The Geographical Distribution Of Animals, Volume 2: With A Study Of The Relations Of Living And Extinct Faunas As Elucidating The Past Changes Of The Earth's Surface
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 9. mai 2018 - 702 pages
This region, comprehending not only South America but Tropical North America and the Antilles, may be compared as to extent with the Ethiopian region; but it is distinguished from all the other great zoological divisions of the globe, by the small proportion of its surface occupied by deserts, by the large proportion of its lowlands, and by the altogether unequalled extent and luxuriance of its tropical forests. It further possesses a grand mountain range, rivalling the Himalayas in altitude and far surpassing them in extent, and which, being wholly situated within the region and running through eighty degrees of latitude, offers a variety of conditions and an extent of mountain slopes, of lofty plateaus and of deep valleys, which no other tropical region can approach. It has a further advantage in a southward prolongation far into the temperate zone, equivalent to a still greater extension of its lofty plateaus; and this has, no doubt, aided the development of the peculiar alpine forms of life which abound in the southern Andes. The climate of this region is exceptionally favourable. Owing to the lofty mountain range situated along its western margin, the moisture-laden trade winds from the Atlantic have free access to the interior. A sufficient proportion of this moisture reaches the higher slopes of the Andes, where its condensation gives rise to innumerable streams, which cut deep ravines and carry down such an amount of sediment, that they have formed the vast plains of the Amazon, of Paraguay, and of the Orinooko out of what were once, no doubt, arms of the sea, separating the large islands of Guiana, Brazil, and the Andes. From these concurrent favourable conditions, there has resulted that inexhaustible variety of generic and specific forms with a somewhat limited range of family and ordinal types, which characterise neotropical zoology to a degree nowhere else to be met with.
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