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which was living at Florence in the year 1486. “It is,' says he, “in the meridional part of Ethiopia that the camelopardalis, which the Arabs call Siraf, is found. Its hinder part is so low compared to the front, that it seems as if it were sitting. The inhabitants of Florence have seen this giraffe, without any effort, to run with so much speed as to outstrip the cavaliers, even when they gave the rein and spur to their steeds.” In another place he adds, “What is very surprising, is, that Pliny, Solin, Strabo, Albertus Magnus, Diodorus, Varro, and other writers, were ignorant that this animal had horns; which leads me to conjecture that the one which was seen for the first time at Rome under the dictatorship of Julius Cæsar, had lost its horns, as well as the one which appertained to the Emperor Frederic in the time of Albertus Magnus.” Lastly, Constanzio observes: “When the camelopardalis walks, the left foot does not follow the right fore-foot; on the contrary, the two right feet move together, then the two left."
It has, however, been denied that the giraffe exhibits this ambling gait. Mr. Davis the animal painter, who executed several portraits of the living giraffe for His late Majesty, observes: “I doubt whether the giraffe does amble, as asserted by M. Geoffroy St. Hilaire. Its walk is fast, from the length of its limbs, but extremely awkward ; its gallop is a succession of jumps, and I see no reason why it should not continue long, if we judge by analogy with the form of some horses and dogs that have narrow stomachs: there may be a sufficient space for the play of lungs in depth, if not possessed in breadth. When I say the walk is awkward, perhaps this specimen is hardly a fair one to form such an opinion generally, for its growth has been very rapid, and its limbs are deformed by the treatment it experienced when in the hands of the Arabs in its overland journey from Sennaar to Cairo. It was occasionally confined on the back of a camel; and when they huddled it together for that purpose, they were not nice in the choice of cords, or the mode of applying them; it bears the marks of what it must have suffered in this way. *'
Our own observations on the giraffe now living in the Garden of Plants in Paris, which exhibits none of the untoward symptoms mentioned by Mr. Davis, go very much to support the ancient and generally received opinions on this subject. In starting, we observed that it invariably moved first a forefoot, then the hind-foot of the opposite side; this action was almost immediately followed by throwing forward the forefoot of the same side; then the hind-foot of the opposite side
Literary Gazette, Dec. 1, 1827.
moved, and was as quickly succeeded by the carrying forward of the leg which had commenced the movement; the gait then proceeded, the two legs of the same side appearing to move simultaneously, although not exactly so; for on a close inspection, a trifling interval could be detected between the elevation of the fore- and hind-leg of the same side. Whenever it commenced its walk, its long neck was stretched forward in a line with his body, so as to give it rather a stiff and ungainly appearance; but the novelty and uncommon peculiarity of every movement and act of this animal overpowered every sentiment but that of astonishment and of delight.
The chief beauty in the giraffe is the form of the head, and the lustre combined with a mild expression of the eye. These organs are large and prominent, and are so situated at the side of the head, that the animal can see both behind and below it without turning its head. Hence, while browsing on the acacias which skirt the desert, he can command the space behind without suspending the act of feeding. The ears, as in all the ruminants, are well formed for catching sounds; they most resemble those of the ox. The nostrils have the same shape and position as in the camel, the upper lip being hairy and extending considerably beyond them. The sense of smell is acute and delicate. The most remarkable of the organs of sense is the tongue, which is so modified as to perform in the giraffe many of the purposes for which the proboscis of the elephant is destined. It is even in some respects superior to that wonderful organ; for being composed almost wholly of contractile parts, unmixed with rigid ligamentous and cartilaginous material, it can be wholly retracted within the mouth, although when fully extended its length is seventeen inches. When in the latter state, it is so attenuated that its extremity can be inserted into the ring of a very small key; it resembles, in short, a large black worm twisting about the animal's lips, and in this state it is used to hook down the branches which would otherwise be out of the reach of even the Giraffe's lofty stature. We have observed the giraffe in the Garden of Plants instinctively performing this action in extracting the highest straws from the partition which separated it from a neighbouring stall. With respect to the peculiar colour of this organ, Sir Everard Home observes : “ As the tongue, in procuring and tasting the food, is much exposed to the sun's rays, it is furnished with a black rete mucosum, to prevent its being blistered. *" It is covered with little papillæ, which Mr. Davis † remarks it can raise at pleasure; for at times the tongue is perfectly smooth and soft,
Phil. Trans. vol. cxviii.
+ Literary Gazette, Dec. 1, 1827.
at others exceedingly rough. The lips possess great flexibility, the upper one being longer than the lower, and rather pointed at the end, and therefore adapted to assist the tongue in drawing in boughs, but when grinding the food it is contracted.
As in all other ruminants, the front or incisive teeth are wanting in the upper jaw. The giraffe lies down when it chews the cud; and with respect to this action, Sir Everard Home observes that “it is curious to see the cud rise gradually through the length of the æsophagus to the mouth." This gradual motion might probably result from the weak state of the animal he observed; for in the healthy specimen at Paris, it was still more wonderful to watch the rapidity with which the cud traversed the long neck to reach the mouth; the eye could hardly follow it in its passage.
It would seen, from the silence of the early describers of the giraffe, that the horns were either occasionally deficient, or, from their small size and peculiar covering, had been overlooked. The latter is the more probable supposition, for in none of the instances, in which this animal has come under observation since the importance of careful scrutiny in Natural History has been duly appreciated, have the horns been found wanting In the female giraffe now living at the Garden of Plants, they are seven inches in length, perfectly conical for one half of their extent, whilst the other half, which is cylindrical, is curved backwards, and ends obtusely. Each horn is eleven inches in circumference at the base, four inches in circumference at the middle, and the same at the extremity. The skin of the head covers them entirely, and the hair is of the same length there as on other parts, except at the extremity of the horn, where the hairs are longer, and hang off like a tuft or brush.
In order to understand completely the nature of these horns, it becomes necessary to consider those of ruminating animals in general. The weapons with which these otherwise defenceless animals are provided, are situated on the upper part of the head, and are wielded with a vigour proportionate to the vast muscular apparatus connected with that part. They are of two kinds. In the ox, the sheep, the goat, and the antelope, the horns are composed of a true elastic horny sheath, encased upon a bony core, which is a production or branch of the frontal bone of the skull. These two parts grow together; they are never shed. After death the outer sheath separates, sooner or later, from its bony core; its cavity early suggested its utility as a drinking-vessel, &c.,and in Natural History all this class of horns are technically
termed 'hollow'. In the elk and the stag, on the contrary, the horns consist of bone only*-of a core without a sheath, and are termed solid.' The nutrient vessels, which lie safely protected beneath their covering in the preceding examples, could not carry on their functions under the present form: the horn, therefore, soon falls after it is completed, and provision is made for its immediate renewal.
Whilst the growth of the stag's horn proceeds, the vessels which carry and deposit the bony material are protected by an integument covered with short hairs, and termed technically the velvet : this outer covering is co-extended with the horn. Were the horns destined, as apparently in the giraffe, to be mere ornaments, they might have retained their hairy investment, and have become permanent; but, being formed for purposes of defence and combat, the nutrient vessels are compressed between tubercles of bone thrown out at the base of the antlers, forming the burr; their growth is thus arrested, the integument covering them shrivels and peels off, and they remain naked and insensible weapons. But being thus cut off from any vital connexion with the part from which they grew, the antlers, after a short period, are cast off by a process of absorption set up at their base, in accordance with an universal law, by which dead parts are separated from living.
Now it is obvious that the giraffe differs from both the preceding groups of ruminants in the nature of its horns; for, to say nothing of the female possessing them as well as the male,-a circumstance which rarely occurs in the solidhorned ruminants,—they differ also from those of the latter tribe, in being permanent, and in retaining their investment, which is the cause of their permanency. In the nature of this investment, the horns of the giraffe differ essentially from the hollow horns, as well as in their bony nucleus, which is not an immediate production from the skull, but is a distinct bone articulated to the former by an expanded base. Of the two tribes, however, it is obvious that the giraffe, in this respect, most resembles the solid-horned rumi. nants or deer; and the analogy is almost complete, if we compare its horns with those of a red deer in the second year, while in the growing state, or in the velvet. This condition, however, which is transitory in the stag, is permanent in the giraffe ; and hence we have one of those anomalous genera standing alone and isolated, and partaking more or less remotely of the characters which are found to separate into
* The term “horns' is therefore obviously improper. The French, who appear to have early appreciated the difference, call the stag's horns "bois', in contradistinction to those of the ox, termed cornes'.
distinct groups the animals most resembling it in general structure.
But there remains another peculiarity more remarkable and unexpected than any that have previously been alluded to in this anomalous animal ;-it is a third horn, situated on the median line of the head, between the other horns and the nostrils. It has precisely the same structure as the other horns, and differs only in form and relative size, being more widely extended at the base, with considerably less elevation, so that externally it is only recognised as a protuberance on the part of the head above mentioned.
The head of the giraffe thus ornamented, is supported on an extremely long neck, which is compressed and thin near its junction with the head. This very long neck contains, however, according to Sir Everard Home, (to whom we are indebted for all the anatomical knowledge we possess respecting the giraffe,) but seven vertebræ, the same number as is found in man. From their form and mode of articulation, they however permit every necessary degree of flexibility, and the motions of this part are almost as free and graceful as those exhibited by the swan.
The skin upon the neck, the trunk, the thighs, and part of the fore-legs, is marked with large spots of a reddish or clear yellow hue, upon a dull white ground. These spots, being very close together, present an angular form, more or less approaching to a rhomboid : they are arranged with some degree of regularity, something like the squares of a chessboard. This animal has a mane like the ass or mule, which extends from the back of the head to the withers, composed of short and very stiff hairs. This mane and the ears are of a yellow colour. The under part of the body, with the insides of the thighs and extremities of the legs, are a faded white. The hoofs are black, well divided, and well placed ; they are reduced to a very little thickness behind. The giraffe has generally been described as having, like the camel, a callosity between the fore-legs, supposed to result from a similar manner of resting on the chest when lying down : but Mr. Davis observes, “There are between the fore-legs what, to the casual observer, may appear such; but these are folds of loose skin, which enable it to separate its fore-legs when reaching downwards. Its mode of resting is, like most quadrupeds, on its side ; but the operation of lying down is curious and peculiar : I will endeavour to describe it.-We will suppose it to be preparing to lie on the off-side : the first action is to drop on the fetlock of the off fore-leg, then on the knee of the near one, to bring down the other knee : it then collects