« ElőzőTovább »
observable. The anterior angles of the basisphenoidal platform are formed by short, thick, outstanding pterygoid processes, with flat oblique articular surfaces for the abutment of the true pterygoids. The presphenoidal rostrum passes forwards from the middle of the basisphenoidal platform to the posterior wall of the nasal chambers, and there is a well marked depression on each side, beneath the optic holes, running backwards at the outside of the pterygoid processes. The foramen ovale is situated in the middle of the alisphenoid, halfway between the pterygoid process and glenoid cavity, with its long axis in a vertical direction. The mastoid process is half an inch in length, compressed laterally, and extends obliquely from without inwards and backwards, with a large single oblong glenoid cavity at the inner side. There is a deep pit between the inner and back part of the glenoid cavity and posterior root of the mastoid process. The deep temporal fossæ lie between the mastoid and postorbital processes, the lower points of the latter being on a level with the former. The distance between the postorbital and antorbital process is 1 inch and oths. There is a small oval pit beneath the antorbital processes, the long axis of which runs obliquely from before backwards and inwards. The olfactory chambers reach backwards nearly three-fourths of the length of the orbital cavities. There are two large broad anterior horizontal divisions, and two narrow posterior ventrical olfactory chambers, separated by a slight lateral inflexion of bone at the posterior third of the chambers, and not by a “transverse ridge,” as in P. geranoides. The anterior chambers are partly roofed over by the prefrontals, wedged in between the anterior extremity of the frontal bones, but principally by the frontals. The posterior divisions of the olfactory chambers are chiefly formed by the orbitosphenoid, ethmoid, and frontal bones. The olfactory foramina and radiating grooves are remarkably distinct, especially at the back part of the anterior larger division of the olfactory chambers.
There is a mutilated cranium of a Palapteryx, which was sent to Professor Owen by the Rev. W. Cotton, from the North Island of New Zealand, described and figured in the Third Volume of the “ Trans. of the Zool. Soc.," p. 360 (Pl. lv., figs. 4 and 5), without any specific name assigned to it, which is closely allied to, if it be not identical with, the Rotomarrama cranium. It is said to be “ equal in size to that of Dinornis casuarinus, and, from the presence of the left postorbital process, to furnish another mark of difference from the cranial structure of Dinornis proper-namely, the nonunion of the postfrontal with the mastoid.” Again, he says, “ The olfactory chambers are broader behind than P. geranoides, and had not the transverse ridge: the frontals broader and flatter between the antorbital processes; the temporal depressions are relatively larger, and are traversed by a subver
the birds to which these nearly equal-sized crania belonged.”
The neural canal in the cervical, dorsal, and sacral vertebræ corresponds in size with the foramen magnum in the cranium found along with these bones, so that there can be little doubt that these specimens all belong to one individual.
The body of the cervical vertebra is three inches in length; and the transverse diameter of its anterior and posterior articulating surfaces measures exactly two inches. From the rudimental form of the spinous process above, and the condition of the hæmapophysis below, compared with those in the emeu, this appears to be one of the posterior cervical vertebræ, where the spinous process is least developed-probably the fifteenth or sixteenth reckoning backwards.
The body of the dorsal vertebra is an inch and a half in length, the transverse diameter at the anterior articulating surface is two inches, and that of the posterior articulating surface an inch and oths. The costal depression is an inch in length, and half an inch from side to side at the middle and broadest part, situated at the upper and fore part of the body of the vertebra. There is a smaller articulating surface for the tubercle of the rib at the under and back part of the transverse protuberance. The height from the base of the body posteriorly to the tip of the spinous process is five inches. There is a large pneumatic foramen at the base of each transverse protuberance, which almost penetrates into the neural canal, the intervening space being translucent. The shortness of the body of the seventh dorsal vertebra in the skeleton of the emeu, and the length of the spinous process, with its inclination forwards, where it abuts against the compressed iliac bones, render it probable that this vertebra had a similar position in the skeleton to which it belonged.
The length of the nine anchylosed sacral vertebræ is four inches; the height of the anterior sacral vertebra, measured from the base to the upper part of the coalesced spinous ridge, is three inches. The bodies of the first two sacral vertebræ are partly separate, the rest are completely anchylosed. The first five sacral vertebræ are furnished with upper and lower transverse processes. The last four are destitute of a lower transverse process. There is a distinct foramen for the exit of the sensory and motor nerves, as in other birds; the ostrich is the only exception to this rule with which Professor Owen is acquainted. The broken portion of a rib measures 31 inches, and 19th inch transversely, at the broadest part. From analogy with those in the skeleton of the emeu, it appears to have been broken off below the head and tubercle of the third or fourth rib on the right side. The two phalangeal bones are each nearly two inches in length, somewhat compressed laterally, and rounded above. There is a longitudinal groove at each side of the ungual phalanx, and a well marked impression at each side of the anterior articulating surface of the penultimate phalanx. The phalangeal bones are double the size of those of the middle toe in the skeleton of the emeu, but less than those in the ostrich. The bone, which I assume to be a scapula, is 9 inches in length, with a circumference of 6} inches at the articulating extremity, where it was incrusted with a layer of calcareous stalagmite, characteristic of limestone-cave specimens. The circumference at the middle is 3 inches, and 17th inch at the free end. The surface of the bone is marked with oblique longitudinal striæ, decussating in a somewhat irregular manner from its posterior to its anterior extremity. There are two distinct impressions at the larger extremity, which may correspond to articulating surfaces for a double condyle of the humerus, and a broad transverse impression for the articulation of the caracoid in front. This is an interesting addition to the remains of these extinct birds, as there is no scapula described by Professor Owen in his “ Memoirs on the Dinornis."* The small oval bone found along with the other bones is evidently a tracheal ring; it measures ths of an inch in length, by ths of an inch in breadth, and is about uth of an inch in depth.
A portion of a vertebra, which has been deprived of its calcareous matter by dilute acid, would seem to prove, by the large amount of residual organic matter, that these fossil bones are probably of recent origin.
It is to be hoped that this interesting collection will ultimately assist in the construction of one of the species of Palapteryx, indicated by Professor Owen from the examination of detached crania, or founded upon the proportions and anatomical differences of other separate parts, or single bones of the skeleton.
III. Notice of the “ ANGWANTIBO" of Old Calabar, Africa; an Animal
Perodicticus, of Bennett. By John ALEXANDER SMITH, M.D. ;
The interesting little animal (now exhibited) was given to me by Mr William Oliphant, who received it some time ago from the Rev. Alexander Robb, one of the U. P. missionaries at Old Calabar. The following extract from a letter, dated Old Calabar, 1st December 1859, gives some details concerning it:-“I was at Creek Town yesterday, and received from * King Eyo Honesty' a small bush animal; or, as the Krumen call it, ' bush meat,' which I brought with me to give to Mr Thomson, who is with us for a day or two, as he takes a great interest in these matters. He, however, advised me to bottle the animal, and send it to you myself; which, therefore, I now do with pleasure. We have put it up so that it ought to reach you in safety. It is in a stoppered bottle, well sealed, and the bottle is put up in a small tin box wrapped up in our native grass cloth. It seems to be a lori, or Stenops tardigradus. The Calabar people call it Angwántibo (Angwán means a farm), but we do not know the etymology of the second
* This bone was afterwards compared with the skeletons of Apteryx and Dinornis in the British Museum, and found to be a left fibula.
part of the word, and cannot say whether it arose from any habit peculiar to the animal. It lives in trees; but, being nocturnal, the people know exceedingly little about it. They cannot tell what it eats. A lad whom I asked said that he lived in the house, and it lived in the bush; how, then, could he know anything about it? My Krumen also recognised it as a countryman of theirs. They consider the one sent as a young one; and say that in their country it grows to the size of a common puss. Probably theirs is a different animal, but I cannot tell. They call it Drwăn, and say that it lays down the law to the other beasts, forbidding them to eat the young fruit when it begins to form on the trees. If the monkey transgress, the Dwăn seizes him, and holds him there till he dies,yea, the monkey rots in his grasp. They say that they are shot together thus. If the monkey gets the shot, the Dwan holds on ; if the Dwån gets the shot, they fall together. The Krumen say that the Dwån eats fruit. This is all we know about it at present; and their (the Krumen's) account seems somewhat fabulous. One of the legs of this specimen is broken. I will send it by the mail that takes this to your address.--I am, &c.,
ALEXANDER ROBB. “ P.S.-Since writing the above, I have met a youth who professes to know about the Angwántibo. He says it sleeps by day, and eats at night; and that, when full grown, it is as big as an old cat, and that it eats fruit."
In a subsequent letter from Mr Robb, dated 28th February, 1860, he says :-“ I trust you received the Tardigradus sent a few months ago. Another specimen which I procured I handed to Mr Thomson, who, I believe, sent it to Mr Murray."
I have also received from the Rev. H. M. Waddell the following notice, which he had put down in his note-book as descriptive of the “ Angwántibo :-An animal of the sloth kind, lives in trees, hangs on the branches, and cats fruit. Rather larger, when full grown, than a large cat. Longish snout, short ears, each foot three long crooked toes and claws, with a thumb similarly shaped. No tail. Dun colour; cannot walk on the ground. When set down, crawls a little, falls over, and rolls itself up in a ball. Inoffensive."