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Sketches of the Natural History of Ceylon

James Emerson, Sir Tennent

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .t which he cannot maintain for any considerable distance.

It is to the structure of the knee-joint that the elephant is indebted for his singular facility in ascending and descending steep activities, climbing rocks and traversing precipitous ledges, where even a mule dare not [pg 109] venture; and this again leads to the correction of another generally received error, that his legs are "formed more for strength than flexibility, and fitted to bear an enormous weight upon a level surface, without the necessity of ascending or descending great acclivities."1091 The same authority assumes that, although the elephant is found in the neighbourhood of mountainous ranges, and will even ascend rocky passes, such a service is a violation of its natural habits.

Of the elephant of Africa I am not qualified to speak, nor of the nature of the ground which it most frequents; but certainly the facts in connection with the elephant of India are all irreconcilable with . . . Read More