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Shrews (Sorex), and the forms which most closely approxi- | 'Musaraigne' are brown at the tips. Now, as he invariably mate to that genus. speaks of this species without any adjunct to the name, in contradistinction to the Water Shrew, there can be no doubt, as far as this character is concerned, that the Continental and British animals may be identical; and there appears to be no reason, from any other characters, to doubt that such is the case. That more than one species have been confounded amongst the common Shrews of this country, I have long entertained a decided prepossession; but I have not at present sufficient ground to warrant me in describing them as distinct. (History of British Quadrupeds.)
Fod, Habits, Nest, &c.-Insects and worms are the food of the Common Shrew. Pennant states that it inhabits old walls. heaps of stones, and holes in the earth, and is frequently found near hay-ricks, dunghills, and similar places. The annual autumnal mortality among these animals, at which season (about August) they are so often found dead, has been observed by most, and satisfactorily accounted for by none, as far as we know. Pennant says, and Agricola, as we shall presently see, noticed the fact before him, that cats will kill but not eat them, being probably disgusted by their peculiar and somewhat musky smell; and the bodies of the dead shrews have been observed to be marked by a nip near the loins, as if by the bill of some rapacious bird. Kestrels and Owls however are known to prey upon them, and the bones of the head have been found in the stomach of the Barn Owl. Mr. Turner, of Bury St. Edmunds, detected among twenty casts from that owl, taken from a considerable mass, the skeletons of seven Shrews.
Shrews are very pugnacious; and Mr. Bell remarks that, if two be confined in a box together, a very short time elapses before the weaker of the two is killed and partly devoured; he also gives his reasons for supposing that shrews fall victims to the rapacity of moles. The nest, which is framed of soft grasses and other plants, s generally found in a hole more or less shallow in the ground, or a dry bank, and is entered at the side, being, so to speak, roofed over. Here the female produces in the spring from five to seven little Shrews.
The Geographical Distribution of the forms of these Soricide is wide: examples of them occur in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.
General Character.-Upper incisors curved and toothed or notched at the base; lower incisors nearly horizontal, all much produced. Body covered with soft and velvety fur. Muzzle very much attenuated; ears short and rounded. Five toes with moderately strong claws on each foot. generally long.
Dental Formula :-incisors; canines 0; molars =
Teeth of Sorex, from a large species taken iu the Isle of France, six times larger than nature. Example, Sorex araneus. Description.-Reddish mouse-colour above, paler beneath; tail somewhat quadrangular, rather shorter than the body, not ciliated beneath.
This appears to be the Musaraigne of the French; Toporango of the Italians; Murganho of the Spanish; Spitzmaus and Zismaus of the Germans; Nubbmus of the Swedes; Næbmuus and Muaseskier of the Danes; and Llygoden goch, Chwistlen, and Llyg of the antient British.
Mr. Bell, whose description we have above given, states that he has ventured, after some consideration, to retain the name of Araneus for the common Shrew of England, notwithstanding the doubts which have existed in the minds of many zoologists, and in which he had till lately participated. These doubts, he observes, have arisen from what he believes to be an erroneous statement of Geoffroy, who, in his paper on the Shrews, in the Annales du Muséum, has given as a character of Sorex araneus, that the teeth are all white; and as Daubenton, in his memoir on the same subject, in the Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences, does not mention the colour of the teeth at all, the authority, he adds, of Geoffroy has been sufficient to produce considerable hesitation as to whether the Sorex araneus of the Continental authors be identical with our common Shrew, which has invariably brown teeth. It seems however,' says Mr. Bell in continuation, to have been overlooked, that Daubenton, in his description of the Shrews in Buffon's Histoire Naturelle, has set the question at rest, as far as regards the colour of the teeth; for, in describing the Musaraigne,' Sorex araneus, he refers, for the account of the teeth, to his description of the Musaraigne d'eau,' S. fodiens; and we there find that the teeth of the
Among the antients, the Shrew-mouse had a very bad reputation. Thus Aristotle declares that its bite is dangerous to horses and other beasts of burthen; and that it is more dangerous if the Shrew-mouse be with young. The bite, he says, causes boils (pλúkraivai), and these burst, if the Shrew-mouse be pregnant when she inflicts the wound; but if she be not, they do not burst. (Hist. Anim., viii., 24.) Pliny states that the bite of the Italian Shrew-mice is venomous:-'In Italia muribus araneis venenatus est morsus.' (Nat. Hist., viii., 58.) With reference to this supposition, it is worthy of remark that the French apply the term musaraigne,' or 'musette,' to a disease of the horse, which manifests itself in a small tumour (anthrax) on the upper and internal part of the thigh, and is often accompanied by very severe symptoms.
Agricola, in his book De Animantibus Subterraneis, does not forget the antient traditions of the Shrew's venom, and thus hands them on:- The Mus Araneus,' says he, took its name among the Latins, because it injects venom from its bite, like a spider.' The Greek name, μvyáλŋ, he derives from the facts that it is of the size of a mouse, whilst it is of the colour of a weasel. In his description of the animal, he notices the termination of the teeth in both jaws in bifid points, whence, he remarks, animals bitten by it receive quadrifid wounds. He tells us that its bite in warm regions is generally pestiferous; but that in cold climates it is not, consoling those who may suffer by the not unusual assertion in such cases, that the animal itself torn asunder or dissected and placed upon the wound is a remedy for its own venom. Agricola states also that cats kill it, but abhorring this same venom, do not eat it.
This harmless little animal was also an object of fear and superstition to our ancestors. Mr. Bell gives the following etymological observations made by Mr. Thompson, of the London Institution:- Schreava, Angl. - Sax., a ShrewMouse; which, by biting cattle, it venometh them that they die.' (Somner.) Lye adds the orthography of Schreova. The etymon may possibly be found in Schreadan, to cut, or Schrif, to censure bitterly; or rather Scheorfian, to bite or gnaw (all Angl.-Sax.); and the ordinary notion is that the biting disposition expressed by the word Shrew comes from the name of the Shrew-Mouse; though Todd prefers deriving it from the German Schreien, to clamour, or from the Saxon Schryvan, to beguile. In the word Erdshrew the
prefix is clearly the Anglo-Saxon Eorth, earth-designed The Water-Shrew, whose habits are graphically described to express the animals habitation. The cry of the Common by Mr. Dovaston, in Loudon's Magazine (A1.), appears to be Shrew is shrill, but.feeble.
the Musaraigne d'Eau of the French. The Oared Shrew The etymological remarks here noticed prepare us for seems to have been first published as British in Sowerby's White's account of the superstition itself, involving the sup- British Miscellany, from a specimen taken by Dr. Hooker posed injury and the alleged remedy. At the south corner in Norfolk, under the name of Sorex ciliatus. of the Plestor, or area near the church,' says the author of The Sorex Indicus (S. myosurus, Pallas), or Musk-Rat o the . History of Selborne,' there stood about twenty years India, has much the same appearance in point of colour ago a very old grotesque hollow pollard-ash, which for ages and the size of its naked ears as our common Shrew, but is had been looked on with no small veneration as a shrew- nearly as large as our common brown_rat, and the tail is ash. Now a shrew-ash is an ash whose twigs or branches, round and thinly furnished with hairs. This species diffuses when gently applied to the limbs of cattle, will immediately a most powerful odour of musk, which impregnates everyrelieve the pains which a beast suffers from the running of thing that is touched by it. It has been alleged that even a shreu-mouse over the part affected: for it is supposed that the wine in a well-corked bottle over which the animal has a shrew-mouse is of so baneful and deleterious a nature, that run has been rendered unfit for use in consequence of the whenever it creeps over a beast, be it horse, cow, or sheep, flavour imparted to it. Cuvier states that this species is the suffering animal is afflicted with cruel anguish, and found throughout the East Indies and in a part of Africa, threatened with the loss of the use of the limb. Against and that it is among the animals embalmed by the antient this accident, to which they were continually liable, our pro- Egyptians; but, according to others, it is Sorex Olivieri, vident forefathers always kept a shrew-ash at hand, which, Desm., which Olivier found in a mummy state in the catawhen once medicated, would maintain its virtue for ever. combs of Sakkara. A shrew-ash was made thus: into the body of the tree a
Mygale.* deep hole was bored with an auger, and a poor devoted Generic Character.-Great lower incisors having between shrew-mouse was thrust in alive and plugged in, no doubt them two very small teeth. Muzzle in a very small and with several quaint incantations long since forgotten. As very moveable proboscis. Ears short. Five unguiculated the ceremonies necessary for such a consecration are no toes on each foot united by a membrane. Tail long, scaly, longer understood, all succession is at an end, and no such compressed laterally. tree is known to subsist in the manor or hundred. As to
10-10 that on the Plestor
Dental Formula :-incisors, canines, molars,
7-7 " The late vicar stubb'd and burnt it,"
= 44.+ when he was way-warden, regardless of the remonstrance of the bystanders, who interceded in vain for its preservation, urging its power and efficacy, and alleging that it had been
" Religione patrum mullos servata per annos." ' Thus do old superstitions die away. It would seem that the antidote was not confined to an ash-tree, but that different kinds of trees were used for the same purpose. If a person or animal, thus shrew-afflicted, was passed through The arch of a bramble, both ends of which were rooted and growing, his cure was considered as effected. In Staffordshire a tree endowed with the curative power was called a nurstow-tree. Those who saw one of these little animals running over cattle and attributed that action to its malig
Teeth of the upper jar of Mygale moschata, F, Cuv. nity, never stopped to inquire whether their approach had mot suddenly disturbed it from its feast of insects harbour
Example. Mygale moschata, Castor moschatus, Linn. ing in cattle droppings, which are generally to be found in naked, contracted at its base, cylindrical
, and convex in its
Description.— Tail shorter than the body, scaly, nearly the close vicinity of the spot where ihe cattle are lying.
middle, very much compressed vertically at its extremity; fur brown or dusky above, whitish ash below: total lengih, including the tail, about 15 inches, of which the tail measures eight.
This appears to be the Dæsman of the Fauna Suecica; Le Desman of the i'rench; the Biesamratze of the Ger. mans; the Wychozhol of the Russians; and the Muscovy or Musk-rat of the British.
Loculity. The river Wolga, and the adjacent lakes from Novgorod to Saratov.
Habits, &c.—This species does not appear to have been seen on dry land; and indeed it is broadly asserted that it never goes there, but wanders from lake to lake in fortuitous floods.only. It is often seen swimming or walking under the water, and coming for air to the surface, where, in clear weather, it is apt to sport. Stagnant waters shut in by high banks are its favourite localities, and in such places it makes burrows some twenty feet in length. Its principal
food is alleged to consist of fish, leeches, and the larve of The other British Shrews are the Water-Shrew, Sorex its stomach. ’Its pace is slow; but it does not seem to be
water-insects; but fragments of roots have been found in fodiens, Pallas, and the Oared Shrew, Sorex remifer, torpid in winter, at which season it is often taken in nets. Geoff.
The holes which it makes in cliffs and banks have the entrance far beneath the lowest level of the water, and the animal works upwards, never however reaching the surface, but only sufficiently high to secure itself from the highest rise of ihe river. Fish, as we have seen, forms part of its food, but the quadruped in its turn falls a victim to the Pikes and Siluri, whose flesh becomes so impregnated with the flavour of musk in consequence, as to be not eatable.
• N.B. This uame having been pre-occupied among the moderns for a genus b
of insects, Fischer propuses that of Myogalea, and Brandt that of Myegale; but
Elian uses Mvyáły to designate a Shrew-mouse, and so does Aristotle. Order surface of hinder feet of Shrews. (Bell.) a, Common Shrew. + This formula, given by M. Lesson, has the authority of M. F. Cuvier for b, Water-Shrew, c, Oared Shrew.
the teeth of the upper jaw, and of Geoffroy (in the case of Mygale Pyrenaica) for those of the lower jaw.
The Common Shrew.
Utility to Man-From the region about the tail a sort of musk, resembling the genuine sort, is expressed; and the skins are put into chests and wardrobes among clothes, for the purpose of preserving them from moths. These skins were also supposed to guard the wearers of them from fevers and pestilence. The price at Orenburg for the skins and tails was formerly twenty copecs per hundred. They were so common near Nischnei Novgorod, that the peasants were wont to bring five hundred each to market, where they sold a hundred of them for a ruble.
Generic Character.-Muzzle pointed and cartilaginous; no external ears. Three toes on the anterior feet, which are short, wide, and armed with strong claws fit for burrowing; posterior feet feeble, with five toes. Tail short.
Dental Formula:-Incisors; grinders
accuracy is well known.
Habits, &c.-Dr. Richardson states that the Shrew-Mo.e resembles the common European mole in its habits, in leading a subterranean life, forming galleries, throwing up little mounds of earth, and in feeding principally on earth-worms and grubs. The individual domesticated by Mr. Titian Peale is described by Dr. Godman, who paid much attention to the manners of these animals, and who relates that they are most active in the early part of the morning, at mid-day, and in the evening, coming daily to the surface, when in their natural state, at noon. Then they may be taken by driving a spade beneath them, and throwing them on the ground, but they are hard to be caught at any other time of the day. They burrow in a variety of soils, but in wet seasons they retire to the high grounds. Mr. Peale's shrew-mole fed largely on fresh meat, cooked or raw, drank freely, was lively and playful, followed the hand of its feeder by scent, burrowed for a short distance in loose earth, and, after making a small circle, returned for more food. It employed its flexible snout in a singular manner whilst it was eating, in order to thrust the food into its mouth, doubling it so as to force it directly backwards.
The same author remarks that Sir Charles Mackenzie saw many animals, which he terms moles,' on the banks of a small stream near the sources of the Columbia; but Example, Scalops Canadensis, Cuv, Sorex aquaticus, as it may be inferred that they were in numbers above Linn. ground, Dr. Richardson is inclined to think that they were
Teeth of Scalops.
Description. Body thick and cylindrical. like that of the common mole, without any distinct neck; limbs very short, being concealed by the skin of the body nearly down to the wrist and ankle-joints; fore extremities situated nearly under the auditory opening; the moveable snout almost linear, and projecting about four lines and a half beyond the incisors, naked at its extremity, particularly above, thinly clothed with hairs below for about two-thirds of its length next the incisors: a conspicuous furrow extends nearly its whole length, on the upper surface, and beneath there is also a furrow, reaching half its length from the incisors, beyond which last the snout is transversely wrinkled beneath, and its small, flat, or truncated extremity is smooth and callous; the small oblong nostrils open in an inclined space immediately above this circular callous end. The eyes are concealed by the fur, and scarcely to be found in dried specimens. According to Godman the aperture in the skin is just big enough to admit an ordinary human hair. The auditory openings covered by the fur, and no external ear; tail thickest about one-third from its root, and tapering thence to the acute tip; it is whitish, sparingly clothed with short hairs, and its vertebræ are equally foursided; fore-arm slender, projecting about three lines from the body, and consequently concealed by the fur; the five extremely short fingers, united to the roots of the nails, form, with the wrist, a large nearly circular palm; the nails are large, white, and semilanceolate in form, with narrow obtuse points, convex above, and slightly hollowed beneath; the middle one is the largest, the others gradually diminish on each side, and the exterior one is the smallest; the palms are turned outwards and backwards, and the whole fore-foot bears a close resemblance to that of the common mole; the hind-feet are more slender than the fore-feet, and the nails are one-half shorter, much more compressed, and sharper, in fact nearly subulate. They have a slight curvature laterally corresponding with the direction of the toes inwards, and are somewhat arched, but cannot be said to be hooked; they are excavated underneath. Both fore and hind feet are thinly clothed above with adpressed pale hairs; the palms and soles are naked, but are bordered posteriorly with white hairs, which curve a little over them; the fur has the same velvety appearance with that which clothes the common mole, and is considerably lustrous on the surface. In most lights it is brownish-black; when blown aside, it shows a greyish-black colour, from the roots to near the tips. Such is the general colour over the whole body, but there is a slight chesnut-brown tinge on the forehead and about the base of the snout. On the throat the fur is shorter and paler. Length of head and body 7 inches 8 lines, and of tail 1 inch 6 lines. Such is, in substance, the accurate description by Dr. Richardson of this species, which, according to him, is the Brown-Mole of Pennant; the Shrew-Mole of Godman; the Mole of Lewis and Clarke; and the Musaraigne-Taupe of Cuvier.
Locality. The banks of the Columbia and the adjoining coasts of the Pacific, where it occurs in considerable numbers. (Richardson.)
Sewellels, belonging to the genus Aplodontia [MURIDE, vol. xv., p. 515], and not Shrew-moles; but the latter did not obtain recent specimens of the Shrew-mole during the expedition to which he was attached, and is unable to say what are the exact limits of its range to the northward. He does not think however that it can exist, at least on the east side of the Rocky Mountains, beyond the fiftieth degree of latitude; because the earth-worm on which the Scalops, like the German mole, principally feeds, is unknown to the Hudson's Bay countries. On the milder Pacific shore, it may, perhaps, he thinks, reach a somewhat higher latitude. He remarks that there are two specimens of the Shrewmole from the Columbia preserved in the museum of the Hudson's Bay Company, and he states that Mr. David Douglas had kindly furnished him with others which he obtained in the same quarter. Dr. Richardson further observes that the Columbian animal seems to be of larger dimensions, and has a longer tail than the Shrew-moles of the United States, but he had not detected any other peculiarities by which it might be characterised as a distinct species; and he adverts to the fact that authors, probably from their specimens being of different ages, have varied considerably in their descriptions of the dentition of the Scalops, and that several of them have mentioned edentate spaces between the incisors and grinders. In the adult animal from which his description was taken, no such spaces existed.
M. Lesson makes the Scalops Pennsylvanica the type of his genus Talpasorex, acknowledging however that it only differs from Scalops in its dental formula, which he gives =40. It will
thus:-Incisors; Canines 0; Molars
be well for the student to bear in mind, with reference to the genus proposed by M. Lesson, Dr. Richardson's observations on the dentition of Scalops above noticed.
With regard to the question of the existence of true Moles in North America, the following remarks of the last-mentioned accurate and diligent author are also worthy of attention. From the great resemblance of the shrewmole to the common one,' says Dr. Richardson, 'they might be readily mistaken for each other by a common observer; and Bartram and others, who have asserted the existence of a species of the genus Talpa in America, are, on this account, supposed, by later writers, to have been mistaken. There are however several true moles in the Museum of the Zoological Society which were brought from America, and which differ from the ordinary European species in being of a smaller size, and in having a shorter and thicker snout. Their fur is brownish-black. I could not learn what aistrict of America they came from.' (Fauna BorealiAmericana.)
Generic Character-Muzzle narrow, ending anteriorly in a long and subcylindrical proboscis, having nostrils at its apex. Eyes moderate. Ears large and round. Body furry. Tail elongated, scaly, anpulated, and furnished scantily with hairs. Feet distinct, plantigrade, and five-toed; the claws falcular. Hind-legs much shorter than the fore-feet.
Dental Formula.-incisors; canines 40. (Smith.)
P. C., No. 1392.
Skull and teeth of Macroscelides Typicus.
a, Upper surface of the skull of M. Typicus, nat. size; b, lateral parts of the same, nat size; c, lower jaw of the same, nat. size; d, under surface of the skull of the same, double the nat. size; e, lower jaw of the same, double the nat. size. (Smith.)
Example, Macroscelides typicus.
Description.-Above brown, brightened by an intermixture of tawny; beneath whitish; extremities covered with a very short whitish hair; ears within, scantily furnished with some of a similar colour, without, nearly bare; tail thinly clothed with a stiff short black hair; whiskers near the base of the proboscis, each hair variegated black and white; claws short, black, compressed, and pointed. Length from nostrils to root of tail four inches and threequarters; length of tail three inches and a quarter.
The colour of both sexes is nearly alike.
Locality, Habits, &c.-Inhabits the open country in the interior of South Africa, and is occasionally seen during the day about the roots of bushes or amongst brushwood, from whence, upon being discovered, it instantly retreats to its natural and subterraneous habitation. (Zool. Journ.)
Dr. Smith, in his Illustrations of the Zoology of South
Africa, thus further describes the appearance and habits of M. typicus which he had first recorded in the Zoological Journal under the name of M. Typus. The shape, breadth, and shortness of the ears, together with the comparatively. dense coating of fur by which both their inner and outer VOL. XXII.-2 M
surfaces are covered, enable us readily to distinguish this species from any of the others which have yet been discovered in Southern Africa. It is found inhabiting open arid plains, particularly such as bear a tin coating of brushwood. It lives in burrows under ground, the passage to which is usually for some distance below the surface almost perpendicular; it vacates these during a great portion of the day, and is employed either in seeking its food or basking in the solar rays. To the latter it is very partial, and for the purpose of insuring the greatest quantum of heat, it usually sits erect upon its hinder legs, and facing the direction from which the heat proceeds. When disturbed while occupied in either of the ways mentioned, it flies immediately to its subterranean retreat, and its progress is effected with such rapidity, that it is impossible to discover anything either of the form or the real nature of the animal as it advances. On this account I was familiar with the general appearance it presents on such occasions long before I had any idea of its real character. It feeds upon insects. The discovery of this little animal in 1828, rendered the institution of a new group of Insectivora necessary. When its characters were indicated in 1829, M. typicus was only known; at present the number of described species are seven, six of which belong to Southern Africa and one to Algiers.'
cereal grains, and may be considered the representative of the Indian corn (Zea Mays) in America, where it is usu ally called Guinea corn, and in some works the Great or Indian Millet. The different kinds are usually called joar in India, where they form principal objects of culture, and one of much more importance than would appear in Europe, as many of the inhabitants live as much upon these small or dry grains as upon rice. The joar is the durra of sou Arab tribes, and the zurrut of others; its Indian origin is indicated by the Persian name, jawurs Hindee. It is extensively cultivated throughout Asia, and appears to be the tall corn of the Chinese. It has been introduced into the south of Europe, where it is chiefly employed for feeding cattle and poultry, but it is also made into cakes. The flour is white and a good deal resembles that of the Indian corn in nature. The species commonly sown in India are S. vul gare and S. bicolor (kala-joar). S. cernuum is a distinct species, which forms the principal food of the mountaineers of the Munnipore district. S. saccharatum is also cultivated in many parts during the rainy and cold seasons, on land which is too high for rice. The stalks and straw of all are much valued as fodder for cattle, being cut in o small pieces, commonly called kurbee.
Dr. Smith, in the Zoological Journal, places this genus immediately after Sorex, and the reader will find most of the species beautifully depicted and accurately described in the illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa above quoted.
SO'RIA, a small province of Spain, bounded on the north by the province of Logroño, on the south by that of Siguenza, to the east by Aragon, and to the west by the province of Burgos. The capital, Sória, is situated on the right bank of the river Douro, about 30 miles from its source, in 41° 34' N. lat. and 2° 24' W. long. It is supposed to occupy the site of the antient Numantia. It owes its foundation to the Syrian Arabs, who settled in Spain after the conquest of the country by Músa, and gave it the name of Súria, whence Sória. The town is surrounded by a thick and strong wall, built in the year 1290, by one of the kings of Castile, and is commanded by a strong citadel, now in ruins, which is the work of the Moors. The population, according to Minaño, did not exceed 7000 souls in 1832. The chief trade of the inhabitants consists in the breeding of cattle, and a few tan-yards. It contains nine parishes, one of which is collegiate.
SORUS, in botany (from owpóc, a heap'), a term applied to the collections of the sporangia or capsules which are found on the edges or the under surface of the fronds of ferns. In most instances, as in the Aspidiaceae, Aspleniaceæ, Davilliaceae, &c., the sori are covered with a peculiar projecting portion of the epidermis, which is called the Indusium, and forms an important part in the systematie arrangement of these plants. In some instances, as in Adianthum and Ceratopteris, the substance of the leaf has a share in the formation of the indusium. It has been generally admitted that the indusium is the analogue of the bract in the higher plants, but Treviranus maintains that it is an entirely peculiar organ, nor, according to this view, can it be looked upon as a mere extension of the epidermis. In looking for analogies between flowering and flowerless plants, Kölreuter supposed that the indusium represented the stamens. [SPORE.]
The term sorus is sometimes applied to mere collections of spores or granules, as seen in many Algae, of which Delesseria alata and D. sinuosa are examples.
Macroscelides typicus. (Reduced from Dr. Smith's figure.)
This, or one of the species,--but most probably this, seems to be the Elephant Shrew of Pennant, and thus described: S. with a very long, slender, and little nose; the whole animal of a deep brown colour. Inhabits the neighbourhood of the Cape of Good Hope: called the Elephant, from its proboscis-like snout: engraven from a drawing by Mr. Paterson.' Pennant further remarks that this animal has been very ill represented by Petiver, in Tab. xxiii. of his Gazophylacii Nature et Artis Decas tertia, and truly so it is: but Pennant's figure is not much better. Petiver's description is 9. Mus araneus Capensis maximus. Taken from a painting of Dr. Sherard's, now consul of Smyrna.' SOREL. [CANADA.]
SOREL. AGNES. [CHARLES VII. of France.]
SORGHUM, a genus of grasses, said to be named from the Oriental name of one of the species, of which sorgo is the Italian name. The species have sometimes been referred to Holcus, sometimes to Andropogon, but from their habit and uses they seem well entitled to be considered as a distinct genus, which may be characterized as having the flowers monoecious, panicled; glume coriaceous, cartilaginous, 2-flowered; the upper flower hermaphrodite, the lower palea more or less deeply bifid and awned between the lobes, the upper often wanting. The species form tall grasses with succulent stems, and are found in the tropical parts of Asia, whence they have spread to the warm parts of Europe. S. vulgare is the largest of the small
SOSI'GENES, an Egyptian astronomer, who was brought to Rome by Julius Caesar, to superintend the correction of the calendar. He is said to have lived at Rome till the time of Augustus, and to have assisted in the further correction which took place in the reign of that emperor. But beyond this nothing is known of his life, death, or pursuits. For some detail of the correction see YEAR. SOSPELLO. [NICE.]
SO'STRATUS of CNIDUS. [ALEXANDRIA.] SOTHIAC PERIOD. The antient Egyptian year consisted only of 365 days, without any intercalation; and was divided into 12 months of 30 days each, with 5 days added at the end. (Herodotus, ii. 4.) The Scholiast on Ara tus informs us that the priests were sworn never to alter this year. This oath, we may conjecture, only came into use after the discovery of the fact that a fraction of a day more would have been desirable to make the civil year conform to the sun. As long as 365 days was imagined to be the real year, it is not likely that they would have sworn each other to its observance; but if, after the discovery, a party were formed in favour of an alteration, the attempt to pre