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



Previous | Next
                  

History of Animals   


animals. The tongue, moreover, is thin and long and black, and can
be protruded to a great distance. And both serpents and saurians
have this altogether exceptional property in the tongue, that it is
forked at the outer extremity, and this property is the more marked in
the serpent, for the tips of his tongue are as thin as hairs. The
seal, also, by the way, has a split tongue.
The stomach of the serpent is like a more spacious gut,
resembling the stomach of the dog; then comes the gut, long, narrow,
and single to the end. The heart is situated close to the pharynx,
small and kidney-shaped; and for this reason the organ might in some
cases appear not to have the pointed end turned towards the breast.
Then comes the lung, single, and articulated with a membranous
passage, very long, and quite detached from the heart. The liver is
long and simple; the spleen is short and round: as is the case in both
respects with the saurians. Its gall resembles that of the fish; the
water-snakes have it beside the liver, and the other snakes have it
usually beside the gut. These creatures are all saw-toothed. Their
ribs are as numerous as the days of the month; in other words, they
are thirty in number.
Some affirm that the same phenomenon is observable with
serpents as with swallow chicks; in other words, they say that if
you prick out a serpent's eyes they will grow again. And further,
the tails of saurians and of serpents, if they be cut off, will grow
again.
With fishes the properties of the gut and stomach are similar;
that is, they have a stomach single and simple, but variable in
shape according to species. For in some cases the stomach is
gut-shaped, as with the scarus, or parrot-fish; which fish, by the
way, appears to be the only fish that chews the cud. And the whole
length of the gut is simple, and if it have a reduplication or kink it
loosens out again into a simple form.
An exceptional property in fishes and in birds for the most
part is the being furnished with gut-appendages or caeca. Birds have
them low down and few in number. Fishes have them high up about the
stomach, and sometimes numerous, as in the goby, the galeos, the
perch, the scorpaena, the citharus, the red mullet, and the sparus;
the cestreus or grey mullet has several of them on one side of the
belly, and on the other side only one. Some fish possess these
appendages but only in small numbers, as the hepatus and the
glaucus; and, by the way, they are few also in the dorado. These
fishes differ also from one another within the same species, for in
the dorado one individual has many and another few. Some fishes are
entirely without the part, as the majority of the selachians. As for
all the rest, some of them have a few and some a great many. And in
all cases where the gut-appendages are found in fish, they are found
close up to the stomach.
In regard to their internal parts birds differ from other animals
and from one another. Some birds, for instance, have a crop in front
of the stomach, as the barn-door cock, the cushat, the pigeon, and the
partridge; and the crop consists of a large hollow skin, into which
the food first enters and where it lies ingested. Just where the
crop leaves the oesophagus it is somewhat narrow; by and by it
broadens out, but where it communicates with the stomach it narrows
down again. The stomach (or gizzard) in most birds is fleshy and hard,
and inside is a strong skin which comes away from the fleshy part.
Other birds have no crop, but instead of it an oesophagus wide and
roomy, either all the way or in the part leading to the stomach, as
with the daw, the raven, and the carrion-crow. The quail also has
the oesophagus widened out at the lower extremity, and in the
aegocephalus and the owl the organ is slightly broader at the bottom
than at the top. The duck, the goose, the gull, the catarrhactes,
and the great bustard have the oesophagus wide and roomy from one
end to the other, and the same applies to a great many other birds. In
some birds there is a portion of the stomach that resembles a crop, as

Previous | Next
Site Search