The naturalist’s cabinet: containing interesting sketches of animal history; illustrative of the natures, dispositions, manners, and habits of all the most remarkable quadrupeds, birds, fishes, amphibia, reptiles, [etc.] in the known world

By Smith, Thomas, 1775 or 1776-1830

Publication info [London]Cundee,1806-1807.

Contributing Library: Gerstein - University of Toronto

BioDiv. Library

The Pronghorn - Antilocapra americana

The pronghorn is still colloquially known as the “prong-horned antelope”, even though it’s not actually related to the true Old World antelopes, which are native to Asia and Africa. It fills a similar ecological niche, and appears very similar, due to convergent evolution.

When humans first arrived in North America, there were five species of Antilocarpa extant, but the other four have since gone extinct. The other North American Artiodactyla were much larger than the pronghorns are. In fact, the fawns of these ruminants are so small at birth (only a few lbs) that they’re not uncommonly snatched by golden eagles, in smaller harems that cannot effectively defend their offspring while eating.

Quadrupeds of North America. John James Audubon, 1854.

John James Audubon (1785-1851) nació en la colonia francesa Saint-Domingue (actual Haití). Era el hijo ilegítimo de un capitán de navío francés y su amante. Creció en Francia junto con su madrastra.

En 1803, su padre le consiguió un pasaporte falso para viajar a los Estados Unidos y así evitar su llamamiento a filas en las Guerras Napoleónicas.

Después de años de negocios exitosos en Pensilvania y Kentucky, sufrió una bancarrota. Esto lo obligó a esforzarse más en sus estudios de la naturaleza y en la pintura, y navegó por el río Misisipi con su arma, sus pinturas y un asistente con la intención de encontrar y pintar todas las aves de América del Norte. 

Su obra final -de la que os mostramos una muestra- trataba sobre los mamíferos, Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America y fue completada por su hijo y su hijastro.

fuente: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_James_Audubon

Cat-squirrels. Used to refer to either red squirrel or the Easten gray squirrel, both shown here.

Squirrels are just fancy-dress rats. Trust me here…physiologically, they’re basically the same. Squirrels tend to be significantly larger than black rats, but some brown rats can get up to the size of even a grey squirrel. 

Quadrupeds of North America. John James Audubon, 1851.

Black rats (Rattus rattus) are smaller and more agile than brown rats, and are known as “roof rats”, for their propensity to climb power lines and roofs and infest attics (as opposed to ground floors/cellars/sewers like brown rats do). They’re also the rats that carried the fleas that brought Yersinia pestis to Europe in the middle ages.

Quadrupeds of North America. John James Audubon. 1851.