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CHAP. 80. (54.)—APES.

The different kinds of apes, which approach the nearest to the human figure, are distinguished from each other by the tail.1 Their shrewdness is quite wonderful. It is said that, imitating the hunters, they will besmear themselves with bird-lime, and put their feet into the shoes, which, as so many snares, have been prepared for them.2 Mucianus says, that they have even played at chess, having, by practice, learned to distinguish the different pieces, which are made of wax.3 He says that the species which have tails become quite melancholy when the moon is on the wane, and that they leap for joy at the time of the new moon, and adore it. Other quadrupeds also are terrified at the eclipses of the heavenly bodies. All the species of apes manifest remarkable affection for their offspring. Females, which have been domesticated, and have had young ones, carry them about and shew them to all comers, shew great delight when they are caressed, and appear to understand the kindness thus shewn them. Hence it is, that they very often stifle their young with their embraces. The dog's-headed ape4 is of a much fiercer nature, as is the case with the satyr. The callitriche5 has almost a totally different aspect; it has a beard on the face, and a tail, which in the first part of it is very bushy. It is said that this animal cannot live except in the climate of Æthiopia, which is its native place.

1 Some of these animals are entirely without a tail, and this circumstance has been employed to form the primary division of the simile into the two species, those with and those without tails. We have an epigram of Martial, in which this is referred to. "Si mihi cauda foret, cercopithecus eram"—"If I had but a tail, I should be a monkey." B. iv. Ep. 102.—B. See B. xi. c. 100.

2 We learn from Strabo, Ind. Hist. B. xv., that, in catching the monkey, the hunters took advantage of the propensity of these animals to imitate any action they see performed. "Two modes," he says, "are employed in taking this animal, as by nature it is taught to imitate every action, and to take to flight by climbing up trees. The hunters, when they see an ape sitting on a tree, place within sight of it a dish full of water, with which they rub their eyes; and then, slyly substituting another in its place, full of bird-lime, retire and keep upon the watch. The animal comes down from the tree, and rubs its eyes with the bird-lime, in consequence of which the eyelids stick together, and it is unable to escape." Ælian also says, Hist. Anim. B. xvii. c. 25, that the hunters pretend to put on their shoes, and then substitute, in their place, shoes of lead; the animal attempts to imitate them, and, the shoes being so contrived, when it has once got them on, it finds itself unable to take them off, or to move, and is consequently taken.

3 There has been some difficulty in ascertaining the exact reading here; but the meaning seems to be, that the pieces were made of wax, and that the animals had learned to distinguish them from each other, and move them in the appropriate manner; how far this is to be credited, it is not easy to decide, but it would certainly require very strong and direct evidence. We are told that the Emperor Charles V. had a monkey that played at chess with him.—B.

4 In the original, termed "cynocephali," "dog's-headed;" an appellation given to them, according to Cuvier, from their muzzle projecting like that of a dog; we have an account of this species in Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. ii. c. 13.—B. Probably the baboon. See B. vi. c. 35, and B. vii. c. 2. The satyr is, perhaps, the uran-utang. See B. v. c. 8, and B. vii. c. 2.

5 Or "fine-haired monkey;" supposed to be the Silenus of Linnæus; it is described by Buffon, under the name of Callitrix.—B. It seems to be also called the "Simia hamadryas."

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