Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/648

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

while the ass is hard to raise in the north of France, and can not live in Sweden. Furthermore, wild horses were still living, in the sixteenth century, in the Vosges Mountains, as was said by Elisée Roesslin, of Haguenau, in a book published at Strasburg in 1593: "Among the animals that are met in the Vosges, first to be noticed, which would be a marvel in many countries, are the wild horses. They keep in the forests and the mountains, providing their own support, and breeding and increasing at all seasons. In winter they hunt for a shelter under the rocks, feeding, like large game, on the brooms, heaths, and branches of trees. They are wilder and more savage than are the deer of many countries, and as hard to capture as they. Men become masters of them, as with the deer, by the aid of the lakes. When they have succeeded in taming and subduing them—a long and difficult task—they have horses of the best quality. These horses withstand the severest cold and are satisfied with the coarsest food. Their walk is sure, their footing firm and solid, because they are accustomed, like the chamois, to run over the mountains and leap the rocks. If the Vosges support wild horses, while the Black PSM V37 D648 Horse engraved on a bone.jpgFig. 3.—Facsimile of an Engraving on Bone, representing a horse with a brush tail and Erect Mane. (Cave of Lorthet-Fouilles, by M. Piette.) Forest has no such animals, they owe the privilege to their northern exposure, their sterility, and the prevalence of fierce north winds." Wild horses existed at the same time in the Swiss Alps and in Prussia (Erasmus Stella, 1518), and their flesh was eaten as in the Quaternary epoch. Unfortunately, no description or picture of these animals is left us; and although Bishop Fortunat speaks of them as onagras, he was most probably speaking of horses that had become wild—the tarpans—and not real wild horses like Equus Prejevalskii.

The engraving we give of the Prejevalski horse was made from the type of the species in the Museum of the Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg, and has been obtained from Prof. Eugen Buchner, director of the museum. It is a reproduction of the figure accompanying Poliakoff's memoir in the publications of the Russian Imperial Geographical Society.

We also give, for comparison, the figure (2) of a species of hemione, the Syrian hemippus (Equus hemippus), purposely chosen because it is the species most like the horse in its elegant form and the small size of its ears. This picture is an exact copy of a