This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
1 "Ora." Cuvier remarks, that it is not the "mouth of the animal but the nostrils, that are situate on the top of the head, and that through these it sends forth vast columns of water." Aristotle, in his Hist. Anim. B. i. c. 3, has a similar passage, from which Pliny copied this assertion of his.
2 Cuvier remarks, that these are the animals of the cetaceous class, which resemble the quadrupeds in the formation of the viscera, their respiration, and the mammæ; and which, in fact, only differ from them in their general form, which more nearly resembles that of fishes.
3 Hist. Anim. B. viii. c. 2.
4 "Doctrinæ indaginibus." This certainly seems a better reading than "doctrina indignis," which has been adopted by Sillig, and which would make complete nonsense of the passage.
5 Dalechamps states that Cælius Rhodiginus, B. iv. c. 15, has entered very fully into this subject.
6 Cuvier remarks, on this passage, that the mollusca have, instead of blood, a kind of azure or colourless liquid. He observes also, that insects respire by means of tracheæ, or elastic tubes, which penetrate into every part of the body; and that the gills of fish are as essentially an organ of respiration as the lungs. All, he says, that Pliny adds as to the introduction of air into water, is equally conformable to truth; and that it is by means of the air mingled with the water, or of the atmosphere which they inhale at the surface, that fishes respire.
7 In the shape of vapour raised by the action of the sun. In accordance with this opinion, Cicero says, De Nat. Deor. B. ii. s. 27, "The air arises from the respiration of the waters, and must be looked upon as a sort of vapour coming from them."
8 But, as Hardouin remarks, this act on the part of the fish is caused as much by the water as the air.
9 As Hardouin remarks, this is a somewhat singular notion that sleep is produced by the action of the lungs.
10 Hardouin asks, what this has to do with the question about the air which Pliny is here discussing? and then suggests that his meaning may possibly be, that the moon has an influence on bodies through the medium of the air, in accordance with the notion of the ancients that the respira- tion was more free during the time of full moon. Littré says, that Pliny's meaning is, that since the influence of the moon is able to penetrate the waters, the air and the vital breath can of course penetrate them also.
11 See B. x. c. 89, where this subject is further discussed.
12 "Infectum aera."
13 See Aristotle, De Part. Anim. B. iv. c. 13, and Hist. Anim. B. viii. c. 2.
14 Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. i. c. 5.
15 Cuvier remarks, that these nostrils, or vent-holes, are placed somewhat further back on the head in the dolphin than in the whale; but at the same time they cannot be said to be situate on the back of the animal.
16 Or "seals." They will be further mentioned in c. 15 of the present Book.
17 Or "turtles," which are more fully described in c. 21 of this Book.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.