Open main menu

Page:Notes on the State of Virginia (1853).djvu/60

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

found in the more Southern climates of both hemispheres;[1] but they are either so loosely mentioned as to leave a doubt of the fact, so inaccurately described as not to authorize the classing them with the great Northern bones, or so rare as to found a suspicion that they have been carried thither as curiosities from more Northern regions. So that on the whole there seem to be no certain vestiges of the existence of this animal further South than the salines last mentioned.[2] It is remarkable that the tusks and skeletons have been ascribed by the naturalists of Europe to the elephant, while the grinders have been given to the hippopotamus, or river horse.[3] Yet it is acknowledged that the tusks and skeletons are much larger than those of the elephant, and the grinders many times greater than those of the hippopotamus, and essentially different in form. Wherever these grinders are found, there also we find the tusks and skeleton; but no skeleton of the hippopotamus nor grinders of the elephant. It will not be said that the hippopotamus and elephant came always to the same spot, the former to deposit his grinders, and the latter his tusks and skeleton. For what became of the parts not deposited there? We must agree then that these remains belong to each other, that they are of one and the same animal, that this was not a hippopotamus, because the hippopotamus had no tusks nor such a frame, and because the grinders differ in their size as well as in the number and form of their points. That it was not an elephant, I think ascertained by proofs equally decisive. I will not avail myself of the authority of the celebrated[4] anatomist, who, from an examination of the form and structure of the tusks, has declared they were essentially different from those of the elephant, because another[5] anatomist, equally celebrated, has declared, on a like examination, that they are precisely the same. Between two such authori-

  1. 2. Epoques, 276, in Mexico; but, 1. Epoques, 250, denies the fact as to S. America.
  2. 22. Buffon, 233; 2. Epoques, 230.
  3. 2. Epoques, 232. Buffon pronounces it is not the grinder either of the elephant or hippopotamus, mais d'une espece la premiere et la plus graude de tous les animaux terrestres, qui est perdue.
  4. Hunter.
  5. D'Aubenton.