Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/712

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

height of a short pike. And having drawn it from nature, we here present its portrait."

In 1556, King Henri II granted Belon, in recognition of his work, a pension, which appears to have never been anything but honorary. He was also given a residence in the Château de PSM V34 D712 Portrait of the giraffe.jpgFig. 1.—Portrait of the Giraffe (after Pierre Belon). Madrid, in the Bois de Boulogne, where, during the remaining years of his life, he studied natural science and wrote his celebrated books. One evening in 1564, as he was crossing the Bois, on the way to visit his friend Jacques du Breuil, he was attacked, by highwaymen, it is supposed, and killed, in the forty-eighth year of his age.

The "Natural History of Fishes"[1] marks Belon, according to M. Crié, as the founder of modern ichthyology. While rectifying and enlarging what Aristotle had said, the Mansian naturalist gave a positive basis to ichthyology by descriptions and figures of a considerable number of species. In the 'Aquatilibus' are described a hundred and ten fishes, of which twenty-two are cartilaginous, seventeen fresh-water, and the rest sea fishes. . . . The figures representing them are easily recognizable, not-withstanding the simplicity of the style of the wood-engravings.

"His philosophical mind had a very correct appreciation of the genera. His groupings were made with a surprisingly just instinct. To an indefatigable activity he joined vast erudition. He brought to the front the study of nature and of the books that treat of it. . . . The feature that especially prepared new bases for the science of fishes was his observations on the thoracic and abdominal splanchnology of those animals. He gives with infinite sagacity correct details respecting the liver, its shape, and the number of its lobes; the spleen, its position, vol-

  1. "Histoire naturelle des estranges poissons marins, avec le vraie peinture et description du dauphin et de plusieurs autres de son espèce," 1551, with woodcuts; "Nature et diversité des poissons, avec leurs portraicts," 1553; "De aquatilibus libri duo, cum iconibus ad vivam ipsorum effigiem quoad fieri potuit," 1553.