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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 a cormorant,   pp. 133-138 ff.


Page 134


134                   The Anatomical Defeription
  Towards the root, as well of the upper as lower Beak, there was a Skin
without Feathers: it was likewife extended round the Eye. This Skin was
Red. Aldrovandus reports that it is generally white, and Ge/ner makes it
of
a Sqfrox-Colour. This fame Skin was extended under the Beak, upon the
Cavity which is generally there. In this place it was of a Pale-yellow.
  The Bill at the fides was Gray mix'd with Red, and Black at the top. It
was three inches in length, from the opening to its extremity. It was crooked,
and very pointed at the end. This Beak ferved him to catch Fifh; but be-
caufe that he could only fwallow them backwards, or fidewife, and could
not conveniently fwallow the Tail firft, by reafon of the Fins, Crefls, and
Scales, which hindred them from, entring into this Throat, hle ufed to caft
them in the Air, to receive them with the Headfirft: which he does with
fo much dexterity that lie never miffes. This Bird is made ufe of for Fifhing,
by putting an Iron Ring at the bottom of its Neck, to the end that She Fifh
being received into the Oefophagws, which is very large, making a kind of
Craw, might not enter into the Ventricle, and they might eafgy be made to
calf them up.
  In the Beak there was not any hole for the Nofirils, although in the Palate
there was one large enough to permit the Vapours to rife up toithe Organs
of
the Smelling.
  The Eyes were fmall, and fituated very near the Bill. Being fhut, theline
which the Eye-lids made, was fomewhat more oblique than it generally is in
Birds.
  The Feet were fbort, not exceeding four inches from the Belly to the
Ground, and there were feven to the end of the greateft Tce. Thefe Feet
were very black, and fhining, covered with long, and ftrait Scales
in the infide of the Foot, and on the middle of the Toes. Thefe four
Toes were webb'd together by fome Membranes, which we havealrea-
dy remark'd in a Scotch Goofe. Thefe Membranes were fpeckled like Chagrins.
Thefe four Toes, whiiclh were all of a row, went leffening from the great
to
the little one. The great and little one did make a right Angle, the great
one being on the outfide, and the little one on the infide. T he two other
Toes were likewife on the infide, between the great and little one; which
is
unufual in other two-footed Animals, especially Man, whole: Foot has the
great Toe inwards, and the others outwards: for this is fo made to fbpport
and more firmly to fettle the Body on the Feet, on which the Prominence or
Protuberance which the toe has on the outfide is neceffary, to hinder it
from
bending on either fide; but this prominence is wholly ufclefs on the infide
;
becaufe that the oppofite Leg fufficiently fupports the Body on that fide.Thefe
Toes had fbarp and crooked Claws: the greateft exceeded not five lines. Yet
there was this remarkable in thefe Claws, that thofe of the fecond toe, which
is next to the greateft, were ferrate or toothed in each Foot, on the fide
to-
wards the third toe. The great toe, which was three inches long, was
compofed of five bones or Phalanges, the next of four, the third of three,
and the fourth, which is the leafi, of two. This laft was an inch long. A-
rif otle reports that the Cormorant is the only Ducker which Perches on Trees,
and which makes its Neff there. We have obferved that the Feet like thofe
of our Cormorant, are more commodious for Perching than are thofe of other
                                                               Dockers,


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