The dream-world of poets and philosophers which they describe as paradise and where there is supposed to be eternal spring with milk and honey ever flowing, are merely a figment of their imagination. The only real paradise which is a physical reality is our Earth. Besides being the home of man, our Earth teems with an amazing variety and abundance of flora and fauna.The present work, entitled AN ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF NATURAL HISTORY, is a monumental work (in 2 Vols.) which is the outcome of the labours of nine authors who are all eminent authorities on Natural History and who made a painstaking and perserving study of the entire Animal Kingdom. The entire study has been ably edited and organised into 2 vols. By the learned Editor as briefly explained in the succeeding paragraphs. Volume-I exclusively relates to Sub-Kingdom I Vertebrata. The Vertebrata have been further divided into 8 classes viz. (i) the Mammals (Mammlia) (ii) The Birds (Aves), (iii) Reptiles (Reptilea), (iv) Amphibians (Amphibia), (v) Fishes (Pisces), (vi) Lampreys and Hag-Fishes (Cyclostoma), (vii) Protochorda and (viii) Hemichorda. Of the Vertebrata, the species of mammals are of the highest category of animals who take their name from the general presence of prominent udders furnished with teats in the female for the secretion of the milk by which the young are invariably fed during the earlier stages of their existence. In the very lowest members of the class there are however no distinct teats, the milk glands dincharging by means of a number of small apertures in the skin of the lower surface of the body. With certain exceptions, a large variety of mammals have a world-wide distribution and inhabit almost all climates and countries. But then there are certain categories/uncommon and curious animals which have their habitats in particular countries and climes e.g. palm civets belong to Burma and Malasia, Pandas (or cat bears) to the Eastern Himalayas, bush pigs and wart hogs to Africa and guanaco to Peruvian Andes and similar other uncommon and unknown varieties. Volume II deals with remaining eight Sub-Kingdoms of the animal world (i) Sub-Kingdom II exclusively deals with Arthropoda which include an enormous number of animals with an external skeleton, or, atlast, a thickened integument to which the muscles are attached, (ii) Sub-Kingdom III Mollusea (Whelks, oysters and snails etc.) (iii) Sub-Kingdom IV-Brachiopada (Lampshells etc.) (iv) Sub-Kingdom V Echinoderma (starfish, sea urchins etc.) (v) Sub-Kingdom VI-Bryozoa (moss animals) (vi) Sub-Kingdom VII-Vermes (the worms) (vii) Sub-Kingdom VIII-Coelentera (sponges, corals etc.) and (viii) Sub-Kingdom IX-Protozoa (animalculae). When we study the bewildering variety of animal Kingdom and the most fascinating life their denizens lead, we are struck by the fecundity, the range of life patterns and the creativity of Nature as demonstrated by the multitudinous creatures which inhabit the mountains, the oceans, the jungles, the rivers, the gardens, the trees and the soil of the earth. They all add to the variegated mosaic of creation of Nature. This 2 volumes set of the Encyclopaedia of Natural History is a reference tool of inestimable, value not only for Natural Scientists and students of Natural History but is likely to prove a veritable mine of knowledge and information to all other eager to read the Wonder Book of Nature.
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