Entry The Natural History of Madagascar
Elementary words history ; Madagascar
Part of speech name (book title)
Author Goodman Steven M., Benstead Jonathan P.
Publishings 2004. University of Chicago Press. Width: 22cm. Height: 28.5cm. Pages: xxi, 1709.
Copyright 2003 The University of Chicago
page 29
Most of my maromita were strong and active young men, spare and lithe of limb, and proved to possess great powers of endurance. The loads they carried were not very heavy, but it was astonishing to see with what steady patience they bore them hour after hour under a burning sun, and up and down paths in the forest, where their progress was often but a scrambling from one foothold to another.
page 60
Here it may be noted that we had now entered some way into the lower and wider of the two belts of dense forest which extend for several hundred miles along the eastern side of Madagascar, and cover the mountains which form the great ramparts of the highland of the interior. There is a continuous forest from nearly the north of the island to almost the southern extremity; its greatest width is about fifty miles, north of Antongil Bay; but to the south of the Antsihanaka province it divides into two. Of these two belts, the upper one, which clothes the edge of the highland, is the narrowest, being not much above ten or twelve miles across, but the lower belt is from twice to three times that breadth.
page 63
At one part of the road there is a long slope of clay, known as "Fitomanianomby," or "weeping-place of the bullocks," so called from the labour and difficulty with which the poor animals mount the steep ascent on their way down to the coast.
page 68
Behind us were the hills and valleys covered with forest through which we had travelled, while in front stretched a great undulating plain, bare and almost without a tree, except in a few places, where there were large circular patches of wood. This was the plain of Ankay, which separates the two belts of forest, and is the home of the Bezanozano tribe.
page 69
In the deepest of the many valleys which cut the surface of the Ankay plain runs a beautiful and rapid river, the Mangoro, about one hundred and fifty feet wide where we crossed it in canoes. This is the longest river of the east coast, and would make a fine means of access to the interior, were its course not interrupted by rapids and cataracts at many points... Looking back after we had reached the summit, there was the Moramanga plain, bounded by the distant forest stretching away north and south, until lost in the dim distance, while below us the Mangoro could be seen in a wavy blue line in the Ankay plain.
page 76
East and south, there is little but hills of all shapes and sizes to be seen, except along the valleys of the river Ikopa and its tributaries, which come from the edge of the upper forest, thirty miles or so away to the east.
page 123
In about a fourth of these villages, where there are churches, a mission day school is still carried on, and here may be seen, if we look in, a number of bright-looking children repeating their a, b, d (not c)
page 125
Curiously enough, the Malagasy appear to have given names only to these two prominent clusters of stars. The Pleiades they call Kotokeli-miadi-laona"> -- i.e. "Little boys fighting over the rice mortar"; while the three stars of Orion's belt they call Telo-no-ho-refy"/> -- i.e. "Three make a fathom."
page 259
Albizia lebbeck was introduced from Asia via Mauritius in 1814 probably for religious purposes. The seeds of this tree are widely used in divination (sikidy) in western Madagascar (Morat 1972)
page 260
Chevalier (1946) was of the opinion that the ancestral range of Tamarindus indicus was Abyssinia, whereas Decary (1947a) thought the species to be native to Madagascar. He postulated that, had Arabs introduced the tree, the species should be restricted to regions they frequented (the northwest in particular), but it is most abundant in the riparian zone of the southwest. In addition, certain endemic vertebrate species, such as Lemur catta, feed extensively on the leaves and fruits of this tree (Rasamimanana and Rafidinarivo 1993).
page 277
In some places the woods were very dense and there was a green twilight as we passed along the narrow path amongst the crowd of tall trunks. We were struck by the intense silence of the forest; there was no sound of animal life, and no voice of bird, or beast, or insect broke the oppresive stillness... Yet it would be a mistake to suppose that these comparatively silent woods are destitute of animal life, and the stillness is largely attributable to the peculiar character of the Madagascar fauna.
page 1343
Where Indri are present, their loud territorial vocalizations, or rather songs, are certainly one of the most impressive and memorable sounds of a Malagasy forest. These songs may be heard as far away as 1000-2000 meters... A typical Indri song emitted by individuals of a group, all or at least partially together, may last from 45 seconds to more than 3 minutes in length... The songs are typically introduced with a communal "roar" that is sustained for several seconds and precedes the song proper... The notes produced during the song are highly variable, but a general pattern can be recognized. Especially long notes (up to 5 seconds in duration) occur more commmonly at the beginning of the song, just after the "roar" sequence. After this "long note sequence," a wailing phrase becomes especially prominent, usually beginning with a high note, followed by one or several notes of progressively lower starting frequency ("descending phrase sequence"). Frequently, two or more Indri coordinate the timing of their descending phrases to achieve a stable duet pattern.
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Updated on 2023/10/23