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spiral shells at their mouth. The simplicity of their form admits of this. But the lobster's shell being applied to the limbs of the body, as well as to the body itself, allows not of either of the modes of growth which are observed to take place in other shells. Its hardness resists expansion; and its complexity renders it incapable of increasing its size "by addition of substance to its edge. How then was the growth of the lobster to be provided for 2 Was room to be made for it in the old shell, or was it to be successively fitted with new ones? If a change of shell became necessary, how was the lobster to extricate himself from his present confinement? how was he to uncase his buckler, or draw his legs out of his boots? The process, which fishermen have observed to take place, is as follows: At certain seasons, the shell of the lobster grows soft; the animal swells its body; the seams open, and the claws burst at the joints. When the shell has thus become loose upon the body, the animal makes a second effort, and by a tremulous, spasmodic motion, casts it off. In this state, the liberated but defenceless fish retires into holes in the rock. The released body now suddenly pushes its growth. In about eight-and-forty hours, a fresh concretion of humour upon the
surface, i. e. a new shell, is formed, adapted in every part to the increased dimensions of the animal. This wonderful mutation is repeated every year. If there be imputed defects without compensation, I should suspect that they were defects only in appearance. Thus, the body of the sloth has often been reproached for the slowness of its motions, which has been attri-" buted to an imperfection in the formation of its limbs. But it ought to be observed, that it is this slowness which alone suspends the voracity of the animal. He fasts during his migration from one tree to another: and this fast may be necessary for the relief of his over-charged vessels, as well as to allow time for the concoction of the mass of coarse and hard food which he has taken into his stomach. The tardiness of his pace seems to have reference to the capacity of his organs, and to his propensities with respect to food; i. e. is calculated to counteract the effects of repletion. Or there may be cases, in which a defect is artificial, and compensated by the very cause which produces it. Thus the sheep, in the domesticated state in which we see it, is destitute of the ordinary means of defence or escape; is incapable either of resistance or
flight. But this is not so with the wild animal. The natural sheep is swift and active: and, if it lose these qualities when it comes under the subjection of man, the loss is compensated by his protection. Perhaps there is no species of quadruped whatever, which suffers so little as this does, from the depredation of animals of prey.
For the sake of making our meaning better understood, we have considered this busimess of compensation under certain particularities of constitution, in which it appears to be most conspicuous. This view of the subject necessarily limits the instances to single species of animals. But there are compensations, perhaps, not less certain, which extend over large classes, and to large portions of living nature.
I. In quadrupeds, the deficiency of teeth
is usually compensated by the faculty of rumination. The sheep, deer, and ox tribe, are without fore-teeth in the upper jaw. These ruminate. The horse and ass are furnished with teeth in the upper jaw, and do not ruminate. In the former class, the grass and hay descend into the stomach, nearly in the state in which they are cropped from the pasture, or gathered from the bundle. In the stomach, they are softened by the gastric
juice, which in these animals is unusually copious. Thus softened and rendered tender, they are returned a second time to the action of the mouth, where the grinding teeth complete at their leisure the trituration which is necessary, but which was before left imperfect. I say, the trituration which is necessary; for it appears from experiments, that the gastric fluid of sheep, for example, has no effect in digesting plants, unless they have been previously masticated ; that it only produces a slight maceration, nearly as common water would do in a like degree of heat; but that when once vegetables are reduced to pieces by mastication, the fluid then exerts upon them its specific operation. Its first effect is to soften them, and to destroy their natural consistency; it then goes on to dissolve them; not sparing even the toughest parts, such as the nerves of the leaves”. . . . I think it very probable, that the gratification also of the animal is renewed and prolonged by this faculty. Sheep, deer, and oxen, appear to be in a state of enjoyment whilst they are chewing the cud. It is then, perhaps, that they best relish their food. II. In birds, the compensation is still more striking. They have no teeth at all. What have they then to make up for this severe want? I speak of granivorous and herbivorous birds; such as common fowls, turkeys, ducks, geese, pi eons, &c.; for, it is concerning these alone that the question need be asked. All these are furnished with a peculiar and most powerful muscle, called the gizzard; the inner coat of which is fitted up with rough plaits, which, by a strong friction against one another, break and grind the hard aliment as effectually, and by the same mechanical action, as a coffee-mill would do. It has been proved by the most correct experiments, that the gastric juice of these birds will not operate upon the entire grain; not even when softened by water or macerated in the crop. Therefore without a grinding machine within its body, without the trituration of the gizzard, a chicken would have starved upon a heap of corn. Yet why should a bill and a gizzard go together? Why should a gizzard never be found where there are teeth?
* Spall. Dis, iii, sect. cxl.