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The Asiatic Elephant was until very lately considered as forming one species with the African, the clear and obvious distinctions which exist between them never having been noticed until pointed out by M. Cuvier, notwithstanding that both have been familiarly known for more than two thousand years to the nations of[169] Europe, the former having formed an important part of the armament with which Porus withstood the conquering arms of Alexander, and having been subsequently introduced even into Italy by Pyrrhus; and the latter, as we may fairly presume, furnishing those individuals which were employed in the warlike array of the Carthaginians. The Asiatic animal appears when fully grown to attain a larger size than the African, the females commonly measuring from seven to eight, and the males from eight to ten feet in height, and sometimes weighing six or seven thousand pounds. His head is more oblong, and his forehead presents in the centre a deep concavity between two lateral and rounded elevations; that of the African being round and convex in all its parts. The teeth of the former are composed of transverse vertical lamin? of equal breadth, while those of the latter form rhomboidal or lozenge-shaped divisions. The ears of the Asiatic are also smaller and descend no lower than his neck, and he exhibits four distinct toes on his hind feet: the African on the contrary is furnished with ears of much greater size, descending to his legs, and no more than three toes are visible on his posterior extremities. These differences are so striking and important, and indeed, so far as regards the form of the head and the structure of the teeth, so essential, that it is impossible not to adopt the division which has been founded upon them, and to consider the natives of the two continents as originally and specifically distinct.


It may perhaps seem to require some apology that we have ventured so far to depart from the ordinary system of arrangement as to remove the Monkeys from the station which they have hitherto usually been permitted to occupy at the head of the class, and to transfer them to their present position. We will not attempt to conceal that in so doing we were chiefly actuated by the desire of placing at the commencement of our series the largest and most attractive of the animals of which it was composed; and those which, in a Menagerie like that which we have undertaken to illustrate, always constitute the most imposing feature. But while we[138] acknowledge the influence of this feeling to the fullest extent, we cannot refrain from expressing at the same time our firm conviction that the carnivorous quadrupeds possess in reality a better title to the place which we have assigned them, than the Monkeys which we have displaced to make room for them. The supposed transition from man, on which the received arrangement is founded, has little to do with the question; and it would surely require no great subtilty of argument to prove that the Carnivora are more highly typical of the great class, of which they form so important a part, than any other tribe whatever. But this is not the proper place for entering into so abstract a question; to which we have only referred en passant, for the sake of justifying ourselves upon broader principles for a deviation from established custom, which we should not have hesitated to adopt, in the present instance, on the narrow ground of expedience alone. Before, however, we take leave of it altogether, we cannot avoid asking, why, if the Monkeys are to take precedence of the Carnivora among Mammalia, the analogous tribe of Birds, the Pies and the Parrots, should not also rank above the ornithological representatives of the beasts of prey, the towering Eagle and the rapacious Vulture?


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2023-06-01 17:39:23 [六安市网友]

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2023-06-01 17:39:23 [揭阳市网友]

Almost in the same degree that the Lion has been exalted and magnified, at the expense of his fellow brutes, has the Tiger been degraded and depressed below his just and natural level. While the one has been held up to admiration, as the type and standard of heroic perfection, the other has, with equal capriciousness of judgment and disregard of the close and intimate relationship subsisting between them, been looked upon by mankind in general with those feelings of unmingled horror and detestation which his character for untameable ferocity and insatiable thirst of blood was so well calculated to inspire. It requires, however, but little consideration to teach us that the broad distinction, which has thus been drawn, cannot by possibility exist; and the recorded observations of naturalists and travellers, both at home and abroad, will be found amply sufficient to prove that the difference in their characters and habits, on which so much stress has been laid, is in reality as slight and unessential as that which exists in their corporeal structure.

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2023-06-01 17:39:23 [昆明市网友]

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All that we know of their habits in a state of nature may be comprehended in the single fact, that, in addition to the vegetable substances, and more particularly fruits, which form the principal part of their subsistence, they feed on the eggs of birds, and even on the birds themselves, their agility and the structure of their claws affording them the means of reaching the tops of the tallest trees with quickness and facility. In captivity they are easily tamed, and even appear susceptible of some degree of attachment; but they never entirely lose their sentiment of independence, and are consequently incapable of complete domestication. When placed[114] under a certain degree of restraint they appear contented and happy, are fond of play, and take pleasure in the caresses of their friends, and even of strangers; but however long this kind of domestication may have continued, and how much soever they may seem reconciled to their confinement, the moment the restraint is withdrawn and they feel themselves again at liberty, the love of freedom prevails over every other consideration, and they become as wild as if they had never been reclaimed. In eating, they commonly support themselves on their hind legs, and carry their food to the mouth between their fore paws, having first plunged it in water, if the liquid element, of which they are remarkably fond, is within reach. This singular peculiarity, the object of which is not very obvious, but from which the animal derives his specific name, does not, however, appear to be constant and uniform, being frequently entirely neglected. The same may be said of their fondness for shell-fish and mollusca, for which they are generally stated to have a great partiality; some of them, like the handsome pair now living in the Menagerie, displaying the greatest address and dexterity in opening the shell of an oyster, and extracting its contents, while others absolutely refuse to touch it.