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longs to the smaller species. The larger, the Troglodytes gorilla, stands 5 feet high and upwards. The T. Niger is found in various parts of the western coasts of tropical Africa, as the Guinea coast and Angola, and also between these distant places, as in this instance on the Calabar River, thus showing a pretty extensive range. The large Chimpanzee, or Troglodytes gorilla, has been brought from the neighbourhood of the Gaboon River, nearly under the Line, where the T. niger has also been procured; but future inquirers will probably give the former also a much more extended range, as the huge Chimpanzees, said to have been seen in various parts of western tropical Africa, will probably turn out to be the gorilla; and what have been supposed to be merely exaggerated tales may thus have more truth in them than we have been inclined to give the narrators credit for. The killing of one of those formidable creatures is considered a great feat by an African brave; and in this instance, apparently, the skull had been preserved as of great value, if not also for worship. You observe there is a piece of copper wire, 1 foot 11 inches long, and 2-10ths of an inch thick, which is wrapped twice in a vertical direction round the skull, passing through the temporal fossæ of each side, behind the superciliary ridge above, and the nasal fossæ below. Hammered copper wire is the current money of this part of Africa ; so the amount of metal used in ornamenting this skull shows the high value the owner had placed on it. It was taken, I have already mentioned, from what is called a devil-house, for a certain amount of English is spoken by many of the native chiefs and traders. This devil-house, as I have been informed by Dr Sommerville, Secretary to the Mission Board of the U. P. Church, is not, strictly speaking, a place of worship. It is, like their dwelling-houses, built of branches of trees and clay, and is erected at the death, especially, of a great man; after various ceremonies have taken place, and, in former times at least, the sacrifices of human beings, sometimes to the number of hundreds, according to the rank of the deceased—the slain being supposed to be thus sent as his slaves and attendants to the other world—their remains are buried in one common tomb, and over it this devil-house is erected; it is left open at one end, and in it the valuables of the deceased are placed—his furniture, clothes, utensils, and food. These, however, are shortly after, more or less damaged or broken, for one of two reasons, if not for both—either to kill the articles themselves (for in Calabar all things are supposed to possess life), that their spirits may go to benefit the spirit of the deceased,-or, to prevent people from sacrilegiously stealing them. The whole being intended as an offering to the fetish, or evil spirit, and left as sacred to the memory of the deceased. As in other parts of Heathendom, an evil spirit is worshipped, as well as a good spirit; and fear, which is the moving principle of their worship, naturally makes more respect be paid to the bad than to the good, the vengeance of the former being most feared, and therefore greater pains are taken to propitiate his anger. The principal fetish, or evil spirit, worshipped in the houses of Old Calabar is, strange to say, a human skull without the lower jaw, which is tied by bands of plaited leaves, crossing one another, to the top of a thick block of wood, the upper part of the rounded stem of which is also wrapped about with bands of plaited leaves or thongs. Dr Sommerville kindly showed me one of these in his possession, We may therefore suppose this skull of the T. niger had been offered as a highly valued propitiatory offering to the fetish, if not also worshipped as the representative of the much-feared fetish or evil spirit itself in the home of the man from above whose grave it was taken.
Crania of the two species of Chimpanzee are described by Professor Owen in the Transactions of the Zoological Society of London. Captain Wagstaff, who brought them to Bristol, stated " that the natives, when they succeed in killing one of these Chimpanzees (the gorilla), make a fetish of the cranium. The specimens bore indications of the sacred marks in broad red stripes, crossed by a white stripe, which could be washed off. Their superstitious reverence of these hideous remains of their formidable and dreaded enemy adds to the difficulty which a stranger has to contend with in procuring specimens.” This quotation shows how general is the feeling of superstitious dread which appears to exist with regard to these Chimpanzees, creatures, which of all the lower animals, in their structure and general appearance, make the nearest approach to man.
IV. Notices of some of our Rarer Birds. By John ALEXR. SMITH, M.D.
(1.) Notice of the Tetrao medius, T. hybridus, or Urogallus hybridus of Authors. This beautiful bird was formerly believed by some Naturalists to be a distinct species, and by others merely a hybrid between the Capercailzie and Black Cocki The specimen now exhibited was. killed about the 23d of November, by Major J. W. Wedderburn, near Loyal House, Alyth, Perthshire. The bird is a male ; it is intermediate in size between the capercailzie (T. urogallus), and the black grouse (T. tetrix), measuring 281 inches in length, and weighed 5 lbs. 10 oz. The general appearance of the plumage is darker than the capercailzie; the bill is black like the black grouse; the head and neck, which shows the bearded throat of the capercailzie, is of dark colour, with reddish purple reflections, especially brilliant on the breast; there are a few white feathers on the lower part of the breast and abdomen, as in the capercailzie; and the tail has the lateral feathers the longest, as in the black cock,—the external ones being slightly curved outwards. The stomach was filled with buds of heather, and not of the pine, which is the favourite food of the capercailzie. Birds of this kind have been very rarely observed in Scotland of late years; they are said, however, to have been occasionally noticed in ancient times. Lloyd mentions that they occur in Norway, but are not common; and they are sometimes sent, Yarrell informs us, with the capercailzie to the London markets.
(2.) Dr Smith exhibited a specimen of the Lanius excubitor, Penn., the Great Grey Shrike, which was killed a few days ago by Dr C. Nelson at Pitcox, near Dunbar. The bird is a young male, and may be considered as only an occasional winter visitor to Scotland.
(3.) Two specimens of the Pintail Duck, Dafila caudacuta, Gould, were exhibited by Dr Smith, the one a male, in adult plumage, sent by Mr Edward Hargitt. It was shot on the Fife coast, near Kirkcaldy, a few days ago. And the other, a young male, was killed near Prestonpans in the beginning of this month. The bird is of rare occurrence in the south of Scotland.
(4.) Dr Smith had also examined a fine specimen of the Buteo lagopus, Flem., the Rough-Legged Buzzard, which was shot a few days ago by a keeper of Sir Graham Montgomery, at Stobo, in Peeblesshire. Another individual was seen flying about in the same neighbourhood. It is a rare winter visitant to Britain and Ireland.
V. Notice of a Pike, Esox lucius, Linn., in whose stomach a Water Hen
and Water Ouzel were found. By Mr ARCHIBALD STIRLING. The stomach of a large pike was exhibited, which contained a water
ben, Gallinula chloropus, and a water ouzel, Cinclus aquaticus, both apparently swallowed very shortly before the fish was captured. The pike weighed 30 lbs., and measured 4 feet 4 inches in length. It was taken on the estate of the Duke of Atholl, in Perthshire, and is now preserved in the valuable Anatomical Museum of the University,
Wednesday, 26th January 1859.-T. STRETHILL Wright, M.D.,
President, in the Chair,
The Donations to the Library were as follow:
1. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 1857-8; Notice of some Remarks by the late Mr Hugh Miller.– From the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 2. Mémoires de la Société Imperial des Sciences Naturelles de Cherbourg, Tome IV., 1856. — From the Society. 3. Graduation Address, August 1858; On the Structure and Growth of Timber, and on the Dry Rot in Wood ; Notice of the Palm House in the Royal Botanical Garden at Edinburgh, by Professor Balfour. — From the Author. 4. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, No. 56, November 1858.–From the Society. Thanks were voted to the donors.
The following communications were then read :I. Contributions to the Natural History of the Hudson's Bay Terri
tories. Aves.-Part I. (Numerous Specimens were exhibited.) By ANDREW MURRAY, Esq.
Before commencing the enumeration of the birds, I should wish to make an ample preliminary acknowledgment of the assistance I have received in determining them, from our celebrated ornithologist Sir Wm. Jardine, Bart., and also from Dr J. A. Smith of Edinburgh. Their extensive knowledge and familiarity with the subject have saved me much labour; and wherever the species were difficult of determination, the reader has the satisfaction of knowing that it is introduced in accordance with the careful examination and deliberation of these gentlemen as well as myself. Archibuteo Sancti Johannis, (Gmel.)
Received both from Severn House and Trout Lake Station. Very near our own Archibuteo lagopus, or rough-footed fal
con; indeed, the pale-coloured specimen scarcely differs from
some European specimens of that bird. Falco peregrinus (Gmel.), (Peregrine Falcon).
Trout Lake Station and Severn House, Hudson's Bay.
Sir W. Jardine tells me it is the Falco anatum, Bonap., of
the neck to the rump.
"speckled partridge hawk;" and the “ winterer.” Circus cyaneus (Linn.), (var. Hudsonicus) ; or it may stand C. Hud
sonicus, (Linn.) From Moose Factory and Severn House. The male varies from the European specimens, in the upper parts
being darker, and in the lower breast and the belly being barred at wide intervals with pale sienta,-agreeing in this respect with the figure given by Bonaparte in his continuation of “Wilson's North American Ornithology.” The young male differs in the darker general plumage and the deeper tint
of the sienna on the under parts. Nyctea nivea (Daud.), (Snowy Owl).
single dark spot.
Trout Lake Station, Severn House. Asio brachyotus, (Short-Eared Owl).
Trout Lake Station.
Slightly varies in shade of colour from some British specimens. Chordeiles Virginiana, (Briss.)
Trout Lake Station.
Trout Lake Station. Hudson's Bay.