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tal ability and physical address of a sailor making a hammock; and the story is backed up by affidavits, as are others of these stories. This particular feat is precisely as possible as that a Rocky Mountain pack rat can throw the diamond hitch. The affidavits in support of these 5 various stories are interesting only because of the curious light they throw on the personalities of those making and believing them.

If the writers who make such startling discoveries in the wilderness would really study even the denizens of a 10 barnyard, they would be saved from at least some of their more salient mistakes. Their stories dwell much on the “teaching” of the young animals by their elders and betters. In one story, for instance, a wild duck is described as “teaching” her young how to swim and get 15 their food. If this writer had strolled into the nearest barnyard containing a hen which had hatched out ducklings, a glance at the actions of those ducklings when the hen happened to lead them near a puddle would have enlightened him as to how much “teaching” they needed. 20 But these writers exercise the same florid imagination when they deal with a robin or a rabbit as when they describe a bear, a moose, or a salmon.

It is half amusing and half exasperating to think that there should be excellent persons to whom it is necessary 25 to explain that books stuffed with such stories, in which the stories are stated as facts, are preposterous in their worthlessness. These worthy persons vividly call to mind Professor Lounsbury's comment on “the infinite capacity of the human brain to withstand the introduction of 30 knowledge.” The books in question contain no statement which a serious and truth-loving student of nature can

accept, save statements which have already long been known as established by trustworthy writers. The fables they contain bear the same relation to real natural history that Barnum'so famous artificial mermaid bore to real 5 fish and real mammals. No man who has really studied nature in a spirit of seeking the truth, whether he be big or little, can have any controversy with these writers; it would be as absurd as to expect some genuine student

of anthropology or archeology to enter into a controversy 10 with the clumsy fabricators of the Cardiff Giant. Their

books carry their own refutation; and affidavits in support of the statements they contain are as worthless as the similar affidavits once solemnly issued to show that

the Cardiff "giant" was a petrified pre-Adamite man. 15 There is now no more excuse for being deceived by their

stories than for being still in doubt about the silly Cardiff hoax.

Men of this stamp will necessarily arise, from time to time, some in one walk of life, some in another. Our 20 quarrel is not with these men, but with those who give

them their chance. We who believe in the study of nature feel that a real knowledge and appreciation of wild things, of trees, flowers, birds, and of the grim and crafty

creatures of the wilderness, give an added beauty and 25 health to life. Therefore we abhor deliberate or reckless

untruth in this study as much as in any other; and therefore we feel that a grave wrong is committed by all who, holding a position that entitles them to respect, yet condone and encourage such untruth.


With the exception of the bison, during the period of its plenty, the chief game animals followed by the American rifle-bearing hunter have always been the different representatives of the deer family, and, out on the great plains, the pronghorn antelope. They were the game 5 which Daniel Boone followed during the closing decades of the eighteenth century, and David Crockett during the opening decades of the nineteenth; and now, at the outset of the twentieth century, it is probably not too much to say that ninety-nine out of every hundred head 10 of game killed in the United States are deer, elk, or antelope. Indeed, the proportion is very much larger. In certain restricted localities black bear were at one time very numerous, and over large regions the multitudinous herds of the bison formed until 1883 the chief objects of 15 pursuit. But the bison have now vanished; and though the black bear has held its own better than any other of the larger carnivora, it is only very locally that it has ever been plentiful in the sense that even now the elk, deer, and antelope are still plentiful over considerable 20 tracts of country. Taking the United States as a whole, the deer have always been by far the most numerous of all game; they have held their own in the land better than any other kinds; and they have been the most common quarry of the hunter.

The nomenclature and exact specific relationships of American deer and antelope offer difficulties not only to the hunter but to the naturalist. As regards the nomenclature, we share the trouble encountered by all peoples


of European descent who have gone into strange lands. The incomers are almost invariably men who are not accustomed to scientific precision of expression. Like other people, they do not like to invent names if they 5 can by any possibility make use of those already in existence, and so in a large number of cases they call the new birds, and animals by names applied to entirely different birds and animals of the Old World to which,

in the eyes of the settlers, they bear some resemblance. 10 In South America the Spaniards, for instance, christened

“lion” and “tiger” the great cats which are properly known as cougar and jaguar. In South Africa the Dutch settlers, who came from a land where all big game had

long been exterminated, gave fairly grotesque names to 15 the great antelopes, calling them after the European

elk, stag, and chamois. The French did but little better in Canada. Even in Ceylon the English, although belonging for the most part to the educated classes, did

no better than the ordinary pioneer settlers, miscalling 20 the sambur stag an elk, and the leopard a cheetah. Our

own pioneers behaved in the same way. Hence it is that we have no distinctive name at all for the group of peculiarly American game birds of which the bob-white is

the typical representative; and that, when we could not 25 use the words quail, partridge, or pheasant, we went

for our terminology to the barn-yard, and called our fine grouse, fool-hens, sage-hens, and prairie-chickens. The bear and wolf our people recognized at once. The

bison they called a buffalo, which was no worse than the 30 way in which every one in Europe called the Old World

bison an aurochs. The American true elk and reindeer were rechristened moose and caribou-excellent names,

by the way, derived from the Indian. The huge stag was called an elk. The extraordinary antelope of the high Western peaks was christened the white goat; not unnaturally, as it has a most goatlike look. The prongbuck of the plains, an animal standing as much alone 5 among ruminants as does the giraffe, was simply called antelope. Even when we invented names for ourselves, we applied them loosely. The ordinary deer is sometimes known as the red deer, sometimes as the Virginia deer, and sometimes as the whitetail deer,—the last being 10 by far the best and most distinctive term.

In the present condition of zoological research it is not possible to state accurately how many “species” of deer there are in North America, both because mammalogists have not at hand a sufficient amount of material 15 in the way of large series of specimens from different localities, and because they are not agreed among themselves as to the value of “species,” or indeed as to exactly what is denoted by the term. Of course, if we had a complete series of specimens of extinct and fossil deer 20 before us, there would be an absolutely perfect intergradation among all the existing forms through their long-vanished ancestral types; for the existing gaps have been created by the extinction and transformation of these former types. Where the gap is very broad and 25 well marked no difficulty exists in using terms which shall express the difference. Thus the gap separating the moose, the caribou, and the wapiti from one another, and from the smaller American deer, is so wide, and there is so complete a lack of transitional forms, that 30 the differences among them are expressed by naturalists by the use of different generic terms. The gap between

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