Excerpt from An History of the Earth, and Animated Nature, Vol. 3 of 4 The bird seems formed entirely for a life of escape; and every part of the anatomy of the animal seems calculated for swiftness. As it is designed to rise upon air, all its parts are proportionally light, and expand a large surface without solidity. In a comparative view with man, their formation seems much ruder and more imperfect; and they are in general found incapable of the docility even of quadrupeds. Indeed, what great degree of sagacity can be expected in animals whose eyes are almost as large as their brain? However, though they fall below quadrupeds in the scale of Nature, and are less imitative of human endowments; yet they hold the next rank, and far surpass fishes and insects, both in the structure of their bodies and in their sagacity. As in mechanics the most curious instruments are generally the most complicated, so it is in anatomy. The body of man presents the greatest variety upon dissection; quadrupeds, less perfectly formed, discover their defects in the simplicity of their conformation; the mechanism of birds is still less complex; fishes are furnished with fewer organs still; while insects, more imperfect than all, seem to fill up the chasm that separates animal from vegetable Nature. Of man, the most perfect animal, there are but three or four species; of quadrupeds, the kinds are more numerous; birds are more various still; fishes yet more; but insects afford so very great a variety, that they elude the search of the most inquisitive pursuer. Quadrupeds, as was said, have some distant resemblance in their internal structure with man; but that of birds is entirely dissimilar. As they seem chiefly formed to inhabit the empty regions of air, all their parts are adapted to their destined situation. It will be proper, therefore, before I give a general history or birds, to enter into a flight detail of their anatomy and conformation. As to their external parts, they seem surprizingly adapted for swiftness of motion. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art techlogy to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.