Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

American Big Game in Its Haunts by Various

Part 1 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.


American Big Game in Its Haunts

The Book of the Boone and Crockett Club




Founder of the Boone and Crockett Club]


Theodore Roosevelt

Wilderness Reserves
Theodore Roosevelt.

The Zoology of North American Big Game
Arthur Erwin Brown.

Big Game Shooting in Alaska:

I. Bear Hunting on Kadiak Island
II. Bear Hunting on the Alaska Peninsula
III. My Big Bear of Shuyak
IV. The White Sheep of Kenai Peninsula.
V. Hunting the Giant Moose
James H. Kidder.

The Kadiak Bear and his Home
W. Lord Smith.

The Mountain Sheep and its Range
George Bird Grinnell.

Preservation of the Wild Animals of North America
Henry Fairfield Osborn.

Distribution of the Moose
Madison Grant.

The Creating of Game Refuges
Alden Sampson.

Temiskaming Moose
Paul J. Dashiell.

Two Trophies from India
John H. Prentice.

Big-Game Refuges

Forest Reserves of North America


Forest Reserves as Game Preserves
E.W. Nelson.

Constitution of the Boone and Crockett Club

Rules of the Committee on Admission

Former Officers of the Boone and Crockett Club

Officers of the Boone and Crockett Club

List of Members

List of Illustrations

Theodore Roosevelt

President Roosevelt and Major Pitcher

Tourists and Bears

"Oom John"


Mountain Sheep

Deer on the Parade Ground

Whiskey Jacks

Wapiti in Deep Snow

Old Ephraim

Mountain Sheep at Close Quarters


A Silhouette of Blacktail

Black Bears at Hotel Garbage Heap

Chambermaid and Bear

Cook and Bear

Bull Bison

Trophies from Alaska

Loaded Baidarka--Barabara--Base of Supplies, Alaska Peninsula

The Hunter and his Home


Heads of Dall's Sheep

My Best Head

St. Paul, Kadiak Island

Sunset in English Bay, Kadiak

Sitkalidak Island from Kadiak

A Kadiak Eagle

Bear Paths, Kadiak Island

Bear Paths, Kadiak Island

_Merycodus osborni_ Matthew

Yearling Moose

Maine Moose; about 1890

Moose Killed 1892, with Unusual Development of Brow Antlers

Alaska Moose Head, Showing Unusual Development of Antlers

"Bierstadt" Head, Killed 1880

Probably Largest Known Alaska Moose Head

Temiskaming Moose

Temiskaming Moose

Temiskaming Moose

Temiskaming Moose

A Kahrigur Tiger

Indian Leopard

The New Buffalo Herd in the Yellowstone Park

A Bit of Sheep Country

Mountain Sheep at Rest

Mule Deer at Fort Yellowstone

NOTE.--The four last illustrations are from photographs taken by Major
John Pitcher, Superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park,
especially for this volume.


Although the Boone and Crockett Club has not appeared largely in the
public eye during recent years, its activities have not ceased. The
discovery of gold in Alaska, and the extraordinary rush of population to
that northern territory had the usual effect on the wild life there, and
proved very destructive to the natives and to the large mammals. A few
years ago it became evident that the Kadiak bear and certain newly
discovered forms of wild sheep and caribou were being destroyed by
wholesale, and were actually threatened with extermination, and through
the efforts of the Club, strongly backed by the Biological Survey of the
Department of Agriculture, a bill was passed regulating the taking of
Alaska large game, and especially the exportation of heads, horns, and
hides. The bill promises to afford sufficient protection to some of
these rare boreal forms, though for others it perhaps comes too late.
The enforcement of the law is in charge of the Treasury Department, and
permits for shooting and the export of trophies are issued by the Chief
of the Biological Survey.

Although a local affair, yet of interest to the whole country, is the
remarkable success of the New York Zoological Park, controlled and
managed by the New York Zoological Society, brought into existence
largely through the efforts of Madison Grant, the present secretary of
the Club. The Society has also recently taken over the care of the New
York Aquarium. The Society is in a most flourishing condition, and
through its extensive collections exerts an important educational
influence in a field in which popular interest is constantly growing.

Under the administration of President Roosevelt, the good work of
national forest preservation continues, and the time appears not far
distant when vast areas of the hitherto uncultivated West will prove
added sources of wealth to our country.

The Club has for some time given much thoughtful attention to the
subject of game refuges--that is to say, areas where game shall be
absolutely free from interference or molestation, as it is to-day in the
Yellowstone Park--to be situated within the forest reserves; and as is
elsewhere shown, it has investigated a number of the forest reserves in
order to learn something of their suitability for game refuges. It
appears certain that only by means of such refuges can some forms of our
large mammals be preserved from extinction. The first step to be taken
to bring about the establishment of these safe breeding grounds is to
secure legislation transferring the Bureau of Forestry from the Land
Office to the Department of Agriculture. After this shall have been
accomplished, the question of establishing such game refuges may
properly come before the officials of the Government for action.

Among the notable articles in the present volume, one of the most
important is Mr. Roosevelt's account of his visit to the Yellowstone
National Park in April, 1903. The Park is an object lesson, showing very
clearly what complete game protection will do to perpetuate species, and
Mr. Roosevelt's account of what may be seen there is so convincing that
all who read it, and appreciate the importance of preserving our large
mammals, must become advocates of the forest reserve game refuge system.

Quite as interesting, in a different way, is Mr. Brown's contribution
to the definition and the history of our larger North American
mammals. To characterize these creatures in language "understanded of
the people" is not easy, but Mr. Brown has made clear the zoological
affinities of the species, and has pointed out their probable origin.

This is the fourth of the Boone and Crockett Club's books, and the first
to be signed by a single member of the editorial committee, one name
which usually appears on the title page having been omitted for obvious
reasons. The preceding volume--Trail and Camp Fire--was published in


NEW YORK, April 2, 1904.

American Big Game in Its Haunts

[Illustration: Theodore Roosevelt]

[Illustration: President Roosevelt and Major Pitcher]


It was at a dinner given to a few friends, who were also big-game
hunters, at his New York house, in December, 1887, that Theodore
Roosevelt first suggested the formation of the Boone and Crockett
Club. The association was to be made up of men using the rifle in
big-game hunting, who should meet from time to time to discuss subjects
of interest to hunters. The idea was received with enthusiasm, and the
purposes and plans of the club were outlined at this dinner.

Mr. Roosevelt was then eight years out of college, and had already made
a local name for himself. Soon after graduation he had begun to display
that energy which is now so well known; he had entered the political
field, and been elected member of the New York Legislature, where he
served from 1882 to 1884. His honesty and courage made his term of
service one long battle, in which he fought with equal zeal the unworthy
measures championed by his own and the opposing political party. In 1886
he had been an unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of New York, being
defeated by Abram S. Hewitt.

Up to the time of the formation of the Boone and Crockett Club, the
political affairs with which Mr. Roosevelt had concerned himself had
been of local importance, but none the less in the line of training for
more important work; but his activities were soon to have a wider range.

In 1889 the President of the United States appointed him member of the
Civil Service Commission, where he served until 1895. In 1895 he was
appointed one of the Board of Police Commissioners of New York City, and
became President of the Board, serving here until 1897. In 1897 he was
appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and served for about a year,
resigning in 1898 to raise the First United States Volunteer
Cavalry. The service done by the regiment--popularly called Roosevelt's
Rough Riders--is sufficiently well known, and Mr. Roosevelt was promoted
to a Colonelcy for conspicuous gallantry at the battle of Las
Guasimas. At the close of the war with Spain, Mr. Roosevelt became
candidate for Governor of New York. He was elected, and served until
December 31, 1900. In that year he was elected Vice-President of the
United States on the ticket with Mr. McKinley, and on the death of
Mr. McKinley, succeeded to the Presidential chair.

Of the Presidents of the United States not a few have been sportsmen,
and sportsmen of the best type. The love of Washington for gun and dog,
his interest in fisheries, and especially his fondness for horse and
hound, in the chase of the red fox, have furnished the theme for many a
writer; and recently Mr. Cleveland and Mr. Harrison have been more or
less celebrated in the newspapers, Mr. Harrison as a gunner, and Mr.
Cleveland for his angling, as well as his duck shooting proclivities.

It is not too much to say, however, that the chair of the chief
magistrate has never been occupied by a sportsman whose range of
interests was so wide, and so actively manifested, as in the case of
Mr. Roosevelt. It is true that Mr. Harrison, Mr. Cleveland, and
Mr. McKinley did much in the way of setting aside forest reservations,
but chiefly from economic motives; because they believed that the
forests should be preserved, both for the timber that they might yield,
if wisely exploited, and for their value as storage reservoirs for the
waters of our rivers.

The view taken by Mr. Roosevelt is quite different. To him the
economics of the case appeal with the same force that they might have
for any hard-headed, common sense business American; but beyond this,
and perhaps, if the secrets of his heart were known, more than this,
Mr. Roosevelt is influenced by a love of nature, which, though
considered sentimental by some, is, in fact, nothing more than a
far-sightedness, which looks toward the health, happiness, and general
well-being of the American race for the future.

As a boy Mr. Roosevelt was fortunate in having a strong love for nature
and for outdoor life, and, as in the case of so many boys, this love
took the form of an interest in birds, which found its outlet in
studying and collecting them. He published, in 1877, a list of the
summer birds of the Adirondacks, in Franklin county, New York, and also
did more or less collecting of birds on Long Island. The result of all
this was the acquiring of some knowledge of the birds of eastern North
America, and, what was far more important, a knowledge of how to
observe, and an appreciation of the fact that observations, to be of any
scientific value, must be definite and precise.

In the many hunting tales that we have had from his pen in recent years,
it is seen that these two pieces of most important instruction acquired
by the boy have always been remembered, and for this reason his books of
hunting and adventure have a real value--a worth not shared by many of
those published on similar subjects. His hunting adventures have not
been mere pleasure excursions. They have been of service to science. On
one of his hunts, perhaps his earliest trip after white goats, he
secured a second specimen of a certain tiny shrew, of which, up to that
time, only the type was known. Much more recently, during a declared
hunting trip in Colorado, he collected the best series of skins of the
American panther, with the measurements taken in the flesh, that has
ever been gathered from one locality by a single individual.

Mr. Roosevelt's hunting experiences have been so wide as to have covered
almost every species of North American big game found within the
temperate zone. Except such Arctic forms as the white and the Alaska
bears, and the muskox, there is, perhaps, no species of North American
game that he has not killed; and his chapter on the mountain sheep, in
his book, "Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail," is confessedly the best
published account of that species.

During the years that Mr. Roosevelt was actually engaged in the cattle
business in North Dakota, his everyday life led him constantly to the
haunts of big game, and, almost in spite of himself, gave him constant
hunting opportunities. Besides that, during dull seasons of the year,
he made trips to more or less distant localities in search of the
species of big game not found immediately about his ranch. His mode of
hunting and of traveling was quite different from that now in vogue
among big-game hunters. His knowledge of the West was early enough to
touch upon the time when each man was as good as his neighbor, and the
mere fact that a man was paid wages to perform certain acts for you did
not in any degree lower his position in the world, nor elevate yours.
In those days, if one started out with a companion, hired or otherwise,
to go to a certain place, or to do a certain piece of work, each man was
expected to perform his share of the labor.

This fact Mr. Roosevelt recognized as soon as he went West, and, acting
upon it, he made for himself a position as a man, and not as a master,
which he has never lost; and it is precisely this democratic spirit
which to-day makes him perhaps the most popular man in the United States
at large.

Starting off, then, on some trip of several hundred miles, with a
companion who might be guide, helper, cook, packer, or what
not--sometimes efficient, and the best companion that could be desired,
at others, perhaps, hopelessly lazy and worthless, and even with a stock
of liquor cached somewhere in the packs--Mr. Roosevelt helped to pack
the horses, to bring the wood, to carry the water, to cook the food, to
wrangle the stock, and generally to do the work of the camp, or of the
trail, so long as any of it remained undone. His energy was
indefatigable, and usually he infected his companion with his own
enthusiasm and industry, though at times he might have with him a man
whom nothing could move. It is largely to this energy and this
determination that he owes the good fortune that has usually attended
his hunting trips.

As the years have gone on, fortunes have changed; and as duties of one
kind and another have more and more pressed upon him, Mr. Roosevelt has
done less and less hunting; yet his love for outdoor life is as keen as
ever, and as Vice-President of the United States, he made his
well-remembered trip to Colorado after mountain lions, while more
recently he hunted black bears in the Mississippi Valley, and still more
lately killed a wild boar in the Austin Corbin park in New Hampshire.

Mr. Roosevelt's accession to the Presidential chair has been a great
thing for good sportsmanship in this country. Measures pertaining to
game and forest protection, and matters of sport generally, always have
had, and always will have, his cordial approval and co-operation. He is
heartily in favor of the forest reserves, and of the project for
establishing, within these reserves, game refuges, where no hunting
whatever shall be permitted. Aside from his love for nature, and his
wish to have certain limited areas remain in their natural condition,
absolutely untouched by the ax of the lumberman, and unimproved by the
work of the forester, is that broader sentiment in behalf of humanity in
the United States, which has led him to declare that such refuges should
be established for the benefit of the man of moderate means and the poor
man, whose opportunities to hunt and to see game are few and far
between. In a public speech he has said, in substance, that the rich and
the well-to-do could take care of themselves, buying land, fencing it,
and establishing parks and preserves of their own, where they might look
upon and take pleasure in their own game, but that such a course was not
within the power of the poor man, and that therefore the Government
might fitly intervene and establish refuges, such as indicated, for the
benefit and the pleasure of the whole people.

In April, 1903, the President made a trip to the Yellowstone Park, and
there had an opportunity to see wild game in such a forest refuge,
living free and without fear of molestation. Long before this
Mr. Roosevelt had expressed his approval of the plan, but his own eyes
had never before seen precisely the results accomplished by such a
refuge. In 1903 he was able to contrast conditions in the Yellowstone
Park with those of former years when he had passed through it and had
hunted on its borders, and what he saw then more than ever confirmed his
previous conclusions.

Although politics have taken up a large share of Mr. Roosevelt's life,
they represent only one of his many sides. He has won fame as a
historical writer by such books as "The Winning of the West," "Life of
Gouverneur Morris," "Life of Thomas Hart Benton," "The Naval War of
1812," "History of New York," "American Ideals and Other Essays," and
"Life of Cromwell." Besides these, he has written "The Strenuous Life,"
and in somewhat lighter vein, his "Wilderness Hunter," "Hunting Trips of
a Ranchman," "Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail," and "The Rough Riders"
deal with sport, phases of nature and life in the wild country. For many
years he was on the editorial committee of the Boone and Crockett Club,
and edited its publications, "American Big Game Hunting," "Hunting in
Many Lands," and "Trail and Camp Fire."

Mr. Roosevelt was the first president of the Boone and Crockett Club,
and continues actively interested in its work. He was succeeded in the
presidency of the Club by the late Gen. B.H. Bristow.

[Illustration: Tourists and Bears]

Wilderness Reserves

The practical common sense of the American people has been in no way
made more evident during the last few years than by the creation and use
of a series of large land reserves--situated for the most part on the
great plains and among the mountains of the West--intended to keep the
forests from destruction, and therefore to conserve the water
supply. These reserves are created purely for economic purposes. The
semi-arid regions can only support a reasonable population under
conditions of the strictest economy and wisdom in the use of the water
supply, and in addition to their other economic uses the forests are
indispensably necessary for the preservation of the water supply and for
rendering possible its useful distribution throughout the proper
seasons. In addition, however, to the economic use of the wilderness by
preserving it for such purposes where it is unsuited for agricultural
uses, it is wise here and there to keep selected portions of it--of
course only those portions unfit for settlement--in a state of nature,
not merely for the sake of preserving the forests and the water, but for
the sake of preserving all its beauties and wonders unspoiled by greedy
and shortsighted vandalism. These beauties and wonders include animate
as well as inanimate objects. The wild creatures of the wilderness add
to it by their presence a charm which it can acquire in no other way. On
every ground it is well for our nation to preserve, not only for the
sake of this generation, but above all for the sake of those who come
after us, representatives of the stately and beautiful haunters of the
wilds which were once found throughout our great forests, over the vast
lonely plains, and on the high mountain ranges, but which are now on the
point of vanishing save where they are protected in natural breeding
grounds and nurseries. The work of preservation must be carried on in
such a way as to make it evident that we are working in the interest of
the people as a whole, not in the interest of any particular class; and
that the people benefited beyond all others are those who dwell nearest
to the regions in which the reserves are placed. The movement for the
preservation by the nation of sections of the wilderness as national
playgrounds is essentially a democratic movement in the interest of all
our people.

[Illustration: "OOM JOHN."]

On April 8, 1903, John Burroughs and I reached the Yellowstone Park and
were met by Major John Pitcher of the Regular Army, the Superintendent
of the Park. The Major and I forthwith took horses; he telling me that
he could show me a good deal of game while riding up to his house at the
Mammoth Hot Springs. Hardly had we left the little town of Gardiner and
gotten within the limits of the Park before we saw prong-buck. There
was a band of at least a hundred feeding some distance from the road. We
rode leisurely toward them. They were tame compared to their kindred in
unprotected places; that is, it was easy to ride within fair rifle range
of them; but they were not familiar in the sense that we afterwords
found the bighorn and the deer to be familiar. During the two hours
following my entry into the Park we rode around the plains and lower
slopes of the foothills in the neighborhood of the mouth of the Gardiner
and we saw several hundred--probably a thousand all told--of these
antelope. Major Pitcher informed me that all the prong-horns in the
Park wintered in this neighborhood. Toward the end of April or the
first of May they migrate back to their summering homes in the open
valleys along the Yellowstone and in the plains south of the Golden
Gate. While migrating they go over the mountains and through forests if
occasion demands. Although there are plenty of coyotes in the Park there
are no big wolves, and save for very infrequent poachers the only enemy
of the antelope, as indeed the only enemy of all the game, is the

Cougars, known in the Park as elsewhere through the West as "mountain
lions," are plentiful, having increased in numbers of recent years.
Except in the neighborhood of the Gardiner River, that is within a few
miles of Mammoth Hot Springs, I found them feeding on elk, which in the
Park far outnumber all other game put together, being so numerous that
the ravages of the cougars are of no real damage to the herds. But in
the neighborhood of the Mammoth Hot Springs the cougars are noxious
because of the antelope, mountain sheep and deer which they kill; and
the Superintendent has imported some hounds with which to hunt
them. These hounds are managed by Buffalo Jones, a famous old plainsman,
who is now in the Park taking care of the buffalo. On this first day of
my visit to the Park I came across the carcasses of a deer and of an
antelope which the cougars had killed. On the great plains cougars
rarely get antelope, but here the country is broken so that the big cats
can make their stalks under favorable circumstances. To deer and
mountain sheep the cougar is a most dangerous enemy--much more so than
the wolf.

[Illustration: Prongbucks]

The antelope we saw were usually in bands of from twenty to one hundred
and fifty, and they traveled strung out almost in single file, though
those in the rear would sometimes bunch up. I did not try to stalk them,
but got as near them as I could on horseback. The closest approach I was
able to make was to within about eighty yards on two which were by
themselves--I think a doe and a last year's fawn. As I was riding up to
them, although they looked suspiciously at me, one actually lay
down. When I was passing them at about eighty yards distance the big one
became nervous, gave a sudden jump, and away the two went at full speed.

Why the prone bucks were so comparatively shy I do not know, for right
on the ground with them we came upon deer, and, in the immediate
neighborhood, mountain sheep, which were absurdly tame. The mountain
sheep were nineteen in number, for the most part does and yearlings with
a couple of three-year-old rams, but not a single big fellow--for the
big fellows at this season are off by themselves, singly or in little
bunches, high up in the mountains. The band I saw was tame to a degree
matched by but few domestic animals.

They were feeding on the brink of a steep washout at the upper edge of
one of the benches on the mountain side just below where the abrupt
slope began. They were alongside a little gully with sheer walls. I rode
my horse to within forty yards of them, one of them occasionally looking
up and at once continuing to feed. Then they moved slowly off and
leisurely crossed the gully to the other side. I dismounted, walked
around the head of the gully, and moving cautiously, but in plain sight,
came closer and closer until I was within twenty yards, where I sat down
on a stone and spent certainly twenty minutes looking at them. They
paid hardly any attention whatever to my presence--certainly no more
than well-treated domestic creatures would pay. One of the rams rose on
his hind legs, leaning his fore-hoofs against a little pine tree, and
browsed the ends of the budding branches. The others grazed on the short
grass and herbage or lay down and rested--two of the yearlings several
times playfully butting at one another. Now and then one would glance in
my direction without the slightest sign of fear--barely even of
curiosity. I have no question whatever but that with a little patience
this particular band could be made to feed out of a man's hand. Major
Pitcher intends during the coming winter to feed them alfalfa--for game
animals of several kinds have become so plentiful in the neighborhood of
the Hot Springs, and the Major has grown so interested in them, that he
wishes to do something toward feeding them during the severe winter.
After I had looked at the sheep to my heart's content, I walked back to
my horse, my departure arousing as little interest as my advent.

[Illustration: MOUNTAIN SHEEP.]

Soon after leaving them we began to come across black-tail deer, singly,
in twos and threes, and in small bunches of a dozen or so. They were
almost as tame as the mountain sheep, but not quite. That is, they
always looked alertly at me, and though if I stayed still they would
graze, they kept a watch over my movements and usually moved slowly off
when I got within less than forty yards of them. Up to that distance,
whether on foot or on horseback, they paid but little heed to me, and on
several occasions they allowed me to come much closer. Like the bighorn,
the black-tails at this time were grazing, not browsing; but I
occasionally saw them nibble some willow buds. During the winter they
had been browsing. As we got close to the Hot Springs we came across
several white-tail in an open, marshy meadow.

They were not quite as tame as the black-tail, although without any
difficulty I walked up to within fifty yards of them. Handsome though
the black-tail is, the white-tail is the most beautiful of all deer when
in motion, because of the springy, bounding grace of its trot and
canter, and the way it carries its head and white flag aloft.

Before reaching the Mammoth Hot Springs we also saw a number of ducks in
the little pools and on the Gardiner. Some of them were rather shy.
Others--probably those which, as Major Pitcher informed me, had spent
the winter there--were as tame as barnyard fowls.


Just before reaching the post the Major took me into the big field where
Buffalo Jones had some Texas and Flat Head Lake buffalo--bulls and
cows--which he was tending with solicitous care. The original stock of
buffalo in the Park have now been reduced to fifteen or twenty
individuals, and the intention is to try to mix them with the score of
buffalo which have been purchased out of the Flat Head Lake and Texas
Panhandle herds. The buffalo were put within a wire fence, which, when
it was built, was found to have included both black-tail and white-tail
deer. A bull elk was also put in with them at one time--he having met
with some accident which made the Major and Buffalo Jones bring him in
to doctor him. When he recovered his health he became very cross. Not
only would he attack men, but also buffalo, even the old and surly
master bull, thumping them savagely with his antlers if they did
anything to which he objected. When I reached the post and dismounted
at the Major's house, I supposed my experiences with wild beasts for the
day were ended; but this was an error. The quarters of the officers and
men and the various hotel buildings, stables, residences of the civilian
officials, etc., almost completely surround the big parade ground at the
post, near the middle of which stands the flag-pole, while the gun used
for morning and evening salutes is well off to one side. There are large
gaps between some of the buildings, and Major Pitcher informed me that
throughout the winter he had been leaving alfalfa on the parade grounds,
and that numbers of black-tail deer had been in the habit of visiting it
every day, sometimes as many as seventy being on the parade ground at
once. As springtime came on the numbers diminished. However, in
mid-afternoon, while I was writing in my room in Major Pitcher's house,
on looking out of the window I saw five deer on the parade ground. They
were as tame as so many Alderney cows, and when I walked out I got up to
within twenty yards of them without any difficulty. It was most amusing
to see them as the time approached for the sunset gun to be fired. The
notes of the trumpeter attracted their attention at once. They all
looked at him eagerly. One then resumed feeding, and paid no attention
whatever either to the bugle, the gun or the flag. The other four,
however, watched the preparations for firing the gun with an intent
gaze, and at the sound of the report gave two or three jumps; then
instantly wheeling, looked up at the flag as it came down. This they
seemed to regard as something rather more suspicious than the gun, and
they remained very much on the alert until the ceremony was over. Once
it was finished, they resumed feeding as if nothing had happened. Before
it was dark they trotted away from the parade ground back to the

The next day we rode off to the Yellowstone River, camping some miles
below Cottonwood Creek. It was a very pleasant camp. Major Pitcher, an
old friend, had a first-class pack train, so that we were as comfortable
as possible, and on such a trip there could be no pleasanter or more
interesting companion than John Burroughs--"Oom John," as we soon grew
to call him. Where our tents were pitched the bottom of the valley was
narrow, the mountains rising steep and cliff-broken on either
side. There were quite a number of black-tail in the valley, which were
tame and unsuspicious, although not nearly as much so as those in the
immediate neighborhood of the Mammoth Hot Springs. One mid-afternoon
three of them swam across the river a hundred yards above our camp. But
the characteristic animals of the region were the elk--the wapiti. They
were certainly more numerous than when I was last through the Park
twelve years before.

[Illustration: WHISKEY JACKS.]

In the summer the elk spread all over the interior of the Park. As
winter approaches they divide, some going north and others south. The
southern bands, which, at a guess, may possibly include ten thousand
individuals, winter out of the Park, for the most part in Jackson's
Hole--though of course here and there within the limits of the Park a
few elk may spend both winter and summer in an unusually favorable
location. It was the members of the northern band that I met. During
the winter time they are very stationary, each band staying within a
very few miles of the same place, and from their size and the open
nature of their habitat it is almost as easy to count them as if they
were cattle. From a spur of Bison Peak one day, Major Pitcher, the guide
Elwood Hofer, John Burroughs and I spent about four hours with the
glasses counting and estimating the different herds within sight. After
most careful work and cautious reduction of estimates in each case to
the minimum the truth would permit, we reckoned three thousand head of
elk, all lying or feeding and all in sight at the same time. An estimate
of some fifteen thousand for the number of elk in these northern bands
cannot be far wrong. These bands do not go out of the Park at all, but
winter just within its northern boundary. At the time when we saw them,
the snow had vanished from the bottom of the valleys and the lower
slopes of the mountains, but grew into continuous sheets further up
their sides. The elk were for the most part found up on the snow slopes,
occasionally singly or in small gangs--more often in bands of from fifty
to a couple of hundred. The larger bulls were highest up the mountains
and generally in small troops by themselves, although occasionally one
or two would be found associating with a big herd of cows, yearlings,
and two-year-olds. Many of the bulls had shed their antlers; many had
not. During the winter the elk had evidently done much browsing, but at
this time they were grazing almost exclusively, and seemed by preference
to seek out the patches of old grass which were last left bare by the
retreating snow. The bands moved about very little, and if one were
seen one day it was generally possible to find it within a few hundred
yards of the same spot the next day, and certainly not more than a mile
or two off. There were severe frosts at night, and occasionally light
flurries of snow; but the hardy beasts evidently cared nothing for any
but heavy storms, and seemed to prefer to lie in the snow rather than
upon the open ground. They fed at irregular hours throughout the day,
just like cattle; one band might be lying down while another was
feeding. While traveling they usually went almost in single
file. Evidently the winter had weakened them, and they were not in
condition for running; for on the one or two occasions when I wanted to
see them close up I ran right into them on horseback, both on level
plains and going up hill along the sides of rather steep mountains. One
band in particular I practically rounded up for John Burroughs--finally
getting them to stand in a huddle while he and I sat on our horses less
than fifty yards off. After they had run a little distance they opened
their mouths wide and showed evident signs of distress.

[Illustration: WAPITI IN DEEP SNOW.]

We came across a good many carcasses. Two, a bull and a cow, had died
from scab. Over half the remainder had evidently perished from cold or
starvation. The others, including a bull, three cows and a score of
yearlings, had been killed by cougars. In the Park the cougar is at
present their only animal foe. The cougars were preying on nothing but
elk in the Yellowstone Valley, and kept hanging about the neighborhood
of the big bands. Evidently they usually selected some outlying
yearling, stalked it as it lay or as it fed, and seized it by the head
and throat. The bull which they killed was in a little open valley by
himself, many miles from any other elk. The cougar which killed it,
judging from its tracks, was a very large male. As the elk were
evidently rather too numerous for the feed, I do not think the cougars
were doing any damage.

[Illustration: OLD EPHRAIM.]

Coyotes are plentiful, but the elk evidently have no dread of them. One
day I crawled up to within fifty yards of a band of elk lying down. A
coyote was walking about among them, and beyond an occasional look they
paid no heed to him. He did not venture to go within fifteen or twenty
paces of any one of them. In fact, except the cougar, I saw but one
living thing attempt to molest the elk. This was a golden eagle. We saw
several of these great birds. On one occasion we had ridden out to the
foot of a great sloping mountain side, dotted over with bands and
strings of elk amounting in the aggregate probably to a thousand
head. Most of the bands were above the snow line--some appearing away
back toward the ridge crests, and looking as small as mice. There was
one band well below the snow line, and toward this we rode. While the
elk were not shy or wary, in the sense that a hunter would use the
words, they were by no means as familiar as the deer; and this
particular band of elk, some twenty or thirty in all, watched us with
interest as we approached. When we were still half a mile off they
suddenly started to run toward us, evidently frightened by something.
They ran quartering, and when about four hundred yards away we saw that
an eagle was after them. Soon it swooped, and a yearling in the rear,
weakly, and probably frightened by the swoop, turned a complete
somersault, and when it recovered its feet, stood still. The great bird
followed the rest of the band across a little ridge, beyond which they
disappeared. Then it returned, soaring high in the heavens, and after
two or three wide circles, swooped down at the solitary yearling, its
legs hanging down. We halted at two hundred yards to see the end. But
the eagle could not quite make up its mind to attack. Twice it hovered
within a foot or two of the yearling's head--again flew off and again
returned. Finally the yearling trotted off after the rest of the band,
and the eagle returned to the upper air. Later we found the carcass of a
yearling, with two eagles, not to mention ravens and magpies, feeding on
it; but I could not tell whether they had themselves killed the yearling
or not.

Here and there in the region where the elk were abundant we came upon
horses which for some reason had been left out through the winter. They
were much wilder than the elk. Evidently the Yellowstone Park is a
natural nursery and breeding ground of the elk, which here, as said
above, far outnumber all the other game put together. In the winter, if
they cannot get to open water, they eat snow; but in several places
where there had been springs which kept open all winter, we could see by
the tracks they had been regularly used by bands of elk. The men working
at the new road along the face of the cliffs beside the Yellowstone
River near Tower Falls informed me that in October enormous droves of
elk coming from the interior of the Park and traveling northward to the
lower lands had crossed the Yellowstone just above Tower Falls. Judging
by their description the elk had crossed by thousands in an
uninterrupted stream, the passage taking many hours. In fact nowadays
these Yellowstone elk are, with the exception of the Arctic caribou, the
only American game which at times travel in immense droves like the
buffalo of the old days.

A couple of days after leaving Cottonwood Creek--where we had spent
several days--we camped at the Yellowstone Canon below Tower Falls. Here
we saw a second band of mountain sheep, numbering only eight--none of
them old rams. We were camped on the west side of the canon; the sheep
had their abode on the opposite side, where they had spent the
winter. It has recently been customary among some authorities,
especially the English hunters and naturalists who have written of the
Asiatic sheep, to speak as if sheep were naturally creatures of the
plains rather than mountain climbers. I know nothing of old world sheep,
but the Rocky Mountain bighorn is to the full as characteristic a
mountain animal, in every sense of the word, as the chamois, and, I
think, as the ibex. These sheep were well known to the road builders,
who had spent the winter in the locality. They told me they never went
back on the plains, but throughout the winter had spent their days and
nights on the top of the cliff and along its face. This cliff was an
alternation of sheer precipices and very steep inclines. When coated
with ice it would be difficult to imagine an uglier bit of climbing; but
throughout the winter, and even in the wildest storms, the sheep had
habitually gone down it to drink at the water below. When we first saw
them they were lying sunning themselves on the edge of the canyon, where
the rolling grassy country behind it broke off into the sheer
descent. It was mid-afternoon and they were under some pines. After a
while they got up and began to graze, and soon hopped unconcernedly down
the side of the cliff until they were half way to the bottom. They then
grazed along the sides, and spent some time licking at a place where
there was evidently a mineral deposit. Before dark they all lay down
again on a steeply inclined jutting spur midway between the top and
bottom of the canyon.


Next morning I thought I would like to see them close up, so I walked
down three or four miles below where the canyon ended, crossed the
stream, and came up the other side until I got on what was literally the
stamping ground of the sheep. Their tracks showed that they had spent
their time for many weeks, and probably for all the winter, within a
very narrow radius. For perhaps a mile and a half, or two miles at the
very outside, they had wandered to and fro on the summit of the canyon,
making what was almost a well-beaten path; always very near and usually
on the edge of the cliff, and hardly ever going more than a few yards
back into the grassy plain-and-hill country. Their tracks and dung
covered the ground. They had also evidently descended into the depths of
the canon wherever there was the slightest break or even lowering in the
upper line of basalt cliffs. Although mountain sheep often browse in
winter, I saw but few traces of browsing here; probably on the sheer
cliff side they always got some grazing. When I spied the band they
were lying not far from the spot in which they had lain the day before,
and in the same position on the brink of the canon. They saw me and
watched me with interest when I was two hundred yards off, but they let
me get up within forty yards and sit down on a large stone to look at
them, without running off. Most of them were lying down, but a couple
were feeding steadily throughout the time I watched them. Suddenly one
took the alarm and dashed straight over the cliff, the others all
following at once. I ran after them to the edge in time to see the last
yearling drop off the edge of the basalt cliff and stop short on the
sheer slope below, while the stones dislodged by his hoofs rattled down
the canon. They all looked up at me with great interest and then
strolled off to the edge of a jutting spur and lay down almost directly
underneath me and some fifty yards off. That evening on my return to
camp we watched the band make its way right down to the river bed, going
over places where it did not seem possible a four-footed creature could
pass. They halted to graze here and there, and down the worst places
they went very fast with great bounds. It was a marvelous exhibition of

After we had finished this horseback trip we went on sleds and skis to
the upper Geyser Basin and the Falls of the Yellowstone. Although it was
the third week in April, the snow was still several feet deep, and only
thoroughly trained snow horses could have taken the sleighs along, while
around the Yellowstone Falls it was possible to move only on
snowshoes. There was very little life in those woods. We saw an
occasional squirrel, rabbit or marten; and in the open meadows around
the hot waters there were geese and ducks, and now and then a
coyote. Around camp Clark's crows and Stellar's jays, and occasionally
magpies came to pick at the refuse; and of course they were accompanied
by the whiskey acks with their usual astounding familiarity. At Norris
Geyser Basin there was a perfect chorus of bird music from robins,
purple finches, uncos and mountain bluebirds. In the woods there were
mountain chickadees and nuthatches of various kinds, together with an
occasional woodpecker. In the northern country we had come across a very
few blue grouse and ruffed grouse, both as tame as possible. We had seen
a pigmy owl no larger than a robin sitting on top of a pine in broad
daylight, and uttering at short intervals a queer un-owllike cry.

[Illustration: MAGPIES.]

The birds that interested us most were the solitaires, and especially
the dippers or water-ousels. We were fortunate enough to hear the
solitaires sing not only when perched on trees, but on the wing, soaring
over a great canon. The dippers are to my mind well-nigh the most
attractive of all our birds. They stay through the winter in the
Yellowstone because the waters are in many places open. We heard them
singing cheerfully, their ringing melody having a certain suggestion of
the winter wren's. Usually they sang while perched on some rock on the
edge or in the middle of the stream; but sometimes on the wing. In the
open places the western meadow larks were also uttering their singular
beautiful songs. No bird escaped John Burroughs' eye; no bird note
escaped his ear.

On the last day of my stay it was arranged that I should ride down from
Mammoth Hot Springs to the town of Gardiner, just outside the Park
limits, and there make an address at the laying of the corner stone of
the arch by which the main road is to enter the Park. Some three
thousand people had gathered to attend the ceremonies. A little over a
mile from Gardiner we came down out of the hills to the flat plain; from
the hills we could see the crowd gathered around the arch waiting for me
to come. We put spurs to our horses and cantered rapidly toward the
appointed place, and on the way we passed within forty yards of a score
of black-tails, which merely moved to one side and looked at us, and
within a hundred yards of half a dozen antelope. To any lover of nature
it could not help being a delightful thing to see the wild and timid
creatures of the wilderness rendered so tame; and their tameness in the
immediate neighborhood of Gardiner, on the very edge of the Park, spoke
volumes for the patriotic good sense of the citizens of Montana. Major
Pitcher informed me that both the Montana and Wyoming people were
co-operating with him in zealous fashion to preserve the game and put a
stop to poaching. For their attitude in this regard they deserve the
cordial thanks of all Americans interested in these great popular
playgrounds, where bits of the old wilderness scenery and the old
wilderness life are to be kept unspoiled for the benefit of our
children's children. Eastern people, and especially eastern sportsmen,
need to keep steadily in mind the fact that the westerners who live in
the neighborhood of the forest preserves are the men who in the last
resort will determine whether or not these preserves are to be
permanent. They cannot in the long run be kept as forest and game
reservations unless the settlers roundabout believe in them and heartily
support them; and the rights of these settlers must be carefully
safeguarded, and they must be shown that the movement is really in their
interest. The eastern sportsman who fails to recognize these facts can
do little but harm by advocacy of forest reserves.


It was in the interior of the Park, at the hotels beside the lake, the
falls, and the various geyser basins, that we would have seen the bears
had the season been late enough; but unfortunately the bears were still
for the most part hibernating. We saw two or three tracks, and found one
place where a bear had been feeding on a dead elk, but the animals
themselves had not yet begun to come about the hotels. Nor were the
hotels open. No visitors had previously entered the Park in the winter
or early spring--the scouts and other employees being the only ones who
occasionally traverse it. I was sorry not to see the bears, for the
effect of protection upon bear life in the Yellowstone has been one of
the phenomena of natural history. Not only have they grown to realize
that they are safe, but, being natural scavengers and foul feeders, they
have come to recognize the garbage heaps of the hotels as their special
sources of food supply. Throughout the summer months they come to all
the hotels in numbers, usually appearing in the late afternoon or
evening, and they have become as indifferent to the presence of men as
the deer themselves--some of them very much more indifferent. They have
now taken their place among the recognized sights of the Park, and the
tourists are nearly as much interested in them as in the geysers.


It was amusing to read the proclamations addressed to the tourists by
the Park management, in which they were solemnly warned that the bears
were really wild animals, and that they must on no account be either fed
or teased. It is curious to think that the descendants of the great
grizzlies which were the dread of the early explorers and hunters should
now be semi-domesticated creatures, boldly hanging around crowded hotels
for the sake of what they can pick up, and quite harmless so long as any
reasonable precaution is exercised. They are much safer, for instance,
than any ordinary bull or stallion, or even ram, and, in fact, there is
no danger from them at all unless they are encouraged to grow too
familiar or are in some way molested. Of course among the thousands of
tourists there is a percentage of thoughtless and foolish people; and
when such people go out in the afternoon to look at the bears feeding
they occasionally bring themselves into jeopardy by some senseless
act. The black bears and the cubs of the bigger bears can readily be
driven up trees, and some of the tourists occasionally do this. Most of
the animals never think of resenting it; but now and then one is run
across which has its feelings ruffled by the performance. In the summer
of 1902 the result proved disastrous to a too inquisitive tourist. He
was traveling with his wife, and at one of the hotels they went out
toward the garbage pile to see the bears feeding. The only bear in sight
was a large she, which, as it turned out, was in a bad temper because
another party of tourists a few minutes before had been chasing her cubs
up a tree. The man left his wife and walked toward the bear to see how
close he could get. When he was some distance off she charged him,
whereupon he bolted back toward his wife. The bear overtook him, knocked
him down and bit him severely. But the man's wife, without hesitation,
attacked the bear with that thoroughly feminine weapon, an umbrella, and
frightened her off. The man spent several weeks in the Park hospital
before he recovered. Perhaps the following telegram sent by the manager
of the Lake Hotel to Major Pitcher illustrates with sufficient clearness
the mutual relations of the bears, the tourists, and the guardians of
the public weal in the Park. The original was sent me by Major
Pitcher. It runs:

"Lake. 7-27-'03. Major Pitcher, Yellowstone: As many as seventeen bears
in an evening appear on my garbage dump. To-night eight or ten. Campers
and people not of my hotel throw things at them to make them run away. I
cannot, unless there personally, control this. Do you think you could
detail a trooper to be there every evening from say six o'clock until
dark and make people remain behind danger line laid out by Warden Jones?
Otherwise I fear some accident. The arrest of one or two of these
campers might help. My own guests do pretty well as they are told.
James Barton Key. 9 A.M."

Major Pitcher issued the order as requested.


At times the bears get so bold that they take to making inroads on the
kitchen. One completely terrorized a Chinese cook. It would drive him
off and then feast upon whatever was left behind. When a bear begins to
act in this way or to show surliness it is sometimes necessary to shoot
it. Other bears are tamed until they will feed out of the hand, and
will come at once if called. Not only have some of the soldiers and
scouts tamed bears in this fashion, but occasionally a chambermaid or
waiter girl at one of the hotels has thus developed a bear as a pet.

The accompanying photographs not only show bears very close up, with men
standing by within a few yards of them, but they also show one bear
being fed from the piazza by a cook, and another standing beside a
particular friend, a chambermaid in one of the hotels. In these
photographs it will be seen that some are grizzlies and some black

This whole episode of bear life in the Yellowstone is so extraordinary
that it will be well worth while for any man who has the right powers
and enough time, to make a complete study of the life and history of the
Yellowstone bears. Indeed, nothing better could be done by some one of
our outdoor fauna naturalists than to spend at least a year in the
Yellowstone, and to study the life habits of all the wild creatures
therein. A man able to do this, and to write down accurately and
interestingly what he had seen, would make a contribution of permanent
value to our nature literature.

In May, after leaving the Yellowstone, I visited the Grand Canyon of the
Colorado, and spent three days camping in the Yosemite Park with John
Muir. It is hard to make comparisons among different kinds of scenery,
all of them very grand and very beautiful; yet personally to me the
Grand Canyon of the Colorado, strange and desolate, terrible and awful in
its sublimity, stands alone and unequaled. I very earnestly wish that
Congress would make it a national park, and I am sure that such course
would meet the approbation of the people of Arizona. As to the Yosemite
Valley, if the people of California desire it, as many of them certainly
do, it also should be taken by the National Government to be kept as a
national park, just as the surrounding country, including some of the
groves of giant trees, is now kept.

[Illustration: COOK AND BEAR.]

John Muir and I, with two packers and three pack mules, spent a
delightful three days in the Yosemite. The first night was clear, and we
lay in the open on beds of soft fir boughs among the giant sequoias. It
was like lying in a great and solemn cathedral, far vaster and more
beautiful than any built by hand of man. Just at nightfall I heard,
among other birds, thrushes which I think were Rocky Mountain
hermits--the appropriate choir for such a place of worship. Next day we
went by trail through the woods, seeing some deer--which were not
wild--as well as mountain quail and blue grouse. In the afternoon we
struck snow, and had considerable difficulty in breaking our own
trails. A snow storm came on toward evening, but we kept warm and
comfortable in a grove of the splendid silver firs--rightly named
magnificent, near the brink of the wonderful Yosemite Valley. Next day
we clambered down into it and at nightfall camped in its bottom, facing
the giant cliffs over which the waterfalls thundered.

Surely our people do not understand even yet the rich heritage that is
theirs. There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the
Yosemite, its groves of giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the
Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the three Tetons; and the
representatives of the people should see to it that they are preserved
for the people forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.

_Theodore Roosevelt_.

The Zoology of North American Big Game

Among the many questions asked of the naturalist by an inquiring public,
few come up more persistently than "What is the difference between a
bison and a buffalo; and which is the American animal?"

The interest which so many people find in questions such as this must
serve as a justification for the present paper, which proposes no more
than to put into concise form what is known of the zoological relations
of the animals which come within the special interest of the Boone and
Crockett Club. In doing this, conclusions must, as a rule, be stated
with few of the facts upon which they rest, for to give more than the
plainest of these would be to far outrun the possible limits of space,
and would furthermore lead into technical details which to most readers
are obscure and wearisome.

[Illustration: BULL BISON.]

Anyone who consults Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary will be illuminated
by the definition of camelopard: "An Abyssinian animal taller than an
elephant, but not so thick," and even but a few years back all that was
considered necessary to answer the question, "what is a bison?" was to
state that it is a wild ox with a shaggy mane and a hump on its
shoulders, and the thing was done; but in our own time a satisfactory
answer must take account of its relationship to other beasts, for we
have come to believe that the differences between animals are simply the
blank spaces upon the chart of universal life, against which are traced
the resemblances, which, as we follow them back into remote periods of
geologic time, reveal to us definite lines of succession with structural
change, and these, correctly interpreted, are nothing less than actual
lines of blood relationship. To know what an animal is, therefore, we
must know something of its family tree.

It is perhaps well to emphasize the need of correct interpretation, for
there are no bridges on the paths of palaeontology, and as we go back,
more than one great gap occurs between series of strata, marking periods
of intervening time which there is no means of measuring, but during
which we know that the progress of change in the animals then living
never ceased. When such a break is reached, the course of phylogeny is
like picking up an interrupted trail, with the additional complication
that the one we find is never quite like the one we left, and it is in
such conditions that the systematist must apply his knowledge of the
general progressive tendencies through the ages of change, to the
determination of the particular changes he should expect to find in the
special case before him, and so be enabled to recognize the footprints
he is in search of. The genius to do this has been given to few, but in
their hands the results have often been brilliant.

Back in the very earliest Tertiary deposits, and in all certainty even
earlier, a group of comparatively small mammals was extensively spread
through America, and apparently less widely in Europe, characterized by
a primitive form of foot structure, each of which had five complete
digits, the whole sole being placed upon the ground, as in the animals
we call plantigrade. The grinding surfaces of their molar teeth were
also primitive, bearing none of the complicated, curved crests and
ridges possessed by present ruminants, but instead they had conical
cusps, usually not more than three to a tooth; this tritubercular style
of molar crown being about the earliest known in true mammals.

In the opinion of many palaeontologists, the ancestors of the present
hoofed beasts, or ungulates, were contained among these
_Condylarthra_, as they were named by Prof. Cope.

Of course, these early mammals are known to us only by their fossil and
mostly fragmentary skeletons, but it may be said that at least in the
ungulate line, the successive geological periods show steady structural
progression in certain directions. Of great importance are a decrease in
the number of functional digits; a gradual elevation of the heel, so
that their modern descendants walk on the tips of their toes, instead of
on the whole sole; a constant tendency to the development of deeply
grooved and interlocked joints in place of shallow bearing surfaces; and
to a complex pattern of the molar crowns instead of the simple type
mentioned. To this may be added as the most important factor of all in
survival, that these changes have progressed together with an increase
in the size of the brain and in the convolutions of its outer layer.

The _Condylarthra_ seem to have gone out of existence before the
time of the middle Eocene, but before this they had become separated
into the two great divisions of odd-toed and even-toed ungulates, into
which all truly hoofed beasts now living fall.

The first group (_Perissodactyla_) has always one or three toes
functionally developed, either the third, or third, second and fourth,
the two others having entirely disappeared, except for a remnant of the
fifth in the forefoot of tapirs. They have retained some at least of the
upper incisor teeth, and, except in some rhinoceroses, the canines are
also left; the molars and premolars are practically alike in all recent
species, and in all of which we know the soft parts, the stomach has but
one compartment, and there is an enormous caecum. It is probable that
they took rise earlier than their split-footed relations, and their
Tertiary remains are far more numerous, but their tendency is toward
disappearance, and among existing mammals they are represented only by
horses, asses, rhinoceroses, and tapirs.

Contrasted with these, _Artiodactyla_ have always an even number of
functional digits, the third and fourth reaching the ground
symmetrically, bearing the weight and forming the "split hoof;" the
second and fifth remain, in most cases, as mere vestiges, showing
externally as the accessory hoofs or dewclaws; in the hippopotamus alone
they are fully developed and the animal has a four-toed foot. In deer
and bovine animals the incisors and frequently the canines have
disappeared from the upper jaw, and the molars are unlike the premolars
in having two lobes instead of one. The stomach is always more or less
complex; at its extreme reaching the ruminant type with four
compartments, in association with which is a caecum reduced in size and
simple in form. Nearly all have horns or antlers, at least in one sex.

Most split-hoofed animals are ruminants, but there is a small remnant,
probably of early types, which are not. The present ungulates may be
summed up in this way:

Odd-toed: _(Perissodactyla)_--

Even-toed: _(Artiodactyla)_--


Camels, Llamas,
Sheep, Goats,

The non-ruminant artiodactyls need not detain us long. Hippopotamuses
are little more than large pigs with four toes; they were never
American, though many species, some very small, are found in the
European Tertiary. The two existing species are African.

In the western hemisphere swine are represented by the peccaries,
differing from them chiefly in having six less teeth, one less accessory
toe on the hind foot, and in a stomach of more complex character.
Peccaries also have the metapodial bones supporting the two functional
digits fused together at their upper ends, forming an imperfect "cannon
bone," which is a characteristic of practically all the ruminants, but
of no other hoofed beasts. One species only enters the United States
along the Mexican border.

All non-ruminant ungulates have from four to six incisors in the upper
jaw; the canines are present, and sometimes, as in the wart hogs, reach
an extraordinary size.

Coming now to the ruminants, all digits except the third and fourth have
disappeared from camels and llamas, and the nails on these are limited
to their upper surface without forming a hoof, the under side being a
broad pad, upon which they tread. No camel-like beasts have inhabited
North America since the Pliocene age. Chevrotains, or muis deer
(_Tragulidae_), are not deer in any true sense, as they have but
three compartments to the stomach; antlers are absent and in their place
large and protruding canine teeth are developed in the upper jaw, and
the lateral metacarpal bones are complete throughout their length,
instead of being represented by a mere remnant. They are the smallest of
ungulates, and inhabit only portions of the Indo-Malayan region. Camels
also have upper canines, and the outer, upper incisors as well.

The giraffe is separated from all living ungulates by the primitive
character of its so-called "horns," which are not horns in the usual
sense, but simply bony prominences of the skull covered with hair. Some
of the earliest deer-like animals seem to have had simple or slightly
branched antlers which were not shed, and which there is reason to
believe were also hairy, and in these, as well as in other characters,
giraffes and the early deer may not have been far apart. The "okapi,"
Sir Harry Johnston's late discovery in the Uganda forests, seems to have
come from the same ancestral stock, but the giraffe has no other
existing relatives.

The true deer, to which we shall return, are readily enough
distinguished from the ox tribe and its allies by their solid and more
or less branched antlers, usually confined to males, and periodically

So, through this rapid survey, we have dropped out of the hoofed beasts
all but the bovines and their near allies, and are thus far advanced
toward our definition of a bison, but from this point we shall not find
it easy to draw sharp distinctions, for while the _Bovidae_, as a
whole, are well enough distinguished from all other animals, their
characteristics are so much mixed among themselves that it is hardly
possible to find any one or more striking features peculiar to one
group, and for most of them recourse must be had to associations of a
number of lesser characters.

Oxen, antelopes, sheep and goats agree in having hollow horns of
material similar to that of which hair and nails are formed, permanently
fixed upon the skull in all but one species; none of them have more than
the two middle digits functionally developed, one on each side of the
axis of the leg; none have the lower ends remaining of the meta-podial
bones belonging to the two accessory digits; and none have either
incisor or canine teeth in the upper jaw.

From animals so constructed we may first take out goats and sheep, in
which the female horns are much smaller than those of males, and in some
species are even absent. In nearly all of them the horns are noticeably
compressed in section, either triangular or sub-triangular near the
base, and are directed sometimes outwardly from the head with a circular
sweep; at others with a backward curve, often spirally. The muzzle is
always hairy; there is no small accessory column on the inner side of
the upper molars, found always in oxen and in some antelopes; the tail
is short, and scent glands are present between the digits of some or all
the feet.

Now, as to the perplexing animals popularly known as antelopes. No
definition could be framed which would include them all in one group,
for every subordinate character seems to be present in some and absent
in others, so that the most that can be done with this vast assemblage
is to arrange its contents in series of genera, which may or may not be
called sub-families, but which probably correspond in some degree to
their real affinities. We can only say of any one of them that it is an
antelope because it is not a sheep, nor a goat, nor an ox. They concern
us here only to be eliminated, for they are not American, our prong-buck
having a sub-family all to itself, as we shall see later, and the
so-called "white goat" being usually regarded as neither goat nor truly

Within the limits of the real bovine animals, four quite distinct types
may be made out, chiefly by the position of the horns upon the skull and
by the shape of the horns themselves. There are also differences in the
relations of the nasal and premaxillary bones, the development of the
neural spines of the vertebrae, and the hairy covering of the body.

In the genus _Bos_ the horns are placed high up on the vertex of
the skull, which forms a marked transverse ridge from which the hinder
portion falls sharply away. The horns are nearly circular in section and
almost smooth; usually they curve outward, then upward and often inward
at the tip; the premaxillaries are long and generally reach to the
nasals, and the anterior dorsal vertebrae are without sharply elongated
spines, so that the line of the back is nearly straight. These, the true
oxen, as they are sometimes termed, now exist only in domesticated
breeds of cattle.

In the gaur oxen (_Bibos_) the horns are situated as in _Bos_,
high up on the vertex, but are more elliptical in section; the
premaxillaries are short; the dorsal vertebrae, from the third to the
eleventh, bear elongated spines which produce a hump reaching nearly to
the middle of the back; the tail is shorter, and the hair is short all
over the body. The three species--gaur, gayal and banteng--inhabit
Indo-Malayan countries, and all of them are dark brown with white

The buffaloes (_Bubalus_) are large and clumsy animals with horns
more or less compressed or flattened at their bases, set low down on the
vertex, which does not show the high transverse ridge of true oxen and
gaurs. In old bulls of the African species the horns meet at their base
and completely cover the forehead. In the arni of India they are
enormously long. The dorsal spines are not much elongated, and there is
no distinct hump; the premaxillae are long enough to reach the
nasals. Hair is scanty all over the body, and old animals are almost
wholly bare. The small and interesting anoa of Celebes, and the tamarao
of Mindoro, are nearly related in all important respects to the Indian
buffalo, and the carabao, used for draught and burden in the
Philippines, belongs to a long domesticated race of the same animal.

Finally, in the genus _Bison_ the horns are below the vertex as in
buffaloes, but are set far apart at the base, which is cylindrical; they
are short and their curve is forward, upward and inward; the anterior
dorsal and the last cervical vertebrae have long spines which bear a
distinct hump on the shoulders; the premaxillae are short and never
reach the nasals; there are fourteen, or occasionally fifteen, pairs of
ribs, all other oxen having but thirteen, and there is a heavy mane
about the neck and shoulders. The yak of central Asia is very bison-like
in some respects, but in others departs in the direction of oxen.

So at last, group by group, we have gone through the ungulates, and the
bisons alone are left, and as the American animal has short, incurved
horns, set low down on the skull and far apart at the base;
premaxillaries falling short of the nasals; the last cervical and the
anterior dorsal vertebrae with spines; fourteen pairs of ribs, and a
mane covering the shoulders, we conclude that it is a bison, and as the
same characteristics with minor variations are shown by the European
species, often, but wrongly, called "aurochs," we say that these two
alone of existing _Bovidae_ are bisons, with the yak as a somewhat
questionable relative.

In all essential respects the two bisons are very similar, but minute
comparison shows that the European species, _Bison bonasus_, has a
wider and flatter forehead, bearing longer and more slender horns, and
all the other distinctive features are less pronounced. In the American
species, _Bison bison_, the pelvis is less elevated, producing the
characteristic slope of the hindquarters. It is a coincidence that the
two regions originally inhabited by the bisons are those in which the
white races of men have to the greatest extent thrown their restless
energies into the struggle for existence, with the result that
extinction to nearly the same degree has overtaken these two near
cousins among oxen. A few wild members of the European species still
exist in the Caucasus, as a few of the American are left in British
America, but elsewhere both exist only under protection.

The carefully kept statistics of the Bielowitza herd in Grodno, western
Russia, which includes nearly all but the few wild ones, shows that
between 1833 and 1857 they increased in number from 768 to 1,898, but
from this maximum the decrease has been constant, with trifling halts,
until in 1892 less than five hundred were left; so that even if the
Peace River bison are counted with the remnant of the American species,
it is probable that the survivors of each race are about equal in

It is true that the number of our own species has lately been placed as
high as a thousand, but even if these figures are correct, the seeds of
decay from internal causes, such as inbreeding and the degeneration of
restraint, are already sown, and the inevitable end of the race is not
far off.

The Peace River, or woodland, bison has lately been separated as a
sub-species _(B. bison athabascae)_, distinguished from the
southern and better known form by superior size, a wider forehead,
longer, more slender and incurved horns, and by a thicker and softer
coat, which is also darker in color. Now, it is an interesting fact that
a fossil bison skull from the lower Pliocene of India resembles the
present European species, and in later geological times very similar
bisons closely allied to each other, if not identical, inhabited all
northern regions, including America. These were large animals with wide
skulls, and there is little doubt that from this circumpolar form came
both of the bisons now inhabiting Europe and America. Out of some half
dozen fossil bison which have been described from America, none earlier
than the latest Tertiary, _Bison latifrons_ from the Pleistocene
seems likely to have been the immediate ancestor of recent American
species, and as the one skull of the woodland bison which has been
examined resembles both _latifrons_ and the European species more
than the plains species does, it seems probable that these two more
nearly represent the primitive bison, of which the former inhabitant of
the prairies is a more modified descendant.

The process of elimination has at last led to this outline definition of
a bison, but among the ungulates we have passed over, there are certain
others which concern us because they are American.

Sheep and goats agree together and differ from oxen in being usually of
smaller size; the tail is shorter, the horns of females are much smaller
than those of males, they lack the accessory column on the inner side of
the upper molars, and the cannon bone is longer and more slender; but
when it comes to a comparison of the one with the other, it is by no
means always easy to tell the difference. It is true that the early
Greeks seem to have had a rough and ready rule under which mistakes were
not easy, for Aristotle tells us "Alcmaeon is mistaken when he says that
goats breathe through their ears," but the severely practical methods of
our own day leave us little but some very minute points of
difference. One of the best of these lies in the shape of the
basi-occipital bone, but naturally this can be observed only in the
prepared skull. The terms often employed to denote difference in the
horns can have only a general application, for they break down in
certain species in which the two groups approach each other. The
following table expresses some fairly definite points of separation:

SHEEP (_Ovis_). GOAT (_Capra_).

1. Muzzle hairy except between 1. Muzzle entirely hairy.
and just above the

2. Interdigital glands on all 2. Interdigital glands, when
the feet. present, only on fore feet.

3. Suborbital gland and pit 3. Suborbital gland and pit
usually present. never present.

4. No beard nor caprine 4. Male with a beard and
smell in male. caprine smell.

5. Horns with coarse transverse 5. Horns with fine transverse
wrinkles; yellowish striations, or bold knobs
or brown; sub-triangular in front; blackish; in male
in male, spreading outward more compressed or angular,
and forward with a sweeping backward
circular sweep, points with a scythe-like curve or
turned outward and forward spirally, points turned upward
and backward.

These features are distinctive as between most sheep and most goats, but
the Barbary wild sheep (_Ovis tragelaphus_) has no suborbital gland
or pit, a goat-like peculiarity which it shares with the Himalayan
bharal (_Ovis nahura_), in which the horns resemble closely
those of a goat from the eastern Caucasus called tur (_Capra
cylindricornis_), which for its part has the horns somewhat
sheep-like and a very small beard. This same bharal has the goat-like
habit of raising itself upon its hind legs before butting.

Both groups are a comparatively late development of the bovine stock, as
they do not certainly appear before the upper Pliocene of Europe and
Asia, and even at a later date their remains are not plentiful. Goats
appear to have been rather the earlier, but are entirely absent from

The number of distinct species of sheep in our fauna is a matter of too
much uncertainty to be treated with any sort of authority at this time.
Most of us grew up in the belief that there was but one, the well-known
mountain sheep (_Ovis canadensis_), but seven new species and
sub-species have been produced from the systematic mill within recent
years, six of them since 1897. It is no part of the purpose of the
present paper to dwell upon much vexed questions of specific
distinctness, and it will only be pointed out here that the ultimate
validity of most of these supposed forms will depend chiefly upon the
exactness of the conception of species which will replace among
zoologists the vague ideas of the present time. Whatever the conclusion
may be, it seems probable that some degree of distinction will be
accorded to, at least, one or two Alaskan forms.

As sheep probably came into America from Asia during the Pleistocene, at
a time when Bering's Strait was closed by land, it might be expected
that those now found here would show relationship to the Kamtschatkan
species (_Ovis nivicola_); and such is indeed the case, while
furthermore, in the small size of the suborbital gland and pit, and in
comparative smoothness of the horns, both species approach the bharal of
Thibet and India, which in these respects is goat-like.

When one considers the poverty of the new world in bovine ruminants, it
seems strange that three such anomalous forms should have fallen to its
share as the prong-horn, the white goat and the musk-ox, of none of
which have we the complete history; two of the number being entirely
isolated species, sometimes regarded as the types of separate families.

The prong-horn is a curious compound. It resembles sheep in the minute
structure of its hair, in its hairy muzzle, and in having interdigital
glands on all its feet. Like goats, it has no sub-orbital gland nor
distinct pit. Like the chamois, it has a gland below and behind the ear,
the secretion of which has a caprine odor. It has also glands on the
rump. It is like the giraffe in total absence of the accessory hoofs,
even to the metapodials which support them. It differs from all hollow
horned ungulates in having deciduous horns with a fork or anterior
branch. There is not the least similarity, however, between these horns
and the bony deciduous antlers of deer, for, like those of all bovines,
they are composed of agglutinated hairs, set on a bony core projecting
from the frontal region of the skull.

It is well known that these horn sheaths are at times shed and
reproduced, but the exact regularity with which the process takes place
is by no means certain, although such direct evidence as there is goes
to prove that it occurs annually in the autumn. Prong-bucks have shed
on eight occasions in the Zoological Gardens at Philadelphia, five times
by the same animal, which reached the gardens in October, 1899, and has
shed each year early in November, the last time on October 22, 1903,[1]
and the writer has seen one fine head killed about November 5 in a wild
state, on which the horn-sheaths were loose and ready to drop off.

[Footnote 1: It is interesting to note that the first pair shed measured
7-1/4 inches, on the anterior curve; the second pair 9-1/2, and the last
three 11 inches each. The largest horns ever measured by the writer were
those of a buck killed late in November, 1892, near Marathon, Texas, and
were 15-3/4 inches in vertical height and 21 along the curve.]

But few of these delicate animals have lived long enough in captivity to
permit study of the same individual through a course of years, and the
scarcity of observations made upon them in a wild state is
remarkable. That irregularity in the process would not be without
analogy, is shown by the case of the Indian sambur deer, of which there
is evidence from such authority as that king of sportsmen, Sir Samuel
Baker, and others, that the shedding does not always occur at the same
season, nor is it always annual in the same buck; and by Pore David's
deer, which has been known to shed twice in one year.

When resemblances such as those of the prong-horn are so promiscuously
distributed, the task of fixing their values in estimating affinities is
not a light one, and in fact the most rational conclusion which we may
draw from them is that they point back to a distant and generalized
ancestor, who possessed them all, but that in the distribution of his
physical estate, so to speak, these heirlooms have not come down alike
to all descendants. There is again a complicating possibility that some
may be no more than adaptive or analogous characters, similarly produced
under like conditions of life, but quite independent of a common origin,
and it is seldom that we know enough of the history of development of
any species to conclude with certainty whether or not this has been the
case. At all events, the prong-buck is quite alone in the world at
present, and we know no fossils which unmistakably point to it, although
it has been supposed that some of the later Miocene species of
_Cosoryx_--small deer-like animals with non-deciduous horns,
probably covered with hair, and molars of somewhat bovine type--may have
been ancestral to it, but this is little more than a speculation. What
is certain is that _Antilocapra_ is now a completely isolated form,
fully entitled to rank as a family all by itself.

In the musk-ox (_Ovibos moschatus_), or "sheep-ox," as the generic
name given by Blainville has it, we meet with another strange and lonely
form which has contributed its full share to the problems of systematic
zoology. Its remote and inaccessible range has greatly retarded
knowledge of its structure, and it is only within the last three years
that acquaintance has been made with its soft anatomy, and at the same
time with a maze of resemblances and differences toward other ruminants,
that perhaps more than equals the irregularities of the prong-buck. But
unlike that species, there is in the musk-ox no extreme modification,
such as a deciduous horn, to separate it distinctly from the rest of the
family. A recapitulation of these differences would be too minutely
technical for insertion here, and it must be enough to say that while it
cannot be assigned to either group, yet in the distribution of hair on
the muzzle, in the presence of a small suborbital gland, in shortness of
tail and the light color of its horns, it is sheep-like; in the absence
of interdigital glands, the shortness and stoutness of its cannon bones,
and in the presence of a small accessory inner column on the upper
molars, it is bovine. But in the coarse longitudinal striation of the
bases of its horns it differs from both. The shape of the horns is also
peculiar. Curving outward, downward and then sharply upward, with
broad, flattened bases meeting in the middle line, their outlines are
not unlike those of old bulls of the African buffalo.

At the present time the musk-ox inhabits only arctic America, from
Greenland westward nearly to the Mackenzie River, but its range was
formerly circumpolar, and in Pleistocene times it inhabited Europe as
far south as Germany and France. The musk-ox of Greenland has lately
been set aside as a distinct species. The most we can say is that
_Ovibos_ is a unique form, standing perhaps somewhere between oxen
and sheep, and descended from an ancient ruminant type through an
ancestry of which we know nothing, for the only fossil remains which are
at all distinguishable from the existing genus, are yet closely similar
to it, and are no older than the Pleistocene of the central United
States; in earlier periods its history is a blank about which it is
useless to speculate.

The last of our three anomalies, the white, or mountain goat
(_Oreamnos montanus_), is not as completely orphaned as the other
two, for it seems quite surely to be connected with a small and peculiar
series consisting of the European chamois and several species of
_Nemorhaedus_ inhabiting eastern Asia and Sumatra. These are often
called mountain antelopes, or goat antelopes. So little is yet known of
the soft anatomy of the white goat that we are much in the dark as to
its minute resemblances, but its glandular system is certainly
suggestive of the chamois, and many of its attitudes are strikingly
similar. In all the points in which it approaches goats it is like some,
at least, among antelopes, while in the elongated spines of the anterior
dorsal vertebrae, which support the hump, and in extreme shortness of
the cannon bone, it is far from goat-like. The goat idea, indeed, has
little more foundation than the suggestive resemblance of the profile
with its caprine beard. It is truly no goat at all, and should more
properly be regarded as an aberrant antelope, if anything could be
justly termed "aberrant" in an aggregation of animals, hardly any two of
which agree in all respects of structure. No American fossils seem to
point to _Oreamnos_, and as _Nemorhaedus_ extends to Japan and
eastern Siberia, it is probable that it was an Asiatic immigrant, not
earlier than the Pleistocene.

From this intricate genealogical tangle one turns with relief to the
deer family, where the course of development lies reasonably plain. If
the rank of animals in the aristocracy of nature were to be fixed by the
remoteness of the period to which we know their ancestors, the deer
would out-rank their bovine cousins by a full half of the Miocene
period, and the study of fossils onward from this early beginning
presents few clearer lines of evidence supporting modern theories
respecting the development of species, than is shown in the increasing
size and complexity of the antlers in succeeding geological ages, from
the simple fork of the middle Miocene to those with three prongs of the
late Miocene, the four-pronged of the Pliocene, and finally to the
many-branched shapes of the Pleistocene and the present age. Now it is
further true that each one of these types is represented today in the
mature antlers of existing deer, from the small South American species
with a simple spike, up to the wapiti and red deer carrying six or eight
points, and still more significant is it that the whole story is
recapitulated in the growth of each individual of the higher races. The
earliest cervine animals known seem to have had no antlers at all, a
stage to which the fawn of the year corresponds; the subsequent normal
addition in the life-history, of a tine for each year of growth until
the mature antler is reached, answering with exactness to the stages of
advance shown in the development-history of the race. A year of
individual life is the symbol of a geological period of
progression. This is a marvelous record, of which we may
say--paraphrasing with Huxley the well-known saying of Voltaire--"if it
had not already existed, evolution must have been invented to explain."

The least technical, and for the present purpose the most useful of the
characters distinguishing existing deer from all of the bovine stock,
lies in the antlers, which are solid, of bony substance, and are
annually shed. They are present in the males of all species except the
Chinese water deer, and the very divergent musk-deer, which probably
should not be regarded as a deer at all. They are normally absent from
all females except those of the genus _Rangifer_. Most deer have
canine teeth in the upper jaw, though they are absent in the moose, in
the distinctively American type and a few others. The cleaned skull
always shows a large vacuity in the outer wall in front of the orbit,
which prevents the lachrymal bone from reaching the nasals. No deer has
a gall bladder. There are many other distinctions, but as all have
exceptions they are of value only in combinations.

The earliest known deer, belonging to the genus _Dremotherium_, or
_Amphitragulus_, from the middle Tertiary of France, were of small
size and had four toes, canine teeth and no antlers. Their successors
seem to have borne simple forked antlers or horns, probably covered with
hair, and permanently fixed on the skull. Very similar animals existed
in contemporaneous and later deposits in North America. From this point
the course of progress is tolerably clear as to deer in general,
although we are not sure of all the intermediate details--for it must
not be forgotten that a series of types exhibiting progressive
modifications in each succeeding geological period is quite as
conclusive in pointing out the genealogy of an existing group as if we
knew each individual term in the ancestral series of each of its
members. Thus we do not yet know whether the peculiar antler of the
distinctively American deer, of the genus _Mazama_, is derived from
an American source or took its origin in the old world, for the fossil
antlers known as _Anoglochis_, from the Pliocene of Europe, are
quite suggestive of the _Mazama_ style, but as nothing is known of
the other skeletal details of _Anoglochis_, any such connection
must at present be purely speculative, but the element of doubt in this
special case in no way disturbs the certainty of the general conclusion
that all our present _Cervidae_ have come through distinct stages
in the successive periods, from the simple types of the middle Tertiary.

The family is undoubtedly of old world origin, and for the most part
belongs to the northern hemisphere, South America being the only
continental area in which they are found south of the equator.

The analytical habit of mind which finds vent in the subdivision of
species, is also exhibited in a tendency to break up large genera into a
number of small ones, but in the present group this practice has the
disadvantage of obscuring a broad distinction between the dominant types
inhabiting respectively the old world and the new. The former,
represented by the genus _Cervus_, has a brow-tine to the antlers;
has the posterior portion of the nasal chamber undivided by the vertical
plate of the vomer; and the upper ends only of the lateral metacarpals
remain, whereas in all these particulars the typical American deer are
exactly opposite. As there are objections to considering these
characters as of family value, arising from the intermediate position of
the circumpolar genera _Alces_ and _Rangifer_, as well as the
water deer and the roe, a broader meaning is given to classification by
retaining the comprehensive genera _Cervus_ and _Mazama_, and
recognizing the subordinate divisions only as sub-genera.

The one representative of _Cervus_ inhabiting America is the
wapiti, or "elk" (_C. canadensis_), which is without doubt an
immigrant from Asia by way of Alaska, and it may be of interest to state
the grounds upon which this conclusion rests, as they afford an
excellent example of the way in which such results are reached. It is an
accepted truth in geographical distribution, that the portion of the
earth in which the greatest number of forms differentiated from one type
are to be found, is almost always the region in which that type had its
origin. Now, out of about a dozen species and sub-species of wapiti and
red deer to which names have been given, not less than eight are
Asiatic, so that Asia, and probably its central portion, is indicated as
the region in which the elaphine deer arose; in confirmation of which is
the further fact that the antler characteristic of these deer seems to
have originated from the same ancestral form as that which produced the
sikine and rusine types, which are also Asiatic. From this centre the
elaphines spread westward and eastward, resulting in Europe in the red
deer, which penetrated southward into north Africa at a time when there
was a land connection across the Mediterranean. In the opposite
direction, the nearer we get to Bering's Straits the closer is the
resemblance to the American wapiti, until the splendid species from the
Altai Mountains (_C. canadensis asiaticus_), and Luehdorf's deer
(_C. c. luehdorfi_) from Manchuria, are regarded only as sub-species
of the eastern American form, which they approach through _C. c.
occidentalis_ of Oregon and the northwestern Pacific Coast.

This evidence is conclusive in itself, and is further confirmed by the
geological record, from which we know that the land connection between
Alaska and Kamtschatka was of Pliocene age, while we have no knowledge
of the wapiti in America until the succeeding period.

While there is not the least doubt that the smaller American deer had an
origin identical with those of the old world, the exact point of their
separation is not so clear. Two possibilities are open to choice:
_Mazama_ may be supposed to have descended from the group to which
_Blastomeryx_ belonged, this being a late Miocene genus from
Nebraska, with cervine molars, but otherwise much like _Cosoryx,_
which we have seen to be a possible ancestor of the prong-horn; or we
may prefer to believe that the differentiation took place earlier in
Europe or Asia, from ancestors common to both. But there is a serious
dilemma. If we choose the former view, we must conclude that the
deciduous antler was independently developed in each of the two
continents, and while it is quite probable that approximately similar
structures have at times arisen independently, it is not easy to believe
that an arrangement so minutely identical in form and function can have
been twice evolved. On the second supposition, we have to face the fact
that there is very little evidence from palaeontology of the former
presence of the American type in Eurasia. But, on the whole, the latter
hypothesis presents fewer difficulties and is probably the correct one;
in which case two migrations must have taken place, an earlier one of
the generalized type to which _Blastomeryx_ and _Cosoryx_ belonged,
and a later one of the direct ancestor of _Mazama_. There is
little difficulty in the assumption of these repeated migrations,
for evidence exists that during a great part of the last half
of the Tertiary this continent was connected by land to the
northwest with Asia, and to the northeast, through Greenland and
Iceland, with western Europe.

The distinction between the two groups is well marked. All the
_Mazama_ type are without a true brow-tine to the antlers; the
lower ends of the lateral metacarpals only remain; the vertical plate of
the vomer extends downward and completely separates the hind part of the
nasal chamber into two compartments; and with hardly an exception they
have a large gland on the inside of the tarsus, or heel. The complete
development of these characters is exhibited in northern species, and it
has been beautifully shown that as we go southward there is a strong
tendency to diminished size; toward smaller antlers and reduction in the
number of tines; to smaller size, and finally complete loss of the
metatarsal gland on the outside of the hind leg; and to the assumption
of a uniform color throughout the year, instead of a seasonal change.

The two styles of antler which we recognize in the North American deer
are too well known to require description. That characterizing the mule
deer (_Mazama hemionus_) and the Columbia black-tailed deer
(_M. columbiana_), seems never to have occurred in the east, nor
south much beyond the Mexican border, and these deer have varied little
except in size, although three subspecies have lately been set off from
the mule deer in the extreme southwest.

The section represented by _M. virginiana,_ with antlers curving
forward and tines projecting from its hinder border, takes practically
the whole of America in its range, and under the law of variation which
has been stated, has proved a veritable gold mine to the makers of
names. At present it is utterly useless to attempt to determine which of
the forms described will stand the scrutiny of the future, and no more
will be attempted here than to state the present gross contents of
cervine literature. The sub-genus _Dorcelaphus_ contains all the
forms of the United States; of these, the deer belonging east of the
Missouri River, those from the great plains to the Pacific, those along
the Rio Grande in Texas and Mexico, those of Florida, and those again of
Sonora, are each rated as sub-species of _virginiana_; to which we
must add six more, ranging from Mexico to Bolivia. One full species,
_M. truei,_ has been described from Central America, and another
rather anomalous creature (_M. crookii_), resembling both
white-tail and mule deer, from New Mexico.

The other sub-genera are _Blastoceros,_ with branched antlers and
no metatarsal gland; _Xenelaphus,_ smaller in size, with small,
simply forked antlers and no metatarsal gland; _Mazama_, containing
the so-called brockets, very small, with minute spike antlers, lacking
the metatarsal and sometimes the tarsal gland as well. The last three
sub-genera are South American and do not enter the United
States. Another genus, _Pudua_, from Chili, is much like the
brockets, but has exceedingly short cannon bones, and some of the tarsal
bones are united in a manner unlike other deer. In all, thirty specific
and sub-specific names are now carried on the roll of _Mazama_ and
its allies.

Attention has already been directed to the parallelism between the
course of progress from simple to complex antlers in the development of
the deer tribe, and the like progress in the growth of each individual,
and to the further fact that all the stages are represented in the
mature antlers of existing species. But a curious result follows from a
study of the past distribution of deer in America. At a time when the
branched stage had been already reached in North America, the isthmus of
Panama was under water; deer were then absent from South America and the
earliest forms found fossil there had antlers of the type of
_M. virginiana_. The small species with simple antlers only made
their appearance in later periods, and it follows that they are
descended from those of complex type. This third parallel series,
therefore, instead of being direct as are the other two, is reversed,
and the degeneration of the antler, which we have seen taking place in
the southern deer, has followed backward on the line of previous
advance, or, in biological language, appears to be a true case of
retrogressive evolution--representing the fossil series, as it were, in
a mirror.

The reindeer-caribou type, of the genus _Rangifer,_ agrees with
American deer in having the vertical plate of the vomer complete, and in
having the lower ends of the lateral metacarpals remaining, but, like
_Cervus,_ it has a brow-tine to the antlers. Of its early history
we know nothing, for the only related forms which have yet come to light
are of no great antiquity, being confined to the Pleistocene of Europe
as far south as France, and are not distinguishable from existing
species. Until recently it has been supposed that one species was found
in northern Europe and Asia, and two others, a northern and a southern,
in North America, but lately the last two have been subdivided, and the
present practice is to regard the Scandinavian reindeer (_Rangifer
tarandus_) as the type, with eight or nine other species or
sub-species, consisting of the two longest known American forms, the
northern, or barren-ground caribou (_R. arcticus_); the southern, or
woodland (_R. caribou_); the three inhabiting respectively
Spitzbergen, Greenland and Newfoundland, and still more lately four more
from British Columbia and Alaska. The differences between these are not
very profound, but they seem on the whole to represent two types: the
barren-ground, small of size, with long, slender antlers but little
palmated; and the woodland, larger, with shorter and more massive
antlers, usually with broad palms. There is some reason to believe that
both these types lived in Europe during the interglacial period, the
first-named being probably the earlier and confined to western Europe,
while the other extended into Asia. The present reindeer of Greenland
and Spitzbergen seem to agree most closely with the barren-ground, while
the southern forms are nearest to the woodland, and these are said to
also resemble the reindeer of Siberia. It is, therefore, not an
improbable conjecture that there were two migrations into America, one
of the barren-ground type from western Europe, by way of the Spitzbergen
land connection, and the other of the woodland, from Siberia, by way of

Little more can be said, perhaps even less, of the other circumpolar
genus, _Alces_, known in America as "moose," and across the
Atlantic as "elk." It also is of mixed character in relation to the two
great divisions we have had in mind, but in a different way from

Like American deer it has the lower ends of the lateral metacarpals
remaining, and the antlers are without a brow-tine, but like
_Cervus_ it has an incomplete vomer, and unlike deer in general,
the antlers are set laterally on the frontal bone, instead of more or
less vertically, and the nasal bones are excessively short. The animal
of northern Europe and Asia is usually considered to be distinct from
the American, and lately the Alaskan moose has been christened _Alces
gigas_, marked by greater size, relatively more massive skull, and
huge antlers. Of the antecedents of _Alces_, as in the case of the
reindeer, we are ignorant. The earlier Pleistocene of Europe has yielded
nearly related fossils,[2] and a peculiar and probably rather later form
comes from New Jersey and Kentucky. This last in some respects suggests
a resemblance to the wapiti, but it is unlikely that the similarity is
more than superficial, and as moose not distinguishable from the
existing species are found in the same formation, it is improbable that
_Cervalces_ bore to _AIces_ anything more than a collateral

[Footnote 2: The huge fossil known as "Irish elk" is really a fallow
deer and in no way nearly related to the moose.]

Even to an uncritical eye, the differences between ungulates and
carnivores of to-day are many and obvious, but as we trace them back
into the past we follow on converging lines, and in our search for the
prototypes of the carnivora we are led to the _Creodonta_,
contemporary with _Condylarthra_, which we have seen giving origin
to hoofed beasts, but outlasting them into the succeeding age. These two
groups of generalized mammals approached each other so nearly in
structure, that it is even doubtful to which of them certain outlying
fossils should be referred, and the assumption is quite justified that
they had a common ancestor in the preceding period, of which no record
is yet known.

The most evident points in which _Carnivora_ differ from
_Ungulata_ are their possession of at least four and frequently
five digits, which always bear claws and never hoofs; all but the sea
otter have six small incisor teeth in each jaw; the canines are large;
the molars never show flattened, curved crests after the ruminant
pattern, but are more or less tubercular, and one tooth in the hinder
part of each jaw becomes blade-like, for shearing off lumps of
flesh. This tooth is called the sectorial, or carnassial.

Existing carnivores are conveniently divided into three sections:
_Arctoidea_--bears, raccoons, otters, skunks, weasels, etc.;
_Canoidea_--dogs, wolves and foxes; _Aeluroidea_--cats,
civets, ichneumons and hyaenas.

It is highly probable that these three chief types have descended in as
many distinct lines from the _Creodonta_, and that they were
differentiated as early as the middle Eocene, but their exact degree of
affinity is uncertain; bears and dogs are certainly closer together than
either of them are to cats, and it is questionable if otters and
weasels--the _Mustelidae_, as they are termed--and raccoons are
really near of kin to bears.

Seals are often regarded as belonging to this order, but their relation
to the rest of the carnivores is very doubtful. Many of their characters
are suggestive of _Arctoidea_, but it is an open question if their
ancestors were bear or otter-like animals which took to an aquatic life,
or whether they may not have had a long and independent descent. At all
events, doubt is cast upon the proposition that they are descended from
anything nearly like present land forms by the fact that seals of
already high development are known as early as the later Miocene.

The difficulty so constantly met with in attempting to state concisely
the details of classification, is well shown in this order, for its
subdivisions rest less upon a few well defined characters than upon
complex associations of a number of lesser and more obscure ones, a
recapitulation of which would be tedious beyond the endurance of all but
practiced anatomists. For the present purposes it must be enough to say
that bears and dogs have forty-two teeth in the complete set, of which
four on each side above and below are premolars, and two above, with
three below, are molars, but these teeth in bears have flatter crowns
and more rounded tubercles than those of dogs, and the sectorial teeth
are much less blade-like, this style of tooth being better adapted to
their omnivorous food habits. Bears, furthermore, have five digits on
each foot and are plantigrade, while dogs have but four toes behind and
are digitigrade. These differences are less marked in some of the
smaller arctoids, which may have as few as thirty-two teeth, and come
very near to dogs in the extent of the digital surface which rests upon
the ground in walking.

In distinction from these, _Aeluroidea_ never have more than two
true molars below, and the cusps of their teeth are much more sharply
edged, reaching in the sectorials the extreme of scissor-like
specialization. In all of them the claws are more or less retractile,
and they walk on the ends of their fingers and toes.

Cats are distinguished from the remainder of this section by the
shortness of the skull, and reduction of the teeth to thirty, there
being but one true molar on each side, that of the upper jaw being so
minute that it is probably getting ready to disappear.

Civets, genets, and ichneumons are small as compared with most cats;
they are fairly well distinguished by skull and tooth characters; their
claws are never fully retractile, and many have scent glands, as in the
civets. No member of this family is American.

Hyaenas have the same dental formula as cats, but their teeth are
enormously strong and massive, in relation to their function of crushing

No carnivore has teeth so admirably adapted to a diet of flesh as the
cat, and, in fact, it may be doubted if among all mammals, it has a
superior in structural fitness to its life habits in general.

The _Felidae_ are an exceedingly uniform group, although they do
present minor differences; thus, some species have the orbits completely
encircled by bone, while in most of them these are more or less widely
open behind; in some the first upper premolar is absent, and some have a
round pupil, while in others it is elliptical or vertical, but if there
is a key to the apparently promiscuous distribution of these variations,
it has not yet been found, and no satisfactory sub-division of the genus
has been made, beyond setting aside the hunting-leopard or cheetah as
_Cynaelurus_, upon peculiarities of skull and teeth.

True cats of the genus _Felis_ were in existence before the close
of the Miocene, and yet earlier related forms are known. Throughout the
greater part of the Tertiary the remarkable type known as sabre-toothed
cats were numerous and widely spread, and in South America they even
lasted so far into the Pleistocene that it is probably true that they
existed side by side with man. Some of them were as large as any
existing cat and had upper canines six inches or more in length. Cats
have no near relations upon the American continent, nor do they appear
to have ever had many except the sabre-tooths. Of present species some
fifty are known, inhabiting all of the greater geographical areas except
Australia. They are tropical and heat loving, but the short-tailed
lynxes are northern, while both the tiger and leopard in Asia, and puma
in America, range into sub-arctic temperatures, and it is a curious
anomaly that while Siberian tigers have gained the protection of a long,
warm coat of hair, pumas from British America differ very little in this
respect from those of warm regions.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest