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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 135


_'   £  {L ) InAf FX T" A r- I
                  or a CZ        N j   Rv. A K flNI,                l3c;
Duckers, thOugil tbieA, feet can clafp the branches only wvith taro of their
four toes, namely, with the greateft, and leat: but this little one is InIImC
larger than in other Pabnipedes, whiich have the little toe bhliind lo illort,
that
it is only as a Spur, abiblutely ufelefl to gripe the branches.
  The conitrudion of the Foot of our Cormorant appeared to us not only
more commodious than it is in other Palmtpedlcs, in reug.rd of the KIciiity
which is given it to Perc h it felf, but is alfo very advantagious for Swviniillg.
for whereas other PRlmipedes have only two Membranes which dlo joM n the
three toes before, our Cormorait had three which webb'd the four toes toge-
ther: for which reafon the1e Birds do go under water with an incredible
quicknets. Ge/ner reports that the feet do fometimes fIerve them to catch
the
Fifh, and that they do bring it to the Shore holding it withi one foot, and
fwiming with the other. This particular ufl, viz. of having occalion to
fSvim with one tingle foot, may make us to comprehend the reafbn of tlhe
extraordinary Strudlure of the Cormorantv's feet: for if the toes and thecir
Membranes which do form the foot, had been outwards, it would have lieel
impoffible for the Bird to go otherwife than by turning round when it t'wins
only with one foot, as it happens to -a Boat when rowed but with one Oar;
whereas the toes being inwards, it happens that when the Bird twims with
one tingle fbot, it ftrikes the water exadly under the middle of the Belly,
and makes not his Body to waddle on the one fide or the other. Now this
formation was fo much the more neceffary, as its feet are fhorter: for if
they
had been longer, they would have had a facility which they have not to be
turned obliquely under thll Belly, to place the foot in the middle, and not
to
ftrike on one fide more than on the other.
  The Oefiophagsu was teated at the right tide of the Afpera Arteria, under
which it paffed.to reach the Ventricle. When it was puffed up by blowing
on the infide, it was inlarged to above two inches in Diameter. Being comlC
direaly over the Bifurcation of the Afpera Arteria, it was turned on the
left
fide, and was Suddenly ftraitned, leaving for the upper Orifice of the Veni-
tricle but one Aperture about the bigners of a quill. This contracting ap-
peared not when the Oefophaguv and Ventricle were blown up; for then they
made only one tingle Bowel. This Ventricle was flefhy and Mufculous to-
wards the bottom; but it was Membranous in its upper part, perhaps to in-
large and contrad it felf according to the need that it has for the E'vallow-
ing Fifhes, and for the inclofing them afterward in the Ventricle, where
the
concoaion, which is begun in the Oefopbagu, muff be comnpleated: for
the greatnefs of the Fifh which there Birds are feen to 'wallow is a very
frange
and amazing thing.
  The Ventricle and Oefiophaggu did Seem of the fame Figure and fize, being
viewed onthe outfide, after that both had been firongly pufid up bythe
wind which was forceably made to enter therein: but the Ventricle \was nar-
rower, and not to capacious on the infide, by reafon of the thicknefi
of. the two Membranes, whereof it was compoted, which together
did make the thickness of two lines. The Pylort was not oppofite to
the Superiour Orifice, as is commonly obterved, but it was as it were fixed
into the middle of the Ventricle, leaving the lower half hanging like a Sack.
This lower part was flelby, and as it were Mufculouslike a Gizard ; although
                                                                    tihls


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