Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/308

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PSM V80 D308 Florentino Ameghino.png

Fig. 1. Portrait of Florentino Ameghino, October, 1910.

Courtesy of W. J. Sinclair.

in volume, learning and acrimony. In 1889 he published a revision of the fossil mammals of Argentina in two large quarto volumes abundantly illustrated. During thirty years of work Ameghino described over 500 new genera, with probably some thousands of species of fossil mammals.

These papers made known to science a whole new world of animal life. The Tertiary mammals of South America were as different from those of the rest of the world as is the modern Australian fauna, and for most of our knowledge of them we are indebted to Ameghino. Besides the Santa Cruz with its wonderful riches of fossil mammals, he described a series of older faunas no less interesting. That so much should be accomplished by one man is remarkable enough. It is far more remarkable that he should achieve so much in spite of straitened means, and bitter official opposition, which he had, it must be admitted, brought upon himself by his vehement, combative and controversial