which diverged from the main stem at an earlier 
date than the appearance of the genus first named. 

In conclusion, it may be mentioned that modern investiga- 
tions tend to connect the ancestral toothed whales with the 
Carnivora, and in no wise support Sir William Flower's 
favourite idea that these cetaceans trace their descent from 
early ungulates. 


Although the name " sloth " is not infrequently mis- 
applied by travellers to the slow-lemurs of India and 
the Malay countries, or to their cousins the galagos of 
Africa, it should properly be restricted to certain peculiar 
mammals inhabiting the tropical forests of Central and 
South America. In addition to the simple character of their 
teeth, which are confined to the sides of the jaws, sloths 
are characterised by their short faces, rudimentary tails, 
shaggy coats, and hook-like claws, by means of which 
they hang suspended, back-downwards, from the branches 
of the trees among which their lives are spent. Two very 
distinct types of these animals are known, readily distin- 
guished by the number of toes on the fore-limb. In the 
one form — the three-toed sloth — there are three claws on 
each foot, both in the front and the hind limbs. But in 
the other — the two-toed sloth— there are only two claws 
on each of the fore-feet. 

These, however, are by no means the only differences 
between the two types (and I say types rather than 
species, because it is quite probable that each modification 
has more than a single specific representative). In the 
first place, there is a difference in the form and position 
of the first tooth in each jaw. In the three-toed sloth, 
or ai, for instance, this tooth is similar in form to those 
behind it, from the first of which it is separated by a 



space not longer than the one between the second and 
third. In the two-toed form, on the other hand, the first 
tooth is taller than those behind, and has a bevelled 
instead of a flat grinding surface, while the space dividing 
it from the second much exceeds that between any of 
the others. Again, the front of the upper jaw of the 
two-toed sloth carries a T-shaped bone, corresponding to 
the premaxillae of other mammals, which is totally wanting 
in the other species. The front of the lower jaw of the 
former is also prolonged so as to form a kind of spout, 
of which there is no trace in the latter. In both these 
respects the two-toed sloth comes much nearer to the 
extinct ground-sloths than is the case with its three-clawed 

Again, if the males of the three-toed sloth be examined, 
there will be seen a patch in the middle of the back where, 
owing to the absence of the long coarse external hair, 
the presence of a soft orange and brown under-fur is 
shown. It has been stated that this patch of under-fur 
is made visible by the animals rubbing their backs against 
boughs and wearing off the long hair, but it seems much 
more probable that it is a sexual character. Of this under- 
fur the two-toed sloth has but a very imperfect development. 

Apart from its extremely coarse and brittle nature, the 
most striking peculiarity of the outer hair of the sloths is 
its more or less decidedly green tinge. To see this in 
perfection it is necessary to examine living animals, as it 
tends to fade away more or less completely in skins 
long exposed to the light, leaving the hair of a pale greyish 
brown colour. 

Now green is a very rare colour among mammals, and 
there ought, therefore, to be some special reason for its 
development in the sloths. And, as a matter of fact, the 


means by which this coloration is produced is one of the 
most marvellous phenomena in the whole animal kingdom — 
so marvellous, indeed, that it is at first almost impossible 
to believe that it is true. The object of this peculiar type 
of coloration is, of course, to assimilate the animal to its 
leafy surroundings and thus to render it as inconspicuous 
as possible ; and when hanging in its usual position from 
the under-side of a bough, its long, coarse, and green-tinged 
hair is stated to render the sloth almost indistinguishable 
from the bunches of grey-green lichens among which it 
dwells. And if the physical means by which this green 
tinge in the hair of the sloths is produced be little short 
of marvellous, what is to be said with regard to the inducing 
cause of the phenomenon ? But of this anon. 

If a few hairs of the al be examined under the microscope 
by a person familiar with the structure of hair in general, 
it will be found that while the central portion consists of 
what is technically known as cortex (and not of the medulla 
which forms the core of the hair of many mammals), the outer 
sheath is composed of an altogether peculiar structure, for 
which the somewhat cumbersome name of extra-cortex has 
been proposed. Possibly it may correspond to the thin 
cuticle of more ordinary hairs, possibly not ; either way, it 
need not concern us further on this occasion. In old and 
worn hairs this outer sheath (as it will be more convenient 
to call it) becomes brittle and breaks away piecemeal, leaving 
the central core alone. 

But in ordinary circumstances the sheath tends to form 
a number of transverse cracks, and in these cracks grows 
a primitive type of plant — namely, a one-celled alga. For 
the benefit of my non-botanical readers it may be well to 
mention here that algas (among which sea-weeds are in- 
cluded) form a group of flowerless plants related on the 


one hand to the funguses and on the other to the hchens. 
The majority Hve in water — either salt or fresh — compara- 
tively few deriving their nourishment from the moisture 
contained in the air. Some, indeed, are confined to particular 
descriptions of rock, and possess structures recalling roots, 
but even in these cases it is doubtful if they draw more 
than an insignificant fraction of their nutriment from the 
substance on which they grow. 

In the moist tropical forests forming the home of the 
sloths the algas in the cracks of their hairs grow readily, 
and thus communicate to the entire coat that general green 
tint which, as already said, is reported to render them 
almost indistinguishable from the clusters of lichen among 
which they hang suspended, 

" In thick transverse sections of the hair," writes Dr. 
Ridewood, who has recently investigated the structure of 
sloth-hair, " these algal bodies show up very clearly, since 
they stain deeply, and have a sharply defined circular or 
slightly oval outline. Unless the hair is much broken, they 
are confined to the outer parts of the extra-cortical layer." 

Not the least curious phase of a marvellous subject is 
that the two-toed sloth, although the structure of its hair 
is very different from that of the ai, also has an alga, 
which belongs to a species quite distinct from the one 
found in the former. 

In the two-toed sloth the hairs lack the outer sheath 
investing those of the ai, and consist chiefly of the central 
core or cortex ; in other words, they correspond to those 
hairs of the latter from which the outer sheath has been 
shed. The surface of these hairs is distinctly furrowed 
with longitudinal grooves or channels, and it is in these 
channels that the alga distinctive of this particular species 
is lodged and flourishes. After stating that a solution 


capable of exhibiting the absorption bands of the vegetable 
colouring-matter chlorophyll can be obtained from the hairs 
of this animal, Dr. Ridewood gives the following particulars 
with regard to their structure : — 

" The hairs are, as a rule, coarse, and with a single curve 
extending over the greater part of the length, while the 
basal fourth or so is wavy ; but in young specimens, and 
in some apparently adult examples from Costa Rica, the 
hair is very delicate and soft, and sinuous from base to 
point. However, in these forms the hairs . . . have only 
two or three furrows instead of the more usual nine, ten, 
or eleven. The algas, also, are quite absent from many of 
the grooves. When such an empty groove is examined 
in optical section it exhibits the outlines of obsolete extra- 
cortical cells. ... In baby specimens more than half of 
the hairs are slender non-medullate cylinders, with a very 
distinct scaly cuticle, and no grooves on the surface." 

These simple hairs are, in fact, the only rudiments of 
an under-fur possessed by the two-toed sloth, or unau. 

It may be added that in the extinct ground-sloths (the 
skin of one of which has been preserved in a cave in 
Patagonia) the hairs are solid, without any trace of the outer 
sheath of those of the ai, or of the flutings characterising 
those of the unau. These are thus evidently of a less 
specialised type than is the hairy covering of the modern 
tree-sloths, as indeed would naturally be expected to be 
the case in the members of the ancestral group from which 
the latter probably trace their descent. 

The above, then, are the essential facts with regard to 
the peculiarities of their hair by means of which the sloths 
are brought into such special and remarkable harmony with 
their environment, and it now remains to consider how best 
to explain their origin. 


Of all the problems with which the naturalist has to 
deal, those connected with the "mimicry" of one animal 
by another, or the special resemblances by certain animals to 
their inanimate surroundings, are some of the most difficult, 
and the present instance forms no exception to this rule, if 
it is believed that *' natural selection," or some such mode 
of evolution, has been the sole factor in the case. 

In this instance, at any rate, there can be no question as 
to any volition on the part of the animal concerned having 
aided in the development of its protective resemblance. 
And, on the hypothesis of natural selection, it appears 
necessary to assume that when the modern type of sloths 
was first evolved no alga grew in the hair of these animals, 
which were consequently able to exist and flourish without 
any such adventitious aid. The nature of their hair formed, 
however, in the case of each of the two groups, a con- 
venient nidus for the lodgment and growth of an alga ; 
and such a suitable situation was accordingly in each 
instance seized on as a habitat by one of those lowly 
plants. At first, of course, only a certain number of 
sloths would have had alga-producing hair, and these, 
from the green tinge of their coats, would consequently 
enjoy a better chance of escape from foes than would their 
brethren which had not yet acquired the greenish garb. 
And, on the assumption that alga-growing hair is in- 
herited, their progeny would consequently have the best 
chance of winning in life's race. It is, of course, not 
difficult to assume that when the alga had once become 
firmly established as part and parcel of the hair of each 
group it acquired in both cases distinct specific characters, 
even if there were not originally two kinds of these plants 

And here arises one of the many difficulties connected 


with this sort of explanation. It is quite clear that an 
alga would have been of no advantage to the sloths until 
they had acquired their present completely arboreal kind 
of life, and since there is a considerable probability that 
both types of these animals were independently derived 
from some of the smaller ground-sloths, it follows that on 
two separate occasions an alga has independently taken 
advantage of this suitable vacant situation and adapted 
itself to its new surroundings. This difficulty, like the 
one connected with sloths having flourished before they 
acquired a lichen -growth, may appear of little importance 
to those who are convinced of the all-sufficiency of natural 
selection, but to others it may (if well founded) seem more 

As we have already seen, the structure of the hair in 
the two types of sloth is, each in its own way, absolutely 
peculiar, and has therefore doubtless some special purpose. 
And, to put it shortly, the question consequently is whether 
these two types of hair structure were specially developed 
for the reception and growth of algas designed to aid in 
the protection of the animals in which they occur, or whether 
such development has taken place for some totally different 
object, and that the subsequent growth of the algas, and 
the additional protection thereby afforded, have been purely 
fortuitous. The fact that the hairs themselves assimilate 
the body of the sloth to a lichen-clad knot shows that 
their peculiar character is largely protective, and it would 
be a most curious coincidence had this protective resemblance 
been enhanced by an accidental growth of algas. 

As regards the manner in which the growth of algas is 
maintained in the sloths from one generation to another, 
the only rational explanation which presents itself is that 
the young sloths become infected with alga- spores from 


their parents. As already mentioned, in very young 
individuals of the two-toed sloth a large proportion of the 
hairs are devoid of grooves ; and it would therefore seem 
that the young sloths do not develop a growth of alga till 
about the time they are old enough to leave the maternal 
arms and hang independently on the leafy and lichen-clad 
boughs of their native forests. 



True cave-animals — that is, those which are blind and more 
or less completely colourless, and spend their whole time 
in utter darkness — must be sharply distinguished from 
creatures like bats and owls, which take advantage of such 
situations as a temporary shelter, from which they issue 
forth at night to the outer world. And as most of these 
are more or less closely allied to animals which enjoy the 
full light of day, one of the first things that strikes one 
is why they have given up the joys of an ordinary exist- 
ence, to pass what appears to us to be a miserable life 
in total darkness. Whatever be the true explanation of 
this, it is of course easy to understand why they should 
have lost their eyes, and also the coloration characteristic 
of their outer-world relatives. 

A curious parallel exists between the inhabitants of caves 
and those creatures dwelling in the dark abysses of the 
ocean depths; both dwelling in situations entirely cut off 
from the smallest trace of daylight, and both being descended 
from animals living either in the air or water under the 
ordinary conditions. In one point, however, a remarkable 
difference exists between the two. Cave-animals, as already 
said, are content to crawl or swim in Cimmerian darkness, 
whereas the finny and other denizens of the depths of the 
ocean possess organs giving forth a brilliant phosphorescent 
light, and likewise other organs by which they can perceive 



such light, and are thus able to see and capture their prey 
with ease. In the absence of such artificial hght and special 
modes of vision, cave-animals are of course compelled to 
rely solely on their organs of touch, hearing, and perhaps 
of smell ; and, to our thinking at least, their life must be 
far more dreary and devoid of pleasure than is that of the 
inhabitants of the deep sea. Possibly, however, there may 
be other compensating advantages unknown to us; and, 
in any case, they lead a life of peace unmolested by the 
various carnivorous tyrants of the outer world. It is, 
however, very noteworthy that there is one blind fish 
inhabiting the ocean at great depths, and that a member 
of the same family is also found in the caves of Cuba ; 
and this instance seems to indicate that certain families 
of fishes are better suited than others for taking to a 
subterranean existence. 

Caves or subterranean channels containing the typical 
blind fauna are met with in many countries, apparently 
invariably in limestone rocks, and mostly in those belong- 
ing to the Carboniferous epoch ; the latter, from their 
massiveness, being especially adapted for the formation of 
such chambers by the action of water. Needless to say, 
the formation of a cavern of any size in soHd limestone 
rock is a process involving an enormous length of time 
for its accomplishment, and it is therefore essential that 
the rock should be of very considerable geological age. 
Indeed, it is believed that the formation of the celebrated 
Mammoth Cave was commenced at a comparatively early 
date in the Secondary era, although it was not completed 
till the Pleistocene. The reader must not, however, be 
led to suppose that cave-animals belong to an older epoch 
than those of the outside world, as it is probable that 
many of them have not taken to their present mode of 


existence before the later Pliocene or early Pleistocene 

Caves of sufficient dimensions to have developed a special 
fauna of their own are met with in so many parts of the 
world, that it would be tedious to give a list even of those 
which are most generally known. Among those that have 
attained the widest degree of celebrity is the Mammoth 
Cave, situated in a hill of limestone in Edmonston County, 
a little to the south-west of the centre of Kentucky. This 
enormous cave is adorned with the most beautiful stalactitic 
and other deposits, which, when lit by the magnesium or 
the electric light, form an enchanting sight. Messrs. 
Packard and Putman write that " in the drier localities, 
where the floors are dusty and everything indicates the 
prolonged absence of moisture, the ceiling is covered with 
a white efflorescence, that displays itself in all manner of 
beautiful shapes. It requires no stretch of the imagination 
to discover among these the perfect form of many flowers. 
The lily-form prevails, and the ceilings of many of the 
chambers are covered with this beautiful stucco-work, 
surpassing in delicacy and purity the most beautiful work- 
manship of man. These are not produced by the dripping 
of water, and the gradual deposit of sulphate of lime upon 
the outer portions. The stalactite is formed in this manner ; 
but these are neither stalactitiform nor are they produced 
in a similar way. The efflorescence in the drier portions of 
the cave cannot take place where there is much moisture. 
The growth of these beautiful forms is from within, and the 
outer extremities are produced first. They are the result 
of a sweating process in the limestone, that forces the 
delicate filaments of which they are composed through 
the pores upon the surface of the rock, their beautiful 
curved forms resulting from unequal pressure at the base, 


or friction in the apertures through which they are 

Another well-known American example is the Wyandotte 
Cave, traversing the Carboniferous limestone of Crawford 
County in south-western Indiana, Of this cave, Prof Cope 
wrote in 1872 that he was not aware whether its length 
had ever been accurately determined, " but the proprietors 
say that they have explored its galleries for twenty-two 
miles, and it is probable that its extent is equal to that 
of the Mammoth Cave. Numerous galleries which diverge 
from its known courses in all directions have been left 
unexplored." The fact that the blind cave-fish appears to 
occur in all the subterranean waters flowing through the 
great Carboniferous limestone region of the central districts 
of the United States, suggests that the Mammoth and 
Wyandotte Caves are in communication. Almost equally 
celebrated are certain caves in the island of Cuba, which 
are also traversed by subterranean streams. In Europe, 
perhaps the most interesting cave is that of Adelsberg in 
Carniola, as being, together with certain other caves in 
Carinthia and Dalmatia, the sole habitat of that strange 
creature, the olm or proteus, so graphically described 
many years ago by Sir Humphry Davy. Although the 
Carinthian and Dalmatian forms of this creature differ 
slightly from the Carniolan type, there can be little doubt 
that the subterranean waters of all the three countries 
are, or were at a comparatively recent date, in free com- 
munication. Several caves with the blind fauna are met 
with in Western Europe, some of the most notable being 
those in various parts of the South of France ; but the 
only one in the British Islands is Mitchelstown Cave, near 
Fermoy, in Ireland, which is excavated in the Carboniferous 


The animal of the highest zoological position occurring 
among the true cave-fauna is the aforesaid olm, which is 
the sole representative of the genus Proteus, and is allied 
to the ordinary salamanders and newts. The olm is a 
somewhat eel-like creature, measuring about eleven inches 
in length, and with a uniformly flesh-coloured skin, save 
that the branching external gills are brilliant scarlet. The 
limbs are very short and weak, the front pair being provided 
with three and the hinder with two toes, and the eyes are 
completely hidden. Now it is a most remarkable fact that 
the only other salamander referred to the dame family 
{Proteidae) as the olm is a peculiar North American species 
with well-developed eyes, four toes to each foot, and a dark 
brown skin, which constitutes the genus Necturiis. From 
this it may. be inferred that the ancestral type of the two 
genera formerly inhabited the northern hemisphere, and 
that while its transatlantic descendant has preserved the 
primitive number of toes and adhered to an ordinary mode 
of life, the European species has become more specialised 
in regard to its limbs, and has taken to a completely 
subterranean existence. According to Sir Humphry Davy 
the olm only makes its appearance in the Adelsberg grotto 
when the waters rise to an unusual height, remaining at 
other periods in the streams flowing beneath its floor. 

The only other vertebrate animals belonging to the true 
cave-fauna are fish of several species. By far the most 
celebrated among these is the well-known blind-fish 
{Amblyopsis spelaea), which has been taken in both the 
Mammoth and the Wyandotte Caves, as well as in the 
intervening subterranean waters. This fish is the typical 
representative of a small family allied to the cyprinodonts, 
which are themselves relatives of the carps. It is quite 
destitute of external eyes, and its body is completely 


colourless ; but its sense of hearing is extraordinarily 
developed. In the typical form this fish has a small pair 
of pelvic fins, but in some examples (which have been 
referred to a distinct genus under the name of Typhlichthys) 
these are wanting. The maximum length is five inches. 
Prof. Cope writes that if these fish '* be not alarmed, 
they come to the surface to feed, and swim in full sight 
like white aquatic ghosts. They are then easily taken by 
hand or net, if perfect silence is observed, for they are 
unconscious of the presence of an enemy except through 
the medium of hearing. This sense is, however, evidently 
very acute, for at any noise they turn suddenly downward, 
and hide beneath stones, etc., at the bottom. They must 
take much of their food near the surface, as the life of the 
depths is apparently very sparse," 

The only other genus in the family is known as Cholo- 
gaster, and differs from the last in the retention of small 
external eyes, and likewise in the skin being coloured. 
Pelvic fins are absent, and the front of the head is provided 
with two horn-like appendages. These small fish were first 
known from three examples taken in the ditches of the South 
Carolina rice-fields ; but another specimen was caught in a 
well in Lebanon County, Tennessee, in the year 1854. They 
appear to have taken to a partially subterranean life com- 
paratively recently, and therefore retain their eyes and dark 

Although these cave-fish are clearly allies of the cyprino- 
donts, there is no evidence to show that they are directly 
descended from any member of that family. A clear descent 
is, however, indicated by a very remarkable family of fishes 
known as the Ophidiidae^ which are near relatives of the 
cod tribe. With the single exception of the cave-fish of 
the caves of Cuba {Lucifuga detttatd), all the members of 


the family are marine forms, some inhabiting shallow water, 
while others are found only at great depths. Now the 
Cuban blind fish, in which the eyes are totally wanting 
or rudimentary, is a very close ally of a marine form 
named Brotula, in which the eyes are fully developed, and 
has evidently been specially modified from the former for 
a subterranean existence. The barbels, which are present 
in the marine fish, are replaced in the cave form by minute 
tubercles. This, however, is not the only point connected 
with this curious family, as there are two species, belonging 
to as many genera {Typhlonus and Aphyonus), found at great 
depths in the southern oceans, which are also completely 
blind, and apparently have no phosphorescent organs. And 
it would appear from these examples that the fish of this 
family have some special disposition towards a life of 

The only other fish that can be said to belong to the 
cave-fauna is a member of the great fresh-water family of 
cat-fishes {Siliiridae)^ and has been named by Prof. Cope 
Gronias nigrilabris. This fish, which attains a length of 
about ten inches, is closely allied to an ordinary fresh- 
water American form, and occurs in the Conestoga River 
in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where it is stated to 
be occasionally taken by the fishermen, and is beheved 
to issue from a subterranean stream said to traverse the 
limestone of that district, and to discharge into the Conestoga 
River. Although blind, the fish has a rudimentary eye, and 
is therefore in process of modification for a completely sub- 
terranean life. 

To refer in detail to the invertebrate inhabitants of caves 
would far exceed my allotted limits, and only a few words 
can be said on this part of the subject. Among the most 
interesting are the blind cray-fish, in the ordinary form of 


which {Cambarus) the eyes are rudimentary in the adult, 
but larger in the young, thus affording conclusive evidence 
of their descent from forms fully endowed with vision. 
Prof Cope has, however, described one cray-fish from the 
Wyandotte Cave in which the eyes are completely wanting. 
Among the insects, there is a totally blind beetle {Ano- 
phthalmus) belonging to the family of Carabidae, or ground- 
beetles, from the American caves ; while those of France 
and Ireland have yielded a bhnd and colourless spring-tail 
{Lipurd). Wingless grasshoppers are abundant, but these, 
at least generally, can see. Centipedes and spiders are 
also common, one of the former from the Mammoth Cave 
being totally blind, while others retain their eyes. In the 
European species of cave-spiders (Parrhoma) the eyes are 
excessively minute, and tend to become obsolete ; but it 
is noteworthy that these creatures belong to a genus in 
which the eyes are small even in the open-air kinds. 

It is thus apparent that all cave-animals are descended 
from allied forms Hving in the outer world, and that in 
many cases they belong to families which appear specially 
adapted for modification to a subterranean existence. 

One of the most interesting discoveries is the close 
alliance between creatures inhabiting caves widely remote 
from one another. Writing of the animals of the Mitchels- 
town Cave, Mr. G. H. Carpenter observes that the spring- 
tail " is hardly to be separated from a species found in the 
caves of Carniola, and the Sinella (another blind and bleached 
insect) is almost identical with one inhabiting the caves of 
North America ; while the spider is apparently the same as 
a cave-dweller from the Mediterranean district of Southern 
France, which probably occurs in the North American 
caverns also. . . . Any possible geographical connection 
which would permit the migration of subterranean animals 


between Southern Europe or Ireland, or between Ireland 
and North America, seems altogether out of the question 
within any period during which the fauna can have been 
specifically identical with that of the present day. The 
only conclusion is that from ancestors, presumably of the 
same genus, which took to an underground life in such 
widely separated localities, the similar conditions of the 
caves have evolved descendants so similar that when com- 
pared they cannot, or can hardly, be specifically distinguished 
from each other." 

Should these identifications be confirmed, it will be evident 
that the same, or closely allied species, have originated inde- 
pendently in different caves, and although the author cited 
is of opinion that this phenomenon may only hold good with 
regard to cave-animals, it is possible that it may be found 
also to exist in the outer world, since it has been suggested 
that the horses (Equus) have originated independently in 
the Old and New Worlds from different ancestral stocks. 


In the long-past days when the plains of India were the 
home of the mighty sivatherium and of still more gigantic 
elephants and mastodons, while its rivers were tenanted 
by hippopotamuses and huge long-snouted gharial-like 
crocodiles, that country was likewise inhabited by the 
most gigantic land-tortoise of which we at present have 
any knowledge. When fragments of its fossilised shell 
and more or less nearly complete specimens of its limb- 
bones came under the notice of its original describers, it 
was thought, indeed, that they indicated a creature of 
truly colossal proportions, the length of the shell in a 
straight line being estimated at no less than 12 ft, 3 in. 
In a restoration of the shell made under the superintend- 
ence of the discoverers of the species, and still exhibited 
in the geological department of the Natural History 
Museum, the length was reduced to a little over eight 
feet. But even these reduced dimensions appear to be 
considerably in excess of the reality, and it is probable 
that the maximum length did not much exceed six feet. 
A shell of this size considerably exceeds, however, that of 
any modern land-tortoise, so that the Siwalik tortoise, or 
Testudo atlas, as it is scientifically called, is fully entitled 
to rank as the real giant of its kind. 

But the Siwalik tortoise was by no means the only 
giant species inhabiting India during the Pliocene epoch, 



as remains of other, although smaller, forms have been 
discovered in the same deposits. The nearest living ally 
of the Siwalik species appears to be Testudo emys, of the 
countries east of the Bay of Bengal, in which the shell 
does not much exceed a foot in length. Both kinds have 
the front end of the lower shell produced and notched, 
although the production and notching are much more 
pronounced in the extinct form. Both also have the horny 
shield immediately above the tail double, instead of (as is 
usually the case) single ; and in both the skin of the legs 
contained embedded nodules of bone. 

The Pliocene deposits of the South of France have also 
yielded remains of a giant land-tortoise (7". perpimana), 
with a shell about four feet in length, and likewise furnished 
with bony nodules in the skin of the limbs. And from 
the caves of Malta have been obtained bones of yet 
another very large species (T. robusta), apparently allied 
to the recently extinct T. inepta of Mauritius. 

Going farther afield, we find evidence of the existence, 
during late Tertiary times, of giant land-tortoises in North 
America, while some imperfect shells attest the former 
occurrence of another species in Patagonia. It may be, 
therefore, assumed that during the Pliocene, and perhaps 
a portion of the Miocene epoch, land-tortoises of huge 
size were spread over the greater portion of the warmer 
countries of the globe. 

With, or before, the close of the Pliocene division of 
geological time, these great reptiles seem, however, to have 
utterly vanished from all the continents of the world, and 
to have continued to exist only in certain islands, from 
some of which they likewise disappeared before or during 
the early portion of the historic period, while others have 
become extinct quite recently. Whether these island giant 


tortoises are the direct descendants of the species which 
once inhabited the nearest continents, or whether they 
have been independently developed from smaller forms in 
or near their own habitats, is a question by no means easy 
to answer. Neither is it any less difficult to account for 
the complete disappearance (apparently without human 
intervention) of all the continental forms. Although the 
Siwalik mastodons, elephants, sivatheres, giraffes, hippo- 
potamuses, and other large mammals all died off, yet 
many of them left descendants (collateral or direct) in 
either India or Africa ; and this makes it the more strange 
that not a single descendant of any of the Pliocene 
giant land-tortoises should have survived in any one of 
the five continents. Such, however, is the case, explain it 
how we may. 

Since the Pliocene epoch giant tortoises have been re- 
stricted to two widely sundered groups of islands. In 
modern times the islands most famous for these tortoises 
are those of the Galapagos group, which take their title 
from one of the Spanish names {galdpago) for a tortoise, 
and are situated on the equator, a comparatively short 
distance off the western coast of South America. All the 
other "tortoise-islands" are in the Indian Ocean, where 
they lie (with the exception of the lower extremity of 
Madagascar) within the southern tropic, off the African 
coast. By far the largest of these islands is Madagascar, 
which has long been inhabited by man, and from which 
the tortoises (perhaps in consequence of his occupation) 
disappeared ages before the historic period, being known 
to us only by their sub-fossilised remains. Between the 
northern point of Madagascar and Africa lie the islands of 
the Comoro group, which had also native inhabitants of 
their own ; and from these islands the tortoises likewise 


disappeared at an early date. All the other tortoise-islands 
in the Indian Ocean were inhabited. They include the 
Aldabra group, north-west of Madagascar, where the few 
tortoises now remaining in the south island are under 
Government protection, the Mascarenhas, or Mascarene 
group (Reunion, or Bourbon, Mauritius, and Rodriguez), 
the Amirantes, and the Seychelles. None of the Mascarene 
species survive in their proper home, and all were thought 
to be extinct, although a specimen has turned up from 
a distant island, to which it had been carried. Much the 
same may be said with regard to the Seychelle tortoises, 
which were exterminated long ago in their proper habitat. 
There seems, however, to be good reason for believing 
that a few survivors of the species have been preserved in 
islands to which they had been transported in ships. This 
transportation of tortoises from one island to another has 
indeed added considerably to the difficulty of unravelling 
the complicated history of the group, a specimen of the 
South Aldabra tortoise having been carried to one of the 
islands of the Chagos group, to the south of the Maldives, 
whence it was subsequently transported to Mauritius. 

The accounts left by the early voyagers show that in the 
Mascarene and other islands of the Indian Ocean, as well 
as in those of the Galapagos group, the tortoises formerly 
existed in enormous numbers. As regards the Galapagos 
islands, it is remarkable that there are no small-sized 
species; and the same holds good for the islands of the 
Indian Ocean, with the exception of Madagascar, where 
there is one comparatively small form {T. radiata). It 
should be added that, if we except Madagascar (where 
there is one moderate-sized carnivore), none of the tortoise- 
islands were ever the home of large and predatory 
mammals. This naturally suggests the idea that the 


survival in these islands of the reptiles under consideration 
is entirely due to the absence of such mammals. But, on 
the other hand, it has to be borne in mind that the giant 
Siwalik tortoise lived in a land where large mammals — 
both carnivorous and herbivorous — absolutely sv^armed ; 
and the same was also the case with the other extinct 
continental species referred to above. Moreover, we have 
no evidence of the existence of large tortoises on the 
continents of the world at an epoch before the advent of 
large mammals. Still, the absence of the latter from 
practically all the tortoise-islands is a fact that cannot be 
disregarded, and must almost certainly have had a very 
great influence on the development of their chelonian 

In regard to the numbers in which giant tortoises 
formerly existed on the islands of the Indian Ocean, very 
kw words must suffice. Writing in 1691, the French 
traveller Francois Leguat stated that in Rodriguez the 
tortoises covered the ground so thickly that in places you 
might walk a hundred paces or more by stepping from the 
back of one on to that of another. In Mauritius, though 
apparently less abundant, they were still very numerous 
down to 1 740 ; and there is ample testimony that during 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries they also swarmed 
on Reunion, although not a single specimen of the species 
indigenous to that island has been preserved. The ease 
with which these reptiles could be captured and carried 
off, and the facility with which they could be kept alive on 
board, coupled with the large amount of excellent meat 
yielded by each, rendered them a valuable food-supply to 
the crews of ships, and it was far from uncommon for 
vessels leaving Mauritius to carry off a cargo of four 
hundred at a time, while in 1759 one of four vessels 


specially engaged in carrying tortoises from Rodriguez to 
Mauritius took six thousand at once. Such a drain could 
not but tell rapidly on the supply, and by the early part 
of; the last century the Mascarenes were denuded of their 

The Malagasy tortoise {Testudo gmndidieri) appears, as 
already said, to have been exterminated before Europeans 
had any knowledge of the islands, but beautifully pre- 
served shells (wanting the horny shields) have been dis- 
covered, three of which are exhibited in the Natural 
History Museum. Among the Mascarene tortoises, most 
of which are distinguished from those of Aldabra by their 
long thick necks and the absence of a nuchal shield* to 
the shell, five or six species are known in a sub-fossil 
state from Mauritius. To one of these {T. indicd) special 
interest attaches from the circumstance that till about 1871 
all the tortoises from the islands of the Indian Ocean were 
referred to by that name. Of equal interest, although 
from a totally different point of view, is the Rodriguez 
tortoise {T. vosmaeri)^ on account of the extreme tenuity 
of its bony shell — a feature shared by certain of the 
Galapagos species, and indicative that the thick shell 
characteristic of tortoises generally is not required by the 
island forms which have no enemies. 

A tortoise received in company with two others from the 
Seychelles in 1894 by Mr. Rothschild, and now living at 
Tring, is believed to be one of the Mascarene species, with 
which it agrees in the characters referred to above. It 
may have come from one of the smaller islands, and thus 
be different from any of the named forms, although it 
is difficult to determine this during its life. Very little 

* The nuchal shield is the single symmetrical horny plate found 
in the middle line of the front margin of the shell of most tortoises. 


appears to be known of the Reunion, Comoro, and 
Amirante tortoises, but it is stated by Mr. Rothschild 
that the one from Reunion differed from all the other 
Mascarene forms, and resembled those from Aldabra. 
Special interest attaches to the history of the surviving 
representatives of the presumed Seychelle tortoise, which 
has been named T. sumeirei. It appears that in the year 
1766 five giant tortoises from the Seychelles were taken 
to Mauritius by the Chevalier Marion de Fresne, and have 
been since known, as Marion's tortoises. In 1833 °"^> 
which died soon after, was brought to the London Zoo- 
logical Gardens, where a second arrived some years later. 
A third was received in 1898, but did not long survive 
its journey. The other two are still living in Mauritius. 
By far the most celebrated of these latter is the one in 
the Royal Artillery Barracks at Port Louis. It is now 
nearly blind, although otherwise in good health. The 
shell measures about forty inches in a straight line, and 
is reported to have been of that size so long ago as 
1 8 10. Probably this tortoise was at least a century 
old when first brought to Mauritius nearly one hundred 
and forty years ago. In its long thick neck, and the 
absence of a nuchal shield, Testudo sumeirei agrees with 
the Mascarene species, and as it is quite dilTerent from the 
Aldabra forms, Mr. Rothschild considers that its original 
home was the Seychelles, whence Marion brought his 
specimens — probably some of the last survivors of their 
kind — to Mauritius as curiosities. Possibly the tortoise 
brought in 1798 from the Seychelles to Colombo, where 
it survived till 1897, may have been of the same species. 
The length of its shell is fifty-three and a half inches, or 
only an inch and a half less than that of the great South 
Aldabra tortoise noticed below. 


Passing on to the Aldabra tortoises, distinguished by 
their short necks and the presence of a nuchal shield, we 
have first to notice that the only member of the group 
surviving in a wild state in its native habitat is the South 
Aldabra Testudo daudini. Very remarkable is the history 
of a male of this species received by Mr. Rothschild in 
1897, which is the largest known example of modern giant 
tortoises, the length of the carapace in a straight line 
being no less than fifty-five inches, or only nineteen inches 
short of the length assigned to that of the extinct T. atlas. 
This monster, whose original home was South Aldabra, 
lived for many years on Egmont Island, in the Chagos 
group, whence it was taken by its owner, M, L. Antelme, 
to Mauritius, and thence sent to England. It is currently 
reported to have lived in Egmont for a century and a half, 
but since the Chagos group was only colonised from 
Mauritius in the early part of the last century, there is 
some doubt as to the correctness of the statement. Any- 
way, this tortoise must have been of a prodigious age at 
the time of its death. During its sojourn on Egmont 
Island this tortoise used to bury itself and become dormant 
for half the year — a most remarkable fact in a tropical 
island. South Aldabra is a coral island very difficult to 
traverse, so that it is no easy matter to obtain a sight of 
the tortoises. Seven were, however, captured and exported 
in 1895, of which six reached Europe alive. 

The second species of Aldabra tortoise (T. gigantea) 
formerly inhabited the north and central islands in great 
abundance, but is now known solely by individuals intro- 
duced by the planters into the Seychelles, where they are 
kept in a state of semi-domestication, and by a single 
specimen in St. Helena. There appear to be two races of 
this species — namely, the typical form, in which the shell 

j^ra/« a photograph by S. G. Payne, by permission or the Hon. Walter Rothschild.^ 

The Giant Tortoise of South Aldabra Island. 

\^To jace p. 


is depressed, with the horny shields nearly smooth, and 
T. gigantea elephantina, in which the shell is highly convex, 
with the shields on the back marked by conspicuous con- 
centric striations. In some instances the shield immediately 
above the tail is divided, as in the extinct Siwalik tortoise. 
The shell of a male of this species received by Mr. Roth- 
schild in 1 893 measured forty and a quarter inches in length 
(in a straight line) four years later. The St. Helena example 
is said to have lived in that island for more than a century. 
It is not a little remarkable that the survivors of the 
North Aldabra tortoise should have been preserved in the 
Seychelles, while those of the species beHeved to be 
indigenous to the latter islands have been kept in captivity 
in Mauritius, 

In 1894 Mr. Rothschild's specimen of the North 
Aldabra tortoise weighed 327 lb., but by 1897 its weight 
had increased to 358 lb. These weights are, however, 
vastly exceeded by that of the great South Aldabra 
tortoise, which scaled no less than 560 lb. ; this was, 
however, immediately after its journey to England, during 
which it had become much emaciated, so that these figures 
afford no real criterion of its proper weight. Of the habits 
of the North Aldabra tortoise at Tring, its owner wrote 
as follows : " Whenever the temperature is over sixty 
(60° Fahr.), this tortoise has a fine run of 350 acres of 
grass park, but on the temperature falling to sixty, it is 
kept in a shed, and when once the temperature shows 
permanently below 58° Fahr., it is put in an orchid-house 
— i.e., from September to June. When at liberty in the 
park it lives entirely on grass, but in the hothouse feeds 
on carrots, cabbages, lettuce, and several other vegetables. 
It is very fond of rotten fruit." 

Of the habits of the giant tortoises of the islands of 


the Indian Ocean in a state of nature we know practically 
nothing, owing to the fact that in South Aldabra alone 
are any members of the group living in a wild condition, 
and that accurate observation is there practically impos- 
sible. Of the mode of life of the Galapagos species we 
have comparatively full accounts ; but limitations of space 
render it impossible on the present occasion to refer 
further to these species, either as regards their distinctive 
characteristics or their history and habits. I have only 
to add that readers of this volume are indebted to Mr. 
Rothschild for the loan of the photograph illustrating 
this article. 


While the instinct of taking care of their progeny, whether 
these are born in the hving stage or first come into the 
world in the form of eggs, is more or less deeply 
implanted in the higher vertebrates, among the lower 
members of that great group the eggs and young are 
very frequently left to shift for themselves. Still this 
state of things is by no means universally the case ; and 
I shall show in the course of the present article that 
certain amphibians and fishes exhibit structural modifica- 
tions for the purpose of protecting their eggs and young, 
which are almost or quite unparalleled elsewhere. Cele- 
brated as they mostly are on account of their highly 
developed parental instincts, birds exhibit no instances 
where the body of either parent is specially modified 
for the purpose of carrying about either the young or 
the eggs after their extrusion. And I believe that the 
same holds good with regard to reptiles, although into 
the disputed question whether vipers afford protection to 
their young by allowing them to run down their throats 
I am not going to enter here, beyond confessing that I 
am inclined to trust the numerous observers who state 
that they have seen the phenomenon with their own eyes. 
With certain groups of mammals — notably the marsupials 
— the case is, however, different, many of them, like the 
kangaroos, carrying their imperfectly developed young in 



a special pouch borne on the body of the female until 
sufficiently advanced to take care of themselves. In the 
females of certain other members of the same order — 
namely, some of the American opossums — the young are 
carried on the parental back, with their own tails tightly 
twisted round that of their mother. In another group, the 
female spiny ant-eater, or echidna, carries about her egg in a 
pouch developed in the breeding season on the under-surface 
of her body. Most bats carry their helpless offspring tightly 
clinging to their breasts, and the females of many lemurs 
bear them clinging transversely across the under-surface of 
the lower part of their bodies. There is, however, one bat — 
namely, the naked Chironieles torquata — in which both sexes 
are provided with a pouch on the chest. In this pouch the 
female carries her offspring ; and it is thought probable that 
when there are two, the male may assist his partner by 
relieving her of one. Among mammals, such instances are 
rare, but among amphibians there are numerous instances 
where the eggs or young are carried about, either attached 
to the skin or borne in special receptacles. 

Commencing with that group of amphibians represented 
by the frogs and toads, we find among these various 
instances of abnormal ways of protecting their young 
during the early stages of development, one of which has 
been known for nearly a couple of centuries, while many 
of the others have but recently been described. So far 
back as the year 1705, Fraulein Sibylla von Merian, in a 
work on the reptiles of Surinam, described a remarkable 
toad-like creature, in which the young are carried in a 
series of cells in the thick skin of the back of the female, 
which at this period has a honeycomb-like appearance. 
Till a few years ago, when a living example was received 
by the London Zoological Society, the Surinam toad {Pipa 


americana), as the animal in question is called, was, I 
believe, only known in Europe by means of specimens 
preserved in spirit ; and we have, therefore, been obliged 
to depend upon foreign observers for an account of its 
marvellous life-history. As it differs from other members 
of its order with regard to its method of bringing up its 
family, so the Surinam toad is structurally more or less 
unlike all its kindred, constituting not only a genus, but 
likewise a family group by itself. Externally it is charac- 
terised by its short and triangular head, which is furnished 
with a large flap of skin at each corner of the mouth, and 
has very minute eyes. The four front toes are quite free, 
and terminate in expanded star-like tips ; but a large web 
unites the whole five toes of the hind-foot. In any state 
the creature is by no means a beauty, but when the female 
is carrying her nursery about with her she is absolutely 
repulsive in appearance. It would seem that soon after 
the eggs are laid, they are taken up by the male and 
pressed, one by one, into the cells in the thickened skin 
of his partner's back ; there they grow till they fit closely 
to the hexagonal form of their prisons, each of which is 
closed above by a kind of trap-door. After a period of 
some eighty-two days, the eggs reach their full develop- 
ment and produce, not tadpoles, but actually perfect little 
toads. The reason of this is that tadpoles, which require 
to breathe the air dissolved in water by means of their 
external gills, could not exist in the cells, and, conse- 
quently, this stage of the development is passed through 
very rapidly within the cg^. When ready to come forth, 
the young toads, which are usually from sixty to seventy 
in number, although there may sometimes be over a 
hundred, burst open the lids of their cells, and, after 
stretching forth their heads or a limb, make their debut 


in the world. Doubtless glad to be free from her charge, 
the mother-toad thereupon rubs off what remains of the 
cells against any convenient stone or plant-stem, and 
comes out in all the glory of a brand-new skin, only, 
before long, to undergo the whole process over again. 

The Surinam toad is, however, by no means the only 
South American representative of its order whose nursery 
arrangements are peculiar, a considerable number of frogs 
and toads from the warmer regions of the New World 
having ideas of their own as to the proper method of 
bringing up a young family. Among these are certain 
species nearly allied to the familiar tree-frogs of Europe, 
but differing in that the females have a large pouch for 
the reception of the eggs. Unlike the kangaroos and 
other mammalian marsupials, in which the female has her 
nursing-pouch on the under-side of the body, these mar- 
supial frogs (Nototrema) have this receptacle placed on the 
back, at the hinder end of which it forms a half-open 
tunnel, with its aperture directed backwards, although the 
pouch extends beneath the skin of the whole of the upper 
surface of the body. In this capacious nursery are deposited 
some fifteen or sixteen large eggs, which in due course 
develop into complete little frogs, without living tadpoles 
being produced, although at a certain stage the large eyes 
and long tail of a veritable tadpole are visible through the 
clear covering of the egg. 

According to a communication made by Dr. Goeldi, of 
Rio de Janeiro, to the Zoological Society, the tree-frogs 
of the genus Hyla inhabiting that part of Brazil show 
considerable diversity in regard to nursing habits, although 
none of them have any part of their own body modified 
into a nursery. One species, for instance, builds nests of 
mud on the shallow borders of pools, wherein the eggs 


and tadpoles are protected from enemies ; while another 
kind lays its eggs in a slimy mass attached to withered 
banana-leaves, the young remaining in this nest until they 
have passed through the tadpole stage. In a third species, 
on the other hand, the larval stages are hurried through 
before hatching, the female carrying a load of eggs on 
her back, where they remain until developed into perfect 
frogs. Some years ago a female of this species was 
exhibited alive at a meeting of the Zoological Society thus 

It will be observed that in all the foregoing instances 
the female parent takes charge of the eggs, either on or 
in her own body, or in a specially prepared nest, as soon 
as they are laid ; but there are two genera of South 
American frogs in which it appears that, while the eggs 
are left to themselves, the tadpoles are carried about by 
their mother. The members of the one genus {Dcndrobates) 
are tree-frogs from Surinam and Brazil, while the other 
species is from Venezuela, and belongs to the genus 
Phyllobates. Here the tadpoles, which may be from a 
dozen to eighteen in number, affix themselves to the body 
of their mother by their sucking mouths, and are thus 
carried about. In the case of one species of the genus 
first named, it appears that this mode of locomotion is 
only resorted to when the water is drying up and the 
mother desires to convey her offspring to other pools ; but 
in the other forms the attachment seems to be more 

The female of Darwin's frog (Rhinoderma danvini), from 
Chili, has, however, " gone one better " than all her allies, 
for not only does she get her eggs and young safely carried 
about until they are fit to take care of themselves, but she 
has actually shifted the onerous task of taking care of 


them to her consort. Whereas there is nothing remarkable 
about the structure of the female of this frog, the male 
has a capacious pouch underlying the whole of the lower 
surface of the body, which communicates with the exterior 
by means of a pair of apertures opening into the mouth 
on each side of the tongue. As soon as his partner has 
deposited her eggs, the male frog takes them in his front 
paws and transfers them to his mouth, whence they pass 
into the great nursing-pouch, where they remain in perfect 
security till hatched into young frogs, which make their 
way into the world by the same passage. 

Peculiar as is this method of taking care of the eggs, it 
is by no means altogether without a parallel in the animal 
kingdom, although we have to go to the class of fishes to 
find anything approaching a similar example. Among the 
so-called cat-fishes {Silitridae), the males of several species 
of the large tropical genus Arms take the eggs into their 
mouth, whence they are transferred to the capacious 
pharynx, where they remain until hatched. It is also said 
that among the fresh-water fishes of the chromid family, 
the males of the typical genus inhabiting the Sea of 
Gahlee take charge of the eggs in a similar manner. 
Indeed, among the comparatively few fishes that take any 
care at all of their ova, the charge almost invariably falls 
to the share of the long-suffering male, whose partner, 
having laid the eggs, appears to think that she has done 
quite enough in family matters, and is at full liberty to 
enjoy herself as she pleases. 

Of the two definitely known instances in which female 
fish take care of their eggs, one occurs among the aforesaid 
family of the cat-fishes, in the genus Aspredo, represented 
by some half-dozen species from the Guianas. In these 
fish, none of which exceed a foot and a half in length, the 


large eggs are carried on the under-surface of the body of 
the female, where they form a shield-like mass extending 
from a short distance behind the mouth on to the pelvic 
fins. In some respects the position of the ova recalls a 
female fresh-water cray-fish in the breeding season ; but 
a closer resemblance exists between the fish in question 
and the Surinam toad already described, although in one 
case the female bears her load upon her back, and in the 
other upon her abdomen. In both instances the eggs are, 
however, pressed into the soft spongy skin, the female 
cat-fish effecting this operation by lying closely upon the 
newly deposited spawn. Instead of being completely 
buried in closed cells, the eggs of the fish remain partly 
exposed, and are thus carried about till they are hatched ; 
the rugosities then disappear from the skin of the abdomen 
of the parent, which resumes its normal smoothness. 

Everybody who has been in the habit of partaking of 
whitebait will probably have occasionally observed among 
the contents of his plate a long, slender, bony fish, with 
a pipe-like nose, which has evidently no claim to kindred 
with its neighbours. This fish is a young representative 
of the pipe-fishes, which, together with the so-called sea- 
horses, so well known for their habit of curling their tails 
round the stems of seaweed, constitute a family especially 
remarkable for the variety and curious nature of their 
nursery arrangements. Among these an Oriental genus of 
small pipe-fishes {Solenostomd) agrees with the fish last 
mentioned in that the female takes charge of the eggs. 
For this purpose she is provided on the lower surface of 
her body with a roomy pouch, formed by the coalescence 
of the pelvic fins with the skin of the abdomen. The 
inner walls of this pouch are furnished with long filaments, 
which aid in keeping the egg in position; and it is highly 


probable that after the young fish are hatched they are 
retained for some time by attachment to the walls of the 
chamber. In the true pipe-fishes {Syngnathus), on the 
other hand, the task of looking after the nursery falls to 
the males, which are provided with a long pouch on the 
under-surface of the tail, formed by a fold of skin arising 
on each side, and the two meeting in the middle line. 
How the eggs are conveyed into this pouch I am totally 
unaware, but when once there, they are completely enclosed 
by the junction of the edges of the two folds of skin, and 
thus remain till they are hatched into minute eel-like pipe- 
fish, which soon make their way into the world by thrusting 
open the folds of the pouch. In the sea-horses the 
development is carried one stage farther, the nursing- 
pouch being completely closed along the middle line, and 
only communicating with the exterior by means of a small 
aperture at the anterior end, through which the eggs are 
by some means or other introduced, and by which in due 
course the young make their escape. Certain pipe-fishes 
{Doryichthys) diffier from the ordinary forms in that the 
males have the pouch situated beneath the abdomen instead 
of under the tail ; and it is not a little remarkable that~~in 
certain allied genera {Nerophis, etc.) the eggs are simply 
attached to the lower surface of the abdomen of the male 
without the development of a pouch. We have thus an 
excellent instance of the evolution of a special organ, so 
far as the abdominal pouch is concerned ; but it would seem 
highly probable that the caudal pouch of the allied forms 
must have been independently evolved, in which event 
we should have a remarkable example of parallelism in 

Although many fishes retain their eggs within their 
bodies until the young are hatched and attain a consider- 


able size, I am not aware that any others have special 
arrangements for carrying about their eggs after extrusion, 
with the exception of the aberrant lung-fish (Protopterus) 
of tropical Africa. In this genus the numerous eggs and 
embryos are reported to be nursed in a long gelatinous 
pouch attached to the sides of the back of one of the 
parents, although which of the two is charged with this 
office does not appear to be ascertained. Several kinds of 
fish are, however, in the habit of constructing nests for the 
reception of their eggs, while a few take advantage of other 
animals for their protection. For instance, the females 
of the small roach-like fishes of which the continental 
bitterling (Rhodeus amarus) is the only European example, 
have the oviduct periodically prolonged into a tube of 
considerable length, by means of which the eggs are 
introduced within the shells of living fresh-water bivalve 
molluscs, where they remain secure from foes until hatched. 
Among the nest-building species the most familiar are the 
bullheads (Cotitis), sticklebacks (Gas(rosteus), and lump- 
suckers {Cyclopterus), in all of which, as in the other 
instances, the nest is formed and guarded by the male 
fish. In the sea-stickleback the nest is a large structure 
composed of pendent seaweeds, tightly bound together into 
a pear-shaped mass by means of a silk-like thread. "When 
the eggs are safely deposited within its interior, the male 
fish immediately mounts guard, and has been known to 
continue uninterruptedly at his post for upwards of three 
weeks. Should any damage happen to the nest, so that 
the precious eggs lie open to the attack of any predaceous 
wanderer, the janitor forthwith sets to work with the 
greatest energy to repair the damage, poking his nose into 
the structure, and rearranging the materials till all is made 
right. Nests are also made by the fresh-water species, and 


guarded with the same care ; the male not unfrequently 
stirring up the eggs with his snout, and often keeping up 
a fan-hke movement of his fins for the apparent purpose 
of ensuring a continual change of the water. 

As nest-building fishes are comparatively rare, much 
interest attached to an account in the American Naturalist^ 
by Messrs, Young & Cole, of the manner in which the 
brook-lamprey {Lampetra wilderi) makes a structure of this 
nature. It is believed that the males precede the females 
at spawning time and commence nest-building before the 
arrival of the latter. The nest is made among pebbles, but 
it does not seem that the lampreys follow any definite plan 
in its construction. They affix themselves to such pebbles 
as require removing from the nest, and then endeavour to 
swim straight away with them. In the case of a heavy stone 
two lampreys may join forces. The number of fish in a 
nest may vary from one to thirty or forty ; but there are 
generally between three and twenty-five. 

Even when no nest is built, the males of some fishes mount 
guard over the eggs ; this being the case with the bow-fin 
{Amia calva), so abundant in the lakes of North America. 

Such are some of the chief instances among amphibians 
and fishes where special arrangements — either of structure 
or of habit — are made for the protection of the eggs and 
young; and although these bear but a small proportion to 
the cases where the latter are left to themselves, yet they 
are sufficient to show that in these respects these two 
groups present peculiarities almost or quite unknown among 
Qther vertebrates. Why such special arrangements have 
been evolved in these cases, or whether the groups in which 
they occur have any advantage in the struggle for existence 
over their fellows, are questions which, for the present at 
least, must remain unanswered 


Among all the treasures of the shell-cabinet few are more 
generally attractive than the cowries, or kauris iCypi^aed), 
which form the type of a family by themselves. Rivalling 
the olives in the brilliancy of their polished enamel, they 
exceed those shells in the beauty and diversity of their 
coloration, while their form in the adult state is so peculiar 
as to attract the attention of even the most unobservant. 
Possibly the very fact that many of them are so common 
as, like the tiger and Surinam-toad cowry, to be employed 
as decorative objects for our chimney-pieces, has, to a 
certain extent, detracted in popular estimation from their 
many striking peculiarities. But even if this be so, a 
moment's comparison with any other shell will at once 
show how different they really are. And if rarity be an 
additional attraction, some among the couple of hundred or 
so of living species are worthy of attention, even from 
this not very elevated standpoint. Take, for instance, 
the prince cowry {C. princeps) and the spotted cowry 
iC. guttata), examples of which have sold respectively for 
forty and forty-two pounds ; while the beautiful orange 
cowry, used as a head ornament by the chiefs of the Friendly 
Islands, formerly fetched about twenty pounds, although 
good specimens can now be bought at from three to five 
pounds. Other species claim attention on account of 
their commercial uses, the ring cowry being employed by 



the islanders of Eastern Asia for personal adornment, for 
weighting their fishing nets, and as a means of exchange ; 
while in the latter respect the well-known money cowry has 
a still more extensive use over a large part of Asia. 

But it is from the peculiarities of their structure and 
coloration that these beautiful shells claim our attention in 
the present article. Taking any common species, it will be 
seen that the upper surface of the shell approaches more 
or less to an egg-shape, with a notch at each extremity 
forming the terminations of the mouth below. Somewhat 
to the right of the middle line in most species runs a 
straight or slightly sinuous line over which the pattern of 
the rest of the upper surface does not extend, this line 
marking in the living animal the limits of the right and 
left lobes of the so-called mantle, which during activity 
extends upwards from the foot on which the creature 
crawls to develop the rest of the shell. Compared with 
an olive, in which the spire is relatively small, the shell of 
an adult cowry differs by the rudimentary condition or 
even absence of a spire ; while on the under-surface the 
narrow mouth of the shell (not, be it understood, of the 
animal) is remarkable for the series of vertical ridges, or 
" teeth," with which its edges are armed. 

Now, since almost all other univalve shells related, even 
remotely, to the cowries, have a more or less elongated 
spire at the hinder or upper end, the inquirer naturally 
seeks to find out the reason for the disappearance of this 
part in the members of the present group. In a fully 
adult specimen of the common black-spotted tiger cowry 
no trace at all of the spire can be detected, but in the 
equally common Surinam-toad cowry a more or less distinct 
remnant, partly buried in the abundant cement, is observable 
even in the adult. In Scott's cowry the spire is much 


more pronounced, and in a half-grown specimen of the 
same species is so elongated as to project considerably 
beyond the hinder extremity of the shell. Moreover, in 
immature examples of this species the hinder extremity 
of the right margin of the shell is expanded into a wing- 
like extension, recalling the wing-shells, or Strombidae. 
In both the adult and the young of Scott's cowry the 
coloration is very similar ; but in the young of the Surinam- 
toad cowry there is a difference both in form and in 
colour from the adult. In form the shell has a distinct 
spire, and a thin outer lip ; and in still younger examples 
these characters are more exaggerated, the mouth being 
entirely devoid of teeth, and the outer lip quite thin and 
sharp. Again, whereas the upper surface of the adult 
shell has a broad dark brown margin, and the central 
area spotted with light brown on a ground of dark 
brown, the young exhibits dark and light transverse bands, 
with a certain amount of mottling. 

Young cowries, then, are much more like ordinary shells 
than are the adults, and clearly indicate that the latter 
belong to a highly modified or specialised type. The 
alteration is produced by the expansion of the mantle- 
lobes of the adult, which deposit a shining enamel over 
the entire shell, eventually concealing more or less com- 
pletely the spire, and thus totally modifying the original 
form. A young cowry is, indeed, much more like an olive 
or a melon-shell ; but, as a matter of fact, neither of the 
two latter are the nearest relatives of the Cypraeidae, among 
which are the Strombidae, or wing-shells. And in this 
connection the near resemblance of the young of Scott's 
cowry to a wing-shell is decidedly worthy of note, as 
suggestive of a direct affinity between the wing-shells and 
the cowries. 



Turning now to the interesting problem of coloration, 
the first feature that must strike the observer is that the 
pattern developed on the shells of most cowries is not 
seen by the animals themselves, for the reason that by 
the time the creature is fully protruded from its shell, 
the upper surface of the latter is more or less completely 
concealed by the fleshy lobes of the mantle. Accordingly, 
it would seem to be apparent that the colouring of these 
molluscs is developed for the purpose of protection, and 
not for the admiration of the different individuals or 
sexes of the same species. It might, indeed, be urged 
that as the lobes of the mantle are coloured similarly to 
the shell, or even more intensely, the colours are visible 
to the animals, and are therefore designed for mutual 
admiration. But had this been the object, it would surely 
have sufficed to restrict the coloration to the outer surface 
of the mantle-lobes, and not to have extended it on to 
their inner surfaces, from which it is deposited on the 
shell. As regards the utility of the cowry type of colora- 
tion for protective purposes, I have never had the 
opportunity of seeing the living molluscs in their native 
haunts, nor have I come across any description from those 
who have. Cowries, which are mostly tropical or sub- 
tropical molluscs, are, however, described as living in 
shallow water not far from the shore, and feeding on 
zoophytes ; and so far as one can judge, their colours 
ought to harmonise well with the hues of the denizens of 
a coral-bank, or a mass of sea-anemones, many of which 
are more or less similarly spotted. If this explanation 
prove to be the true one, we can readily see why both the 
shells and the hard parts of cowries partake of the same 
striking types of coloration. 

Turning now to the consideration of the various types of 


coloration met with among cowries, it has been shown in 
an earlier article that among mammals spots and stripes are 
frequently met with in the young which disappear in the 
adult. Many species of deer and swine, for instance, which 
are spotted or striped with white in youth become more or 
less completely uniform in mature age ; while the lion and 
the puma frequently exhibit traces of dark spotting in the 
cub stage. In these animals, therefore, it is evident that 
a spotted or striped coat is the original type, and a uniform 
tint the more advanced form. In cowries, on the other 
hand, it seems that transverse dark banding was the original 
type of coloration, and that from such banded type two 
later modifications have taken place. In the one of these, 
spotting of various kinds has resulted, while in the other 
a more or less uniform colour has been the final result. 
The primitive banded type serves to connect the cowries 
with less specialised shells, a young Surinam-toad cowry 
being strikingly like a melon-shell, both in form and 
colouring, while the faint banding observable in young 
specimens of Scott's cowry recalls the colours of many of 
the wing-shells, to which, as already mentioned, the former 
approximates in form. 

The proof that banding was the original type of cowry 
coloration is easy, seeing that it prevails in the young of 
the great majority of species. In its young condition, for 
instance, the Surinam-toad cowry is striped, while in the 
adult, as already said, it has chestnut spots on a dark 
ground in the central area of the upper surface. Take, 
again, the adult and immature conditions of the common 
lynx cowry, the former of which is variously spotted, while 
the latter still retains distinct transverse dark and light 
bands. Still more striking is the difference between the 
immature and adult conditions of the lesser false Argus 


cowry ; the latter exhibiting small white spots on a dark 
ground, while the former is banded with dark and light, 
without the slightest trace of spotting. It may be men- 
tioned that this species of cowry is of a long narrow 
shape, and it would seem, for two reasons, probable that 
that is the primitive form of cowries, the short and broad 
shape being a later modification. One of the reasons in 
favour of this view is that almost all cowries which retain 
the primitive banding in the adult condition are of the long 
form. Among such may be mentioned the little wasp 
cowry, the mole cowry {C. talpa)^ remarkable for its tawny 
back and dark brown base, and one variety of the carnelian 
cowry (C carneola), as well as the orange-tipped cowry 
{C. isabelld). Again, in the true Argus cowry, which 
develops peculiar ringed spots in the adult condition, the 
primitive bands are still more or less distinctly traceable 
at all ages. 

To exemplify the second reason for the same view, we 
may take . the serpent's-head cowry. Here we see the 
short round type in its full development, the coloration 
being chocolate-brown above and below, with the central 
area of the back finely spotted with white. If, however, 
we take a young individual of this species, it will be noticed 
that the shape of the shell is comparatively long and 
narrow, while the colouring is in the form of bands. 
Many other instances might be cited, but the foregoing are 
sufficient for my present purpose. 

I may accordingly pass on to notice briefly some of the 
more striking types of coloration presented by adult cowries. 
Banded cowries have been already mentioned, but it may 
be added that, from the intensity of the colours, the wasp 
cowry is not improbably the culmination of this type. 
On the other hand, in the flesh-coloured carnelian cowry, 


of which there is both a long and a short form, the bands 
tend to become very indistinct ; and it may be suggested 
that the short form is not far removed from the ancestral 
type of the beautiful orange cowry, which is one of the few 
uniformly coloured species ; such uniformly coloured forms 
indicating, as already said, one line of specialisation. 

Among the spotted cowries several types are noticeable. 
Firstly, we have species in which the back of the shell is 
simply spotted with black or brown, among them being the 
tiger cowry (C. tigris), the panther cowry {C. pantherina), 
and the much smaller lynx cowry {C. lynx). As all these 
have a comparatively short and wide shell, they indicate 
an advanced type. Next we have white-spotted cowries, 
such as the false Argus {C. cervus), the lesser false Argus, 
and the fallow-deer cowry ; and as the two former are 
long-shaped, while the latter is comparatively short, they 
seem to indicate a medium stage of evolution. 

From the black- and brown-spotted forms seem to have 
originated the group represented by the map and nutmeg 
cowries {C. mappa and arabicd), in which the spots are 
retained along the margins of the back of the shell, the 
central area of which is more or less finely reticulated or 
vermiculated, the map cowry taking its name from the width 
and sinuosity of the line between the mantle-lobes. In the 
typical nutmeg cowry the reticulations are very nutmeg-like, 
but in other specimens more or less distinct pale spots are 
dotted all over the central area, till in the variety histrio 
the spots are the dominant feature, being only separated by 
these lines so as to form a kind of network, or honeycomb 
arrangement. Perhaps the cullender cowry may be regarded 
as an offshoot of this type. 

But another modification may apparently also be traced to 
the arabica-mappa stock, the members of which are inter- 


mediate between the long and the short types. As already 
said, these cowries have the central area of the back reticu- 
lated or white-spotted, and lighter than the black-spotted 
margin. And from such a type the transition is easy to 
the modification presented by the serpent's-head cowry 
and the Surinam-toad cowry, in which the central area is 
white or chestnut-spotted, while the margin and much of the 
under-surface is dark brown. The great width and short- 
ness of these cowries afford further evidence of their high 
degree of modification. Obviously the chestnut-bordered 
cowry is another member of this group in which chestnut 
spots have been superadded to the normal white-spotted 
central area. Apparently a special development of this type 
may be recognised in the white ring-cowry (C. annnhis), 
the yellow ring from which it takes its name marking the 
line of division between the original spotted central area 
and the dark area. Finally, from the ring-cowry may easily 
be derived the money cowry, in which the ring has all but 
disappeared, while the marginal area has developed a series 
of rugosities, apparently connected with the filaments on 
the margins of the mantle-lobes, which scarcely intrude on 
the central area. Whether these two white species have a 
habitat different from that of their brethren is a subject well 
worth the investigation of those who have the opportunity. 

Omitting mention of certain other sub-types, this part of the 
subject may be concluded by brief reference to the true Argus 
cowry {C. argus), which, from its elongated form and the 
retention of barring, is evidently an ancient type specially 
distinguished by the ring-like form of the spots. 

All the above-mentioned species (together with a host 
of others) are members of the typical genus Cypraea, 
distinguished by the smooth and shining enamel, and the 
circumstance that the teeth of the mouth do not extend across 


the whole of the lower surface. There are, however, other 
cowries differing from these by the development of rugosities 
on the back, and the extension of the teeth of the mouth 
right across the lower surface. Both these features may 
safely be regarded as indications of greater specialisation 
than exists among any of the typical cowries. One type 
is represented by the pustuled cowry, in which the orna- 
mentation on the upper surface takes the form of small 
spherical pustules, frequently of a bright red colour, when 
they recall a fragment of wood overgrown with funguses. 
In the second, a still more advanced modification, the 
ornamentation of the back assumes the form of transverse 
ridges, which in some species are comparatively wide apart, 
and separated by a considerable interval in the middle 
line, whereas in others, like the little European cowry 
Trivia europaea), they are so closely approximated, and so 
nearly meet in the middle line, as to give the idea of a 
small and neatly parted head of hair. 

Even these by no means exhaust the modifications which 
the cowry type is capable of assuming, as witness the pure 
white '' poached egg " and the " weaver's shuttle," both 
members of the genus Ovula, the latter remarkable for the 
elongation of the two extremities of the mouth into tube- 
like processes. Both these, as well as certain other allied 
types, depart from the ordinary cowry type by their white 
or pinkish colour, and are therefore evidently specialised 
modifications. In the case of the weaver's shuttle the colour 
is probably produced to harmonise with the sea-fans, upon 
which these molluscs are 'parasitic ; but further information 
in regard to the reason for the absence of colour is requisite 
in the case of the other kinds. 

One result of this brief dissertation on cowries is to show 
how short-sighted was the idea prevalent some years ago that 


shells were of no importance in the study of molluscs, and 
that attention must be restricted to the soft parts (the so- 
called " animal ") alone. A wider grasp of the subject 
shows that nothing in Nature is unworthy of our best 
attention, and is sure to yield results of interest if only 
we approach the subject with unbiassed and unprejudiced 


Few phenomena in animated nature are more marvellous 
than the development of ordinary frogs and toads, in the 
course of which a creature to all intents and purposes a 
vegetable-feeding fish becomes transformed into a carni- 
vorous reptile. In all the ordinary frogs and toads of 
Europe, Asia, and North America, the process of develop- 
ment may, very briefly, be described as follows : The eggs, 
which are enveloped in a glutinous matrix, are deposited 
in large masses in water, and in due course develop into 
the familiar tadpoles. At first the new-born tadpole affixes 
itself to some convenient object by means of a sucker, but 
in the course of a few days takes to a free-swimming mode 
of existence. In its earliest days it breathes by means 
of external gills, but these are soon replaced by internal 
gills, covered by a gill-flap, and these again by lungs. 
While these changes are going on, the hind-limbs, and 
afterwards the fore-legs, bud forth from the body, the long 
tail is absorbed, the larval mouth is replaced by the per- 
manent one, and the coiled intestine is shortened and 
straightened. And thus in due course the aquatic, gill- 
breathing, limbless, long-tailed, herbivorous tadpole blossoms 
forth as the terrestrial, lung-breathing, four-limbed, tailless, 
and carnivorous frog or toad, as the case may be. 

If this state of things were common to all the members 
of the group, it would be, as it is, sufficiently marvellous 



to excite our unbounded wonder and admiration. But in 
many frogs and toads the course of development is modified 
in various ways from this typical plan in accordance with 
the special needs of their existence, thus giving rise to 
many wholly unexpected phenomena and peculiarities. 

The first peculiarity is displayed by the Japanese frog 
{Rhacophorus schlegeli), in which the eggs are laid in the 
muddy banks of paddy-fields or ponds above the water- 
level. The egg-mass is kneaded into a froth by the legs 
of the female parent, and its exterior hardens into a kind 
of crust. Within this " pudding" the tadpoles are hatched ; 
and eventually the mass breaks up into a fluid, and bursts 
its crust to flow into the water, carrying with it the tad- 
poles. If the eggs be removed from the " pudding " and 
transferred to water, they immediately perish. 

In a West African frog {Chwojnantis guineensis), as well 
as in a Brazilian species {Phyllomedusa iheringi), the eggs, 
on the other hand, are deposited in nests formed of leaves 
glued together by the parent. And in both instances the 
tadpoles swim about within a frothy substance. In the 
case of the latter species the nest has an opening below 
through which the tadpoles are eventually discharged into 
the water over which it is built ; but those of the first 
species are believed to be washed off" the leaves by rain, 
falling into water below. 

The female of the little Paraguay tree-frog {Phyllomedusa 
hypochondrialis) carries her partner on her back until a 
suitable leaf in the neighbourhood of water is found, when 
the two parents bend back its tip in such a manner as 
to form a funnel, in which the female deposits her spawn. 
Two nests of this description, each containing about one 
hundred eggs, may be formed by each pair of frogs. 
After an interval of six days the tadpoles hatch out and 


escape into water ; if they fail to fall directly into the 
latter, they are capable of wriggling during a shower a 
distance of several inches along the ground, aiding them- 
selves by a jumping motion. In the case of the tree-frog 
of Rio de Janeiro {Hyla nebulosd) the spawn is deposited 
in the sheath of withered banana leaves far away from 
water ; the tadpoles undergoing the whole of their develop- 
ment in the frothy egg-mass, and actually dying if they 
are put into water. Here, then, we have an instance in 
which the normal conditions of tadpole development are 
totally changed. 

But this is by no means a solitary example. The tad- 
poles of another Brazilian frog (Cystignathus fragilis), and 
probably also those of a Ceylon species {Rhacophorus eqties), 
are stated to undergo a portion of their development on 
land. The eggs have been found in frothy masses on 
land, those of the former species usually in grass near 
pools, and its tadpoles have been observed under decaying 
tree-trunks. Again, a third Brazilian frog {Cystignathus 
mystaceus) never goes near water, even to spawn ; the 
eggs being deposited in comparatively small numbers in 
a hole under stones or decaying wood near the edge of 
a pool, but above the water-level. The frothy substance 
in which they are hatched probably serves the tadpoles as 
food, since it diminishes in quantity as they develop. In 
a dry season the tadpoles often remain in the nest until 
they are of large size, but more generally they are swept 
into the pool when its level rises after rain above the 
normal. Masses of a green frothy spawn of about the 
size of a rook's egg found adhering to the walls of cisterns, 
to faces of rock overhanging water, and to moist tree- 
trunks in Ceylon, are believed to be deposited by the frog 
known as Polypedates maculatus. In Brazil the tadpoles of 


a tree-frog {Hyla abbreviatd) have been observed adhering 
to rocks by means of the flat surface of the abdomen, 
which acts as a sucker. Nothing is, however, known with 
regard to the eggs. 

In all the foregoing instances the peculiarities of develop- 
ment are confined to the situations in which the spawn 
is deposited and the tadpoles are developed. There is, 
however, another and far more remarkable class of cases 
in which the bodies of either the male or female parent 
are specially modified to act as receptacles for the eggs 
and tadpoles. The best instance of this class is that of 
the well-known Surinam toad {Pipa americand)* in which 
the eggs are evenly distributed, as they are laid, over the 
back of the female by the male. Around these the skin 
of the back speedily thickens until each egg is enclosed in 
a separate cell, furnished with a lid. The eggs hatch in 
about eighty-two days, and the young are stated to find 
safety and nourishment on the parental back until their 
transformation is completed. The limbs make their appear- 
ance at an unusually early age, even before the external 
gills are shed. 

Equally remarkable are the "nursery" arrangements of 
the pouched frogs {Nototremd) of South America. In these 
frogs the back of the female is furnished with a long tube- 
like pouch, having its opening at the posterior end. In 
this pouch the eggs, which are about fifteen in number, 
are deposited and hatched ; and the tadpoles also undergo 
the whole of their metamorphosis in the same chamber. 
In some cases, at least, the pouch splits longitudinally 

* The breeding habits of this and some of the following forms have 
been already referred to in a previous article ; but, in order to render 
the present one complete in itself, it has not been considered advisable 
to eliminate such repetition as may exist. 


when the young frogs are ready to make their appearance 
in the world. 

Perhaps, however, the most pecuHar kind of " nursery " 
is the one found in Darwin's frog {Rhinoderma darivmt). 
In this extraordinary creature the males are provided in 
the breeding season with an enormous pouch on the throat, 
in which the large eggs (generally about ten in number) 
are hatched and the tadpoles protected until they become 
true frogs. The tadpoles never have external gills, and 
probably not internal ones either, so that they are much 
more advanced at birth than is the case with their brethren 
of ordinary species. 

Another instance of abbreviated or accelerated develop- 
ment is furnished by Goeldi's tree-frog {Hyla goeldti) of 
Brazil. Here the score or so of eggs are carried on the 
back of the female, in which the skin of the margins is 
raised so as to form a kind of saucer. According to one 
authority, the newly hatched young are in the form of 
perfect frogs, which prefer not to stay in water. Another 
method of carrying the eggs is displayed by a Cingalese 
frog {Rhacophorus reticulatus), in which they adhere to the 
abdomen of the female. 

Some frogs, again, such as Spea hammondi of North 
America, are in the habit of depositing their spawn in 
rain-pools liable to rapid desiccation. And in these cases 
the tadpoles acquire limbs at an unusually early age, in 
order to be enabled to seek a fresh pool when their own 
shows signs of giving out. The tadpoles of an Idaho 
frog {Spea bombifrons) show a singular dislike to water, 
even while in the swimming stage of existence ; they 
breathe air, and live on the bare ground in smooth spaces 
which they clear for themselves. Three other American 
species (two of which belong to the genus Dendrobates, 


and the third to Phyllobates), to which water is essential 
while in the tadpole stage, adopt the plan of carrying their 
young attached to their backs (either by means of suckers 
or of a viscid secretion), and are thus enabled to transport 
them to another pool when occasion arises. In the case 
of the genus last mentioned, it is the father frog on whom 
the burden of carting about his family falls, but in the 
other instance it is not known to which sex this duty is 
entrusted. A frog {Arihrolepis seychellensis) from the 
Seychelles is likewise in the habit of carrying its young 
on its back, but in this case the purpose of the arrange- 
ment is not to transport them from one pool to another, 
but merely to protect them during development, which 
takes place on land, the tadpoles breathing by means of 

The Coqui frog {Hylodes martinicensis) of the West 
Indies affords, however, the best instance of the manner 
in which these reptiles can develop without resorting to 
the water at all. In this species the eggs are laid on 
the leaves of plants in damp situations, the female parent 
remaining near by on guard until they hatch. This 
takes place in about a fortnight after deposition, but instead 
of tadpoles, perfect little frogs make their appearance in 
the world, all the transformations taking place within the 
egg. A Peruvian species of the same genus {Hylodes 
lineatus) exhibits a precisely similar mode of development ; 
and the same is the case with the curious Solomon Island 
frog {Rana opisthodon). 

In conclusion, mention must be made of the tadpole of 
a South African frog {Dactylethra capensis), not on account 
of any peculiarity in its mode of development, nor on 
account of its form (although this is strange enough), 
but from the curious circumstance that it alone, among 


all the numerous representatives of its tribe, feeds on 
animal instead of vegetable substances. The full-grown 
frog, too, has peculiar ways of its own, never when at rest 
assuming the sitting posture characteristic of all other 
frogs and toads, and never showing the humped back of 
other species. Evidently a thorough radical and reformer 
among frogs. 


To the circumstance that scorpions have their bodies pro- 
tected by a coat of the hard substance technically known 
as chitin, the palaeontologist is indebted for a knowledge 
of their past history and extreme antiquity ; and it is owing 
to the preservation of their remains in the Palaeozoic strata 
of both the Old and New Worlds that we are enabled to 
explain their present geographical distribution. There are 
many other groups of invertebrates that we can have little 
doubt are fully as ancient as scorpions, but which lack a 
hard external investment, and whose past history is accord- 
ingly a blank. One of the most remarkable instances of 
this is afforded by the peculiar creatures termed Peripatus, 
representatives of which are found in countries as remote 
from one another as South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, 
South and Central America, and the West Indies. These 
animals have much the appearance of caterpillars, being 
furnished with a pair of simple antennae, and having a 
large number of short, conical, caterpillar-like feet extend- 
ing along the whole length of the under-surface of the 
body, and each terminating in a pair of hooked claws. 
They breathe by tracheal tubes, after the manner of insects, 
but instead of these tubes opening by a regular series of 
apertures along each side of the body, their apertures are 
scattered in an irregular manner over its whole surface. 
And it has been considered probable that these animals 



are closely related to the ancestral stock of insects, spiders 
and their allies, and myriapods. This being so, it is evident 
that Peripatus must be an extremely ancient type, and there 
is a great probability that if their remains were suitable for 
preservation we should find evidence of their existence in 
some of the oldest rocks of the northern hemisphere. It 
has, indeed, been assumed from their present geographical 
distribution that these, as well as many other types of 
animals, have always been southern forms, and that their 
presence in the great southern continents and islands 
indicates a former union of all the lands of the southern 
hemisphere. That there was a south equatorial belt of 
land in Palaeozoic times seems to be pretty evident from 
certain peculiarities connected with the Carboniferous floras 
of the northern and southern hemispheres, and it is, there- 
fore, possible that in the case of Peripatus such an explana- 
tion may be the true one. Since, however, palaeontology 
teaches us that many ancient types have migrated from 
their original northern home to find a refuge in the remote 
parts of the southern continents and islands, it seems more 
probable that such has also been the case with Peripatus. 
And if we can show that this has been the case with the 
scorpions, which now attain their maximum development 
in the more southern portions of the globe, the argument 
will be strengthened in the case of Peripatus. 

Belonging to the great group of Arachnida, which includes 
the spiders, scorpions are especially distinguished by their 
compressed bodies, and by the sharp separation of the 
cephalo-thorax from the abdomen, the latter consisting of 
seven segments, and being followed by six narrower seg- 
ments, collectively forming the post-abdomen, the last of 
which is specially modified into the so-called sting. The 
cephalo-thorax or fore part of the body is covered by a 



shield-like carapace, upon the upper surface of which are 
carried a variable number of simple eyes, one pair of which 
is larger than the others, and is placed dorsally, while the 
smaller ones are marginal. The first pair of appendages are 
modified into short nipping claws, while the jaw-appendages, 
technically known as maxillary palpi, are greatly enlarged 
to form the huge pair of pincers carried on each side of the 
head ; and the four pairs of walking legs are supported by 
the first four segments of the thorax. It is important to 
add that by means of lung-sacs opening by four pairs of 
apertures on the sides of the abdomen, scorpions breathe 
air, and it is accordingly only in rocks of fresh-water 
origin, or such as were deposited near the shore, that their 
remains are likely to be preserved. 

According to the most recent classification, existing 
scorpions are divided into four families, of which the first 
two are again divided into several sub-families. An im- 
portant feature in this classification are the so-called '* pedal 
spurs," which are found upon the articular membrane con- 
necting the foot, or terminal segment of the legs, with the 
segment that precedes it. The Scorpionidae^ or typical 
scorpions, have only one such spur, whereas two are present 
in the other three families. It will be unnecessary to further 
consider the classification of the group in this place; but 
it is important to notice that one of the sub-families of 
the Scorpionidae is confined to Africa south of the Sahara, 
and the Indian and Malayan countries ; while another has 
representatives not only in those regions, but also in 
northern South America and Australia. At the present 
day, indeed, scorpions are found in Europe only in the 
more southern countries, where the majority of the species 
are of comparatively small size ; and it is in the tropical 
and sub-tropical regions of the globe that the group attains 


its maximum development, the largest forms being, I 
believe, South American and South African. 

In existing kinds of scorpions the median dorsal eye- 
tubercles are, as a rule, far removed from the front margin 
of the cephalo-thorax, and thus placed behind the lateral 
eyes. Apparently the only fossil scorpions agreeing with 
this group that have been hitherto discovered occur pre- 
served in amber of late Tertiary age ; scorpions being quite 
unknown in lower Tertiary or Secondary rocks. Needless 
to say that this is not owing to their non-existence in those 
epochs, but is due either to such rocks being unsuited to the 
preservation of their remains, or having been deposited far 
out to sea. 

When, however, we reach the Palaeozoic coal-measures, 
which are mainly of fresh-water origin, and, therefore, just 
where we should expect to find such creatures, remains of 
scorpions have been met with both in Europe and North 
America, some of the species attaining very considerable 
dimensions. Both in these Carboniferous scorpions and 
also in certain still older ones from the Silurian rocks, the 
eye-tubercles are placed either on the actual front margin 
of the cephalo-thorax, or only a short distance behind it ; 
and they are thus regarded as forming a group apart from 
the modern scorpions. In the Carboniferous genus Clythoph- 
thalmus^ the median eye-tubercles are immense, and occupy 
almost the entire front half of the cephalo-thorax ; the lateral 
eyes forming a semicircle behind and to the sides of the 
larger ones. The maxillary palpi form pincers proportion- 
ately as large as in the modern forms, while the legs have 
similar double claws. The genus Eoscorpius, which is 
likewise common to the Carboniferous rocks of both halves 
of the northern hemispheres, has all the general features 
of the preceding, with the exception that the arrangement 


of the eyes is different ; while Proscorpius^ of the upper 
Silurian rocks of North America, is also of the same general 
type. With Palaeophonus of the Silurian of Scotland and 
Gotland, we reach, however, a more primitive type, in which 
the walking-legs gradually taper to thin extremities, termi- 
nating in simple claws or points, although the palpi still 
form large pincers. 

Such is the palaeontological history of scorpions ; and 
very remarkable history it is, seeing that most of the 
Palaeozoic types are almost as highly specialised as their 
existing descendants, and thus show that we should have 
to go much farther back before we reached the ancestral 
type. With the exception of certain cockroach-like insects, 
which occur in the middle Silurian, the scorpions are indeed 
the oldest land animals, and are therefore entitled, in spite 
of their unpleasant propensities, to our utmost respect. 

We have said that in Palaeozoic times there existed a 
south equatorial land-girdle, distinguished from the land 
of the northern hemisphere (from which it was probably 
isolated) by the peculiar character of its flora ; and as the 
Palaeozoic scorpions inhabited the northern land, it is 
scarcely likely that they were also found in the southern 
zone. During the Secondary epoch the latter zone appears 
to have been split up, and the continental areas consequently 
assumed some approach to their present configuration. 
The descendants of the ancient Palaeozoic scorpions began 
soon after, in all probability, to migrate southwards, along 
the different lines of communication ; and we thus can 
readily understand why some of the existing sub-families 
are represented in such widely separated areas as India, 
Africa, South America, and Australia, without resorting 
to any comparatively recent connection between these 


If such an explanation holds good in the case of the 
scorpions, there is no reason why it should not be equally 
valid in the instance of Peripatus. It may be objected 
that whereas in the case of the scorpions we have only 
sub-families which occur over such widely sundered areas, 
in Peripatus we have one and the same genus.* The 
objection would, however, be equally valid if we assumed 
that genus to have attained its present geographical dis- 
tribution by the aid of a southern belt of land, seeing 
that there is no evidence that such belt has existed since 
the end of the Palaeozoic or the commencement of the 
Secondary epoch.f 

Although not coming strictly within the scope of its title, 
this article may be concluded by a brief reference to some 
of the habits of scorpions. All scorpions are nocturnal 
and somewhat sluggish creatures ; but while some species 
in which the tail is light carry it stretched nearly straight 
out behind, those in which it is heavier habitually curve 
it over the back ; and those forms in which the appendage 
is carried in the latter manner are further distinguished by 
raising their bodies much higher on the legs than is the 
case with the others. Some kinds, again, when walking, 
carry their large pincers stuck out in front of the head to 
act as feelers. All scorpions are carnivorous, while many 
of them, in spite of their sluggish appearance, are able to 
capture and kill such alert creatures as cockroaches. Mr. 
Pocock, who has kept scorpions in captivity, writes that 
" as soon as a cockroach is seized, the use of the scorpion's 
tail is seen, for this organ is brought rapidly over the 
latter's back, and the point of the sting thrust into the 

* By some writers Peripatus is split into distinct genera. 
t There are objections to the theory of an Antarctic continent uniting 
South America, Africa, and Australia, having existed in Tertiary times. 


insect. The poison instilled into the wound thus made, 
although not causing immediate death, has a paralysing 
effect upon the muscles, and quickly deprives the insect of 
struggling powers, and consequently of all chance of escape. 
If the insect is a small one — one in fact that can be easily 
held in the pincers and eaten without trouble while alive — 
a scorpion does not always waste poison upon it. Thus I 
have seen a Parabuthus (one of the genera of scorpions) 
seize a bluebottle fly, transfer it straight to its mandibles, 
and pick it to pieces with them while still kicking. . . . 
An insect is literally picked to pieces by the small chelate 
mandibles, these two jaws being thrust out and retracted 
alternately, first one and then the other being used ; the 
soft juices and tissues thus exposed being drawn into the 
minute mouth by the sucking action of the stomach." 

Old fables die hard, and none is more persistent than 
the legend that the scorpion, when surrounded by a ring 
of fire, puts an end to its existence by turning its tail 
over its back and stinging itself to death. No matter that 
naturalists have proved that their poison is innocuous to 
their own kind, and that scorpions are killed by a very 
moderate elevation of temperature, the old, old story is still 
as firmly believed as ever by the general public. 

In an article published in the ninth edition of the 
" Encyclopaedia Britannica," the Rev. O. P. Cambridge 
refused to believe that there was any substratum of fact in the 
popular legend, but Mr. Pocock, writing in Nature for 1893, 
is more merciful. He thinks, indeed, that a scorpion may 
occasionally sting itself, either by a random blow for an 
unseen enemy, or when it has been irritated by the contact 
of any strong stimulant, such as acid or mustard, or even 
that in the madness of pain it may be driven to turn 
its weapon on itself; but that in any case there is an 


intention of causing its own death cannot for a moment be 

Although, probably, many of my readers are acquainted 
with it, for the benefit of those who are not I must conclude 
with a well-known Indian story. Where scorpions and 
centipedes abound, it is the general custom of servants 
in India to turn their masters' boots upside down before 
helping to put them on. In the instance in question, where 
this precaution had been omitted, a cavalry officer had just 
put his foot into a regulation boot, when he felt something 
sharp touch his heel. With the greatest promptitude he 
lifted his leg and stamped violently on the ground, in the 
hope of destroying the supposed scorpion before it had time 
to use its sting. He found that a spur, with the rowels 
uppermost, had been inadvertently dropped into the boot ! 


Aard-vark, the, 141 

Aard-wolf, the, 31, 139, 143 

Acrobates, 243 

Addax, the, 132 

Aeluroptis, 168 

Ai. the. See Sloth, Three-toed 

Alactaga, 132 

Alectoroenas nitidissima, 6 

Amblyopsis spelaea. See Fish, Blind 

Anna calva, 350 

Anoa, the, 112, 304-7 

Anomahirus, 142, 235, 238, 239, 240 

Anophthalmus, 329 

Ant-eater, the banded, 32, 34 

,, spiny, 109, 342 
Ant-eaters, the, 70, 75, 97, 98, 99, 

102-6, 109 
Aphyonus, 328 
Arachntda, 369 
Arctic animals, 5S-68 
Arctogale. See Civet 
Alius, 346 
Armadillo, the, 70, 75, 88, 89, 91, 

93. 95. 96, 308, 3?o 
Arthj-olepis seychellmsis, 366 
Arui, the, 50, 51 
Aspredo, 346 

Ass, the domesticated, 40, 49, 53 
Asses, wild, 18, 53, 54, 259 
Asteracattihus, 163 
Asirapotherhtm, 85 
Auk, the great, 3 
Aurochs, 52, 293-302 
Aye-aye, 179-87 

Babirusa, the, 112 
Baboon, the, 113, 139, 141, 143 
Badger, the, 29, 30, 32, 37 
Bandicoot, the, 32, 109 
Banting, the, 19, 53 

Barasingha, the, 25, 26 
Bathyefgus, 143 
Bats, 237, 322, 342 
Bear, the grizzly, 69 

,, Polar, 208, 214 
Beaver, the, 244-51 
Beisa, the, 131, 132 
Bichir, the, 157 
Bison, the, 46, 53, 69, 295, 296, 297, 

Black buck, 19 
Bongo, the, 13, 15, 31, 143 
B'docerais enryceros. See Bongo 
Bos banting. See Banting 

,, frontalis. See Gayal 

,, primigenius. See Aurochs 

,, sylvestris^ 297 

,, taunts, 302 
Bower-birds, the, 109 
Bow-fin, the, 350 
Bradypus. See Sloth Three-toed 
Brook-lamprey, 350 
Buffalo, the African, 20, 141 
„ Asiatic, 20, 53, 226 
Bullheads, the, 349 
Bushbuck, the, I1-16, 18, 140, 306 
Bush-pigs, 139 

Caiman, the, 72 
Camel, the, 50 
Camptolaemus lahradorius, 6 
Canis azarae, 202 

,, dingo. See Dingo 

,, fat/iiliaris, 200 

,, ,, tenggerana, 206 

,, lagopus, 211 

,, latrans, 200, 202 

,, lupus, 200, 202 
Capivara, the, 70 
Capuchin, the, 148 




Carp, the, 114 

CarpinchOj the. See Capivara 

Cat, the bay, 34, 194 

,, desert, 36, 193, 194, 195 

,, domesticated, 49, 188-96 

,, Egyptian, 34, 189, 190, 192, 194, 
19s, 196 

„ jungle, 190, 191, 194, 195 

,, leopard, 193 

,, marbled, 36 

,, Mediterranean, 190, 191, 192, 


,, Pallas's, 194, 196 

,, rusty-spotted, 193 

,, steppe, 191, 194, 195 
Cat-fish, the, 114, 328, 346 
Cats, the, 29, 31, 1S8-96 
Cave animals, 322-30 
Cavy, the Patagonian, 42 
Cephalophus doriae. See Zebra-ante- 
Ceratophrys, ']2 
Cercocebus. See Mangabey 
Cercopithecus. See Guenon 
Cervus hortuloruiii. See Deer Peking 
„ ska. See Deer Japanese 
„ ,, manchuricus. See Deer 
Cestracion, 162, 163 
Cetaceans, 308-13 
Chaja, the, 72 
Chiromys, 179, 180, l8i 
Chillingham cattle, the, 300, 301, 302 
Chimpanzee, the, 142, 154 
Chipmunks, the, 30 
Chiromantis guhiiensis, 362 
Chiromeles torqiiata, 342 
Chironectes, 31 
Chiru, the, 178 
Chital, the, 12, 14, 22, 23, 24, 26, 

28, 31,45 
Cholaepus. See Sloth Two-toed 
Chologaster, 327 

Chrysochloris. See Golden Mole 
Civets, the, 27, 29, 30, 31, 36, in, 

Clam, the, 227 
Clythophthahnits, 371 
Cochliodits, 163 
Cockatoos, the, 109 
Coelodtts, 164 
Coelogenys, 31 
Colobus. See Guereza 
Coney. See Hyrax 
Coitus, 349 
Coturnix novae-zealandiae, 6 

Courser, the, 130 

Cowries, 351-60 

Cowry, the Argus, 355, 356, 357, 358 

banded, 356 

carnelian, 356 

chestnut bordered, 358 

cullender, 357 

European, 359 

fallow-deer, 357 

lynx, 355. 357 

map, 357 

mole, 356 

money, 352, 358 

nutmeg, 357 

orange, 35' 

,, tipped, 356 

panther, 357 

" poached-egg," 359 

prince, 351 

pustuled, 359 

r'ng. 351. 358 
Scott's, 352, 353, 355 
serpent's head, 358 
spotted, 351 
Surinam-toad, 351, 352, 353, 

355. 358 
tiger, 351, 352, 357 
wasp, 356 

" weaver's shuttle," 359 
white ring, 358 
Coyote, the, 200 
Coypu, the, 70 
Crab, the cocoanut, 227 
Cray-fish, 328, 329, 347 
Crocodiles, the, 156 
Crossarchus, 31 

Cuscus, the, 109, III, 116, 123 
Cycloptenis, 349 
Cyon, 199, 206 
Cypraea. See Cowries 

,, anmilus. See Cowry White 

,, ai-abica. .S^^ Cowry Nutmeg 
,, argits. See Cowry Argus 
,, carneola. See Cowry Car- 
,, guttata. .S^^ Cowry Spotted 
,, Isabella, ^'^e Cowry Orange- 
,, lynx. See Cowry Lynx 
,, mappa. See Cowry Map 
,, pantherina. See Cowry 

,, priticeps. See Cowry Prince 
,, talpa. See Cowry Mole 
,, tigris. See Cowry Tiger 



Cyprinidae. See Carp 
Cystignathiis fragilis, 363 
,, mystaceus, 363 

Dactylelhra capensis, 366 
Daedicu7'us. See Glyptodon, CIuIj- 

Dassies, the, 140 
Dasyures, the, 31, 35 
Daubentonia, 179, 180 
Deer, Chinese water, 45 

,, European roe, 24, 45 

,, fallow, 12, 20, 21, 23, 25, 26, 
28, 31, 273, 284 

,, Formosan, 22 

„ hog, 26, 45 

,, Indian spotted. See Chital 

,, Japanese, 13, 21, 44 

,, Manchurian, 44 

,, Pampas, 74 

,, Peking, 21, 25, 26, 44, 45, 
^ 272, 273 

,, Pere David's mi-lou, 274, 275, 
276, 277, 278 

,, Philippine spotted, 23 

„ red, 13, 25, 26, 44, 273 

,, rusa, 113 

,, sambar, 12, 23, 24, 26 

,, Siberian roe, 46 

,, sika, 23 

,, swamp. See Barasingha 

,, white-tailed, 13, 24, 25, 26 
Delphinopsis freyeri, 310 
Dendrobates, 345, 365 
Dendrocolaptidae. See \Vood-hewe<rs 
Desert-chat, the, 130 
Desert-finches, the, 130 
Desert-lark, the, 130 
Dingo, the, 197, 198, 204, 205 
Dinosaurs, 225 
Distichurus, 243 
Dog, the bush, 199 

,, domesticated, 49, 197-206 

,, Eskimo, 197, 200 

„ hunting, 139, 143, 199 

,, pariah, 201 
Dolichotis patagonica. See Cavy 
,, salinicola, 42 

Dolphins, the, 311, 312, 313 
Domesticated animals, 39-57, 188-206 
Dormouse, the, 142 
Do7xatherium, 142 
Doryichthys, 348 
Drepanis pacijica , 6 
Dromaeus ate?; 4 

Duck, the pied, 6 
Dugong, the, 87, 228 

Earthworms, the, 122 
Echidna, the, 109, 342 
Eland, the, 11, 15, 31, 41,46,227, 

Elaphurus davidiamis. See Deer 

Pere David's 
Elephant, the African, 41, 42, 47, 
140, 144 

„ Indian, 41, 49, 226 
Elephant-seal. See Sea-elephant 
Elephants, 20, 69, 71, 87, 226 
Elk, the, 69, 297, 298 
Emeu, the black, 4 
Enhydriodon, 219 
Eoscorpius, 371 
Ecpiits caballiis, 54 

.. q^Mgga. See Quagga 
Ermine, the, 66, 207, 214 
Erythrospha. See Desert-finch 
Etipetaiirus cinereus, 242 

Fallow deer. See under Deer 
Felis bengalensis, 193 

,, cahts. See Cats 

,, caudata. See Steppe-cat 

, , ckatis. See Jungle-cat 

,, lybica, 188, 190, 195 

,, maniil, 194 

,, mediterra7iea. See Cat, Medi- 

,, ornata. See Cat, Desert 

,, rubiginosa, 193 

,, tetnmincki, 194 
Fennecs, the, 199 
Fish, the blind, 325, 326 
Fishes, enamel-scaled, 157, 158 

„ soft-scaled, 158 
Fox, the, 69, 199, 210, 284 

,, arctic, 67, 209-15 

,, blue, 207-10, 212, 213, 215, 

,, grey, 209 

,, long-eared Cape, 199 

,, white, 207, 208, 209, 213, 216 
Fox-bat, the, 142 
Fregilnpus varuis, 6 
Frogs, 344-6, 361-7 

,, marsupial, 344, 364 

, , pouched. Vide supra 

,, tree, 344, 345 
Frog, the Coqui, 366 

,, Darwin's, 345, 346, 365 

,, Goeldi's tree, 365 



Frog, horned, 72 
,, Japanese, 362 
,, Paraguay tree, 362 

Galagos, the, 142, 144, 151, 314 

Galidictis. See Mongoose 

Galla ox, the, 53 

Gastrosteus. See Sticklebacks 

Gaur, the, 19, 304 

Gayal, the, 53 

Gazelles, the, 1 30, 237, 273, 274 

Gelada baboon, the, 143 

Gemsbok, the, 131, 140 

Genet, the, 30 

Genetta tigritia, 30 

Gerbils, the, 130 

Giraffe, the Somali, 15, 16 

,, South African, 8 
Giraffes, 27, 28, 30, 35, 69, 129, 140, 

141, 227, 263, 264 
Glossothere, the, 102 
Glyptodon, the club-tailed, 92, 93, 94 

,, pigmy, 91, 96 

,, ring-tailed, 91, 92 

,, smooth-tailed, 95 

,, tuberculated, 94, 95 
Glyptodons, the, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 

80 (note), 88, 89, 90, 91, 9?, 96, 

Gnu, the white-tailed, 256 
Gnus, the, 28, 31, 35, 140, 253 
Goat, the, 40, 49, 51, 71, 282 
Golden mole, the, 143 
Gorilla, the, 142, 227 
Gronias nigrilabris, 328 
Guanaco, the, 70, 71, 74, 76, 78 
Guenon, the, 139 
Guereza, the, 139, 167, 169, 170 
,, Abyssinian, 168 
,, East African, 167, 168 
Guinea-pig, the, 42 

Hanuman monkey, the. See Langur 
Hare, the mountain, 61, 62, 63, 64, 
65, 66, 207 
,, variable, 62, 64, 65 
Harnessed antelope, the, 31, 32, 34, 

Hartebeest, the, 252 
Hemigale, 31 
Hipparion, the, 88 
Hippopotamus, the, 20, 69, 71, 138, 
140, 141, 142, 226, 227, 261, 
262, 263, 264, 265, 267, 268, 269 
Hippopotamus, the Burmese, 266, 270 
„ Cyprian, 270 

Hippopotamus, Indian, 267 

„ Lemerle's, 269, 270 

„ Narbada, 267 

,, pigmy, 261, 262, 265, 

,, Siwahk, 266, 267 

Hippopotamus amphibius, 261 
,, kippofiensis, 269 

„ iravaticus. See Hip- 

popotamus Burmese 
,, lenierlei. See Hippo- 

potamus Lemerle's 
,, liberietisis. See Hippo- 

potamus Pigmy 
,, minutHS, 270 

„ namadicus, 267 

„ palanndicus, 267 

„ sivalensis. See Hippo- 

potamus Siwalik 
Hotnalodoniotheruim, 84, 87 
Hoplophonis. 5^^ Glyptodon, Smooth- 
Horse, the domesticated, 40, 49 
Horses, wild, 54, 55, 56, 57, 71 
Humming-birds, 71 
Humped cattle, 52, 53 
Hunting-dog, the, 139, 143. 199 
Hunting-leopard, the, 27, 30, 49 
Hyaena, the, 29 

,, spotted, 30, 140 
,,_ striped, 31, 139 
Hybrid dogs, 200 

„ zebras, 42, 43 
Hydrochoeriis. See C'apivara 
Hyla, 344 

,, abbreviata, 364 
,, goeldii. ^^^ Frog, Goeldi's Tree 
,, nebulosa, 363 
Hylodes lineatiis, 366 

,, 7nartinicensis. See Frog 
Hypotoetiidia pacijica, 5 
Hyrax, the, 81, 82 

Ibex, the, 139 
Ichthyosaurs, 225 
Ictonyx, 30, 170 
Idiuriis, 142, 240 
Iguanas, the, 72 

Jackal, the, 199, 200, 202 

,, black-backed, 202 
Jaguar, the, 27, 31 

,, black, 211 
Jerboas, the, 130, 132 
Jungle-cat, the, 190 



Kangaroo, the, 46, 47, 341 

„ tree, 109 

Kob, Mrs. Gray's, 19 
,, white-eared, 19 
Kudu, the, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 31, 

253. 306 

Lampetra wihieri. See Brook-lamprey 
Land slugs, 122 

Langurs, the, 167, 172, 173, 174, 175 
Lemming, the, 58, 59, 60, 207, 214 
Lemuroids, the, 151, 184 
Lemurs, the, 142, 151, 152, 342 

flying, 237 
Leopard, the, 27, 31, 141 

,, black, 211 

,, clouded, 31, 36 

,, snow, 31 
Lepidotus, 163 

Lepus timidus. See Hare, Mountain 
Linsang, the, 30, 153 (note). 
Lion, the, 11, 31, 35, 131, 138, 141, 

211, 355 
Liptira, 329 
Lizards, 130, 152, 156 
Llama, the, 70 
Loris, the, 137, 151 
Lucifuga dentata, 327, 328 
I^umpsuckers, the, 349 
Lycaon. See Hunling-dog 
Lynx, the, 30 

Macaque, the moor, 113 

Macrattchenia, 76, 79, 86, 88, 226 

Macrorhiniis, 230, 231 

Macroscelides. See Shrew, Jumping 

Mammoth, 225, 226, 296 

Mamo, the, 6 

Manatis, the, 228 

Mangabey, the, 142 

Marbled cat, the, 31 

Markhor, 52 

Marmoset, the, 70, 148 

Marmot, 70 

Marsupials, no, 112, 121, 122 

Marten, the, 191, 218 

Mastodon, the, 75, 76, 79, 225 

Meerkat, the, 143 

Megalotherium, the, 75, 76, 77, 97, 

100, loi, 103, 104, 105, 107 
Mi-lou. See Deer, Pere David's 
Moa, the, 227 

Mongoose, the 30, 31, 36, 139 
Monkeys, New-world, 70, 148 

„ Old-world, no, n3, 115, 
144, 148, 167 

Mosasaurs, 225 

Muflon, the, 51 

Mule-deer, the, 133 

Mules, 34, 40 

Mulita, the, 95 

Muntjac, the, 25, 26, 45 

Musk-ox, the, 287-92 

Mustela, 191 

Myliobatidae, 159, 160 

Mylodon, the, 75, 76, 77, 79, 97, 

loi, 102, 103, 105 
Myocastor. See Coypu 
Myrmecobius, 32 

Nectiirus, 326 

Neophocaeiia phocaenoides. See Por- 
poise, Japanese 
Nerophis, 348 
Nesodofi, 79, 82 
Nestor norfokensis, 6 

,, productus, 6 
Nilgai, the, 14, 45 
Notortiis albus, 5 

Nototreina. See Frogs, Marsupial 
Nyala, 18 

Ocelot, the, 31 
Oestrelata haesitata, 7 
Okapi, the, 16, 17, 69, 140, 143 
Olm, the, 325, 326 
Ophidiidae, 327 
Opossum, the, 70, in, 342 
,, single-striped, 34 
,, three-striped, 30, 34 
,, water, 31, 34 
Orang, the, 108, 114, 143, 148, 303 
Orycteropiis. See Aard-vark 
Oryx, the, 131 

,, beatrix, 132 

,, leucoryx, 131 
Ostrich, the, 69, 141, 227 
Otocyon, 199 
Otter, the, 142, 217, 219 

,, sea, 218-24 
Oven-bird, the, 71 
Ovibos moschalus. See Musk-ox 
07)13, 50 
Ovida, 359 
Owls, 322 
Oxen, domesticated, 39, 49 

,, wild, 52, 71, 293-302 

Paca, the, 31 
Pachyruciis, 84 
Palaeornis exsiil, 6 
Palaeotherium, 88 



Palm-civet, the, 116 

Panda, the great, 168, 169 

Pangolins, the, 104 

Patiochthus. See Glyptodon Tuber- 

Papio. See Baboon 
Paradise, the birds of, 109 
" Parallelism," 237 
Peludo, the, 93 
Pera meles gu n ni, 32 
Peripaius, 368, 369, 373 
Petaurista, 241, 243 
Petrel, the burrowing, 7 
Phalcurocorax perspkillaius, 5 
Phalanger, the feather-tailed, 243 

„ pigmy flying, 243 

Phalangers, the, 109, iii, 237, 242 
Phoca leonina, 230 
Phocaena spinipitinis, 309 
Phyllobates, 345, 366 
Fhyllomedtisa hypochondrialis, 362 

,, iheringi, 362 

Pichiciago, the, 88 
^^ Pigeon hollandais" 6 
Pigs, 28, 34, 35, 39, 81, no, III, 

263. 264, 355 
Pike, the bony, 157 
Pipa americana. See Toad, Surinam 
Pipe-fish, 347, 348 
Plesiosaurs, 225 
Poecilogale, 30 

„ albinucha, 170 

Poiana, 30 

Polecat, the Cape, 30, 37, 170 
Polypedates niaculaius, 363 
Porcupine, the, 115 

,, brush-tailed, 143 

Porpoise, the, 308-13 

„ Croatian, 310 

„ Japanese, 308, 309, 331 
Potamogale, 142 
Pottos, the, 142, 151 
Proboscis monkey, the, 173 
Procavia, 140 
Prongbuck, the, 14 
pj-opalaeohoplophortis. See Glyp- 
todon Pigmy 
Protective coloration. See pp. 8-38, 

167-170, and 259, 316, 319, 

Proteles. See Aard-wolf 
Protetis, 326 
Protoptertis, 349 
Przewalski's horse, the, 54 
Ptarmigan, the, 136 
Pteroviys, 241 

Ptyckodus, 161 

Puma, the, il, 30, 35, 355 

Quagga, the, 4, 18, 140, 143, 253-60 
Quail, the New Zealand, 6 

Paia clavata, 161 
Paiidae, 161 
Raita opislhodon, 366 
Ray, the beaked, 160 
„ „ eagle, 159 

,, eagle, 159, 160, 162 
Rays, the, 157-61 

" Recognition marks," 10, 13, 23, 24 
Red grouse, the, 136 
Reindeer, the, 69, 268 
Rhacophorus eqiies, 363 

,, reticiilatus, 365 

,, Sihlegeli. See Frog 

Rhea, the, 71, 74 
Rhiiiobatidae, 1 60 
Phinobatis, 160 

Rhinoceros, the, 20, 69, 71, 81, 94, 
140, 144, 226, 263 
,, woolly, 226, 296 

Rhinoderma darwini. See Frog, 

Rhinoptera, 159 
Rhodeus amarus, 349 
River-hog. See Capivara 
Rocky Mountain sheep, the, 69 
Roebuck, the, 60, 61 
Rorqual, the blue. See under Whale 
Rusadeer, the, 113 

Sable antelope, the, 19, 20 

Sabre-horned oryx, the, 131 

Saiga, the, 132, 178 

Sambar, the. See under Deer 

Sandgrouse, the, 130, 131 

Sand-mole, the, 143 

Sandpiper, the Tahiti white-winged, 5 

Saurodelphis , 313 

Scelidothere, the, 79, 102, 103, 106 

Sciuropterus volans, 241 

„ voluceUa, 24 1 

Sciurtts, 240 

,, viadagascariensts, 179 
Scorpions, 368-75 
Screamer, the horned, 72 
Sea-bear, the, 228, 232, 233 
Sea-cow, the Northern, 228 
Sea-elephant, the, 228-34 
Sea-horses, the, 348 
Sea-lion, the, 228, 230, 232, 233 



Seals, the eared, 228, 230, 233 
,, fur, 220 

,, true or earless, 228, 232 
Seriema, the, 72, 79 
Serval, 30 
Shark, the basking, 228 

„ great white, 228 

„ Port Jackson, 157, 162, 163 
Sheep, the Barbary, 50, 51 

,, domesticated, 39, 40, 41 

,, fat-tailed, 283 

„ four-horned, 282, 283, 284, 285 

„ Rocky Mountain, 69 

„ unicorn, 285, 286 

„ wild, 50, 71, 280, 281 
Shorthorn, the, 52 
Shrew, the jumping, 139 
Sika, the. See tinder Deer 
Siluridae. See Cat-fish 
Sine Ha, 329 

Sing-sing waterbuck, the, 46 
Skates, the, 157, 158 
Skink, the, 130 
Skunks, the, 30, 36, 169, 170 
Sloth, the, 70, 75, 98, 100, 106 

,, giant ground. See Megalothe- 

„ ground, 75, 78, 79, 80 (note), 
loi, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 
107, 225, 226, 315, 318, 320 

„ pigmy ground, 97, 103, 104, 
105, 106 

,, three-toed, 98, 314-21 

„^ two-toed, 98, 99, 314-21 
Slow-lemurs, the, 314 
Slugs, 122, 123 
Snakes, 130 
Snow-monkey, the. See Snub-nosed 

Monkey Slaty 
Snub-nosed monkey, the orange, 174, 


„ „ slaty, 176 

Solenostema, 347 
Spea bombifrons, 365 
,, hammondi, 365 
Speothos, 199 
Spider-monkeys, 150 
Springbok, the, 129 
Squalodon, 3 1 2, 313 
Squirrel, the African flying. Vide 
,, African scaly-tailed, 235, 
236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 

„ palm, 30 
„ pigmy flying, 241 

Squirrel, true flying, 236-43 

,, woolly flying, 242 
Starling, the crested pied, 6 
Sticklebacks, the, 349 
Stoat, the. See Ermine 
Strombidae, 353, 355 
Suricata. See Meerkat 
Surinam toad, 342, 364 
Syngnathus, 348 

Tamarau, the, 112, 305, 306 

Tamias, the, 30 

Tapir, the, 1 1, 20, 28, 31, 34, 71, 87 

Tarpan, the, 54, 56 

Tarsier, the, 113, 114, 151, 152 

" Tchru-tchra." See Snub-nosed 

Monkey Slaty 
Testudo abiiigdoni, 4 

,, atlas, 331, 338 

,. daudini, 338 

„ elephantina, 339 

„ emys. See Tortoise, Siwalik 

„ gigantea, 338 

,, grandidieri. See Tortoise, 

„ indica, 4, 336 
inepta, 4, 332 

,, perpiniana, 332 

„ radiaia, 334 

,, robusta, 332 

,, sumeirei. See Tortoise, 


„ triserrata, 4 

„ vosmaeri, 4, 336 
Theropithecus. See Gelada Baboon 
Thornback, the, 161 
Thylacine, the, 31, 34 
Tiger, the, 8, 31, 35- 175 
Tiger-cat, the, 30 
Tinamous, the, 71 
Toad, the Surinam, 342, 343, 344, 

347. 364 
Toad cowry, the Surinam. See under 

Toads, 342, 361 

Tortoise, the, 90, 121, 122, 331-40 
„ atlas, 227 
„ giant land, 4, 332 
„ Malagasy, 336 
„ North Aldabra, 339 
„ Rodriguez, 336 
„ Seychelles, 337 

SiwaHk, 331, 332, 334, 339 
South Aldabra, 334, 337, 
338, 339 
Toxodon, the, 76, 79,81, 82, 83, 84, 226 



Tragelaphus scripttis, 32 
Tree-mouse, the, 142 
Tsetse-fly, the, 40 
Turtle, the, 90 
Tyfhlicthys, 327 
Typhlomis, 328 
Typotheriiwi, the, 83, 84 

Uintatheres, the, 85 

Unau, the. See Sloth, Two-toed 

Vicunas, the, 70 
Vipers, 341 
Viscacha, the, 70, 74 
Viverra niegaspila, 30 
Vulpes, 199 

Wallaby, the, 46, 47 

Walrus, the, 228 

Wapiti, the, 13, 44, 69 

"Warning colours," 10, 19, 37, 169, 

Wart-hogs, the, 139 
Water-chevrotain, the, 142, 143 
Water-hen, the great white, 5 
Water-vole, the black, 211 
Weasel, the, 218 

Weasel, South African, 30, 37, 170 
Whale, the, 89 

„ blue rorqual, 228 

„ Greenland white, 228 

„ killer, 311 

,, sperm, 228 

,, toothed, 311, 313 
Whalebone, 311 
Wildebeest, the, 252 
Wolf, the, 69, 199, 200, 201, 202 

,, prairie. See Coyote 
Wood-hewers, the, 71 
Worms, 123 

Zebra, Burchell's, 16, 18, 31, 253, 258, 
„ Grant's, 18, 258 
„ Grevy's, 15, 16, 31, 44 
„ mountain, 31 

Zebra-antelope, the, 28, 31, 35, 143 

Zebra-hybrids, 42, 43 

Zebras, 9, 28, 31, 35, 43, 44, 47, 140, 
141, 143, 144, 168, 237, 259 

" Zebroids," 43 

Zenkerella, 142, 239, 240, 243 

Zeuglodon, 310, 311, 312 

Printed by Hazell, Watson &= Vincy, Ld., London and Aylesbury, England.