Imágenes de páginas
[merged small][graphic][table][merged small][table]


1. The Order Quadrumana, or Monkeys, contains about 212 species, divisible into twenty genera and four families.

2. Monkeys are found only in the tropical and subtropical portions of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, and are absent in Australia and Madagascar.

3. The Monkeys of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres are quite distinct in structure, and belong to different families.

4. In the Western Hemisphere Monkeys are restricted to the Neotropical Region, not occurring north of 20° N. lat., or south of 30° S. lat.

5. In the Eastern Hemisphere some few species of Monkeys are met with as far north as 40° N. lat., and in Africa descend to 35° S. lat.

6. The Monkeys of the Ethiopian and Oriental Regions belong to distinct genera.

7. The Anthropoid Apes are restricted to the tropics of Africa and Asia, the most highly organized of them being the Chimpanzees of Africa and the Orangs of Asia.

Section VII.—Distribution Of The Lemurs

The Lemurs, which by many recent authorities are united with the Monkeys to form the Order Primates, but which it is, in some respects, more natural to retain as an Order by themselves, number altogether some fifty species—only onefourth of the number of the Quadrumana. They are also very different in geographical distribution, thirty-five out of the whole series being confined to the Malagasy Sub-region,whilst thefew remaining forms are met with onlyin isolated portions of the Ethiopian and Oriental Regions. Besides the family of true Lemurs(Lemuridm) this Order contains the two aberrant types, the Tarsier (Tarsius) and Aye-aye (Chironiys), both of them of family value. We will say the few words that are necessary about the distribution of each of these three families.

The typical Lemurs (Lemwridm), are usually divided into four sub-families, the Indrisinm (Indrises), Lemurinje (Lemurs), Galaginm (Galagos), and Lorisinm (Slow Lemurs). Of these, as will be seen by the annexed table, the two first sub-families, which contain seven genera and about twentyfour species, are absolutely confined to Madagascar and its adjoining islets. It is, in fact, mainly the presence of these peculiar animals, which constitute altogether nearly one half of the whole mammal-fauna of Madagascar, that renders the Malagasy fauna so very different from that of any other part of the world's surface, and makes it a moot point as to whether this zoological division should not be more properly treated as a " Region," than as a "Sub-region." When we come to the third sub-family—the Galagos—we find the typical genus Galago with its six species distributed over continental Africa, but the three other genera of this family, which contains smaller animals of somewhat aberrant form, are again entirely restricted to Madagascar. The fourth and most aberrant group of the Lemurs, commonly called Slow Lemurs, from their nocturnal habits and sleepy dispositions, contains four genera, two of which belong to the Ethiopian Region and two to the Oriental Region. Although they vary considerably in structure from the more typical Lemurs, there can be no doubt that the Slow Lemurs possess a true Lemurine structure in many important particulars, so that they must have had a common origin with the true Lemurs. This fact would seem to show that the ancient "Lemuria," as the hypothetical continent which was originally the home of the Lemurs has been termed, must have extended across the Indian Ocean and the Indian Peninsula to the further side of the Bay of Bengal and over the great islands of the Indian Archipelago.

Section VIII.—Summary And Deductions

Table of the genera of Lemurs and of the number of species found in each Zoological Region.

[merged small][graphic][table]


1. About forty-eight species of the Order Lemures, belonging to seventeen genera and three families, are known.

2. Of these thirty-six species, representing twelve genera, are restricted to the Malagasy Sub-region, which must be regarded as the special home of the Lemurine Mammals.

3. The remaining forms of Lemurs are thinly spread over the Ethiopian and Oriental Regions, Lemurs being altogether absent in the Palffiarctic, Australian, Nearctic, and Neotropical Regions.

4. The Aye-aye {Chironxys), forming a family of itself, is restricted to Madagascar.

« AnteriorContinuar »