Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/454

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The food of the orang-outang is strictly a vegetable one. It has the habit of not rising very early in the morning, waiting until the sun has dried the dews, and Nature has dressed herself for its appearance. Although the orang does not court danger, it does not seem afraid to fight if necessity obliges. Wallace narrates the combat between a Dyak and an orang, in which the native was terribly bitten and might have been killed had not assistance arrived. The orang was then killed by numbers, and Wallace rescued the skin and head to be added to his large collections, and taken later to England. Mr. Wallace also succeeded in finding a baby orang-outang, and gives his experience with it as follows:

"When handled or moved it was very quiet and contented, but when laid down by itself it would invariably cry; and for the first few nights was very restless and noisy. I fitted up a little box for a cradle, with a soft mat for it to lie upon, which was changed and washed every day; and I soon found it was necessary to wash the little orang as well. After I had done so a few times it came to like the operation, and as soon as it was dirty would begin crying, and not leave off till I took it out and carried it to the spout, when it immediately became quiet, although it would wince a little at the first rush of the cold water, and make ridiculously wry faces while the stream was running over its head. It enjoyed the wiping and rubbing dry amazingly; and when I brushed its hair seemed to be perfectly happy, lying quite still with its arms and legs stretched out, while I thoroughly brushed the long hair of its arms and legs. For the first few days it clung desperately with all four hands to whatever it could lay hold of, and I had to be careful to keep my beard out of its way, as its fingers clutched hold of hair more tenaciously than anything else, and it was impossible to free myself without assistance. . . . Finding it so fond of hair, I endeavored to make an artificial mother by wrapping up a piece of buffalo-skin into a bundle and suspending it about a foot from the floor. At first this seemed to suit it admirably, as it could sprawl its legs about and always find some hair. I was now in hopes that I had made the little orphan quite happy; and so it seemed for some time, till it began to remember its lost parent and try to suck. It would pull itself up close to the skin and try about everywhere for a likely place; but, as it only succeeded in getting mouthfuls of hair and wool, it would be greatly disgusted and scream violently, and after two or three attempts let go altogether."

This account is interesting, because it shows that in its actions the young orang-outang recalls what we are familiar with in infants; and again it illustrates the activity of the limbs at an early age and before they can be used intelligently. There can be no doubt that in this way we come to use our limbs at first, by a sort of blind groping in the uncertain light of infancy. We feel a sympathy for Mr. Wallace that his baby orang-outang never would do anything to reflect credit on its bringing-up, and finally died in an obstinate and childish manner. It was thought that it never entirely got over its separation from its family, but this may have been a fancy.

Another long-armed ape is the gibbon (Hylobates far), which is smaller than the orang-outang and exceedingly intelligent. This spe-