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It has already been mentioned that the Leopard is smaller than the Tiger; indeed he seldom exceeds from three to four feet from the tip of the nose to the root of the tail, which latter is somewhat shorter than the body. Perhaps the largest authentic measurement is that of an animal, spoken of under the designation of Panther, but in all probability truly a Leopard, which was killed by Colonel Denhams party in the course of that zealous and successful travellers late expedition, and which is stated at eight feet two inches from the muzzle to the extremity of the tail. This savage creature, although twice impaled by the lances of his pursuers which he had snapped asunder in his rage, was still on the point of making a spring upon the foremost of the party, when a musket ball through the head completely deprived him of that vitality which his previous wounds, dangerous and fatal as they undoubtedly were, had not even appeared to diminish in any sensible degree.

The horns, which form the most distinguishing character of the genus, are perfectly solid throughout their whole extent. Their form varies very considerably in the different races; but they are constantly uniform in the same species, unless accidentally or artificially perverted from their natural growth. In some they are simple at the base and terminate in a broad and palmate expansion, which is variously lobed and divided; in others they are more or less branched, giving off antlers in different directions; and in some few they are short and nearly simple. They fall off and are renewed annually in all the species which inhabit the northern and temperate regions of the earth, and in those in which they attain any considerable size; but Sir T. Stamford Raffles was of opinion, and his opinion has been in some measure confirmed by the observations of Major C. Hamilton Smith, that several of the tropical species with small and nearly simple horns are exempted from this general law. The horns are smaller and less developed in the young than in the full grown and adult animal, and diminish again in size, and frequently become irregular, as he advances in age. In one species alone, the Rein-Deer of the North, the female wears the[187] same palmy honours with the male; but they do not in her reach the same enormous extent.

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2021-06-17 15:35:19 [安顺市网友]

But the presence of this one anomalous characteristic is accompanied by so many striking discrepancies in other parts, that, limited as this tribe is in number, most of the principal forms of Mammalia find analogous representations among its groups. Thus the Opossums exhibit characters in some measure intermediate between the Quadrumana and the Carnivora, to which latter the Dasyuri, another Marsupial group, closely resembling the Civets in form and habits, approach very nearly; while the herbivorous races of the tribe might occupy a station between the Rodent and Ruminant Orders, with each of which they exhibit various degrees of relationship. This want of uniformity in the essential parts of their organization necessarily gives rise to much difficulty in determining their position in the system. The mode of classification now most generally followed is perhaps, under all the circumstances, the best that could at the present moment be adopted; although it must be owned that the purely herbivorous species arrange themselves with a very ill grace under a subdivision of the order Carnivora. Placed, however, as they are at the end of that order, and immediately before the Rodentia, the regular gradations from the type of the former to that of the latter, which occur in their different groups, become most distinctly manifest.

2021-06-17 15:35:19 [酒泉市网友]

2021-06-17 15:35:19 [浙江网友]

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2021-06-17 15:35:19 [江苏网友]



2021-06-17 15:35:19 [淄博市网友]



2021-06-17 15:35:19 [信阳市网友]



2021-06-17 15:35:19 [黄冈市网友]

Nearly approaching to the Jaguar in size and form, but obviously distinguished from him at the first glance, by the total absence of spots, the Puma, Couguar, or, as he was once called, the American Lion, occupies the second place among the cats of the New World, over nearly the whole of which he was formerly spread, from Canada and the United States in the North, to the very extremity of Patagonia in the South. From a large portion of this immense expanse of country he appears, however, to have been of late years in a great measure, if not entirely, rooted out; and it is seldom that he is now heard of in the vicinity of that civilization, which[50] involves, as a necessary consequence, either the complete extinction, or, at least, the gradual diminution and dispersion to more secure and sheltered habitations, of all the more savage and obnoxious beasts. For his title of the American Lion he was, in a great degree, indebted to an absurd notion on the part of the early colonists, which was even shared by many naturalists, that he was, in reality, neither more nor less than a degenerate variety of that far more noble animal. This opinion has, however, long since given way before the prevalence of sounder views; and he is now universally recognised as forming a species clearly distinguishable from every other, by a combination of characters which it is impossible to mistake.

2021-06-17 15:35:19 [龙岩市网友]

The colour of the species now before us, which is a[106] native of India, is a pale gray, the hairs being for the most part of a dirty yellowish white, relieved towards their extremities by narrow rings of brown. The head and limbs are darker than the rest of the body.