« AnteriorContinuar »
various parts of the Palæarctic Region. These are—a) Manis (the Scaly Ant-eater), froin the Pliocene of Samos; (6) Rhinoceros, which existed in various parts of Europe from the Miocene up to the Pleistocene times; (c) Elephas, which first appears in Pliocene times, and extends to late Pleistocene in Europe; and (d) Viverra, which commences earlier than the others, and also survived until Pliocene times in Europe. The three remaining genera common to India and Africa, but not hitherto found in fossil state in the Palæarctic Region, are Golunda (a Rat), Atherura (a Porcupine), and Nycteris (a small insectivorous Bat).
It is quite possible that these animals may eventually be discovered in the European Tertiaries. Besides this, the remains of a considerable number of the now endemic African genera have been found fossil in Europe. The list of these is instructive, and points almost unquestionably to the conclusion that Africa has been gradually peopled by successive inroads of animals from the North.
In the Eocene beds of Europe the still existing genera are few in number; but the Lemurs, and many of the more primitive forms of the Carnivora, such as form the present fauna of Madagascar, abound. It is, therefore, probable that the separation of Madagascar from the mainland of Africa took place at about the close of the Eocene period. During the Miocene and lower Pliocene times in Europe, a large number of new genera appear for the first time, the bulk of which still survive in Africa and India, though extinct or almost driven out of the Palearctic Region.
Examples of such genera are — Orycteropus, the Aardvark; Manis, the Scaly Ant-eater; Rhinoceros; Hyomoschus, the Water-Chevrotain (probably identical with Dorcotherium, a fossil form); Giraffa; several genera of Antelopes; the Porcupine; the Squirrel; Felis; Hyena; Viverra ; Herpestes, and even the higher Monkeys.
It must have been during this period that broad landconnections existed between Europe and Africa, by means of which the African continent became peopled by its present fauna.
In the succeeding Pliocene times in Europe, although a number of the more distinctly African forms still survive, there begin to appear certain genera, such as those of the Deer-family (Cervidx), Ursus (the Bear), and others which have never reached Africa at all. This seems to show that Africa was, at the commencement of this period, cut off from the Palæarctic Region by an intermediate sea.
LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL AUTHORITIES REFERRED TO IN CHAPTER IV.
(1) BALFOUR, I. B.-"Botany of Socotra" (Mammals, p. xxx.) Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin., xxxi., 1888.
(2) BÜCHNER, E.—“Ueber das Vorkommen der Mellivora indica, Kerr, im Transcaspi-Gebiet." Notes Leyd. Mus., xv., p. 99.
(3) GRANDIDIER, A.—“ Histoire Physique, Naturel et Politique de Madagascar," vol. x., Mammiféres, by Milne Edwards and Grandidier, 1890.
(4) MAJOR, C. I. FORSYTH—“On Megaladapis madagascariensis, an extinct gigantic lemuroid.” Proc. Roy. Soc., 1893, p. 176.
(5) NEUMANN, B.—“ Bericht über seine Reisen in Ost und Central Afrika.” Verhandl. Gesellsch. Erdkunde Berlin, 1895 (p. 24 in separate copy).
(6) THOMAS, 0,—“On Some Specimens of Mammals from Oman, South-East Arabia.” P. 2. S., 1894, p. 448.
THE ORIENTAL REGION
(PLATE V., p. 152)
SECTION 1.-BOUNDARIES OF THE ORIENTAL REGION
THE Oriental is the smallest of the six Regions into which the Earth has been divided for the study of zoological distribution. On the west it includes the great peninsula of India and its attendant island of Ceylon. Its boundary on this side is probably the Suliman range of hills, though the fauna of Western Sind and the Punjab, which lie between that range and the Indus, is intermediate in character between those of the Oriental and Palæarctic Regions. Beyond this range the boundary runs eastwards along the slopes of the Himalayas, at an elevation of from 9000 to 10,000 feet above the sea-level. Above this height Palæarctic forms are chiefly met with, below it Oriental forms mostly prevail
. Eastwards of Sikkim the boundary between the Palæarctic and Oriental Regions cannot be laid down with certainty, owing to our little acquaintance with the eastern part of Tibet and the adjacent portion of China. What knowledge we have of the fauna of this Region is due almost entirely to the celebrated French missionary, Père David, who made considerable researches in Moupin, a small mountainous territory, situated at the extreme western edge of the Tibetan plateau. Père. David's collections have been mostly described by M.