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extensive group of animals, now almost extinct. Many of the forms continue to exist only in islands, removed from the severe competition of a varied mammalian population, as in Madagascar and the Antilles; while others appear to have escaped extermination either by their peculiar habits—as the various forms of Moles; by special protection-as in the Hedgehogs; or by a resemblance in form, coloration, and habits to dominant groups in their own district—as the Tupaias of Malay which resemble squirrels, and the Elephant-shrews of Africa which resemble the jerboas. The numerous cases of isolated and discontinuous distribution among the Insectivora, offer no difficulty from this point of view; since they are the necessary results of an extensive and widelyspread group of animals slowly becoming extinct, and continuing to exist only where special conditions have enabled them to maintain themselves in the struggle with more highly organized forms.
The fossil Insectivora do not throw much light on the early history of the order, since even as far back as the Miocene period they consist almost wholly of forms which can be referred to existing families. In North America they go back to the Eocene period, if certain doubtful remains have been rightly placed. The occurrence of fossil Centetidæ in Europe, supports the view we have maintained in preceding chapters, that the existing distribution of this family between Madagascar and the Antilles, proves no direct connection between those islands, but only shows us that the family once had an extensive range.
Order IV.-CARNIVORA. FAMILY 23.—FELIDÆ. (3 Genera, 14 Sub-genera, 66 Species.)
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1.2.3 - 220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168 1.2.3 - 22.214.171.124 ---
The Cats are very widely distributed over the earth-with the exception of the Australian region and the island sub-region of Madagascar and the Antilles—universally; ranging from the torrid zone to the Arctic regions and the Straits of Magellan. They are so uniform in their organization that many naturalists group them all under one genus, Felis; but it is now more usual to class at least the lynxes as a separate genus, while the hunting leopard, or cheetah, forms another. Dr. J. E. Gray divides these again, and makes 17 generic groups; but as this subdivision is not generally adopted, and does not bring out any special features of geographical distribution, I shall not further notice it.
The genus Felis (56 species) has the same general range as the whole family, except that it does not go so far north ; the Amoor river in Eastern Asia, and 55° N. Lat. in America, marking its limits. Lyncus' (10 species) is a more northern group, ranging to the polar regions in Europe and Asia, and to Lat. 66° N. in America, but not going further south than Northern Mexico and the European shores of the Mediterranean, except the caracal, which may be another genus, and which extends to Central India, Persia, North Africa, and even the Cape of Good Hope. The lynxes are thus almost wholly peculiar to the Nearctic and Palæarctic regions. Cynælurus (1 species) the hunting leopard, ranges from Southern and Western India through Persia, Syria, Northern and Central Africa, to the Cape of Good Hope.
Extinct Felidæ.—More than twenty extinct species of true Felidæ have been described, ranging in time from the epoch of prehistoric man back to the Miocene or even the Eocene period. They occur in the south of England, in Central and South Europe, in North-West India, in Nebraska in North America, and in the caves of Brazil. Most of them are referred to the genus Felis, and closely resemble the existing lions, tigers, and other large cats. Another group however forms the genus Machairodus, a highly specialized form with serrated teeth. Five species have been described from Europe, Northern India, and both North and South America; and it is remarkable that they exhibit at least as wide a range, both in space and time, as the more numerous species referred to Felis. One of them undoubtedly coexisted
with man in England, while another, as well as the allied Dinictis, has been found in the Mauvaises Terres of Nebraska, associated with Anchitherium and other extinct and equally remarkable forms, which are certainly Miocene if not, as some geologists think, belonging to the Eocene period. These facts clearly indicate that we have as yet made little approach to discovering the epoch when Felidæ originated, since the oldest forms yet discovered are typical and highly specialized representatives of a group which is itself the most specialized of the Carnivora. Another genus, Pseudælurus, is common to the Miocene deposits of Europe and North America.
FAMILY 24.—CRYPTOPROCTIDÆ. (1 Genus, 1 Species.)
----|---- ---4 ---- --The Cryptoprocta ferox, a small and graceful cat-like animal, peculiar to Madagascar, was formerly classed among the Viverridæ, but is now considered by Professor Flower to constitute a distinct family between the Cats and the Civets.
FAMILY 25.–VIVERRIDÆ. (8-33 Genera, 100 Species.)
The Viverridæ comprise a number of small and moderate-sized carnivorous animals, popularly known as civets, genets, and ichneumons, highly characteristic of the Ethiopian and Oriental regions, several of the genera being common to both. A species of Genetta, and one of Herpestes, inhabit South Europe; while Viverra extends to the Moluccas, but is doubtfully indigenous. The extreme geographical limits of the family are marked by
Genetta in France and Spain, Viverra in Shanghae and Batchian Island, and Herpestes in Java and the Cape of Good Hope.
The following are the genera with their distribution as given by Dr. J. E. Gray in his latest British Museum Catalogue :
Sub-family VIVERRINÆ.— Viverra (3 species), North and tropical Africa, the whole Oriental region to the Moluccas ; Viverricula (1 species) India to Java; Genetta (5 species), South Europe, Palestine, Arabia, and all Africa; Fossa (1 species), Madagascar ; Linsang (2 species), Malacca to Java; Poiana (1 species), West Africa ; Galidia (3 species), Madagascar; Hemigalea (1 species), Malacca and Borneo; Arctictis (1 species), Nepal to Sumatra and Java; Nandinia (1 species), West Africa; Paradoxurus (9 species), the whole Oriental region; Paguma (3 species), Nepal to China, Sumatra, and Borneo; Arctogale (1 species), Tenasserim to Java.
Sub-family HERPESTINÆ.—Cynogale (1 species), Borneo; Gabidictis (2 species), Madagascar; Herpestes (22 species), South Palæarctic, Ethiopian, and Oriental regions ; Athylax (3 species), Tropical and South Africa ; Galogale (13 species), all Africa, North India, to Cambodja ; Galerella (1 species), East Africa; Colictis (1 species),Ceylon (?); Ariella (1 species), South Africa ; Ichneumia (4 species), Central, East, and South Africa ; Bdeogale (3 species), West and East Africa; Urva (1 species), Himalayas to Aracan; Toniogale (1 species), Central India; Onychogale (1 species), Ceylon; Helogale (2 species) East and South Africa ; Cynictis (3 species), South Africa.
Sub-family RHINOGALIDÆ.—Rhinogale (1 species), East Africa ; Mungos (3 species), all Africa ; Crossarchus (1 species), Tropical Africa; Eupleres (1 species), Madagascar; Suricata (1 species), South Africa
Fossil Viverrida.-Several species of Viverra and Genetta have been found in the Upper Miocene of France, and many extinct genera have also been discovered. The most remarkable of these was Ictitherium, from the Upper Miocene of Greece, which has also been found in Hungary, Bessarabia, and France. Some of the species were larger than any living forms of Viverridæ, and approached the hyænas. Other extinct genera are Thalassictis
and Soricictis from the Upper Miocene, the former as large as a panther; Tylodon, of small size, from the Upper Eocene; and Palæonyctis from the Lower Eocene, also small and showing a very great antiquity for this family, if really belonging to it.
FAMILY 26.—PROTELIDÆ. (1 Genus, 1 Species.)
NEOTROPICAL NEARCTIO I PALÆEARCTIC ETHIOPIAN ORIENTAL
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The curious Proteles or Aard-wolf, a highly-modified form of hyæna, approaching the ichneumons, and feeding on white ants and carrion, is peculiar to South Africa.
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The Hyænas are characteristically Ethiopian, to which region two of the species are confined. The third, Hyæna striata, ranges over all the open country of India to the foot of the Himalayas, and through Persia, Asia Minor, and North Africa. Its fossil remains have been found in France.
Extinct Species. The cave hyæna (H. spelma) occurs abundantly in the caverns of this country and of Central Europe, and is supposed to be most nearly allied to the H. crocuta of South Africa. Another species is found in some parts of France. The earliest known true hyænas occur in the Pliocene formation in France, in the Red Crag (Older Pliocene) of England, and in the Upper Miocene of the Siwalik hills. In the Miocene period in Europe, quite distinct genera are found, such as Hyænictis and Lycona from the Upper Miocene of Greece;