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the air and the fish of the sea, to realize, that they resemble the human race in their liability to suffering even from slight injuries, and therefore have claims on our humanity, not only as fellow-creatures, but as exposed to pains and torments from care.
less or ignorant, as well as from cruel 3 hands? 3 These remarks may appear to be out of s
place here, while we have before us an animal of a different class. We are ready to reply, tha: if by introducing them here, we may give a good direction to any of our readers, we shall not consider them thrown away. Before we return to the subject depicted at the head of this article, we would add a few words more.
Backbones serve several other important purposes also. The ribs are attached to them, which protect the heart and lungs, and partly the stomach, while their motion causes the vital operation of breathing The spinal column also is the supporter of the head, either directly, as in man, or indirectly, by giving support to the muscles which sustain it, as in common animals. For an example of the manner in which provision is made for the support of the enormous head of the mammoth, with its tremendous tusks, see page 715, of this number of our magazine.
We will now revert to the Mya, or gaping shell-fish, which is depicted at the head of this article. Like all other inhabitants of shells, it is destitute not only of a backbone, but also of all bones whatever. The shell-fish belong to that one of the three divisions of the invertebrated animals which are called Mollusca or soft animals. Many of them, like the clam, oyster and muscle, have no heads. In many other reepects also, which we have no room to particularize, they differ from the animals with which we are most familiar, and present curious and surprising characteristics, which the students of God's works admire, investigate and record, which the idle and frivolous respect not, and which the novel reader de.3 spises.
The gaping shell is often placed at the
head of the double shells or bivalves ; ani such of our readers as have had taste and industry enough to commence a collection of these beautiful objects, need not be told that we have a very useful variety of the Mya in abundance on our sea.coast : the long clam, or soft clam, as it is commonly called. The Mya is distinguished by an opening left between its shells at one part when it is elsewhere closed. This is made to allow the foot of the animal to have at all times access to the water or air. It lives buried an inch or more beneath the sand, in beaches, between high and low water marks, and twice every 24 hours is alternately covered and left by the tide. It is easily discovered when the sea has retired, by its spirting up a small jet of wa. ter, on feeling the pressure made on the sand by a little blow, or by the foot of one treading near it. A spade, or even the hand will then easily dig it out of its bed. It is very delicate and wholesome food, and is sold in considerable quantities in New York and other places, being preferred by many, for its flavor, to the round or real clam'; while some even rank it with the oyster.
Another distinguishing mark of the Mya often is a peculiar hinge, which is the chief characteristic of the species, as in most other bivalves : but the hinge varies in some spe cies of the Mya.
Here, however, as in noticing the gaping of the shell, we give the marks of the covering of the animal, and speak as conchologists. The reader will bear in mind, that, in writing of the animal itself, zoologists leave the shell out of view, and regard only the organic structure, habits, &c. Turning to “ Cuvier's Animal Kingdom," therefore, we find Mya ranged among the Inclusa, or fifth family of the Acephala Testacea, (headless shellfish,) which is the first order of mollusca, or soft animals. Therefore, to learn all that is to be known of the ani. mal, we must read the description of each division and subdivision, with distinct ideas of the place which it holds in the systen.
The following description (familiar and scientific) of the shell and its inhabitant we? Scopy from “ Lessons on Shells," a pretty
liule elemen'ary work, which we would recommend to every family and school, as a pleasing and useful assistant in the study of this interesting and improving branch of natural history. The American edition with colored prints may be bought for less than a dollar, and offers many lessons for drawing and coloring, as well as a great deal of familiar and agreeable instruction on shells and shell-fish
Generic character. Shelı bivalve, equivalve, inequilateral, sometimes gaping at one end, sometimes at both; shape, suboval, broader than it is long ; generally smooth, or only slightly striated ; hinge with a thick, strong patulous, or spoon-shaped tooth, sometimes inserted into the opposite valve. OBSERVATIONS ON THE SHELL AND ITS
INHABITANT. The points of generic resemblance in the Myæ are wanting in many of the spe. cies. The coarse large tooth is the charac. teristic of the hinge, but sometimes it is not more than a thickened callosity. Some species are altogether destitute of teeth; these have a rounded cavity for the recep
tion of the cartilage. The gaping of the 3 valves is another distinguishing feature, but
it does not always occur. In form also the shells differ considerably; some are oblong
and truncated, as if a part of the shell had 3 been cut oft'; others are obicular, and many
are angular from the addition of ears at the 3 hinge. The My are generally covered
with a thick brown or green epidermis ; when this is removed, the surface exhibits a beautiful irridescent mother-of-pearl lustre. Some of the species grow to a great size; others are remarkable for their thick, solid and substantial shells, and have in consequence been formed into a distinct genus, ca led Unio. Many of the mollusca of this genus burrow in the sand or mud, boring a channel through which they thrust a contracted trunk including two tubes. The Myæ furnish food not only for man, but also for many aquatic birds.
transversely, and covered with a brownish yellow tough epidermis, extending an inch or two beyond the gaping end, like a thick membrane, through which the animal protrudes its tube ; hinge with a rounded tooth projecting forwards; inside white ; length from one to two inches ; breadth from two to three.
These shells inhabit the sand or gravel about low water mark on most of the nor-> thern coasts of Europe. In Greenland their Mollusca are the food of man and other tanimais. When taken alive, the epidermis of the shell is found joined to the tube or proboscis of the animal, having become a thick, tough, coriaceous skin for its protection. The animal is capable of extending this tube to the distance of nine or ten inches, and of contracting it about three, s but cannot withdraw it entirely into the shell.
PEARL-DIVING OYSTER. Specific character. Shell, strong, pon. derous, thick ; shape, ovate, oblong, front compressed, margin a little contracted in the middle, giving a somewhat curved outline to the circumference; hinge consisting of a cardinal tooth in one valve, which is thick, obtusely conical, and looking into a bifurcated tooth in the other valve; shell about two inches long, and four broad; covered wirh a black epidermis decorticated at the umbones; inside of a greenish pear. ly hue.
This shell is one of a very interesting group, now formed into a distinct genus and called Unio. It inhabits only rocky torrents, and the precipitous streams of mountainous districts. Many are found in the cataracts and rapid rivers of America, and by their solid and thick shells manifest the providential care that fitted them for the dangerous spots they occupy. When we look at the ponderous Mya driven by the powerful torrent, and compare it with the light and delicate Ianthina,, borne gently on the surface of the waves, shall we coldly attribute such adaptation to circumstances or the blind dealing of chance, and not ra. ther delight to recognize the beneficent wisdom of our heavenly Father, pervaring all his works, and suiting each to the place he assigns it ?
The Mya Margaratifera is found in seve. * ral British rivers, particularly those of Wales ; it is also found in some parts of Ireland, where the seasantry use the valves as spoons. (It is common in the U. States.)
TRUNCATED GAPER. Specific character. Shell, ovate, convex, 3 truncated at the anterior end, where it gapes s considerably, curved at the areola, wrinkled
GREAT AMERICAN MASTODON.
Concluded from No. 40.page 636
ANATOMY OF THE MASTODON. The skull. The bones of the skull are wonderfully large, and as well preserved as the other bones. The posterior part is flat and broad, measuring in height one foot eleven inches, and in width two feet nine inches. The foramen ma gnum for the passage of the spinal marrow, is three inches and a half in diameter. In the centre of the occipital bone are two deep cavities for the insertion of the ligamentum nucha, separated by a thin bony partition. The frontal bone is two feet four inches wide, between the orbits of the eyes. The outer plate of bone is very hard and three quarters of an inch thick, where we find eleven inches and a quarter of cellular bone, extending down to the brain. The cavity of the brain is small, occupying only the lower portion of the skull. In front of the nares, (nostrils,) between the origin of the lusks, is a cavity as large as that of the brain, and is probably the antrum highmorianum.
The insertion of the tusks into the intermaxillary bones, is two feet five inches, extending back of the orbits. These tusks were ten and a half feet in length, and two feet and an inch in circumference where they enter the socket. With regard to the direction of the tusks, we are convinced from observation of a number of skulls, that their direction is as accidental as the horns of cattle. Some follow the first curve, downward and out. wards, the points in one which we have seen being eleven feet asunder. In the skull of this skeleton before us, they first curved downwards and outwards till they were seven feet apart, when they curved inwards and slightly upwards till they approached at the points within two feet of each other. The socket of the tusks is curved and flattened, so that it was impossible for the tusks to have turned in the sockets, during the decay of the soft parts, as is supposed by many to have been the case.
The whole skull, lengthwise, is bounded on all sides by nearly straight lines. The lower
jaw is nearly straight from the angle to the front, and measures in that line two feet ten inches. The condyloid process, by which it is articulated with the head, is distant from the coronoid process one foot. In the front of the lower jaw, at the commissure, is a small round tooth, eleven inches in length and one inch and a half in diameter, and inserted into a socket seven inches deep. This is on the left side of the commissure. On the right side is a partial socket, as if another tooth had once been there.--It appears that the young animals had these two teeth, but lost them at a later period of life, as the re
mains of the socket only are found in skele. 3 tons of old animals.
The teeth are, in this skeleton, two in each 3 row, making eight in all. The front tooth
measures three by four and a half inches; the back tooth, three and a half by seven and a half inches. Like the elephant, this animal probably changed its teeth during its growth; at each change the back teeth crowding forward, till they eventually crowded out the front ones.
The length of the head, from the occiput to the front of the intermaxillary bones, is four feet and one inch, and weighed, with the tusks, 694 pounds.
There are seven bones of the neck, pine teen of the back and three of the loins. The first seven bones of the back are characterized by very long spinous processes, the longest measuring two feet. From the third they diminish in length very rapidly to the eleventh, when they are almost lost. The bones of the neck are much more upright than in the elephant, giving lo the animal the appearance of carrying a high head. Atlas, 3fi. 8 in. in circumference.
The ribs are forty in number; twenty on each side, and the longest measures four feet seven inches. The first and second ribs on the right side appear to have been broken by some accident during the animal's life. Du. ring the process of healing, the first rib has formed a bony attachment to the sternum or breast-bone, which is a triangular bone of large size and one foot seven inches long. The last two ribs on the right side have also been united longitudinally. The scapula (shoulder-blade) is two feet and ten inches long, and two feet nine inches wide, having a long and sharp acromion process.
The humerus (shoulder) is three feet and five inches long, three feet and two inches in circumference at the upper end, and three feet and five inches at the lower. The ulna measures two feet and three inches, from the articulation at the humerus, to where it unites with the foot. The olecranon process is seren inches long, and two feet four inches in cir. cumference at the base. The circumference of the elbow is three feet nine inches. The radius is small and slender, and crosses from the inside of the ankle to the front of the elbow. The articulating surface of the elbow is one foot three and a half inches long, and seven and a half inches wide.
The bones of the fore-foot resemble in form those of an elephant, but project forward in. stead of being arranged in a perpendicular column, and the toes have evidently possessed great power of flexion.
The pelvis is a broad massive bone, and was taken up entire. It measures between the illiac extremities, six feet and one inch. The pubic and sacro-illiac symphyses are completely united by ossification. The pubic bone, from the anterior to the posterior edge, measures two feet. The thyroid foramen is nine and a half inches long by five inches wide. The diameter from the sacrum to the pubis is tweniy-iwo inches; the transverse
diameter nineteen. > The femur (thigh-bone) is three feet ten
inches long, and seventeen mches in circumference at the middle. The head of this bone is two feet in circumference; around the trochanter, three feet. The great trochanter is very large, but in place of the lesser trochanter is only a swelling and roughness of the bone.
The tibia is two feet six inches long, and two feet seven inches in circumference at the top. The articulating surface, where it receives the thigh bone, is one toot in transverse diameter. The fibula is two feet two
inches in length. The bones of the hind leg , resemble in a wonderful degree the same
bones in man; and it is not to be wondered at, that when these bones have been found,
they have sometimes been mistaken for the ? bones of gigantic men.
The bones of the legs, the tusks and the proboscis in this animal are similar to those of the elephant. The structure of the remainder of the skeleton is entirely different,
The head of the elephant is formed of bones more or less rounded throughout. The occi. put consists of two large lobes of bone, one on each side, with a deep groove between, The lower jaw is convex on the lower side, and the teeth in that jaw are with the crowns concave from the front backwards, receiving the upper teeth which are convex to fit them. The teeth of the elephant are nearly smooth, while in this animal they are formed of two rows of conical prominenccs, from which the animal receives its name, the two Greek words of which the name is composed signifying a nipple and a tooth.
It was formerly the opinion that this animal lived partly upon flesh. There is, how. ever, satisfactory evidence, from its teeth and from the contents of the stomach, that its food was principally the small twigs and branches of trees. It had litile, if any, lateral motion to its lower jaw, and of course could not masticate its food very fine.
All that we know of the habits of the animal is to be inferred from its structure and from tradition. Its form compared with the elephant, is apparently about the same as the horse compared with the ox. He was proba. bly comparatively a graceful animal in his movements; and with his elevated head, ornamented with such enormous tusks, appear. ed terribly majestic. The opinion of some that he was the behemoth of Job, is without
any foundation; yet the description of that ? animal in some respects may well apply to this.
OTHER ANIMAL REMAINS. The discovery has been made of the remains of a species of deer in the fresh water marl beds of Orange and Greene counties in this State. We first obtain od the jaw of this ex
inct species from the marl pit of Mr. Stewart in the latter county, and afterwards one of the horns from a similar pit in Scotclrtown, in Orange. This deer was about the size of the reindeer of the north, and, like that animal,
was provided with a flattened (though more slender) horn; but it differs especially from the reindeer, in the possession of two brow antlers instead of one, on a single shaft, and quite near its base. No other bones have yet been found ; and hence the height and bulk of the animal have not been accurately determined ; but that in this country the genus CERVUS contained a species which is now extinct, is, by this discovery, placed beyond a doubt.
But a still more remarkable species has also perished: we allude to the great Irish elk, whose remains are found in the same beds as those of the deer just spoken of. The horns of this gigantic creature had a spread of ten feet, and hence he must have been one of the most majestic animals of the forests of his time.
Of all the extinct species of quadrupeds, however, the mastodons and elephants are the most remarkable. An animal twelve feet high and proportionately long, provided with tusks curving upwards and outwards to the extent of ten feet, must have been a unique object upon the hills in our vicinity. Whats their habits were, cannot be well determined now; but we know that they must have been vegetable feeders, and have browsed upon trees of no mean height and size. A circumstance of some interest in their history is, that they appear to have been confined to the western side of the present valley of the Hudson ; for so far as observations have been made, their remains have not been found either north of the Mohawk valley, or east of the Hudson river. .
Although the bones belonging to many dif. ferent individuals have been discovered in the counties of Albany and Greene in this State, and in the adjacent counties in New Jersey, still this part of the continent does not appear to have been their favorite haunt. We must go into the valley of the Mississippi, if we would form a true conception of their former numbers and importance. The Bigbone licks are known the world over, as the cemetery of hundreds of these animals. But here they are not solitary and alone : numerous bones of other animals, known now to be extinct, lie entombed with them in those saline deposits. The horse, the ox, the buffalo and some others, appear to have been their companions, and to have made these spots their favorite resort. Still farther west, they were equally if not more abundant. The Kelderberg hills seem to have been the limit of their wanderings in this direction, the base of the Rocky mountains their extreme west, and the valley of the Mississippi the centre of their range.
The most interesting question in regard to these animals, is that which inquires the cause of their extinction. On this question we are not prepared to sustain an opinion, nor even to offer one that is any thing like satisfactory to ourselves.-Time will unfold the secret.
THE DECEMBER MEETING OF THE ? at least, till it was about becoming the prey NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY. of the careless Charles-should occupy a.
comparatively small place. Where the ! Several interesting subjects were brought
Elector of Bohemia and the Duke of Cour. before the Society. Mr. Brodhead, who land usurp whole volumes, the colony of collected much valuable matter relating to New Netherlands modestly claims a few '; Colonial History during his late mission to
brief and sparsely scattered notices. No !!
prophetic eye seems then to have foreseen ; Europe, at the direction of our Legislature,
the after splendors of that obscure and humpresented copies of two maps of the coast
ble colony-that new, grand and flourishing and country, believed to have been drawn empire. Occupied with transactions and in 1614 and 1616. They have been litho events nearer home ; or if with the affairs
of Brazil and the West Indies, with affairs, graphed by Pendleton.
at least, of flourishing and valuable coloMr. Broadhead read the following inter
nies; the fate and prospects of the humble esting description of the
protege of the West India company—itself Palace of the States General, at the
discovered and colonized, as it were, by an Hague.
accident-gave but little concern to their
High Mightinesses, and claimed but little : “ The Archives of the Government of space in their voluminous journals. Had the Netherlands at the Hague, are among the records of that company been preserved the richest depositories of Historical infor with the praiseworthy care displayed in ret mation, to be found in Europe. The pro gard to those of the Government itself, we !! verbial care and system of our Dutch an. might indeed have now rejoiced in the poscestors is perhaps no where more fully il. session of the most perfect body of annals lustrated than in the immense collection of > that any modern state can boast of guarding. Historical Records now preserved in the But a careless hand was laid upon treasures old palace of the States General in the Bir whose antiquity should have rendered them menhot. Here-in a long suite of apart. 3 sacred. The very reasons given in the or. ments, formerly the scene of councils and > der for their sale should have secured their discussions affecting the peace and policy preservation. The shelves of the West Inof Europe ; where the stadtholder and the dia House at Amsterdam were encumbered States General were often called upon to with old and decaying papers, and room decide questions in which England, France was needed. For a few miserable guilders, and Spain, the Bishop of Munster and the the records we had so long coveted were Elector, the Vatican and the Sultan were scattered and dispersed ; and the shopkeepinterested; or which came up for review er and tradesmam on the Rhine wrapped up and adjudication from the dependencies of his wares in the mutilated dispatches of the the United Provinces in the far oft Indian directors of New Netherlands. seas, the "Ultima Thule" of the World, where were once read the dispatches of the
Letter from a Chinese Scholar and victorious Hein, who wrenched from the
Philanthropist. ' hands of the ruthless Spaniards the unrigh } The following peculiar and very interestteous spoil he had torn from the unoffending
ing letter of acknowledged merit was read ? Mexican and Peruvian : where the letters of Tromp and De.Ruyter— terror oceanis
} by the Secretary, Mr. Wetmore. immensi”-told the story of the humilia.
THONCHING'S LETTER. tion of St. George :-here, in the gilded
TO THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF New apartments that once were witnesses of the pomp and power of the Provinces, are now
Benevolent Sirs : 3 preserved the decaying memorials which,
It is now a pleasant season when the } while they record the former greatness of
golden chrysanthemum fills the paths and the Republic, seem to repeat in mournful
the purple foliage of the maple covers the tones from their dusty shelves, “the scep.
hills. Separated far asunder, I desire your tre has departed from Judah.”.
health and utmost prosperity, and that with Amidst this enormous collection of re- 3 time this may be still more abundant.cords, where two centuries of the world's / Though we are reciprocally afar off I desire history is embodied and preserved, it is not your happiness. surprising that the annals of a far-off and I have respectfully to state, that several scarcely noticed colony-scarcely noticed, ? munths since I received and perused your awwwwww