Page images

of interchange of the mammals or land-birds of the two countries, no less than by the very fragmentary nature of the resemblances that do exist. The northern element consists almost wholly of insects; and is evidently due to the migration of arctic and north temperate forms along the ridges and plateaus of the Andes; and most likely occurred when these organisms were driven southward at successive cold or Glacial periods.

A curious parallel exists between the past history and actual zoological condition of South America and Africa In both we see a very ancient land-area extending into the South Temperate zone, isolated at a very early period, and developing only a low grade of Mammalian life; chiefly Edentates and Rodents on the one, Lemurs and Insectivora in the other. Later we find an irruption into both of higher forms, including Quadrumana, which soon acquired a large and special development in the tropical portions of each country. Still later we have an irruption into both of northern forms, which spread widely over the two regions, and having become extinct in the land from whence they came, have been long held to be the original denizens of their adopted country. Such are the various forms of antelopes, the giraffe, the elephant, rhinoceros, and lion in Africa; while in America we have deer and peccaries, the tapir, opossums, and the puma.

On the whole, we cannot but consider that the broad outlines of the zoological history of the Neotropical region can be traced with some degree of certainty; but, owing to the absence of information as to the most important of the geological periods —the Miocene and Eocene—we have no clue to the character of its early fauna, or to the land connections with other countries, which may possibly have occurred in early Tertiary times.


In drawing up these tables, showing the distribution of the various classes of animals in the Neotropical region, the following sources of information have been relied on, in addition to the general treatises, monographs, and catalogues used in the compilation of the Fourth Part of this work.

Mammalia.—D'Orbigny, and Burmeister, for Brazil and La Plata; Darwin, and Cunningham, for Temperate S. America; Tschudi, for Peru; Frazer, for Ecuador; Salvin, for Guatemala; Frantzius, for Costa Eica; Sclater, for Quadrumana N. of Panama; Gundlach, for Cuba; and papers by Dr. J. E. Gray, and Mr. Tomes.

Birds.—Sclater and Salvin's Nomenclator; Notes by Darwin, and Cunningham; Gundlach, March, Bryant, Baird, Elliot, Newton, Semper, and Sundevall, for various islands of the Antilles; and papers by Hudson, Lawrence, Grayson, Abbott, Sclater, and Salvin.



Names in italics show the families which are peculiar to the region.

Names enclosed thus ( ) indicate families which barely enter the region, and are

not considered properly to belong to it. Numbers correspond with those of the series of families in Part IV.

« EelmineJätka »