CHAP. 50.—THE EARS. ANIMALS WHICH HEAR WITHOUT EARS
Man is the only animal the ears of which are immoveable.
It is from the natural flaccidity of the ear, that the surname
is derived. There is no part of the body that
creates a more enormous expense for our women, in the
pearls which are suspended from them. In the East, too, it
is thought highly becoming for the men, even, to wear gold
rings in their ears. Some animals have large, and others
small ears. The stag alone has them cut and divided, as it
were; in the field-mouse they have a velvet surface. All the
animals that are viviparous have ears of some kind or other,
with the sole exception of the sea-calf, the dolphin, the fishes
which we have mentioned1
as cartilaginous, and the viper.
These animals have only cavities instead of ears, with the exception of the cartilaginous fishes and the dolphin, which last,
however, it is quite clear possesses the sense of hearing, for it is
charmed by singing, and is often taken while enraptured with
the melody: how it is that it does hear, is quite marvellous.
These animals, too, have not the slightest trace of olfactory
organs, and yet they have a most acute sense of smell.
Among the winged animals, only the horned owl and the longeared owl have feathers which project like ears, the rest having
only cavities for the purpose of hearing; the same is the case,
also, with the scaly animals and the serpents. Among horses
and beasts of burden of all kinds, it is the ears which indicate
the natural feelings; when the animal is weary, they are drooping and flaccid; when it is startled, they quiver to and fro;
when it is enraged, they are pricked up; and when it is ailing,
they are pendant.