Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/646

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The oil, which is extensively manufactured at Moreton Bay, possesses all the medicinal qualities of cod-liver oil without its unpleasant taste. In its pure state it can be taken without disagreeing with the most sensitive stomach. "I have myself," says our English writer, "used it instead of butter with toast; have eaten delicate pastry made from dugong-lard; have fried fish with it; and, as a consequence, have never since ceased to wonder that some better effort is not attempted to make it more widely known. Consumption, the scourge of the old country, finds an unfriendly atmosphere in Queensland, where I have known consumptives, landing with the disease to all appearance hopelessly advanced, become in a few years healthy if not robust, yet, even there, the most marvelous effects are attributed to dugong-oil in cases of rheumatism, and wasting as well as ordinary consumption. . . . I have known ladies, who shuddered at the bare notion of swallowing oil, derive benefits from its adaptation to all manner of culinary purposes."

Dr. Hobbs, of Brisbane, who first introduced the oil, received a medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1855 for his product. The manufacture afterward fell into other hands, and the short-sighted managers, rather than admit that the supply could not be equal to the demand, adulterated the pure product with unsavory shark-oil. Then they were astonished and indignant that they received no more orders from the old country.

Because the sirenians live in the sea, the first inclination of naturalists, before they had become fully acquainted with the family, was to classify them with the whales. A better knowledge of them has proved that this arrangement, unless it is safely qualified, is misleading. Professor Owen says on this subject: "The whole of the internal structure in the herbivorous cetacea differs as widely from that of the carnivorous cetacea as do their habits; the amount of variation is as great as well could be in animals of the same class existing in the same great deep. The junction of the dugongs and manatees with the true whales can not, therefore, be admitted in a distribution of animals according to their organization. With much superficial resemblance, they have little real organic resemblance to the walrus, which exhibits an extreme modification of the amphibious carnivorous type. I conclude, therefore, that the dugong and its congeners must either form a group apart or be joined with the pachyderms, with which the herbivorous cetacea have most affinity."

Professor H. C. Chapman, of Philadelphia, who has dissected a male and a female hippopotamus, has discovered several analogies in structure between the manatee and that animal. He remarks that in observing the manatee that lived for several months in the Philadelphia Zoölogical Garden, the manner in which it rose to the surface of the water to breathe reminded him often of the hippopotami that he had watched in the Zoölogical Garden of London and the Jardin des