from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Alternative form of guanaco.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. See guanaco.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Same as guanaco.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The huanaco is a small camel -- small, that is, compared with its existing relation -- without a hump, and, unlike the camel of the Old World, non-specializad; doubtless it is a very ancient animal on the earth, and for all we know to the contrary, may have existed contemporaneously with some of the earliest known representatives of the camel type, whose remains occur in the lower and upper miocene deposits -- Poebrotherium,
And such an instinct, slowly matured and made perfect to enable this animal to escape extinction during periods of great danger to mammalian life, lasting hundreds or even thousands of years, and destructive of numberless other species less hardy and adaptive than the generalized huanaco, might well continue to exist, to be occasionally called into life by a false stimulus, for many centuries after it had ceased to be of any advantage.
The huanaco has never been a hybernating animal; but we must assume that, like the crotalus of the north, he had formed a habit of congregating with his fellows at certain seasons at the same spot; further, that these were seasons of suffering to the animal -- the suffering, or discomfort and danger, having in the first place given rise to the habit.
If the change was gradual and the snow became deeper each winter and lasted longer, an intelligent, gregarious, and exceedingly hardy and active animal like the huanaco, able to exist on the driest woody fibres, would stand the beat chance of maintaining its existence in such altered conditions, and would form new habits to meet the new danger.
Darwin writes: -- "On the mountains of Tierra del Fuego I have more than once seen a huanaco, on being approached, not only neigh and squeal, but prance and leap about in a most ridiculous manner, apparently in defiance as a challenge."
To the insatiable bloody appetite of this creature nothing comes amiss; he takes the male ostrich by surprise, and slays that wariest of wild things on his nest; He captures little birds with the dexterity of a cat, and hunts for diurnal armadillos; he comes unawares upon the deer and huanaco, and, springing like lightning on them, dislocates their necks before their bodies touch the earth.
The huanaco, happily for it, exists in a barren, desolate region, in its greatest part waterless and uninhabitable to human beings; and the chapter-heading refers to a singular instinct of the dying animals, in very many cases allowed, by the exceptional conditions in which they are placed, to die naturally.
Those only who have hunted the huanaco on the sterile plains and mountains it inhabits know how wary, keen-scented, and fleet of foot it is.
In habits it is gregarious, and is usually seen in small herds, but herds numbering several hundreds or even a thousand are occasionally met with on the stony, desolate plateaus of Southern Patagonia; but the huanaco is able to thrive and grow fat where almost any other herbivore would starve.
We find, in fact, that there is at least one very important and very well-known instinct in another class of creatures, which has a strong resemblance to that of the huanaco, as
Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.