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when they took the honey. When bees have stung anything, they perish, for they cannot withdraw their sting from the wound without leaving their entrails; but they are frequently saved, if the person stung will take care to press the sting from the wound; but when its sting is lost the bee must perish.' . Bees also appear to have pleasure in noises, so that they say that they can collect them into their hives by striking earthen vessels, and making noises. But it is very doubtful whether they hear or not; and if they hear, whether they collect together from pleasure or from fear. Aristotle notices the fact, that wasps are injurious to bees, also titmice, swallows, and the bee-eater (Merops apiaster). He enumerates frogs and toads amongst their enemies. The toad, of course, does something very wicked and unnatural—'he blows into the entrance of the hive, and desiroys the bees as they fly out.'

Aristotle paid much attention to fish; and his observations on this interesting class of animals are often true to nature. His remarks on the cartilaginous order, the sharks, rays, &c., would lead us to believe that they are the result of his own anatomical investigations. The quasi-placental connection that exists between the uterine portion of the oviduct and the egg which it contains, in the case of some species of viviparous sharks, as in the genus Mustelus, has been well described by Aristotle. He thus speaks of the habits of the angler-fish (Lophius piscatorius) and its device in procuring food : Marine animals also have many artful ways of procuring their food; for the stories that are told of the batrachus, which is called the fisher, are true, and so are those of the narke. For the batrachus has appendages above its eyes, of the length of a hair, with a round extremity to each like a bait. It buries itself in the sand or mud, and raises these appendages above the surface, and when the small fish strike them it draws them down till it brings the fish within reach of its mouth.'

The torpedo, endued with the power of giving electric shocks, was well known to the ancients under the appropriate name of Narke (vápen), “the benumbing fish.' Meno accuses Socrates of resembling both in form and other respects the broad marine narke ; for this fish benumbs the man who approaches and touches it; and you appear to have done to me the same thing, for in truth I am benumbed, both in mind and mouth, and I don't know how to answer you.'* Aristotle thus speaks of the torpedo : The

“ narke stupifies any fish it may wish to master with the peculiar force which it has in its body, and then takes and feeds upon


* Plato, “Meno,' 80. A.


them : it lies concealed in sand and mud, and captures as they swim over it any fish that it can take and stupify: of this circumstance many persons have been witnesses. The narke has plainly caused stupefaction in men.'

Dr. Whewell illustrates the confusion of thought on mechanical subjects that characterised the minds of the early writers by the fable of the Remora, which was supposed by Pliny and others to have the power of stopping the progress of a ship. The word used by the Greeks to denote this ship-stopping fish was exevnts: the Roman writers used a term of nearly similar import, remora, the delayer.' Pliny's fine words, in which he laments for the vanity of human affairs, when a little fish, as he believed, could stop an admiral's ship, have been often quoted. We only allude to them as proof that Pliny implicitly credited this supposed power of a small fish. Was Aristotle as credulous ? He mentions the echeneis once only, in a passage where it is evident he is speaking of a small blenny, and not of the remora, with its curious suctorial disc. There is a small fish which lives among the rocks, which some call echeneis; some people use it for philters; it is not fit for food : some people say it has feet, but it has none; the fins, however, are like feet, which gives it this appearance.' There is not a word about the supposed power of the tish to stop a vessel in its course. Was it generally credited in the philosopher's time, or was it a subsequent addition? The etymology of the word may simply point to the fact of the remora adhering by its disc to the bottoms of ships, and need not imply the idea of its being able to stop their course; that latter absurdity may be the offspring of a mistaken interpretation of the word, eagerly adopted by writers fond of the marvellous. At any rate, we may safely conclude that Aristotle would have rejected the story as impossible and absurd.

Aristotle's observations on the habits and structure of some of the birds are, on the whole, true to nature. He thus writes of the cuckoo :

• The cuckoo is said by some persons to be a changed hawk, because the hawk which it resembles disappears when the cuckoo comes, and indeed very few hawks of any sort can be seen during the period in which the cuckoo is singing, except for a few days. (!) The cuckoo is seen for a short time in the summer, and disappears in winter. But the hawk has crooked talons which the cuckoo has not, nor does it resemble the hawk in the form of the head, but in both these respects is more like the pigeon than the hawk, which it resembles in nothing but its colour; the markings, however, upon the hawk are like lines, while the cuckoo is spotted. Its size and manner of flight is like that of the smallest kind of hawk, which generally disappears during the

Vol. 117.–No. 233.



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season in which the cuckoo is seen. They say that no one has ever seen the young of the cuckoo. It does, however, lay eggs, but it makes no nest; but sometimes it lays its eggs in the nests of small birds and devours their eggs, especially in the nest of the pigeon. Sometimes it lays two, but usually only one egg; it lays also in the nest of the hypolais (hedge-sparrow), which hatches and brings it up. At this season it is particularly fat and sweet-fleshed. The flesh also of young hawks is very sweet and fat.' (!) (VI. 7.)

Various opinions prevailed in Aristotle's time with regard to the singular habits of the cuckoo in the matter of the education of its young

Some people assert,' he adds in another place, that when the young cuckoo grows it ejects from the nest the other young birds which thus perish; others say that the mother bird (the cuckoo fosterparent, that is) kills them and feeds the young cuckoo with her own brood; for the beauty of the young cuckoo makes her despise her own offspring ....Some say that the old cuckoo comes and devours the young of the other bird; others say that the great size of the young cuckoo enables it to seize upon the food which is brought to the nest, so that the rest perish from starvation; others say that the cuckoo, being the stronger bird, kills those that are brought up with it.' (IX. 20, $s 1, 2.)

The following is Aristotle's reason for the singular and exceptional habit of the cuckoo depositing its eggs in the nests of other birds :-“The cuckoo appears to act prudently in thus depositing her egg; for it is conscious of its own timidity, and that it cannot defend its young, and therefore places them under the protection of another bird, in order that they may be preserved ; for this bird is very cowardly, and when it is pecked by even small birds it flies away from them.' It need scarcely be said that Aristotle's reason is mere conjecture, and very far from the true one. In another place he mentions the fact of the cuckoo changing its voice when it is about to migrate.

Passing on from birds to mammals, we may notice Aristotle's account of the lion. Comparative anatomists will be surprised to learn that the king of beasts has only one bone in its neck, but no cervical vertebræ. Whence arose such a preposterous opinion? The lion is no exception to other viviparous quadrupeds, having seven vertebræ in the neck, like them. It is clear from this statement that Aristotle is depending upon others, and that he never saw the skeleton of a lion. Again, he states that the lion, whose bones are small and slight, has no marrow in them, except just a little in the thigh and fore-leg; and that the bones are so hard that they will emit fire on percussion. He mentions the existence of lions in Europe, in the country between the Acheloüs and the Nestus. There is no reason whatever to doubt that



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lions existed formerly in Europe. In this passage Aristotle is simply copying Herodotus.—(vii

. 126.) The following is Aristotle's account of the habits of the lion:

• The lion in his manner of feeding is very cruel; but when he is not hungry and is full fed, his disposition is gentle. He is neither jealous nor suspicious. He is fond of playing with and affectionate towards those animals which have been brought up with him and to which he has become accustomed. When hunted he has never been seen to retreat or be alarmed; and if compelled to yield to the numbers of his hunters, he retires slowly and leisurely, and turns himself round at short intervals. If overtaken in a thicket, he flies rapidly till he reaches the open plain, and then again he withdraws slowly. If compelled by numbers to retreat openly on the plain ground, he runs at full stretch, and does not leap. His manner of running is continuous, like that of a dog at full stretch. When pursuing his prey, he throws himself upon it when it comes within reach. It is however true, as they say, that the lion is afraid of the fire, as Homer also writes, “ The burning fagots which he fears when urged against him;" and that he observes the person who strikes him and attacks him; and if a person aims a blow at him without hitting him, the lion, if he can rush upon and seize him, does not do him any injury, nor tear him with his claws, but shakes and frightens him, and then leaves him. They are more disposed to enter towns and attack mankind when they grow old; for old age renders them unable to hunt, from the disease which attacks their teeth.

• They live many years; and a tame lion has been captured which had many of its teeth broken, which some persons considered as a sign that it had lived many years.

There are two kinds of lion. One of these has a round body and more curly hair, and is a more cowardly animal. The other is of a longer form, has straight hair, and is more courageous. Sometimes when retiring they stretch out their tails like dogs; and a lion has been at times observed, when about to attack a hog, to retreat when that animal erected its bristles. The lion is weak if struck in the belly, and will bear many blows on other parts of the body, and its head is ry strong. If they bite or tear anything, a large quantity of yellow serum flows from the wound, which can never be stopped by bandages or sponges. The mode of healing is the same as in the bite of a dog.' (IX. 31.)

The above account of the lion, which on the whole is tolerably correct, is in all probability derived from others. There is no evidence of any kind that would lead us to suppose that Aristotle had ever dissected a lion, or had ever accompanied a hunting expedition, in order to observe its habits. We have already seen indications of one part of his account being taken from Herodotus ; from Homer and Hesiod also he appears to derive some of his information. It is interesting to note how fre


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quently the lion is introduced in some of Homer's grandest similes: we do not remember a single passage in the “Iliad’relating to the lion that contains anything that is not true to nature. The fable, that the lioness only brought forth one cub in her lifetime, and parted with her womb at the same time with her young one-a story evidently believed by Herodotus and ridiculed by Aristotle-finds no place in Homer. In his time—whenever or wherever he lived lions must have been tolerably abundant. The allusions probably have reference to the lions of Asia Minor more particularly, although, as we have said before, these animals might have been far from uncommon in Europe in early times.*

The lion's “retreating slowly and leisurely, turning himself round at short intervals,' of which Aristotle speaks in the abovequoted passage, is the very simile used by Homer to express the retreat of the sullen Ajax from the Trojan host :

«O'er his broad back his moony shield he threw,
And glaring round, by tardy steps withdrew :
Thus the grim lion his retreat maintains,
Beset with watchful dogs and shouting swains,
Repulsed by numbers from the nightly stalls,
Though rage impels him, and though hunger calls;
Long stands the showering darts and missile fires;

Then sourly slow th' indignant beast retires.' Aristotle duly appreciated the characters of the aberrant forms of animal life. In the opinion of the vulgar and uneducated the whale is always considered a fish. Aristotle was not deceived by external form, and correctly describes the animals forming the Cetacean order as air-breathing mammifers. The fins of the seal are homologous with the feet of a quadruped. "The seal,' he says, “is like a maimed quadruped; for immediately beneath the scapula it has feet like hands; for they are five-fingered, and each of the fingers has three joints and a small claw: the hind feet are five-fingered, and each of the fingers has joints and claws, like those upon the forefeet: in shape they are very like the tail of a fish.' In another place Aristotle has given a very accurate account of the habits of the seal. • When the young are twelve days old it leads them to the water several times a day, in order to habituate them by degrees. It drags its hinder parts along, and

* Some writers have supposed that the fable above alluded to is derived from Egypt. It appears from Horapollo, ii. c. 82, that the Egyptians believed that the lioness was able to conceive once only.

Γυναίκα γεννήσασαν άπαξ βουλόμενοι σημήναι, λέαιναν ζωγραφουσιν αύτη γαρ δις ου κοΐσκει.

Θήρι έoικώς
'Εντροπαλιζόμενος, ολίγον γόνυ γουνός αμείβων.-11.xi. 545.


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