A Book of Natural History - Young Folks' Library Volume XIV.
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Stanhope Press F. H. GILSON COMPANY BOSTON, U. S. A.


THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH, Editor-in-chief, Author, poet, former editor Atlantic Monthly, Boston, Mass.

The HON. GEORGE FRISBIE HOAR, United States Senator, Worcester, Mass.

The HON. JOHN D. LONG, Secretary of the United States Navy, Boston.

HAMILTON WRIGHT MABIE, LL.D., Author, literarian, associate editor The Outlook, New York.

ERNEST THOMPSON-SETON, Artist, author, New York.

JOHN TOWNSEND TROWBRIDGE, Author, poet, and editor, Arlington, Mass.

The REVEREND CYRUS TOWNSEND BRADY, Archdeacon, author, Philadelphia.

JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS, Humorous writer, Atlanta, Ga.

MARY HARTWELL CATHERWOOD, Historical novelist, Chicago.

LAURA E. RICHARDS, Author, Gardiner, Me.

ROSWELL FIELD, Author, editor The Evening Post, Chicago.

TUDOR JENKS, Author, associate editor Saint Nicholas, New York.

GEORGE A. HENTY, Traveller, author, London, England.

KIRK MUNROE, Writer of stories for boys, Cocoanut Grove, Fla.

EDITH M. THOMAS, Poet, West New Brighton, N.Y.

CAROLINE TICKNOR, Author, editor, Boston.

WILLIAM RAINEY HARPER, D.D., LL.D., President Chicago University.

DAVID STARR JORDAN, M.D., LL.D., President Leland Stanford Junior University, naturalist, writer, Stanford University, Cal.

CHARLES ELIOT NORTON, A.M., LL.D., etc., Scholar, author, Emeritus Professor of Art at Harvard University.

HENRY VAN DYKE, D.D., LL.D., Clergyman, author, Professor Princeton University.

The REVEREND THOMAS J. SHAHAN, Dean of the Faculty of Divinity, Professor of Early Ecclesiastical History, Catholic University, Washington, D.C.

WILLIAM P. TRENT, Author, editor, Professor of English Literature, Columbia University, New York City.

EDWARD SINGLETON HOLDEN, A.M., LL.D., Ex-president University of California, astronomer, author, U.S. Military Academy, West Point.

EDWIN ERLE SPARKS, Professor of American History, Chicago University.

The VERY REV. GEORGE M. GRANT. D.D., LL.D., Educator, author, vice-principal Queen's College, Kingston, Ont.

NATHAN HASKELL DOLE, Author, translator, literary editor Current History, Boston.


CHARLES WELSH, Managing Editor, Author, lecturer, editor, Winthrop Highlands, Mass.









































FAMOUS POEMS Selected by THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH, with Poetical Foreword by EDITH M. THOMAS.







































The publishers' acknowledgments are due to Miss Margaret Warner Morley and Messrs. A. C. McClurg & Co. for permission to use "Life Growth,—Frogs"; to Mr. W. S. Blatchley and The Popular Science Monthly for "How Animals Spend the Winter" and "Two Fops Among the Fishes"; to Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. for "Birds' Nests," by John Burroughs; to Mr. L. Bruner and the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union for "Birds in Their Relation to Agriculture"; to G. W. and E. G. Peckham for "A Wasp and Its Prey" and "Protective Resemblances in Spiders"; to President David Starr Jordan and The Popular Science Monthly for "Old Rattler and the King Snake"; to President Jordan and A. C. McClurg & Co. for "The Story of a Strange Land."







This volume is made up from the writings of naturalists who have told us of the behavior of animals as they have seen it at first hand and of the beginnings and the growth of life so far as they know about it. In selecting these from the wealth of available material the editor has been guided by this rule: The subject matter must be interesting to young people; it must be told in a clear and attractive style; and most important of all, it must deal with actualities. We have seen in the last few years a marked revival of nature studies. This has led to a wider range of interest in natural phenomena and in the growth and ways of animals and plants. If this movement is not to be merely a passing fad, the element of truthfulness must be constantly insisted upon. If a clever imagination, or worse, sentimental symbolism, be substituted for the truth of nature, the value of such studies is altogether lost.

The essence of character-building lies in action. The chief value of nature study in character-building is that, like life itself, it deals with realities. One must in life make his own observations, frame his own inductions, and apply them in action as he goes along. The habit of finding out the best thing to do next and then doing it is the basis of character. Nature-study, if it be genuine, is essentially doing. To deal with truth is necessary, if we are to know truth when we see it in action. The rocks and shells, the frogs and lilies, always tell the absolute truth. Every leaf on the tree is an original document in botany. When a thousand are used or used up, the archives of Nature are just as full as ever. By the study of realities wisdom is built up. In the relations of objects he can touch and move, the child finds the limitations of his powers, the laws that govern phenomena, which his own actions must obey. So long as he deals with realities, these laws stand in their proper relation. "So simple, so natural, so true," says Agassiz. "This is the charm of dealing with nature herself. She brings us back to absolute truth so often as we wander."

So long as a child is led from one reality to another, never lost in words or abstractions,—so long this natural relation remains. "What can I do with it?" is the beginning of wisdom. "What is it to me?" is the beginning of personal virtue.

By adding near things to near, the child grows in Knowledge. Knowledge, tested and set in order, is Science. Nature-study is the beginning of science. It is the science of the child. The "world as it is" is the province of science. In proportion as our actions conform to the conditions of the world as it is, do we find the world beautiful, glorious, divine. The truth of the world as it is must be the final inspiration of art, poetry, and religion. The world, as men have agreed to say that it is, is quite another matter. The less our children hear of this, the less they may have to unlearn. Nature studies have long been valued as "a means of grace," because they arouse the enthusiasm, the love of work, which belongs to open-eyed youth. The child blase with moral precepts and irregular conjugations turns with fresh delight to the unrolling of ferns or the song of birds.

Nature must be questioned in earnest, or she will not reply. But to every serious question she will return a serious answer. "Simple, natural, and true," she tends to create simplicity and truth. Truth and virtue are but opposite sides of the same shield. As leaves pass over into flowers, and flowers into fruit, so are wisdom, virtue, and happiness inseparably related.

This little volume is a contribution to the subject matter of Nature Study. It is the work of students of nature, and their work is "simple, natural, and true," in so far as it is represented here.






Every one has seen a cornfield. If you pluck up one of the innumerable wheat plants which are fixed in the soil of the field, about harvest time, you will find that it consists of a stem which ends in a root at one end and an ear at the other, and that blades or leaves are attached to the sides of the stem. The ear contains a multitude of oval grains which are the seeds of the wheat plant. You know that when these seeds are cleared from the husk or bran in which they are enveloped, they are ground into fine powder in mills, and that this powder is the flour of which bread is made. If a handful of flour mixed with a little cold water is tied up in a coarse cloth bag, and the bag is then put into a large vessel of water and well kneaded with the hands, it will become pasty, while the water will become white. If this water is poured away into another vessel, and the kneading process continued with some fresh water, the same thing will happen. But if the operation is repeated the paste will become more and more sticky, while the water will be rendered less and less white, and at last will remain colorless. The sticky substance which is thus obtained by itself is called gluten; in commerce it is the substance known as maccaroni.

If the water in which the flour has thus been washed is allowed to stand for a few hours, a white sediment will be found at the bottom of the vessel, while the fluid above will be clear and may be poured off. This white sediment consists of minute grains of starch, each of which, examined with the microscope, will be found to have a concentrically laminated structure. If the fluid from which the starch was deposited is now boiled it will become turbid, just as white of egg diluted with water does when it is boiled, and eventually a whitish lumpy substance will collect at the bottom of the vessel. This substance is called vegetable albumin.

Besides the albumin, the gluten, and the starch, other substances about which this rough method of analysis gives us no information, are contained in the wheat grain. For example, there is woody matter or cellulose, and a certain quantity of sugar and fat. It would be possible to obtain a substance similar to albumin, starch, saccharine, and fatty matters, and cellulose, by treating the stem, leaves, and root in a similar fashion, but the cellulose would be in far larger proportion. Straw, in fact, which consists of the dry stem and leaves of the wheat plant, is almost wholly made up of cellulose. Besides this, however, it contains a certain proportion of mineral bodies, among them, pure flint or silica; and, if you should ever see a wheat rick burnt, you will find more or less of this silica, in a glassy condition, in the embers. In the living plant, all these bodies are combined with a large proportion of water, or are dissolved, or suspended in that fluid. The relative quantity of water is much greater in the stem and leaves than in the seed.

Everybody has seen a common fowl. It is an active creature which runs about and sometimes flies. It has a body covered with feathers, provided with two wings and two legs, and ending at one end in a neck terminated by a head with a beak, between the two parts of which the mouth is placed. The hen lays eggs, each of which is inclosed in a hard shell. If you break an egg the contents flow out and are seen to consist of the colorless glairy "white" and the yellow "yolk." If the white is collected by itself in water and then heated it becomes turbid, forming a white solid, very similar to the vegetable albumin, which is called animal albumin.

If the yolk is beaten up with water, no starch nor cellulose is obtained from it, but there will be plenty of fatty and some saccharine matter, besides substances more or less similar to albumin and gluten.

The feathers of the fowl are chiefly composed of horn; if they are stripped off and the body is boiled for a long time, the water will be found to contain a quantity of gelatin, which sets into a jelly as it cools; and the body will fall to pieces, the bones and the flesh separating from one another. The bones consist almost entirely of a substance which yields gelatin when it is boiled in water, impregnated with a large quantity of salts of lime, just as the wood of the wheat stem is impregnated with silica. The flesh, on the other hand, will contain albumin, and some other substances which are very similar to albumin, termed fibrin and syntonin.

In the living bird, all these bodies are united with a great quantity of water, or dissolved, or suspended in water; and it must be remembered that there are sundry other constituents of the fowl's body and of the egg, which are left unmentioned, as of no present importance.

The wheat plant contains neither horn, nor gelatin, and the fowl contains neither starch, nor cellulose; but the albumin of the plant is very similar to that of the animal, and the fibrin and syntonin of the animal are bodies closely allied to both albumin and gluten.

That there is a close likeness between all these bodies is obvious from the fact that when any of them is strongly heated, or allowed to putrefy, it gives off the same sort of disagreeable smell; and careful chemical analysis has shown that they are, in fact, all composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, combined in very nearly the same proportions. Indeed, charcoal, which is impure carbon, might be obtained by strongly heating either a handful of corn, or a piece of fowl's flesh, in a vessel from which the air is excluded so as to keep the corn or the flesh from burning. And if the vessel were a still, so that the products of this destructive distillation, as it is called, could be condensed and collected, we should find water and ammonia, in some shape or other, in the receiver. Now ammonia is a compound of the elementary bodies, nitrogen and hydrogen; therefore both nitrogen and hydrogen must have been contained in the bodies from which it is derived.

It is certain, then, that very similar nitrogenous compounds form a very large part of the bodies of both the wheat plant and the fowl, and these bodies are called proteids.

It is a very remarkable fact that not only are such substances as albumin, gluten, fibrin, and syntonin, known exclusively as products of animal and vegetable bodies, but that every animal and every plant, at all periods of its existence, contains one or other of them, though, in other respects, the composition of living bodies may vary indefinitely. Thus, some plants contain neither starch nor cellulose, while these substances are found in some animals; while many animals contain no horny matter and no gelatin-yielding substance. So that the matter which appears to be the essential foundation of both the animal and the plant is the proteid united with water; though it is probable that, in all animals and plants, these are associated with more or less fatty and amyloid (or starchy and saccharine) substances, and with very small quantities of certain mineral bodies, of which the most important appear to be phosphorus, iron, lime, and potash.

Thus there is a substance composed of water + proteids + fat + amyloids + mineral matters which is found in all animals and plants; and, when these are alive, this substance is termed protoplasm.

The wheat plant in the field is said to be a living thing; the fowl running about the farmyard is also said to be a living thing. If the plant is plucked up, and if the fowl is knocked on the head, they soon die and become dead things. Both the fowl and the wheat plant, as we have seen, are composed of the same elements as those which enter into the composition of mineral matter, though united into compounds which do not exist in the mineral world. Why, then, do we distinguish this matter when it takes the shape of a wheat plant or a fowl, as living matter?

In the spring a wheat-field is covered with small green plants. These grow taller and taller until they attain many times the size which they had when they first appeared; and they produce the heads of flowers which eventually change into ears of corn.

In so far as this is a process of growth, accompanied by the assumption of a definite form, it might be compared with the growth of a crystal of salt in brine: but, on closer examination, it turns out to be something very different. For the crystal of salt grows by taking to itself the salt contained in the brine, which is added to its exterior; whereas the plant grows by addition to its interior: and there is not a trace of the characteristic compounds of the plant's body, albumin, gluten, starch, or cellulose, or fat, in the soil, or in the water, or in the air.

Yet the plant creates nothing; and, therefore, the matter of the proteins and amyloids and fats which it contains must be supplied to it, and simply manufactured, or combined in new fashions, in the body of the plant.

It is easy to see, in a general way, what the raw materials are which the plant works up, for the plant get nothing but the materials supplied to it by the atmosphere and by the soil. The atmosphere contains oxygen and nitrogen, a little carbonic acid gas, a minute quantity of ammoniacal salts, and a variable proportion of water. The soil contains clay and sand (silica), lime, iron, potash, phosphorus, sulphur, ammoniacal salts, and other matters which are of no importance. Thus, between them, the soil and the atmosphere contain all the elementary bodies which we find in the plant; but the plant has to separate them and join them together afresh.

Moreover, the new matter, by the addition of which the plant grows, is not applied to its outer surface, but is manufactured in its interior; and the new molecules are diffused among the old ones.

The grain of wheat is a part of the flower of the wheat plant, which, when it becomes ripe, is easily separated. It contains a minute and rudimentary plant; and, when it is sown, this gradually grows, or becomes developed into, the perfect plant, with its stem, roots, leaves, and flowers, which again give rise to similar seeds. No mineral body runs through a regular series of changes of form and size, and then gives off parts of its substance which take the same course. Mineral bodies present no such development, and give off no seeds or germs. They do not reproduce their kind.

The fowl in the farmyard is incessantly pecking about and swallowing now a grain of corn, and now a fly or a worm. In fact, it is feeding, and, as every one knows, would soon die if not supplied with food. It is also a matter of every-day knowledge that it would not be of much use to give a fowl the soil of a cornfield, with plenty of air and water, to eat.

In this respect, the fowl is like all other animals; it cannot manufacture the proteid materials of its body, but it has to take them ready made, or in a condition which requires but very slight modification by devouring the bodies either of other animals or of plants. The animal or vegetable substances devoured are taken into the animal's stomach; they are there digested or dissolved; and thus they are fitted to be distributed to all parts of the fowl's own body, and applied to its maintenance and growth.

The fowl's egg is formed in the body of the hen, and is, in fact, part of her body inclosed in a shell and detached. It contains a minute rudiment of a fowl; and when it is kept at a proper temperature by the hen's sitting upon it, or otherwise for three weeks, this rudiment grows, or develops, at the expense of the materials contained in the yolk and the white, into a small bird, the chick, which is then hatched and grows into a fowl. The animal, therefore, is produced by the development of a germ in the same way as the plant; and, in this respect, all plants and all animals agree with one another, and differ from all mineral matter.

Thus there is a very broad distinction between mineral matter and living matter. The elements of living matter are identical with those of mineral bodies; and the fundamental laws of matter and motion apply as much to living matter as to mineral matter; but every living body is, as it were, a complicated piece of mechanism which "goes," or lives, only under certain conditions. The germ contained in the fowl's egg requires nothing but a supply of warmth, within certain narrow limits of temperature, to build the molecules of the egg into the body of the chick. And the process of development of the egg, like that of the seed, is neither more nor less mysterious than that, in virtue of which, the molecules of water, when it is cooled down to the freezing-point, build themselves up into regular crystals.

The further study of living bodies leads to the province of biology, of which there are two great divisions—botany, which deals with plants, and zooelogy, which treats of animals.

Each of these divisions has its subdivisions—such as morphology, which treats of the form, structure, and development of living beings, and physiology, which explains their actions or functions, besides others.




[1] Copyright by A. C. McClurg & Co., 1891.

Somewhat higher than the fish in the scale of life is the frog. Although he begins life as a fish, and in the tadpole state breathes by gills, he soon discards the water-diluted air of the pond, and with perfect lungs boldly inhales the pure air of the upper world. His life as a tadpole, although so fish-like, is much inferior to true fish life: for though the fish has not the perfect lung, he has a modification of it which he fills with air, not for breathing purposes, but as an air-sac to make him float like a bubble in the water. Will he rise to the surface? he inflates the air-bladder. Will he sink to the bottom? he compresses the air-bladder. But in the frog the air-bladder changes into the lungs, and is never the delicate balloon which floats the fish in aqueous space. When the frog's lungs are perfected, his gills close, and he forever abandons fish-life, though being a cold-blooded creature he needs comparatively little air, and delights to return to his childhood's home in the bottom of the pond. But although he can stay under water for a long time, he is obliged to hold his breath while there, and when he would breathe must come to the surface to do so. It is possible to drown him by holding him under water.

As a feeder the frog relies upon animal life, which he expertly seizes with a tongue fastened by the wrong end, as compared with our tongues. He is a certain marksman, and when he aims at an insect the chances are that the insect will enter his stomach and be there speedily changed into a new form of animal life.

Although from the moment the gills disappear the frog is a true land animal, he is obliged, on account of the fish-like character of his young, to lay his eggs in the water. For this purpose the frogs enter the pools in early spring. The surface of every country pond swarms with the bright-eyed little creatures. They have awakened from a long, cold, winter sleep, to find the spring about them and within them. Life has suddenly become abundant and joyous. Their sluggish blood flows faster, their hearts beat quicker; they leap, they swim, they swell out their throats and call to each other in various keys. The toads are with them, and the pretty tree-frogs that change their color to suit their emotions. And all are rapturously screaming. Their voices are not musical, according to man's standard, but seem to afford great satisfaction to the performers in the shrill orchestra of the swamps, who thus give vent to the flood of life that sweeps through them after the still, icy winter.

As though the new spring-life were too plentiful to find room in the frogs and toads already existing, it calls for more frogs and toads; and new creatures are born to share the extra vitality. Like the flowers and the fish, the frogs, too, give forth new life. Within them, too, the miracle is performed. The tiny eggs of the one wake up and begin to grow. The tiny living bodies in the fertilizing principle of the other also wake up and begin to grow. But higher life is better guarded, because less prolific. The frog and the toad lay but few eggs as compared with the fish. Fish eggs may drop under the stones or float away, and so escape the vital touch of the fertilizing principle. There are so many that numbers may be lost and yet enough remain to continue the family. Not so with the frog family. No egg may be lost. So we find that the eggs of the frog are not dropped singly, like so many shot, but are bound together by a colorless, transparent, jelly-like substance, much like that found in the morning-glory seed, and which like that supplies nourishment to the young life, for the tadpole feeds upon it until he is able to seek other food. Moreover, instinct has taught the frog the need of extreme caution in the act of fertilization. Every egg must be fertilized. As the time draws near for the dropping of the few eggs into the water, the male frog so places himself that the moment the eggs are being laid, he pours over them, one by one, as they fall into the water, the fertilizing fluid.

And thus the mystery of life is again repeated. The union of the living, microscopic bodies of the fertilizing principle with the new laid egg is followed by the growth of the two elements into a living creature, able to eat, to breathe, to see, to feel. In some unknown way the atom of fertilizing principle seems to have contained the whole life of the father-frog, for it can give to his sons and daughters any of his peculiarities, either of color, form, motion, or disposition; and the tiny egg seems to have contained the whole life of the mother-frog, and can give to her sons and daughters any of her peculiarities; though, as is true of all inheritance, the tadpoles, as the young frogs are called, share the natures of both parents, inheriting some peculiarities from the father and others from the mother.

But, like other life, although the frogs may vary a good deal within frog limits, none of them can escape their own limits and enter into those of any other life. Once a frog, always a frog; and no frog-egg may hope to develop into a turtle, or a bird, or anything but a frog. The life in the fertilizing principle of the frog is sacred to frog eggs, and is lifeless in contact with any other.

Our common frogs, like many of the fishes, do not trouble themselves about the fate of their eggs after they are carefully laid in a safe place. They trust Mother Nature to see the little tadpoles safely through the perils of childhood, to help them change their dresses and get rid of their tails, and cut, not their teeth, but their arms and legs.

In Venezuela, however, there dwells a frog with well developed maternal instinct. The mothers have pockets on their backs, not for their own convenience, but as cradles for their babies. The fathers put the fertilized eggs into the pockets of the mothers; and there they remain, well guarded, until the young are able to care for themselves.




Sound knowledge respecting the habits and mode of life of the man-like Apes has been even more difficult of attainment than correct information regarding their structure.

Once in a generation, a Wallace may be found physically, mentally, and morally qualified to wander unscathed through the tropical wilds of America and of Asia, to form magnificent collections as he wanders, and withal to think out sagaciously the conclusions suggested by his collections; but, to the ordinary explorer or collector, the dense forests of equatorial Asia and Africa, which constitute the favorite habitation of the Orang, the Chimpanzee, and the Gorilla, present difficulties of no ordinary magnitude; and the man who risks his life by even a short visit to the malarious shores of those regions may well be excused if he shrinks from facing the dangers of the interior; if he contents himself with stimulating the industry of the better-seasoned natives, and collecting and collating the more or less mythical reports and traditions with which they are too ready to supply him.

In such a manner most of the earlier accounts of the habits of the man-like Apes originated; and even now a good deal of what passes current must be admitted to have no very safe foundation. The best information we possess is that based almost wholly on direct European testimony respecting the Gibbons; the next best evidence relates to the Orangs; while our knowledge of the habits of the Chimpanzee and the Gorilla stands much in need of support and enlargement by additional testimony from instructed European eye-witnesses.

It will therefore be convenient in endeavoring to form a notion of what we are justified in believing about these animals, to commence with the best known man-like Apes, the Gibbons, and Orangs; and to make use of the perfectly reliable information respecting them as a sort of criterion of the probable truth or falsehood of assertions respecting the others.

Of the Gibbons, half a dozen species are found scattered over the Asiatic Islands, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and through Malacca, Siam, Arracan, and an uncertain extent of Hindostan on the mainland of Asia. The largest attain a few inches above three feet in height, from the crown to the heel, so that they are shorter than the other man-like Apes, while the slenderness of their bodies renders their mass far smaller in proportion even to this diminished height.

Dr. Salomon Mueller, an accomplished Dutch naturalist, who lived for many years in the Eastern Archipelago, and to the result of whose personal experience I shall frequently have occasion to refer, states that the Gibbons are true mountaineers, loving the slopes and edges of the hills, though they rarely ascend beyond the limit of the fig-trees. All day long they haunt the tops of the tall trees, and though toward evening, they descend in small troops to the open ground, no sooner do they spy a man than they dart up the hillsides and disappear in the darker valleys.

All observers testify to the prodigious volume of voice possessed by these animals. According to the writer whom I have just cited, in one of them, the Siamang, "the voice is grave and penetrating, resembling the sounds goek, goek, goek, goek, goek ha ha ha ha haaaaa, and may be easily heard at a distance of half a league." While the cry is being uttered, the great membranous bag under the throat which communicates with the organ of voice, the so-called "laryngeal sac," becomes greatly distended, diminishing again when the creature relapses into silence.

M. Duvaucel, likewise, affirms that the cry of the Siamang may be heard for miles—making the woods ring again. So Mr. Martin describes the cry of the agile Gibbon as "overpowering and deafening" in a room, and "from its strength, well calculated for resounding through the vast forests." Mr. Waterhouse, an accomplished musician as well as zooelogist, says, "The Gibbon's voice is certainly much more powerful than that of any singer I ever heard." And yet it is to be recollected that this animal is not half the height of, and far less bulky in proportion than, a man.

There is good testimony that various species of Gibbon readily take to the erect posture. Mr. George Bennett, a very excellent observer, in describing the habits of a male Hylobates syndactylus which remained for some time in his possession, says: "He invariably walks in the erect posture when on a level surface; and then the arms either hang down, enabling him to assist himself with his knuckles; or, what is more usual, he keeps his arms uplifted in nearly an erect position, with the hands pendent ready to seize a rope, and climb up on the approach of danger or on the obtrusion of strangers. He walks rather quick in the erect posture, but with a waddling gait, and is soon run down if, while pursued, he has no opportunity of escaping by climbing.... When he walks in the erect posture, he turns the leg and foot outward, which occasions him to have a waddling gait and to seem bow-legged."

Dr. Burrough states of another Gibbon, the Horlack or Hooluk:

"They walk erect; and when placed on the floor, or in an open field, balance themselves very prettily by raising their hands over their head and slightly bending the arm at the wrist and elbow, and then run tolerably fast, rocking from side to side; and, if urged to greater speed, they let fall their hands to the ground, and assist themselves forward, rather jumping than running, still keeping the body, however, nearly erect."

Somewhat different evidence, however, is given by Dr. Winslow Lewis:

"Their only manner of walking was on their posterior or inferior extremities, the others being raised upward to preserve their equilibrium, as rope-dancers are assisted by long poles at fairs. Their progression was not by placing one foot before the other, but by simultaneously using both, as in jumping." Dr. Salomon Mueller also states that the Gibbons progress upon the ground by short series of tottering jumps, effected only by the hind limbs, the body being held altogether upright.

But Mr. Martin, who also speaks from direct observation, says of the Gibbons generally:

"Pre-eminently qualified for arboreal habits, and displaying among the branches amazing activity, the Gibbons are not so awkward or embarrassed on a level surface as might be imagined. They walk erect with a waddling or unsteady gait, but at a quick pace, the equilibrium of the body requiring to be kept up, either by touching the ground with the knuckles, first on one side then on the other, or by uplifting the arms so as to poise it. As with the Chimpanzee, the whole of the narrow, long sole of the foot is placed upon the ground at once, and raised at once, without any elasticity of step."

After this mass of concurrent and independent testimony, it cannot reasonably be doubted that the Gibbons commonly and habitually assume the erect attitude.

But level ground is not the place where these animals can display their very remarkable and peculiar locomotive powers, and that prodigious activity which almost tempts one to rank them among flying, rather than among ordinary climbing mammals.

Mr. Martin has given so excellent and graphic an account of the movements of a Hylobates agilis, living in the Zooelogical Gardens, in 1840, that I will quote it in full:

"It is almost impossible to convey in words an idea of the quickness and graceful address of her movements: they may indeed be termed aerial, as she seems merely to touch in her progress the branches among which she exhibits her evolutions. In these feats her hands and arms are the sole organs of locomotion, her body, hanging as if suspended by a rope, sustained by one hand (the right, for example), she launches herself, by an energetic movement, to a distant branch, which she catches with the left hand; but her hold is less than momentary; the impulse for the next launch is acquired; the branch then aimed at is attained by the right hand again, and quitted instantaneously, and so on, in alternate succession. In this manner spaces of twelve and eighteen feet are cleared, with the greatest ease and uninterruptedly, for hours together, without the slightest appearance of fatigue being manifested; and it is evident that, if more space could be allowed, distances very greatly exceeding eighteen feet would be as easily cleared; so that Duvaucel's assertion that he has seen these animals launch themselves from one branch to another, forty feet asunder, startling as it is, may be well credited. Sometimes, on seizing a branch in her progress, she will throw herself, by the power of one arm only, completely round it, making a revolution with such rapidity as almost to deceive the eye, and continue her progress with undiminished velocity. It is singular to observe how suddenly this Gibbon can stop, when the impetus giving by the rapidity and distance of her swinging leaps would seem to require a gradual abatement of her movements. In the very midst of her flight a branch is seized, the body raised, and she is seen, as if by magic, quietly seated on it, grasping it with her feet. As suddenly she again throws herself into action.

"The following facts will convey some notion of her dexterity and quickness. A live bird was let loose in her apartment; she marked its flight, made a long swing to a distant branch, caught the bird with one hand in her passage, and attained the branch with her other hand, her aim, both at the bird and at the branch, being as successful as if one object only had engaged her attention. It may be added that she instantly bit off the head of the bird, picked its feathers, and then threw it down without attempting to eat it.

"On another occasion this animal swung herself from a perch, across a passage at least twelve feet wide, against a window which it was thought would be immediately broken: but not so; to the surprise of all, she caught the narrow framework between the panes with her hand, in an instant attained the proper impetus, and sprang back again to the cage she had left—a feat requiring not only great strength, but the nicest precision."

The Gibbons appear to be naturally very gentle, but there is very good evidence that they will bite severely when irritated, a female Hylobates agilis having so severely lacerated one man with her long canines that he died; while she had injured others so much that, by way of precaution, these formidable teeth had been filed down; but if threatened she would still turn on her keeper. The Gibbons eat insects, but appear generally to avoid animal food. A Siamang, however, was seen by Mr. Bennett to seize and devour greedily a live lizard. They commonly drink by dipping their fingers in the liquid and then licking them. It is asserted that they sleep in a sitting posture.

Duvaucel affirms that he has seen the females carry their young to the water-side and there wash their faces, in spite of resistance and cries. They are gentle and affectionate in captivity—full of tricks and pettishness, like spoiled children, and yet not devoid of a certain conscience, as an anecdote, told by Mr. Bennett will show. It would appear that his Gibbon had a peculiar inclination for disarranging things in the cabin. Among these articles a piece of soap would especially attract his notice, and for the removal of this he had been once or twice scolded. "One morning," says Mr. Bennett, "I was writing, the Ape being present in the cabin, when, casting my eyes toward him, I saw the little fellow taking the soap. I watched him without him perceiving that I did so: and he occasionally would cast a furtive glance toward the place where I sat. I pretended to write; he seeing me busily occupied, took the soap, and moved away with it in his paw. When he had walked half the length of the cabin, I spoke quietly, without frightening him. The instant he found I saw him he walked back again and deposited the soap nearly in the same place from whence he had taken it. There was certainly something more than instinct in that action: he evidently betrayed a consciousness of having done wrong both by his first and last actions—and what is reason if that is not an exercise of it?"

The most elaborate account of the natural history of the Orang-Utan extant is that given in the "Verhandelingen over de Natuurlijke Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche overzeeche Bezittingen (1839-45)," by Dr. Salomon Mueller and Dr. Schlegel, and I shall base what I have to say upon this subject almost entirely on their statements, adding here and there particulars of interest from the writings of Brooke, Wallace, and others.

The Orang-Utan would rarely seem to exceed four feet in height, but the body is very bulky, measuring two thirds of the height in circumference.

The Orang-Utan is found only in Sumatra and Borneo, and is common in either of these islands—in both of which it occurs always in low, flat plains, never in the mountains. It loves the densest and most sombre of the forests, which extend from the seashore inland, and thus is found only in the eastern half of Sumatra, where alone such forests occur, though, occasionally, it strays over to the western side.

On the other hand it is generally distributed through Borneo, except in the mountains, or where the population is dense. In favorable places the hunter may, by good fortune, see three or four in a day.

Except in the pairing time, the old males usually live by themselves. The old females and the immature males, on the other hand, are often met with in twos and threes; and the former occasionally have young with them, though the pregnant females usually separate themselves, and sometimes remain apart after they have given birth to their offspring. The young Orangs seem to remain unusually long under their mother's protection, probably in consequence of their slow growth. While climbing the mother always carries her young against her bosom, the young holding on by the mother's hair. At what time of life the Orang-Utan becomes capable of propagation, and how long the females go with young is unknown, but it is probable that they are not adult until they arrive at ten or fifteen years of age. A female which lived for five years at Batavia had not attained one-third the height of the wild females. It is probable that, after reaching adult years, they go on growing, though slowly, and that they live to forty or fifty years. The Dyaks tell of old Orangs which have not only lost all their teeth, but which find it so troublesome to climb that they maintain themselves on windfalls and juicy herbage.

The Orang is sluggish, exhibiting none of that marvellous activity characteristic of the Gibbons. Hunger alone seems to stir him to exertion, and when it is stilled he relapses into repose. When the animal sits, it curves its back and bows its head, so as to look straight down on the ground; sometimes it holds on with its hands by a higher branch, sometimes lets them hang phlegmatically down by its side; and in these positions the Orang will remain for hours together, in the same spot, almost without stirring, and only now and then giving utterance to its deep, growling voice. By day he usually climbs from one tree-top to another, and only at night descends to the ground: and if then threatened with danger he seeks refuge among the underwood. When not hunted, he remains a long time in the same locality, and sometimes stops for many days on the same tree, a firm place among its branches serving him for a bed. It is rare for the Orang to pass the night in the summit of a large tree, probably because it is too windy and cold there for him; but as soon as night draws on he descends from the height and seeks out a fit bed in the lower and darker part, or in the leafy top of a small tree, among which he prefers Nibong palms, Pandani, or one of those parasitic orchids which gave the primeval forests of Borneo so characteristic and striking an appearance. But whenever he determines to sleep, there he prepares himself a sort of nest; little boughs and leaves are drawn together round the selected spot, and bent crosswise over one another; while to make the bed soft, great leaves of ferns, of orchids, of Pandanus fascicularis, Nipa fruticans, etc., are laid over them. Those which Mueller saw, many of them being very fresh, were situated at a height of ten to twenty-five feet above the ground, and had a circumference, on the average, of two or three feet. Some were packed many inches thick with pandanus leaves; others were remarkable only for the cracked twigs, which, united in a common centre, formed a regular platform. "The rude hut," says Sir James Brooke, "which they are stated to build in the trees, would be more properly called a seat or nest, for it has no roof or cover of any sort. The facility with which they form this nest is curious, and I had an opportunity of seeing a wounded female weave the branches together and seat herself within a minute."

According to the Dyaks the Orang rarely leaves his bed before the sun is well above the horizon and has dissipated the mists. He gets up about nine, and goes to bed again about five; but sometimes not till late in the twilight. He lies sometimes on his back, or, by way of change, turns on one side or the other, drawing his limbs up to his body, and resting his head on his hand. When the night is cold, windy, or rainy, he usually covers his body with a heap of pandanus nipa, or fern leaves, like those of which his bed is made, and he is especially careful to wrap up his head in them. It is this habit of covering himself up which has probably led to the fable that the Orang builds huts in the trees.

Although the Orang resides mostly amid the boughs of great trees during the daytime, he is very rarely seen squatting on a thick branch as other apes, and particularly the Gibbons, do. The Orang, on the contrary, confines himself to the slender leafy branches, so that he is seen right at the top of the trees, a mode of life which is closely related to the constitution of his hinder limbs, and especially to that of his seat. For this is provided with no callosites such as are possessed by many of the lower apes, and even by the Gibbons; and those bones of the pelvis, which are termed the ischia, and which form the solid framework of the surface on which the body rests in the sitting posture, are not expanded like those of the apes which possess callosities, but are more like those of man.

An Orang climbs so slowly and cautiously as, in this act, to resemble a man more than an ape, taking great care of his feet, so that injury of them seems to affect him far more than it does other apes. Unlike the Gibbons, whose forearms do the greater part of the work as they swing from branch to branch, the Orang never makes even the smallest jump. In climbing, he moves alternately one hand and one foot, or, after having laid fast hold with the hands, he draws up both feet together. In passing from one tree to another he always seeks out a place where the twigs of both come close together, or interlace. Even when closely pursued, his circumspection is amazing; he shakes the branches to see if they will bear him, and then bending an overhanging bough down by throwing his weight gradually along it, he makes a bridge from the tree he wishes to quit to the next.

On the ground the Orang always goes laboriously and shakily on all fours. At starting he will run faster than a man, though he may soon be overtaken. The very long arms which, when he runs, are but little bent, raise the body of the Orang remarkably, so that he assumes much the posture of a very old man bent down by age, and making his way along by the help of a stick. In walking, the body is usually directed straight forward, unlike the other apes, which run more or less obliquely, except the Gibbons, who in these, as in so many other respects, depart remarkably from their fellows.

The Orang cannot put its feet flat on the ground, but is supported upon their outer edges, the heel resting more on the ground, while the curved toes partly rest upon the ground by the upper side of their first joint, the two outermost toes of each foot completely resting on this surface. The hands are held in the opposite manner, their inner edges serving as the chief support. The fingers are then bent out in such a manner that their foremost joints, especially those of the two inner-most fingers, rest upon the ground by their upper sides, while the point of the free and straight thumb serves as an additional fulcrum.

The Orang never stands on its hind legs, and all the pictures representing it as so doing are as false as the assertion that it defends itself with sticks and the like.

The long arms are of especial use, not only in climbing, but in the gathering of food from boughs to which the animal could not trust his weight. Figs, blossoms, and young leaves of various kinds, constitute the chief nutriment of the Orang; but strips of bamboo two or three feet long were found in the stomach of a male. They are not known to eat living animals.

Although, when taken young, the Orang-Utan soon becomes domesticated, and indeed seems to court human society; it is naturally a very wild and shy animal, though apparently sluggish and melancholy. The Dyaks affirm that when the old males are wounded with arrows only they will occasionally leave the trees and rush raging upon their enemies, whose sole safety lies in instant flight, as they are sure to be killed if caught.

But, though possessed of immense strength, it is rare for the Orang to attempt to defend itself, especially when attacked with firearms. On such occasions he endeavors to hide himself, or to escape along the top-most branches of the trees, breaking off and throwing down the boughs as he goes. When wounded he betakes himself to the highest attainable point of the tree, and emits a singular cry, consisting at first of high notes, which at length deepen into a low roar, not unlike that of a panther. While giving out the high notes the Orang thrusts out his lips into a funnel-shape; but in uttering the low notes he holds his mouth wide open, and at the same time the great throat bag, or laryngeal sac, becomes distended.

According to the Dyaks, the only animal the Orang measures his strength with is the crocodile, who occasionally seizes him on his visits to the water-side. But they say that the Orang is more than a match for his enemy, and beats him to death, or rips up his throat by pulling the jaws asunder!

Much of what has been here stated was probably derived by Dr. Mueller from the reports of his Dyak hunters; but a large male, four feet high, lived in captivity under his observation for a month, and receives a very bad character.

"He was a very wild beast," says Mueller, "of prodigious strength, and false and wicked to the last degree. If any one approached he rose up slowly with a low growl, fixed his eyes in the direction in which he meant to make his attack, slowly passed his hand between the bars of his cage, and then, extending his long arm, gave a sudden grip—usually at the face." He never tried to bite (though Orangs will bite one another), his great weapons of offence and defence being his hands.

His intelligence was very great; and Mueller remarks that, though the faculties of the Orang have been estimated too highly, yet Cuvier, had he seen this specimen, would not have considered its intelligence to be only a little higher than that of a dog.

His hearing was very acute, but the sense of vision seemed to be less perfect. The under lip was the great organ of touch, and played a very important part in drinking, being thrust out like a trough, so as either to catch the falling rain or to receive the contents of the half cocoanut shell full of water with which the Orang was supplied, and which, in drinking, he poured into the trough thus formed.

In Borneo, the Orang-Utan of the Malays goes by the name of "Mias" among the Dyaks, who distinguish several kinds as Mias Pappan, or Zimo, Mias Kassu, and Mias Rambi. Whether these are distinct species, however, or whether they are mere races, and how far any of them are identical with the Sumatran Orang, as Mr. Wallace thinks the Mias Pappan to be, are problems which are at present undecided; and the variability of these great apes is so extensive that the settlement of the question is a matter of great difficulty. Of the form called "Mias Pappan," Mr. Wallace observes: "It is known by its large size, and by the lateral expansion of the face into fatty protuberances, or ridges, over the temporal muscles, which have been mistermed callosites, as they are perfectly soft, smooth, and flexible. Five of this form, measured by me, varied only from 4 feet 1 inch to 4 feet 2 inches in height, from the heel to the crown of the head, the girth of the body from 3 feet to 3 feet 71/2 inches, and the extent of the outstretched arms from 7 feet 2 inches to 7 feet 6 inches; the width of the face from 10 to 131/4 inches. The color and length of the hair varied in different individuals, and in different parts of the same individual; some possessed a rudimentary nail on the great toe, others none at all; but they otherwise present no external differences on which to establish even varieties of a species.

"Yet, when we examine the crania of these individuals, we find remarkable differences of form, proportion, and dimension, no two being exactly alike. The slope of the profile, and the projection of the muzzle, together with the size of the cranium, offer differences as decided as those existing between the most strongly marked forms of the Caucasian and African crania in the human species. The orbits vary in width and height, the cranial ridge is either single or double, either much or little developed, and the zygomatic aperture varies considerably in size. This variation in the proportions of the crania enables us satisfactorily to explain the marked difference presented by the single-crested and double-crested skulls, which have been thought to prove the existence of two large species of Orang. The external surface of the skull varies considerably in size, as do also the zygomatic aperture and the temporal muscle: but they bear no necessary relation to each other, a small muscle often existing with a large cranial surface, and vice versa. Now those skulls which have the largest and strongest jaws, and the widest zygomatic aperture, have the muscles so large that they meet on the crown of the skull, and deposit the bony ridge which separates them, and which is the highest in that which has the smallest cranial surface. In those which combine a large surface with comparatively weak jaws, and small zygomatic aperture, the muscles, on each side, do not extend to the crown, a space of from 1 to 2 inches remaining between them, and along their margins small ridges are formed. Intermediate forms are found, in which the ridges meet only in the hinder part of the skull. The form and size of the ridges are therefore independent of age, being sometimes more strongly developed in the less aged animal. Professor Temminck states that the series of skulls in the Leyden Museum shows the same result."

Mr. Wallace observed two male adult Orangs (Mias Kassu of the Dyaks), however, so very different from any of these that he concludes them to be specially distinct; they were respectively 3 feet 81/2 inches and 3 feet 91/2 inches high, and possessed no sign of the cheek excrescences, but otherwise resembled the larger kinds. The skull has no crest, but two bony ridges, 13/4 to 2 inches apart, as in the Simia morio of Professor Owen. The teeth, however, are immense, equalling or surpassing those of the other species. The females of both these kinds, according to Mr. Wallace, are devoid of excrescences, and resemble the smaller males, but are shorter by 11/2 to 3 inches, and their canine teeth are comparatively small, subtruncated and dilated at the base, as in the so-called Simia morio, which is, in all probability, the skull of a female of the same species as the smaller males. Both males and females of this smaller species are distinguishable, according to Mr. Wallace, by the comparatively large size of the middle incisors of the upper jaw.

So far as I am aware, no one has attempted to dispute the accuracy of the statements which I have just quoted regarding the habits of the two Asiatic man-like Apes; and if true, they must be admitted as evidence that such an ape—

1stly, May readily move along the ground in the erect, or semi-erect, position, and without direct support from its arms.

2dly, That it may possess an extremely loud voice—so loud as to be readily heard one or two miles.

3dly, That it may be capable of great viciousness and violence when irritated; and this is especially true of adult males.

4thly, That it may build a nest to sleep in.

Such being well-established facts respecting the Asiatic anthropoids, analogy alone might justify us in expecting the African species to offer similar peculiarities, separately or combined; or, at any rate, would destroy the force of any attempted a priori argument against such direct testimony as might be adduced in favor of their existence. And if the organization of any of the African apes could be demonstrated to fit it better than either of its Asiatic allies for the erect position and for efficient attack, there would be still less reason for doubting its occasional adoption of the upright attitude, or of aggressive proceedings.

From the time of Tyson and Tulpius downward the habits of the young Chimpanzee in a state of captivity have been abundantly reported and commented upon. But trustworthy evidence as to the manners and customs of adult anthropoids of this species, in their native woods, was almost wanting up to the time of the publication of the paper by Dr. Savage, to which I have already referred, containing notes of the observations which he made, and of the information which he collected from sources which he considered trustworthy, while resident at Cape Palmas, at the north-western limit of the Bight of Benin.

The adult Chimpanzees, measured by Dr. Savage, never exceeded, though the males may almost attain, five feet in height.

"When at rest, the sitting posture is that generally assumed. They are sometimes seen standing and walking, but when thus detected, they immediately take to all fours and flee from the presence of the observer. Such is their organization that they cannot stand erect, but lean forward. Hence they are seen, when standing, with the hands clasped over the occiput, or the lumbar region, which would seem necessary to balance or ease of posture.

"The toes of the adult are strongly flexed and turned inward, and cannot be perfectly straightened. In the attempt the skin gathers into thick folds on the back, showing that the full expansion of the foot, as is necessary in walking, is unnatural. The natural position is on all fours, the body anteriorly resting upon the knuckles. These are greatly enlarged, with the skin protuberant and thickened like the sole of the foot.

"They are expert climbers, as one would suppose from their organization. In their gambols they swing from limb to limb at a great distance, and leap with astonishing agility. It is not unusual to see the 'old folks' (in the language of an observer) sitting under a tree regaling themselves with fruit and friendly chat, while their 'children' are leaping around them, and swinging from tree to tree with boisterous merriment.

"As seen here, they cannot be called gregarious, seldom more than five, or ten at most, being found together. It has been said, on good authority, that they occasionally assemble in large numbers, in gambols. My informant asserts that he saw once not less than fifty so engaged, hooting, screaming, and drumming with sticks upon old logs, which is done in the latter case with equal facility by the four extremities. They do not appear ever to act on the offensive, and, seldom, if ever, really on the defensive. When about to be captured, they resist by throwing their arms about their opponent, and attempting to draw him into contact with their teeth."

With respect to this last point Dr. Savage is very explicit in another place:

"Biting is their principal art of defence. I have seen one man who had been thus severely wounded in the feet.

"The strong development of the canine teeth in the adult would seem to indicate a carnivorous propensity; but in no state save that of domestication do they manifest it. At first they reject flesh, but easily acquire a fondness for it. The canines are early developed, and evidently designed to act the important part of weapons of defence. When in contact with man almost the first effort of the animal is—to bite.

"They avoid the abodes of men, and build their habitations in trees. Their construction is more that of nests than huts, as they have been erroneously termed by some naturalists. They generally build not far above the ground. Branches or twigs are bent, or partly broken, and crossed, and the whole supported by the body of a limb or a crotch. Sometimes a nest will be found near the end of a strong leafy branch twenty or thirty feet from the ground. One I have lately seen that could not be less than forty feet, and more probably it was fifty. But this is an unusual height.

"Their dwelling-place is not permanent, but changed in pursuit of food and solitude, according to the force of circumstances. We most often see them in elevated places; but this arises from the fact that the low grounds, being more favorable for the natives' rice-farms, are the oftener cleared, and hence are almost always wanting in suitable trees for their nests.... It is seldom that more than one or two nests are seen upon the same tree, or in the same neighborhood: five have been found, but it was an unusual circumstance." ...

"They are very filthy in their habits. It is a tradition with the natives generally here that they were once members of their own tribe; that for their depraved habits they were expelled from all human society, and that, through an obstinate indulgence of their vile propensities, they have degenerated into their present state of organization. They are, however, eaten by them, and when cooked with the oil and pulp of the palm-nut considered a highly palatable morsel.

"They exhibit a remarkable degree of intelligence in their habits, and, on the part of the mother, much affection for their young. The second female described was upon a tree when first discovered, with her mate and two young ones (a male and a female). Her first impulse was to descend with great rapidity and make off into the thicket with her mate and female offspring. The young male remaining behind, she soon returned to the rescue. She ascended and took him in her arms, at which moment she was shot, the ball passing through the forearm of the young one, on the way to the heart of the mother....

"In a recent case the mother, when discovered, remained upon the tree with her offspring, watching intently the movements of the hunter. As he took aim, she motioned with her hand, precisely in the manner of a human being, to have him desist and go away. When the wound has not proved instantly fatal, they have been known to stop the flow of blood by pressing with the hand upon the part, and when they did not succeed, to apply leaves and grass.... When shot, they give a sudden screech, not unlike that of a human, being in sudden and acute distress.

"The ordinary voice of the Chimpanzee, however, is affirmed to be hoarse, guttural, and not very loud, somewhat like 'whoo-whoo.'"

The analogy of the Chimpanzee to the Orang, in its nest-building habit and in the mode of forming its nest, is exceedingly interesting, while, on the other hand, the activity of this ape, and its tendency to bite, are particulars in which it rather resembles the Gibbons. In extent of geographical range, again, the Chimpanzees—which are found from Sierra Leone to Congo—remind one of the Gibbons rather than of either of the other man-like Apes; and it seems not unlikely that, as is the case with the Gibbons, there may be several species spread over the geographical area of the genus.

The same excellent observer, from whom I have borrowed the preceding account of the habits of the adult Chimpanzee, published an account of the Gorilla, which has, in its most essential points, been confirmed by subsequent observers, and to which so very little has really been added, that, in justice to Dr. Savage, I give it almost in full:

"It should be borne in mind that my account is based upon the statements of the aborigines of that region (the Gaboon). In this connection it may also be proper for me to remark that, having been a missionary resident for several years, studying, from habitual intercourse, the African mind and character, I felt myself prepared to discriminate and decide upon the probability of their statements. Besides, being familiar with the history and habits of its interesting congener (Trogniger, Geoff.), I was able to separate their accounts of the two animals, which, having the same locality and a similarity of habit, are confounded in the minds of the mass, especially as but few—such as traders to the interior, and huntsmen—have ever seen the animal in question.

"The tribe from which our knowledge of the animal is derived, and whose territory forms its habitat, is the Mpongwe, occupying both banks of the River Gaboon, from its mouth to some fifty or sixty miles upward....

"If the word 'Pongo' be of African origin, it is probably a corruption of the word Mpongwe, the name of the tribe on the banks of the Gaboon, and hence applied to the region they inhabit. Their local name for the Chimpanzee is Enche-eko, as near as it can be Anglicized, from which the common term 'Jocko' probably conies. The Mpongwe apellation for its new congener is Enge-ena, prolonging the sound of the first vowel, and slightly sounding the second.

"The habitat of the Enge-ena is the interior of Lower Guinea, while that of the Enche-eko is nearer the seaboard.

"Its height is about five feet; it is disproportionately broad across the shoulders, thickly covered with coarse black hair, which is said to be similar in its arrangement to that of the Enche-eko; with age it becomes gray, which fact has given rise to the report that both animals are seen of different colors.

"Head.—The prominent features of the head are the great width and elongation of the face, the depth of the molar region, the branches of the lower jaw being very deep and extending far backward, and the comparative smallness of the cranial portion; the eyes are very large, and said to be like those of the Enche-eko, a bright hazel; nose broad and flat, slightly elevated toward the root; the muzzle broad, and prominent lips and chin, with scattered gray hairs; the under lip highly mobile, and capable of great elongation when the animal is enraged, then hanging over the chin; skin of the face and ears naked and of a dark-brown, approaching to black.

"The most remarkable feature of the head is a high ridge, or crest of hair, in the course of the sagittal suture, which meets posteriorly with a transverse ridge of the same, but less prominent, running round from the back of one ear to the other. The animal has the power of moving the scalp freely forward and back, and when enraged is said to contract it strongly over the brow, thus bringing down the hairy ridge and pointing the hair forward, so as to present an indescribably ferocious aspect.

"Neck short, thick, and hairy; chest and shoulders very broad, and said to be fully double the size of the Enche-ekos; arms very long, reaching some way below the knee—the forearm much the shortest; hands very large, the thumbs much larger than the fingers....

"The gait is shuffling; the motion of the body, which is never upright as in man, but bent forward, is somewhat rolling, or from side to side. The arms being longer than the Chimpanzee, it does not stoop as much in walking; like that animal, it makes progression by thrusting its arms forward, resting the hands on the ground, and then giving the body a half-jumping, half-swinging motion between them. In this act it is said not to flex the fingers, as does the Chimpanzee, resting on its knuckles, but to extend them, making a fulcrum of the hand. When it assumes the walking posture, to which it is said to be much inclined, it balances its huge body by flexing its arms upward.

"They live in bands, but are not so numerous as the Chimpanzees; the females generally exceed the other sex in number. My informants all agree in the assertion that but one adult male is seen in a band; that where the young males grow up a contest takes place for mastery, and the strongest, by killing and driving out the others, establishes himself as the head of the community."

Dr. Savage repudiates the stories about the Gorillas carrying off women and vanquishing elephants, and then adds:

"Their dwellings, if they may be so called, are similar to those of the Chimpanzee, consisting simply of a few sticks and leafy branches, supported by the crotches and limbs of trees; they afford no shelter, and are occupied only at night.

"They are exceedingly ferocious, and always offensive in their habits, never running from man, as does the Chimpanzee. They are objects of terror to the natives, and are never encountered by them except on the defensive. The few that have been captured were killed by elephant-hunters and native traders, as they came suddenly upon them while passing through the forests.

"It is said that when the male is first seen he gives a terrific yell, that resounds far and wide through the forest, something like kh—ah! kh—ah! prolonged and shrill. His enormous jaws are widely opened at each expiration, his under-lip hangs over the chin, and the hairy ridge and scalp are contracted upon the brow, presenting an aspect of indescribable ferocity.

"The females and young, at the first cry, quickly disappear. He then approaches the enemy in great fury, pouring out his horrid cries in quick succession. The hunter awaits his approach with his gun extended; if his aim is not sure he permits the animal to grasp the barrel, and as he carries it to his mouth (which is his habit) he fires. Should the gun fail to go off, the barrel (that of the ordinary musket, which is thin), is crashed between his teeth and the encounter soon proves fatal to the hunter.

"In the wild state their habits are in general like those of the Troglodytes niger, building their nests loosely in trees, living on similar fruits, and changing their place of resort from force of circumstances."

Dr. Savage's observations were confirmed and supplemented by those of Mr. Ford, who communicated an interesting paper on the Gorilla to the Philadelphian Academy of Sciences, in 1852. With respect to the geographical distribution of this greatest of all the man-like Apes, Mr. Ford remarks:

"This animal inhabits the range of mountains that traverse the interior of Guinea from the Cameroon in the north to Angola in the south, and about one hundred miles inland, and called by the geographers Crystal Mountains. The limit to which this animal extends, either north or south, I am unable to define. But that limit is doubtless some distance north of this river [Gaboon]. I was able to certify myself of this fact in a late excursion to the head-waters of the Mooney (Danger) River, which comes into the sea some sixty miles from this place. I was informed (credibly, I think), that they were numerous among the mountains in which that river rises, and far north of that.

"In the south, this species extends to the Congo River, as I am told by native traders who have visited the coast, between the Gaboon and that river. Beyond that, I am not informed. This animal is only found at a distance from the coast in most cases, and, according to my best information, approaches it nowhere so nearly as on the south side of this river, where they have been found within ten miles of the sea. This, however, is only of late occurrence. I am informed by some of the oldest Mpongwe men that formerly he was only found on the sources of the river, but that at present he may be found within half a day's walk of its mouth. Formerly he inhabited the mountainous ridge where Bushmen alone inhabited, but now he boldly approaches the Mpongwe plantations. This is doubtless the reason of the scarcity of information in years past, as the opportunities for receiving a knowledge of the animal have not been wanting; traders having for one hundred years frequented this river, and specimens, such as have been brought here within a year, could not have been exhibited without having attracted the attention of the most stupid."

One specimen Mr. Ford examined weighed one hundred and seventy pounds, without the thoracic or pelvic viscera, and measured four feet four inches round the chest. This writer describes so minutely and graphically the onslaught of the Gorilla—though he does not for a moment pretend to have witnessed the scene—that I am tempted to give this part of his paper in full, for comparison with other narratives.

"He always rises to his feet when making an attack, though he approaches his antagonist in a stooping posture.

"Though he never lies in wait, yet, when he hears, sees, or scents a man, he immediately utters his characteristic cry, prepares for an attack, and always acts on the offensive. The cry he utters resembles a grunt more than a growl, and is similar to the cry of the Chimpanzee when irritated, but vastly louder. It is said to be audible at a great distance. His preparation consists in attending the females and young ones, by whom he is usually accompanied, to a little distance. He, however, soon returns with his crest erect and projecting forward, his nostrils dilated, and his under-lip thrown down; at the same time uttering his characteristic yell, designed, it would seem, to terrify his antagonist. Instantly, unless he is disabled by a well-directed shot, he makes an onset, and, striking his antagonist with the palm of his hands, or seizing him with a grasp from which there is no escape, he dashes him upon the ground, and lacerates him with his tusks.

"He is said to seize a musket, and instantly crush the barrel between his teeth.... This animal's savage nature is very well shown by the implacable desperation of a young one that was brought here. It was taken very young, and kept four months, and many means were used to tame it; but it was incorrigible, so that it bit me an hour before it died."




You could hardly find a better rough test of relative development in the animal (or vegetable) world than the number of young produced and the care bestowed upon them. The fewer the offspring, the higher the type. Very low animals turn out thousands of eggs with reckless profusion; but they let them look after themselves, or be devoured by enemies, as chance will have it. The higher you go in the scale of being, the smaller the families, but the greater amount of pains expended upon the rearing and upbringing of the young. Large broods mean low organization; small broods imply higher types and more care in the nurture and education of the offspring. Primitive kinds produce eggs wholesale, on the off chance that some two or three among them may perhaps survive an infant mortality of ninety-nine per cent, so as to replace their parents. Advanced kinds produce half a dozen young, or less, but bring a large proportion of these on an average up to years of discretion.

Without taking into account insects and such other "small deer,"—to quote Shakespeare's expression,—this fundamental principle of population will become at once apparent if we examine merely familiar instances of back-boned or vertebrate animals. The lowest vertebrates are clearly the fishes: and the true fishes have almost invariably gigantic families. A single cod, for example, is said to produce, roughly speaking, nine million eggs at a birth (I cannot pretend I have checked this calculation); but supposing they were only a million, and that one-tenth of those eggs alone ever came to maturity, there would still be a hundred thousand codfish in the sea this year for every pair that swam in it last year: and these would increase to a hundred thousand times that number next year; and so on, till in four or five years' time the whole sea would be but one solid mass of closely-packed cod-banks. We can see for ourselves that nothing of the sort actually occurs—practically speaking, there are about the same number of cod one year as another. In spite of this enormous birth-rate, therefore, the cod population is not increasing—it is at a standstill. What does that imply? Why, that taking one brood and one year with another, only a pair of cod, roughly speaking, survive to maturity out of each eight or nine million eggs. The mother cod lays its millions, in order that two may arrive at the period of spawning. All the rest get devoured as eggs, or snapped up as young fry, or else die of starvation, or are otherwise unaccounted for. It seems to us a wasteful way of replenishing the earth: but it is nature's way; we can only bow respectfully to her final decision.

Frogs and other amphibians stand higher in the scale of life than fish; they have acquired legs in place of fins, and lungs instead of gills; they can hop about on shore with perfect freedom. Now, frogs still produce a great deal of spawn, as every one knows: but the eggs in each brood are numbered in their case by hundreds, or at most by a thousand or two, not by millions as with many fishes. The spawn hatches out as a rule in ponds, and we have all seen the little black tadpoles crowding the edges of the water in such innumerable masses that one would suppose the frogs to be developed from them must cover the length and breadth of England. Yet what becomes of them all? Hundreds are destroyed in the early tadpole stage—eaten up or starved, or crowded out for want of air and space and water: a few alone survive or develop four legs, and absorb their tails and hop on shore as tiny froglings. Even then the massacre of the innocents continues. Only a tithe of those which succeeded in quitting their native pond ever return to it full grown, to spawn in due time, and become the parents of further generations.

Lizards and other reptiles make an obvious advance on the frog type; they lay relatively few eggs, but they begin to care for their young. The family is not here abandoned at birth, as among frogs, but is frequently tended and fed and overlooked by the mother. In birds we have a still higher development of the same marked parental tendency; only three or four eggs are laid each year, as a rule, and on these eggs the mother sits, while both parents feed the callow nestlings till such time as they are able to take care of themselves and pick up their own living. Among mammals, which stand undoubtedly at the head of created nature, the lower types, like mice and rabbits, have frequent broods of many young at a time; but the more advanced groups, such as the horses, cows, deer, and elephants, have usually one foal or calf at a birth, and seldom produce more than a couple. Moreover, in all these higher cases alike, the young are fed with milk by the mother, and so spared the trouble of providing for themselves in their early days, like the young codfish or the baby tadpole. Starvation at the outset is reduced to a minimum.

It is interesting to note, too, that anticipations of higher types, so to speak, often occur among lower races. An animal here and there among the simpler forms hits upon some device essentially similar to that of some higher group with which it is really quite unrelated. For example, those who have read my account of the common earwig (given in the sixth chapter of "Flashlights on Nature") will recollect how that lowly insect sits on her eggs much as a hen does, and brings up her brood of callow grubs as if they were chickens. In much the same way, anticipations of the mammalian type occur pretty frequently among lower animals. Our commonest English lizard, for example, which frequents moors and sandhills, does not lay or deposit its eggs at all, but hatches them out in its own body, and so apparently brings them forth alive: while among snakes, the same habit occurs in the adder or viper. The very name viper, indeed, is a corruption of vivipara, the snake which produces living young. Still more closely do some birds resemble mammals in the habit of secreting a sort of milk for the sustenance of their nestlings. Most people think the phrase "pigeon's milk" is much like the phrase "the horse-marines," a burlesque name for an absurd and impossible monstrosity. But it is nothing of the sort: it answers to a real fact in the economy of certain doves, which eat grain or seeds, grind and digest it in their own gizzards into a fine soft pulp or porridge, and then feed their young with it from their crops and beaks. This is thus a sort of bird-like imitation of milk. Only the cow or the goat takes grass or leaves, chews, swallows, and digests them, and manufactures from them in her own body that much more nutritive substance, milk, with which all mammals feed their infant offspring.

Now, after this rather long preamble, I am going to show you in this present article a few other examples of special care taken of the young in certain quarters where it might be least expected. Fish are not creatures from which we look for marked domestic virtues: yet we may find them there abundantly. Let us begin with that familiar friend of our childhood, the common English stickleback.

Which of us cannot look back in youth to the mysteries of the stickleback fisheries? Captains courageous, we sailed forth with bent pin and piece of thread, to woo the wily quarry with half an inch of chopped earthworm. For stickleback abound in every running stream and pond in England. They are beautiful little creatures, too, when you come to examine them, great favorites in the fresh-water aquarium; the male in particular is exquisitely colored, his hues growing brighter and his sheen more conspicuous at the pairing season. There are many species of sticklebacks—in England we have three very different kinds—but all are alike in one point which gives them their common name, that is to say, in their aggressive and protective prickliness. They are armed against all comers. The dorsal fin is partly replaced in the whole family by strong spines or "stickles," which differ in number in the different species. One of our English sorts is a lover of salt water: he lives in the sea, especially off the Cornish coast, and has fifteen stickles or spines; on which account he is commonly known as the Fifteen-spined Stickleback; our other two sorts belong to fresher waters, and are known as the Ten-spined and the Three-spined respectively.

The special peculiarity of the male stickleback consists in the fact that he is, above all things, a model father. In his acute sense of parental responsibility he has few equals. When spring comes round, he first exhibits his consciousness of his coming charge by suddenly enduing himself in a glowing coat of many colors and of iridescent brilliancy. That is in order to charm the eyes of the prospective mate, or rather mates, for I may as well confess the sad truth at once that our amiable friend is a good parent but an abandoned polygamist. We all know that

"In the spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin's breast; In the spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest; In the spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove; In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love."

Not to be out of the fashion, therefore, the romantic stickleback does precisely the same thing as all these distinguished and poetical compeers. And he does it for the same reason, too; because he wants to get himself an appropriate partner. "There is a great deal of human nature in man," it has been said: I am always inclined to add, "And there is a great deal of human nature in plants and animals." The more we know of our dumb relations, the more closely do we realize the kinship between us. Fish in the spring are like young men at a fair—all eager for the attention of their prospective partners.

The first care of the male stickleback, when he has acquired his courting suit, is to build a suitable home for his future wives and children. So he picks up stems of grass and water-weeds with his mouth, and weaves them deftly into a compact nest as perfect as a bird's, though some what different in shape and pattern, it rather resembles a barrel, open at both ends, as though the bottom were knocked out: this form is rendered necessary because the eggs, when laid, have to be constantly aerated by passing a current of water through the nest as I shall describe hereafter. No. 1 shows us such a nest when completed, with the female stickleback loitering about undecided as to whether or not she shall plunge and enter it. You will observe that the fabric is woven round a fixed support of some waving water-weeds; but the cunning little architect does not trust in this matter to his textile skill alone; he cements the straws and other materials together with a gummy mortar of mucous threads secreted for the purpose by his internal organs.

As soon as the building operations are fully completed, the eager little householder sallies forth into his pond or brook in search of a mate who will come and stock his neatly-built home for him. At this stage of the proceedings, his wedding-garment becomes even more brilliant and glancing than ever; he gleams in silver and changeful gems; when he finds his lady-love, he dances round her, "mad with excitement," as Darwin well phrased it, looking his handsomest and best with his lustrous colours glistening like an opal. If she will listen to his suit, he grows wild with delight, and coaxes her into the nest with most affectionate endearments. In No. 2, as you perceive, the mate of his choice has been induced to enter, and is laying her eggs in the dainty home his care has provided for her. The father fish, meanwhile dances and capers around, in a pas de triomphe at the success of his endeavors.

One wife, however, does not suffice to fill the nest with eggs; and the stickleback is a firm believer in the advantages of large families. So, as soon as his first mate has laid all her spawn, he sets out once more in search of another. Thus he goes on until the home is quite full of eggs, bringing back one wife after another, in proportion to his success in wooing and fighting. For, like almost all polygamists, your stickleback is a terrible fighter. The males join wager of battle with one another for possession of their mates; in their fierce duels they make fearful use of the formidable spines on their backs, sometimes entirely ripping up and cutting to pieces their ill-fated adversary. The spines thus answer to the spurs of the gamecock or the antlers of the deer; they are masculine weapons in the struggle for mates. Indeed, you may take it for granted that brilliant colors and decorative adjuncts in animals almost invariably go with irascible tempers, pugnacious habits, and the practice of fighting for the possession of the harem. The consequence is, with the sticklebacks, that many males get killed during the struggle for supremacy, so that the survivors wed half a dozen wives each, like little Turks that they are in their watery seraglios. Only the most beautiful and courageous fish succeed in gaining a harem of their own: and thus the wager of battle tells in the end for the advantage of the race, by eliminating the maimed, the ugly, and the cowardly, and encouraging the strong, the handsome, the enterprising, and the valiant. This is nature's way of preventing degeneracy.

In No. 3 the nest is seen full of eggs, and the excellent father now comes out in his best light as their guardian and protector. He watches over them with ceaseless care, freeing them from parasites, and warding off the attacks of would-be enemies who desire to devour them, even though the intruder be several times his own size. The spines on his back here stand him once more in good stead: for small as he is, the stickleback is not an antagonist to be lightly despised: he can inflict a wound which a perch or a trout knows how to estimate at its full value. But that is not all the good parent's duty. He takes the eggs out of the nest every now and then with his snout, airs them a little in the fresh water outside, and then replaces and rearranges them, so that all may get a fair share of oxygen and may hatch out about simultaneously. It is this question of oxygen, indeed, which gives the father fish all the greatest trouble. That necessary of life is dissolved in water in very small quantities; and it is absolutely needed by every egg in order to enable it to undergo those vital changes which we know as hatching. To keep up a due supply of oxygen, therefore, the father stickleback ungrudgingly devotes laborious days in poising himself delicately just above the nest, as you see in No. 3, and fanning the eggs with his fins and tail, so as to set up a constant current of water through the centre of the barrel. He sits upon the eggs just as truly as a hen does; only, he sits upon them, not for warmth, but for aeration.

For weeks together this exemplary parent continues his monotonous task, ventilating the spawn many times every day, till the time comes for hatching. It takes about a month for the eggs to develop: and then the proud father's position grows more arduous than ever. He has to rock a thousand cradles at once, so to speak, and to pacify a thousand crying babies. On the one hand, enemies hover about, trying to eat the tender transparent glass-like little fry, and these he must drive off: on the other hand, the good nurse must take care that the active young fish do not stray far from the nest, and so expose themselves prematurely to the manifold dangers of the outer world. Till they are big enough to take care of themselves, he watches with incessant vigilance over their safety; as soon as they can go forth with tolerable security upon the world of their brook or pond, he takes a last well-merited holiday.

It is not surprising under these circumstances to learn that sticklebacks are successful and increasing animals. Their numbers are enormous, wherever they get a fair chance in life, because they multiply rapidly up to the extreme limit of the means of subsistence, and develop as fast as food remains for them. There the inexorable Malthusian law at last steps in: when there is not food enough for all some must starve; that is the long and the short of the great population question. But while provender is forthcoming they increase gayly. Sticklebacks live mainly on the spawn of other fish, though they are so careful of their own, and they are therefore naturally hated by trout-preservers and owners of fisheries in general. Thousands and thousands are caught each year; in some places, indeed, they are so numerous that they are used as manure. It is their numbers, of course, that make them formidable; they are the locusts of the streams, well armed and pugnacious, and provided with most remarkable parental instincts of a protective character, which enables them to fill up all vacancies in their ranks as fast as they occur with astonishing promptitude.

To those whose acquaintance with fish is mainly culinary, it may seem odd to hear that the father stickleback alone takes part in the care of the nursery. But this is the rule among the whole class of fish; wherever the young are tended, it is almost always the father, not the mother, who undertakes the duty of incubation. Only two instances occur where the female fish assumes maternal functions towards her young; about these I shall have more to say a little later on. We must remember that reptiles, birds, and mammals are in all probability descended from fish as ancestors, and it is therefore clear that the habit of handing over the care of the young to the female alone belongs to the higher grades of vertebrates—in other words, is of later origin. We need not be astonished, therefore, to find that in many cases among birds and other advanced vertebrates a partial reversion to the earlier habit not infrequently takes place. With doves, for example, the cock and hen birds sit equally on the eggs, taking turns about at the nest; and as for the ostriches, the male bird there does most of the incubation, for he accepts the whole of the night duty, and also assists at intervals during the daytime. There are numerous other cases where the father bird shares the tasks of the nursery at least equally with the mother. I will glance first, however, at one of the rare exceptions among fish where the main duty does not devolve on the devoted father.

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