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mated permanently, or at least until the young were reared (like foxes and wolves), and whether the animal caught its prey by rambling and stalking or, as was frequently asserted, by lying in wait on the branches of a tree. The facts I saw and observed during our five 5 weeks' hunt in the snow were obvious; they needed only the simplest powers of observation and of deduction from observation. But nobody had hitherto shown or exercised these simple powers! My narrative in the volume “Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter" gave the first 10 reasonably full and trustworthy life history of the cougar as regards its most essential details—for Merriam's capital Adirondack study had dealt with the species when it was too near the vanishing point and therefore when the conditions were too abnormal for some of these essential 15 details to be observed.
In South America I made observations of a certain value on some of the strange creatures we met, and these are to be found in the volume “Through the Brazilian Wilderness;" but the trip was primarily one of explora- 20 tion. In Africa, however, we really did some good work in natural history. Many of my observations were set forth in my book “African Game Trails;' and I have always felt that the book which Edmund Heller and I jointly wrote, the “Life Histories of African Game Animals,” was a serious 25 and worth-while contribution to science. Here again, this contribution, so far as I was concerned, consisted chiefly in seeing, recording, and interpreting facts which were really obvious, but to which observers hitherto had been blind, or which they had misinterpreted partly be- 30 cause sportsmen seemed incapable of seeing anything except as a trophy, partly because stay-at-home system
atists never saw anything at all except skins and skulls which enabled them to give Latin names to new “species” or "subspecies," partly because collectors had collected birds and beasts in precisely the spirit in which other 5 collectors assembled postage stamps.
I shall give a few instances. In mid-Africa we came across a peculiar bat, with a greenish body and slate blue wings. Specimens of this bat had often been col
lected. But I could find no record of its really interesting 10 habits. It was not nocturnal; it was hardly even crepus
cular. It hung from the twigs of trees during the day and its activities began rather early in the afternoon. It did not fly continuously in swallow fashion, according to the
usual bat custom. It behaved like a phæbe or other fly15 catcher. It hung from a twig until it saw an insect, then
swooped down, caught the insect, and at once returned to the same or another twig-just as a phæbe or peewee or kingbird returns to its perch after a similar flight.
On the White Nile I hunted a kind of handsome river 20 antelope, the white-withered or saddle-backed lechwi.
It had been known for fifty years to trophy-seeking sportsmen, and to closet naturalists, some of whom had called it a kob and others a water buck. Its nearest
kinsman was in reality the ordinary lechwi, which dwelt 25 far off to the south, along the Zambezi. But during that
half century no hunter or closet naturalist had grasped this obvious fact. I had never seen the Zambezi lechwi, but I had carefully read the account of its habits by
Selouso—a real hunter-naturalist, faunal naturalist. As 30 soon as I came across the White Nile river bucks, and
observed their habits, I said to my companions that they were undoubtedly lechwis: I wrote this to Selous,' and to another English hunter-naturalist, Migand; and even a slight examination of the heads and skins when compared with those of the other lechwi and of the kobs and water bucks proved that I was right.
A larger, but equally obvious group of facts was that 5 connected with concealing and revealing coloration. As eminent a naturalist as Wallace, and innumerable men of less note, had indulged in every conceivable vagary of speculative theory on the subject, largely based on supposed correlation between the habits and the shape 10 or color patterns of big animals which, as a matter of fact, they had never seen in a state of nature. While in Africa I studied the question in the field, observing countless individuals of big beasts and birds, and comparing the results with what I had observed of the big game and the 15 birds of North America (the result being borne out by what I later observed in South America). In a special chapter of the Life Histories of African Game Animals,” as well as in a special number of the American Museum Bulletin,” I set forth the facts thus observed and the con-20 clusions inevitably to be deduced from them. All that I thus set forth, and all the conclusions I deduced, belonged to the obvious; but that there was need of thus setting forth the obvious was sufficiently shown by the simple 25 fact that large numbers of persons refused to accept it even when set forth.
I do not think there is much else for me to say about my anything but important work as a naturalist. But perhaps I may say further that while my interest in natural history had added very little to my sum of achieve- 30 ment, it has added immeasurably to my sum of enjoyment in life.
In the Middle Ages there was no hard-and-fast line drawn between fact and fiction even in ordinary history; and until much later there was not even an effort to draw it in natural history. There are quaint little books on 5 beasts, in German and in English, as late as the sixteenth century, in which the unicorno and the basilisko appear as real creatures; while to more commonplace animals there are ascribed traits and habits of such ex
ceeding marvelousness that they ought to make the souls 10 of the “nature fakers” of these degenerate days swell with envious admiration.
As real outdoor naturalists, real observers of nature, grew up, men who went into the wilderness to find out
the truth, they naturally felt a half-indignant and half15 amused contempt both for the men who invented pre
posterous fiction about wild animals, and for the credulous stay-at-home people who accepted such fiction as fact. A century and a half ago old Samuel Hearne,o the Hudson
Bay explorer, a keen and trustworthy observer, while 20 writing of the beaver, spoke as follows of the spiritual predecessors of certain modern writers:
“I cannot refrain from smiling when I read the accounts of different authors who have written on the economy of
these animals, as there seems to be a contest between them 25 who shall most exceed in fiction. But the compiler of the
"Wonders of Nature and Art' seems, in my opinion, to have succeeded best in this respect; as he has not only collected all the fictions into which other writers on the subject have run, but has so greatly improved on them,
that little remains to be added to his account of the beaver besides a vocabulary of their language, a code of their laws, and a sketch of their religion, to make it the most complete natural history of that animal which can possibly be offered to the public.
“There cannot be a greater imposition, or indeed a grosser insult on common understanding, than the wish to make us believe the stories [in question] ... a very moderate share of understanding is surely sufficient to guard [any one) against giving credit to such marvelous 10 tales, however smoothly they may be told, or however boldly they may be asserted by the romancing traveler.”
Hearne was himself a man who added greatly to the 'fund of knowledge about the beasts of the wilderness. We need such observers; much remains to be told about the 15 wolf and the bear, the lynx and the fisher, the moose and the caribou. Undoubtedly wild creatures sometimes show very unexpected traits, and individuals among them sometimes perform fairly startling feats or exhibit totally unlooked-for sides of their characters in their relations 20 with one another and with man. We much need a full study and observation of all these animals, undertaken by observers capable of seeing, understanding, and recording what goes on in the wilderness; and such study and observation cannot be made by men of dull mind and 25 limited power of appreciation. The highest type of student of nature should be able to see keenly and writer interestingly and should have an imagination that will enable him to interpret the facts. · But he is not a student of nature at all who sees not keenly but falsely, who writes 30 interestingly and untruthfully, and whose imagination is used not to interpret facts but to invent them.