From Edward Blyth 13 [December] 18661
7 Princess Terrace, | Regent’s Pk, N.W.
My dear Sir,
I only received your letter yesterday evening.1 The notice which you refer to of saigas fearless of mankind is in type, but not yet published. I will see to the insertion of it, in the No: of ‘Land & Water’ for next Saturday.2 I remember, however, that it occurs in a letter from Commander Alexey Butakoff to Sir R. I. Murchison, published in the 23d. Volume of the Geographical Society’s Journal.3
The pair of saigas in the Z. G. have greatly improved in appearance, & are likely to do well— they looked rather weakly on their arrival.4
A very interesting little beast just arrived is the Hyomoschus aquaticus from W. Africa, very like the Indian memmina,5 but peculiar among all existing ruminants for having the metacarpal bones (& I think the metatarsal also) separate, or not united to form a cannon-bone,—approximating to the fossil Dichobune,6 &c.
Bartlett told me that as he was going over the Gardens with a visitor who had been long in New Zealand, as they were looking at the Cassowary the bird voided about half a pint of pebbles, as is occasionally also observed of the Ostrich, Rhea, & Emeu.7 The New Zealand colonist remarked that he then understood, at once, the origin of the similar heaps of pebbles, amounting to a quart or so, that he had commonly seen in N. Zealand and the meaning of which had hitherto puzzled him. Undoubtedly they had been similarly voided by the species of Deinornis!8
The recent discovery of the complete skeletons of the “Solitaire” of Rodriguez I hear anounced for the next No. of Buckland’s paper.9
Yrs sincerely, | E. Blyth
Gives CD reference to case of the saiga, an antelope, fearless of man.
Reports observations by New Zealander who has seen heaps of pebbles presumably voided by Dinornis.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4975,” accessed on 14 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4975