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History of Animals   


Oviparous and blooded quadrupeds-and, by the way, no terrestrial
blooded animal is oviparous unless it is quadrupedal or is devoid of
feet altogether-are furnished with a head, a neck, a back, upper and
under parts, the front legs and hind legs, and the part analogous to
the chest, all as in the case of viviparous quadrupeds, and with a
tail, usually large, in exceptional cases small. And all these
creatures are many-toed, and the several toes are cloven apart.
Furthermore, they all have the ordinary organs of sensation, including
a tongue, with the exception of the Egyptian crocodile.
This latter animal, by the way, resembles certain fishes. For, as
a general rule, fishes have a prickly tongue, not free in its
movements; though there are some fishes that present a smooth
undifferentiated surface where the tongue should be, until you open
their mouths wide and make a close inspection.
Again, oviparous blooded quadrupeds are unprovided with ears, but
possess only the passage for hearing; neither have they breasts, nor a
copulatory organ, nor external testicles, but internal ones only;
neither are they hair coated, but are in all cases covered with
scaly plates. Moreover, they are without exception saw-toothed.
River crocodiles have pigs' eyes, large teeth and tusks, and
strong nails, and an impenetrable skin composed of scaly plates.
They see but poorly under water, but above the surface of it with
remarkable acuteness. As a rule, they pass the day-time on land and
the nighttime in the water; for the temperature of the water is at
night-time more genial than that of the open air.
11

The chameleon resembles the lizard in the general configuration of
its body, but the ribs stretch downwards and meet together under the
belly as is the case with fishes, and the spine sticks up as with
the fish. Its face resembles that of the baboon. Its tail is
exceedingly long, terminates in a sharp point, and is for the most
part coiled up, like a strap of leather. It stands higher off the
ground than the lizard, but the flexure of the legs is the same in
both creatures. Each of its feet is divided into two parts, which bear
the same relation to one another that the thumb and the rest of the
hand bear to one another in man. Each of these parts is for a short
distance divided after a fashion into toes; on the front feet the
inside part is divided into three and the outside into two, on the
hind feet the inside part into two and the outside into three; it
has claws also on these parts resembling those of birds of prey. Its
body is rough all over, like that of the crocodile. Its eyes are
situated in a hollow recess, and are very large and round, and are
enveloped in a skin resembling that which covers the entire body;
and in the middle a slight aperture is left for vision, through
which the animal sees, for it never covers up this aperture with the
cutaneous envelope. It keeps twisting its eyes round and shifting
its line of vision in every direction, and thus contrives to get a
sight of any object that it wants to see. The change in its colour
takes place when it is inflated with air; it is then black, not unlike
the crocodile, or green like the lizard but black-spotted like the
pard. This change of colour takes place over the whole body alike, for
the eyes and the tail come alike under its influence. In its movements
it is very sluggish, like the tortoise. It assumes a greenish hue in
dying, and retains this hue after death. It resembles the lizard in
the position of the oesophagus and the windpipe. It has no flesh
anywhere except a few scraps of flesh on the head and on the jaws
and near to the root of the tail. It has blood only round about the
heart, the eyes, the region above the heart, and in all the veins
extending from these parts; and in all these there is but little blood
after all. The brain is situated a little above the eyes, but
connected with them. When the outer skin is drawn aside from off the
eye, a something is found surrounding the eye, that gleams through
like a thin ring of copper. Membranes extend well nigh over its entire

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