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periods of union with the northern continent. The latest important separation took place by the submergence of parts of Nicaragua and Honduras, and this separation probably continued throughout much of the Miocene and Pliocene periods; but some time previous to the coming on of the glacial epoch, the union between the two continents took place which has continued to our day. Earlier submergences of the isthmus of Panama probably occurred, isolating Costa Rica and Veragua, which then may have had a greater extension, and have thus been able to develope their rich and peculiar fauna. The isthmus of Tehuantepec, at the south of Mexico, may, probably, also have been submerged; thus isolating Guatemala and Yucatan, and leading to the specialization of some of the peculiar forms that now characterise those countries and Mexico. The West Indian Islands have been long isolated and have varied much in extent. Originally, they probably formed part of Central America, and may have been united with Yucatan and Honduras in one extensive tropical land. But their separation from the continent took place at a remote period, and they have since been broken up into numerous islands, which have probably undergone much submergence in recent times. This has led to that poverty of the higher forms of life, combined with the remarkable speciality, which now characterises them; while their fauna still preserves a sufficient resemblance to that of Central America to indicate its origin. The great continent of South America, as far as we can judge from the remarkable characteristics of its fauna and the vast depths of the oceans east and west of it, has not during Tertiary, and probably not even during Secondary times, been united with any other continent, except through the intervention of North America. During some part of the Secondary epoch it probably received the ancestral forms of its Edentates and Rodents, at a time when these were among the highest types of Mammalia on the globe. It appears to have remained long isolated, and to have already greatly developed these groups of animals, before it received, in early Tertiary times, the ancestors of its marmosets and monkeys, and, perhaps also, some of its peculiar forms of Carnivora. Later, it received its Camelidae, peccaries, mastodons, and large Carnivora; and later still, just before the Glacial epoch, its deer, tapir, opossums, antelopes, and horses, the two latter having since become extinct. All this time its surface was undergoing important physical changes. What its earlier condition was we cannot conjecture, but there are clear indications that it has been broken up into at least three large masses, and probably a number of smaller ones; and these have no doubt undergone successive elevations and subsidences, so as at one time to reduce their area and separate them still more widely from each other, and at another period to unite them into continental masses. The richness and varied development of the old fauna of South America, as still existing, proves, however, that the country has always maintained an extensive area; and there is reason to believe that the last great change has been a long continued and steady increase of its surface, resulting in the formation of the vast alluvial plains of the Amazon, Orinoko, and La Plata, and thus greatly favouring the production of that wealth of specific forms, which distinguishes South America above all other parts of our globe. The southern temperate portion of the continent, has probably had a considerable southward extension in late Tertiary times; and this, as well as the comparatively recent elevation of the Andes, has given rise to some degree of intermixture of two distinct faunas, with that proper to South Temperate America itself. The most important of these, is the considerable Australian element that appears in the insects, and even in the reptiles and fresh-water fishes, of South Temperate America. These may be traced to several causes. Icebergs and icefloes, and even solid fields of ice, may, during the Glacial epoch, have afforded many opportunities for the passage of the more cold-enduring groups; while the greater extension of southern lands and islands during the warm periods—which there is reason to believe prevailed in the southern as well as in the northern regions in Miocene times—would afford facilities for the passage of the reptiles and insects of more temperate zones. That no actual land-connection occurred, is proved by the total absence 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 Rica; 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.


EXPLANATION. 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.

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