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521
MAMMALIA


adaptation to speed, while brachycephalism 'may be correlated with short limbs and an abbreviated neck. Exceptions to this rule, as exemplified by the cats, are due to special adaptive causes. In point of bodily size mammals present a greater range of variation than is exhibited by any other living terrestrial animals, the extremes in this respect being displayed by the African elephant on the one hand and certain species of shrew mice (whose .head and body scarcely exceed an inch and a half in length) on the other. When the aquatic members of the class are taken into consideration, the maximum dimensions are vastly greater, Sibbald's rorqual attaining a length of fully So ft., and being probably the bulkiest and heaviest animal that has ever existed. Within the limits of individual groups, it may be accepted as a general rule that increase in bulk or stature implies increased specialization; and, further, that the largest representatives of any particular group are also approximately the latest. The latter dictum must not, however, be pushed to an extreme, since the African elephant, which is the largest living land mammal, attaining in exceptional cases a height approaching 12 ft., was largely exceeded in this respect by an extinct Indian species, whose height has been estimated at between 15 and 16 ft. V

In regard to sense-organs, ophthalmoscopic observations on the eyes of living mammals (other than man) have revealed the existence of great variation in the arrangement of the blood vessels, as well as in the colour of the retina; blue and violet seem to be unknown, while red, yellow and green form the predominating shades. In the main, the various types of minute ocular structure correspond very closely to the different groups into which mammals are divided, this correspondence affording important testimony in the favour of the general correctness of the classification. Among the exceptions are the South American squirrel-monkeys, whose eyes approximate in structure to those of the lemurs. Man and monkeys alone possess parallel and convergent vision of the two eyes, while a divergent, and consequently a very widely extended, vision is a prerogative of the lower mammals; squirrels, for instance, and probably also hares and rabbits, being able to see an object approaching them directly from behind without turning their heads.

An osteological question which has been much discussed is the fate of the reptilian quadrate bone in the mammalian skull. In the opinion of F. W. Thyng, who has carefully reviewed all the other theories, the balance of evidence tends to show that the quadrate has bee11 taken up into the inner ear, where it is represented among the auditory ossicles by the incus. Although the present article does not discuss mammalian osteology in general (for which see VERTEBRATA), it is interesting to notice in this connexion that the primitive condition of the mammalian tympanum apparently consisted merely of a small and incomplete bony ring, with, at most, an imperfect ventral wall to the tympanic cavity, and that a close approximation to this original condition still persists in the monotremes, especially Ornil/zorhyuc/zus. The tympano-hyal is the characteristic mammalian element in this region; but the entotympanic likewise appears to be peculiar to the class, and to be unrepresented among the lower vertebrates. The tympanum itself has been regarded as representing one of the elements-probably the supra-angular-of the compound reptilian lower jaw. The presence of only seven vertebrae in the neck is a very constant feature among mammals; the exceptions being very few. Two other points in connexion with mammalian osteology may be noticed. A large number of mammals possess a perforation, or foramen, on the inner side of the lower end of the humerus, and also a projection on the shaft of the femur known as the third trochanter. From its occurrence in so many of the lower vertebrates, the entepicondylar foramen of the humerus, as it is called, is regarded by Dr E. Stromer as a primitive structure, of which the original object was to protect certain nerves and blood vessels. It is remarkable that it should persist in the spectacles bear of the Andes, although it has disappeared in all other living members of the group. The third trochanter of the femur, on the other hand, can scarcely be regarded as primitive, seeing that it is absent in several of the lower groups of mammals. Neither can its presence be attributed, as Professor A. Gaudry suggests, to the reduction in the number of the toes, as otherwise it should not be found in the rhinoceros. Its general absence in man forbids the idea of its having any connexion with the upright posture.

Hair.-ln the greater number of mammals the skin is more or less densely clothed with a peculiarly modified form of epidermis known as hair. This consists of hard, elongated, slender, cylindrical or tapering, thread-like masses of epidermic tissue, each of which grows, without branching, from a short prominence, or papilla, sunk at the bottom of a pit, or follicle, in the true skin, or dermis. Such hairs, either upon different parts of the skin of the same species, or in different species, assume very diverse forms and are of various sizes and degrees of rigidity-as seen in the fur of the mole, the bristles of the pig, and the spines of the hedgehog and porcupine, which are all modifications of the same structures. These differences arise mainly from the different arrangement of the constituent elements into which the epidermal cells are modified. Each hair is composed usually of a cellular pithy internal portion, containing much air, and a denser or more horny external or cortical part. In some mammals, as deer, the substance of the hair is almost entirely composed of the central medullary or cellular substance, and is consequently very easily broken; in others the horny part prevails almost exclusively, as in the bristles of the wild boar. In the three toed sloth (Bradypus) the hairs have a central horny axis and a pithy exterior. Though generally nearly smooth, or but slightly scaly, the surface of some hairs is imbricated; that is to say, shows projecting scale-like processes, as in some bats, while in the twotoed sloth (Chdoepus) they are longitudinally grooved or fluted. Though usually more or less cylindrical or circular in section, hairs are often elliptical or flattened, as in the curly-haired races of men, the terminal portion of the hair of moles and shrews, and conspicuously in the spines of the spiny squirrels of the genus Xerus and those of the mouse-like Platacanthomys. Hair having a property of mutual cohesion or " felting, " which depends upon a roughened spaly surface and a tendency to curl, as in domestic sheep, is called woo

It has been shown by ]. C. H. de Meijere that the insertion of the individual hairs in the skin displays a definite arrangement, constant for each species, but varying in different groups. In jerboas, for example, a bunch of twelve or thirteen hairs springs from the same point, while in the polar bear a single stout hair and several slender ones arise together, and in the marmosets three equal-sized hairs form regular groups. These tufts or groups likewise display an orderly and definite grouping in different mammals, which suggests the origin of such groups from the existence in primitive mammals of a scaly coat comparable to that of reptiles, and indeed directly inherited therefrom.

In a large proportion of mammals there exist hairs of two distinct types: the one long, stiff, and alone appearing on the surface, and the other shorter, finer and softer, constituting the under-fur, which may be compared to the down of birds. A well-known example is furnished by the fur-bearing seals, in which the outer fur is removed in the manufacture of commercial “ seal-skin, ” leaving only the soft and fine under-fur.

Remarkable differences i n the direction or slope of the hair are noticeable on different partsof the body and limbs of many mammals, especially in certain apes, where the hair of the fore-limbs is inclined towards the elbow from above and from below. More remarkable still is the fact that the direction of the slope often differs inclosingly allied groups, as, for instance, in African and Asiatic buffaloes, in which the hair of the middle line of the back has opposite directions. Whorls of hair, as on the face of the horse and the South American deer known as brockets, occur where the different hair-slopes meet. In this connexion reference may be made to patches or lines of long and generally white hairs situated on the back of certain ruminants, which are capable of erection during periods of excitement, and serve, apparently, as “ liags ” to guide the members of a herd in flight. Such are the white chrysanthemum-like patches on the rump of the lapanese deer and of the American prong-buck (Antilocapra), and the line of hairs situated in a groove on.the loins of the African spring-buck. The white under-side of the tail of the rabbit and the yellow rump-patch of many deer are analogous. The eye-lashes, or ciliae, are familiar examples of a special local development of hair. Special tufts of stout stiff hairs, sometimes termed vibrissae, and connected with nerves, and in certain cases with glands, occur in various regions. They are most common on the head, while they constitute the “ whiskers, ” or “ feelers, " of the cats and many rodents. In other instances, notably in the lemurs, but also in certain carnivore, rodents and marsupials, they occupy a position on the fore-arm near the wrist, in connexion with glands, and receive sensory powers from the radial nerve. lnsome mammals the hairy covering is partial and limited to particular regions; in others, as the hippopotamus and the sea-cows, or Sirenia, though scattered over the whole surface, it is extremely short and scantyi