Because it was extremely serviceable in destroying mice, lizards, etc.; whence they have frequently represented it in the hieroglyphics on their obelisks, the coverings of their mummies, etc. - Blumenbach.
Because it has been placed at the head of the vulture tribe, on account of the superior beauty of its external appearance. Waterton, a recent traveller, asserts, that when the king of the vultures is present, the inferior species do not attempt to touch the prey till the king is satisfied.
Because they have been carried there by birds, and not, as has been generally supposed, by eruptions of the sea. Mr. Barrow, who is of this opinion, tells us, in confirmation of it, that " there is scarcely a sheltered cavern in the sides of the mountains that rise imme- diately from the sea, where living shell-fish may not be found any day in the year. Crows even, and vultures, as well as aquatic birds, detach the shell-fish from the rocks, and mount with them into the air: shells, thus carried, are said to be frequently found on the very summit of the Table Mountain. In one cavern, at the point of Mussel Bay," he adds, " I disturbed some thousands of birds, and found as many thousands of living shell-fish, scattered on the surface of a heap of shells, that, for aught I know, would have filled as many thousand waggons." The story, therefore, of the ancient philosopher, whose bald pate one of these unlucky birds mistook for a stone, and dropped a shell upon, thereby killing at once both fish and philosopher, is not so tramontane as to stumble all belief.