The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 416 pages of information about The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci Volume 2.



The walking of man is always after the universal manner of walking in animals with 4 legs, inasmuch as just as they move their feet crosswise after the manner of a horse in trotting, so man moves his 4 limbs crosswise; that is, if he puts forward his right foot in walking he puts forward, with it, his left arm and vice versa, invariably.



Comparative study of the organs of sense in men and animals.


I have found that in the composition of the human body as compared with the bodies of animals the organs of sense are duller and coarser.  Thus it is composed of less ingenious instruments, and of spaces less capacious for receiving the faculties of sense.  I have seen in the Lion tribe that the sense of smell is connected with part of the substance of the brain which comes down the nostrils, which form a spacious receptacle for the sense of smell, which enters by a great number of cartilaginous vesicles with several passages leading up to where the brain, as before said, comes down.

The eyes in the Lion tribe have a large part of the head for their sockets and the optic nerves communicate at once with the brain; but the contrary is to be seen in man, for the sockets of the eyes are but a small part of the head, and the optic nerves are very fine and long and weak, and by the weakness of their action we see by day but badly at night, while these animals can see as well at night as by day.  The proof that they can see is that they prowl for prey at night and sleep by day, as nocturnal birds do also.

Advantages in the structure of the eye in certain animals (828-831).


Every object we see will appear larger at midnight than at midday, and larger in the morning than at midday.

This happens because the pupil of the eye is much smaller at midday than at any other time.

In proportion as the eye or the pupil of the owl is larger in proportion to the animal than that of man, so much the more light can it see at night than man can; hence at midday it can see nothing if its pupil does not diminish; and, in the same way, at night things look larger to it than by day.



The eyes of all animals have their pupils adapted to dilate and diminish of their own accord in proportion to the greater or less light of the sun or other luminary.  But in birds the variation is much greater; and particularly in nocturnal birds, such as horned owls, and in the eyes of one species of owl; in these the pupil dilates in such away as to occupy nearly the whole eye, or diminishes to the size of a grain of millet, and always preserves the circular form.  But in the Lion tribe, as panthers, pards, ounces, tigers, lynxes, Spanish cats and other similar animals the pupil diminishes

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The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci — Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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