Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/803

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ORIGIN OF THE DONKEY.

for the present year, says, "To own a saw-mill to-day, with ten years' supply of standing timber, is to have that which is far better and safer than a gold-mine in the Occident." The same paper also says: "The amount of timber cut from the forests of the Northwest" (meaning Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, chiefly) "in 1881, counting that made into shingles with the lumber, exceeded 7,000,000,000 feet. It requires some little grasp of the subject to comprehend such an enormous sum. Loaded on cars, green, it would make a train nearly seven thousand miles in length. The amount of money required to purchase it from first hands would be not far from $125,000,000."

With such statements relative to the consumption of our existing forests, from authoritative sources, and the well-known fact that the price of all kinds of lumber has greatly increased during the last ten years, while that of some kinds has doubled, there should be little doubt that, looked at as a pecuniary venture alone, tree-planting on an extensive scale will bring a sure and abundant reward to those who engage in it.

 

ORIGIN OF THE DONKEY.[1]
By C. A. PIETREMENT.

THE majority of modern naturalists have long attributed an Asiatic origin to the domestic asses. They have believed that the species are derived from the so-called onagras or wild asses of Asia, which the ancients mention, and which are still met wandering in droves of greater or less size, from the northern part of the Altai Mountains to the southern regions of the continent. As late as 1862, Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire assumed that the primitive country of the ass was partly in Asia, partly in Africa, because, he said, "the onagra extends from Asia to Northwestern Africa." In 1869, however, M. H. Milne-Edwards considered it well demonstrated that the ass is essentially an African species, which occurs in Asia only in a domesticated condition; and that all that the ancients, and modern travellers as well, have said of the wild asses or onagras of Syria, Persia, etc., is applicable to the hemippus and other varieties of Equus hemionus, and not to Equus asinus. The horse, on the other hand, appears to have originated in Central Asia and a part of Europe. It is presumable that the domestication of the ass was effected in Africa, probably in Upper Egypt or some neighboring country, and that of the horse took place in the region occupied by the Indo-Germanic peoples. If the civilization of Central Asia and Europe had much

  1. From a new work, "Les Chevaux dans le Temps prehistoriques et historiques" ("Horses in Prehistorical and Historical Times"). Translated and abridged for "The Popular Science Monthly."