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A Memoir on the living Asiatic species of Rhinoceros.--—Bg]
Among the investigations to which I devoted particular attention during my late rambles in Burma, was the endeavour to corroborate and coiifirm the statement of Heifer and others, that the three known Asiatic species of Rhinoceros inhabited that region. In this I succeeded, ‘so far as the two insular species (viz. the one-horned R11. soivniucos and the two-horned Rn. sumsrnmvus) are concerned ; for these prove to be the ordinary Rhinoceroses of the IndoChinese region and continuous Malayan peninsula; and I have reason now to believe that they are the only Rhinoceroses of that great range of territory; the huge R11. INDICUS (so far as I can discover) appearing topbe peculiar to the tarai region at the foot of the Himalayas and valley of the Bréhmaputra (or province of Asam); the Rhinoceros still common in the eastern Sundarbans, and also of the Rajméhal hills in Bengal (where fast verging on extirpation), being identical with that of Java and Borneo, in the great oriental archipelago; while the Asiatic two-horned species (RH. SUMATRANUS) appears to be more common than the lesser one-horned (RH. SONDAICUS) in the Indo-Chinese territories,—this animal extending northward to the Ya-ma-doung range of mountains which separates Arakan from'Pegu, where Col. Yule observed it as high as the latitude of Ramri island, and I have been assured by Major Ripley that one was killed not long ago in the vicinity of Sandoway. What the particular species may have been that was hunted by the Mogul Emperor Bziber on the banks of the Indus cannot now be ascertained; unless, indeed, some bones of it may yet be recovered from the alluvium of that river. It is remarkable that he compares its bowels to those of a Horse! A species is also stated by Duhalde to inhabit the province of Quang-si in China, in lat. 15'. This is much more likely to prove either Rn. SONDAICUS or R11. snmyrnanos, than the large R11. INDICUS.
It is true that the late Dr. Theodore Cantor, in his ‘ Catalogue of the mammalia of the Malayan peninsula’ (J. A. S. XV, 263), asserts that both R11. nrmoos and En. sorrniuous “seem to be numerous”
there; but he does not mention that he had examined specimens;
and he moreover notices that “ a two-horned Rhinoceros is stated by the Malays to inhabit, but rarely to leave, the densest jungle.” As this animal is common in parts of Burma, as well as in Sumatra, it may be confidently predicated to inhabit the intervening region of the Malayan peninsula: but the more common and ordinary species of the peninsula would appear to be R11. SONDAICUS; and a friend who has killed as many as nine individuals in the southern half of that region, to whom I shewed several skulls of INDICUS and of sorrniuous, is positive that all which he saw there were of the lesser one-horned species, as distinguished from the larger. The former, as before remarked, inhabits the islands of J ziva and Borneo in the archipelago, but not Sumatra ;* whereas the two-horned species, as an insular animal, appears to be peculiar to Sumatrarl" In the volume on Elephants, &c. in Sir W. J ardine’s ‘ Naturalist’s Library,’ the lesser one-horned Rhinoceros is erroneously styled “ the one-horned Sumatran Rhinoceros ;” amistake which might have been rectified by reference to Sir T. St. Raflles’s paper in the 13th Vol. of the ‘ Transactions of the Linnaean Society,’ which indeed is cited by the compi1er.I
The vernacular topical names of Joivan and Sumétran Rhinoceroses had now better be disused ; seeing that both species have an extensive range of distribution on the mainland of S. E. Asia; the latter should rather be denominated ‘ the Asiatic two-horned Rhinoceros ;’ and the two others ‘ the Great one-horned’ and the ‘ Lesser one-horned ;’ unless, indeed, the alleged discovery should be confirmed of the existence of a one-horned species in inter-tropical Africa, in addition to the four two-horned species which are now recognised
‘ The range of B05 SONDAIOUS is similar; excepting that this animal does not extend to Bengal, like Rnmocnnos sormucus.
-1- As also the Malayan Tnpir, the continental range of which extends northward to the Tenasserim provinces of Tavoy and Mergui. '
1 The adult male Rhinoceros which lived for many years in the gardens of the Zoological Society, Regent’s Park, London, (and for which the considerable sum of £1000 was paid,) is stated to have been captured in Arakan ; but he was not nearly so large as several that I have since seen in India; and, therefore, I entertain an exceedingly strong suspicion that he was no other than SONDAIGUS. His bones have doubtless been preserved. The two Asiatic one-horned species, indeed, resemble each othera great deal more nearly, in external appearance, than the published figures of them would lead to suppose. Certainly no sportsman or ordinary observer would distinguish them apart, unless his attention had been specially called to the subject. The best figure I know of adult RH. INDICUS is that published by Cuvier and Geolfroy, in the Menagév-ie du Museum d’1list. Nat.
upon that continent (in which case the ‘Great Indian’ and the ‘Lesser Indian’ might be deemed sufliciently appropriate; as the range of the ‘ Asiatic two-horned’ does not extend to India proper, which of course comprises Bengal but not Burma). The existence of an African one-horned Rhinoceros was long ago aflirmed by James Bruce of Kinnaird, in addition to the two-horned species which he pretended to figure ;* and Sir Andrew Smith assured me that he had been repeatedly told by natives that such an animal occurred in the regions northward of the tropic of Capricorn. In the Oomptes Rendas, tom. XXVI (18418), p. 281, an elaborate letter is published ‘ Sur l’existence d’une espéce Unicorne de Rhinoceros dans la partie tropicale dc l’Afrique,’ from Mons. F. Fresnel, then Consul of France at Jidda (‘Djedda’), to which the reader, curious on the subject, is referred.
' Bruce‘s figure of the Abyssinian Rhinoceros, it is well known, is a reversed copy of Bufl'on’s representation of true RH. INDICUS, with a second horn added.— Dr. Riippell ascertained the species to be RH. AFRICANUS, the ordinary ‘ Black Rhinoceros’ of S. Africa. The earliest-published genuine figure of this animal is that in the Supplement to Buf’f'on's Work ; but certainly the most spirited as well as correct pictorial representations, alike of the Rhinoceroses and of various other animals of Africa, are given by modern sporting travellers, as Cornwallis
Harris, and especially C. J. Andersson. By a slip of the pen, the latter writer .
alludes to Rhinoceroses in the island of Ceylon! As even Humboldt referred to the Tiger of Ceylon in his Asie Centrale !
There are capital figures of some of the arctic animals, also, in Mr. J. Lamont’s ‘ Seasons with the Sea Horses’ (1861) ; among the rest, of the Spitzbergen Deer, represented with well-developed vertical brow-plates to their horns (aide J. A. S. XXIX, 376). The question about the development of these Deer, as compared with those of Lapland, (mooted l0c.ci1$., p. 382,) is elucidated by 1\Ir. Lamont, who states that—“ They do not grow to such a large size as the tame Rein Deer of Lapland, nor are their horns quite so fine; but, they attain to a most extraordinary degree of condition. For further details, vide his extremely interesting volume. However, I may remark that in all his figures of Rein Deer the brow-plate is represented as being well-developed upon each horn; whereas I suspect that it is, generally, only rudimentary upon one of the pair; this, however, is probably a mistake on the part of the lithogr-apher!
In further reference to the article alluded to, in which I commented upon the late Professor Isidore St. Hilaire’s remarks upon domestic animals, and contended that we do not owe the domestication of the Turkey to the Spanish invaders of America, (a most unlikely people to have accomplished anything of the kind,) I may remark, that so completely familiar had this fowl become in Shakespere’s time, that its then almost recent introduction into Europe had already been forgotten; for the great bard of Avon considerably ante-dates the existence of Turkeys in England, making it prior to the Spanish discovery of the New World! In the first part of the drama of King Henry IV, Act II, Sc. 1, one of the carriers introduced exclaims—“ ’Odsbody! The turkeys in my panniers are quite starved.” But it is not impossible that Shakespero meant the Guineafowl; albeit not very probable: though, in either case, he had ante-dated the appearance of the domestic bird in European countries.
Professor Schinz, in his Synopsis Mammalium (1845), makes out as many as eight living species of Rhinoceros. The two Asiatic one-horned species, of course; and SONDAICU only from Java: strMATBANUS from Sumatra only; and of this he remarks—“Cornu anterius mediocre, posterius minutum” (not having seen Bell’s outline of the horns of the male, in the Phil. Trans. for 1793, to be noticed presently). His Rh. niger and his Rh. Camperi must alike be referred to Rn. AFBICANUS (seu capensis). Next, R11. sums and RH. KEITLOA; but, of course, neither Rn. OSWELLII nor RH. GnosBIL But what is his Rh. cucullatus, WVagler (Schreber’s Supp., tab. CCCXVlI,—F. Scl1inz,]l[onagr., t. 4)? Unless an ill-stuffed Rn. SUMATRANUSl “ Rh. cornubus duobus, capitc sensim elevato, plicis cutis profundis [l], clypeo scapulari indiviso, supra latiori, epidermide verrucis parvis obsita. Capite elongato, auriculis subcylindricis, labro elongato prchensili, cauda mediocri. Long. corporis 6, ll", caudze 1' 7". Altitudo stethiaei 3' 4%", nraei 3' 4%". Habitat F Hospitatur in museo Monacensi.”
From examination of an extensive series of skulls of Asiatic Rhi
noceroses, it is impossible not to discern that there are three well marked species, each of which varies considerably in the shape of the cranium. Of each there is a shorter and broader type, higher at the occiput, wider anterior to the orbits ; and also a type the opposite of this, with every intermediate gradation. This amount of variation in the existing Asiatic species of the genus should intimate caution in the acceptance of all of the very numerous fossil forms that have been named by palaeontologists.
The RH. SONDAICUS and RH. SUMATBANUS are very inadequately represented by the figures of skulls published by Cuvicr and de Blainville. Those of both authors represent the narrow type, as distinguished from the broad type; whereas their figures of the skull of RH. INDIoUs (seu unicornis, L.,) represent an unusually fine broad example of the species (doubtless the skull of the individual figured from life in tho Zlfenagérie olu Illuseum d’I[ist. Nat) ; which gives a far greater amount of contrast of appearance to the skulls of INDICUS and sommrcus, than exists in average specimens of those of the two species.
The skulls of mnlous and sommrcus appear to differ only, constantlg, in the former being considerably larger, and having the con
dyle of the lower jaw (proportionally) much more elevated; imparting a conspicuously greater altitude to the vertex when the lower jaw is in site. Both species would appear to exhibit precisely the same amount of variation. On present evidence (which, however, I suspect to be fallacious), it would seem that the broader type of SONDAICUS prevails in Bengal, and perhaps the narrower far southward; but we have both from the Teuasserim provinces; and they completely grade into each other, as equally in the analogous instances of morons and sun-mrnanus.
In illustration of theskulls, I cite the figures of Cuvier and de Blainville (Oss. Fosa, Atlas, pl. 42, f. 1, pl. 160, f. l,—Osteo_qrapkie, Rhinoceros, pl. 2), as exemplifying the broad-faced type of RE. INDICUS; and a very similar skull is that upon the skeleton of a
female in the museum of the Calcutta Medical College. This female is one of a pair that lived about 45 years in captivity in Barrackpore park. I have repeatedly seen the pair when alive, many years ago; and remarked that they showed no secondary sexual diversity, being exactly of the same size and general appearance. They never bred; and I have been informed that a pair of Tapirs similarly kept, for many years,in Batavia,shewed no disposition to propagate their species. They should, of course, have been separated for a time now and then, and again put together. We learn, from this Calcutta Medical College specimen and others, that the two forms of skull presented by the Asiatic species of Rhinoceros are not indicative of sex, as might probably have been suspected.
I now figure (pl. 1, fig. 1, and pl. II, fig. 1,) a very fine example of the narrow type of skull of Rnmoonnos INDICUE; a splendid adult male, with its horn. Let this be compared and contrasted with the figures of the broad-faced type of skull published by Guvier and de Blainville. The skull now represented belongs to Capt. Fortescue, of the late 73rd Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry; who killed the animal on the Butan side of the river Tista, not far from J alpigéri. He has taken it to England. Two specimens in the Calcutta Medical College museum are very similar; a third is intermediate, though decidedly rather broad than otherwise; and a fourth (that already noticed, with complete skeleton, female, as before specified,) very closely approximates——even to minute details—the superb_broad skull figured by the eminent French zoologists. Five examples, in all, under