THE ZEBRA OF THE PLAINS.
In this arrangement, which brought animals truly digitigrade, with retractile claws, tongues covered with sharp papill?, canine teeth of great power, and molars formed for tearing flesh, consequently in a high degree sanguinary and carnivorous in their habits, into close and intimate contact with others, which are positively plantigrade, with exserted claws, smooth tongues, and teeth of little power and evidently incapable of lacerating animal food, and which are therefore in all cases more or less, and in several instances wholly, vegetable eaters, it was impossible for naturalists long to coincide. The genus thus formed presented so heterogeneous a combination, that the difficulty was rather where to stop in the dispersion of the dissimilar materials of which it was composed, than where to commence the necessary operation; and in consequence nearly a dozen genera, not hanging together in one continued series, but scattered through various parts of the system, and most of them essentially distinct, have been the result of the dismemberment of this single group.
Although the division of the true Carnivora into digitigrade and plantigrade is in many respects objectionable, we feel compelled, in conformity with established rules, to remove the animal before us from its most obvious affinities, to arrange it among the latter; placing it, however, at the commencement of that division and nearly in contact with the viverrine groups, to which it is so intimately allied, as to have been actually confounded by Buffon with the common Genette; a mistake, which was first clearly pointed out by M. F. Cuvier, but which has obtained so generally among naturalists, that the Paradoxurus is still commonly exhibited under that erroneous name. From the Genettes and Civets it differs little in its general form and habits; its teeth are nearly similar; and its toes and nails closely correspond in number and in their degree of retractility. But it is entirely destitute of the secretory pouch; and, in addition to its plantigrade walk, it exhibits a very peculiar structure in the tail. This organ is as long as the body, and flattened above and below; when extended, the further half is turned over so as to place its lower side uppermost, and the animal has it in its power to roll it up into a spire, commencing from above downwards, to the very base.