Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of History of Animals

Previous | Next

History of Animals   

The penis of the elephant resembles that of the horse; compared
with the size of the animal it is disproportionately small; the
testicles are not visible, but are concealed inside in the vicinity of
the kidneys; and for this reason the male speedily gives over in the
act of intercourse. The genitals of the female are situated where
the udder is in sheep; when she is in heat, she draws the organ back
and exposes it externally, to facilitate the act of intercourse for
the male; and the organ opens out to a considerable extent.
With most animals the genitals have the position above
assigned; but some animals discharge their urine backwards, as the
lynx, the lion, the camel, and the hare. Male animals differ from
one another, as has been said, in this particular, but all female
animals are retromingent: even the female elephant like other animals,
though she has the privy part below the thighs.
In the male organ itself there is a great diversity. For in some
cases the organ is composed of flesh and gristle, as in man; in such
cases, the fleshy part does not become inflated, but the gristly
part is subject to enlargement. In other cases, the organ is
composed of fibrous tissue, as with the camel and the deer; in other
cases it is bony, as with the fox, the wolf, the marten, and the
weasel; for this organ in the weasel has a bone.
When man has arrived at maturity, his upper part is smaller
than the lower one, but with all other blooded animals the reverse
holds good. By the 'upper' part we mean all extending from the head
down to the parts used for excretion of residuum, and by the 'lower'
part else. With animals that have feet the hind legs are to be rated
as the lower part in our comparison of magnitudes, and with animals
devoid of feet, the tail, and the like.
When animals arrive at maturity, their properties are as above
stated; but they differ greatly from one another in their growth
towards maturity. For instance, man, when young, has his upper part
larger than the lower, but in course of growth he comes to reverse
this condition; and it is owing to this circumstance that-an
exceptional instance, by the way-he does not progress in early life as
he does at maturity, but in infancy creeps on all fours; but some
animals, in growth, retain the relative proportion of the parts, as
the dog. Some animals at first have the upper part smaller and the
lower part larger, and in course of growth the upper part gets to be
the larger, as is the case with the bushy-tailed animals such as the
horse; for in their case there is never, subsequently to birth, any
increase in the part extending from the hoof to the haunch.
Again, in respect to the teeth, animals differ greatly both
from one another and from man. All animals that are quadrupedal,
blooded and viviparous, are furnished with teeth; but, to begin
with, some are double-toothed (or fully furnished with teeth in both
jaws), and some are not. For instance, horned quadrupeds are not
double-toothed; for they have not got the front teeth in the upper
jaw; and some hornless animals, also, are not double toothed, as the
camel. Some animals have tusks, like the boar, and some have not.
Further, some animals are saw-toothed, such as the lion, the pard, and
the dog; and some have teeth that do not interlock but have flat
opposing crowns, as the horse and the ox; and by 'saw-toothed' we mean
such animals as interlock the sharp-pointed teeth in one jaw between
the sharp-pointed ones in the other. No animal is there that possesses
both tusks and horns, nor yet do either of these structures exist in
any animal possessed of 'saw-teeth'. The front teeth are usually
sharp, and the back ones blunt. The seal is saw-toothed throughout,
inasmuch as he is a sort of link with the class of fishes; for
fishes are almost all saw-toothed.
No animal of these genera is provided with double rows of
teeth. There is, however, an animal of the sort, if we are to
believe Ctesias. He assures us that the Indian wild beast called the
'martichoras' has a triple row of teeth in both upper and lower jaw;
that it is as big as a lion and equally hairy, and that its feet

Previous | Next
Site Search