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more , wh * n the r * vir * l tebniteifidbUr ttioVett ^ rtb , btHiha&fgatid b ^ kfriing oQ ^ vard •* from mdrtdt to immortalkfcfl ' Inthe gl ^ Hbd ^ coarse of thb u ^ wf , more fleet than aay &hip thai erer stemmed the main , or any wing that ever cleft the air . Who wouW stop it for mere details ? The attempt were vain , as that to charm down the sun from the firmament , or fetter the careering earth with a cobweb . " p . 30 .
Accordingly we are in this volume presented , first , with a general view of the structure of birds , and the characteristics whereby they may be distinguished from other vertebral animals , ( Chap . i . to v . ) and next with a minute account of the
peculiarities exhibited by the three grand structures , the bills , the feet , and the wings . ( Chap . v . to viii . ) . The habits of all animals are , we know , dependent on their general organization ; and on the same principle that the teeth , the jaws , and feet of carnivorous differ from those of herbivorous animals , the bills and feet of
birds indicate distinctly their general habits . Hence , a knowledge of their external characters is essentially necessary to every ornithologist ; therefore we conscientiously recommend this little volume to every student entering upon this fascinating branch of natural history . It contains the substance of numerous articles on the history of birds , which have already appeared in Orr ' s excellent British Cyclopaedia , illustrated by a variety of accurate and well-executed diagrams and wood-cuts .
The physiological portion of the work seems to us less perfect than the descriptive , for the descriptions of Mr . Mudie are always literal transcripts of the reality ; in truth , original observers are very apt to devise theories of their own , for explaining the facts which come under their attention , and many of these are often very apochryphal . Hence Mr . Mudie has hazarded an hypothesis concerning the respiration and the circulation of birds , which , however ingenious , cannot , we apprehend , be established : lie supposes that the action of the air on the blood of birds is
rendered equal to the rapidity of the circulation , and consequent necessity of vital repair , " by the blood being aerated or oxygenized by the air which permeates the bones and cellular tissue * of the body . Hereby he infers , that "the painful fatigue of ever-panting lungs is obviated , so that the real action of breathing in birds is not concentrated into one organ to be toiling and panting there as it would be in the lunors of the mammalia , but distributed over the
whole circulation , and conse q uently diminished in local intensity in proportion as it is diffused through the frame / ' ( pp . 78 , 79 , tt setj . ) Now , in reply to this , it may be observed , that from all wo at present know , there is no reason to presume that there is any relation whatever between the quantity of air diffused through the body of a bird aiul the artcrializatiou oi the blood . The quantity of air so difl \ i&ed through the bones and cellular tissue-, bears a
constant fVlation wkli the locomotive power or rapidity of flight which different species of birds command . The bones of the
Tfa'Stect&Vf'Bitds . 27 £
No . 100 . X
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), April 2, 1835, page 273, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2644/page/49/