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Perrault, Claude, 1613-1688 / Memoir's for a natural history of animals : containing the anatomical descriptions of several creatures dissected by the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris
(1688)

The anatomical description of six demoiselles of Numidia,   pp. 205-202 [212] ff.


Page 206


206                   The Anatomical Defrription
tings of the Ancients the Defeription of a Bird called by the Greeks, Scops
and
Ot'os, and by the Latins Afio, to which they had given the Name of Dan/ier,
Aclor, and Comedian. So that the Matter in Q eftion is to fee whether our
Demoifells of Numidia may pafs for the Scops of the Ancients.
  The Defcription which they have left us of the Otus or Scops confifrs in
three
remarkable Particulars, which are feen in the Demoifrclle of Xa7midia, altho'
it
is not found that any of the Moderns have described it, and that it has rela-
tion to any of the Birds whereof the Ancients have fpoken. Thefe three
Particulars, are the extraordinary Poftares which all Authors do attribute
unto it, and which have made it to be called Scops, from G)7hn', which
according to Athenims),; fometimes fignifies to make Sport, in imitating
the
Gefiures of any one: SAnd the fame Author fays, that Scops was a kind of
Dan ef lb called, by reafon of the Bird Scops, which was as it were, the
Inven-
tor thereof. The fecond Particularity, by which Ariftotle and Plin1 have
de-
figned this Bird, confills in fume feathered Eminencies, which they do put
on both fides of the Head, in the manner of great Ears. The third is the
co-
four of its Plumage, which Aleo*odery AIyndiefus in *Atenits,/ declares to
be
Blewifh, and of a Lead-colour: to which it muff alfo be added, that they
do
fay, that this Bird is of Africk.
  There is none of thofi that have 1een the Demoi/elles of ANumidia, in the
Park of Ver/aidles, who have not obfefved their Gate, Geftures, and Leaps,
to have a great deal of Relation to the Bohemian Manners whofe Da*Ie they
leem to imitate. And it might be faid, that they are mainly plevaed to fhew
their Graceful and handfom Difpofiton for leaping, and that tliry do follow
People, not to have what is thrown to them to eat, as commonly do Savage
Animals when they are tamed,but to be taken Notice of; never failing, when
they fee that they are lookt upon, to fall a, Danfinag and Singing.
  All that we difl'efed had thie fihered Ears a which liave 6iven the Name
to the Otus of the Ancients. Thefe were App hices three Inces and a half
long, cornpofed of white Feathers, made of fine long Fibres, after the mati-
ner of the Feathers that young Herons have on the Back near the Wings
All the reft of the Plumnage was of a leaden Gray, fuch as it is described
by
Alexander Alyndicnus in the Otas; except only fume great Feathers of the
Wings which were of a darker gray, at that part of the Feather whlich ap-
pears, and fume Feathers of the Head and Neck: But fur all this, the Plumage
in g-iFral nmay pafs for a lead Colour.
  In fume of our SubjcEts the Head had on its (Crown fome Plumes erelIed
like a Creft, an Inch and a half long. Thefe Feathers were of this kade'n
Gray, which was prevalent over all the Body. In all of them, the fides and
hinder-part of the Head were garnifhed with black and fhorter Feathers than
the reft. From the Canthus or Corner of each Eye, there went a ftreak of
white Feathers, that paffed under the Appendex, which formed the great
feathered Ears. The fore-part of the Neck was adorned with black Fea-
thers, compofed of long Fibres, much finer and fofter than thofe of the Criel
Heron ; they hung down upon the Stomach, about Nine Inches long, with
a very great Grace and Decorum.
   From the end of the Beak to the extremity of the Leggs extended there
were three Foot and a half. The Beak rmeafured two Inches in length; it
                                                                   was


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