Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 59.djvu/24

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14
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the progenitor of many of the finest dogs of his race in America, breathed his last in Pittsburgh, and by happy fortune his skin was preserved and came into the possession of the Museum. Many of the smaller groups of birds delineate accurately the habits of the more familiar species and are accepted as masterpieces of the taxidermic art. The mammals are represented by small, but important, collections. One of the recent acquisitions is that of a specimen of Rhinoceros simus. This large mammal, which is, with the exception of the elephant, the largest of terrestrial quadrupeds, is believed to be on the verge of extinction. A few years ago the Hon. Cecil Rhodes secured a specimen by purchase, which he presented to the South African Museum at Cape Town. Another was secured by the British Museum, a third specimen was acquired by the Hon. Walter Rothschild for his private collection at Tring, and a fourth was purchased by the Imperial Academy of Sciences

 

PSM V59 D024 Rhinoceros simus burchell.png

Rhinoceros Simus Burchell.

 

at St. Petersburg. The specimen just acquired by the Carnegie Museum is the fifth to be preserved as a memorial of its rapidly vanishing race, and is the only specimen known to exist in the New World.

One of the most fruitful departments of activity in connection with the Museum is presided over by Prof. J. B. Hatcher, the famous explorer and paleontologist. Mr. Carnegie has long realized the importance of paleontology as throwing light upon the evolution of species, and in the spring of 1899 provided a special fund for research in this direction. The results have been most satisfactory, when regard is had alike to the number of the important discoveries which have been made and the beauty and perfection of the specimens which have been obtained. It is well known that the evolution of the horse took place in North America. The discoveries of Professor Hatcher made in 1900 show that in all probability in like manner the rhinoceros was