Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 87
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 87
 
of Africa when they spoke of the lion and rhinoceros. Until the habit of scientific accuracy in observation and record is achieved and until specimens are preserved and carefully compared, entirely truthful men, at home in the wilderness, will whole-heartedly accept, and repeat as matters of gospel faith, theories which split the grizzly and black bears of each locality in the United States, and the lions and black rhinos of South Africa, or the jaguars and pumas of any portion of South America, into several different species, all with widely different habits. They will, moreover, describe these imaginary habits with such sincerity and minuteness that they deceive most listeners; and the result sometimes is that an otherwise good naturalist will perpetuate these fables, as Hudson did when he wrote of the puma. Hudson was a capital observer and writer when he dealt with the ordinary birds and mammals of the well-settled districts near Buenos Aires and at the mouth of the Rio Negro; but he knew nothing of the wilderness. This is no reflection on him; his books are great favorites of mine, and are to a large degree models of what such books should be; I only wish that there were hundreds of such writers and observers who would give us similar books for all parts of America. But it is a mistake to accept him as an authority on that concerning which he was ignorant.
  An interesting incident occurred on the day we killed our first jaguar. We took our lunch beside a small but deep and obviously permanent pond. I went to the edge to dip up some water, and something growled or bellowed at me only a few feet away. It was a jacaré-tinga or

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