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A Handbook of the Vertebrate Fauna of Yorkshire

Nature volume 24, pages 379380 | Download Citation



THIS little volume is dedicated to the President-Elect of the British Association, and most seasonably makes its appearance on the eve of the meeting of that Association in the city and county of its origin, when it will celebrate the completion of the first fifty years of its existence. Its object is the enumeration of those animals with a vertebral column which either are or have been found in Yorkshire, and the careful definition of their faunistic position and geographical distribution within the county. It would appear that there has never been a list of the mammals, birds, or fishes of the county of York published, and in this respect it presents a striking contrast with its neighbouring counties of Norfolk, Northumberland, and Durham; but by the energetic labours of Messrs. Clarke and Roebuck this reproach no longer exists, and this very useful handbook to the vertebrate fauna of the shire will, let us hope, be soon followed by a second volume, dealing with the larger and perhaps more difficult portion of its, to use a handy term, invertebrate animals. The number of British vertebrata not occurring in Yorkshire being comparatively small, it seemed desirable to the compilers to make this work not only a county handbook, but a complete nominal catalogue of the British species. In this we think they have done well, for such a catalogue undoubtedly furnishes a ready means of comparison with the faunas of other districts. The classification and nomenclature has in all cases been based upon the most recent or the most reliable authorities as to the extinct British mammalia. It having been considered advisable to include notices of these, or at least of such of these as had ceased to exist in Yorkshire within historical times, the species are inserted in their correct zoological sequence, but their names are printed in Old English characters, and they are left un-numbered, as not being now entitled to rank as true members of the fauna. The same has been done in the case of the Great Auk among the birds. To the catalogue is prefixed an interesting chapter on the physical aspect of Yorkshire, the largest county of the British Islands, containing an area of 3,936,242 statute acres—one which, while most compact in form, is perhaps the most varied in geological structure, soil, climate, and physical aspect. The introductory remarks also on the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes are well worth perusal. From the general summary, the richness of the Yorkshire fauna can be at once seen, it including 513 out of the 717 known British vertebrates. We gladly recommend this volume to our readers, as in every way an excellent and scientific handbook to the vertebrate fauna of Yorkshire.

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