Letter | Published:

The Earliest Mention of the Kangaroo in Literature

Nature volume 49, pages 198199 | Download Citation

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Abstract

I TAKE advantage of the present opportunity to put another question to zoologists. In the same book of Massoudi, whom I quoted in the previous notice, I found the following passage (vol. i. p. 387):—“El Djahiz, in his ‘Book on Animals’, relates that the female rhinoceros is pregnant for seven years, during which the cub protrudes the head from the belly of the mother, in order to browse, and withdraws it afterwards. Desirous of being better informed, I asked the people of Siraf and Oman, who visited this country, as well as merchants whom I had met in India. They all told me that the rhinoceros breeds just like the cow and the buffalo; and I do not know where El Djahiz has found this story, whether among his reading, or from his inquiries.” This is evidently an obscure tradition about the Australian kangaroo, which had reached some part of Asia, and was connected with the rhinoceros by people who knew nothing about either of the two animals. Has the attention of zoologists been called to this story before?

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  1. Heidelberg, Germany, December 5.

    • C. R. OSTEN SACKEN

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/049198d0

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