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Full text of "An historical disquisition on the mammoth : or, great American incognitum, an extinct, immense, carnivorous animal, whose fossil remains have been found in North America"



AN 



HISTORICAL DISQUISITION 



ON THE 



MAMMOTH 



OR. 



dBxtat :^mertcan 3lncognitum, 

jiN EXTINCT, IMMENSE, CARNIFOROUS ANIMAL, 

WHOSE 

FOSSIL REMAINS 

HAVE B£EN FOUND IN 

iBottb 3metica. 



Containing tome introductory Objcrvatlons, a Narrative of the Dis. 
covcry of nearly an entire Skeleton near New York, in the Autumn 
of 1801, together with a comparative Description, and occasional 
Remarks : illustrated with Engravings. 



By REMBRANDT PEALE. 



LONDON: 

PRINTED FOR E. LAWREMCE, No. 378, STRAND. 
BY C. MERCIER, 

Northumberland-court, Strand. 
1803, 



l/-i.ioyfji> 



■5o-^ 



To Charles Willson Peale. 



In addressing this to one of the 
best of fathers, it is but just that the 
world should know how much, and 
in what manner, it is indebted to 
you for the antique treasure of which 
the following pages treat. 

When some of the first discover- 
ed bones of the Mammoth were, 
eighteen years ago, brought to vou 
by Dr. Brown, for the purpose of 
making drawings from them, they 
were put into one corner of your 
picture gallery, where they fixed 
the astonishment of every visitor, 



IV 



and daily served to confirm your 
intention of procuring, if possible, 
an entire skeleton. This your per- 
severing zeal has at length accom- 
plished : but a more extensive be- 
nefit vv^as likevsdse the consequence ; 
and the Museum, of which you are 
the founder, already rivalling many 
in Europe, is to be ascribed to the 
same cause, and dated from the same 
period. The bones of the Mam- 
moth first produced the idea of a 
Museum, which, after eighteen years 
of rapid approach to maturity, un- 
der the unprecedented exertions of 
an individual, has in its turn enabled 
you to place among its treasures 
nearly a perfect skeleton of the 
Mammoth — the first of American 
animals, in the first of American 



Museums. The world will, there- 
fore, join with me in saying, that the 
most complete account ot the ani- 
mal you were the means of disco- 
vering for them, should be inscribed 
to you, as a feeble effort to do jus- 
tice to your meritorious zeal for 
science, and as an assurance of the 
gratitude of 

Your affectionate Son, 

Rembrandt Peak. 

London^ "July i8, 1803. 



ADVERflSEMENr. 



IN the account of the Mammoth, published 
in October last, the first crude ideas from an im^ 
perfect examination ivere hastily given : subsequent 
investigation has discovered ma?iy interesting cir- 
cumstances, njuhich are here detailed; and some 
passages which were Jiot sufjiciently explicit, have 
been more fully explained. Instead, therefore, of 
re-publishijig it as a second edition, which has been 
long called for, it was preferred to give it a more 
methodical, satisfactory, and enlarged form, only 
adopting such passages as suited the present purpose^ 
(instead of the affectation of giving them a new 
dress,) and dwelling upon those parts of the subject 
which were but slightly noticed in the former pub- 
lication. 



AN 



HISTORICAL DISQUISITION 



ON THE 



MAMMOTH. 



INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS. 

THE revolutions which have happened on 
our earth, by w^hich its original appearance 
has been successively changed, have, at all 
times, commanded the attention of the learned, 
and excited various speculations concerning 
the time, cause and manner; and although 
WQ may never learn much on a subject so ex- 
tensive, so remote and so w^onderful, yet as 
far as facts will authorize us, we may safely 
proceed : and if no other good should arise 
from the study than an abstraction from less 

B 



innocent pursuits, it should not rank low In 
the scale of benefits. 

From an examination of the various strata, 
as discovered in mines or exposed in cliffs, we 
have been taught that the surface of the earth 
has at times been violently agitated, and that 
there have been intervals of rest, in which the 
growth of animal, vegetable and mineral sub- 
stances has regularly proceeded : but however 
rugged the surface of the earth, and broken its 
strata, very few determinate ideas could be 
formed, were they not accompanied, as they are, 
with the remains of organized substances. 

The celebrated Cuvier, in his Memoir on 
Fossil Bones, thus commences his observa- 
tions : '' It is now universally known that the 
globe which v/e inhabit, on every side presents 
irresistible proofs of the greatest revolutions : 
the varied productions of living nature, which 
embellish the surface, is but a garment cover- 
in p* the ruins of an antecedent state of na- 
ture. Whether v.e turn up the plains, v.he- 
ther we penetrate the cavernous mountains, 
or climb their broken sides, the remnants of 



organized bodies are every where found, bu- 
ried in the various strata which form the ex- 
ternal cru^t of this globe. Immense collec- 
tions of shells lie buried far from any sea, and 
at heights inaccessible to its waves : fishes are 
found in veins of slate, and vegetable im.pres- 
sions at heights and depths equally astonish- 
ing. But what is most surprising is the 
disorder which reigns in their relative posi- 
tions ; here, a stratum of shells covers another 
of vegetables 3 there, fishes are found over 
terrestrial animals, which in their turn are 
placed over plants or shells. Torrents of lava 
and pumice, produced from subterranean 
fires, are mixed with the products of the 
ocean: these fossils are almost always foreign 
to the soil which hides them; it is in the 
equator we muft look for recent shells and 
fishes analogous to those which are found fos- 
sil in the north, and 'vice n^erfa. In short, 
although nature has thus embellished the 
actual residence of living beings, although so 
much care is shewn in their preservation and 
happiness, she seems equally pleased with 
exhibiting the monuments of her pov/er in 
this disorder and apparent confusion — all evi-» 

B 2 



dent proofs of the total overthrow which 
must have preceded the present order of the 
universe. 

" These traces of desolation have ahvays 
acted on the human mind ; the traditions of 
deluges, preserved among almost every people, 
are derived from these marine productions 
thus scattered over the earth. Those not less 
universal ideas of giants, are owing to the dis- 
covery of larger bones than any produced in 
those climates, where; from time to time, 
they have been found." After mentioning the 
spirit of investigation, which from these effects 
has sought their solution among wild and in- 
consistent theories, until a better philosophy 
has determined to reject them all, and establish 
nothing but upon the immutable basis of 
facts— facts which are collecting from every 
source for mutual elucidation, and already 
more abundant than could have been expected 
when the practice first was adopted; he pro- 
ceeds to state, that what relates to the fossil 
remains of quadrupeds has been least of all 
attended to, although unquestionably the 
most interesting of any, from the fewness of 
their numbers and the extent and accuracy of 



our knowledge of such as are living; whereas, 
with respect to fossil shells and fishes, who 
can say which among thern is not hid in the 
bosom of the ocean ? 

" Notwithstandlno: these reasons in favour 
of the preference to be given to the study of 
the fossil bones of quadrupeds, the celebrated 
men, whom I have just mentioned*, have 
been stopped in their reseaches by two kinds 
of difficulties. On one hand, these bones -are 
more difhcult to be collected than any other 
fossils ; rarely are they f )und in good preser- 
vation; the workmen who discover them pay 
little attention to them, frequently suspecting 
them to be no other than the bones of ordi- 
nary men and quadrupeds: often even the 
learned have overlooked those delicate vari- 
ations which distinguish them from the living 
species. On the other hand, it is not always 
easy to make the proper comparisons ; — com- 
parative anatomy has but just emiCrged from 

* Woodward, Whiston, Leibnitz, EufFcn, Slonne, Mesrer- 
schmidt, Daubenton, Camper, Blumenbach, Hunter, Rofe- 
fniiller, Faujas. 



6 

infancy, and in all Europe there are scarcely 
more than two or three places where every 
object may be found necessary to such an exact 
comparison. 

*' It is to these two causes we must attri- 
bute the little knowledge we possess on this 
subject, and the errors which reign even in the 
most esteemed w^orks." 

In this interesting memoir of M. Cuvier, 
whose researches into this subject have been 
indefatigable and profound, there are mien- 
t.oned no less than twenty-three different 
species of animals which are now extinct, but 
whose existence in former ages is attested by 
their fossil remains -, no recent production of 
the sort having ever been authenticated. The 
first on this list is that animal whose tusks af- 
ford the fossil ivory so common in Siberia, 
which was generally supposed to be the same 
as the elephant of Asia, but which he has 
proved, in another memoir, not only to have 
.surpassed it in size, but to have differed from it 
very considerably, although certainly a species 



of the same genus: similar remains have been 
found in various parts of Europe and Asia *. 

" The second of these species is that to 
which the English, and the inhabitants of the 
United States, have transferred the name of 
Mammoth, which properly belongs to the 
first. It is equally large, but its enormous 
teeth, armed with conic processes, give to it 
a peculiar character. Great quantities of 
these are found on the borders of the Ohio, 
to the west of the United States, whence al- 
most every cabinet in Europe and America has 
been supplied." 

It appears that about the year 1740, great 
numbers of bones, of this kind, were found in 
Kentucky, either washed from the banks of 
the Ohio, or dug up in its neighbourhood ^ 

* It is not so generally known as it should be, that bones 
and teeth, similar to such as are found in Siberia, have been 
A'scovered in several parts of England. Mr. Wansey, of 
Sahsbury, sent for my inspection some which w:ere dug in 
Salisbury Plains ; others have been found in the Isle of Dogs i. 
some near Bristol, &:c. These fossil remains deserve more 
attention than they have hitherto received ; but it is hoped a 
proper collection of them may be formed, and the subject 
rightly investigated;. 



8 



but they were collected with such eagerness, 
and forwarded to Europe so hastily, that it 
shortly became impossible to distinguish one 
set of bones from another, so as to ascertain 
their number, proportion, and kind -, parts of 
the same animal having been scattered over 
England, France, and Germany, and thus 
their re-union rendered next to impossible. 
BufFon *, speaking of one of these thigh-bones 
brought from the Ohio by the way of Canada, 
which he describes as being the tenth of an 
inch shorter than one from Siberia, and yet an 
inch thicker, says : " This disproportion is so 
great as hitherto to deceive me with respect to 
this bone, though it otherwise resembles, both 
in the external figure and internal structure, 
the femur of the elephant (he should have 
said, the femur found in Siberia), mentioned 
under the number dcdlxxxvii. The dif- 
ference in thickness, which appeared exces- 
sive, seemed sufficient to attribute this bon« 
to another animal which must have been 
larger than the elephant ^ but as no such 
animal is known, recourse must be had to the 

* Vol. XI. page 169, No. Mxxxv. Autre Femur d^Elephant. 



pretended Mammoth, a fabulous animal, 
supposed to inhabit the regions of the north, 
where are frequently found bones, teeth, and 
tusks resembling those of the elephant." 

This paragraph of Mons. de Buffon has 
given rise, in an extraordinary manner, to 
several errors. Inasmuch as these bones and 
teeth, which are found in Siberia, differ from 
those of the living elephants, they are to be 
taken as proofs of the former existence of 
another species no longer known, having the 
same generic characters, but differing speci- 
fically. We are not compelled to adopt M. 
Bufion's aversion to the idea of any race of 
animals becoming extinct, but we are forced 
to submit to concurring facts as the voice of 
God — the bones exist — the animals do not ! 
The Russian peasants, when they were inter- 
rogated as to the bones found in Siberia, 
attributed them, in a fabulous manner, to the 
Mammoth, " of whom, (says Strahlenburgh) 
they told and believed the most extraordinary 
stories:" we must all, therefore, ao-ree with 
Buffon, that as these Siberian bones were 
really elephantine, the tales of the Mam moth, 

c 



10 



as an animal fo called^ are entirely fabulous ; 
the name being a corruption from the Behomet, 
signifying an animal of large size, and there- 
fore applied to bones that were certainly of a 
large size: — but when bones of equal or su- 
perior magnitude were found on the Ohio, in 
America, they were supposed to be of the 
same species, and therefore called Mammoth^ by 
which name they have been known for sixty 
years, and called so by thousands who knew 
not the origin of the word. The Siberian 
bones turn out to be elephantine; those of 
America, particularly from the teeth, cannot 
be: therefore, since the animal was not an 
elephant, naturalists are now agreed in the 
propriety of distinguishing it by the name of 
Mammoth i not as a name by which, when 
living, it was ever called, but as a term well 
appropriated to express its quality of super- 
eminent magnitude. 

After reciting the account given by Mr. 
Fabry, who states the place and manner in 
which Mr. le Baron de Longueuil, Mr. de 
Bienville, and Mr. de Lignery (lieutenant in 
Canada), found some of these bones and teeth 



II 

on the Ohio, in 1740, Buffon proceeds: "Mr. 
du Hamel, of the Royal Academy of Sciences, 
informs us that Mr. de Longueuil had likewise 
brought, in 1740, some very large grinders, 
found in Canada, and perhaps with the tusk 
and femur which I shall mention. These 
teeth have no characters in common with 
those of the elephant, but greatly resemble the 
teeth of the hippopotamus, so that there is 
reason to believe they may be part of that 
animal; for it can never be supposed that 
these teeth could have been taken from the 
same head with the tusks, or that it could have 
made part of the same skeleton with the femur 
above-mentioned: in supposing this, it would 
be necessary to suppose an unknown ani- 
mal, which had tusks similar to those of 
the elephant, and grinders resembling those 
of the hippopotamus. (Voyez Ics Mtmoires d^ 
tAcadhiie Roy ale des Sciences^ Annee 1762./* 

Here M. de BufFon, however unwillingly, 
has drawn a true picture of the Mammoth, 
with some little variation, inasmuch as the 
tusks do resemble those of the elephant, except 
in having a greater curve and spiral tv/ist, and 

c 2 



12 



necessarily a different position; and as the 
teeth do resemble, though greatly exceeding in 
size, those of the hyppopotamus which are 
in the back of the jaw, and consequently not 
worn 'y except that in the latter there are sel- 
dom more than three prongs, or blunt-pointed 
protuberances, on the surface, which is after- 
wards worn down ; whereas in this animal the 
large teeth have four and five, and the small 
teeth three and four ridges of high conic pro- 
cesses, very differently arranged from those 
of the former: besides that, in the hippo- 
potamus, the enamel which commences, as in 
the sheep, upon the outside, likewise pervades 
the substance of the tooth, and renders 
them, when ground Jlat (as they always are in 
adult animals)^ efficacious in reducing the ve- 
getable food; whereas in the Mammoth 
the enamel is wholly superficial, and the 
tooth never wears flat, because it has not the 
grinding motion. 

Mr. Collinson, Member of the Royal Socie- 
ty, in a letter on this subject to M. Buffon*, 

* BufFon, Tome XIII. Notes juflliicative, page 224. 



^3 

after describing the situation of the salt lick 
on the Ohio, where an amazing number of 
bones of the elephant, as he imagined them to 
be, were found, together with teeth totally 
unlike those qf the elephant, concludes thus : 
'' But the large teeth which I send you. Sir, 
were found with those tusks or defences : 
others yet larger than these shew, nay de-^ 
monstrate, that they did not belong to ele- 
phants. How shall we reconcile this paia- 
dox ? May we not suppose that there existed 
formerly a large animal w^ith the tusks of the 
elephant and the grinders of the hippopota^ 
mus ? For these large grinders are very dif- 
ferent from those of the elephant ^ (and sub- 
sequent examination proves them to be as 
different from those of the hippopotamus,) 
"Mr. Croghan thinks, from the great number 
of this kind of teeth, that is, the tusks and 
grinders which he saw in that place, that 
there had been at least thirty of these ani- 
mals*: yet the elephant never was known in 

* The number could only he determined by the quantity 
of duplicate bones— there must have been tlie remains of se- 
veral of them ; and it is very certain that In the same neigh- 
bourhood the number must have been very great indeed, con- 



America, and probably could not have been 
carried there from Asia : the impossibility 
that they could have lived there, owing to the 
severity of the winters, and where, notwith- 
standing such a quantity of their bones is 
found, is a paradox which we leave to your 
eminent wisdom to solve." This determina- 
tion M. Buffon gives us in the following 
terms, although in direct contradiction to 
those passages in which he labours to prove 
that the bones found in Siberia and America 
were, in both instances, belonging to the ele- 
phant : " Thus every thing leads as to beheve 
that this ancient species, which must be re- 
garded as the first and largest of terrestrial 
animals^ has not existed sirice the earliest times^ 
and is totally unknown to iis : for an animal, 
whose species was larger than that of an ele- 

sidering the quantities taken away at various times, the diffi- 
culty of digging, and the small extent of ground which has 
been examined, by those whose only object is to colle6t the 
water for the salt it contains. Stu[:endous and powerful as 
this animal was, could he have been gregarious r* or may not 
these be the collected carcases of such as have been bemired 
in the course of many years ? or may they not have been thus 
collected by the effect of water ? Not knowing the form of 
the country, I pretend to form nojudgment, r. p. 



IS 

pliant, could hide itself in no part of the 
earth so as to remain unknown : besides, it is 
evident from the form of these teeth alone, 
from their enamel and the disposition of their 
roots, that they bear no resemblance to the ca^ 
chelots^ or other cetaceous animals, and that 
they really belonged to a terrestrial animal, 
whose species approached that of the hippopo- 
tamus more than any other." 

In this state of uncertainty continued the 
knowledge of these extraordinary remains of 
the great American Incognituin^ as it was fre- 
quently called, until a recent discovery in the 
neighbourhood of our cities, afforded us al- 
most a complete idea of the whole skeleton ; 
and the world is now in possession of two un- 
disputed skeletons of this animal, found in 
such situations as leave no room for conjec-» 
ture ; each skeleton being dug up in a sepa- 
rate place, without any intermixture of forci^^n 
bones, and each bone exactly adapted to its cor- 
responding points of articulation. One of these 
skeletons is erected, as a permanent speci- 
men, at my father's museum, in Philadelphia, 
where it will remain a monument, not only of 
I 



i6 



stupendous creatloUj and some wonderful re- 
volution in nature, but of the scientific zeal, 
and indefatigable perseverance, of a man from 
whose private exertions a museum has been 
founded, surpassed by few in Europe, and 
likely to become a national establishment, on 
the most liberal plan. The other skeleton, 
discovered a few miles distant from the for- 
mer, I have brought with me to Europe. 



NARRATIVE. 



IN the spring of 1 80 1, receiving informa- 
tion from a scientific correspondent in the 
state of New- York, that in the autumn of 1799, 
many bones of theMAMMoxn had been found 
in digging a marle-pit in the vicinity of New- 
burgh, which is situated on the river Hudson, 
sixty-seven miles from the city of New- York, 
my father, Charles Wilson Peale, immediately 
proceeded to the spot, and through the po- 
liteness of Dr. Graham, whose residence on 
the banks of the Wall-kill enabled him to be 
present when most of the bones were dug up, 
received every information with respect to 
what had been done, and the most probable 
means of future success. The bones that had 
been found were then in the possession of the 
farmer who discovered them, heaped on the floor 
of his garret or granary, where they were oc- 
casionally visited by the curious. These my 

D 



i8 

fcither was fortunate to make a purchase of*, 
together with the right of digging up the re- 
mainder i and, immediately packing them up, 
sent them on to Philadelphia. But as the far- 
mer's fields were then in grain, the enterprizc 
of further investigation was postponed for a 
short time. 

The whole of this part of the country 
abounding with morasses, solid enough for 
cattle to walk over, containing peat, or turf 
and shell marie, it is the custom of the far- 
mers to assise each other, in order to obtain 
a quantity of the marie for manure. Pits 
are dug generally twelve feet long and five 
feet wide at the top, lessening to three feet at 

* They consisted of all the neck, most of the vertebra? of 
the back, and some of the tail; most of the ribs, in greater 
part broken ; both fcapulse ; both humeri, with the radii and 
ulnae ; one femur ; a tibia of one leg, and a fibula of the other ; 
Some large fragments of the head ; many of the fore and hind 
feet bones; the pelvis fomewhat broken j and a large frag- 
ment, five feet long, of one tusk, about mid-way. He 
therefore was in want of som.e of the back and tail bones, 
some of the ribs, the under jaw, one wliole tusk and part of 
the other, the breast bone, one thigh, and a tibia and fibula, 
and many of the feet bones. 



^9 

the bottom. The peat or turf is thrown on 
lands not immediately in use; and the marie, 
after mellowing through the winter, is in the 
spring scattered over the cultivated fields — the 
most luxuriant crops are the consequence. — 
It was in digging one of these, on the farm of 
John Masten, that one of the men, thiusting 
his spade deeper than usual, struck what he 
supposed to be a log of wood, but on cutting 
it to ascertain the kind, to his astonishment, 
he found it was a bone : it was quickly cleared 
from the surrounding earth, and proved to be 
that of the thigh, three feet nine inches in 
length, and eighteen inches in circumference, 
in the smallest part. The search was con- 
tmued, and the same evening several other 
bones were discovered. The fame of it soon 
spread through the neighbourhood, and excited 
a general interest in the pursuit: all were 
eager, at the expence of some exertions, to gra- 
tify their curiosity in seeing the ruins of an 
animal so gigantic, of whose bones very few 
among them had ever heard, and over which 
they had so often unconsciously trod. For 
the two succeeding days upwards of an hun- 

D 2 



20 

dred men were actively engaged, encouraged 
by several gentlemen, chiefly physicians, of 
the neighbourhood, and success the most san- 
guine attended their labours : but, unfortu- 
nately, the habits of the men requiring the 
use of spirits, it was afforded them in too great 
profusion, and they quickly became so impa- 
tient and unruly, that they had nearly destroy- 
ed the skeleton j and, in one or two instances, 
using oxen and chains to drag them from the 
clay and marie, the head, hips, and tusks 
were much broken ; some parts being drawn 
out, and others left behind. So great a quan- 
tity of water, from copious springs, bursting 
from the bottom, rose upon the men, that it 
required several score of hands to lade it out 
with all the milk-pails, buckets, and bowls, 
they could collect in the neighbourhood. All 
their ingenuity was exerted to conquer diffi- 
culties that every hour increased upon their 
hands : they even made and sunk a large cof- 
ferdam, and within it found many valuable 
fmall bones. The fourth day so much water 
had risen in the pit, that they had not courage 
to attack it again. In this state we found it in 
1801. 3 



n 



It was a curious circumstance attending the 
purchase of these bones, that the sum which 
was paid for them was little more than one- 
third of what had been offered to the farmer for 
them by another, and refused not long before. 
This anecdote may not be uninteresting to the 
moralist, and I shall explain it. The farmer, 
of German extraction — and like many others 
in America, speaking the language of his 
fathers better than that of his country — was 
born on his farm ; he was brought up to it as 
a business, and it continued to be his pleasure 
in old age 3 not because it was likely to free 
him from labour, but because profit, and the 
prospect of profit, cheered him in it, until Ll;e 
end was forgotten in the means. — Intent upon 
manuring his lands, to increase its produc- 
tion (always laudable) he felt no interest in the 
fossil shells contained in his morass; and had 
it not been for the men who dug with him, 
and those whose casual attention was arrested, 
or v/ho were drawn by report to the spot, for 
him the bones might have rotted in the hole 
which discovered them : this he confeHed to 
me would have been his conduct, certain that 
after the surprise of the moment diey were 



tz 



good for nothing but to rot as manure. But 
the learned physician, the reverend divine, 
to whom he had been accustomed to look up- 
wards, gave importance to the objects v/hich 
ejicited the vulgar stare of his more inquisitive 
neighbours: he therefore joined his exertio'ns 
to theirs, to recover as many of the bones as 
possible. With hiir^, hope was every thin^; 
with the men, curiosity did much, but rum 
did more, and some Httle was owing to certain 
prospects which they had of sharing in the 
future p:;3sible profit. It is possible he might 
have encouraged this idea ; his fear of it, how- 
ever, i;cems to have given him some uneasi- 
n>'3; for when he was offered a small sum 
for the bones, it appeared too little to divide ; 
and when a larger sum, he fain would have 
engrossed the whole of it, or persuade himself 
that the real value might be something greater. 
Ignorant of what had been offer*ed him, my 
father's application was in a critical moment, 
and the farmer accepted his price, on condi- 
tion that: he should receive a new gun for his 
son, and nev/ gowms for his wife and daughters, 
v/ith some other articles of the same class. 
The fanner was glad they were out of his 



13 

granary, and that they were hi a few days to 
be two hundred miles distant; and my father 
was no less pleased with the consciousness, 
and on which every one complimented him, 
that they were in the hands of one who would 
spare no exertions to make the best use of 
them. The neighbours, who had assisted the 
farmer in this discovery, envious of his good 
fortune, sued him for a share in the profit ; 
but they gained nothing m^ore than a dividend 
of the costs ; it appearing that they had been 
satisfied with the gratification of their curi^ 
osity, and the quality and quantity of the rum, 
and no one to prove that he had given them 
reason to hope for a share in the price of any 
thing his land might happen to produce. 

Not willing to lose the advantage of an un- 
commonly dry season, when the springs in the 
morass were low, we proceeded on the arduous 
enterprize. In New York every article was. 
provided which might be necessary in sur- 
mounting expected difficulties; such as a 
pump, ropes, pullies, augers, &c.; boards and 
plank were provided in the neighbouihood, 



and timber was in sufficient plenty on the 
spot. 

Confident that nothing could be done with- 
out having a perfect command of the water, 
the first idea was to drain it by a ditch ; but 
the necessary distance of perhaps half a mile, 
presented a length of labour that appeared im- 
mense. It was, therefore, resolved to throw 
the water into a natural bason about sixty feet 
distant, the upper edge of which was about 
ten feet above the level of the water. An in- 
genious m.ill-wright constructed the machi- 
nery; and after a week of close labour, com- 
pleted a large scaffolding and a wheel twenty 
feet diameter, wide enough for three or four 
men to walk a-breast in : a rope round this 
turned a small spindle, which worked a chain 
of buckets regulated by a floating cylinder : 
the water, thus raised, was emptied into a 
trough, which conveyed it to the bason ^ a 
ship's pump assisted, and towards the latter 
part of the operation, a pair of half barrels, in 
removing the mud. This machine worked so 
powerfully, that in the second day the water 



25 

was lowered so much as to enable them to dig, 
and m a few hours they were rewarded with 
several small bones. 

The road which passed through this farm 
was a highway, and the attention of every tra- 
veller was arrested by the coaches, waggons, 
chaises, and horses, which animated the road, 
or were collected at the entrance of the field : 
rich and poor, men, women, and children, all 
flocked to see the operation; and a swamp 
always noted as the solitary abode of fnakes 
and frogs, became the active scene of curiosity 
and bustle: most of the spectators were asto* 
nished at the purpose which could prompt 
such vigorous and expensive exertions, in a 
manner so unprecedented, and so foreign to 
the pursuits for which they were noted.— 
But the amusement was not wholly on their 
side; and the variety of company not only 
amused us, but tended to encourage the work- 
men, each of whom, before so many s])ectators, 
was ambitious of signalizing himself by the 
number of his discoveries. 

For several weeks no exertions were spared^ 



26 

and the most unremitting were required to 
insure success: bank after bank felling the 
increase of water was a constant impediment, 
the extreme coldness of which benumbed the 
v/orkmen. Each day required some new ex- 
pedient, and the carpenter was always making 
additions to the machinery : every day bones 
and pieces of bones were found between six 
and seven feet deep, but none of the most im- 
portant ones. But the greatest obstacle to 
the search was occasioned by the shell marie 
which formed the lower stratum -, this, ren- 
dered thin by the springs at the bottom, was, 
by the weight of the whole morass, always 
pressed upwards on the workmen to a certain 
height 5 which, without an incalculable ex- 
pence, it was impossible to prevent. Twenty- 
five hands at high wages were alm.ost constantly 
employed at work which was so uncomfortable 
and severe, that nothing but their anxiety to 
see the head, and particularly the under jaw, 
could have kept up their resolution. The pa- 
tience of employer and workmen was at length 
exhausted, and the work relinquished without 
obtaining those interesting parts, the v^ant of 
which rendered it impossible to form a com- 
plete skeleton. 



•27 

It would not have been a very difficult mat 
ter to put these bones together, and they 
would have presented the general appearance 
of the skeleton s but the under jaw was broken 
to pieces in the first attempt to get out the 
bones, and nothing but the teeth and a few 
fragments of it were now found ; the tall was 
mostly wanting, and some toe-bones. It was, 
therefore, a desirable object, not only to pro- 
cure some knowledge of these deficient parts, 
but if possible to find some other skeleton in 
such order as to see the position, and correctly 
to ascertain the number of the bones. In the 
course of eighteen years there had been found 
within twelve miles of this spot, a bone or two 
in seven different places : concerning these we 
made particular inquiries, but found that most 
of the morasses had been since drained, and con- 
sequently either the bones had been exposed to 
a certain decay -, or else so deep, that a fortune 
might have been spent in the fruitless pursuit. 
But through the polite attention of Dr.Galatian, 
we were induced to examine a small morass, 
eleven miles distant from the former, belonging 
to Capi. J. Barber, where, eight years before, 
four nbs had been found in digging a pit- 

E 2 



28 

From the description which was given of their 
position, and the appearance of the morass, 
we began our operations with all the vigour a 
certainty of success could inspire. Nearly a 
week was consumed in making a ditch, by 
which all the water was carried off, except 
what a hand pump could occasionally empty : 
the digging, therefore, was less difficult than 
that at Masten's, though still tedious and un- 
pleasant ', particularly as the sun, unclouded 
as it had been for seven weeks, poured its 
scorching rays on the morass, so circumscribed 
with trees, that the western breeze afforded no 
refreshment: yet nothing could exceed the ar- 
dour of the men, particularly of one, a gigantic 
and athletic negro, who exulted in the most 
laborious choice, although he seemed melting 
with the heat. Almost an entire set of ribs 
were found, lying pretty much together, and 
very entire; but as none of the back bones 
were found near them (a sufficient proof of 
their having been scattered,) our latitude 
for search was extended to very uncertain 
limits : therefore, after working about two 
weeks, and finding nothing belonging to the 
head but two rotten tusks (part of one of 



29 

them is with the skeleton here), three or four 
small grinders, a few vertebrae of the back and 
tail, a broken scapula, some toe-bones, and 
the ribs, found between four and seven feet 
deep — a reluctant terminating pause ensued. 

These bones were kept distinct from those 
found at Masten's, as it would not be proper 
to incorporate into one skeleton any other than 
the bones belonging to it -, and nothing more 
was intended than to collate the corresponding 
parts. These bones were chiefly valuable as 
specimens of the individual parts ; but no bone 
was found among them which was deficient in 
the former collection, and therefore our chief 
object was defeated. To have failed in so 
small a morass was rather discouraging to the 
idea of making another attempt ; and yet the 
smallness of the morass was probably the cause 
of our failure, as it was extremely probable 
the bones we could not find were long since 
decayed, from being situated on the rising 
slope at no considerable depth, unprotected 
by the shell marie, which lay only in the lower 
part of the bason forming the morass. When 
every exertion was given over, we could not 
but look at the surrounding unexplored parts 



3^ 



with some concern, uncertain how near wc 
might have been to the discovery of all that 
we wanted, and regretting the probability that, 
in consequence of the drain we had made, a 
few years would wholly destroy the venerable 
objects of our research. 

Almost in despair at our failure in the 
last place, where so much was expected, 
it was v^ith very little spirit we mounted 
our horses on another enquiry. Crossing 
the Walkill at the falls, we ascended over 
a double swelling hill into a rudely cul- 
tivated country, about twenty miles west 
from the Hudson, where, in a thinly settled 
neighbourhood, lived the honest farmer Peter 
Millspaw, who, three years before, had dis- 
covered several bones : from his log; hut, 
he accompanied us to the morass. — It was 
impossible to resist the solemnity of the 
approach to this venerable spot, which was 
surrounded by a fence of safety to the cat- 
tle without. Here we fastened our horfes, 
and followed our guide into the center of 
the morass, or ratlier marshy , forest, where 
. every step was taken on rotten timber and 
the spreading roots of tall trees, the luxuri- 



3^ 

ant growth of a few years, half of which 
were tottering over our heads. Breathless 
silence had here taken her reign amid un- 
healthy fogs, and nothing was heard but 
the fearful crash of fome mouldering branch 
or towering beach. It was almost a dead 
level, and tlie holes dug for the purpofe of 
manure, out of which a few bones had been 
taken six or seven years before, were full of 
water, and connected with others containing 
a vast quantity -, so that to empty one was to 
empty them all -, yet a last effort might be 
crowned with sticcess -, and, since so many dif- 
ficulties had been conquered, it was refolved 
to embrace the only opportunity that now of- 
fered for any farther discovery. Machinery 
was accordingly erected, pum.ps and buckets 
were employed, and a long course of troughs 
conducted the water, among the distant roots, 
to a fall of a few inches ; by which the men 
were enabled, unmolested, except by the caving 
in of the banks, to dig on every fide from the 
spot where the first discovery of the bones 
had been made. 

Here alternate success and dissapointment 



32 

amused and fatigued us for a long while; un- 
til witli empty pockets, low spirits, and 
languid workmen, we were about to quit the 
morass with but a small collection, though 
in good preservation, of ribs, toe and leg 
bones, &c. In the meanwiiile, to leave no 
means untried, the ground was searched in 
various directions with long-pointed rods and 
cross handles : after some practice, we were 
able to distinguish by the feel whatever sub- 
stances we touched harder than the soil -, and 
by this means, in a very unexpected direction, 
though not more than twenty feet from the 
first bones that were discovered, struck upon 
a large collection of bones, which were dug 
to and taken up with every possible care. 
They proved to be a humerus, or large bone 
of the right leg, with the radius and ulna of 
the left, the right scapula, the atlas, several 
toe-bones, and, the great object of our pur- 
suit, a complete under jaw! 

After such a variety of labour and length of 
fruitless expectation, this success was ex- 
tremely grateful to all parties, and the un- 
conscious woods echoed with repeated huzzas, 



33 

%vhich could not have been more animated if 
every tree had participated in the joy. " Gra- 
cious God, what a jaw! how many animals 
have been cmshed between it !" was the ex- 
clamation of all : a fresh supply of grog went 
round, and the hearty fellows, covered with 
mud, continued the search with encreafing 
vigour* The upper part of the head was 
found twelve feet distant, but so extremelv 
rotten that we could only preserve the teeth 
and a few fragments. In its form it exactly 
resembled the head found at Masten's ; but, as 
that was much injured by rough usage, this,, 
from its small depth beneath the surface, had 
the cranium so rotted away as only to shew 
the formar-ound the teeth, and thence extend- 
ing to the condyles of the neck ; the rotten 
bone formed a black and greasy mould above 
that part which v/as still entire, yet so tender 
as to break to pieces on lifting it from its 
bed. 

This collection was rendered still more com- 
plete by the addition of those formerly taken 
up, and presented to us by Drs. Graham and 
Post. They were a rib, the sternum, a femur, 

F 



34 

tibia and fibula, and a patella or knee-pan. 
One of the ribs had found its way into an ob- 
scure farm-house, ten miles distant, to which 
we fortunately traced it. 

Thus terminated this strange and laborious 
campaign of three months, during which we 
were wonderfully favoured, although vegeta- 
tion suffered, by the driest season which had 
occurred within eight years. Our venerable 
relics were carefully packed up in distinct 
cases 'y and, loading two waggons with them, 
we bade adieu to the vallies and stupendous 
mountains of Shawangunk : so called by their 
former inhabitants, the Indiana of the Dela- 
ware tribe. The three sets of bones were 
kept distinct : with the two collections which 
were most numerous, it was intended to form 
two skeletons, by still keeping them separate, 
and filling up the deficiencies in each by arti- 
ficial imitations from the other, and from 
counterparts in themselves. For inftance, in 
order to complete the first skeleton, whi<:h was 
found at Masten's, the under jaw was to be 
modelled from this, which is the only intire 
one that has yet been discovered, although we 



35 

have seen considerable fragments of at leaft 
ten different jaws : while on the other hand, 
in the skeleton just discovered at Barber's, the 
upper jaw, which was found in the extreme of 
decay, was to be completed, so far as it goes, 
from the more solid fragment of the head be- 
longing to the skeleton found at Masten's. 
Several feet-bones in this skeleton were to be 
made from that ; and a few in that were to 
be made from this. In this the right humerus 
being real, the imitation for the left one eould 
be made with the utmoft certainty ; and the 
radius and ulna of the left leg being real, 
those on the right side would follow in course, 
&c. The collection of ribs in both cases was 
pretty intire; therefore, having discovered 
from a correspondence between the number of 
vertebrae and ribs in both animals, that there 
were nineteen pair of the latter, it was neces- 
sary in only four or five instances to supply 
the counterparts, by correct models from the 
real bones. In this manner the two skeletons 
were formed, and ^re in both instances com- 
posed of the appropriate bones of the animal, 
or exact imitations fron> the real bones in the 
same skeleton, or from those of the same pro^* 



36 

portion in the other. Nothing in either skele- 
ton is imaginary ; and what we have not un- 
questionable authority for we leave deficient, 
which happens in only two instances, the 
summit of the head, and the endoi the tail. 



COMPARATIVE DESCRIPTION. 



THE skeleton of the Mammoth, as it is 
first hastily glanced at, impresses the idea of 
the elephant, to which, in its general contour 
it bears some resemblance; yet, on a closer 
examination, even tlie general figure is found 
to vary considerably ; and a closer inspection 
will shewthatmanyof the bones differ in a most 
extraordinary manner. The supposition which 
necessarily accompanies this Jirsf impression is, 
that the habits and food or the two animals must 
have been similar. This hasty mode of decision 
is the parent of prejudice and obstinate error; 
and nothing better can be said of it, than that 
it is not unnatural, but such as we should 
expect from minds little accustomed to inves- 
tigation, and rather disposed to confide in 
common-place facts, than to inquire into the 
possibility of new ones, especially if they arc 
in opposition to their prejudices. 



I 



35 

Among all the different genera of quadru- 
peds with which we are acquainted, a more 
striking dissimilarity prevails between their 
heads than any other parts ; and the reason is 
obvious: members that are to answer exactly 
the same purpose, in different animals, never 
differ -, but an appropriate form of bone always 
accompanies peculiar modes of action and 
habits of repose, which by constant use are 
more and more confirmed: hence, animals 
wholly different from each other, except in a 
few instances, are more immediately distin- 
guished by the heads than any other part ; not 
only because their forms are more decidedly 
peculiar, but because the inexperienced eye 
can better remark them than such as may exist 
in other bones which are of more difficult com- 
parison, and more multiform in their parts : 
for to judge correctly in osteological compari- 
sons requires not so much the knowledge of 
the anatomist as the eye of the artist : — and 
I maintain it as a fact, in which every candid 
anatomist and every artist will join with me, 
that the mere artist, by a little attention to 
the variations of form, will sooner, and with 
jnore certainty, establish the characters of 



39 

^Iceletons, than the most learned anatomist, 
whose eye has not been accustomed in an in- 
stant to seize on every peculiarity : the slow- 
anatomist may be sure, but unless he demotes 
himself to the abstracted study of his subject, 
he falls short of correct information. It is, 
therefore, evident, that our hopes of correct 
knowledge on this subject must rest on those 
in whom the two characters are combined. 
For my part, my decisions are pronounced 
with no other authority than that of an artisfy 
pretending to very little more knowledge of 
anatomy than gives me the names and uses of 
the bones ; but, when forms and the right 
comparison of lines and angles is the subject 
of investigation, I feel myself, as every artist 
must, perfectly confident in the assertion of 
truth. 

HEAD. 

What there remains of the head is of so 
pecuhar a construction that it must be ob- 
vious, to the most inexperienced eye. The 
cranium being deficient, there remains (besides 
the under jaw) only that portion of it which is 



40 

comprised between the condyle of the neck and 
the sockets for the tusks, the temporal bone, 
zygomatic process, and the teeth: this, there- 
fore, compared with the corresponding por- 
tion of the elephant's head *, taking the level 
of the teeth in both as a base line from which 
to measure, will be found comparatively much 
longer for its height -f*. In the Mammoth J the 
sockets of the tusks at A. to the condyle of 
the neck B. is nearly a horizontal line ; in the 
Elephant, a line betv/een the same parts, forms 
with the horizon, an angle of nearly 45 de- 
grees. In the Mammoth, a line from the 
zygomatic process at C. to the condyle of the 
neck B. descends as much as it rises in the Ele- 
phant, producing a difference comprised within 
an angle of 45 degrees. In the Mammoth, the 
condyle of the neck is situated very nearly 
upon a line with the level of the teeth : in the 
Elephant it is as much above the teeth as it is 
distant from the frontal bone; consequently 
the ear of the Pvlammoth is very Httle above 
the horizontal line of the teeth, and in the 



* See the plate, figure I. 

t This proportion is taken notice of by Camper, in his late 
folio work on the anatomy of the elephant, page 24. 
X Figure 11. 



4* 

Elephant there is a vast distance between 
them. In the Elephant, as in most other 
quadrupeds, the socket of the eye is, as it 
were, scooped out of the zygomatic process 
at C. ; in the Mammoth that portion of the 
bone at C. is sufficiently perfect to shew that 
there is no such socket: the eye of the Mam- 
moth, therefore, must have been higher than 
the ear ; in the Elephant it is lower than the 
ear. One consequence of this uncommon 
situation of the teeth below the condyle of the 
neck in the Elephant, is, that the arms of 
the under jaw to the condyloid processes are 
extremely long, insomuch, that the height of 
the jaw is equal to the length ; whereas in the 
Mammoth it has the more usual appearance of 
length, with but short processes, the coronoid 
being longer and thinner than the condyloid -, 
but in the Elephant the reverse is the case : 
the general form of the under jaw of this ani- 
mal is made up of three distinct angles ; oh^ 
horizontal, on which the jaw rests (when 
placed on a table), from the front to the back^ 
where a small corner appears cut off, whence 
it rises perpendicularly to the condyle. The 
same view of the Elephant's jaw exhibits very 

G 



4Z 

nearly a regular portion of a circle without 
any angles. In the Mammoth, what is called 
the semi-lunar notch from the condyloid to the 
coronoid processes, is very strongly marked 5 
but in the Elephant no such notch exists. 
In the xMammoth the bone from E. to a. is 
extremely thin and rugged -, in the Elephant 
It IS smooth, and being semi-cylindrical (as 
well as circular) is unusually bulky, and well 
adapted to the peculiar formation of the Ele- 
phant's teeth. In the Elephant the under jaw 
terminates in a grooved point, directed down- 
wards(D.); the corresponding part in the Mam- 
moth has a most extraordinary roughness, com- 
posed of foliated or thin irregularly involuted 
processes, indicating some unusual and im- 
mense appendage. — This part, in some degree, 
resembles the Walrus. And lastly, in the 
under jaw of the Elephant, the opposite grind- 
ers, which in the back of the jaw are very distant 
from each other, approach towards an open in 
the front; whereas in the Mammoth they are 
completely parallel with each other. These va- 
riations produce a very different outline in the 
opening between the teeth, as you look at the 
jaws in front: in the Mammoth, it is a portion 



43 



of a circle 5 in the Elephant it accords with the 
figure of a pear. Glancing rapidly from one 
head to the other, the eye will readily notice 
other peculiarities, which are not of sufficient 
importance particularly to mention here. 



TEETH. 



From their size, structure, and mechani- 
cal action, the teeth are much the most inte- 
resting part to the anatomist. From their 
uncommon size, there are but few of them 5 
(eight being sufficient to fill the jaws ;) two 
large ones in the back, and two small ones in 
the front of each jaw : the large teeth have 
four obliquely transverse conic ridges or processes ; 
the small ones three with the same characters, 
so disposed as to interlock with each other, in 
the manner of a crimping-machine, only all 
at once, with an irresistible power. These 
conic processes are covered with a thick coat 
of enamel, ^wholly superficial, reaching down on 
every side to the alveolar processes, in the 
manner of all carnivorous animals. There is 
a section of one in the British Museum, which 

G 2 



44 

shews that the enamel does not, in the slight- 
est degree, pervade the tooth, as It does in the 
Elephant. The teeth of the Asiatic Elephant 
are composed of Yinmtxous perpe72dicular plates 
of enamel, so connected by pairs at the sides, 
as to form to appearance on the surface, long 
flattened ovals -, and, in fact, they are united 
at bottom as well as originally at the surface, 
which is quickly worn off, and which then dis- 
closes an ivory of close texture, and different 
formation from that which separates from each 
other these flattened ovals of enamel. The teeth 
of the African differ from those of the Asiatic 
Elephant in having fewer portions of thicker 
enamel, which do not run parallel with each 
other in plates, but are so disposed that, on 
the surface of the tooth, or a horizontal sec- 
tion of it, the ivory enclosed within the ena- 
mel resembles a cross, consequently the teeth 
are better adapted to coarser vegetables and 
greater rotatory motion *. 

I have seen some teeth of the Mammoth 
with the summits of their enamel-capped pro- 

* See the plate, figure III, and IV. 



4S 

cesses so worn off as to present, to those pre- 
disposed to adopt the idea, some resemblance, in 
the superficial Imesy to the teeth of the African 
Elephant; but no one could look with ^7?/)' de- 
gree of attention at any tooth of this animal, 
without discovering that the enarnel absolutely 
covers the whole upper surface, except where 
it is worn off *, and that it never penetrates 
to the interior of the tooth -j-. 



* The enamel In the Elephant's teeth never wears off, it 
only wears down. 

t This incorrect observation, of some teeth of the Mam- 
moth, has induced several anatomists to class this animal as 
a species of Elephant, more analagous to the African than 
the Asiatic. Any conclusions from so false an observation 
would be of no consequence, if they were not given by some 
of the first characters. Among others, Camper, in his 
elegant work on the anatomy of the Elephant, page 24, 
when he speaks of the fossil bones from the Ohio, which, 
on the authority (in this instance incorrect) of the celebiated 
CuviER, he classes as a fourth species of Elephant, says 
thus: — " 4. The American Elephant (so called by Pennant) 
with bones considerably more bulky than the former (mean- 
ing the Siberean bones), with a lengthened and prodigiously 
heavy head and long tusks : his grinders, more numerous, are 
composed of three or four plates (plaques) first crowned with 
tubercles, and then marked with a double leaf of clover 
(marquees d'une double fcuille de trejle). This prolongation 



a6 

It is evident from the structure and position 
of these teeth, that they never could have been 
used in grinding vegetables, but in crushing 
or champing some hard and brittle substances, 
such as shell-fish, &c. There are three facts 
to prove that they did not grind the food : 
I St. the interlocking of the conic processes: 
2dly. their oblique direction, so that the ridges 
or cavities on one side of thejav^ do not run 
parallel with those on the other, which most 
effectually prevents a lateral motion— this 
important character has been entirely over- 
looked—and 3dly. the condyloid processes, 
which are transversely oblong, running perfectly 
parallel With each (as true hinges) and working 
in a groove, from which they cannot rotate. 

of the jaws, influencing the obliq^jlty of the profile, must 
have given a singular rcclinatlon to the facial line, in dlmi- 
nisliing the relative height of the vertical axis of the head.— 
This Extinct species, as the first, was more analagous to the 
Afi-ican Elephant than the Asiatic." 

On this paragraph I shall only remark, that his imaginary 
plates do net exist in the teeth ; and that I know not what he 
means by his '' double feuiUe de injier unless it is the outline 
formed by the worn edges of t'ne enamel, as observed before ; 
t)ut that his observations with respect to the contour of the 
head are perfectly correct. 



47 

• An uniform composition of tooth, as it re- 
spects the intermixture of enamel and bone, 
running from the surface to the roots, is 
observed to prevail in those of the Ele- 
phant, Horse, Ox, &c. they principally differ 
in the figure which those veins of enamel 
assume, and by which alone they may be 
discriminated from each other. On the other 
hand, carnivorous teeth, incrusted with ena- 
mel as far as the gums, vary in the form and 
number of their protuberances, so as generally 
to designate their species : yet among them 
there is a proper distinction to be observed j 
which is, that those carnivorous animals, the 
form of whose teeth, and the attachment of 
v/hosejaws, allow them the side or grlndlnp- 
motion, are always of the mixt kind. Man, 
the Monkey, Hog, &c. are carnivorous ani- 
mals, because their teeth are incrusted v/itli 
enamel, and because they eat flesh ; yet 
they are adapted for other food, by the rota- 
tory motion of their jaws, and the form of 
their teeth. And although the Mammoth is 
deficient in cutting teeth, and has no other 
canine teeth than his enormous tusks (v/hich 
deficiencies may have been supplied by a pair 



48 

of large and powerful lips, indicated by the 
uncommon sinuosity on the front of the lower 
jaw), yet I am decidedly of opinion, since it 
cannot be contradicted by a single fact, that 
the Mammoth was exclusively carnivorous', by 
which I mean, that he made use of no vege- 
table food, but either lived entirely on fish 
or flesh, and not improbably on shell-fish, if, 
as there are other reasons to suppose, he par- 
took in any degree of the amphibious nature. 

It has been observed that these teeth resem- 
ble those of the Hyppopotamus ^ but very little 
observation and comparison, between such of 
them as were but little used and those worn 
down with age, would have been sufficient 
to satisfy the weakest judgment that they are 
of a very different kind; those of the Hippo- 
potamus being always in the adult animal 
ground down horizontally, so as to present a 
fiat surface to action, and only the hindmost 
teeth in the young and middle aged Hyppo- 
potamus shewing any appearance of rounded 
protuberances, which, in fact, are always of 
an irregular figure and having the enamel, 
althoudi commencing on the outside as in the 



49 

Sheep, Goat, Deer, &c. yet in such manner 
entering into the body of the tooth as to con- 
stitute it, when worn down, a perfectly gra- 
nivorous tooth ; for it may be observed, that 
the Shee|), Goat, Deer, and Hippopotamus, 
in having the edges of their teeth protected 
by enamel, differ from those graminivorous 
animals (as the Horse and Ox) which do not 
cut the bark of trees, or feed upon reeds. 

Thus much is as little as can be said on the 
teeth ; not so remarkable even for their size 
as their peculiar construction, and mechanical- 
action : there being no animal known, whose 
teeth resemble them. 



TUSKS. 

Although it v/as extremely probable, or 
rather (as Hunter expressed himself) there was 
no reason to doubt but that the same animal 
which owned the carnivorous teeth likewise 
owned the tusks which were found with them 
on the Ohio, yet the fact could there not be 
well ascertained, because the bones of several 

H 



5^ 

animals were intermixed with each other; nor 
was it satisfactorily proved until the dis- 
covery of these skeletons in the state of New- 
York, in both instances unaccompanied with 
any extraneous bones. 

It was owing to the discovery of tusks, with 
these bones, that so much has been said about 
their being elephantine : but they are totally 
different in their form, substance, and po- 
sition : the Elephant's tusk is nearly straight, 
and therefore part of a very large circle ; a 
very long tusk of the Mammoth forms the 
half of a circle of much smaller diameter, be- 
sides having a peculiar twist or spiral form. 
Transverse sections of the Elephant's tusk 
constantly yield the oval figure -, those of the 
Mammoth are perfectly round. The Elephant's 
tusks are uniform ivory; those of the Mam- 
moth are of two distinct substances, the inter- 
nal part having the texture of, but a much 
softer consistence than, ivory ; the outer part 
not having the texture of, and actually harder 
than, ivory, forming a very thick shell over 
the whole tusk. At first I imagined that the 
internal part had been true ivory, which had 



5^ 

suffered decomposition; but to this idea there 
presented insuperable difficulties : all the 
bones found in the same morass, at nearly 
an equal depth, and equally protected by the 
shell marie and water, were in an equal de- 
gree of preservation ; but every bone was more 
decayed than the ivory in the body and roots 
of the teeth, and these sometimes less perfect 
than the enamel. How could it happen then 
that the bones were not wholly decayed, to cor- 
respond with the tusk ? or why should this be 
so much decayed, while the ivory of the teeth 
is in such fine preservation, having been under 
the same circumstances ? These questions can- 
not be answered but in the belief that the 
tusks (although they certainly have suffered 
some injury) never could have been of the same 
consistence as those of the Elephant. 

When the skeleton was first erected, I was 
much at a loss how to dispose of the tusks ; their 
sockets shewed that they grew out forwards, 
but did not indicate whether they were curved 
up or down. I chose, therefore, first to turn 
them upwards, not because they produced the 
same effect as in the Elephant y fpr it is evi-. 

n 2 



5^ 

dent they could not, from the different angles 
between the sockets for the tusks and the con- 
dyles of the neck (as before remarked); the 
horizontal position of which in the Mammoth, 
together with the great curve of the tusks, 
would elevate them too high into the air, di- 
recting them backwards, twelve feet from the 
ground ; so that they never could have been 
brought sufficiently near the ground for any 
kind of purpose. This position was evidently 
absurd ; and there is infinitely more reason in 
supposing them to have been placed like those 
of the Wdriis^ and probably for a similar 
purpose. 

The tusks which were found at Barber's 
(the point of one I have Vv^ith me) exactly 
resem^ble those in the skeleton, but very much 
worn at the extremities, and worn in so pe- 
culiar a manner as could not have happened 
in an elevated position -, unless on the absurd 
supposition, that the animal amused himself 
with wearing and rendering them blunt, by 
rubbing them against high and perpendicular 
cliffs of rocks. Ihis, in a state of nature, 
can never be supposed, whatever habits may 



S3 



be acquired when in a narrow confinement. 
There can be no doubt, then, of their having 
been ^/j^^ against the ground 5 and not im- 
probably in rooting up shell-fish, or in climb- 
ing the banks of rivers and lakes. 



NECK. 



The bones of the neck do not materially 
differ from those of the Elephant, except 
that the spinous processes of the fifth, sixth, 
and seventh, are not so long as in the Ele- 
phant. 



BACK. 



The second, third, and fourth dorsal ver* 
tebrae are crowned with immensely long and 
thick processes, which rise perpendicularly over 
the shoulders, as in the Hog : from the fourth, 
the spinous processes decrease rapidly to the 
twelfth 3 and from thence to the sacrum, in- 
cluding the lumber vertebra, they are scarcely 
to be seen. This conformation differs remark- 
ably from the Elephant, which has a greater 



54 

uniformity in the length of these processes j 
those over the shoulders being not so long, 
and all the rest of the back and loins much 
longer 3 consequently the back is more arched. 
The vertebrae are, seven cervical, nineteen dor- 
sal, and three lumber — in all twenty-nine. 



HIPS. 



Every eye is struck w^ith the dispropor- 
tionate smallness of the opening through the 
pelvis ; although the rest of the bone is suf- 
ficiently large. These bones are somewhat 
broken , but the parts uninjured are sufficient 
to shew a very different form from those of the 
Elephant, which are high in comparison with 
their breadth ; and consequently the rump of 
this animal was even more depressed than the 
Elephant's, in the manner of the American 
Bisson or Buffaloe. Jn the Elephant, the 
angles from the os5(^ tabulce to the lateral pro- 
cesses of the ilium, are very great; whereas 
in the Mammoth they are almost on a straight 
line. 



ss 

tail: 

The tail is imperfect, though from the num« 
ber and size of the bones it was probably a 
long one; but it is very remarkable that, the 
lateral processes are extremely long, and the 
superior ones quite short, so that the tail must 
have been iroad and JIat : whereas the tail of 
the Elephant *, instead of being broad, is 
flattened in the direction of the spine, a little 
bristly hair growing on the outer edge^ and a 
greater quantity of it, somewhat longer, grow- 
ing on the inner edge, which gives it something 
of a fin-like appearance. 

RIBS. 

From all the drawings of Elephants, and 
from such of their real ribs as I have seen, 
I have observed one universal and unvarying 
character; they avQ JIat, like those of the Ox, 
sma// towards their head, l?road towards their 
junction with the cartilage, and more or less 
bent sidewise in an undulating form^; whereas 

*^ See the plate, figure V- 

t See Camper on the Elephant. 



V 



those of the Mammoth are extremely narrow 
at the cartilage, thick and strorig towards their 
head, and bent perfectly edgewisey standing a 
little obliquely, and without any lateral bend *, 
The first pair are so remarkable in their form 
as to appear, especially when seen detached, 
more like clavicles^ being (unlike the rest of 
the ribs) excessively bulky and broad towards 
the cartilage, and crossing the breast-bone at 
right anglesy reducing to a very small size and 
curious figure the entrance into the chest. — 
The first six pair of ribs are remarkably strong, 
especially compared with the remainder, which 
are extremely small and comparatively weak j 
and the whole of them so shorty that the body 
must have been of a very small proportionate 
magnitude. — The ribs are 19 pair. 



LEGS AND FEET. 

As well as can be determined from the 
drawings and skeletons of Elephants, which are 
all of a small size in England, and therefore 

* See the plate, figure VI. 



57 

bad subjects for comparison, I am disposed to 
pronounce the legs and feet considerably- 
like those of the Elephant, differing in some 
particulars, but chiefly in the proportionate 
length and breadth. The scapula of the Ele- 
phant * is in proportion much larger than that 
of the Mammoth, and the upper extremity 
of it less extended, and more pointed : in the 
scapula of the Mammoth f, the two processes 
that proceed from the spine are uncommonly- 
long and rough, especially the one pointing 
backwards and downwards, extending very 
nearly across the blade, &c. The humerus, 
radius, and ulna, are unusually thick for their 
length, to which the fore-feet correspond, the 
hind-feet not being near so large; whereas, 
in the Elephants I have seen, the hind are full 
as large as the fore- feet, and in some specimens 
considerably larger: in the Mammoth the 
bones of the hind-feet are small, but full of 
those strong protuberances which served for 
the attachment of muscle. One necessary 
consequence of this great bulk of the radius 
and ulna is, that the radius, crossing the ulna 

* Ssc the [late, figure VII. f Figure VIII. 



5S 

from the outside above to the inside beloWj 
forms a greater angle than if the bones were 
slender 5 in which case the crossing would 
scarcely be observable : — perhaps it is more 
remarkable in the Marnmoth than any other 
animal. In the toes of the fore-feet the second 
plalanges terminate with a little groove, which 
indicates that the third phalanx, to which the 
nail was attached, was susceptible of consi- 
derable motion ; and that the nail probably 
resembled that of the Hippopotamus rather 
than the Elephant. Another variation from 
the Elephant in the legs is, that the difference 
in length between the thigh-bone and the tibia, 
or, in other words, the distance from the 
knee, above and below, is less remarkable in the 
Elephant than in the Mammoth -, the thigh- 
bone being longer^ and the "tibia shorter, than 
those of the Elephant : hence the knee of the 
Mammoth must have been more equally placed 
between the body and the ground, especially 
as it has already appeared from an examina- 
tion of the ribs, that the body of the Mam- 
moth must have been m.uch smaller compara- 
tively than that of the Elephant. As we are 
not in possession of the bones of any large 



59 

and full grown Elephants, nor any of the large 
quadrupeds, we are enabled to make but a 
very imperfect comparison, by means of the 
small ones usually to be met with -, but, from 
what we have, there does not appear any other 
remarkable difference in the legs except in 
Xh^femori ; those of the Elephant being cylin- 
drical, those of the Mammoth htmg fattened, 
so that a cross section of. the former would 
shew a circle, and of the latter a long oval. 
The comparison which Daubenton made be- 
tween the thigh-bones of the Asiatic Elephant, 
the Siberian Elephant or Mammouth, and the 
American Incognitum (since called Mammoth) 
shewed three successive degrees of propor- 
tionate bulks that of the modern Elephant 
being the most slender, and that of the Ameri- 
can animal the most bulky in an equal scale 
of length. He likewise observed that those of 
the latter were very considerably flattened, and 
some variation in the direction of the neck 
and the great trochanter. — The number of 
bones in the legs and feet agree with the hu- 
man skeleton. 



I 2 



DIMENSIONS OF THE SKELETON, 



Ft. Inch. 

Height over the shoulders - - no 
Ditto over the hips . - - 90 

Length from the chin to the rump 15 o 
From the point of the tusks to the end 

of the tailj following the curve -31 o 
Length in a straight line - - 17 6 

Width of the hips and body - - 5 8 
Length of the under jaw - - 2 10 

Weight of the same - 63 1 pounds 
Width of the head - - - 3 2 

Length of the thigh-bone ~ " 3 7 
Smallest circumference of the same i 6 

Length of the tibia ----20 
Length of the humerus, or large bone 

of the fore-leg - - - - 2 10 

Largest circumference of the same 3 2 1 
Smallest ditto ditto ----15 
Length of the radius - - - 25^ 



6i 

Circumference round the elbow - 3 8 
Length of the scapula, or shoulder-blade 3 i 
Length of the longest vertebrse,or back- 
bone ---_-_ 23 
Longest rib, without cartilage - 4 7 
Length of the first rib ---20 
Ditto of the breast-bone --40 

Length of the tusks, defences, or horns 10 7 
Circumference of one tooth or grinder i 6 f 
Weight of the same, 4 pounds 10 ounces. 
The whole skeleton weighs about 1 000 pounds. 



GENERAL OBSERVATIONS. 



MUCH has been said on the subject of the 
bones found in America by persons who ne- 
ver saw them, or but mutilated fragments of 
them y resting their faith upon what has been 
said by certain writers of science ^nd respect- 
ability, on the Mammouth of Siberia; and 
thence falling into the error, that those large 
bones found in America were of the same 
species. 

Many years ago, when scientific travellers, 
several of whom were commissioned by the 
Emperor of Russia, found in the inhospitable 
regions of Siberia numerous quadruped bones, 
of gigantic size, they learnt from the pea- 
sants to distinguish them by the term Mam- 
mouth, an animal which they believed to be 
still living. These bones^ inftead of another 



63 

name, continued to be distinguished by that 
originally given to them, whenever they be- 
came the subject of disquisition. Strahien- 
burgh, in his Historico-geographical Dic- 
tionary, derives this v/ord from the Hebrew 
Behemot, corrupted by the Arabians into Me- 
hemot, and thence into the Russian Ma7nmout^ 
or Mammoth. But a short time elapsed, 
under tlie encouragement of the Emperor, 
before a considerable number of these bones, 
and particularly the heads, were discovered 
and taken to the imperial cabinet at St. Pe- 
tersburgh. The tusks and several other 
bones were, before this, by many suspected 
to have been elephantine 5 but the fact is 
now sufficiently established — and they are, 
therefore, classed as an extinct species. — 
They are elephantine, because the head, from 
which the whole judgment may be taken, is 
furnished with graminivorous teeth, in some 
degree resembling those of the Asiatic Ele- 
phant \ because the eye is hollowed out of 
a slender zygomatic process; because the 
cranium swells out into two full conjoining 
lobes; because the horizontal line of the 
teeth is situated, so as to form, with the con- 



64 

dyle of the neck, an angle of 135 degrees, 
a line from the condyle of the neck descend- 
ing in an angle of forty-five degrees to meet 
the posterior part of the upper teeth; because 
on this oblique line, above the teeth, the in- 
ner nostril commences and runs parallel ^with 
the teeth, terminating in the forehead, be- 
tween the eyes, where it serves for the origin 
of the proboscis * ; and, because the tusks, 
which are of perfect ivory, are simply curved, 
and resembling those of the living Elephant. 

And yet with these traits of resemblance, 
there have been observed in the head and other 
parts several features, which distinguish it 
specifically from either the African Elephant, 
or that of Asia, which it most resembles. I 
shall only remark, that the teeth appear to be 
distinguished by having the laminae of enamel 

* This inner nostril In x[\^ Mammoth, instead of having 
^he direction mentioned above, runs directly upward at right 
angles from the teeth, and terminates in the broken part of 
the head posterior to a concave surface, which, if it be the 
cerebellum^ is uncommonly low and small. This inner nos- 
tril, as far as we can trace it, is very smooth and cylindrical. 
Could the nostril have terminated as in the whale, and for a 
similar purpose ? 



<>5 

thinner, placed in straiter lines mere closely 
together, and much more numerous, than in 
the modern Elephant. 

As soon as it was known in Europe that bones 
of a large size were likewise found in America, 
and either the thigh-bones or drawings of then-^ 
sent over, they were instantly pronodnced the 
same as those found in Siberia -, and, from the 
circumstance of this opinion having been so 
hastily expressed, there have been some whose 
mature judgment has been satisfied with en- 
creasing proofs, who have, nevertheless, been 
weak enough to be ashamed to confess it. For it 
is a fact of which almost every man of any ob- 
servation may have had sufficient proof, that 
even amiong men of real science, ti'uth suffers 
more from the tenacity of opinion once expres- 
sed, than from a want of love for it — all men love 
it, but fear to be thought weathercocks^ and, cer-T 
tain that they are not deities, they shrink from 
the imputation of infallibility ! Every anatomist 
knows that a judgment pronounced from one 
bone is liable to error j and, in fact, there was 
no more reason to pronounce the Femon, found 
in Arnerica, to be elephantine, than therq 



K 



66 

would have been to decide the Humeri, which 
accrmpanied them, to have belonged to a 
c;icrantic Horse; for the Humeri of the Mam- 
moth do not differ so much from those of the 
Horse, as the Fen.cri do from those of the 
Elephant. 

The bones found in America were always 
acccmpanied with teeth of a very peculiar 
structure, unlike those, whether large or small, 
belonging to any animal known, but most 
resembling those of the Hog, and the young 
and unused teeth of the Hippopotamus : they 
were, therefore, suspected to have been part 
of an immense Hippopotamus, rather than 
tolerate the idea that there had ever existed a 
species of animal no longer in existence. But 
since it was evident that there had existed a 
large unkmi^n quadruped, of which these 
were the teeth, how could it appear improba- 
ble that the other bones accompanying them 
should have belonged to the same animal, 
because they bore some resemblance to the 
Elephant ? Yet it was doubtful : and, while 
Buffon, Daubenton, Gmellin, and Sloane, 
were afraid to find the bones otherwise than 



6y 

elephantine, Hunter was the only naturalist^ 
who, judging impartially, and abiding by the 
invariable features of nature, was satisfied that 
they were not, and that the teeth were never used 
in the mastication of vegetables. The weight 
of Hunter's authority inclined many to his 
opinion among the English, but more among 
the French and Germans confided in the judg- 
ment of Daubenton. The discovery of two 
skeletons, and a third collection of bones, in 
the state of New-York, has put the subject 
beyond the reach of question ; and we are now 
satisfied that there formerly existed a stupen- 
dous animal in North America, with many 
peculiar characters. If there were no other 
instances of the remains of unknown, I may 
say, extinct animals, it would be difficult to 
receive this as the first evidence of the kind; 
but the world teems with them , all Europe 
abounds with them 3 and in America already 
there have been foundyi//r of a large size, and 
several of a smaller. 

The immense quantity of animal remains 
found in limestone, and the perfect impres- 
sions of vegetables in slatc^ not only prove a 

K 2 



68 

long period of time to have elapsed since they 
existed, but that these extraordinary incrus- 
tations were effected in some sudden revoki- 
tions, and that they must have lived and pro- 
pagated a period of time before those events. 
And it is evident that there have been succes- 
sive revolutions or changes of this kind, by 
the repetition of similar strata, at various 
depths, with regular intermediate soils. I 
shall here introduce a proof, connected v/ith 
our subject, and otherwise interesting. Be- 
sides the skeletons with carnivorous teeth^ 
found in New- York and elsewhere in AmiCrica, 
there have been found in Kentucky several 
very large graminivorous teeth, never known 
to be accompanied with any other parts (un- 
less perhaps tl^e tusks), and always much de- 
cayed. They appear to me exactly like those 
found in Siberia -, and I have no hesitation in 
attributing them to a more remote age than 
that in which the Mammoth lived, unless we 
suppose the bones of the Mammoth to be of 
a more dense nature and less liable to decay : 
that they are astonishingly dense is sufficiently 
obvious from some few specimens^ but I can 
scarcely imagine the others to have been so 



69 

much softer as wholly to have disappeared, 
except the grinders and some tusks, while such 
numbers of the former still remain in 2-ood 
preservation. 

It is not sufficiently known that there have 
been large graminivorous teeth found in 
America 5 and by those who know it the pro- 
per inferences are not generally formed. That 
there are found in America teeth similar to 
those discovered in Siberia, proves either that 
the same animal has inhabited the two coun- 
tries, and therefore that there must have been 
at somie period a communication, or that a 
delucre has deDOsited some of tlieir carcasses 
in America ; but, from the paaclty of their 
remains, compared with the astonishing num- 
bers discovered in Siberia, whence they have 
long been taken as an article of commerce^ 
and still continue abundant, it it certain, that 
if they did inhabit America, it had been but 
for a short time ; or they originally inhabited 
America, and thence spread into Siberia, and 
were destroyed in America antecedent to their 
destruction in Siberia : for it: must be a;nia 
remarked, that while their remains (pait:::a- 



laiiy the tusks and teeth) are frequently in 
excellent preservation in Siberia, none have 
ever been found in America but in the extreme 
of decay: at any rate, that there is this dif- 
ference in the kind and preservation of these 
bones must be an interesting fact to natural- 
ists, and lead to some particular conclusions, 
since it must have been owing to some par- 
ticular causes; either such as I have imagined, 
or others equally conclusive* 

The Mammouth bones found in Siberia, hav- 
ing given name to the great fossil bones of 
America, those writers who, from observation, 
knew the former to be elephantine, concluded 
the latter to be so likewise, especially if they 
happened to hear any thing of the great grami- 
nivorous teeth above-mentioned : they there- 
fore adopted the idea, that the various leg- 
bones, 6cc. found on the Ohio, were part of 
the same animal which owuied these teeth j 
and that the jaw-bones, with carnivorous or 
conic-ridged teeth, were the only remains of 
some other stupendous being, analagous to the 
Hyppopotamus : but three unquestionable 
facts now prove the reverse to be the case. 



,7. / 

though one would be sufHcient, if the whole 
skeleton was found together almost all united, 
and without any extraneous bones, as was 
the case with the skeleton discovered in Ulster 
County, New-York, and erected in the Phi- 
ladelphia museum : and we are now satisfied 
that no other parts of the animal which owned 
the graminivorous teeth and ivory tusks have 
been yet discovered, because no other hones 
have been found, but such as perfectly resem- 
ble the skeletons dug up in New- York, and 
which so materially differ from the Elephant. 

Hitherto I have not been able to learn 
whether even a single tooth of the American 
Incognitum has ever been discovered in Si- 
beria 'y and, until we shall have at least one 
authenticated fact of this kind, we must con- 
clude that this animal was peculiar to America. 
Nevertheless, I am disposed to think there 
may yet be found in Siberia these carnivorous 
teeth, because, as was observed before, teeth 
similar to the graminivorous ones of Siberia 
are found in America. Indeed it is by no 
means improbable that as they were both in- 
habitants of the same climate, in different ion- 






gitudes, a few from cither country may have 
miirratcd into the other; for the carnivorous 
teeth, and their appropriate bones, are as 
abundant in America as the graminivorous or 
elephantine remains are in Siberia. I am, 
therefore, of opinion, more from this circum.- 
stance than any other, that there must have 
been a communication between the two con- 
tinents, since it is nov/ a v/ell estabhshed fact, 
that every country has its peculiar inhabitants. 
Had the celebrated BufFon attended better to 
this truth, he wonld have saved himself some 
needless observations and theoretic fancies, 
with respect to the old and new world ; but 
we should likewise have lost the able reply of 
Jefferson. It is not because the climate and 
productions of South America are unfavour- 
able to the production of Elephants, that they 
are not found there; but it is because the 
Elephant is not an American, nor the Mam- 
moth an African, animal : some violence has 
destroyed one, while the other still lives ; and 
was even the Megatherium in existence, 
it would reflect no discredit on A^frica, Asia, 
or Europe, that neither of them possessed a 
SLOTH of such stupendous magnitude ! 



73 

I have frequently been asked, if from ap- 
pearances it could be determined whether the 
Mammoth originally inhabited America, or 
the carcases of them may not have been depo- 
sited there? This question is best answered by 
others: if not originally of America, where 
alone their bones are found, and in consider- 
able numbers, from what country could a 
deluge have transported them, that not one 
trace Is left behind ? Besides, since they are 
only found in one country, why should we 
seek occasion to admit the improbable idea 
that they belonged to another? 

It is an extraordinary circumstance, that in 
the salt-lick on the Ohio, these bones, large 
and small, young and old, are intermixed with 
the bones of Buffaloes and Deer^ as if what 
the Indians say had been really the case, and 
that these were the collected remains of ages, 
of those sickly animals which had died durinp* 
their visit to the salt morass ; for it is 
weir known that to this salt morass and 
others in Kentucky, there are broad roads 
made by Buffaloes and Deer, which are seen 
greedily to drink the salt water or lick the salt 

L 



74 

earth, whence the name of the salt licking 
place. Yet in the state of New-York, where 
these skeletons were discovered, only the re- 
mains, or part of the remains, of one animal 
have been found in one place, and those so 
much together as sufficiently to prove that the 
whole carcase has been there, whether left by 
death or a deluge. 

Still I think that a deluge has devastated 
the whole of that part of America, because 
the country abounds with petrifactions of 
marine productions, and such as we know 
now are to be found only in the tropical seas : 
but these proofs are found every where, and 
may be antecedent to the existence or destruc- 
tion of these animals in that part ; and their 
total extinction may have been occasioned by 
some other extraordinary revolution, for ex- 
traordinary it must have been to have produced 
an effect, the tendency of v/hich the human 
mind is unable to comprehend : but these 
great facts speak an universal language, and 
compel us to believe that a time has been 
when numbers of animals, and what is more 
extraordinary, larger animals than now re- 



75 

main, existed, had tiieir day, and have pe- 
rished; and yet the fancifal chain of nature is 
not broken ! or else a new chain has taken 
the place of the old. Formerly it was as un- 
philosophical and impious to say that any 
thing ceased to exist which had been created, 
as it is now to say the reverse, because innu- 
merable concurring facts pi ove,that the races of 
many animals have become extinct; since it is 
not possible that so many, and such large ani- 
mals, should live unknown, although one or 
two species might. 

In another place I have pointed those cir- 
cumstances, wherein the head of the Mam- 
moth and that of the Elephant materially 
differ; my object in this place is to hazard 
some ideas relative to the habits and the food 
of the former. When it has been said of the 
Mammoth that it must have been carnivorous, 
the word was not intended to convey the idea of 
his being a i?east of prey, like the tiger, wolf, 
&c. but that his food must have been animal, 
because all vegetables (except fruit) require 
peculiar instruments to file, bruise, or grind 
them, totally unlike the teeth of the IVlam- 

L 2 



76 

moth. But as no other animal whatever har 
teeth whose mechanical action at all corres- 
ponds Vvdth those of the Mammoth, we arc 
forbid by the invariable concordance of nature, 
to suppose that his food could have resembled 
thai of those whose teeth are differently con- 
structed. The teeth of all anlm.als living on 
grass, bark, branches, roots, nuts, &c. are 
veined internally with enamel, and they ope- 
rate by grinding backwards and forwards, like 
the Liephant, Squirrel, &c. 5 from side to side, 
like die Horse, Sheep, &c. -, or in a circular 
manner produced by both motions. Ox, Ass, 
&c. And in all these animals their teeth 
seem expressly constructed to accord with such 
motions ; so invariable indeed, that any one 
may arrange these graminivorous teeth, whe- 
ther the animals to which they belonged be 
known or unknown to him, by a very simple 
rule : When the action of the jaws is back- 
wards and forwards, the enamel runs, more or 
less, acrc:s the tceih ; when the action is from 
side to side, the enamel is more or less length- 
wise ; and when there is the rotatory motion, 
the fieure of the enamel is more irrei^ular and 
serpentine, resembling a Chinese character. 



11 

Another thln^; worthy cf attention is, that in 
those animals whose teeth are to answer no 
other purpose than mere mastication, the 
enamel does not reach the edge of them ; but 
in the teeth of the Sheep, Goat, Dee-, &c. 
which are frequently used in tearing off bark, 
the enamel, besides pervading the whole tooth, 
likewise forms a sharp edge to it, so as to 
answer the purpose of a knirc. I take the 
merit of these observations to myself, because 
I have never met with any of a similar nature : 
but cursorily as I have mentioned them, they 
must appear of some importance, and, I be- 
lieve, willlead to further and more satisfactory 
investigation. 

This is a short survey of those instruments 
which are intended to subjugate the vegetable 
tribes : it must be obvious, that to make as 
universal an use of the animal world will re- 
quire a much greater variety^ and accordingly 
the Lion, Tyger, Bear, Wolf, Opossum, Rac- 
coon, Ant-eater, Crocodile, &c. are all variously 
armed for destruction. 

If the Mammoth was intended to live en- 



78 

tirely upon shell-fish, no other teeth would 
be required than such as those of the Walrus, 
simply operating as two hammers -, if his 
food had been the flesh of quadrupeds, his 
teeth would have been similar to those of the 
Tyger or Lyon ; but since we actually find 
them to have the powers of both combined, is 
it unreasonable to believe that his food might 
have been shell-fish, turtles, fish, or such 
other animals as might be found in or near 
lakes ? This is the only kind of food he could 
conveniently procure, and surely none could 
be required of a more succulent nature. It is 
very certain, from the peculiar manner in 
which the teeth are worn, that the food was 
hard, and of a small size, because the strongly 
enamelled protuberances are scarcely ever 
found equally worn off, but only on one side. 
This observation can only be made on the teeth 
of eld animals -, but it is sufficiently apparent 
in the skeleton here, and very remarkable in 
that at Philadelphia. Whatever v^^as the food, 
after it was taken into the mouth, the tongue 
has performed its most natural function, and 
pushed the substance to be crushed against the 
cheek, so that the pressure of the tongue and 



79 

the elasticity of the cheek, counteracthig each 
other, have constantly directed the food in the 
proper manner, so that the teeth have con- 
stantly acted against the inner edge (of the 
shell for instance) until sufficiently broken, 
consequently the teeth of the low^er jaw are only 
worn next the cheek 5 besides, the tusks could 
not answer a better purpose than that of rooting 
up such food, or in assisting the animal, in 
the manner of the Walrus, to ascend the 
banks: both the jaws resemble those of the 
Walrus more than the Elephant, and so do 
the tusks in substance, position and use — but, 
in speaking of position, I do not so much mean 
my conjecture of their position downwards, as 
of the relative situation of their sockets with 
respect to the condyle of the neck, which evi- 
dently requires such an arrangement of tusks, 
as much as the Elephant, whose sockets are 
so much lower than his neck, requires his 
nearly straight tusks to be directed towards the 
earth : any other position in the Mammoth 
would render them more cumbersome and in- 
convenient, without any obvious purpose to 
be answered. 



8o 



From an examination of the teeth, it would 
therefore appear that the Mammoth probably 
fed in and about lakes, on such animals as 
could not well escape him, and which would 
not require much artifice or speed to be caught, 
nothing more being necessary than his long 
tusks and some powerful protuberant cartila- 
genous instrument, for the purpose of taking 
up his prey, whether, like the Elephant, it was 
a nose elongated 5 or like the Walrus, it was 
a large and powerful lip; or like the Ant-eater, 
it was a long and powerful tongue. 

From the form of the animal otherwise, 
we should imagine a lake and its neighbour- 
hood to be its proper residence, without any 
reference to the teeth ; but when both lead to 
the same idea it derives two-fold strength. 
Besides that the ribs (except those connected 
with the scapula) are wonderfully deficient in 
size and strength, and therefore not at all 
calculated to bear any weight of stomach cor- 
responding in size with such animals as de- 
vour vast quantities, of vegetables, they are 
evidently too small to accord even with the 



8t 

bodies of beasts of prey in general, which^ 
succulent as their food maybe, are frequently 
under the necessity of eating voraciously. In 
the Mammoth, after observing that the teeth 
are admirably calculated for mastication, ue 
cannot but be astonislied at the smaUness of 
the opening into the chest through the first 
pair of ribs, the smallness of the body about 
the loins, and the narrow outlet through the 
pelvis 3 all which circumstances, in conjunction 
with the astonishing strength of the fore-legs, 
to enable so large an animal to displace a 
denser medium than air, lead to the idea, that 
these great animals must have inhabited or 
frequented the great lakes of America, which 
we have reason to think were even more nu- 
merous and larger than they are at present. 

That their remains should always be found 
in morasses, which evidently have been lakes, 
or in those situations where lakes must neces- 
sarily have been, has appeared to many a suf- 
ficient proof of their having inhabited such 
places : but although I believe they did, ir does 
not appear necessary to induce this inference 
from a fact that may be otherwise accounted 

M 



82 

for J for after the destruction of these animals, 
whether by water or otherwise, their remains 
could not have, been preserved in any other 
situation, because in no ether situation could 
they be so well excluded from the air. 

On digging into these morasses you gene- 
rally have to remove from one to two feet of 
peat or turf: you then enter on a stratum, 
from one to two feet thick, of what the far- 
mers call the yellow marlc, composed of vege- 
table earth intermixed with long yellow roots : 
next the grey marie, which resembles wet ashes, 
to the further depth of two feet ; and finally a 
bed of decayed shells, which they call shell- 
marle, the upper surface of which forms a 
horizontal line across the morass, consequently 
it is thicker at the center than at the edges: 
under this, forming the bottom of the poiid or 
morass, is found travel and slate coverino: a 
thick stratum of clay. It was in the white 
and grey marie the bones were generally found; 
those in the white in the highest preservation, 
less £0 in the rrey, and where an end hap- 
pened to rise into th.e yellow srratum it was 
proportionally decayed : one cause of this 



83 

must hav€ been the accession of air when th$ 
springs in dry seasons were low. 

The grey marie, in which many of the 
bones lay, by analysis was found to contain 
seventy-three parts in the hundred of lime : 
when dried in the sun it cracks into thin hori- 
zontal laminae, and becomes extremely Hght, 
as hard as baked clay, and brittle; in this state 
it burns with a bright flame for a long while, 
and instead of leaving ashes, it remains a 
strong black coal, apparently well adapted to 
the purposes of the arts. 

These various strata are the production of a 
long succession of ages, and undoubtedly have 
been formed over the bones. In two of the 
morasses there was not depth sufficient to 
have bemired an animal of such magnitude 
and strength; and in the third the bones were 
lying near the sloping edge, from which some 
of them had already been washed farther in. 
The animals have either died or been destroyed 
generally over the country, and only in these 
situations have been preserved ; or they have 

M 2 



84 

sought these cool places to die in j or perhaps 
both. 



No calculation can be made of the length of 
time necessary to have formed these morasses, 
although we are certain that, as in fifty years 
past scarcely any change appears, it must have 
been proportionally slower in the commence- 
ment; and a period has elapsed in which all ac- 
counts of this animal have dwindled into 
oblivion, unless a confused Indian tradition 
about the great Buffalo be supposed connected 
with it. 

Among the remains of gigantic and un- 
known animals, found in America, one of the 
Ox or B u F F A L o kind was lately discovered near 
the big-bone-lick in Kentucky*. The right 
horn is broken off, and all the fore part of the 
head ; but from the fragment remaining, it is 
a reasonable conjecture, that the Buffalo to 
which it belonged was about lo or ii feet 
high. The pith of the horn at the base mea- 
sures 21 inches in circumference, and tapers 

* Sec the Philosophical Magazine for May 1803, p. 325. 



85 

very gently towards the extremity where it is 
broken off; so that thd horn itself could not 
have been less than six feet in length : from the 
middle suture on the head to the base of the 
horn the measure is seven inches and a half j 
consequently the two horns were 15 inches 
distant, which must have been encreased when 
they were partly covered with flesh, skin, and 
hain 

Until the discovery of this bone in A merica, 
the tradition of the Indians concerning the 
GREAT Buffalo has been considered by 
many as entitled to very little attention. Some 
have interpreted it as having entire reference 
to the animal we now call Mammoth, whose 
pre-eminent size was so obvious, and whose 
carnivorous teeth v/ere well calculated to ex- 
cite terror ; but I have now no hesitation in 
believing that this tradition of the Indians, 
which, with such little variation, prevails 
through all North America, mentioning the 
ancient existence of a great Buffalo, is a tra- 
dition really handed down to them from their 
forefathers; hut^ like all others, clouded witii 
fable : yet it is not improbable, since we find 



36 

the remains of the Mammoth and the great 
Buffalo iti the same country, that the distinct 
ideas of each have been in time confounded, 
the terrible /(JwTr of the one with the name of 
the other. This idea, however, is very un- 
certain ; but as it has been usual to mention 
the bones of the Mammoth and the tradition 
together, it will not be uninteresting if we take 
notice of it here, especially as it is a specimen 
of the Indian mode of description, which is 
always highly poetical, and much in the stile 
of Ossian. 



INDIAN TRADITION. 



" Ten thousand moons ago, when nought 
but gloomy forests covered this land of the 
sleeping sun ; long before the pale men, witl\. 
thunder and fire at their command, rushed on 
the wings of the wind to ruin this garden of 



8; 

nature ; when nought but the untamed vvan-^ 
dere.rs of the woods, and men as unrestrained 
as they were the lords of the soil ; a race of 
animals existed, huge as the frowning precipice^ 
cruel as the bloody pantlier, swift as the de- 
scending ea^le, and terrible as the angel of 
night. The pines crashed beneath their feet, 
and the lake shri{2ik when they slaked their 
thirst ; the forceful javelin in vain was hurled, 
and the barbed arrow fell harmless nom their 
side. Forests were laid waste at a meal *; the 
groans of expiring animals were every where 
heard, and v/hole villages, inhabited by men, 
were destroyed in a mom.ent. The cry of uni- 
versal distress extended even to the region of 
peace in the west, and the good Spirit inter- 
posed to save the unhappy. The forked light- 
ning gleamed around, and loudest thunder 
rocked the globe ! The bolts of heaven were 
hurled upon tlie cruel destroyers alone, and 
the mountains echoed with the bcilowings of 
death. All were killed except one male, the 
fiercest of tlie race, and him, even the artillery 

* These passages must allude to a herd of tliem. 



88 

of the skies assailed in vain*. He ascended 
the bluest summit which shades the source of 
the iManangahela, and, roaring aloud, bid de- 
fiance to every vengeance. The red lightning 
scorched the lofty firs, and rived the knotty oaks, 
but only ^laaced upon the enraged monster -f-. 
At length, madd :ned with fury, he leaped over 
the waves of the west at a bound, and this mo- 
ment reigns the uncontroulcd monarch of the 
Wilderness, in despite of even Omnipotence it* 
seliV* 

The language of this Tradition i is certainly 
English, and perhaps a little too highly dress- 
ed i but the ideas are truly Indian : it is 

* It is a curious coincidence of circumstances, that in the 
wrilings of an ancient Jew rabbi, a Jewish tradition is men- 
tioned, stating o^ig of the animals described in Job under the 
Dame of Behemoth (from which the term Mammoth by ac- 
cident has been derived) is still living somewhere, and le- 
served ss a feast for the Jews on their restoration. 

t The beauty of this passage can only be felt by those who 
know what an American thunder-storm is, and who know, 
that while by a stroke of lightning the oak is shattered lo 
pieces, .hz :u".iOus fir is only inflamed. 

X Which I fir^t fcund in Gary's Museum for 1789, and 
since in Winterbotham's History of America. 



89 

given in another form in Jefferson's notes on 
Virginia. It states *' that in ancient times a 
herd of these animals came to the big-hone 
lick, and began an universal destruction of the 
bears, buffaloes, deer, and all the animals 
created for the use of the Indians : this so 
displeased the great Spirit, that he descended 
upon a neighbouring mountain, where there 
is still to be seen the print of his seat, and of 
one foot, and hurling his bolts among them, 
killed them all but the great bull, who, pre- 
sejiting his forehead to the shafts, shook them 
off as they fell : at length, missing one, it 
v/ounded him in the side, and he leaped over 
the Wabash, the lllcnoi?, and the great 
lakes, where he still lives." 

A few years since some large bones, of an 
uncommon kind, were found in a cave in Vir- 
ginia, highly preserved by lying in earth 
abounding with nitre. They were sent to the 
Philosophical Society, and an account of them 
published in the fourth volume of their 
Tranfactions : by permission of the Society, 
I have made accurate casts of them. 



N 



go 

Hence it appears that four animals of enor- 
mous magnitude have formerly existed in 
America, perhaps at the fame time, and of na- 
tures very opposite : li/, The Mammoth, car- 
nivorous ; 2J, An animal whose graminivorous 
teeth, larger than, and dlfxcrent from, those of 
the elephant, are sometim.es found; 3^, The 
great Indian buil ; and, 4^/?, An animal pro- 
bably of the sloth kind, as appears on compa- 
rison with the bones found in Virginia, and a 
skeleton found in South America, and pre^ 
served in the Museum at Madrid. 

How long since these animals have existed, 
we shall perhaps ever remain in ignorance, 
as no judgment can be formed from the 
quantity of vegetable soil which has accumu- 
lated over their bones. Certain wc are that 
they existed in great abundance, from the 
number of their remains which are found in 
America, We are likewise sure that they must 
have been destroyed by some sudden and 
powerful cause ; and nothing appears m^ore 
probable than one of those deluges, or sud- 
den irruptions of the sea, which have left their 
traces (such as shells, corals, Sec.) in every 



9^ 

part of the globe. It is, therefore, extremely 
probable that whenever and by whatever 
means the extirpation of these tremendous 
animals was effected, the same cause muft 
have operated in the destruction of all those 
inhabitants from whom there might have been 
transmitted some satisfactory account of these 
stupendous beings, which at all times must 
have filled the human mind with surprise and 
wonder.