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Textes en anglaisLyell, Charles, Principles of Geology (extract of Vol. 2) • CHAPTER VI.
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CHAPTER VI.
ALTHOUGH in speculating on “philosophical possibilities,” said Buffon, the 
same temperature might have been expected, all other circumstances being equal, 
to produce the same beings in different parts of the globe, both in the animal 
and vegetable kingdoms, yet it is an undoubted fact, that when America was 
discovered, its indigenous quadrupeds were all dissimilar from those previously 
known in the old world. The elephant, the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, the 
cameleopard, the camel, the dromedary, the buffalo, the horse, the ass, the 
lion, the tiger, the apes, the baboons, and a number of other mammalia, where 
nowhere to be met with on the new continent ; while in the old, the American 
species, of the same great class, were nowhere to be seen - the tapir, the lama, 
the pecari, the jaguar, the couguar, the agouti, the paca, the coati, and the 
sloth.
 

These phenomena, although few in number relatively to the whole animate 
creation, were so striking and so positive in their nature, that the French 
naturalist caught sight at once of a general law in the geographical 
distribution of organic beings, namely, the limitation of groups of distinct 
species to regions separated from the rest of the globe by certain natural 
barriers. It was, therefore, in a truly philosophical spirit that, relying on 
the clearness of the evidence obtained respecting the larger quadrupeds, he 
ventured to call in question the identifications announced by some contemporary 
naturalists, of species of 
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Auteur et directeur de publication : Pietro CORSI, pietro.corsi@history.ox.ac.uk
Hébergement : Centre de Calcul de l'IN2P3-CNRS.