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numerous species of goldfinch, green-finch, thistle-finch, linnet, and sparrow; the hirundo, including
the swift, swallow, and martin; the loxia or grosbeak, including the bullfinch and hawfinch, the only finches, I am at present aware of, that do not belong to the fringilla genus: and the motacilla, a most inte. resting group, as including the nightingale, whose song surpasses that of all the singing birds of the grove; and the redbreast, whose song is, indeed, less sonorous and striking, but who is so justly celebrated and beloved for his social qualities; together with all the amusing species and varieties of wrens and wag-tails. To the order of passeres appertain also the pipra or manakin, some of which are peculiarly musical; and the turdus, comprising those sweet melodious choristers, the thrush, the throstle, and the blackbird.
Such is a brief and scanty survey of the interesting and instructive class of birds: and thus, in the elegant language of the poet of the Seasons,
Innumerous songsters, in the fresh’ning shade,
Nor should we suffer their other curious endowments to pass by us unnoticed. The muscles, and delicate plumage of their wings, give them not merely the power of flight, but, under different modifications, a nearly equal command over earth, air, and water: for such a provision enables the rail, destitute as he is of a webbed foot, to rival, in swimming and diving, the guillemot; the ostrich, as we have just observed, to outstrip in running the speed of the race-horse; and even the dininutive swallow, and various other migratory birds, to double, when on the wing, the pace of the fleetest ostrich; and to dart, twice a year, across the Atlantic and Mediterranean, often at the rate of a mile in a minute for several minutes in succession; and perhaps
. Catalogue of singing birds, with the time of their beginning and ceasing to sing, from a mean of five years' observation, with
the numerical value of their notes, twenty being that of absolute perfection. From an interesting ar icle by Mr. John Blackwell, in Memoirs of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester. Second Series, vol. iv.
generally, and with perfect ease, at the rate of a mile every two minutes, or upwards of seven hundred miles every twenty-four hours, till it reaches the precincts of its summer or winter residence.
We ascend to the FIRST and HIGHEST CLASS-to that rank of animals which is most complicate in form and most competent in power. This class is chiefly distinguished by the possession of lungs, and an organ for suckling; and most of its kinds possess four supporters in the shape of hands or feet, or both. To this last character the class was formerly indebted for its classic name, which was QUADRUPEDS, or four-FOOTED. As some of the kinds under it, however, in its modern arrangement, are possessed of no supporters of any sort, either hands or feet; others have four hands and no feet; and others, again, have two of each, the absurdity of retaining such a name must be obvious to every one; and hence it has been correctly and elegantly exchanged, by Linnæus, for that of MAMMALIA, from the mammary or suckling organ which belongs to every kind of the class, as it stands at present, and to no kind whatever out of it; and which, as we have no fair synonym for it in our own tongue, I shall beg leave now, as I have on various other occasions, to render MAMMALS.
The class is distributed into seven orders; the characters of which are taken from the number, situation, and structure of the teeth. The seven orders are as follows:-primates, bruta, feræ, glires, pecora, belluæ, cete. It is difficult to find English synonyms for these Latin terms, which, in several instances, are used in a kind of arbitrary sense, not strictly pointed out by the terms themselves. The following are the best that occur to me: chieftains; brute-beasts; savage beasts; burrowing-beasts; cattle; warriors; and whales.
The FIRST ORDER, PRIMATES or CHIEFTAINS, is distinguished by the possession of four cutting teeth in each jaw. This mark would also include the race of man; and Linnæus has actually included him in the order before us, as he is included in the class by Cuvier and most of the naturalists. From such arrangements, however, I shall take leave to differ. Man ought to stand by himself; he has characters peculiar to himself, and which place him at an infinite distance from all other animals. With this exclusion, the entire class is reduced to three kinds, the simia or monkey; the lemur or maucauco; and the vespertilio or bat: kinds which can only be collectively entitled to the appellation of primates or chiefs, from their very slight resemblance to man in the general distribution of the teeth: for though a few of the monkey tribes have an approximation in their exterior and erect form, in the greater number this character is very inappreciate, while it is nearly lost in the lemur, and altogether so in the bat.
Among the simia kind, the most singular species is certainly the ourangoutang, especially the grave, gentle, and very docile Pongo. I have only time to observe farther upon this kind, that those without tails are denominated apes; those with short tails, baboons; and those with long tails proper monkeys. Among the lemurs, the most curious, perhaps, is the 1. volans, or flying maucauco, the galiopithecus volans, or flying colugo of Pallas and Shaw; an action which he is able to accomplish from tree to tree by means of a strong leathery membrane that surrounds the body and reaches from the head to the fore-feet, hind-feet, and extremity of the tail; and which gives him an approach to the bat.
Of the vespertilio or bat-kind, which is well known to fly only by night, and by means of an expansive membrane, instead of by wings, one of its most extraordinary faculties is that of a knowledge of the presence, and apparently of the approach, of objects, by some other sense or medium than that of vision; for when deprived of its eyes, this knowledge, and a consequent power of avoiding objects, seems still to continue. The vespertilio Vampyrus, or ternate bat, an inhabitant of India and Africa, is said to be fond of blood, and occasionally to fasten on such persons as he finds asleep, and to suck their veins till he becomes bloated. He might hence, under proper management, be rendered an able and valuable substitute for the leech. In poetry he has often been introduced, under the name of vampire, as a most hideous and appalling monster.
The SECOND ORDER, BRUTA, OF BRUTE-BEASTS, is distinguished by having no 'fore-teeth in either jaw. It includes the nine following kinds: rhinoceros, sukotyro, elephant, trichecus, the morse, walrus, manate or lamantin, the dolphin of the poets of Greece and Rome, by whom it has been celebrated for its love of music, and perhaps not altogether without foundation;-the bradypus or sloth, the myrmecophagus or ant-eater, the manis or pangolin, the dasypus or armadillo, and the platypus or duck-bill, the ornithorhynchus paradoxus of Blumenbach; that curious little quadruped which has hitherto only been discovered in Australia, or the regions in and about New South Wales; and which seems to be a quadruped by its feet, a water-fowl by its bill, and an amphibial by its fondness for water. It is not yet quite certain whether this singular animal suckles its young, or has a mammary organ for this purpose; and if not, it must be discarded from its present situation, though we should be at no small loss to know where else to place it.
The THIRD CLASS of MAMMALS is denominated FERÆ or SAVAGE BEASTS; and is distinguished by having, in every instance, fore-teeth, above and below, the number varying in different kinds, from two to ten; and in possessing a solitary tusk. The order comprises eleven kinds, the names of which are as follows: the phoca or seal, a water-quadruped, whose skin is so useful to us for various purposes; and which, like the stag, is found to shed tears when in trouble: the canis or dog-kind, including the numerous families of wolf, fox, jackal, hyæna: the felis or cat-kind, including a variety of tribes of a somewhat similar appearance, but far mightier, and nobler in their powers, as the lynx, the leopard, the panther, tiger, and lion, all of which have a power of climbing trees, though the weight of the larger species makes them do it very awkwardly, and only to a short height; all of which pitch on their feet in falling; and all of which see better in the night than by day; the viverra, including the ichneumon, and several of the weasels: the mustela, including other species of the weasels, the stoat, polecat, otter, ferret, sable, and ermine; to the two last of which we are indebted for the luxurious dresses that pass under their name. Almost all of the mustelas have a power of secreting and discharging a most fetid and intolerable stench at their will; and many of them do it as a means of defence and often so effectually that the very beast that pursues them is compelled to relinquish the chase, so completely is he overpowered by its noisome vapour. The remainder of this order are the ursus or bear; the didelphis or opossum; the marcopius or kangaroo, which is now naturalizing in the royal parks of our own country; the talpa or mole; the sorex or shrew; and the erinaceus or hedgehog; which last is capable of being tamed, and is actually tamed by the Calmucs, and made a very useful domestic servant in destroying mice, toads, beetles, and other vermin.
The FOURTH ORDER of mammalian animals is denominated GLIRES, for which we may use the words HIBERNaters, or burrowers. They are distinguished by having two fore-teeth in each jaw, close to each other, but remote from the grinders; and being without tusks. They all, in a greater or less degree, burrow in the earth, and almost all of them sleep through the whole, or a great part of the winter. To this order, therefore, we can all of us, of our. own accord, refer the ten following kinds, which are the whole that are included under it. The hystrix or porcupine; the cavia or cavy; the castor or beaver; the mus genus, comprehending the numerous families of the mouse and rat; the arctomys or marmot; the sciurus or squirrel, some of which have a long flying membrane that enables them to vault from tree to tree, like some species of the lemur; the myoxus or dormouse; the dipus or jerboa, whose form resembles the kangaroo, but whose habits the dormouse; the lepus, comprising the hare and rabbit tribes; and the hyrax or daman: with most of which we are too well acquainted to require any detailed account in so cursory a survey as the present.
The PECORA OF CATTLE kinds form the next or FIFTH ORDER, and comprehend those horned quadrupeds which are most familiar and most useful to us. this division, therefore, necessarily belong the bos, ovis, capra, and cervus kinds; or, in our own language, the ox, sheep, goat, and deer: and as con
nected with these, in habits as well as in external appearance, the moschus, antilope, camelus—the musk, antelope, camel, and cameleopard, or giraffe. They are ordinally distinguished by being without upper fore-teeth, but having six or eight in the lower jaw, remote from the grinders. They have all four stomachs, are hoosed, and have the hoof divided in the middle; and, except the camel, have two false hoofs, which, in walking do not touch the ground. Such as have horns have no tusks, and such as have tusks have no horns: they ruminate or chew the cud; and from the torpid action of their multifid digestive canal, are apt to have balls form in different parts of it, owing to the frequent concretion of their food, occasionally intermixed, but more usually covered with a quantity of hair, which they lick from their bodies. Some of these balls are of a whitish hue, and will bear a fine polish, and are known by the name of bezoards. These are chiefly the production of the antelope kind; and were formerly in very high estimation as amulets and febrisuges.
The sixth ORDER of mammals embraces the BELLUÆ or WARRIOR KINDS, possessing both upper and lower fore-teeth, and hoofed feet. The order consists of only four genera; the equus, or horse, mule, and ass tribes; the hippopotamus or river-horse; the tapir, which in appearance and habits makes an approach to the river-horse, but is smaller in size; and the numerous families of the sus or swine kind.
The Last Order under the mammalian class consists of the cere or WHALE KINDS, and embraces the monodon, sea-unicorn or narwahl; balæna, common whale; physeter, cachalot, or spermaceti whale; and delphinus or dolphin, including, as two of its species, the phocæna or porpoise, the orca or grampus, and the dugong.
There is some force in introducing these sea-monsters into the same class with quadrupeds; but they are still continued here by M. Cuvier. They have a general concurrence of structure in the heart, lungs, backbone, and organ for suckling; but their teeth have little resemblance; and they have neither nostrils, feet, nor hair; instead of nostrils, possessing a spiracle or blowing-hole on the fore and upper part of the head; and instead of seet, fins; in which, as well as in their general habits, manners, and residence in the waters, they have a close resemblance to fishes. These are chiefly inhabit. ants of the polar seas, and several of the larger species afford materials that are highly valuable as articles of commerce or manufactures. All of them produce a considerable quantity of blubber or the basis of the coarser animal oils; the common whale sometimes to as large a quantity as 6 or 8,000lbs weight: from the horny laminæ of whose upper jaw, as well as from that of the balæna Physalus or fin-fish, we obtain also extensive layers of whalebone ; while the cachalot supplies us with spermaceti from its head, and with ambergris from some of its digestive organs; a substance, however, only to be procured from such organs when the animal is in a state of sickness. The most warlike of the order is the grampus, which will often engage with a cachalot or common whale of double its size, and continue the contest till it has destroyed it.
To this order also belongs the dugong or sea-cow of Sumatra, which has of late excited so much attention among naturalists. It was at one time supposed to be a hippopotamus or river-horse, but Sir Thomas Raffles has of late sufficiently proved it to be a cetaceous mammal. It is usually taken on the Malacca coast by spearing; its length is often from eight to nine feet. Its front extremities are two finny paddles; its only hind extremity is its tail, which is a very powerful instrument. It is never found on land or in fresh water, but generally in the shallows and inlets of the sea; the breasts of the adult females are of a large size, and especially during the time of suckling. Its food seems to consist entirely of fuci and submarine algæ, which it finds and browses upon at the bottom of the shallow inlets of the sea, where it chiefly inhabits. Its flesh resembles that of young beef, and is very delicate and juicy.* In M. Cuvier's arrangement the class of mammals is entirely recast,
Phil. Trans. 1820, p. 174.
and divided into three orders, or principal sections, as distinguished by claws or nails, by hoofs, or by fin-like seet; while the whole of these orders are farther subdivided into eleven distinct families, of which the first six belong to the first order; the next three to the second; and the last two to the third.
The six families belonging to the first order, the nail or claw-footed, are these :
I. Bimanum: two-handed. Thumbs separate on the superior extremities only. Designed to include man alone.
II. Quadrumana: four-handed. Thumbs or great toes separate on each of the four feet. Monkies and maucaucoes.
III. Sarcophaga: flesh-feeders. No separate thumbs or great toes on the anterior extremities. Bats, flying lemurs, hedgehogs, shrews, moles, bears, weasels, civets, cats, including the lion and tiger-tribes ; dogs, including the fox and wolf-tribes, and the opossums.
IV. Rodentia : gnawers. Want the canine teeth only. Cavies, beavers, squirrels, rats of all kinds.
V. Edentata: edentulate. Want both the incisive and canine teeth. Anteaters, pangolins, and armadilloes.
VI. Tardigrada: slow-footed. Want only the incisive teeth. Sloth tribes.
The three families belonging to the second or hoof-footed order, are the following :
VII. Pachydermata: thick-skinned. More than two toes; more than two hoofs. Elephants, tapirs, hogs, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, and hyrax or damon.
VIII. Ruminantia: ruminants. Two toes; two hoofs. Camels, musks, deer, giraffes, goats, sheep, oxen.
IX. Solipeda ; single-hoofed. One toe, one hoof. Horse alone, including the ass-tribe.
The two families belonging to the third, or fin-footed order, are the fol. lowing: X. Amphibia : amphibials. Four feet. Seals and morses.
This familyname should be changed, since the same term is also employed by M. Cuvier, after other naturalists, as the name of a distinct class of other animals.
XI. Cetacea: cetaceous. Feet fin-like. Manates or lamantins, dolphins, cachalots, whales, and narwahls.
We have thus run rapidly over a map of the different classes and kinds of animals as they are found extant in our own day. But those traced in a living state in our own day are by no means the whole that have existed for. merly. In the lecture on Geology, in the preceding series,* we had occasion to observe that the various formations of rock, and especially the transition formations, open to us very numerous examples of whole families now no longer in existence; many of which have probably ceased to exist for several thousands of years; some of which, indeed, are so far removed from the races of the present day, as to require the invention of new genera, if not of new orders in a zoological arrangement for their reception.
Stukeley, Lister, and other paleologists and naturalists of the last century, paid no small attention to this subject, and dragged forth the unrecognised relics of various animals from their fossil abodes: but it has since been pursued with extraordinary spirit and activity by the concurrent labours of Karg, Schlottheim, Fischer, Espen, Collini, Blumenbach, Humboldt, Werner, Buckland, and, above all others, Cuvier; insomuch that the ascertained lost kinds bid fair in process of time to be almost as numerous as those that are living.
The last physiologist is well known to have formed a most valuable and extensive museum for the reception and arrangement of fossil animal remains; and so rich and varied is his possession, that he has commenced and made á considerable progress in a classification for systematically distinguishing them. The alluvial soil of our own country has furnished him with numerous examples; the shell-marl and peat-bogs of Ireland, with one or two of still more striking character, and particularly with specimens, more or less per.
• Series 1. Lecture vi.