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Felis Concolor. Linn.

This sullen and forbidding-looking animal, the most ravenous and ferocious that infests the more temperate regions of the earth, of many parts of which he is the terror and the scourge, is distinguished from the humble, generous, and faithful friend of man, the domestic dog, by no very remarkable or striking character; and yet there is something in his physiognomy, gait, and habit, which is at once so peculiar and so repulsive, that it would be almost impossible to confound a Wolf, however tame, with the most savage and the most wolflike of dogs. For the separation of the two species, Linn?us, as we have seen in the preceding article, had recourse to[90] the tail; and having determined that that of the dog was uniformly curved upwards, he attributed to that of the Wolf a completely opposite direction, that is to say, a curvature inwards; assigning, at the same time, a straight or a deflected position to those of all the other animals of the group. The deflected, or down-pointing, direction is, however, equally common in the Wolf with the incurved; and this petty distinction, which has little to do with structure, and still less with habits, is hardly deserving of serious attention. More obvious and more essential differences will be found in the cast of his countenance, which derives a peculiar expression from the obliquity of his eyes; in the breadth of his head, suddenly contracting into a slender and pointed muzzle; in the size and power of his teeth, which are comparatively greater than those of any dog of equal stature; in the stiffness and want of pliability of his limbs; in his uniformly straight and pointed ears; and in a black stripe which almost constantly, and in nearly every variety of the species, occupies the front of the fore leg of the adult. His fur, which differs considerably in texture and colour, from the influence of climate and of seasons, is commonly of a grayish yellow, the shades of which are variously intermingled; as he advances in age it becomes lighter, and in high northern latitudes frequently turns completely white, a change which also takes place in many other animals inhabiting the polar regions.

The specimen from which the central figure was taken is in all probability the earlier age of a species of Cercopithecus; but to which of them it should be referred, or whether it belongs to any hitherto characterized species, we may not venture to determine until its characters shall have become more fully developed. The distinctive[145] marks of this genus, which comprehends the smallest Monkeys of the Old Continent, consist in a depressed forehead, with a facial angle of 50; a flat nose, with the nostrils directed upwards and outwards; cheek-pouches, generally of large size; callosities behind; and a tail of considerable length. The individual before us, in addition to these characters, is remarkable for the reddish brown colour of his upper parts, which gradually disappears in a lighter hue, mingled with a bluish tinge beneath; for the elevated and compressed toupet which advances considerably forwards on his forehead; for the hairs which are thinly scattered over his livid face; and for the spreading tufts of a somewhat lighter colour which occupy the sides of his head and face posteriorly.

The Chetah has been until of late years very imperfectly known in Europe. Linn?us was entirely unacquainted with it, and Buffon described it from the fur alone under the name of Gupard, the appellation by[68] which its skin was distinguished in the commerce with Senegal, but evidently without suspecting its identity with the Asiatic animal, the trained habits of which, misled probably by the authority of Tavernier, he erroneously attributed to his imaginary Ounce. Subsequent French zoologists had rectified this error, and it was generally believed that the tamed Leopard of Bernier, the Youze, the Gupard, and Taverniers Ounce, were one and the same animal; but it was not until a year or two ago that the possession of a living specimen, brought from Senegal, in the Menagerie of the Jardin du Roi, enabled M. F. Cuvier to ascertain its characters with precision. The comparison of this African specimen with the skins sent from India, and with the notes and drawings made in that country by M. Duvaucel, to whom we are indebted for a vast deal of interesting information relative to the zoology of the East of Asia, at once put an end to all doubts of the identity of the two animals.