Museum Leverianum

Museum Leverianum
by George Shaw
No. I

B 1

No. I.

hand-tinted engraving of Magellanic Vulture, or Condor

Reinagle delt. Skelton sculpt.

Vultur Magellanicus.     The Magellanic Vulture, or Condor.



Rostrum rectum, apice aduncum.

Caput (plerumque) impenne, antice nuda cute.

Lingua bifida.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 121.


Vultur niger, remigibus secundariis albis nigro terminatis, gula nuda.

Vultur Gryphus. ?

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 121.

Condor. ?

Briss. Ornith. 1. p. 473. n. 12.

SI primis Americanæ historiæ scriptoribus credendum sit, in quibusdam orbis istius occidui partibus, miranda est et ingens avis species, in exitium cæterorum animalium ita lethaliter armata, ut omnes aves prædatrices quas Europæi unquam aspexerint, mole et ferocitate longe longeque superet; fidemque, (si liceat dicere,) sobriorum nostratium physicorum omnino labefactet. Vulturis hæc species, ut narrant scriptores, nomine Condor cognita, pueros decennes, vel etiam ætate 2 provectiores arripit, et cum illis longe avolat: binæque hujusmodi, si simul convenerint, vaccam facillime dilaniant devorantque. Dirissima hæc avis fabulæ miræ in Arabicis narrationibus de ave Roc seu Ruc ansam dedisse creditur. Quamvis certe valde præter verum augeatur hujus vulturis magnitudo et ferocitas, nequaquam tamen dubitandum est quin vulturis alicujus Americani species, alias omnes vulturini generis facile superet, quæque, occasionem nacta, in ipsa animalia majora mira audacia usque ad necem sæviat. In musæis aliquando occurrunt specimina, ut putatur, remigum hujus avis; queis sane conspectis, si secundum regulam notissimam “ex pede Herculem” dijudicare fas sit, nullum dubium sit quin mole gigantea inter congeneres ipsa avis præpolleat. Hujusmodi pennæ ab ave in Chili scloppeto confecta detractæ describuntur in Actorum Anglicorum volumine decimo octavo, pagina sexagesima prima, ubi dicitur avem albo nigroque variatam fuisse more picæ vulgaris, (seu corvi picæ Linnæi,) caputque habuisse crista cornea compresso-erecta et acuta instructum. Alii qui de hac ave scripserunt dicunt gulam illi esse nudam et rubram, collumque torque velut plumoso niveo circumdatum. Buffonus has aves non Americæ peculiares putat, sed et in Europa aliquando conspici, avemque a Germanis Laemmergeyer nominatam, eandem esse somniat, quam profecto speciem in vulture barbato Linnæi agnoscunt recentiores physici. Cum vero, licet nuperrime ardentiori studio flagraverint naturæ indagatores, omniaque fere animalia ex India utraque in musea nostra advecta sint, nullum adhuc mirandæ hujus avis adultum specimen conspiciatur; fieri non potest quin descriptio paululum manca sit et imperfecta, plenaque ejus historia adhuc fere in tenebris lateat. Linnæus, reliquis auctoribus confisus, in systemate suo hanc speciem nomine Vulturis Gryphi admisit. Species in tabula depicta, quamvis giganteo illo vulture, quem supra memoravimus, multo minor, inter maximos tamen qui ad nos pervenerint numeranda est. A sinu Magellanico allata est; quodque crista omnino careat, cæterisque de causis, facile crediderim esse pullum avis ipsius ingentis supra-dictæ fœmineum. Alæ ejus ab apicibus dimensæ circiter novem pedes sunt longæ. Rostrum obscure est plumbeum, versus apicem albescens. Caput collumque plumis carent, sed tomento velut B2 3 sparso et sub-piloso obtectæ sunt. Vertex ad fuscum vergit; collum vero est pallidius; nec dubito quin, ave adhuc viva, subrubrum fuerit. Ad colli partem inferiorem tuberculum pyriforme rubrum conspicitur. Circa collum juxta humeros, plumarum est albarum torquis, primo intuitu cuniculi vellus optime referens. Cætera avis nigra est, remigibus autem secundariis albis, nigro terminatis. Ejusdem quoque sunt coloris plumæ aliquot scapulares, tectricesque minores albido ad apices leviter sub-tinctæ. Crura pedesque nigricant, suntque validissima, unguibus tamen parum incurvatis. Cauda apice æquali vix ac ne vix rotundato. Cum remiges hujus avis cum remigibus veri (ut creditur) Condoris, quem ab America huc transtulit Dominus Byron, componerem, consimiles illas omnino dijudicavi, excepta sola magnitudine. Historiam igitur naturalem puram et sinceram aliis tradendi cupidus, pene veritus sum edicere hanc nostram avem verum esse Vulturem Gryphum Linnæi, seu genuinum Condorem; sed potius habui novo illam nomine insignire, nomenque Linnæanum (quod synonymum putatur) dubia manu citare.




Bill strait, hooked at the tip.

Head commonly bare of feathers, with a naked skin in front.

Tongue bifid.


Black Vulture, with the shorter wing-feathers white with black tips, and naked throat.

The Condor.

IF the tales related by some of the early describers of the natural productions of America have any foundation in truth, there exists somewhere in that extensive continent a bird whose enormous magnitude and prodigious powers of destruction far exceed all that the largest feathered tyrants of the ancient hemisphere can boast, and all that the more sober philosophic faith of European naturalists can easily be induced to admit. These writers assure us that the species of Vulture called the Condor is capable of snatching up and carrying off boys of ten years of age and upwards; and that a pair of these destroyers in concert will attack a heifer in the midst of a field and tear it in pieces with the most perfect ease. It is imagined that this dreadful vulture has given rise to the exaggerated description of the bird which makes so 5 conspicuous a figure in the Arabian tales, under the name of the Roc, or Ruc. Much allowance must doubtless be given to the enlarged accounts of the strength and fierceness recorded by the above-mentioned writers; but there is no reason to question the existence of some species of American vulture of a size far greater than others of its genus, and which may be capable of committing great devastations amongst such of the animal world as are exposed to the fury of its attacks.

In museums are sometimes seen specimens of the remiges or long wing-feathers of this bird; and from these, if we may judge of the size of the bird they belonged to, according to the well-known rule of “ex pede Herculem” the bulk which it sometimes attains, must be greatly superior to that of every other species. In the Philosophical Transactions, vol. 18, p. 61, is a description of the quills of a bird of this sort which was shot in Chili, and which bird measured 16 feet when the wings were extended. The bird is said to have been coloured black and white like a mag-pie, and furnished with a sharp hard crest or comb on the head. Other accounts add that the throat is naked and of a red colour, and that the neck is surrounded by a white ruff or tippet. The Count de Buffon imagines that these vultures are not peculiar to America, but that they are sometimes found in Europe, and seems inclined to think that the species called by the Germans Lammer-geyer may be the same bird; but this seems now to be clearly determined in the negative: the Lammer-geyer of the Germans being no other than the vultur-barbatus of Linnæus. But since, notwithstanding the eagerness with which natural history is pursued, and the pains taken to enrich the European museums with the most interesting productions of both the Indies, it does not appear that any full-grown specimens of this great American Vulture have yet been imported, we must be content that its history and description should still remain in some degree involved in obscurity. Linnæus, relying on the usual descriptions given of it by most authors, has admitted it into the 6 Systema Naturæ, and has named it Vultur Gryphus. The species which is figured on the annexed plate, tho’ it cannot come in competition with the gigantic specimens above described, is yet one of the largest Vultures hitherto known. It was brought from the Straits of Magellan, and the circumstance of its not having the least appearance of a comb on the head, together with some other particulars, incline me to suppose it a young bird, and most probably a female. The extent of its wings from tip to tip is about 10 feet. The beak is of a dark lead-colour, and grows gradually whitish towards the tip. The head and neck are destitute of feathers, but are covered with a short straggling sort of hairy down. The top of the head inclines to a dark colour, but the rest of the neck is rather paler, and I make no doubt but that in the living bird it was of a reddish colour. Towards the lower part of the neck appears a smallish pear-shaped tubercle, which probably was red, and round the base of the neck, where it joins the shoulders, is a ruff or circle of white downy feathers, which on a cursory view have exactly the appearance of rabbet’s fur. Beneath the breast is a considerable bare space. All the rest of the bird is black, except the shorter or secondary wing-feathers, which are white with black tips. A few of the scapulars also are of this appearance, and some of the wing-coverts are very slightly tipped with whitish. The legs and claws are blackish, very strong, but the claws not much incurvated. The tail even at the end and very slightly rounded at sides. On comparing the remiges or long wing-feathers of this bird with some which were brought by Mr. Byron as those of the real Condor, I found them to be exactly similar in all respects except in size. Not chusing therefore to create confusion in natural history by making it absolutely the same with the Vultur Gryphus of Linnæus, I have rather chosen to give it a new name, and to place the supposed Linnæan synonym in a doubtful manner.


hand-tinted engraving of Polar Bear

C. R. Ryley del. Noble sculp.

Ursus Polaris.   The Polar Bear.



Dentes primores superiores 6, intus excavati alterni.

inferiores 6; laterales 2 longiores lobati; secundarii basi interiores.

Laniarii solitarii, conici.

5. s. 6: primo laniariis approximato.



Ursus albus, cauda abrupta, capite colloque elongatis.

Gmel. Syst. Nat. 1. p. 101.

Ursus marinus.

Pallas it. 3. p. 691.

Ursus maritimus albus major arcticus.

Martens Spitzb. 73. t. o. f. c.

URSUS Polaris, quem cum urso communi diu falsoque permiscuerunt physici, in frigidissimis mundi partibus semper degit, littora ut plurimum arctica et glacialia pererrans, phocas piscesque devorans. Immenso robori timenda accedit ferocitas. Sub alta nive cubilia fertur effodere, sive in lacunis inter moles maximas glaciei. Maribus septentrionis extremi enormes innatant massæ seu insulæ glaciei, spectacula miranda et horrore plena! quæ per spatiam multarum leucarum longe lateque fluitant, et nonnunquam ventis agitatæ fragore horrisono sibi invicem adversæ occurrunt. His in insulis species ursi jam memorata sæpe conspicitur; longe enim admodum a littore vagatur, et ut cibum sibi comparet, enatat audacter in altum mare. Erga prolem suam maximo amore servet; qua in defendenda vi et fortitudine incredibili pugnare solet. A communi seu vulgari urso distinguitur mole corporis longe majore, forma longiore, robore et crassitie membrorum, præcipue vero et insigniter capitis longitudine. Color est candidus, interdum levissima flavedinis tinctura perfusus. Labia et ungues nigricant.




Six cutting teeth, and two canine in each jaw.

Five toes before; five behind.

In walking rests on the hind feet as far as the heel.



White bear with elongated neck and head.

Polar bear.

Penn. Hist. Quad. p. 288.

THE Polar Bear, long confounded with the common species, is confined to the dreary climates of the most frozen regions of the north; and is principally found wandering about the icy coasts of the polar seas, where it preys on seals and fish. It is an animal of tremendous strength, fierceness, and courage. It is said to form itself retreats under the deep snow, or in the vacuities which it finds among the masses of ice. In the seas of the extreme north are enormous floating masses or islands of ice, which form one of the most wonderful spectacles that nature in those dismal wastes can exhibit. They are seen floating for many leagues together, and, when driven by winds, frequently approach each other with the most dreadful crashing. On these islands of ice the species of bear above-mentioned is often seen, for it is capable of swimming several leagues at a time, and makes frequent excursions to sea in quest of prey. It is remarkable for the greatest possible attachment to its young; in defence of which it exerts every effort of the most desperate and vindictive courage. As a species this bear is distinguished from the common bear by the far superior size of the body; by the more elongated form; by its vast strength of limbs, and particularly by the length of the head; the figure and proportion of which differs widely from the other species. Its colour is white, with a very slight tinge of yellowish, and the lips and claws are black.

C 9

hand-tinted engraving of Common Musk

C. R. Ryley del. Noble sculpt.

Moschus Moschiferus.   The Common Musk.

Publish’d Feb 8th. 1791. by J. Parkinson Leverian Museum London.



Cornua nulla.

Dentes Laniarii superiores solitarii exserti.



Moschus folliculo umbilicali.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 91.

Capreolus moschi.

Gesn. Quadr. 695.

Animal moschiferum.

Nieremb. Hist. Nat. p. 184.

Pallas. Spic. Zool. fasc. 13. t. 4-6.

A Genere cervino præcipue distinguitur hæc species eo quod cornubus careat, habeatque in maxilla superiori dentes laniarios deorsum spectantes, longeque præ cæteris exsertos. Magnitudo eadem fere ac cervi capreoli Linnæi. Cum imo colore, qui fusco-griseus saturatior, miscetur aliquid ferruginei. Corporis partes posteriores, (in nonnullis saltem speciminibus, ut et in hoc nostro) striis aliquot obliquis longitudinalibus notantur. Ungulæ elongatæ nigricant. Cauda brevissima vix potest discerni. Femina carere dicitur dentibus laniariis exsertis, nec non cistula seu receptaculo moschifero, quod solius est maris.


Moschum generat Asia, præcipue regio Thibetana, cujus frigidissimas summitates pinetaque densissima solet pererrare. Fertur eum non gregatim incedere, sed solum et separatim. Corpore est agili admodum vegetoque; timido tamen ingenio, fugit familiaritatem hominum, ægroque domatur. In illius Asiani orbis partibus quas jam memoravimus species dicitur esse numerosissima; quod satis patet a moschi copia illinc per totam Europam dispersa.

Inaniter essem laboriosus si notum hoc odoramentum minutius describerem. Pauci sunt qui nesciunt moschum nasci a peculiari quodam humore qui secernitur in folliculo sub infimo ventre, quique recens odorem spargit potentissimum. Substantiæ est leviter tenacis, sed fere friabilis; coloris subferruginei, seu ferrugineo-fusci.

C2 11



Two long tusks in the upper jaw.

Eight small cutting teeth in the lower jaw, none in the upper.



Musk with a cyst or follicle beneath the belly.

Tibet Musk.

Pennant. Quadr. 112.

Le Musc.

De Buffon. 12. 361.

THIS animal is principally distinguished from those of the Deer kind by the want of horns, and by the presence of tusks, or long canine teeth in the upper jaw, projecting greatly beyond the rest, and pointing downwards. Its size is nearly that of a Roebuck: its general colour a sort of dark brownish gray, not without a slight cast of ferruginous, and in some specimens, (as in the present) the hind-parts are marked with a few whitish longitudinal streaks. The hoofs are long and of a blackish colour; the tail very short and even scarce perceptible. The female is said to be distinguished by the want of tusks, as well as of the receptacle containing the musk, which is peculiar to the male.


The Musk is an Asiatic animal, and is principally found amongst the mountainous parts of Thibet, where it wanders amidst the highest and coldest tracts, and amongst the pine-forests of those regions. It is said to be not gregarious, but rather a solitary animal. It is of an extremely active and vigorous nature; yet timid, and with difficulty tamed. It partakes in many particulars of the habits of the deer tribe. The species is said to be extremely numerous in the regions above-mentioned, as may easily be conceived from the great quantity of musk which is imported from thence, and dispersed throughout Europe.

To be particular in the description of that celebrated perfume, would be to tell our readers what they are already acquainted with. It is well known to be a secretion of a peculiar nature, formed in a particular cyst or receptacle, situated under the lower part of the animal’s belly. It is when recent of a most penetrating odor; of a slightly tenacious or nearly friable substance, and of a reddish or ferruginous colour.


hand-tinted engraving of Rock Manakin

Mrs. Smith late Miss Stone delin. Skelton Sculpt.

Pipra Rupicola.   The Rock Manakin.

Pubd. as the Act directs. Jany 1 1791 by I Parkinson Leverian Museum.



Rostrum capite brevius, basi subtrigonum, integerrimum, apice incurvum.

Pedes gressorii.



Pipra crista erecta margine purpurea, corpore croceo, tectricibus rectricum truncatis.



Brisson. av. 4. p. 437. n. 1. t. 34. f. 1.

AVES Americanas et Indicas, voce suavi et canora quæ sylvis pratisque Europæis amœnitatem affert et oblectamentum, plerumque carentes, coloribus tamen mirum in modum vividis et variis superbire notum est. Harum nonnullæ splendidissima colorum diversitate sunt insignitæ; nonnullæ unico colore per totum fere corpus æque diffuso distinguuntur. Exemplo sit avis in tabula depicta; quæ integra et bene se habens, coloris vere crocei specimen exhibet pulcherrimum, ipsa Paradisea aurea, cujus dorsum eodem fere colore nitescit, non excepta. Est etiam Pipræ Rupicolæ aliud singulare ornamentum; crista nempe compressa et erecta, duplex, longitudinaliter sita, cujus duæ internæ superficies valde sibi invicem appropinquant. Tres tantum præterea aves sunt, ut puto, quæ cristam habent similiter formatam; Mergus nempe cucullatus Lin. Columba coronata Lin. et Columba cristata Lathamii. Eadem est crista his avibus, quæ sane præ cæteris ornamento maximo certe et sibi peculiari insigniri videntur.


Plumæ præterea quæ caudam tegunt Rupicolæ, quæque sunt ab utraque parte caudæ, abscissæ videntur ad apices velut ope forficum; non ut aliis avibus, orbiculatæ vel sensim attenuatæ. Hic terminandi modus in lingua hiscorico-naturali truncatus nominatur. Aliæ paucæ aves exempla hujusmodi suppeditant; præsertim Meleagris Gallopavo Lin. cujus collum, pectus et latera, pennis similis structuræ teguntur; et Loxia Coccothraustes Lin. cujus remiges secundarii oblique utrinque ad apices truncati sunt, ut formam securidis bellicæ veteris præ se ferant. Plumæ præterea Rupicolæ ab utraque parte caudæ sunt laxissimæ, ut videantur ab ipsa natura negligenter impositæ, quod et Ardeis obtigit, et præcipue avi Paradiseæ. Caput si quis obiter intueatur, primo putet Rupicolam in ordine Gallinaceo debere numerari; rostrum enim rostro galli vulgaris non est absimile; ideoque a nonnullis nomine galli saxatilis vocatur; nominaturque ab Edwards, qui caput avis accurate depingi curavit, (parum enim tunc temporis de illa notum est,) Hoopee hen, seu Gallina Upupa. Cum tamen ad Systema Linnæanum Rupicolæ characteres genericos attentius scrutamur, necesse est ut ad genus Pipræ amandetur; (quod et ipsum Edwardum non effugit.) In genere igitur Pipræ velut gigas eminet; aliæ enim species pleræque sunt parvæ aviculæ: tenet itaque suo in genere eundem locum quem columba coronata in genere columbæ.

Quod ad mores et habitus hujus avis attinet, nihil forsan addi potest præter quod observavit Lathamius in Synopsi sua avium; qui dicit illam cavernas tenebrosas rupium incolere, ibique nidificare, ovaque duo alba columbinis similia deponere. Addit ille avem esse feram et timidam, ut tamen cicurari possit, et inter aves villaticas et gallinaceas servari; et in Cayana et Guiana in America Australi præcipue reperiri. Valde diversus est color maris et feminæ; hæc nempe tota fusca est, et cristam gerit multo minus elegantem. Pulli, etiam masculi, fusci sunt, vel saltem subfusci. Interdum evenisse dicitur ut femina in vestitu maris, seu croceo fuerit conspecta. Similem mutationem gallinis interdum accidere notissimum est.




Bill shorter than the head, somewhat triangular at the base, bent at the tip.

Feet gressorial.


Orange-coloured Manakin with upright compressed crest, and coverts of the tail truncated.

Hoopoe hen.

Edw. Glean. t. 264.

Coq. de roche du Pérou.

Buff. Hist. Nat. des Ois. 4. p. 437.

THE Birds of America and the East-Indies, tho’ in general not remarkable for that pleasing power of melody which gives so lively a charm to the European groves and fields, are yet supereminently distinguished by the beauty, variety, and lustre of their plumage: Sometimes exhibiting a rich and splendid diversity of colour in the same bird, and sometimes affording an example of one single or individual colour uniformly diffused almost over the whole body. Of this the bird which forms the subject of this present plate is a very remarkable example. When in a state of perfection it furnishes perhaps the finest example of the true color croceus, or golden-orange, of any bird yet discovered; not excepting even the Paradisea aurea, or Golden Paradise-bird, the back of which is very nearly of the same colour. Another very curious particular, and which takes place in very few other birds, is the crista 16 erecto-compressa, or the flattened upright crest, which is placed longitudinally and is double, with the two surfaces nearly approaching each other. The only birds (perhaps) yet known, in which a similarity of structure in the crest takes place, are, the Mergus Cucullatus Lin. or Crested Gooseander; the great Crowned Indian Pigeon, (Col. coronata Lin.) and the lesser Crowned Pigeon of Latham; in which birds the crest is nearly of a similar structure, and may stand as an example of one of the principal beauties observable in the feathered tribe.

There is still another circumstance to be observed in this curious bird; viz. the very singular formation of the feathers which lie over the tail, as well as those which appear on each side the tail: these feathers are neither gradually lessened towards their extremities, nor rounded, which are the usual terminations of the feathers in most birds; but they appear as if cut off transversely towards their ends with scissars. This is a mode of termination which in the language of Natural History is called truncated. There are not wanting some few instances of a similar form in the feathers of other birds; the instance which most readily occurs is that of the feathers on the neck, breast, and sides of the common turkey. Another example is afforded by the shorter wing-feathers of the bird called the Haw-finch, (Loxia Coccothraustes Lin.) in which the tips are somewhat obliquely truncated on each side, so as to resemble the figure of an ancient battle-axe. The feathers on each side the tail are loosely webbed, or naturally dishevelled; a structure of feather which takes place in many birds, but in none more remarkably than in the genus Ardea, which contains the Heron tribe; and in the Paradisea, or bird of Paradise. There is something in the air and appearance of the head of the Pipra Rupicola, which seems at first glance to make a near approach to the Gallinaceous tribe, the beak being not unlike that of a common fowl. It is from this circumstance that the bird has received the title of the Cock of the Rock; and the accurate Mr. Edwards, who has given a pretty D 17 good representation of the head of the bird, (all that was then known,) has called it by the name of the Hoopoe-Hen. On strictly examining however the beak and other parts according to the true principles of the Linnæan arrangement, we find that the bird does not in reality belong to that tribe. It is a true Pipra; a genus in which most of the other species are small birds; so that it is as gigantic a bird in its own genus, as the Great Crowned Pigeon is in that of Columba.

With respect to the habits and history of this bird I believe nothing can be added to what Mr. Latham has said in his Synopsis of birds, viz. that it principally inhabits the holes and dark caverns of rocks, &c. in which it breeds, laying two white eggs of the size of those of a Pigeon: that it is a wild and timid bird, yet capable of being domesticated so as to be kept with common poultry; and that it is principally found in the provinces of Guiana and Cayenne in South America. The female is strikingly different in point of colour; being of an uniform brown; and has a crest less elegant than the male. It is also said that the young are at first inclining to brown, and that there have not been wanting instances in which the female has appeared in a plumage nearly similar to that of the male. A circumstance which has been sometimes observed in the gallinaceous tribe.


hand-tinted engraving of Guinea Musk

Ryley del. Skelton Sculp.

Moschus Grimmia.   The Guinea Musk.

Pub. as the Act directs Jany 1. 1792. by I. Parkinson. Leverian Museum.



Cornua nulla.

Dentes Laniarii superiores solitarii exserti.



Moschus capite fasciculo tophoso.


Capra sylvestris Africana Grimmii.

Ray. Quadr. 80.

Antilope Grimmia.

Gmel. Syst. Nat. 1. p. 191.

QUO tempore Linnæus ultimam (duodecimam nempe) editionem Systematis Naturæ conscripsit, quo in genere collocaretur Moschus Grimmia multum dubitatum est; cumque fœminam, cornubus carentem, (sola enim fœminea specimina tunc temporis in Musea Europea advenerant) qui primus de eo disseruit, descripserit Dominus Grimme; Linnæus igitur, sagacem secutus Brissonium, retulit illum ad genus Moschi. Postquam vero progressu temporis penitius explorati essent characteres, compertum est pertinere illum potius ad Antelai genus, in quo sane a solertissimo Pennanto disponitur. Fatendum quidem est videri eum forma moribusque Moscho affinem, et esse quasi commune quoddam vinculum inter genera Cervi, Moschi, et Antelai. Notandum D2 19 est sub multorum, immo plurimorum antelaorum oculis esse sinum seu cavitatem; sed in eorum nullis insignius quam in Moscho de quo jam loquimur.

Forma est Moschus elegantissima; colore badio subflavescente, subtus pallidiore. Cornua brevissima, glabra, nigra, et modice acuta. Fronti inter cornua adhæret fasciculus retro flexus, acuminatus, niger, pilorum seu potius setarum, nam pilis reliqui corporis longe duriores sunt. Hoc optime designatur character specificus. Oculi magni. Ungulæ parvæ, nigræ.

Africam, Guineam præcipue incolit Moschus Grimmia. Ingenio est miti timidoque. Præstat agilitate, modoque vivendi plerisque Antelais simillimus est.




Tusks in the upper jaw.

Small cutting teeth in the lower jaw; none in the upper.


Musk with a sharp pointed tuft of hair on the upper part of the head.

Guinea Antelope.

Pennant. Quadr. p. 72.

La Grimme.

De Buffon. 12. 307. t. 41.

AT the time when Linnæus composed the last Edition of the Systema Naturæ, an uncertainty prevailed with respect to the proper arrangement of this animal; and as no other than female specimens had then been seen in the European Museums, and as the individual specimen mentioned by Dr. Grimm, its first describer, was said to be without horns, Linnæus was therefore induced to place it as a species of the genus Moschus, in which he followed the example of the judicious Brisson. The characters of the animal are now better known, and it is found to belong with greater propriety to the genus Antelope, in which it is placed by Mr. Pennant. It is to be observed however that it has strongly the general habit and appearance of a Musk, and forms as it were a connecting link between the genera of Moschus, 21 Cervus, and Antelaus. It is remarkable that in many, if not in most species of Antelope, a sort of cavity or sinus exists under the eye. This particularity takes place in a very remarkable manner in the creature at present under consideration; and in the living animal is even more strikingly conspicuous than in the Antelopes themselves.

The whole animal is extremely elegant in its appearance; its colour is a clear yellowish bay; somewhat paler beneath. The horns are very short, smooth, black, and moderately sharp. On the forehead between the horns is a very conspicuous tuft of erect black hairs of a stronger nature than the rest of the body. This forms one of its most striking characters as a species; it inclines a little backwards, and has an acute termination. The eyes are large, the hoofs small and black.

This animal is a native of Africa, and particularly of Guinea. It is of a wild, timid nature; is possessed of the greatest degree of agility, and in its general habits and manner of life resembles the generality of the Antelope tribe.


hand-tinted engraving of Virginian Opossum

C. R. Ryley delt. W. Skelton Sculpt.

Didelphis Marsupialis.   The Virginian Opossum.

Pubd. as the Act directs. Janry 1, 1791 by J. Parkinson, Leverian Museum.



Dentes Primores superiores 10; inferiores 8; intermediis 2 brevissimis.

Laniarii longi.

Molares denticulati.

Lingua subciliata.

Folliculus abdominalis mammarum.



Didelphis mammis 8 intra abdomen?



Tyson. Act. Angl. n. 239.

Ray. Quadr. 182.

CUM primo detegeretur occiduus orbis, stupuerunt homines latissime expansam regionem, novamque ipsius telluris faciem: nec minus mirati sunt physici magnum animalium antea inauditorum et anomalorum numerum. Perculit illos præcipue Opossum, sive Didelphis, pullos appropinquante periculo, intra sacculum abdominalem, benigno naturæ custodientis consilio, ad libitum recipere solita. Diu habebatur totum hoc genus, (quod plurimas continet species) Americam solam incolere. Investigavit postea physicorum sedulitas in aliis mundi partibus animalia consimilia: in insula præcipue Java pictor Le Brun, ipse 23 licet scientiæ naturalis parum studiosus, perculsus tamen rei novitate, bestiam congenerem Philandrum fideliter depinxit, cujus catulos ipse vidit e matris sacculo abdominali exeuntes et circumspectantes. Nostris vero temporibus, conjuncto navigatorum et philosophorum studio, compertus est alter quasi novus orbis, animalia continens queis eadem datur capsula ad recipiendos pullos: quorum præcipue memorandæ sunt species duæ Macropi, seu Kanguroo. Quinetiam cætera Novæ Hollandiæ quadrupedia, utcunque in aliis differant, in hoc tamen cum Didelphidibus aliquatenus conveniunt.

Species quam ræpresentat tabula vulgaris, seu Opossum communiter et κατ’ εξοχην dicta, primo omnium detegebatur, cæteris major. Vix feli domesticæ cedit magnitudine, forma crassiori. Color cinereo-subflavescens. Pilus mollis, densus, paululum erectus. Aures tenues, nigricantes, rotundatæ, margine albo cinctæ. Cauda aliquatenus squamosa, pilis rarissimis tegitur; prehensilis quoque est; eam nempe circa quodcunque voluerit contorquere potest Didelphis, ut suspendat se more multarum simiarum. Nullam jactare potest pulchritudinem; facies enim elongata est, ore amplissimo. Pedes unguibus acuminatis muniti sunt; digiti vero interiores seu pollices pedum posticorum, ungues habent (ut sunt simiarum) rotundatos. Crura nigricant. Venter albet. Pars caudæ superior tantum non nigra. Carnibus vescitur Didelphis, gallinas avesque minores, nec non alia animalia, more Putorii Europæi, prædatur.

Pulli primo nati embryonibus dicuntur esse similes, sacculumque abdominalem vel ipsi illico intrant, aut ibi a parente reponuntur; uberibus sese arcte affigunt, simulque ac increverit robur et magnitudo, iterum in lucem prodeunt; deinceps latibulum non nisi periculum veriti quærentes.




Two canine teeth in each jaw.

Cutting teeth unequal in number in each jaw.

Five toes on each foot: hind feet formed like a hand, with a distinct thumb.

Tail very long, slender, and usually naked.



Yellowish-grey Opossum, with blackish rounded ears edged with white.

Virginian Opossum.

Pennant. Quadr. p. 301.


Phil. Trans. abridged, 2. 884. t. 13.

THE discovery of the western world, while it astonished mankind by its vast extent of territory, and a new face of nature in the earth itself, was not less productive of wonder to naturalists in the numerous and curious species of animals then first introduced to the knowledge of the European philosophers. Amongst these striking examples of singular structure the Opossum formed one of the principal objects: an animal in which nature appeared to have exerted a new and unheard-of contrivance for the protection of the young; which, instead of being exposed during their state of helpless infancy to the casualties to which other creatures are liable, E 25 were securely concealed in a pouch situated under the body of the female. So wonderful an example of the preserving power of nature was most justly admired by the philosophic world; and the different species of Opossum, (for the genus is of considerable extent,) were long regarded as the peculiar and exclusive natives of the American Continent. The researches however of naturalists in time discovered that there existed in other parts of the globe animals of a similar structure, and in the island of Java in particular, an animal which belongs to this genus was discovered by Le Brun, the painter, who, tho’ not himself a scientific naturalist, could not fail to be struck by a circumstance of so much curiosity. He has accordingly described an animal called the Philander, in which he observed the young peeping out of their temporary residence in the ventral pouch of their parent. The persevering efforts of navigators accompanied by naturalists have at length discovered as it were another new world, and other animals, not less surprising than the Opossums; and which seem in many particulars to agree in structure with those animals; being like them furnished with an abdominal pouch for the temporary residence of their young. Of this the two species of Kanguroo are remarkable examples; and even the other quadrupeds of New Holland, tho’ very different in the rest of their generic characters, still make some approach to the genus Didelphis or Opossum.

The particular species of Opossum represented on the plate is the common or large American species, or the Opossum emphatically so called; which was the species first discovered, and is much larger than the rest of its genus. It is scarce inferior in size to a cat, but is of a thicker form. Its colour is a pale yellowish ash or grayish, and its fur is soft and thick, and grows somewhat erect. The ears are thin, blackish, round, and edged with a border of white. The tail is very thinly coated with hair; and has somewhat of a scaly appearance: it is also prehensile, or possessed of a power of coiling, like those of some monkeys, round any object by which the animal 26 pleases to suspend itself. It is a creature which has no great share of external beauty. It has a long or produced sharp face, and a very wide mouth. The feet are furnished with sharp claws, but the interior toes, or thumbs, of the hind feet are flat and rounded, and have nails like those of the monkey tribe. The legs are blackish, and the belly white. The upper part of the tail is nearly black. It is a carnivorous animal, and preys on poultry and the smaller birds and other creatures, in the manner of the European polecat.

The young, when first born, are said to resemble fœtuses, and they either enter the abdominal pouch themselves, or else are immediately placed there by the parent animal; where they attach themselves immoveably to the teats, and when they have attained sufficient growth and strength, again emerge; after which they occasionally take refuge in the same receptacle on the approach of any danger, and are carried about by the parent.

E2 27

hand-tinted engraving of Splendid Parrot

Miss Stone delt. Skelton sculpt.

Psittacus Splendidus.   The Splendid Parrot.

Pubd as the Act directs May 1. 1790 by I. Parkinson Leverian Museum.



Rostrum aduncum: mandibula superiore mobili; cera instructa.

Nares in rostri basi.

Lingua carnosa, obtusa, integra.

Pedes scansorii.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 139.


Psittacus macrourus sanguineus, dorso nigro maculato, alis caudaque cyaneis.

Psittacus Pennantii.

Lath. Ind. Orn. p. 91. No. 26.

COloribus vividis adeo et variis decoravit natura numerosas psittacorum species, ut vix ulla arte pictoria ad vivum possint exprimi; interdum etiam ipsæ species, ob nimiam inter se affinitatem et admixturam, vix ac ne vix accurate distingui. Hanc difficultatem non parum auget magna illa differentia quæ inter marem et fœminam ejusdem speciei non raro contingit. Species jam describenda characteres quoad colores gerit adeo distinctos, ut ab aliis adulta et perfecta facile dignosci queat. In quibusdam tamen speciminibus, quæ forte ad maturitatem non pervenerint, vel sexus sunt fœminei, tanta est plumarum diversitas ut in dubio hæreant physici quam ad speciem debeant referri.


Psittacus hic formosus plerosque sui generis antecedit pulchritudine et colorum splendore. Ad species macrouras seu longicaudas pertinet, et inter psittacos vulgo Lories dictos numerandus est. Color ejus generalis est vivide sanguineus, corporis parte inferiore paulum pallidiore. Pennæ dorsi nigræ sunt, rubro cinctæ. Humeri, seu tectrices minores lucide cœrulei. Versus mediam alarum partem color cœruleus magis cyaneus est, non sine virore aliquo obscuriore. Super axillas color pennarum niger in maculam transversam nigram, apicibus acuminatis discurrit. Cauda prælonga ad imum est cuneatior. Rectrices duæ intermediæ virore tinctæ sunt, reliquæ pulcherrime cyaneæ, marginibus lucidioribus. Uropygium sanguinei est ruboris. Crura pedesque nigricant. Rostrum albicans subflavescit, basi plumbea. Ab utraque parte maxillæ inferioris macula est lucide cœrulea; quo sane signo species ipsa possit dignosci; in omnibus enim mihi hactenus visis clare semper extitit.

Formosa hæc avis Novæ Hollandiæ est incola, et a Lathamio in Synopsi sua avium, nomine Psittaci Pennantii, in honorem celeberrimi Domini Pennant, distinguitur. Cum tamen nomina ut dicuntur, trivialia, ad ipsius animalis quod describitur vel colorem, vel mores et habitus, aliqua ex parte, quamvis sæpe forsan remotius, debeant referri, potius mihi visum est avem novo nomine designare. Psittacum igitur splendidum apellavi.




Bill hooked. Upper mandible moveable.

Nostrils round, placed in the base of the bill.

Tongue fleshy, broad, blunt at the end.

Legs short. Toes formed for climbing; viz. two toes forward, and two backward.


Long-tailed sanguine-red Parrot, with the back spotted with black, the wings and tail blue.

Pennantian Parrot.

Lath. Synops. Suppl. p. 61.

Splendid Parrot.

Naturalist’s Miscellany, pl. 53.

NATURE has been so profuse of her decorations in the Parrot tribe, and the number of species into which she has distributed these birds is so great, that it is difficult to imitate with precision the former in painting, and to distinguish with accuracy the latter by exact specific characters. This difficulty is still further increased by the numerous variations to which they are subject, as well as by the difference which frequently takes place in the opposite sexes of the same bird. The present species seems to possess characters as to its plumage, which in the full grown bird can never fail of discriminating it easily as a distinct species; but in those individuals which are either not arrived at their mature age, or else are female birds, a very 30 considerable diversity of plumage takes place; so great as to cast a doubt over the species, and prevent it from being at all times accurately ascertained.

This beautiful Parrot perhaps exceeds most of its tribe in the richness and splendor of its appearance. It belongs to the division of the genus known by the name of long-tailed Parrots, (Psittaci macrouri) and may be placed among the species commonly called Lories. The general colour of the bird is the richest sanguine red, somewhat lighter on the under part of the body. The feathers on the back are black, edged with red. The shoulder parts or coverts of the wings are of a most elegant lucid blue, which towards the middle of the wing becomes somewhat darker, and accompanied by a tinge of green. Just above the axillæ or inferior bend of the wings the black runs out on each side into a broadish spot with sharpened extremities. The tail is very long and cuneated: the two middle feathers tinged with green, the rest a rich deep blue, the edges being more vivid than the other parts. The rump is of the same sanguine red with the rest of the bird. The legs and claws are black or nearly so. The beak of a whitish yellow, lead coloured at the base; and on each side of the under mandible is a patch of feathers of a very rich lucid blue, which seems to be one of the most distinguished marks of the species, since in all which I have yet seen it has been uniformly conspicuous.

This curious bird is a native of New Holland, and has been named by Mr. Latham the Pennantian Parrot, in honour of the celebrated Mr. Pennant; but as trivial names should if possible always be contrived in such a manner as to convey some idea, (even tho’ an indistinct one,) of the subject itself, I have therefore thought it more adviseable to give a name which might in some degree point out the beauty of the bird, and have accordingly called it Psittacus splendidus.


hand-tinted engraving of Elk

Reinagle delt. Skelton sculpt.

Cervus Alces.   The Elk.



Cornua solida, tenera, corio hirto tecta apiceque crescentia, denudata, annua.

Dentes Primores inferiores 8.

Laniarii nulli (interdum solitarii superius.)



Cervus cornibus acaulibus palmatis caruncula gutturali.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 92.


Plin. Hist. Nat. 8. c. 15.

Cervus cornibus ab imo ad summum palmatis.

Briss. Regn. Anim. p. 93. n. 9.

INTER cervos maximus est Alces; est enim illi moles pene equina. Veteris simul et novi orbis est incola; at in America et Asiæ partibus frigidioribus, amplior est quam in Europa. Ab aliis sui generis præcipue distinguitur cornuum figura mensuraque, quæ a stipite seu basi brevissima illico latissime expanduntur, excurruntque in plurimos ramulos extrinsecus acuminatos, qui junioribus pauciores sunt quam adultis. Alces frigidissimas regiones incolere voluit natura. In nullis Europæ regionibus conspicitur nisi septentrionalibus, et præcipue Boreali Suecia. Norunt illum Americani nomine Moose. Plerique physici peramplum et crassissimum labium superius illi tribuunt: in hoc tamen ipso specimine a Septentrionali Suecia nuper delato, quodque pulcherrimum simul ac perfectissimum est habitum, nihil hujusmodi videre est. Lectorem admonitum velim figuram Alces in Buffoni historia prave esse effictam. Multo accuratius hoc animal repræsentat Pennantius in Zoologia Arctica.


Alces, subito excitatus, cum primum in fugam se dare conatur, corruit interdum, velut motu privatus. Num hoc ab ictu epileptico, ut opinantur plures, seu a solo metu accidat, ut in equis notissimum est, seu alia quanam de causa, difficile est dicere. Res tamen ipsa non deneganda est, quæ et superstitioni anili et populari ansam dedit, ungulis nempe Alces inesse vim antiepilepticam; et serio olim credebatur posse illum impetum hujus morbi a seipso depellere, ungulo aurem suam fricando.

Pilo induitur Alces insigniter crasso, firmo et elastico. Gressu plerumque incedit (ut physici solertis verbis utar,) alto sed laxo, more succussatoris; qui sane illi incessus ob crurum longitudinem non male convenit. Corpus breve est, obesum, et validum; collo admodum curto, piloque inde in densam et suberectam quasi jubam assurgente. Color generalis est cinereo-fuscus obscurior. Alces lacessitus, defendere se solet pedibus anterioribus violenter feriendo, in quo sane pugnæ genere adeo est, peritus, ut canem, immo lupum interdum unico ictu possit occidere. Caro ejus nutrimenti simul et saporis plena, frigidiorem orbem incolentibus inter cibos est primarios et delectabiles. Asserunt Americani cervum Moose, qui inter varietates est hujus speciei, ferinam præbere longe præstantissimam: nasusque ejus præcipue inter lautissimas eorum delicias memoratur. Lingua quoque in pretio est. Cum igitur caro adeo præcellat, per campos nivosaque orbis arctici deserta exquiritur Alces, plagisque et omnigena fraude in perniciem illius conspiratur. Fit etiam non raro ut a lupis et ursis occidatur. Animal est Alces mite et innocuum, vastas zonæ frigidæ sylvas incolens, ubi arborum ramulos et virgulta depascitur.

Notandum est vasta illa cornua, in Hibernia aliisque Europæ partibus e terra effossa, quæque cornua esse Alces opinati sunt plures physici, si attentius inspiciantur, ab illis et figura et mensura plurimum distare, sive sit Alces Europæus, sive Americanus. Hanc igitur sententiam hodierni jure respuerunt.

F 33



Horns upright, solid, branched, annually deciduous.

Eight cutting teeth in the lower jaw; none in the upper.



Deer with nearly stemless palmated horns, and commonly a guttural caruncle.


Pennant. Quadr. p. 93.

L’ Elan.

Buff. 12. 79. tab. 7, 8.

THE Elk is the largest species of the Deer kind, and is in size but little inferior to a horse. It is common to both continents, but in America and some of the coldest parts of Asia it attains to a still larger size than in Europe. Its principal mark of distinction from the other species of its genus is the shape or manner of growth of the horns, which from a very short stem or lower part immediately expand into a great width, and run into several sharp-pointed processes externally. The number of these processes differs according to the age of the animal, and is most considerable in those of advanced life. It is an animal peculiarly adapted by nature to cold climates. In Europe it is found in the northern regions, and more particularly in the northern parts of Sweden. In America it is known by the name of the Moose-Deer. Most authors in their descriptions of the 34 Elk, mention the great length and thickness of the upper lip. In the specimen however from which this figure was taken, and which was lately brought over from Sweden, and regarded as a specimen of uncommon perfection and beauty, no appearance of this kind is visible. I think it necessary to observe that the figure of the Elk in the natural history of the Count de Buffon is such as to convey no just idea of the animal, but in the Arctic Zoology of Mr. Pennant is a much superior representation.

This animal when suddenly disturbed, and endeavouring to make its escape, is sometimes observed to fall down, as if deprived for some moments of the power of motion. Whether this be really owing (as has frequently been imagined) to an epileptic fit, or whether merely arising from fear, or sudden surprise, as is sometimes the case in horses, or from what other cause is perhaps not very easy to determine. The fact however is so well authenticated as to lay claim to our belief. Whatever be the cause of the phenomenon itself, it has given rise to the popular superstition of attributing to the hoofs of the Elk a very great and powerful virtue as an anti-epileptic medicine; and it was once imagined that the Elk had a power of curing itself of its own disorder, or of preventing an approaching fit, by scratching its ear with its hoof.

The hair of the Elk is remarkable thick, strong, and elastic. Its usual mode of progression is (to use the words of an accurate naturalist) “a high shambling trot,” a pace which is the more peculiarly suited to the creature on account of the remarkable length of its legs. The form of the body is thick, short, and strong: the neck very short, and rising up behind into a sort of stiffened mane: the head very large, and the tail most extremely short. The general colour of the animal is a deep iron-gray. When attacked, the Elk defends itself by striking violently forwards with his fore-feet, in the use of which he is so dextrous as easily to kill a dog, (and sometimes even a wolf) with a single blow.

F2 35

To the inhabitants of the colder regions the Elk furnishes a principal and luxurious article of food. The flesh is regarded as extremely nutritive and pleasant. That of the Moose-Deer, or American variety, is reckoned the finest venison in the world, and the nose is numbered amongst the greatest delicacies that America affords. The tongue is also in great estimation. In consequence of this superiority of its flesh as an article of diet, it is hunted over the plains and snowy deserts of the northern regions, and every method is devised by which the animal may meet its destruction. It is also said to be attacked, and not unfrequently destroyed, by wolves and bears. It is a mild and harmless animal, and is principally supported by brouzing the boughs of trees amongst the vast and dreary forests of the frozen zone.

I should not dismiss the subject of the Elk without mentioning that the enormous fossil horns which have been so frequently found in Ireland and other parts of Europe, and which have generally been attributed to the Moose or American Elk, are now no longer regarded as belonging to that animal; since on an accurate examination they are found to differ both in figure and proportion, from those of the Elk, whether of Europe or America.


hand-tinted engraving of Variegated Baboon

Ryley delt. Skelton Sculpt.

Simia Mormon.   The Variegated Baboon.

Pubd. as the Act directs, Jany 1 1791, by I. Parkinson Leverian Museum.



Dentes Primores utrinque quatuor, approximati.

Laniarii solitarii, longiores, hinc remoti.

Molares obtusi.


Simia semicaudata sub-barbata olivaceo-fusca, genis cœruleis oblique striatis, natibus calvis sanguineis, lumbis violaceis.

Simia Mormon.

Gmel. Syst. Nat. p. 29.

Schreber. 1. p. 65. t. 8.

CUM Linnæani Systematis synonyma, (quod sane ob operis amplitudinem vix possit evitari,) permiscuerit sæpe falsoque citaverit illustris auctor, eo fit ut confusa sit Papionis species quam in tabula depinximus, cum altera omnino diversa, huic nostræ licet, exceptis magnitudine vividisque coloribus, simillima; cum Simia nempe Maimone Linnæi.

Species de qua jam agitur, inter rarissimas sui generis merito numeratur: in Europam interdum invehitur, coloresque reliquis omnibus longe pulchriores sortita est, formamque mire peculiarem. Magnitudine interdum pedes quinque superat. Corpore est firmo validoque, speciemque roboris auget quasi et efferat 37 pili densitas et longitudo: præsertim in partibus corporis superioribus. Oculi, quos inter exiguum est spatium, colore sunt castaneo; decurritque ab illis fascia lata rubri ardentissimi, seu coccinei, et super apicem rostri diffunditur, quod quasi abruptum et truncatum est, rostro suillo non longe absimile. Genæ sunt splendide violaceo-cœruleæ, fulcisque plurimis oblique ductis profunde notantur. Cætera facies ex albido sordide subflavescit. Super frontem assurgit vellus acuminatum. A mento barba acuminata sub-aurantio-flava dependet. Dentes, (quos optime exprimit figura,) validissimi et maximi. Circa collum posticum pilus multo longior est quam in reliquo corpore, efficitque quasi torquem ad partes anteriores decurrentem. Color imus ex olivario fusco-flavescit, non sine nigredine quapiam in illo artuum latere quod exterius est, et in dorso. Pectus autem venterque fere albescunt, et super torquem qui in collo exstat, circaque nates, coloris violaceo-fusci vestigia quædam cernuntur. Lumborum regio pene denudatur pilis, et coloris est eximie violaceo-cœrulei, in læte coccineum sensim transeuntis: rubor autem præcipuus in partibus posticis caudam cingit brevissimam et fere nullam. Manus pedesque interne nigricant, latisque et acuminatis unguibus muniuntur. Ingenti est robore Simia Mormon, distinguiturque ferocitate magis quam mansuetudine; quod Papionibus majoribus commune est.

Africam incolit interiorem. Quamvis in carcere inclusa sedens sæpe conspiciatur ut refert tabula, sui tamen juris uteretur communiter eodem corporis situ quo cætera quadrupedia. Notandum est falso synonymorum citatione confundi sæpius hanc speciem cum Papione Sphinge Linnæi, a quo tamen longissime distat, quemque vix alium crediderim ab illo qui Papio vulgaria dicitur.




Front Teeth in each jaw 4, placed near together.

Canine Teeth solitary, longer than the others, distant from the remaining teeth or grinders.

Grinders obtuse.


Short-tailed whiskered Baboon, bare behind, with pointed nails, and violet-coloured loins.

Great Baboon.

Pennant. Quadr. p. 173.

Variegated Baboon.

Naturalist’s Miscellany, pl. 48.

FROM a confusion and misapplication of synonyms, which, in so extensive a work as that of the Systema Naturæ of Linnæus, seems almost unavoidable, it has happened that the species of Baboon here represented has been confounded with one really different, though very much resembling it. The species alluded to is the Simia Maimon of Linnæus, which, except in size and vivid colours, bears the highest general resemblance to our present animal.


This very curious creature may be considered as one of the rarest of its tribe, and is not often to be seen in Europe. It is however sometimes obtained, and exhibits at once the most beautiful and lively colours of any species yet known, and at the same time an appearance in the highest degree singular and striking. It is an animal of very considerable size, having been sometimes seen more than five feet high. Its form is uncommonly strong and muscular, while the great length and thickness of the hair on the superior parts of the body still adds to this appearance of strength and vigour. The eyes (which are placed very close or near each other,) are of a deep hazel. Down the middle of the nose from the eyes runs a broad band of vivid vermilion red, which diffuses itself over the tip of the snout, which has a somewhat abrupt termination, in some degree approaching to that of a hog. The sides of the nose are of a very fine violaceous blue, and are very strongly marked by several deep furrows in an oblique direction. The remainder of the face is of a pale dull whitish yellow. On the top of the front the hair rises in a very remarkable manner into a pointed form. Beneath the chin is a pointed beard of a light orange-yellow. The teeth (as the figure well expresses,) are most extremely strong and large. Round the back of the neck the hair is much longer than on other parts, and inclines downwards on the fore parts, somewhat in the manner of a wreath or tippet.

The general colour of the animal is an olivaceous-yellow-brown, with a cast of blackish on the outside of the limbs and back; but is much lighter or almost whitish in front of the body; and on the projecting tippet of the neck and round the hips it has a slight tinge of violet-brown. Round the region of the loins the skin is almost bare, and is of a most beautiful violet-blue, which gradually alters into a vivid vermilion, which is more conspicuous 40 on the hinder part where it surrounds the tail, which is extremely short and scarce apparent. The hands and feet are of a dusky colour internally, and are furnished with broad but pointed claws. It is an animal of great strength and ferocity, and, like other large Baboons, is generally distinguished more by these qualities than by those of docility and mildness.

It is a native of the interior parts of Africa. Tho’ in a state of confinement it frequently sits in the manner represented in the figure, yet its natural and usual posture is like that of other quadrupeds. It should be observed, that from the misquotation of the synonymous names of authors, it has happened that this species has been erroneously described and quoted as the Simia Sphinx of Linnæus; which is a species widely different, and indeed seems to be no other than the common large Baboon.

G 41

hand-tinted engraving of Argus Pheasant

Ryley del. Skelton Sculp.

Phasianus Argus.   The Argus Pheasant.

Pubd. as the Act directs Jany 1. 1792. by I. Parkinson Leverian Museum.



Genæ cute nuda lævigata.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 271.


Phasianus luteo-fuscus, nigro punctatus, remigibus maculis ocellaribus ovatis.

Phasianus Argus.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 272.

Lath. Ind. Orn. p. 629.

GRande in hac avi habemus exemplum quid possit colorum conjunctio, qui sigillatim visi, ob modicam et quotidianam pulchritudinem nihili habentur. Carens Argus lauta illa fulgidaque varietate qua pennæ phasiani picti Linnæi, sive aurati, superbiunt; rutiloque et gemmanti illius, qui communis seu Colchicus dicitur, aspectu; jactat tamen elegantem quandam venustatem, principemque sibi inter congeneres locum, nec immerito, videtur vindicare.

Color primarius languide fusco-flavescit, maculis undulisque innumeris nigricantibus variatus. Ornatur alarum remigum exterius latus serie continua macularum ovatarum et ocellatarum, leviter fuscarum, cinctarumque circulo subnigro, qui alio albo includitur. Area seu pars media macularum, pallidior multo est interius juxta scapum quam exterius. Reliqua tota longitudo lateris exterioris serie striarum nigricantium obliquarum notatur, maculisque plurimis 42 rotundis ejusdem coloris. Lateris interioris seu latioris pars quæ scapo proxima, est fusco-ferruginea; reliquum fere albet, maculisque creberrimus, rotundis, nigricantibus, more testæ illius nomine Cyprææ Tigridis bene cognitæ, pulcherrime insignitur. Scapus pennæ albicat. Alarum pennæ breviores seu ad humeros positæ a longioribus jam descriptis differunt et nequaquam tamen cedunt pulchritudine, licet ocellis careant: scapus enim plumbeo-cœruleus, colorque primarius clarior et lucidior elegantius variatur: pars scilicet exterior fusco-flavescit, sub-nigro maculata, qualiter testa Cypræa; interior seu latior, quæ pulcherrime ferrugineo-pallida, punctis rotundis albis densissime conspergitur, apicesque fusco-pallescunt labeculis nigris rotundis distincti.

Caput parsque colli subcœrulea, et pæne denudantur plumis; super genas præcipue et circa orbitam oculorum; male tamen (in hoc saltem specimine) respondent descriptioni quam a Domino Edwards transtulerunt Linnæus reliquique. Capitis pars posterior pennis parvulis nigricantibus levissime videtur cristata. Dorsi et Uropygii fusco-flavescunt pennæ, non sine punctis rotundis sub-nigris. Colli quoque et pectoris parti inferiori idem est color; striæ autem et maculæ nigricantes creberrime confluunt; quod et pennis nonnullis lateralibus obtigit. Cauda fusco-nigrans, punctis plurimis albis rotundis interstincta, ocellis, queis alæ ornantur, penitus caret. Rectrices duæ intermediæ, cæteras longe superantes, apices habent acuminatos, reliquæ rotundatos. Rostrum pedesque pallida.

Insulas Indiæ Orientalis, Sumatram præcipiue et abundanter incolit formosissima hæc avis. Cum solitudinis sit cupida, timidoque ingenio, vix ac ne vix cicur evadit. In sylvis præcipue degit, et in hoc differre dicitur a congeneribus, quod hebes inersque diem terat, nocte vigil alacrisque; quo tempore querulam edit vocem palumbæ non absimilem. Magnitudine Meleagridi Gallopavoni Linnæi fere æqualis est Phasianus Argus, a rostri apice ad apicem caudæ circiter quinque pedes longus.

G2 43



Cheeks covered with a smooth naked skin.



Yellowish-brown Pheasant, spotted with black; the wing-feathers marked by oval ocellated spots.

Argus Pheasant.

Lath. Synops. 2. p. 710.

L’ Argus ou le Luen.

Buff. Ois. 2. p. 361.

Phil. Trans. vol. 55. pl. 3. p. 88.

THIS bird affords a remarkable instance of the wonderful effect of certain colours in themselves of no peculiar brilliancy, yet in combination producing an appearance of the most beautiful kind. Without any of that splendid gaiety which shines in the plumage of the Golden Pheasant of China, or that rich profusion of glowing tints which adorn the male of the common Asiatic species, it is yet distinguished by an aspect so superior as to be justly regarded as the most magnificent of its tribe.


The general or prevailing colour is a kind of soft yellowish brown, varied by innumerable spots and undulations of a deeper or blackish colour. The long or principal feathers of the wings are marked on the exterior web by a continued series of large oval ocellated spots of a light brown, surrounded by a blackish circle, which is again bounded by a circle of white. The area or internal part of each of these eye-like spots, is of a much paler colour on the side next the shaft, than on the opposite one. The remainder of the outward web is marked throughout the whole length by oblique blackish streaks, accompanied by numerous round spots of the same colour. The larger or interior web is on the part next the shaft of a ferruginous brown, while the remainder is of a very pale or whitish colour, beautifully marked by a prodigious number of round blackish spots, extremely resembling those on the well-known shell called the tiger-cowry. The shaft, or midrib is whitish. The feathers on the region of the shoulders differ in some respect from the long feathers just described, and are not less beautiful, tho’ unadorned by the ocellated spots; the shafts being of a blueish lead-colour; the ground-colour lighter and brighter, and the variegations richer and more curious; the outward web being yellowish-brown, thickly scattered with cowry-like spots, and the inner or broader web of a beautiful pale ferruginous, very thickly sprinkled with innumerable round specks of white. The tips are pale brown, with round spots of black.

The head and part of the neck are of a blueish tinge and almost bare of feathers: the orbits and cheeks bare, but by no means such as to agree with the description given by Edwards, and from him copied by Linnæus and others. The head appears very slightly crested on the hinder part with small darkish feathers. The dorsal feathers and the tail coverts are testaceous, or pale yellowish-brown, with round blackish spots. The lower part of the neck and breast are of the same colour, very thickly beset with confluent blackish spots and markings. Some of the side feathers are also of this appearance. 45 The tail has none of the eyes which so elegantly distinguish the wings. It is of a very deep brown, varied with numerous small round spots. The two middle feathers are much longer than the rest, and of a sharpened form at the extremities: the others are rounded at the tips. The beak and legs are of a pale colour.

This beautiful bird is a native of the East Indian islands, and is principally found in Sumatra, where it is not uncommon. It is a bird of a retired and wild nature, and scarce capable of being tamed or domesticated. It resides in woods, and, contrary to the nature of most of its congeners, is sluggish and inactive by day, and lively during the night, when it emits a plaintive cry, something like the note of a wood-pigeon. Its size is nearly equal to that of a turkey, and the whole bird from the tip of the beak to the point of the tail is not far short of five feet in length.


hand-tinted engraving of Angora Goat

C. R. Ryley delt. W. Skelton sculpt.

Capra Angorensis.   The Angora Goat.

Pubd. Jany. 1 1791, by J. Parkinson, Leverian Museum, London.



Cornua concava, sursum versa, erecta, scabra.

Dentes Primores inferiores octo.

Laniarii nulli.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 94.


Capra cornibus carinatis arcuatis, gula barbata.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 94.

Capra Angorensis.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 94.

Tourn. it. 2. p. 185.

EFFICIT vis quædam quæ inest cœlo regionis Græciæ Asiaticæ Angoræ dictæ, ut nonnullorum animalium pilus, ovium nempe, felium, et cuniculorum, longior, mollior, et delicatior crescat, quam solet in reliquo orbe. Nec Hispaniam excipiamus necesse est, cujus lana Angorensi cedit, licet aliis pretiosior. Præcipue autem parit hæc regio caprum formosissimum, qui quamvis revera sit varietas tantum illius qui vulgaris dicitur, vellere tamen vestitur multo elegantiori, plerumque pulcherrimi candoris, levissima flavedinis tinctura perfusi; pilis totius corporis in cirros dependentes, spiræque modo intortos dispositis. Aures pendulæ. Differunt cornua a cornubus vulgaris capri, quod scilicet late expansa sint et complanata. Feminæ breviora longe quam maris recurvantur, nec divaricant. Supervacaneum forsan sit lectoribus in memoriam revocare, pannos nitidissimos qui Camlets dicuntur, e Capri Angorensis vellere confici.




Horns bending backward, and almost close at the base.

Eight cutting teeth in the lower jaw, none in the upper.

The male bearded.



Goat with very long pendent spiral hair.

Angora Goat.

Pennant. Quadr. p. 55.

Buff. Hist. Nat. 5. p. 71. t. 10, 11.

THERE is something in the climate of that part of Asiatic Turkey called Angora, which disposes the hair of several quadrupeds, as the goat, the sheep, the cat, and the rabbit, to grow longer, and to become of a finer texture than in other parts of the world. The climate of Spain has also the same effect; as is sufficiently known from the superior fineness of the Spanish wool, which is still exceeded by that of Angora. This province however is particularly remarkable for the beautiful variety of goats which is produced there, and which, tho’ not specifically different from the common goat of other countries, is yet so highly distinguished by the beauty of its hair as to become an object of just admiration. The Angora Goat is generally of a beautiful white, with the slightest tinge imaginable of yellowish; and the hair on the whole body is disposed in long pendent spiral ringlets. The horns differ in their appearance from those of the common goat, and are of a widely expanded or flattened form. The ears are pendulous. The horns in the female, instead of divaricating as in the male, turn backwards, and are much shorter in proportion. It is needless to add that it is from the hair of this animal that the finest camlets are prepared.


hand-tinted engraving of Wolf

C. R. Ryley delt. W. Skelton Sculpt.

Canis Lupus.   The Wolf.

Pubd. as the Act directs. Janry 1 1791 by J. Parkinson Leverian Museum.



Dentes Primores superiores 6: laterales longiores distantes: intermedii lobati.

Laniarii solitarii, incurvati.

Molares 6. s. 7. (pluresve quam in reliquis.)

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 59. Feræ.


Lupus cauda incurvata.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 58.


Gesn. Quadr. 634.

Aldr. Dig. 144.

Raj. Quadr. 173.

IN luporum perniciem, quos non sibi solum sed et pecudibus inimicissimos per omne ævum exosum est humanum genus, omnigenis insidiis hucusque laboratum est. Peculiari sibi modo feliciter utuntur Norvegiam incolentes, speciem nempe lichenis (quæ lichen vulpinus Linnæi) contusam vitroque in pulverem redacto commistam in cadavera infarciendo, quæ relicta in locis ubi lupi pererrant, in ipsorum damnum mortemque ab iis devorantur: ea enim est esurientibus voracitas ut corpora etiam non animalia in stomachum latrantem facile ingurgitent. Cum notissimum fere omnibus sit quicquid ad lupi H 49 mores et historiam pertinet, de eo speciatim disserere supervacaneum foret et molestum. Notandum tamen est eum, si parvulus captus fuerit, et bene institutus, longe admodum a nativa ferocitate recedere. Hoc satis probat specimen ipsissimum unde delineata est nostra figura. Hic enim lupus felici industria et præceptis Domini Lever, tantum non cicur et mansuetus evasit.

Perpauci sunt qui nesciunt summam esse similitudinem inter lupum et canem: nec defuere qui universos canes familiares e lupis primo ortos esse censuerint. Si huic opinioni objiciamus mores duarum specierum diversissimos, responderi possit produxisse qualitates, quas in cane adeo admiramur et diligimus, longam a prima stirpe separationem, easque multo temporis decursu gradatim fuisse excultas. Utcunque se res habeat, minus tamen, fortasse valet argumentum quod plerumque profertur, ut species probetur una esse et eadem; a conjunctione scilicet lupi et canis, quorum etiam hybridæ interdum fuerint fœcundi. Fringilla enim Carduelis cum Fringilla Canaria sæpe coniungitur, et harum hybridæ interdum pariunt pullos: nemo tamen, Carduelem et Canariam putabit ejusdem esse speciei. Confitendum tamen est inter lupum et canem tantam esse appropinquationem, ut facile ignoscatur dubitantibus an revera canis a lupo originem duxerit an non.




Six cutting teeth and two canine in each jaw.

Five toes before; four behind.

Long visage.



Pale yellowish brown dog with incurvated tail.


Pennant. Quadr. 231.

Le Loup.

De Buffon. 7. 39. t. 1.

THE rapacity and gloomy disposition of the Wolf have in all ages rendered it the aversion of mankind; and the devastation which it occasionally commits has made it necessary to exert every artifice by which it may meet its destruction. In Norway a singular method is frequently practised with success. A species of lichen or tree-moss (Lichen vulpinus Lin.) is pounded and mixed with powdered glass. With this composition the carcases of animals are stuffed, and left in proper places to be discovered by the wolves. The indiscriminating voracity of the wolf is such, that when pressed by hunger it will devour a variety of substances even not of an animal nature. Seduced by the external appearance of the carcase, they devour the whole, and are in consequence destroyed.


The general character and history of this animal are so well known that a particular description becomes unnecessary. It may be proper however to observe that the ferocity so conspicuous in the wolf in a state of nature, is greatly mitigated by an early education; of which the individual specimen from which the present figure was taken, is a remarkable instance; having been rendered in a great degree tame and gentle by the assiduity of the late Sir Ashton Lever.

The general resemblance between the wolf and dog is so great as to be obvious to every eye; and it has even been supposed that in reality the whole race of dogs may have originated from the wolf. If it be objected that the disposition of the two species differ in the highest possible degree from each other, it has been answered that the qualities so much admired in the dog are the result of long separation from the original stock, and have been gradually acquired and improved. The argument however which is usually brought in favour of the identity of the species from the circumstance of the wolf and dog breeding, and even the hybrids themselves being productive, may perhaps be considered as not entirely convictive; at least if we may be allowed to reason from analogy. The goldfinch and canary-bird are well known to breed; and it is equally certain that their hybrids are occasionally productive: yet we cannot suppose the canary-bird and goldfinch to constitute the same species of bird. The approximation however between the wolf and dog is so very near as still to leave it in some doubt whether the latter might not really have descended from the former.


Notes and Corrections: No. I

Number I of the Museum Leverianum is more mammal-heavy than later numbers, with a total of eight mammals and just four birds. Plates range from May 1790 to January 1792, though most are dated January 1791.

Vultur Magellanicus, the Magellanic Vulture

is probably a variant of Vultur gryphus, the Andean condor, which will be described again in No. VI. There he says that “Vultur Magellanicus” may be a young female V. gryphus.

Vulturis hæc species, ut narrant scriptores,
text has scriptores,) with superfluous parenthesis

avemque a Germanis Laemmergeyer nominatam
spelling unchanged
[Call it a hypercorrection; it’s really Lammergeyer without umlaut.]

Ursus Polaris, the Polar Bear

is now Ursus maritimus, because Shaw didn’t know—or perhaps didn’t care—that someone else had already named it in 1774.

Moschus Moschiferus, the Common Musk

is also known as the Siberian musk deer.

frigidissimas summitates pinetaque densissima solet pererrare
text has dentissima

Inaniter essem laboriosus
text has Inanitur

the tail very short and even scarce perceptible
[I have recently learned, courtesy White’s Selborne, that this kind of tail is called a scut.]

Pipra Rupicola, the Rock Manakin

is probably Rupicola rupicola, the Guianan cock-of-the-rock. It will appear at Volume 15, Plate 593 of the Naturalist’s Miscellany.

et Loxia Coccothraustes Lin.
text has Coccothranstes

Caput si quis obiter intueatur
text has obitur

ad Systema Linnæanum Rupicolæ characteres genericos attentius scrutamur
text has characterer

Coq. de roche du Pérou.
punctuation unchanged

the bird called the Haw-finch, (Loxia Coccothraustes Lin.)
text has Coccothranstes
[Could the typesetter not read Shaw’s handwriting? In case there were any doubt, the bird is now Coccothraustes coccothraustes.]

Moschus Grimmia, the Guinea Musk

is probably Sylvicapra grimmia, the bush duiker. There are subspecies all over subsaharan Africa.

Throughout this article, in both Latin and English, Shaw experienced an early form of brain fart, consistently saying Antelaus when he meant Antilopa (the Linnaean genus).

Guinea Antelope.
text has , for .

Didelphis Marsupialis?, the Virginian Opossum

is also known as the common opossum.

navigators accompanied by naturalists have at length discovered as it were another new world
text has dicovered

The young, when first born, are said to resemble fœtuses
[Fun fact: It is only a few years since the editors of The Lancet decided to accept the spelling “fetus” with “e” alone. Unlike other words such as “homoeopathic”, the oe in “foetus” is not simply an archaism but a flat-out error.]

Psittacus Splendidus, the Splendid Parrot

Shaw’s English text says that this bird can also be seen at Volume 2, Plate 53 of the Naturalist’s Miscellany (January 1791). He neglects to mention that there he called it Psittacus gloriosus, the Pennantian—not Splendid—Parrot. And, frankly, it does not look like the same bird. If it is the same, it may now be Platycerus elegans, the crimson rosella.

[Illustration] Psittacus Splendidus
[The artist and engraver credits are taken from the six-volume edition; the five-volume edition doesn’t include them. (Thanks to the unusual design, I can say with confidence that the names are genuinely missing in one edition; it’s not simply a scanning problem.) The artist credit in turn makes it possible to narrow down the date of the artist’s marriage: in May 1790 she was still Miss Stone; by January 1791 she was Mrs. Smith.]

artist and engraver from image

in honour of the celebrated Mr. Pennant
text has clebrated

Cervus Alces, the Elk

is now Alces alces, the moose. Or “elk” in the European sense. (What Ameri­cans call an elk is in Britain called a red deer. They just do it to confuse us.)

L’ Elan.
. missing

The hair of the Elk is remarkable thick, strong, and elastic.
text unchanged: expected remarkably

Simia Mormon, the Variegated Baboon

Nothing, of course, to do with Mormons, who had not been invented yet. Shaw’s comments about “confusion and misapplication of synonyms” are more valid than he knew, because the trio of Simia mormon, S. maimon and S. sphinx are in fact all the same monkey, now Mandrillus sphinx, the mandrill. S. mormon was Alströmer’s name for the animal Linnaeus had already named S. sphinx. It was later reassigned to genus Papio—a genus that, unlike Linnaeus’s Simia, is still in use—before everyone figured out that they are the same baboon.

Naturalist’s Miscellany, pl. 48.
[Volume 2, November 1790. Although it isn’t the identical picture, it is clearly the same animal, there called “Simia Sphinx?” with a question mark, or “Variegated Baboon” without.]

Phasianus Argus, the Argus Pheasant

is now Argusianus argus, the great Argus.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 272.
text has , for final .

Capra Angorensis, the Angora Goat

As the text says, the Angora goat is simply a variety—not even a subspecies—of Capra hircus, the goat.

Laniarii nulli.
. missing

cujus lana Angorensi cedit, licet aliis pretiosior.
text has , for .

Canis Lupus, the Wolf

still has that name. The domestic dog and the dingo are now considered subspecies, C. lupus familiaris and C. lupus dingo respectively.

THE rapacity and gloomy disposition of the Wolf have in all ages
“ll” in “all” invisible

The goldfinch and canary-bird are well known to breed
[The Latin side gives Fringilla Carduelis and Fringilla Canaria, now Carduelis carduelis and Serinus canaria respectively. In spite of belonging to different genera, finches and canaries really can be crossed—generally with a male finch and a female canary—though the offspring are almost always infertile. Interestingly, the hybrids don’t look like either parent, but sing beautifully.]

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.