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than 2000 fathoms in depth. As would be expected, these islands are thoroughly Oceanic, and possess no indigenous Mammals or Amphibians; while the Land-birds are few in number, and belong mostly to genera found in Madagascar. The most remarkable feature, however, of the Fauna of these islands is the former existence of a group of flightless Ground-birds now quite extinct, but some of which were found in great numbers when the islands were first discovered. These are the Dodos of Mauritius and Réunion respectively, and the Solitaire of Rodriguez. These birds form a distinct family—the Dididæ, probably allied to the Pigeons, but of somewhat obscure affinities. It seems that the ancestors of these birds must have reached the islands in very early times, and that most of the striking peculiarities exhibited by them were gradually acquired after their arrival in the group. We
may, at any rate, conclude that these three islands are truly Oceanic, and that they have never had a landconnection with Madagascar or elsewhere.
SECTION II.-GENERAL VIEW OF THE MAMMAL-FAUNA
OF THE ETHIOPIAN REGION
The Ethiopian Region, as will be seen by looking at the Tables of the numbers of families, genera, and species given at the end of Chapter I. (p. 16), is the richest of the six Regions as regards the total numbers of its families, genera, and species of mammals, although the percentage of peculiar forms not found in other Regions is hardly so high as in the Neotropical and Australian Regions. This may, however, be accounted for by the consideration that there is a long land-frontier between the Ethiopian and the Palæarctic Regions, though this is chiefly occupied by desert.
Out of the nine orders of Terrestrial Mammals the Ethiopian Region contains representatives of seven, the
Marsupials and Monotremes being alone absent. The Edentates of this Region are represented by two families. One of these, of which the sole genus is the Aard-vark (Orycteropus), is quite restricted to the Region (see Fig. 13). The other, containing the scaly ant-eaters (Manidæ) is found also in the Oriental Region (see Fig. 14). These two forms are in most respects more closely allied to one another than to any of the Edentates of the New World.
It is, however, the animals belonging to the Order
Ungulata which form so conspicuous a factor in the Ethiopian fauna. These are distributed among thirty-nine genera, of which no less than twenty-four are not found anywhere outside this Region.
The antelopes, of the family Bovidæ, which are most of them large animals living in vast herds in the more open country of eastern and southern Africa, take up the greater number of these genera. These are perhaps, at the present epoch, the most notable feature of the African Fauna, but will doubtless, owing to the unceasing persecution of hunters and sportsmen, become rapidly less so. Already the larger Antelopes are nearly extinct in the Cape
Colony south of the Orange River, and there can be little doubt that, unless special precautions are taken, the large Mammals of Africa will very soon disappear, like those of the United States, before the express and repeater.
Beside the numerous genera of Antelopes, the Ethiopian Region has exclusive possession of two other conspicuous forms of the Ungulates—the Hippopotamus (Fig. 15) and the Giraffe (Fig. 16), each of which forms a special family