With respect to the age of this formation, as judged of by the ordinary standard of the existence of Mollusca, the only evidence within the limits of the true Pampas which is at all trustworthy, is afforded by the still living Azara labiata being embedded in tosca-rock near Buenos Ayres.
This work is full on the plants, animals, fruits, &c., of this country; and is particularly interesting from the account it gives of the celebrated and singular Jesuit establishment in Paraguay. Voyages dans l'Amerique Meridionale, 1781-1801. Par Don F. de Azara. 4 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1809.
The forest being impenetrable, we had the greatest difficulty to find dry wood to light fires, near which the Indians believe themselves in safety from the nocturnal attacks of the tiger. Our own experience seems to bear testimony in favour of this opinion; but Azara asserts that, in his time, a tiger in Paraguay carried off a man who was seated near a fire lighted in the savannah.
I have been positively told that four or five hen birds have been watched to go in the middle of the day, one after the other, to the same nest. I may add, also, that it is believed in Africa that two or more females lay in one nest. The number of eggs in the nest varies from twenty to forty, and even to fifty; and according to Azara, sometimes to seventy or eighty.
From the numerous shells of the Azara labiata lying loose on the surface of the plains, and near Buenos Ayres embedded in the tosca-rock, we know that this formation not only was formerly covered by, but that the uppermost parts were deposited in, the brackish water of the ancient La Plata.
The number of eggs in the nest varies from twenty to forty, and even to fifty; and according to Azara, some times to seventy or eighty.
For although the Spanish naturalist, Azara, had there preceded him, the researches of the latter were of the olden time, and crude imperfect kind, before either zoology or botany had developed themselves into a science.
Azara states that it is generally believed in La Plata and Paraguay that the puma attacks and conquers the jaguar; but he did not credit what he heard, which was not strange, since he had already set the puma down as a cowardly animal, because it does not attempt to harm man or child.
Wherever these animals are congregated on the rocks, there the vultures may be seen. Azara states that there exists a tradition that these birds, at the time of the conquest, were not found near Monte Video, but that they subsequently followed the inhabitants from more northern districts.
These are animals, almost like a dog, and, in fact, are something like the Azara dogs of South America, and now Nero asked Don if he was a jackal. But the runaway dog soon told the circus lion a different story, and then they were friends. Don and Dido had a nice visit together in the circus tent before the show began. Don had simply slipped under the side of the tent to get in.