The Geographical and Geological Distribution of Animals

9780217295635: The Geographical and Geological Distribution of Animals

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1887. Excerpt: ... caballus) was the only living representative of the caballine section of the family, and that no truly wild stock any longer existed on the surface of the earth. Whether Przevalski's horse proves to be a good species or not, there can be little or no question as to the normally wild state in which it occurs. The domestic animal has been spread through the agency of man over the greater part of the globe, where in nearly all localities it has flourished to a remarkable degree. That America was wholly, or in great part, deficient in horses at the time of the Spanish conquest, is proved beyond doubt, but at the same time it is equally proved, from the number of fossil remains that have been found between Escholz Bay in the north and Patagonia in the south, that the animal not only inhabited, but abounded on, the continent during a period comparatively recent preceding. There is, further, very little question as to the contemporaneity of the horse and man on the American continent, and, indeed, it would appear not exactly improbable, from certain references contained in old narratives, that at least in South America the animal still lingered on even after the advent of the Europeans. What led to its general extermination, when under apparently similar physical conditions the introduced animal has been able to thrive to such a wonderful degree, is a problem which still awaits solution. The species of ass appear to be more numerous than those of the horse, although not unlikely one or more of the forms usually considered distinct will have to be classed as mere varietal types. Zoologists are practically agreed that the domestic animal (E. asinus) is either identical with, or only a feebly modified derivative from, the wild ass of Abyssinia (E. tseniopus), the o...

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