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  • Feature Stories Judi Online South American Explorers

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    Issue 60, 61, 62, 63*, 64 and 65 to be listed soon.
    Issue 59, Spring 2000
    Ecuador: Heroes Wanted
    Easter Island: Statue-Moving Theories: A Field Test
    Peru: Inca Trail Discovery at Machu Picchu
    Amazon: Memories of a Ship Voyage
    Issue 58, Winter 1999
    Argentina/Chile: In Patagonia: Chasing Chatwin
    Peru: Coropuna: Inca Mountain Temple
    Paraguay: Perspectives
    Venezuela: Ruth Robertson: First Expedition to Angel Falls
    Guatemala: A Camera for Valerio: Reflections
    Ecuador: Chimbo: Fireworks Capital
    Issue 57, Autumn 1999
    Peru: The Many Meanings of Cuzco
    Colombia: Soap Stars, Soldiers and Cigarettes Ecuador: Portraits of Ecuador
    Peru: Choquequirao: Report from the Field
    Argentina: Prison at the End of the World: Ushuaia
    Easter Island: Wacko Theories, Part III
    Issue 56, Summer 1999
    Ecuador: Tigua Art
    Club News: SAEC Fights to Save Name
    Colombia: The Correlejas; Running of the Bulls
    Easter Island: Wacko Theories, Part II
    Guyana: Rarely Seen Birds
    Brazil: Impressions of Paraty
    Issue 55, Spring 1999
    Reflections on Sangay
    Peru: Peter Frost–Desert Adventure
    Venezuela: Alexander von Humboldt on Dirt-eating Tribes
    Mapping the Patagonian Ice Cap
    Easter Island:
    Wacko Theories, Part I
    Issue 54, Winter 1998
    Argentina: Aconcagua: Life at 22,000 Feet
    Cape Horn: Through the Drake Passage
    So. Am: Traveler’s Bible: History of the S. A. Handbook
    Guatemala: Race Day, Todos Santos
    Venezuela: In Quest of the Yanomami
    Issue 53, Autumn 1998
    Galapagos: Evolution Revisited
    Amazon: A Shaman’s Apprentice: Mark Plotkin Interview
    Peru: Losing Your House in the Jungle, Boca Manu
    Paraguay: Road Adventure
    Peru: El Niño and The Fall of Empires
    Issue 52, Summer 1998
    Ecuador: La Capitana, Treasure Galleon
    Andes: Andean Thievery
    Brazil: Dune Buggying in Natal, Brazil
    Peru: Economic Boom in Red Dye, Chilca
    Argentina: Motorcycle South
    Ecuador: Revelations in Vilcabamba
    Issue 51, Spring 1998
    Peru: Hunting Medicines of the Machiguenga
    Ecuador: The Last Days of Moritz Thomsen
    Guyana: Bushwhacked on the Guyana Trail
    So. Am: The Ups and Downs of Courier Travel
    Uruguay: Classic Cars of Montevideo
    Peru: Inca Choqek’iraw Revealed
    Issue 50, Winter 1997
    20th Anniversary Issue
    Bolivia: Vintage Postcards
    Peru: Mummy of Wariwilka
    Guatemala: Semana Santa Festival
    Amazon: Epic River Adventure, Revisited
    Venezuela: Gran Sabana Vignettes
    Issue 49, Autumn 1997
    Belize: Jungle Expedition
    Peru: Puya raimondii, Giant Plant
    Argentina: Evita Perón, Argentine Obsession
    Ecuador: Undersea Treasure
    Ecuador: Ferrocarriles Ecuatorianos Railroad
    Issue 48, Summer 1997
    Florida: Sunken Peruvian Treasure
    Bolivia: Solar Ovens
    Ecuador: Love Story
    Brazil: Salvador de Bahia Excursion
    Peru: Covering Hostage Crisis
    Issue 47, Spring 1997
    Peru: Shawl Designs
    Guatemala: Pacaya Volcano
    Brazil: Neblina, Highest Peak
    So. Am.: Photography How-To’s
    Chile: Kayaking Rio Gallegos
    Issue 46, Winter 1996
    Peru: Hydrology of Machu Picchu
    So.Am: History of S.A. Plane Crashes
    Brazil: Tracking in the Pantanal
    Colombia: Motorcycling in Colombia
    Issue 45, Autumn 1996
    Suriname: Giant Leeches
    Bolivia: Knitting Cooperative
    Peru: Surfing Guide
    : William Walker, Part II
    Issue 44, Summer 1996
    Nicaragua: William Walker, Part I
    Ecuador: The Herb Doctor–Ecuadorian Curandero
    Brazil: Belem’s Market
    Ecuador: Galápagos Scuba Diving
    Cuba: Cuba Now and Then
    Peru: Arpilleras
    Issue 43, Spring 1996
    Peru/Brazil: Commander Dyott and Colonel Fawcett
    Ecuador: Commander Dyott Remembered
    Peru: Sipan Archaeology Conference
    Argentina: Kayaking Rio Cotahuasi Canyon
    Peru: Orphanage in Piura
    Chile/Arg.: Patagonia by Truck
    Issue 42, Winter 1995
    Peru: Making Sabotaje en la Selva
    Guyana: Jungle Explorations
    Colombia: Archaeology of San Agustin
    Ecuador: Leishmaniasis
    Ecuador: US & Ec. School Partnership
    So. Am.: Festivals in South America
    Issue 41, August 1995
    Peru: Stones and Ancient Peoples
    : Village Adventure
    : Viewing the Eclipse
    Chile: Climbing Mt. Pissis
    : Uninhabited Isla Santiago
    : Exploits of Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid
    : Hitchhiking in Patagonia
    Issue 40, May 1995
    So. Am.: Ozone and Ultraviolet: Is S.A. at Risk?
    Panama: Motorcycling the Darién.
    South/Central: Epiphytes–Plants up a Tree
    Venezuela: Angel Falls Discovery
    Venezuela: The Angel Brothers’ Adventures
    South Atlantic: Deception Island–Antarctic Peninsula Region
    Venezuela: The Yanomamö
    Ecuador: A Volunteer in the Rainforest
    Issue 39, December 1994
    Peru: The Re-Rediscovery of VIRA VIRA
    Peru: The Ruins of VIRA VIRA
    Peru: VIRA VIRA in Andean Context
    Ecuador: Fishermen of Sua
    Chile: Ghosttowns of Northern Chile
    Issue 38, September 1994
    Venezuela: A Geological Field Expedition in the Andes
    Peru: The Clay Lick of Manu
    Brazil: Preserving the Pantanal
    Bolivia: Travelling in Bolivia
    Peru: Kayaking the Colca Canyon
    Argentina: Gran Bajo de San Julian
    Issue 37, June 1994
    Argentina: Wild-West Shows & Rodeos in the Early 1900’s
    Brazil: Candomblé Rituals of Salvador de Bahia
    Brazil: Rainforest Destruction in Rondonia
    South Am.: How to Visit Sm. Islands w/o Destroying Them
    Peru/Bolivia: Rocks and their Meaning in Andean Mythology
    Issue 36, March 1994
    Guyana: Botany Expedition
    Equipment: Global Positioning Systems
    S.America: Venomous Snakes
    Falkland Isles: Stanley
    Issue 35, November 1993
    Suriname: Genealogy
    Chile: Punta Arenas
    Colombia: Dance Festival
    Peru: Archaeology
    Guatemala: Pacaya Volcano
    Issue 34, June 1993
    Ecuador: Train Ride
    S. America: Languages
    Venezuela: Cerro Kukenan
    Peru: Ancient Water System
    Peru: Television Assignment
    Brazil: Ludwig Update
    Issue 33, April 1993
    Ecuador: Bullfighting
    Brazil: Ludwig, Part II
    Peru: Biking Story
    Peru: Pusharo Petroglyohs
    Issue 32*, January 1993
    Brazil: Ludwig, Part I
    Peru: Rafting the Napo, Part II
    Peru: Machu Picchu Discoveries
    Venezuela: Araya Peninsula
    Brazil: Amazon
    Issue 31, May 1992
    Peru: Climbing Huascaran
    Ecuador: Rafting the Napo, Part I
    Chile: Mysteries of Easter Island
    Peru: Barchans of La Joya
    Issue 30, November 1991
    Chile: Condor Study
    Bolivia: Cholera Scam
    Colombia: Precolumbian Pottery
    Peru: Interview Vince Lee
    Peru: Travel By Burro
    Colombia: Lost City of the Tairona
    Issue 29, May 1991
    S. America: Source of Amazon
    Peru: Robert Randall Tribute
    Peru: Lost City Ramblers
    Venezuela: Entomological Study II
    Issue 28, February 1991
    Venezuela: Entomological Study I
    Brazil: Han Staden, Part III
    Peru: Adoption
    Peru: Travel by Bus
    S. America: Bicycle Trip
    Issue 27, November 1990
    Peru: Padre Ortiz Mission
    Costa Rica: Quakers in Monteverde
    Brazil: Hans Staden, Part II
    Paraguay: Richard Burton, War Correspondent
    Chile: Paso Leon Trek
    Issue 26, August 1990
    Brazil: Hans Staden, Part I
    Peru: 1941 Journey Down Huallaga
    S. America: Heights of S.A. Mountains
    S. America: Aguirre Controversy
    Costa Rica: Bushmasters
    Issue 25, May 1990
    Peru: Prospecting for Gold
    Venezuela: Climbing Auyantepui
    Chile: Lake District Hike
    Panama: Pearl Islands
    Brazil: Tamarins
    Peru: “Social Climbers” on Huascarán
    Issue 24, January 1990
    S. America: Courteville Expedition
    Galápagos: Marine Iguanas
    Antarctica: Kayaking
    Peru: Earthwatch Project
    Equipment: Compass for S.A.
    Peru: Interview Barry Walker
    Issue 23, November 1989
    Ven./Brazil: Humboldt on the Casiquiare
    Ven/Brazil: Casiquiare Mystery
    S. America: S. America Cannibalism
    S. America: History of Beer
    Peru: Climbing in the Huayhuash
    Chile: Boat Through the Fjords
    Issue 22, August 1989
    Peru: Puncuyoc, Inca Ruin
    Ecuador: Bicycling
    French Guyana: Adventure Story
    Chile: Easter Island
    Bolivia: Climbing Cololo
    Issue 21, May 1989
    : Amazon Tidal Bore
    Amazon: Candiru Fish
    Amazon: Trans-Amazon Road Rally
    Peru: Tambopata Nature Reserve
    Peru: Childhood in Peru, 1900’s
    Issue 20, January 1989
    Chile/Arg.: Skiing
    Argentina: Penguins of the Valdez
    Peru: Hiking Nevado San Juan
    S.America: Interview John Brooks, Editor S.A. Handbook
    Bolivia: Miners of Potosi
    S.America: Notable Toilets
    Issue 19, October 1988
    Panama/Col: Walking the Darién
    Galápagos: Non-Native Threats
    Brazil: Portuguese Tapes
    Peru: Looking for Paititi
    Brazil: The Pantanal
    S.America: Finding Work
    Issue 18, August 1988
    S.America: Aguirre, Wrath of God
    S.America: Quinoa, the Mother Grain
    Peru: Santa Catalina Convent
    Bolivia: Bolivian Solars
    Chile: Hiking Isla Navarino
    Issue 17, May 1988
    Peru: Interview Charles Munn, Macaw Expert
    Suriname: 17th Century Scientist, Maria Sibylla Merian
    Ecuador: Andean Experience
    Peru: In Search of Caves
    Peru: Taquile Island
    S.America: Biking Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Part II
    Issue 16, February 1988
    S.America: Biking Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Part I
    Ecuador: Ashuar Architecture
    Peru: Kayaking Paucartambo, Part II
    Bolivia: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
    S.America: Interview with Loren McIntyre
    Panama: Hiking El Baru
    Issue 15, October 1987
    : Kayaking Paucartambo, Part I
    S.America: Voyages of Columbus
    Bolivia: Amboro National Park
    Peru: SAEC Club History
    Argentina: Mountain Passes Through the Andes
    Issue 14, July 1987
    Galápagos: Island Plant Life
    Venezuela: History of Roraima
    Bolivia: Gold Fields of Tipuani
    S. America: Tame Birds as Cultural Tracers
    Issue 13, July 1986
    Venezuela: The Yanomamö
    Chile: Kayaking the West Coast
    Peru: Gran Pajaten Controversy
    Argentina: Lost El Meson Meteorite
    Peru: Caving
    Issue 12, September 1985
    Venezuela: Kayaking the Amazon
    Chile/Arg: Beagle Channel Dispute
    Peru: Vilcabamba Revisited
    Peru: Condor Study
    Peru: Gran Vilaya
    Venezuela: German Conquistadors
    S.America: Foundation of International Community Assistance (FINCA)
    Issue 11, August 1984
    Venezuela: Jimmie Angel’s Lost City
    S.America: Poison Dart Frogs
    Ecuador: Indigenous Architecture
    Chile/Arg: Beagle Channel Dispute I
    Peru: Earthquake Prediction
    Issue 10, June 1983
    S.America: Andean Music
    Peru: Solar Energy
    Venezuela: Oilbirds
    Bolivia: Takesi Trail
    Chile: Huemul, Chile’s Deer
    Issue 9, January 1983
    : Kayaking
    : Lost City of the Tairona
    Brazil: Agassiz Expedition
    Peru: Nazca Lines
    Amazon Basin: Titi Monkeys
    Peru: Aguaruna Folktale
    Issue 8, August 1981
    S.America: Pigafetta, First Tourist
    Colombia: Lake Guatavita
    S.America: S.A. National Parks
    Peru: Huari Archaeology
    Colombia/Ven: Search for S.A. Pygmies
    Brazil/Arg: Itaipu Dam
    Bolivia: Laguna Colorada
    S.America: Mapping South America
    Issue 7, December 1980
    Panama/Col: Driving the Darién
    Peru: Andean Dyes
    Peru: Inca Trail Clean Up
    S.America: History of S.A. Handbook
    Ecuador: Searching for Treasure
    Ecuador: The Curaray by Dugout, Part II
    S.America: Explorer Aleixo Garcia
    Issue 6*, May 1980
    Ecuador: Monkeys
    Ecuador: The Curaray by Dugout, Part I
    S.America: The Golden Age of Guano
    Chile/Arg: Patagonia
    Andes: Travel with Pack Animals
    S.America: The Botfly
    Issue 5*, December 1979
    Peru: Trek to Chavin
    Peru: Colca Canyon
    Colombia: Bari Indians
    Ecuador: Cayapas Survey Expedition
    S.America: Double Amputee Mountain Climber
    S.America: Ancient Stone Inscriptions
    Issue 4, April 1979
    Andes: Enigmatic Whistling Huacos
    Amazon: Ethnobotany with Nicole Maxwell
    S.America: S.A. Bird Books
    Amazon: Building a Balsa Raft
    Amazon: Journey of Orellana
    Peru: Dots of Pantiacolla
    Issue 3*, August 1978
    Venezuela: Maria Lionza Voodoo Cult
    Bolivia: Underwater Treasure Hunting
    S.America: Caving
    Peru: Potato Hairs, Nature’s Pest Control
    History: Life with the Aguarunas
    Uruguay: Mysterious Death Tide
    S.America: Jeep Across the Amazon
    Issue 2, March 1978
    S.America: Jeep Across the Amazon
    Chile: Seagoing Mountaineers, Part II
    S.America: Bird Speciation
    Argentina: Jewish Gauchos
    Andes: Royal Inca Highway
    Peru: First Descent of the Marañon
    Peru: Dots of Pantiacolla
    Issue 1, October 1977
    Peru: The “Extinct” Yellow-Tailed Woolly Monkey
    : Jeep across the Amazon, Part 1
    Peru: Dots of Pantiacolla
    Peru: Rafting the Urubamba
    Chile: Juan Fernandez Islands
    Chile: Sea-going

    Mountaineers, Part I
    Antartica: The Story of Krill

  • Alexander von Humboldt on Geography

    From Issue 55, Spring 1999, of the South American Explorer:

    Source: Humboldt, A., and A. Bonpland. 1821. Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent, During the Years 1799-1804. AMS Press, Inc., New York, 1966.

    The great German explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt was fascinated by the practice of some native American tribes populating the torrid zone to eat earth, mostly from want, but sometimes by choice or custom. What follows is an account by Humboldt himself of the geophagy of the Otomacs, a tribe inhabiting the banks of the Orinoco River. The setting is in what is now Venezuela, c. 1800.


    Alexander von Humboldt on Geography

    The situation of the mission of Uruana is extremely picturesque. The little Indian village is placed at the foot of a lofty granitic mountain. Rocks everywhere appear in the form of pillars above the forest, rising higher than the tops of the higher trees. The Orinoco nowhere displays a more majestic aspect here, than when contemplated from the house of the missionary, Fray Ramon Bueno. It is more than five thousand meters wide, and runs without any winding, like a vast canal, straight toward the east. Two long and narrow islands (Isla de Uruana and Isla Vieja de la Manteca) contribute to give extent to the bed of the river; the two banks are parallel, and we cannot call it divided into different branches. The mission is inhabited by the Otomacs, a tribe in the rudest state, and presenting one of the most extraordinary physiological phenomena. The Otomacs eat earth; that is, they swallow every day, during several months, very considerable quantities, to appease hunger, without injuring their health. I also found traces of this vitiated appetite among the Guamoes; and between the confluence of the Meta and the Apure, where everybody speaks of geophagy as of a thing anciently known. I shall here confine myself to an account of what we ourselves saw, or heard from the missionary, whom an unhappy fatality had doomed to live for twelve years among the savage and turbulent tribe of the Otomacs.

    Alexander von Humboldt History

    The inhabitants of Uruana belong to those nations of the savannas, who, more difficult to civilize than the nations of the forest, have a decided aversion to cultivate the land, and live almost exclusively on hunting and fishing. They are omnivorous animals of the highest degree; and therefore, the other Indians, who consider them as barbarians, have a common saying: “Nothing is so disgusting that an Otomac will not eat it.” While the waters of the Orinoco and its tributaries are low, the Otomac subsist on fish and turtles. The former they kill with surprising dexterity, by shooting them with an arrow when they appear at the surface of the water. When the rivers swell, which occurs periodically in every part of the torrid zone, fishing ceases almost entirely. It is then as difficult to procure fish in the rivers which have become deeper, as when you are sailing on the open sea. At the period of these inundations, which last two or three months, the Otomacs swallow a prodigious quantity of earth. We found heaps of balls in their huts, piled up in pyramids three or four feet high. These balls were five or six inches in diameter. The earth, which the Otomacs eat, is a very fine and unctuous clay, of a yellowish gray color; and, being slightly baked in the fire, the hardened crust has a tint inclining to red, owing to the iron oxides which are mingled with it. The Otomacs do not eat every kind of clay indifferently; they choose the alluvial beds or strata that contain the most unctuous earth, and the smoothest to the feel. We examined the balls of earth and found no trace of any organic substance, whether oily or farinaceous. The savages regard everything that appeases hunger as nourishing; therefore, when you inquire of an Otomac on what he subsists during the two months when the river is highest, he shows you his balls of clayey earth. This he calls his principal food; for at this period he can seldom procure a lizard, a root of fern, or a dead fish swimming at the surface of the water. If the Indian eats earth from want during two months, he does not less regale himself with it during the rest of the year. Every day in the season of drought, when fishing is most abundant, he scrapes his balls of poya, and mingles a little clay with his other aliment. What is most surprising is that the Otomacs do not become lean by swallowing such quantities of earth; they are, on the contrary, extremely robust, and far from having the belly tense and puffed up. The missionary Fray Ramon Bueno asserts that he never observed any alteration in the health of the natives at the period of the great risings of the Orinoco.


    The following are the facts in all their simplicity, which we were able to ascertain. The Otomacs during some months eat daily three quarter of a pound of clay slightly hardened by fire, without their health being sensibly affected by it. They moisten the earth afresh, when they are going to swallow it. It has not been possible to verify hitherto with precision how much nutritious vegetable or animal matter the Indians take in a week at the same time; but it is certain that they attribute the sensation of satiety, which they feel, to the clay, and not to the wretched aliments which they take with it occasionally.

    I observed everywhere within the torrid zone, in a great number of individuals, children, women, and sometimes even full grown men, an inordinate and almost irresistible desire of swallowing earth; not an alkaline or calcareous earth, to neutralize (as it is vulgarly said) acid juices, but a fat clay, unctuous, and exhaling a strong smell. It is often found necessary to tie the children’s hands, or to confine them, to prevent their eating earth, when the rain ceases to fall. At the village of Banco, on the bank of the river Magdalena, I saw the Indian women who make pottery continually swallowing great pieces of clay.

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    These women were not in a state of pregnancy; and they affirmed that “earth is an aliment, which they do not find hurtful.” In other American tribes people soon fall sick, and waste away, when they yield too much to this mania of eating earth. We found at the Mission of San Borja an Indian child of the Guahiba nation, who was as thin as a skeleton. The mother informed us that the little girl was reduced to this lamentable state of atrophy in consequence of a disorderly appetite, having refused during four months to take almost any food other than clay. Yet San Borja is only twenty-five leagues from Uruana, inhabited by the Otomacs, who, from the effect no doubt of a habit progressively acquired, swallow the poya without exhibiting any pernicious effects. Father Gumilla asserts that the Otomacs purge themselves with oil, or rather with the melted fat of the crocodile, when they feel any gastric obstructions; but the missionary whom we found among them was little disposed to confirm this assertion. It may be asked why the mania of eating earth is much more rare in the frigid and temperate zones than in the torrid; and why in Europe it is found only among women in a state of pregancy, and sickly children.

      In the Indian archipelago, at the island of Java, Mr. Labillardière saw, between Surabaya and Samarang, little square and reddish cakes exposed to sale. These cakes, called taanampo, were cakes of clay, slightly baked, which the natives eat with appetite. The attention of physiologists, since my return from the Orinoco, having been powerfully fixed on this phenomena of geophagy, Mr. Leschenault (one of the naturalists of the expedition to the Southern Lands under Captain Baudin) has published some curious details on the taanampo, or ampo, of the Javanese. “The reddish and somewhat ferruginous clay,” he says, “which the inhabitants of Java are fond of eating occasionally, is spread on a plate of iron, and baked, after having been rolled into little cylinders in the form of the bark of cinnamon. In this state, it takes the name of ampo, and it is sold in the public markets. In general, it is only the Javanese women who eat the ampo, either in the time of their pregnancy, or in order to grow thin; the want of plumpness being a kind of beauty in this country. The use of this earth is fatal to health; the women lose their appetite imperceptibly, and no longer take without disgust a small quantity of food; but the desire of becoming lean, and of preserving a slender shape, can brave these dangers and maintain the credit of the ampo.”

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    When we reflect on the whole of these facts, we perceive that this disorderly appetite for clayey, magnesian, and calcareous earth, is most common among the people of the torrid zone; that it is not always a cause of disease; and that some tribes eat earth from choice, while others like the Otomacs eat it from want, and to appease hunger. A great number of physiological phenomena prove that a temporary cessation of hunger may be produced, without the substances that are submitted to the organs of digestion being, properly speaking, nutritive.The earth of the Otomacs, composed of alumina and silica, furnished probably nothing, or almost nothing to the composition of the organs of man. These organs contain lime and magnesia in the bones, in the lymph of the thoraxic duct, in the coloring matter of blood, and in white hairs; they afford very smallquantities of silica in black hair; and but a few atoms of alumina in the bones, though this is contained abundantly in the greater part of vegetable matters, which form part of our nourishment. It is not the same with man as with animated beings placed lower in the scale of organization. In man, assimilation is exerted only on those substances that enter essentially into the composition of the bones, the muscles, and the medullary matter of the nerves and brain. Plants, on the contrary, draw from the soil the salts that are found accidentally mixed in it; and their fibrous texture varies according to the nature of the earths that predominate in the spots which they inhabit. An object well worthy of research, and which has longed fixed my attention, is the small number of simple subtances that enter into the composition of animated beings, and which alone appear fitted to maintain what we call the chemical movement of vitality.

    When the missions of the Orinoco shall become more frequented by enlightened travelers, the number of days will be determined with precision, during which the Otomacs can subsist without adding to the clay they swallow any other aliment from the vegetable or animal kingdom. A considerable portion of gastric and pancreatic juice must be employed to digest, or rather, to envelope and expel with the fecal matter so great a quantity of clay. We may conceive that the secretion of these juices is augmented by the presence of earths in the stomach and intestines; but how does it happen that such abundant secretions do not cause at length a feeling of exhaustion?

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    The state of perfect health enjoyed by the Otomacs during the time when they use little muscular exercise and are subject to so extraordinary a regimen is a phenomenon difficult to explain. It can be attributed only to a habit, prolonged from generation to generation. Man can accustom himself to an extraordinary abstinence, and find it but little painful, if he employs tonic or stimulating substances, or if he supplies his stomach from time to time with earthy, insipid substances, that are not in themselves fit for nutrition. Like man in a savage state, some animals also, when pressed by hunger in winter, swallow clay or other friable steatites. Mr. Bonpland and I observed in a crocodile, eleven feet long, which we dissected at Batalley, on the banks of the Rio Magdalena, that the stomach of this reptile contained fish half digested, and rounded fragments of granite three of four inches in diameter. It is difficult to admit that the crocodiles swallow these stony masses accidentally, for they do not catch fish with their lower jaw resting on the ground at the bottom of the river. The Indians have framed the absurd hypothesis, that these indolent animals like to augment their weight, that they may have less trouble in diving. I rather think that they load their stomach with large pebbles to excite an abundant secretion of gastric juice. The experiments of Mr. Magendie render this explanation extremely probable. With respect to the habit of the granivorous birds, particularly the gallinaceæ and ostriches, of swallowing sand and small pebbles, it has been hitherto attributed to an instinctive desire to accelerating the trituration of the aliments in a muscular and thick stomach.