Online Encyclopedia

CHIRU

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 247 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHIRU, a graceful Tibetan antelope (Pantholops Hodgsoni), of which the bucks are armed with long, slender and heavily-ridged horns of an altogether peculiar type, while the does are hornless. Possibly this handsome antelope may be the original of the mythical unicorn, a single buck when seen in profile looking exactly as if it had but one long straight horn. Although far from uncommon, chiru are very wary, and consequently difficult to approach. They are generally found in small parties, although occasionally in herds. They inhabit the desolate plateau of Tibet, at elevations of between 13,000 and r8,000 ft., and, like all Tibetan animals, have a firm thick coat; formed in this instance of close woolly hair of a grey fawn-colour. The most peculiar feature about the chiru is, however, its swollen, puffy nose, which is probably connected with breathing a highly rarefied atmosphere. A second antelope inhabiting the same country as the chiru is the goa (Gazella picticaudata), a member of the gazelle group characterized by the peculiar form of the horns of the bucks and certain features of coloration, whereby it is markedly distinguished from all its kindred save one or two other central Asian species. The chiru, which belongs to the typical or antilopine section of antelopes, is probably allied to the saiga. (R. L.*) CHIRURGEON, one whose profession it is to cure disease by operating with the hand. The word in its original form is now obsolete. It derives from the Mid. Eng. cirurgien or sirurgien, through the Fr. from the Gr. Xetpovpy6s, one who operates with the hand (from Xeip, hand, epyov, work); from the early form is derived the modern word " surgeon." " Chirurgeon " is a 16th century reversion to the Greek origin. (See SURGERY.)
End of Article: CHIRU
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CHIROPTERA (Greek for " hand-wings ")
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