The History of Animals
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The History of Animals
Written 350 B.C.E
Translated by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson
Of the parts of animals some are simple: to wit, all such as divide into
parts uniform with themselves, as flesh into flesh; others are composite,
such as divide into parts not uniform with themselves, as, for instance,
the hand does not divide into hands nor the face into
And of such as these, some are called not parts merely, but limbs
or members. Such are those parts that, while entire in themselves, have
within themselves other diverse parts: as for instance, the head, foot,
hand, the arm as a whole, the chest; for these are all in themselves entire
parts, and there are other diverse parts belonging to
All those parts that do not subdivide into parts uniform with themselves
are composed of parts that do so subdivide, for instance, hand is composed
of flesh, sinews, and bones. Of animals, some resemble one another in all
their parts, while others have parts wherein they differ. Sometimes the
parts are identical in form or species, as, for instance, one man's nose
or eye resembles another man's nose or eye, flesh flesh, and bone bone;
and in like manner with a horse, and with all other animals which we reckon
to be of one and the same species: for as the whole is to the whole, so
each to each are the parts severally. In other cases the parts are identical,
save only for a difference in the way of excess or defect, as is the case
in such animals as are of one and the same genus. By 'genus' I mean, for
instance, Bird or Fish, for each of these is subject to difference in respect
of its genus, and there are many species of fishes and of
Within the limits of genera, most of the parts as a rule exhibit
differences through contrast of the property or accident, such as colour
and shape, to which they are subject: in that some are more and some in
a less degree the subject of the same property or accident; and also in
the way of multitude or fewness, magnitude or parvitude, in short in the
way of excess or defect. Thus in some the texture of the flesh is soft,
in others firm; some have a long bill, others a short one; some have abundance
of feathers, others have only a small quantity. It happens further that
some have parts that others have not: for instance, some have spurs and
others not, some have crests and others not; but as a general rule, most
parts and those that go to make up the bulk of the body are either identical
with one another, or differ from one another in the way of contrast and
of excess and defect. For 'the more' and 'the less' may be represented
as 'excess' or 'defect'.
Once again, we may have to do with animals whose parts are neither
identical in form nor yet identical save for differences in the way of
excess or defect: but they are the same only in the way of analogy, as,
for instance, bone is only analogous to fish-bone, nail to hoof, hand to
claw, and scale to feather; for what the feather is in a bird, the scale
is in a fish.
The parts, then, which animals severally possess are diverse from,
or identical with, one another in the fashion above described. And they
are so furthermore in the way of local disposition: for many animals have
identical organs that differ in position; for instance, some have teats
in the breast, others close to the thighs.
Of the substances that are composed of parts uniform (or homogeneous)
with themselves, some are soft and moist, others are dry and solid. The
soft and moist are such either absolutely or so long as they are in their
natural conditions, as, for instance, blood, serum, lard, suet, marrow,
sperm, gall, milk in such as have it flesh and the like; and also, in a
different way, the superfluities, as phlegm and the excretions of the belly
and the bladder. The dry and solid are such as sinew, skin, vein, hair,
bone, gristle, nail, horn (a term which as applied to the part involves
an ambiguity, since the whole also by virtue of its form is designated
horn), and such parts as present an analogy to these.
Animals differ from one another in their modes of subsistence,
in their actions, in their habits, and in their parts. Concerning these
differences we shall first speak in broad and general terms, and subsequently
we shall treat of the same with close reference to each particular
Differences are manifested in modes of subsistence, in habits,
in actions performed. For instance, some animals live in water and others
on land. And of those that live in water some do so in one way, and some
in another: that is to say, some live and feed in the water, take in and
emit water, and cannot live if deprived of water, as is the case with the
great majority of fishes; others get their food and spend their days in
the water, but do not take in water but air, nor do they bring forth in
the water. Many of these creatures are furnished with feet, as the otter,
the beaver, and the crocodile; some are furnished with wings, as the diver
and the grebe; some are destitute of feet, as the water-snake. Some creatures
get their living in the water and cannot exist outside it: but for all
that do not take in either air or water, as, for instance, the sea-nettle
and the oyster. And of creatures that live in the water some live in the
sea, some in rivers, some in lakes, and some in marshes, as the frog and
Of animals that live on dry land some take in air and emit it,
which phenomena are termed 'inhalation' and 'exhalation'; as, for instance,
man and all such land animals as are furnished with lungs. Others, again,
do not inhale air, yet live and find their sustenance on dry land; as,
for instance, the wasp, the bee, and all other insects. And by 'insects'
I mean such creatures as have nicks or notches on their bodies, either
on their bellies or on both backs and bellies.
And of land animals many, as has been said, derive their subsistence
from the water; but of creatures that live in and inhale water not a single
one derives its subsistence from dry land.
Some animals at first live in water, and by and by change their
shape and live out of water, as is the case with river worms, for out of
these the gadfly develops.
Furthermore, some animals are stationary, and some are erratic.
Stationary animals are found in water, but no such creature is found on
dry land. In the water are many creatures that live in close adhesion to
an external object, as is the case with several kinds of oyster. And, by
the way, the sponge appears to be endowed with a certain sensibility: as
a proof of which it is alleged that the difficulty in detaching it from
its moorings is increased if the movement to detach it be not covertly
Other creatures adhere at one time to an object and detach themselves
from it at other times, as is the case with a species of the so-called
sea-nettle; for some of these creatures seek their food in the night-time
loose and unattached.
Many creatures are unattached but motionless, as is the case with
oysters and the so-called holothuria. Some can swim, as, for instance,
fishes, molluscs, and crustaceans, such as the crawfish. But some of these
last move by walking, as the crab, for it is the nature of the creature,
though it lives in water, to move by walking.
Of land animals some are furnished with wings, such as birds and
bees, and these are so furnished in different ways one from another; others
are furnished with feet. Of the animals that are furnished with feet some
walk, some creep, and some wriggle. But no creature is able only to move
by flying, as the fish is able only to swim, for the animals with leathern
wings can walk; the bat has feet and the seal has imperfect
Some birds have feet of little power, and are therefore called
Apodes. This little bird is powerful on the wing; and, as a rule, birds
that resemble it are weak-footed and strong winged, such as the swallow
and the drepanis or (?) Alpine swift; for all these birds resemble one
another in their habits and in their plumage, and may easily be mistaken
one for another. (The apus is to be seen at all seasons, but the drepanis
only after rainy weather in summer; for this is the time when it is seen
and captured, though, as a general rule, it is a rare
Again, some animals move by walking on the ground as well as by
swimming in water.
Furthermore, the following differences are manifest in their modes
of living and in their actions. Some are gregarious, some are solitary,
whether they be furnished with feet or wings or be fitted for a life in
the water; and some partake of both characters, the solitary and the gregarious.
And of the gregarious, some are disposed to combine for social purposes,
others to live each for its own self.
Gregarious creatures are, among birds, such as the pigeon, the
crane, and the swan; and, by the way, no bird furnished with crooked talons
is gregarious. Of creatures that live in water many kinds of fishes are
gregarious, such as the so-called migrants, the tunny, the pelamys, and
Man, by the way, presents a mixture of the two characters, the
gregarious and the solitary.
Social creatures are such as have some one common object in view;
and this property is not common to all creatures that are gregarious. Such
social creatures are man, the bee, the wasp, the ant, and the
Again, of these social creatures some submit to a ruler, others
are subject to no governance: as, for instance, the crane and the several
sorts of bee submit to a ruler, whereas ants and numerous other creatures
are every one his own master.
And again, both of gregarious and of solitary animals, some are
attached to a fixed home and others are erratic or nomad.
Also, some are carnivorous, some graminivorous, some omnivorous:
whilst some feed on a peculiar diet, as for instance the bees and the spiders,
for the bee lives on honey and certain other sweets, and the spider lives
by catching flies; and some creatures live on fish. Again, some creatures
catch their food, others treasure it up; whereas others do not
Some creatures provide themselves with a dwelling, others go without
one: of the former kind are the mole, the mouse, the ant, the bee; of the
latter kind are many insects and quadrupeds. Further, in respect to locality
of dwelling place, some creatures dwell under ground, as the lizard and
the snake; others live on the surface of the ground, as the horse and the
dog. make to themselves holes, others do not
Some are nocturnal, as the owl and the bat; others live in the
Moreover, some creatures are tame and some are wild: some are at
all times tame, as man and the mule; others are at all times savage, as
the leopard and the wolf; and some creatures can be rapidly tamed, as the
Again, we may regard animals in another light. For, whenever a
race of animals is found domesticated, the same is always to be found in
a wild condition; as we find to be the case with horses, kine, swine, (men),
sheep, goats, and dogs.
Further, some animals emit sound while others are mute, and some
are endowed with voice: of these latter some have articulate speech, while
others are inarticulate; some are given to continual chirping and twittering
some are prone to silence; some are musical, and some unmusical; but all
animals without exception exercise their power of singing or chattering
chiefly in connexion with the intercourse of the sexes.
Again, some creatures live in the fields, as the cushat; some on
the mountains, as the hoopoe; some frequent the abodes of men, as the
Some, again, are peculiarly salacious, as the partridge, the barn-door
cock and their congeners; others are inclined to chastity, as the whole
tribe of crows, for birds of this kind indulge but rarely in sexual
Of marine animals, again, some live in the open seas, some near
the shore, some on rocks.
Furthermore, some are combative under offence; others are provident
for defence. Of the former kind are such as act as aggressors upon others
or retaliate when subjected to ill usage, and of the latter kind are such
as merely have some means of guarding themselves against
Animals also differ from one another in regard to character in
the following respects. Some are good-tempered, sluggish, and little prone
to ferocity, as the ox; others are quick tempered, ferocious and unteachable,
as the wild boar; some are intelligent and timid, as the stag and the hare;
others are mean and treacherous, as the snake; others are noble and courageous
and high-bred, as the lion; others are thorough-bred and wild and treacherous,
as the wolf: for, by the way, an animal is highbred if it come from a noble
stock, and an animal is thorough-bred if it does not deflect from its racial
Further, some are crafty and mischievous, as the fox; some are
spirited and affectionate and fawning, as the dog; others are easy-tempered
and easily domesticated, as the elephant; others are cautious and watchful,
as the goose; others are jealous and self-conceited, as the peacock. But
of all animals man alone is capable of deliberation.
Many animals have memory, and are capable of instruction; but no
other creature except man can recall the past at will.
With regard to the several genera of animals, particulars as to
their habits of life and modes of existence will be discussed more fully
by and by.
Common to all animals are the organs whereby they take food and
the organs where into they take it; and these are either identical with
one another, or are diverse in the ways above specified: to wit, either
identical in form, or varying in respect of excess or defect, or resembling
one another analogically, or differing in position.
Furthermore, the great majority of animals have other organs besides
these in common, whereby they discharge the residuum of their food: I say,
the great majority, for this statement does not apply to all. And, by the
way, the organ whereby food is taken in is called the mouth, and the organ
whereinto it is taken, the belly; the remainder of the alimentary system
has a great variety of names.
Now the residuum of food is twofold in kind, wet and dry, and such
creatures as have organs receptive of wet residuum are invariably found
with organs receptive of dry residuum; but such as have organs receptive
of dry residuum need not possess organs receptive of wet residuum. In other
words, an animal has a bowel or intestine if it have a bladder; but an
animal may have a bowel and be without a bladder. And, by the way, I may
here remark that the organ receptive of wet residuum is termed 'bladder',
and the organ receptive of dry residuum 'intestine or
Of animals otherwise, a great many have, besides the organs above-mentioned,
an organ for excretion of the sperm: and of animals capable of generation
one secretes into another, and the other into itself. The latter is termed
'female', and the former 'male'; but some animals have neither male nor
female. Consequently, the organs connected with this function differ in
form, for some animals have a womb and others an organ analogous
The above-mentioned organs, then, are the most indispensable parts
of animals; and with some of them all animals without exception, and with
others animals for the most part, must needs be provided.
One sense, and one alone, is common to all animals-the sense of
touch. Consequently, there is no special name for the organ in which it
has its seat; for in some groups of animals the organ is identical, in
others it is only analogous.
Every animal is supplied with moisture, and, if the animal be deprived
of the same by natural causes or artificial means, death ensues: further,
every animal has another part in which the moisture is contained. These
parts are blood and vein, and in other animals there is something to correspond;
but in these latter the parts are imperfect, being merely fibre and serum
Touch has its seat in a part uniform and homogeneous, as in the
flesh or something of the kind, and generally, with animals supplied with
blood, in the parts charged with blood. In other animals it has its seat
in parts analogous to the parts charged with blood; but in all cases it
is seated in parts that in their texture are homogeneous.
The active faculties, on the contrary, are seated in the parts
that are heterogeneous: as, for instance, the business of preparing the
food is seated in the mouth, and the office of locomotion in the feet,
the wings, or in organs to correspond.
Again, some animals are supplied with blood, as man, the horse,
and all such animals as are, when full-grown, either destitute of feet,
or two-footed, or four-footed; other animals are bloodless, such as the
bee and the wasp, and, of marine animals, the cuttle-fish, the crawfish,
and all such animals as have more than four feet.
Again, some animals are viviparous, others oviparous, others vermiparous
or 'grub-bearing'. Some are viviparous, such as man, the horse, the seal,
and all other animals that are hair-coated, and, of marine animals, the
cetaceans, as the dolphin, and the so-called Selachia. (Of these latter
animals, some have a tubular air-passage and no gills, as the dolphin and
the whale: the dolphin with the air-passage going through its back, the
whale with the air-passage in its forehead; others have uncovered gills,
as the Selachia, the sharks and rays.)
What we term an egg is a certain completed result of conception
out of which the animal that is to be develops, and in such a way that
in respect to its primitive germ it comes from part only of the egg, while
the rest serves for food as the germ develops. A 'grub' on the other hand
is a thing out of which in its entirety the animal in its entirety develops,
by differentiation and growth of the embryo.
Of viviparous animals, some hatch eggs in their own interior, as
creatures of the shark kind; others engender in their interior a live foetus,
as man and the horse. When the result of conception is perfected, with
some animals a living creature is brought forth, with others an egg is
brought to light, with others a grub. Of the eggs, some have egg-shells
and are of two different colours within, such as birds' eggs; others are
soft-skinned and of uniform colour, as the eggs of animals of the shark
kind. Of the grubs, some are from the first capable of movement, others
are motionless. However, with regard to these phenomena we shall speak
precisely hereafter when we come to treat of Generation.
Furthermore, some animals have feet and some are destitute thereof.
Of such as have feet some animals have two, as is the case with men and
birds, and with men and birds only; some have four, as the lizard and the
dog; some have more, as the centipede and the bee; but allsoever that have
feet have an even number of them.
Of swimming creatures that are destitute of feet, some have winglets
or fins, as fishes: and of these some have four fins, two above on the
back, two below on the belly, as the gilthead and the basse; some have
two only,-to wit, such as are exceedingly long and smooth, as the eel and
the conger; some have none at all, as the muraena, but use the sea just
as snakes use dry ground-and by the way, snakes swim in water in just the
same way. Of the shark-kind some have no fins, such as those that are flat
and long-tailed, as the ray and the sting-ray, but these fishes swim actually
by the undulatory motion of their flat bodies; the fishing frog, however,
has fins, and so likewise have all such fishes as have not their flat surfaces
thinned off to a sharp edge.
Of those swimming creatures that appear to have feet, as is the
case with the molluscs, these creatures swim by the aid of their feet and
their fins as well, and they swim most rapidly backwards in the direction
of the trunk, as is the case with the cuttle-fish or sepia and the calamary;
and, by the way, neither of these latter can walk as the poulpe or octopus
The hard-skinned or crustaceous animals, like the crawfish, swim
by the instrumentality of their tail-parts; and they swim most rapidly
tail foremost, by the aid of the fins developed upon that member. The newt
swims by means of its feet and tail; and its tail resembles that of the
sheatfish, to compare little with great.
Of animals that can fly some are furnished with feathered wings,
as the eagle and the hawk; some are furnished with membranous wings, as
the bee and the cockchafer; others are furnished with leathern wings, as
the flying fox and the bat. All flying creatures possessed of blood have
feathered wings or leathern wings; the bloodless creatures have membranous
wings, as insects. The creatures that have feathered wings or leathern
wings have either two feet or no feet at all: for there are said to be
certain flying serpents in Ethiopia that are destitute of
Creatures that have feathered wings are classed as a genus under
the name of 'bird'; the other two genera, the leathern-winged and membrane-winged,
are as yet without a generic title.
Of creatures that can fly and are bloodless some are coleopterous
or sheath-winged, for they have their wings in a sheath or shard, like
the cockchafer and the dung-beetle; others are sheathless, and of these
latter some are dipterous and some tetrapterous: tetrapterous, such as
are comparatively large or have their stings in the tail, dipterous, such
as are comparatively small or have their stings in front. The coleoptera
are, without exception, devoid of stings; the diptera have the sting in
front, as the fly, the horsefly, the gadfly, and the
Bloodless animals as a general rule are inferior in point of size
to blooded animals; though, by the way, there are found in the sea some
few bloodless creatures of abnormal size, as in the case of certain molluscs.
And of these bloodless genera, those are the largest that dwell in milder
climates, and those that inhabit the sea are larger than those living on
dry land or in fresh water.
All creatures that are capable of motion move with four or more
points of motion; the blooded animals with four only: as, for instance,
man with two hands and two feet, birds with two wings and two feet, quadrupeds
and fishes severally with four feet and four fins. Creatures that have
two winglets or fins, or that have none at all like serpents, move all
the same with not less than four points of motion; for there are four bends
in their bodies as they move, or two bends together with their fins. Bloodless
and many footed animals, whether furnished with wings or feet, move with
more than four points of motion; as, for instance, the dayfly moves with
four feet and four wings: and, I may observe in passing, this creature
is exceptional not only in regard to the duration of its existence, whence
it receives its name, but also because though a quadruped it has wings
All animals move alike, four-footed and many-footed; in other words,
they all move cross-corner-wise. And animals in general have two feet in
advance; the crab alone has four.
Very extensive genera of animals, into which other subdivisions
fall, are the following: one, of birds; one, of fishes; and another, of
cetaceans. Now all these creatures are blooded.
There is another genus of the hard-shell kind, which is called
oyster; another of the soft-shell kind, not as yet designated by a single
term, such as the spiny crawfish and the various kinds of crabs and lobsters;
and another of molluscs, as the two kinds of calamary and the cuttle-fish;
that of insects is different. All these latter creatures are bloodless,
and such of them as have feet have a goodly number of them; and of the
insects some have wings as well as feet.
Of the other animals the genera are not extensive. For in them
one species does not comprehend many species; but in one case, as man,
the species is simple, admitting of no differentiation, while other cases
admit of differentiation, but the forms lack particular
So, for instance, creatures that are qudapedal and unprovided with
wings are blooded without exception, but some of them are viviparous, and
some oviparous. Such as are viviparous are hair-coated, and such as are
oviparous are covered with a kind of tessellated hard substance; and the
tessellated bits of this substance are, as it were, similar in regard to
position to a scale.
An animal that is blooded and capable of movement on dry land,
but is naturally unprovided with feet, belongs to the serpent genus; and
animals of this genus are coated with the tessellated horny substance.
Serpents in general are oviparous; the adder, an exceptional case, is viviparous:
for not all viviparous animals are hair-coated, and some fishes also are
All animals, however, that are hair-coated are viviparous. For,
by the way, one must regard as a kind of hair such prickly hairs as hedgehogs
and porcupines carry; for these spines perform the office of hair, and
not of feet as is the case with similar parts of sea-urchins.
In the genus that combines all viviparous quadrupeds are many species,
but under no common appellation. They are only named as it were one by
one, as we say man, lion, stag, horse, dog, and so on; though, by the way,
there is a sort of genus that embraces all creatures that have bushy manes
and bushy tails, such as the horse, the ass, the mule, the jennet, and
the animals that are called Hemioni in Syria,-from their externally resembling
mules, though they are not strictly of the same species. And that they
are not so is proved by the fact that they mate with and breed from one
another. For all these reasons, we must take animals species by species,
and discuss their peculiarities severally'
These preceding statements, then, have been put forward thus in
a general way, as a kind of foretaste of the number of subjects and of
the properties that we have to consider in order that we may first get
a clear notion of distinctive character and common properties. By and by
we shall discuss these matters with greater minuteness.
After this we shall pass on to the discussion of causes. For to
do this when the investigation of the details is complete is the proper
and natural method, and that whereby the subjects and the premisses of
our argument will afterwards be rendered plain.
In the first place we must look to the constituent parts of animals.
For it is in a way relative to these parts, first and foremost, that animals
in their entirety differ from one another: either in the fact that some
have this or that, while they have not that or this; or by peculiarities
of position or of arrangement; or by the differences that have been previously
mentioned, depending upon diversity of form, or excess or defect in this
or that particular, on analogy, or on contrasts of the accidental
To begin with, we must take into consideration the parts of Man.
For, just as each nation is wont to reckon by that monetary standard with
which it is most familiar, so must we do in other matters. And, of course,
man is the animal with which we are all of us the most
Now the parts are obvious enough to physical perception. However,
with the view of observing due order and sequence and of combining rational
notions with physical perception, we shall proceed to enumerate the parts:
firstly, the organic, and afterwards the simple or non-composite.
The chief parts into which the body as a whole is subdivided, are
the head, the neck, the trunk (extending from the neck to the privy parts),
which is called the thorax, two arms and two legs.
Of the parts of which the head is composed the hair-covered portion
is called the 'skull'. The front portion of it is termed 'bregma' or 'sinciput',
developed after birth-for it is the last of all the bones in the body to
acquire solidity,-the hinder part is termed the 'occiput', and the part
intervening between the sinciput and the occiput is the 'crown'. The brain
lies underneath the sinciput; the occiput is hollow. The skull consists
entirely of thin bone, rounded in shape, and contained within a wrapper
of fleshless skin.
The skull has sutures: one, of circular form, in the case of women;
in the case of men, as a general rule, three meeting at a point. Instances
have been known of a man's skull devoid of suture altogether. In the skull
the middle line, where the hair parts, is called the crown or vertex. In
some cases the parting is double; that is to say, some men are double crowned,
not in regard to the bony skull, but in consequence of the double fall
or set of the hair.
The part that lies under the skull is called the 'face': but in
the case of man only, for the term is not applied to a fish or to an ox.
In the face the part below the sinciput and between the eyes is termed
the forehead. When men have large foreheads, they are slow to move; when
they have small ones, they are fickle; when they have broad ones, they
are apt to be distraught; when they have foreheads rounded or bulging out,
they are quick-tempered.
Underneath the forehead are two eyebrows. Straight eyebrows are
a sign of softness of disposition; such as curve in towards the nose, of
harshness; such as curve out towards the temples, of humour and dissimulation;
such as are drawn in towards one another, of jealousy.
Under the eyebrows come the eyes. These are naturally two in number.
Each of them has an upper and a lower eyelid, and the hairs on the edges
of these are termed 'eyelashes'. The central part of the eye includes the
moist part whereby vision is effected, termed the 'pupil', and the part
surrounding it called the 'black'; the part outside this is the 'white'.
A part common to the upper and lower eyelid is a pair of nicks or corners,
one in the direction of the nose, and the other in the direction of the
temples. When these are long they are a sign of bad disposition; if the
side toward the nostril be fleshy and comb-like, they are a sign of
All animals, as a general rule, are provided with eyes, excepting
the ostracoderms and other imperfect creatures; at all events, all viviparous
animals have eyes, with the exception of the mole. And yet one might assert
that, though the mole has not eyes in the full sense, yet it has eyes in
a kind of a way. For in point of absolute fact it cannot see, and has no
eyes visible externally; but when the outer skin is removed, it is found
to have the place where eyes are usually situated, and the black parts
of the eyes rightly situated, and all the place that is usually devoted
on the outside to eyes: showing that the parts are stunted in development,
and the skin allowed to grow over.
Of the eye the white is pretty much the same in all creatures;
but what is called the black differs in various animals. Some have the
rim black, some distinctly blue, some greyish-blue, some greenish; and
this last colour is the sign of an excellent disposition, and is particularly
well adapted for sharpness of vision. Man is the only, or nearly the only,
creature, that has eyes of diverse colours. Animals, as a rule, have eyes
of one colour only. Some horses have blue eyes.
Of eyes, some are large, some small, some medium-sized; of these,
the medium-sized are the best. Moreover, eyes sometimes protrude, sometimes
recede, sometimes are neither protruding nor receding. Of these, the receding
eye is in all animals the most acute; but the last kind are the sign of
the best disposition. Again, eyes are sometimes inclined to wink under
observation, sometimes to remain open and staring, and sometimes are disposed
neither to wink nor stare. The last kind are the sign of the best nature,
and of the others, the latter kind indicates impudence, and the former
Furthermore, there is a portion of the head, whereby an animal
hears, a part incapable of breathing, the 'ear'. I say 'incapable of breathing',
for Alcmaeon is mistaken when he says that goats inspire through their
ears. Of the ear one part is unnamed, the other part is called the 'lobe';
and it is entirely composed of gristle and flesh. The ear is constructed
internally like the trumpet-shell, and the innermost bone is like the ear
itself, and into it at the end the sound makes its way, as into the bottom
of a jar. This receptacle does not communicate by any passage with the
brain, but does so with the palate, and a vein extends from the brain towards
it. The eyes also are connected with the brain, and each of them lies at
the end of a little vein. Of animals possessed of ears man is the only
one that cannot move this organ. Of creatures possessed of hearing, some
have ears, whilst others have none, but merely have the passages for ears
visible, as, for example, feathered animals or animals coated with horny
Viviparous animals, with the exception of the seal, the dolphin,
and those others which after a similar fashion to these are cetaceans,
are all provided with ears; for, by the way, the shark-kind are also viviparous.
Now, the seal has the passages visible whereby it hears; but the dolphin
can hear, but has no ears, nor yet any passages visible. But man alone
is unable to move his ears, and all other animals can move them. And the
ears lie, with man, in the same horizontal plane with the eyes, and not
in a plane above them as is the case with some quadrupeds. Of ears, some
are fine, some are coarse, and some are of medium texture; the last kind
are best for hearing, but they serve in no way to indicate character. Some
ears are large, some small, some medium-sized; again, some stand out far,
some lie in close and tight, and some take up a medium position; of these
such as are of medium size and of medium position are indications of the
best disposition, while the large and outstanding ones indicate a tendency
to irrelevant talk or chattering. The part intercepted between the eye,
the ear, and the crown is termed the 'temple'. Again, there is a part of
the countenance that serves as a passage for the breath, the 'nose'. For
a man inhales and exhales by this organ, and sneezing is effected by its
means: which last is an outward rush of collected breath, and is the only
mode of breath used as an omen and regarded as supernatural. Both inhalation
and exhalation go right on from the nose towards the chest; and with the
nostrils alone and separately it is impossible to inhale or exhale, owing
to the fact that the inspiration and respiration take place from the chest
along the windpipe, and not by any portion connected with the head; and
indeed it is possible for a creature to live without using this process
of nasal respiration.
Again, smelling takes place by means of the nose,-smelling, or
the sensible discrimination of odour. And the nostril admits of easy motion,
and is not, like the ear, intrinsically immovable. A part of it, composed
of gristle, constitutes, a septum or partition, and part is an open passage;
for the nostril consists of two separate channels. The nostril (or nose)
of the elephant is long and strong, and the animal uses it like a hand;
for by means of this organ it draws objects towards it, and takes hold
of them, and introduces its food into its mouth, whether liquid or dry
food, and it is the only living creature that does so.
Furthermore, there are two jaws; the front part of them constitutes
the chin, and the hinder part the cheek. All animals move the lower jaw,
with the exception of the river crocodile; this creature moves the upper
Next after the nose come two lips, composed of flesh, and facile
of motion. The mouth lies inside the jaws and lips. Parts of the mouth
are the roof or palate and the pharynx.
The part that is sensible of taste is the tongue. The sensation
has its seat at the tip of the tongue; if the object to be tasted be placed
on the flat surface of the organ, the taste is less sensibly experienced.
The tongue is sensitive in all other ways wherein flesh in general is so:
that is, it can appreciate hardness, or warmth and cold, in any part of
it, just as it can appreciate taste. The tongue is sometimes broad, sometimes
narrow, and sometimes of medium width; the last kind is the best and the
clearest in its discrimination of taste. Moreover, the tongue is sometimes
loosely hung, and sometimes fastened: as in the case of those who mumble
and who lisp.
The tongue consists of flesh, soft and spongy, and the so-called
'epiglottis' is a part of this organ.
That part of the mouth that splits into two bits is called the
'tonsils'; that part that splits into many bits, the 'gums'. Both the tonsils
and the gums are composed of flesh. In the gums are teeth, composed of
Inside the mouth is another part, shaped like a bunch of grapes,
a pillar streaked with veins. If this pillar gets relaxed and inflamed
it is called 'uvula' or 'bunch of grapes', and it then has a tendency to
bring about suffocation.
The neck is the part between the face and the trunk. Of this the
front part is the larynx land the back part the ur The front part, composed
of gristle, through which respiration and speech is effected, is termed
the 'windpipe'; the part that is fleshy is the oesophagus, inside just
in front of the chine. The part to the back of the neck is the epomis,
These then are the parts to be met with before you come to the
To the trunk there is a front part and a back part. Next after
the neck in the front part is the chest, with a pair of breasts. To each
of the breasts is attached a teat or nipple, through which in the case
of females the milk percolates; and the breast is of a spongy texture.
Milk, by the way, is found at times in the male; but with the male the
flesh of the breast is tough, with the female it is soft and
Next after the thorax and in front comes the 'belly', and its root
the 'navel'. Underneath this root the bilateral part is the 'flank': the
undivided part below the navel, the 'abdomen', the extremity of which is
the region of the 'pubes'; above the navel the 'hypochondrium'; the cavity
common to the hypochondrium and the flank is the gut-cavity.
Serving as a brace girdle to the hinder parts is the pelvis, and
hence it gets its name (osphus), for it is symmetrical (isophues) in appearance;
of the fundament the part for resting on is termed the 'rump', and the
part whereon the thigh pivots is termed the 'socket' (or
The 'womb' is a part peculiar to the female; and the 'penis' is
peculiar to the male. This latter organ is external and situated at the
extremity of the trunk; it is composed of two separate parts: of which
the extreme part is fleshy, does not alter in size, and is called the glans;
and round about it is a skin devoid of any specific title, which integument
if it be cut asunder never grows together again, any more than does the
jaw or the eyelid. And the connexion between the latter and the glans is
called the frenum. The remaining part of the penis is composed of gristle;
it is easily susceptible of enlargement; and it protrudes and recedes in
the reverse directions to what is observable in the identical organ in
cats. Underneath the penis are two 'testicles', and the integument of these
is a skin that is termed the 'scrotum'.
Testicles are not identical with flesh, and are not altogether
diverse from it. But by and by we shall treat in an exhaustive way regarding
all such parts.
The privy part of the female is in character opposite to that of
the male. In other words, the part under the pubes is hollow or receding,
and not, like the male organ, protruding. Further, there is an 'urethra'
outside the womb; which organ serves as a passage for the sperm of the
male, and as an outlet for liquid excretion to both
The part common to the neck and chest is the 'throat'; the 'armpit'
is common to side, arm, and shoulder; and the 'groin' is common to thigh
and abdomen. The part inside the thigh and buttocks is the 'perineum',
and the part outside the thigh and buttocks is the 'hypoglutis'.
The front parts of the trunk have now been enumerated.
The part behind the chest is termed the 'back'.
Parts of the back are a pair of 'shoulderblades', the 'back-bone',
and, underneath on a level with the belly in the trunk, the 'loins'. Common
to the upper and lower part of the trunk are the 'ribs', eight on either
side, for as to the so-called seven-ribbed Ligyans we have not received
any trustworthy evidence.
Man, then, has an upper and a lower part, a front and a back part,
a right and a left side. Now the right and the left side are pretty well
alike in their parts and identical throughout, except that the left side
is the weaker of the two; but the back parts do not resemble the front
ones, neither do the lower ones the upper: only that these upper and lower
parts may be said to resemble one another thus far, that, if the face be
plump or meagre, the abdomen is plump or meagre to correspond; and that
the legs correspond to the arms, and where the upper arm is short the thigh
is usually short also, and where the feet are small the hands are small
Of the limbs, one set, forming a pair, is 'arms'. To the arm belong
the 'shoulder', 'upper-arm', 'elbow', 'fore-arm', and 'hand'. To the hand
belong the 'palm', and the five 'fingers'. The part of the finger that
bends is termed 'knuckle', the part that is inflexible is termed the 'phalanx'.
The big finger or thumb is single-jointed, the other fingers are double
jointed. The bending both of the arm and of the finger takes place from
without inwards in all cases; and the arm bends at the elbow. The inner
part of the hand is termed the palm', and is fleshy and divided by joints
or lines: in the case of long-lived people by one or two extending right
across, in the case of the short-lived by two, not so extending. The joint
between hand and arm is termed the 'wrist'. The outside or back of the
hand is sinewy, and has no specific designation.
There is another duplicate limb, the 'leg'. Of this limb the double-knobbed
part is termed the 'thigh-bone', the sliding part of the 'kneecap', the
double-boned part the 'leg'; the front part of this latter is termed the
'shin', and the part behind it the 'calf', wherein the flesh is sinewy
and venous, in some cases drawn upwards towards the hollow behind the knee,
as in the case of people with large hips, and in other cases drawn downwards.
The lower extremity of the shin is the 'ankle', duplicate in either leg.
The part of the limb that contains a multiplicity of bones is the 'foot'.
The hinder part of the foot is the 'heel'; at the front of it the divided
part consists of 'toes', five in number; the fleshy part underneath is
the 'ball'; the upper part or back of the foot is sinewy and has no particular
appellation; of the toe, one portion is the 'nail' and another the 'joint',
and the nail is in all cases at the extremity; and toes are without exception
single jointed. Men that have the inside or sole of the foot clumsy and
not arched, that is, that walk resting on the entire under-surface of their
feet, are prone to roguery. The joint common to thigh and shin is the
These, then, are the parts common to the male and the female sex.
The relative position of the parts as to up and down, or to front and back,
or to right and left, all this as regards externals might safely be left
to mere ordinary perception. But for all that, we must treat of them for
the same reason as the one previously brought forward; that is to say,
we must refer to them in order that a due and regular sequence may be observed
in our exposition, and in order that by the enumeration of these obvious
facts due attention may be subsequently given to those parts in men and
other animals that are diverse in any way from one another.
In man, above all other animals, the terms 'upper' and 'lower'
are used in harmony with their natural positions; for in him, upper and
lower have the same meaning as when they are applied to the universe as
a whole. In like manner the terms, 'in front', 'behind', 'right' and 'left',
are used in accordance with their natural sense. But in regard to other
animals, in some cases these distinctions do not exist, and in others they
do so, but in a vague way. For instance, the head with all animals is up
and above in respect to their bodies; but man alone, as has been said,
has, in maturity, this part uppermost in respect to the material
Next after the head comes the neck, and then the chest and the
back: the one in front and the other behind. Next after these come the
belly, the loins, the sexual parts, and the haunches; then the thigh and
shin; and, lastly, the feet.
The legs bend frontwards, in the direction of actual progression,
and frontwards also lies that part of the foot which is the most effective
of motion, and the flexure of that part; but the heel lies at the back,
and the anklebones lie laterally, earwise. The arms are situated to right
and left, and bend inwards: so that the convexities formed by bent arms
and legs are practically face to face with one another in the case of
As for the senses and for the organs of sensation, the eyes, the
nostrils, and the tongue, all alike are situated frontwards; the sense
of hearing, and the organ of hearing, the ear, is situated sideways, on
the same horizontal plane with the eyes. The eyes in man are, in proportion
to his size, nearer to one another than in any other
Of the senses man has the sense of touch more refined than any
animal, and so also, but in less degree, the sense of taste; in the development
of the other senses he is surpassed by a great number of
The parts, then, that are externally visible are arranged in the
way above stated, and as a rule have their special designations, and from
use and wont are known familiarly to all; but this is not the case with
the inner parts. For the fact is that the inner parts of man are to a very
great extent unknown, and the consequence is that we must have recourse
to an examination of the inner parts of other animals whose nature in any
way resembles that of man.
In the first place then, the brain lies in the front part of the
head. And this holds alike with all animals possessed of a brain; and all
blooded animals are possessed thereof, and, by the way, molluscs as well.
But, taking size for size of animal, the largest brain, and the moistest,
is that of man. Two membranes enclose it: the stronger one near the bone
of the skull; the inner one, round the brain itself, is finer. The brain
in all cases is bilateral. Behind this, right at the back, comes what is
termed the 'cerebellum', differing in form from the brain as we may both
feel and see.
The back of the head is with all animals empty and hollow, whatever
be its size in the different animals. For some creatures have big heads
while the face below is small in proportion, as is the case with round-faced
animals; some have little heads and long jaws, as is the case, without
exception, among animals of the mane-and-tail species.
The brain in all animals is bloodless, devoid of veins, and naturally
cold to the touch; in the great majority of animals it has a small hollow
in its centre. The brain-caul around it is reticulated with veins; and
this brain-caul is that skin-like membrane which closely surrounds the
brain. Above the brain is the thinnest and weakest bone of the head, which
is termed or 'sinciput'.
From the eye there go three ducts to the brain: the largest and
the medium-sized to the cerebellum, the least to the brain itself; and
the least is the one situated nearest to the nostril. The two largest ones,
then, run side by side and do not meet; the medium-sized ones meet-and
this is particularly visible in fishes,-for they lie nearer than the large
ones to the brain; the smallest pair are the most widely separate from
one another, and do not meet.
Inside the neck is what is termed the oesophagus (whose other name
is derived oesophagus from its length and narrowness), and the windpipe.
The windpipe is situated in front of the oesophagus in all animals that
have a windpipe, and all animals have one that are furnished with lungs.
The windpipe is made up of gristle, is sparingly supplied with blood, and
is streaked all round with numerous minute veins; it is situated, in its
upper part, near the mouth, below the aperture formed by the nostrils into
the mouth-an aperture through which, when men, in drinking, inhale any
of the liquid, this liquid finds its way out through the nostrils. In betwixt
the two openings comes the so-called epiglottis, an organ capable of being
drawn over and covering the orifice of the windpipe communicating with
the mouth; the end of the tongue is attached to the epiglottis. In the
other direction the windpipe extends to the interval between the lungs,
and hereupon bifurcates into each of the two divisions of the lung; for
the lung in all animals possessed of the organ has a tendency to be double.
In viviparous animals, however, the duplication is not so plainly discernible
as in other species, and the duplication is least discernible in man. And
in man the organ is not split into many parts, as is the case with some
vivipara, neither is it smooth, but its surface is uneven.
In the case of the ovipara, such as birds and oviparous quadrupeds,
the two parts of the organ are separated to a distance from one another,
so that the creatures appear to be furnished with a pair of lungs; and
from the windpipe, itself single, there branch off two separate parts extending
to each of the two divisions of the lung. It is attached also to the great
vein and to what is designated the 'aorta'. When the windpipe is charged
with air, the air passes on to the hollow parts of the lung. These parts
have divisions, composed of gristle, which meet at an acute angle; from
the divisions run passages through the entire lung, giving off smaller
and smaller ramifications. The heart also is attached to the windpipe,
by connexions of fat, gristle, and sinew; and at the point of juncture
there is a hollow. When the windpipe is charged with air, the entrance
of the air into the heart, though imperceptible in some animals, is perceptible
enough in the larger ones. Such are the properties of the windpipe, and
it takes in and throws out air only, and takes in nothing else either dry
or liquid, or else it causes you pain until you shall have coughed up whatever
may have gone down.
The oesophagus communicates at the top with the mouth, close to
the windpipe, and is attached to the backbone and the windpipe by membranous
ligaments, and at last finds its way through the midriff into the belly.
It is composed of flesh-like substance, and is elastic both lengthways
The stomach of man resembles that of a dog; for it is not much
bigger than the bowel, but is somewhat like a bowel of more than usual
width; then comes the bowel, single, convoluted, moderately wide. The lower
part of the gut is like that of a pig; for it is broad, and the part from
it to the buttocks is thick and short. The caul, or great omentum, is attached
to the middle of the stomach, and consists of a fatty membrane, as is the
case with all other animals whose stomachs are single and which have teeth
in both jaws.
The mesentery is over the bowels; this also is membranous and broad,
and turns to fat. It is attached to the great vein and the aorta, and there
run through it a number of veins closely packed together, extending towards
the region of the bowels, beginning above and ending
So much for the properties of the oesophagus, the windpipe, and
The heart has three cavities, and is situated above the lung at
the division of the windpipe, and is provided with a fatty and thick membrane
where it fastens on to the great vein and the aorta. It lies with its tapering
portion upon the aorta, and this portion is similarly situated in relation
to the chest in all animals that have a chest. In all animals alike, in
those that have a chest and in those that have none, the apex of the heart
points forwards, although this fact might possibly escape notice by a change
of position under dissection. The rounded end of the heart is at the top.
The apex is to a great extent fleshy and close in texture, and in the cavities
of the heart are sinews. As a rule the heart is situated in the middle
of the chest in animals that have a chest, and in man it is situated a
little to the left-hand side, leaning a little way from the division of
the breasts towards the left breast in the upper part of the
The heart is not large, and in its general shape it is not elongated;
in fact, it is somewhat round in form: only, be it remembered, it is sharp-pointed
at the bottom. It has three cavities, as has been said: the right-hand
one the largest of the three, the left-hand one the least, and the middle
one intermediate in size. All these cavities, even the two small ones,
are connected by passages with the lung, and this fact is rendered quite
plain in one of the cavities. And below, at the point of attachment, in
the largest cavity there is a connexion with the great vein (near which
the mesentery lies); and in the middle one there is a connexion with the
Canals lead from the heart into the lung, and branch off just as
the windpipe does, running all over the lung parallel with the passages
from the windpipe. The canals from the heart are uppermost; and there is
no common passage, but the passages through their having a common wall
receive the breath and pass it on to the heart; and one of the passages
conveys it to the right cavity, and the other to the
With regard to the great vein and the aorta we shall, by and by,
treat of them together in a discussion devoted to them and to them alone.
In all animals that are furnished with a lung, and that are both internally
and externally viviparous, the lung is of all organs the most richly supplied
with blood; for the lung is throughout spongy in texture, and along by
every single pore in it go branches from the great vein. Those who imagine
it to be empty are altogether mistaken; and they are led into their error
by their observation of lungs removed from animals under dissection, out
of which organs the blood had all escaped immediately after
Of the other internal organs the heart alone contains blood. And
the lung has blood not in itself but in its veins, but the heart has blood
in itself; for in each of its three cavities it has blood, but the thinnest
blood is what it has in its central cavity.
Under the lung comes the thoracic diaphragm or midriff, attached
to the ribs, the hypochondria and the backbone, with a thin membrane in
the middle of it. It has veins running through it; and the diaphragm in
the case of man is thicker in proportion to the size of his frame than
in other animals.
Under the diaphragm on the right-hand side lies the 'liver', and
on the left-hand side the 'spleen', alike in all animals that are provided
with these organs in an ordinary and not preternatural way; for, be it
observed, in some quadrupeds these organs have been found in a transposed
position. These organs are connected with the stomach by the
To outward view the spleen of man is narrow and long, resembling
the self-same organ in the pig. The liver in the great majority of animals
is not provided with a 'gall-bladder'; but the latter is present in some.
The liver of a man is round-shaped, and resembles the same organ in the
ox. And, by the way, the absence above referred to of a gall-bladder is
at times met with in the practice of augury. For instance, in a certain
district of the Chalcidic settlement in Euboea the sheep are devoid of
gall-bladders; and in Naxos nearly all the quadrupeds have one so large
that foreigners when they offer sacrifice with such victims are bewildered
with fright, under the impression that the phenomenon is not due to natural
causes, but bodes some mischief to the individual offerers of the
Again, the liver is attached to the great vein, but it has no communication
with the aorta; for the vein that goes off from the great vein goes right
through the liver, at a point where are the so-called 'portals' of the
liver. The spleen also is connected only with the great vein, for a vein
extends to the spleen off from it.
After these organs come the 'kidneys', and these are placed close
to the backbone, and resemble in character the same organ in kine. In all
animals that are provided with this organ, the right kidney is situated
higher up than the other. It has also less fatty substance than the left-hand
one and is less moist. And this phenomenon also is observable in all the
other animals alike.
Furthermore, passages or ducts lead into the kidneys both from
the great vein and from the aorta, only not into the cavity. For, by the
way, there is a cavity in the middle of the kidney, bigger in some creatures
and less in others; but there is none in the case of the seal. This latter
animal has kidneys resembling in shape the identical organ in kine, but
in its case the organs are more solid than in any other known creature.
The ducts that lead into the kidneys lose themselves in the substance of
the kidneys themselves; and the proof that they extend no farther rests
on the fact that they contain no blood, nor is any clot found therein.
The kidneys, however, have, as has been said, a small cavity. From this
cavity in the kidney there lead two considerable ducts or ureters into
the bladder; and others spring from the aorta, strong and continuous. And
to the middle of each of the two kidneys is attached a hollow sinewy vein,
stretching right along the spine through the narrows; by and by these veins
are lost in either loin, and again become visible extending to the flank.
And these off-branchings of the veins terminate in the bladder. For the
bladder lies at the extremity, and is held in position by the ducts stretching
from the kidneys, along the stalk that extends to the urethra; and pretty
well all round it is fastened by fine sinewy membranes, that resemble to
some extent the thoracic diaphragm. The bladder in man is, proportionately
to his size, tolerably large.
To the stalk of the bladder the private part is attached, the external
orifices coalescing; but a little lower down, one of the openings communicates
with the testicles and the other with the bladder. The penis is gristly
and sinewy in its texture. With it are connected the testicles in male
animals, and the properties of these organs we shall discuss in our general
account of the said organ.
All these organs are similar in the female; for there is no difference
in regard to the internal organs, except in respect to the womb, and with
reference to the appearance of this organ I must refer the reader to diagrams
in my 'Anatomy'. The womb, however, is situated over the bowel, and the
bladder lies over the womb. But we must treat by and by in our pages of
the womb of all female animals viewed generally. For the wombs of all female
animals are not identical, neither do their local dispositions
These are the organs, internal and external, of man, and such is
their nature and such their local disposition.