Skip to main content

Full text of "The fossil remains of the animal kingdom"

See other formats


r^mi^ ^i 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

California Academy of Sciences Library 

4 I -^ 













Printed by William Clowes, 

Stamford Street. 





Great Mastodon ..... to face page 66 

Fossil Elephant, found in the ice in Siberia . . .52 

Elephants, comparison of heads . . . . . .57 

Supposed outlines of extinct species . . . .105 

Great Mastodon, jaws of . . . . .70 

Great Mastodon, single teeth of . . . .69 

Comparison of lower jaw and femur of existing and fossil Elephants . 58 

Megatherium . . . . . .132 

Common Anoplotherium restored . . . . 110 

Mastodon with narrow teeth . . . . .74 

Fossil jaw and teeth of Lophiodon . . . .94 

Jaw and upper surface of tooth of the Elasmotherium . . .89 

Head and part of skeleton of Anoplotherium . . . 109 

Skeleton of Ichthyosaurus and Plesiosaurus . ... 343 

Lower jaw of fossil Elephant, with omoplate and femur of Elephant . . 57 
Great Gavial, Caiman, common Crocodile, and jaw of GaVial . . 200 

Fragment of jaw of Megalosaurus, and single tooth of same . .318 

Posterior upper Tooth of Mastodon, with narrow teeth, young and not pro- 
truded, &c. . . . . . . 74 

Fossil Hyaena from Kirkdale Cave, &c. . . .124 

Jaw, &c., of Antracotherium, head of Adapis, and teeth of Chaeropotamus 112 
Fossil Hippopotamus . . . . .77 

Head and upper jaw of existing Hippopotamus, &c. . . . ibid. 

Part of Crocodilus priscus of Soemmering . . . 233 

Lower jaw of fossil Crocodile of Honfleur, &c. . . 242 

Head of middle-sized Palaeotherium . . . . . 1 06 

Part of head of Ichthyosaurus in the British Museum, from Lyme . . 357 
Head of existing Hippopotamus and of fossil Hippopotamus, found in Kirk- 
dale Cave . . . . . . 78 

Geosaurus of Manheim . . . . . . 316 

Mosasaurus of Maestricht ..... ibid. 

Crocodile of Caen, and portion of muzzle of the same . . . 234 

Fossil Salamander of (Eningen .... 377 

Plesiosaurus, from Lyme . . . . .365 

Pterodactylus longirostris, from Pappenheim .... 326 

Pterodactylus macronyx, found at Lyme . . . . .331 


Ichthyosaurus tenuirostris . . .to face page 364 

Dapedium politum, from Lyme .... 390 

Fossil Fish, from the Has, at Lyme . . . ibid. 

Fossil Tortoise, from Melsbroeck, near Brussels . . . 276 

Emys, from the Isle of Sheppey, Kent . . . . 279 

Fossil Crab, found in the green sand at Lyme . . .492 

Crustaceous Fossils, &c. ..... ibid. 

Fossil Shells — Planorbis euomphalus, &c. . . .490 

Tellina obliqua, &c. .... ibid. 

Mya mandibula, &c. .... ibid. 

Emarginula crassa, &c. .... ibid. 

Ovula Leathesi, &c. .... ibid. 

Fossil Polyparia — TurbinoUa depressa, &c. . . . . 504 

Hallirhoe lateralis, &c. . . . ibid. 

Pentacrinites briareus . . . . - .510 



For Ophiodon, read Lophiodon. 

For Emydis, read Emys. 

For Crustacious Fossils, read Crustaceous. 


Inlennediate strata. 


^ C3 





i 1 




Researches into Fossil Osteology are comparatively of very 
recent date, and almost all that they possess of a scientific 
form is owing to the exertions of the illustrious naturalist whose 
steps we have thus far pursued, though at a very humble 
distance. It was reserved for him to ascertain, for the most 
part, the genera and species to which the osseous remains of 
terrestrial animals, so abundantly discovered in the superficial 
strata of this planet, are attached. Prepared for the execution 
of this Herculean task by the profoundest study of comparative 
anatomy, and the natural history of existing, he was enabled to 
characterize with precision the fragments of extinct species, to 
reconstruct those ancient animals, and present to our astonished 
view the wonders of former creations. More certain data have 
been thus obtained for the revolutions and duration of the 
globe ; geology has ceased to be a romance, and a solid basis 
is at length established for a rational theory of the earth. Our 
intention is to present to our readers, in an abridged form, the 
result of such researches, not only of the Baron, but of every 
other modern naturalist who has investigated the subject ; but, 
before we enter on any specific details, it will be necessary to 
take a brief general view of the revolutions which the surface 
of this globe has undergone, and the consequent alterations 
which have taken place in animal existence. Our limits will 


prevent us from entering very deeply into the purely geolo- 
gical portion of the subject, or, in fact, of considering it at all, 
except in relation to its connection with the organic fossils. 

An inspection of the various strata in vi^hich fossil remains 
have teen deposited, serves to prove that, in general, a con- 
stant order has been observed in their formation. 

The sea, by which the entire earth appears to have been 
covered, having rested in certain situations a sufficient length 
of time to collect particular substances, and sustain the life of 
certain genera and species of animals, has been afterwards 
replaced by another sea, which has collected other substances, 
and nourished other animals. 

It may be believed that the primitive strata, which contain 
no organic remains, had all of them one contemporaneous 
origin. But, with respect to the strata which cover them, the 
study of fossil osteology has clearly proved that they were 
formed at different eras of time, during each of which animals 
existed distinct from those which lived in other eras, and dis- 
tinct from almost all the known species which exist at the 
present day. It is true, that those causes to which the produc- 
tion of mountains is owing, have, in the countries which are 
intersected by primitive chains, or which border on them, dis- 
turbed the original established order of the strata. But, in 
level countries, it is perfectly obvious that they have been 
formed by a long and tranquil sojournment of the waters, in 
the same manner as are formed, at the present day, those 
depositions which cover the bottom of the seas. 

Vegetable and animal remains are sometimes found at a 
depth of three or four thousand feet, and even below the sea, 
as in the instance of the coal-pits of TV hitehaven. In all parts 
of the world, marine productions are to be found in a fossil 
state. They are found at very considerable degrees of eleva- 
tion, on mountains far remote from the neighbourhood of any 
sea. So numerous, indeed, are they in certain places, that 
they constitute, to a very great extent, the aggregate of 


the soil. These remains of organized bodies were formerly 
considered as mere lusus naturcB^ generated in the bosom of 
the earth by its creative powers. But this absurdity has been 
completely refuted, by a thorough examination of their forms 
and composition. It has been clearly demonstrated that there 
is no difference of texture between the bodies of which we now 
speak, and those which exist in our present seas. 

The marine genera, found in the most ancient, do not ap- 
pear to be as numerous as those contained in the more recent 
strata ; and it is worthy of remark that the fossil organic bodies 
of every description, differ more from existing species in pro- 
portion to the antiquity of the strata in which they are found. 
Those very ancient formations, to which the name of transi- 
tion-strata has been given, rest upon the granite or other 
primitive rocks, which, as far as we can tell, form the substra- 
tum of the globe, and in which no organic remains have ever 
been discovered. We are thus led to the knowledge of a fact 
equally astonishing and certain, namely, that there was a 
period when life did not exist upon this earth ; the era, indeed, 
of its commencement is clearly observable. This evidently 
proves the doctrine of a creation, and utterly confounds the 
absurd speculations of atheism respecting the eternity of the 
world, and the generative powers of inanimate matter. 

The mode in which these primitive strata were formed is a 
mooted question. Some are of opinion that the ancient granite 
owed its origin to a fluid which once held every thing in solu- 
tion, and others, that it was the first substance that became 
fixed, on the cooling of a mass of matter in a state of fusion. 
The Marquess de La Place has conjectured, that the materials 
of which the earth is composed were at first of an elastic form, 
and became, in cooling, of a liquid, and, finally, of a solid con- 
sistence. The recent experiments of M. Mitcherlich, says the 
Baron Cuvier, go far in support of this opinion. That gentle- 
man has completely succeeded in composing and crystallizing 
several of the mineral species which enter into the composition 



of primitive rocks. Be this, however, as it may, we find the 
sheivy summits of all the grand mountain-chains which inter- 
sect our continents composed of these primitive strata. The 
granite almost invariably constitutes the central ridges of these 
mighty chains, and, singular to relate, it occupies the highes*- 
and the lowest position in their stratification. That it was 
forced upwards by some tremendous convulsions of nature, 
which have shaken this globe to its very centre, is indubitable. 
The indented ridges, the ragged precipices, the bristhng peaks, 
by which these primitive chains are always characterized, prove 
to demonstration the violence which was exerted in their pro- 
duction. In this respect, they exhibit a decided contrast to 
those more convex mountains, and undulating ranges of hills, 
whose mass was quietly deposited by the last retiring sea, and 
has since remained undisturbed by any violent revolution. 

The lateral ridges of these chains are formed of schistus, 
porphyry, talc-rocks, &c. which rest on the sides of the granite. 
Finally, the external ranges are composed of granular marble, 
and other calcareous strata, but devoid of shells, which rest 
upon the schistus, and form the last boundary of the empire of 
mere inanimate matter. We now begin to find, but few in 
number, and, at intervals, in the transition strata, the earhest 
animal productions. We find the larger orthocerae, those 
singular Crustacea, the tribolites, the calymenes, the ogygiae. 
We find encrinites, numerous species of cornua ammonis, and 
of terebratulae, belemnites, trigoniae, and other genera, most of 
which are no longer found in less ancient strata. Terebratulae 
are found in these ancient strata, in the chalk formations 
above them, in the shelly hmestone above those, and in the 
living state ; but the number of species, and even of individuals 
of this genus, are found to diminish in an inverse ratio to the 
antiquity of the periods in which they existed. 

We find shelly strata occasionally interposed between beds 
of granite and other primitive substances, which must have 
occupied their present situation at a more recent period. That 


these primitive masses experienced changes and convulsions 
even previously to the appearance of life on this globe is evi- 
dent. These masses indicate violent removals of position, some 
of which must have taken place before they were covered by 
the strata of shells. The disruptions we observe among them 
are sufficient proof of this. But since the formation of the 
secondary strata those same primitive masses have undergone 
similar convulsions. They have, not improbably, caused, most 
certainly they have shared in, the violent changes which have 
as evidently taken place in the secondary strata. How, if it 
were otherwise, could it happen that we find immense portions 
of those primitive rocks uncovered, though not situated so high 
as the secondary strata ? We find numerous blocks of granite, 
&c. scattered over the secondary strata, even in situations 
where deep valUes, where portions of the sea intervene between 
them and those mountainous ridges from which they must have 
been transported. They must have been driven thither by 
tremendous eruptions or violent inundations, far exceeding in 
force and velocity any impelling cause with which we are now 
acquainted capable of changing the face of nature. 

To enter very deeply into an examination of the acting 
causes which contribute at present, and have contributed ever 
since the era at which authentic history dates its commence- 
ment, to change the earth's surface, would be foreign to our 
present purpose. It will be sufficient to remark that these 
causes are rains and thaws, which bring down portions of 
mountains ; streams which carry these on, and form what are 
termed alluvial depositions, in places where then- course is 
slackened ; the sea, which gradually changes the outline of the 
land, by undermining the more elevated coasts and forming 
precipitous clifTs, and throwing in heaps of sand upon the 
more level shores, thus gradually overspreading a considerable 
extent of terra firma ; and finally, volcanoes, piercing through 
the solid strata and throwing heaps of matter around them to 
certain degrees of extent and elevation. 


Now, the action of the waters, whether in rains, thaws, or 
running streams, which extend the land by the eventual depo- 
sition of debris, presupposes the existence of mountains, vallies, 
plains, and other inequalities, and consequently could not have 
produced them. The action of the sea is still more limited, 
and its phenomena have no affinity with the immense masses 
of whose revolutions we have been speaking ; and volcanoes, 
though they have formed both mountains and islands, formed 
them of nothing but lava, i. e. of substances modified by vol- 
canic action, which is never the case with the substances to 
which we have above alluded, nor do volcanoes ever disturb the 
strata which traverse their apertures. In a word, none of the 
agents acting on the earth's surface with which we are now 
acquainted, are capable of producing those tremendous revo- 
lutions which have left their traces so indelibly marked on the 
external covering of the globe. Neither will the circular motion 
of the pole of the earth, nor the gradual inclination of its axis 
on the plane of the ecliptic, better serve to explain such phe- 
nomena. The slowness and limited direction of these motions 
bear no proportion to the extent and overwhelming rapidity of 
such catastrophes. It follows, then, that they must have been 
occasioned by causes whose operation has long ceased, which 
were external to this planet, and most probably totally out of 
the course of things in existing nature. Many conjectures 
have been made by naturalists respecting the character of these 
causes, some eminent for absurdity, and all resting on hypo- 
thesis; into any of which it would be as wide of our design to 
enter as to propound any new solution of our own. It is 
enough to repeat that nothing in the agency of nature, as it 
has operated for ages in relation to this earth, could have pro- 
duced the grand revolutions which this earth has evidently 
undergone ; nor is it any absurdity to suppose that the agency 
which did produce them was preternatural. 

To return to our more immediate subject ; it is comparatively 
but a short time since the studv of marine fossils has been 


pursued with that degree of attention which it deserves. In- 
volving infinitely greater difficulties than that of the conchology 
of existing species, much fewer of the former than of the latter 
have been discovered. It is yet the opinion of some eminent 
naturahsts that the number of ancient species may equal, if not 
exceed, that of the modern. They are led to this conclusion 
by considering that the latter appertain but to a single era, 
while the former are attached to many successive periods in 
which animals of different descriptions have been abundantly 

It is but seldom that we meet with shells in the fossil state 
of species perfectly analogous to those which now exist. There 
is scarcely any exception to this but in the case of the fossils 
imbedded in the low hills of the Apennine range, of which a 
considerable number are found in a living state in the neigh- 
bouring Mediterranean. It is, however, remarkable that a 
number of mollusca and marine polypi found in this sea in 
abundance are not discovered in the fossil state, as, in like 
manner, fossil species are found in the Apennines that no longer 
exist. This want of perfect similarity is by no means sur- 
prising when we find that even species of the same strata, and 
of the existing seas, do not perfectly resemble when the habitat 

The remains of mollusca and zoophytes are much more nu- 
merous than other * fossils, and the strata in which they are 
found are sometimes changed into calcareous stone. They are 
found in falun, in marl, in clay, and in gres or granulated 
brownish quartz. Shells, nearly resembling those of our 
marshes and streams, are found in the more recent strata. 

Between the strata composed of marine fossils, we sometimes 
meet others containing terrestrial remains of animals or vege- 
tables, which prove the settlement and return, at different 
periods, of the sea and fresh water, and even between these 
periods, the absence for a time of both, as it appears that the 


terrestrial animals must have lived in the place where their 
remains are found. 

The circumstance of finding, amidst the ice of the north, the 
carcasses of elephants and rhinoceroses with flesh and hair, 
proves that the retreat of the waters at the era of their de- 
struction must have been prompt. A sudden change must 
have also taken place in the temperature of these countries ; 
for these carcasses were found in places to which they could 
not have been transported at the present day, and were besides 
so frozen up, that in the instance of the elephant found by a 
Tungoose in 1799 (as will be subsequently seen), several years 
elapsed before all the parts of the body could be extricated. 

Had the waters retired slowly, the entire surface of the earth 
so abandoned would have been like the shore of the sea ; an- 
cient cliffs would have been found wherever elevations existed, 
and the fossil shells would have been defaced like those now 
found on the sea-coast. But nothing of all this occurs. Many 
fossil shells are found broken, but not worn : their angular 
points are not blunted. This is declared by M. Defrance to 
be invariably the case with those of France, Italy, England, 
and North America, which he has examined, with the excep- 
tion of such as are found in the falun of Touraine, which in 
all respects resembles the shelly sand of the sea-shore. The 
shells found there are almost all broken ; their angles are 
blunted, and in the apertures of the univalves stones or other 
shells are repeatedly found which are difficult to be got out, 
just exactly as we find it to be with those on the sea-coasts. 
Terrestrial helices are even found there of a species unknown 
in the country filled with the debris of marine polypi and shells. 
It is natural to imagine that the soil of Touraine where the 
falun is found was exposed to the dashing of the waves which 
covered those parts of France where the bed of coarse, shelly 
limestone is found, and with which the falun of Touraine has 
the strongest affinity. 


Fossil fish are found in the ancient marine strata as well as 
in the more recent. So are the Crustacea which frequently 
accompany them. There is reason to believe, that a sudden 
revolution like that which a volcano might occasion, may have 
overwhelmed such of them as are found in the greatest abun- 
dance in certain places. The debris of osseous fishes are often 
found : but of the cartilaginous we find nothing but the ver- 
tebrae and teeth of squali. The coarse^ shelly limestone, as well 
as the more recent strata, contains an immense quantity of 
debris of the claws of Crustacea, and of the auricular bones of 
different sorts of fish. 

The remains of terrestrial animals found in the fossil state 
consist of bones, the antlers of certain species of cervus, and 
teeth. It may be noticed, that such remains are rarely in a 
state of petrifaction. The horns of other ruminants, hoofs, 
claws, &c. are never found. 

Oviparous quadrupeds, such as the crocodiles of Honfleur, of 
England, and the monitors of Thuringia, are found in very 
ancient strata. The saurians and tortoises of Maestricht are 
met with in the more recent chalk formation. The bones of 
lamantins and phocae are found in a coarse, shelly limestone, 
very analogous to that which covers the chalk formation near 
Paris. The Baron has observed, in his great work, that up 
to this point no remains of mammiferous land animals have 
been found. Professor Buckland, however, to whose re- 
searches fossil osteology is so much indebted, has, in the first 
volume of the " Transactions of the Geological Society," 
given an account of a mammiferous quadruped occurring in 
an ancient secondary rock. In the calcareous slate of Stones- 
field, in Oxfordshire, which lies in the upper part of the lowest 
division of oolitic rocks, have been found, says the Doctor, 
" two portions of the jaw of the didelphis, or opossum, being 
of the size of a small kangaroo rat, and belonging to a family 
which now exists chiefly in America, Southern Asia, and New 
Holland.'*'' The Doctor refers this fossil to didelphis on the 


authority of the Baron himself, who has examined it twice, and 
the second time pronounced it to have been mammiferous, like 
an opossum , but of an extinct genus, and differing from all 
carnivorous mammalia in having ten teeth in a series in the 
lower jaw. 

It is right, however, to remark here, that some controversy 
has arisen respecting the exact position of this calcareous slate 
in the minor subdivisions of the oolitic series at Stonesfield. 
To enter into the merits of this controversy would be quite 
beside our purpose ; and, though we most strongly lean to the 
belief that the Doctor is justified in his conclusions, it would 
be presumptuous in humble compilers like ourselves, to pro- 
nounce decisively on so important a question. 

Waiving this exception, if it be one, we find no bones of ter- 
restrial mammalia until we come to the strata deposited above 
the last-mentioned formation of shelly limestone. There we 
first discover them, and there is a remarkable succession 
among the species. The debris of genera unknown at the 
present day, of anoplotheria, of palaeotheria, found in the 
fresh-water formation, are the first which exhibit themselves 
above the shelly limestone. With those we find some lost 
species of known genera, oviparous quadrupeds and fishes. 
The beds in which they are found are covered by other strata, 
filled with marine fossils. 

The fossil elephant, the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, and 
the mastodon, are not found with those more ancient genera. 
They are found in the ancient alluvial strata, sometimes with 
marine and sometimes with fresh-water productions; but never 
in the regular rocky strata. The species of these animals, and 
every relic found with them, are either unknown or doubtful: 
and it is only in the latest alluvial depositions that species 
which appear similar to those now existing are to be found. 

Among the most astonishing phenomena which fossil osteo- 
logy unfolds to our view, are those osseous breccie^ which, 
though removed from each other the distance of many hundred 


leagues, do yet present analogous peculiarities. Scattered rocks 
composed of the same stone are divided in diflPerent directions. 
Their fissures are filled with a calcareous concretion, very hard, 
and forming a sort of red ochreous cement, in which bones mixed 
with terrestrial shells are found imbedded. These bones, 
which are not petrified, have been almost all of them broken 
previously to their incrustation. These breccie are found in 
the rock of Gibraltar, at Cette, Nice, Antibes, in Corsica, in 
Dalmatia, and in the island of Cerigo; depositions nearly 
similar are found at Corcud, near Terruel in Arragon, in the 
Vicentine territory, and in the Veronese. 

In the rock of Gibraltar have been found the bones of a 
ruminant animal, which the Baron thinks may appertain to 
antelope, and the teeth of one species of the genus lepus. 

In the deposition at Cette, the bones of rabbits, of the size 
and form of such as now exist, have been found ; others of 
the same genus, but one-third smaller; rodentia, similar to the 
campagnol ; birds of the size of the wagtail, and snakes. 

In the osseous breccia of Nice and Antibes are found the 
bones of horses, and ruminants' teeth of the latter order, of 
species about the magnitude of cervus. 

The breccia of Corsica contains debris of lagomys, existing 
at present only in Siberia, and bones of a rodens resembling 
perfectly the water-rat, except that it is smaller. 

We find in those of Dalmatia, the bones of ruminants of 
the size of dama. 

Of the bones in the breccia of the island of Cerigo, we have 
no account, except from Spallanzani, who imagined that 
human bones existed among them. This opinion, however, 
appears totally destitute of foundation. 

In the deposition of Corcud, the bones of asses and oxen 
have been found, resembling those of the present day, and of 
sheep of a very diminutive size. 

In the Vicentine and the Veronese breccia, the antlers and 
bones of cervus have been found, together with the bones of 


oxen and elephants. A tusk of one of these last was nearly 
twelve feet in length. 

Similar discoveries have also been made in the fissures of 
Sicily and Sardinia, and in different parts of Germany. But 
it is impossible to afford in this place any further detail con- 
cerning them. 

In the plaster-quarries in the neighbourhood of Paris, are 
found skeletons of genera for ages extinct, such as the anoplo- 
therium and palaeotherium : also bones of an animal bearing 
affinity to the sarigue, of four species of carnivora, with debris 
of tortoises, birds, and fishes. 

The loose strata exhibit bones, teeth, and tusks of elephants, 
mingled with bones of horses, in almost every country; of 
mastodons, in America, in Little Tartary, in Siberia, in Italy, 
in France ; of the rhinoceros, in France, in England, in Italy, 
in Germany, and Siberia ; of the hippopotamus, near Montpel- 
lier, in Italy, and England, &c. &c. of an animal resembling the 
tapir in the south of France ; of a gigantic species of cervus, 
resembling the elk in Ireland and England ; of the Indian 
musk-ox in Siberia ; of fallow-deer of an unknown species in 
Scania ; of hyaenas, near Eichstadt ; of balaense, in the Plai- 
santin ; and of an immense animal of the family tardigrada, 
called the megatherium, a species unknown in the living state, 
near Buenos Ayres. 

In the turbaries of the department of the Somme in France, 
have been found debris of the aurochs, of oxen, far surpassing 
in magnitude our domestic races ; of beavers, of cervi of un- 
known species, of horses, of roebucks, and of wild boars. 

We are far, indeed, from having enumerated all the disco- 
veries of this description that have been made, nor will our 
limits permit us to do so. Even since the publication of the 
last edition of the " Ossemens Fossiles," thirty species have 
been found in volcanic tufa in the strata of Mount Perrier, 
near the Issoire, in France ; — namely, nine ruminants, six 
pachydermata, one edentatum, twelve carnivora, and two ro- 


dentia. In the calcareous fresh-water formation of Volvic, ten 
species ; — one ruminant, two anoplotheria, one palaeotheriura, 
two rodentia, two carnivora, and two reptiles. In the similar 
formation of Gergovia, four species ; — one anoplotherium, one 
reptile, and two ornitholites. Nay, even as we write, these 
discoveries are being prosecuted on the Continent and in Ame- 
rica, with a zeal, assiduity, and success, unexampled in any 
former era in the annals of science; nor can it be expected, by 
any possibility, that a sketch like the present should embrace 
them all. 

Phenomena not less astonishing than those on which we have 
been hitherto commenting, are exhibited in certain ancient 
caverns which have been discovered in Germany, in Hungary, 
and in England. They equally surprise and interest us by 
the immense quantity of debris of fossil animals which they 
contain, and the remarkable analogy that exists among them 
all in a geological point of view. To attempt any thing even 
approaching to a complete account of them here would be im- 
possible. We shall, however, notice some of their most striking 
peculiarities ; and for a fuller description refer our readers to 
the " Reliquiae Diluvianae"''' of Professor Buckland, a work 
equally admirable for deep research, luminous exposition of 
facts, and sound deduction. 

The most anciently celebrated of these caverns, according to 
the Baron, is that of Bauman, near the city of Brunswick. 
The entrance faces the north, but the entire direction is from 
east to west. The entrance is very narrow. The first cham- 
ber is the largest. Into the second it is necessary to descend 
by a passage, first creeping, and then with the assistance of a 
ladder. The difference of level is thirty feet. This second 
chamber most abounds in stalactite, of a variety of forms. The 
passage to the third chamber is at first the most difficult of all. 
It is necessary to climb with hands and feet, but it gradually 
enlarges, and the stalactites upon its roof and sides exhibit an 
astonishing variety of fantastic and beautiful figures. There 


are in this passage two lateral dilatations, constituting a third 
and fourth chamber in the map of the Acta Erud : At its 
extremity it is necessary again to re-ascend to arrive at the 
entrance of the third chamber, which forms a sort of portico. 
Behrens, in his Hercynia Curiosa, says that there is no pene- 
trating there, as it would be necessary to descend more than 
sixty feet. But the map above-mentioned and the description 
of Van der Hardt which accompanies it, characterize this third 
chamber as the fifth, and place beyond it another tunnel or 
passage terminated by two small caverns. Silbersschlag, in his 
Geogenie, adds that one of them leads into a final tunnel, 
which, descending considerably, leads under the other chambers, 
and is terminated by a place filled with water. There are 
abundance of fossil remains in this remote and unfrequented 

The principal portion of the bones discovered in this cavern 
belong to the genus of the bear. 

Other caverns very nearly similar are found in the chain of 
the Hartz mountains. Many are also found in Hungary on 
the southern dechvities of the Krapach mountains. But the 
most celebrated of all is that of Gaylenreuth, situated on the 
left bank of the Wiesent. It is composed of six grottoes, which 
form an extent of more than two hundred feet. These caverns 
are strewed with bones, great and small, which are all of the 
same description as are to be found over an extent of more 
than two hundred leagues. More than three-fourths of these 
bones belong to a species of bear as large as our horses, and 
which IS longer found in the living state. The half or two- 
thirds of the remaining bones belong to an hyaena, of the size 
of the living bear. There were also the remains of a tiger, 
wolf, fox, glutton, and pole-cat, or some species approximating 
to it. The bones of herbivora are also found there, particu- 
larly of cervi, but in smaller number. Soemmering has also 
mentioned that a portion of the cranium of an elephant was 
extracted from this cavern. 


It is the opinion of the Baron that the remains in question 
belonged to animals which lived and died in the caves in which 
their debris are found, and that the period of their establish- 
ment there was considerably posterior to the era in which the 
extensive rocky strata were formed. In his first edition, he 
expressed his opinion that it was subsequent to the formation 
of the loose strata in which the bones of the elephant, rhino- 
ceros, and hippopotamus have been discovered. But he has 
since altered this opinion, and fully coincides with Dr. Buck- 
land that the bones of the caverns and the osseous breccia, 
are of the same antiquity with those of the loose strata, and 
. that all were prior to the last general catastrophe which over- 
whelmed this globe. 

Of the Megalonix, an extinct animal of the sloth genus, 
the remains have been found in a cavern in Western Virginia. 
Of the caves of this country the most remarkable is that of 
Kirkdale, in Yorkshire, visited and first described by Dr. Buck- 
land. The generality of educated readers must be so well 
acquainted, through the medium of various publications, with 
the researches of the learned professor, that we shall be excused 
from following him through his very minute and lucid descrip- 
tion of the geological position and internal peculiarities of this 
cavern : for our present purpose it will be sufficient to observe, 
that the teeth and bones discovered in the cave of Kirkdale 
are referable to twenty-three different species of animals ; — six 
carnivora, four pachydermata, four ruminantia, four rodentia, 
and five birds. Among the carnivora, the most numerous by 
far appear to have been hysenas of a larger size than any known 
at present. Their teeth were so very abundant, that the pro- 
fessor does not calculate the number of animals to which they 
belonged at less than two or three hundred. Two large canine 
teeth of the tiger were found four inches in length, and a few- 
molars exceeding in size those of the largest lion or Bengal 
tiger. There was one tusk of a bear, which appears to have 
been specifically identical with the ursus spelccus of the Ger- 


manic caves, and which, as we have already observed, equalled 
the horse in magnitude. The bones of the elephant, rhinoceros, 
and hippopotamus were found co-extensively with all the rest, 
even in the inmost and smallest recesses. The teeth of deer of 
two or three species are also numerous, but the most abundant 
of all are those of the water-rat. 

The conclusion of the professor respecting this cave is, that 
it was inhabited during a long succession of years previous to 
the last general deluge, by hyaenas, and that they dragged into 
it the other animal bodies whose remains are found there. The 
bones are all comminuted and broken ; and many of them dis- 
tinctly bear the impress of the canine fangs of the hyaena, 
an animal whose appetite for bones and tremendous power in 
fracturing them is well known. The professor considers, that, 
at the period of the last general inundation, the floor of the 
cave was covered with the diluvial loam and pebbles under 
which these bones were found, and had been so long preserved 
from decomposition by this covering of mud, and the coating 
of stalagmite above it. Several other caverns and fissures have 
been discovered in this country and in Wales, containing 
osseous remains, the greater portion of which are referable to 
the antediluvian era. Near Wirksworth, in Derbyshire, in a 
cave called Dream Cave, was found the skeleton of a rhinoceros, 
nearly entire. At Oreston, near Plymouth, three deposits 
were found of a similar nature, containing great quantities of 
bones. In the cave of Paviland, in Glamorganshire, were 
found remains of elephant, rhinoceros, horse, hog, bear, 
hyaena, &c. In this cave, a human skeleton was also found ; 
but its circumstances, position, state of preservation, &c., prove 
it to be most clearly postdiluvian. 

From all the facts of this description which have been as- 
certained, Dr. Buckland concludes, that previously to the last 
general catastrophe, the extinct species of the hyaena, tiger, 
bear, elephant, rhinoceros and hippopotamus, as also wolves, 
foxes, oxen, deer, horses, and other animals not distinguishable 


from existing species, existed contemporaneously in this 
country ; and the Baron, from similar inductions, has drawn a 
similar conclusion respecting the continent of Europe. 

The general circumstances of all these caverns are, as we 
have observed, extremely similar. The hills in which they are 
excavated resemble each other in their composition. They are 
all calcareous, and produce stalactite in abundance. The roofs, 
sides, and passages in the caverns are ornamented and con- 
tracted by it in all its boundless variety of configuration. The 
bones are nearly in a similar state in all these deposits. De- 
tached, scattered, partly broken, but never rolled, as would 
be the case had they been brought from a distance by the 
force of inundations. Somewhat specifically hghter, and less 
solid than the recent bones, they yet preserve their genuine 
animal nature, are not much decomposed, still contain plenty 
of gelatine, and are never in a state of petrifaction. A har- 
dened earth, but still liable to break or pulverize, impregnated 
with animal manner, and sometimes of a blackish colour, con- 
stitutes their natural envelope. This is, in many instances, in- 
terpenetrated and covered by a crust of stalactite of the finest 
alabaster. The bones themselves are sometimes clothed with 
the same material which enters their natural cavities, and oc- 
casionally attaches them to the walls of the cavern. From 
the admixture of animal matter, this stalactite often exhibits a 
reddish hue. At other times its surface is tinted with black. 
But these are accidents of recent occurrence, and independent 
of the cause which introduced the bones into their present 
locale. It is easy to observe, that this same stalactite is daily 
making a rapid progress, and invading those groups of osseous 
remains which it had hitherto left untouched. 

This mass of earth, intermixed with animal matter, enve- 
lopes without distinction the bones of all the species, and if 
we except a few on the surface of the soil, and which, from 
their comparative freshness, we must conclude to have been 
transported thither at a much later era, all were evidently 


interred in the same manner, and by the same agents. In a 
great many of these caverns, especially in that of Gaylen- 
reuth, are found pieces of bluish marble, the angles of which 
are rounded and blunted, clearly testifying the influence of 
that diluvial action which hurried them along. A similar 
phenomenon is observable in the osseous breccia of Gibraltar 
and Dalmatia. 

The pachydermatous remains, so common in the loose or 
ancient alluvial strata, are very rarely found among the fossil 
carnivora of the Germanic caves : nor are the bones of the 
latter very frequent in the alluvial strata. This circumstance, 
at first, led M. Cuvier to assign different eras to those respec- 
tive remains. But, independently of the fact that the reverse 
is sometimes the case in these situations, the discoveries made 
in our British caves have clearly demonstrated the contempo- 
raneous existence of the animals in question ; and the Baron, 
with that single-minded devotion to the cause of science inva- 
riably characteristic of the highest order of philosophical 
genius, has subsequently avowed that this important fact has 
been completely established by Dr. Buckland. 

There are but three imaginable causes by which such quan- 
tities of bones could have been accumulated in those vast sub- 
terraneous repositories. Either they are the remains of ani- 
mals which lived and died there undisturbed, or they were 
carried thither by inundations, or some other violent cause, or 
they were originally enveloped in the stony strata whose disso- 
lution produced those excavations, and were not dissolved by 
the agent which removed the material of the excavated strata. 
The last supposition is refuted by the fact of these same strata 
containing no bones ; and the second, by the integrity of their 
smallest prominences, which will not permit us to suppose that 
they have been rolled, or have suffered any violent change of 
place. Some of these bones, indeed, are a little worn, but, as 
Dr. Buckland remarks, on one side alone ; which only proves 
that some transient current has passed over them in the de- 


posit where they are found. The first supposition, then, 
which, as we observed, the Professor adopted in explanation of 
the phenomena of Kirkdale-cave, is the only one that can be 
admitted in reference to all the rest which exhibit pheno- 
mena precisely similar. There are certainly some cases of 
caverns in which we may otherwise account for the presence of 
bones. Animals may have retired there to die, fallen acci- 
dentally into their fissures, or been washed in by diluvial 
waters. But such hypotheses will only explain the cases 
where the bones are few and not gnawed, the caverns large, 
and their fissures extending upwards. In all other instances 
we can only account for the vast accumulation of bones by the 
agency of beasts of prey. 

It is^ however, quite certain that the period in which the 
animals lived in these caves was considerably subsequent, not 
only to the formation of the extended rocky strata of which 
the mountains where they are excavated are composed^ but to 
that of similar strata of more recent date. No permanent 
inundation penetrated into these subterraneous recesses, or 
formed there any regular stony deposition. The rolled peb- 
bles that are found there, and any traces of detrition on the 
bones, indicate nothing but the transitory passage of evanes- 
cent waters. 

*' How, then," exclaims the Baron, " have the ferocious 
beings which once peopled our ancient forests, been extirpated 
from the surface of the earth ? T he only reply that can be 
given is, that they were destroyed at the same time, and by 
the same agency, as the large herbivora, which were fellow- 
inhabitants with themselves, and of which no traces in existing 
nature are any longer to be found."" 

The debris of birds have been found in the fossil state, the 
genera of which involve some difiiculty in the determination. 
Of these we treat in the proper place. 

The genera of fossil reptiles are well characterized ; such 
are the tortoises, the crocodiles or saurians, the monitors, the 

C 2 


salamanders, llie protei, the frogs, and a lizard with the wings 
of a bat, called pterodactylus, on which the present is no place 
to extend our remarks. 

Insects are found in the fossil state in calcareous, foliated 
stones, and in amber, where they are preserved without any 
alteration. In Prussia, where this resinous fossil production 
is most usually found, the insects exhibited there are all of 
them foreign to tlie climate. 

The debris of vegetable fossils are found in the ancient as 
well as in the recent strata ; but they are more common in the 
latter, and even on the surface of the earth. They consist for 
the most part in ligneous trunks, almost always changed into 
silex, in kernels, seeds, and the impressions of leaves, disposed 
between the veins of fissile stones. Those found in the mines 
of pit-coal belong for the most part to the family of fern, 
bamboo, casuarinas, and other plants, foreign to the climate in 
which they are thus found. These mines, situated between 
the granitic or porphyritic schists, are very ancient, and contain 
no marine shells. It is not thus with similar mines which 
occur in the calcareous formation. They do not appear to be 
equally ancient ; and instead of recognizing in them the im- 
pressions of fern, &c. we find in some of them succinum, and 
shells of the genus ampuUaria, which appear to appertain to 
marine depositions. The palm-tree of different kinds has been 
found in many situations in the fossil state, in countries to 
which the particular species were not native. Near Canstadt, 
in the duchy of Wirtemberg, an entire forest was discovered 
of palm-trees in a horizontal position, each two feet in dia- 
meter. In Cologne, from Bruhl, Liblar, Kierdorf, Bruggen, 
and Balkhausen, as far as Watterberg, are found, over many 
leagues of country, immense depositions of wood changed 
almost entirely into mould, and covered with a bed of rolled 
flints, from ten to twenty feet in height. This deposit, which 
exceeds fifty feet in thickness, also contains trunks of trees, 
and nuts, which exhibit a strong analogy to the areka which 


grows in India. In the midst of quart zose sands of the most 
arid kind in the African deserts, and on the surface of a soil 
for ages under the curse of sterihty, are found considerable 
quantities of the trunks of trees changed into silex. Buried 
in the peat, on a mountain in the department of the I sere, in 
France, fossil wood was found not less than 2000 feet above the 
most elevated line where trees can grow at the present day *. 

We have now to notice a fact connected with fossil osteo- 
logy of the most singular and striking kind. We find, as has 
been seen, quadrupeds of different genera, cetacea, birds, rep- 
tiles, fishes, insects, mollusca, and vegetables, in the fossil 
state. But to the present moment no human remains have 
been found, nor any traces of the works of man in those par- 
ticular formations where these different organic fossils have 
been discovered. What is meant by this assertion is, that no 
human bones have been found in the regular strata of the sur- 
face of the globe. In turf-bogs, alluvial beds, and ancient 
burying-grounds, they are disinterred as abundantly as the 
bones of other living species. Similar remains are found in 
the clefts of rocks, and sometimes in caves, where stalactite is 
accumulated upon them ; and the stage of decomposition in 
which they are found, and other circumstances, prove the 
comparative recentness of their deposition ; but not a frag- 
ment of human bone has been found in such situations as can 
lead us to suppose that our species was contemporary with the 
more ancient races, — with the palaeotheria, the anoplotheria, or 
even with the elephants and rhinoceroses of comparatively a 
later date. Many authors, indeed, have asserted, that debris of 
the human species have been found among the fossils, properly 
so called ; but a careful examination of the facts on which 

* In speaking- of fossil vegetables, we should not omit to mention the 
name of our countryman, Mr. Parkinson, who, in his *• Org-anic Remains,'' 
was one of the first writers who threw considerable lig-ht on the subject 
of fossils in g-eneral. Though erroneous in some of his speculative 
notions, his work contains a sumjuary of facts of the utmost iiJij)ortancc 
to this branch of science. 


such assertions were founded, have proved that these authors 
were utterly mistaken. We refer our readers to the preHmi- 
nary discourse of the Baron to his *' Ossemens Fossiles,"" for 
the most complete satisfaction on this question. The same 
may be asserted of all articles of human fabrication. Nothing 
of that description has ever been found indicating the exist- 
ence of the human race at an era antecedent to the last ge- 
neral catastrophe of this globe, in those countries where the 
strata have been examined, and the fossils discoveries we are 
treating of been made. Yet there is nothing in the compo- 
sition of human bones that should prevent their being pre- 
served as well as any others. There is no principle of pre- 
mature decomposition in their texture. They are found in 
ancient fields of battle equally well preserved with those of 
horses, whose bones we know are found abundantly in the 
proper fossil state. Neither can it be said that the compara- 
tive smallness of human bones has anything to do with the 
question, when it is recollected, that fossil remains of some of 
the smallest of the rodentia are to be found in a state of pre- 

The result, then, of all our investigations serves to prove that 
the human race was not coeval with the fossil general and 
species : for no reason can be assigned why man should have 
escaped from the revolutions which destroyed those other 
beings, nor, if he did not escape, why his remains should not 
be found intermingled with theirs. His bones are found occa- 
sionally in sufficient abundance in the latest and most super_ 
ficial depositions of our globe, where their bones are never 
found : their bones are in immense quantities in some of the 
ancient strata of the earth, where no traces of him exist. Human 
remains in caverns and fissures, along vrith some of those more 
ancient debris, prove nothing for the affirmative of man's co- 
eval existence with the lost species. Their freshness proves 
the lateness of their origin ; their fewness, the impossibility that 
mankind could have been established in the adjacent regions at 


the period when those other animals hved there ; and their 
situation and general circumstances, the accident of their intro- 

It is a fact not less remarkable, that no remains of the qua- 
drumanous races, which occupy the next rank in creation to 
man, at least in physical conformation, are to be found in the 
strata of which we have been speaking. Nor will this fact be 
deemed less remarkable, when it is considered that the majority 
of the mammifera there found have their congeners at present 
in the warmest regions of the globe, in the intertropical cli- 
mates, where those anthropomorphous animals are almost ex- 
clusively located. 

Where, then, was the human species during the periods in 
question.? Where was this most perfect work of the Creator, 
this self-styled image of the divinity ? If he existed any where, 
was he surrounded by such animals as now surround him, and 
of which no traces are discoverable among the organic fossils.'* 
Were the countries which he and they inhabited overwhelmed 
by some desolating inundation, at a time when his present 
abodes had been left dry by the retreating waters ? These are 
questions, says the Baron, to which the study of the extraneous 
fossils enables us to give no reply. 

It is not meant, however, to deny that man did not exist at 
all in the eras alluded to — he might have inhabited a limited 
portion of the earth, and commenced to extend his race over 
the rest of its surface, after the terrible convulsions which had 
devastated it were passed away. His ancient country, however, 
remains as yet undiscovered. It may, for aught we know, lie 
buried, and his bones along with it, under the existing ocean, 
and but a remnant of his race have escaped to continue the 
human population of the globe. All this, however probable, 
is but conjecture. But one thing is certain, that in a great 
part of Europe, Asia, and America, countries where the organic 
fossils have been found, man did not exist previously to the 
revolutions which overwhelmed these remains, nor even pre- 


viously to those by which the strata containing such remains 
have been denudated, and which were the latest by which this 
earth has been convulsed. 

It only remains for us now to give a summary view of the 
succession of strata, and an enumeration of the diiFerent fossil 
genera and species in the respective strata, by the order of 
wliich we are enabled to calculate to a certain extent the 
number of revolutions the globe has undergone. In doing 
this, we shall pursue the order observed by the Baron in his 
great work. 

In speaking of the strata of which this globe is composed, 
we must be understood to mean here nothing more recent than 
that formation which is proved to have resulted from the last 
grand catastrophe by which the earth was overwhelmed. The 
strata then formed, the most superficial of the regular strata, 
consisting of beds of loam and argillaceous sand, mixed with 
rolled pebbles from remote regions, and filled with debris of 
land animals unknown, or foreign to the places in which they 
are found, appear to have covered all the plains, and the floors 
of the caverns, and choked up the fissures of the rocks within 
their reach. To such formations. Dr. Buckland has given the 
name of diluvium^ and described them with his usual clearness 
and accuracy. They must be considered as totally distinct 
from the other strata, which, like them, are equally loose, but 
have been continually deposited, by streams and rivers, in the 
usual course of nature, since the last great convulsion of the 
globe, and which contain no fossil remains, but such as are 
indigenous to the country where they are found. These last 
depositions Dr. Buckland distinguishes by the term alluvium^ 
and they must be considered as entering for nothing into the 
question of the grand revolutions of the earth. But in the 
diluvial strata, all modern geologists have discovered the 
clearest evidence of that tremendous inundation, which consti- 
tuted the last general catastrophe by which the surface of our 
])lanct has been modified. It may not be amiss to inform our 


readers here, that both these formations, agreeing in their cha- 
racter of uncompactness, but differing in their antiquity, are 
alike termed loose, or alluvial^ by Cuvier and other geologists. 
We do not altogether deviate from this usage in our subse- 
quent account of the fossil species ; but when we use the term 
alluvial, in relation to organic debris, we must be understood 
to mean the diluvial formations. 

Between this diluvium and the chalk formation are strata 
alternately filled with fresh and salt water productions. These 
mark the irruptions and retreats of the sea to which our por- 
tion of the globe has been subjected, subsequently to the for- 
mation of the chalk. First come marly beds, and cavernose 
silex, similar to those of our ponds and morasses. Under 
these are marie again, sandstone, and limestone, containing 
nothing but marine productions. 

At a greater depth we find fresh-water strata, of an era more 
remote. Among these are reckoned the celebrated plaster- 
quarries in the neighbourhood of Paris, where the remains of 
entire genera of terrestrial animals have been found, which 
exist no longer. 

These last-mentioned strata rest on beds of calcareous stone, 
in which an immense number of sea-water shells have been 
collected, the great majority of which belong to species un- 
known in the existing seas. In this formation are also found 
the bones of fishes, cetacea, and other marine mammalia. 

Under this marine limestone we have again another fresh- 
water stratum, composed of argilla, in which are interposed 
considerable beds of lignite, or that species of coal which is of 
a more recent origin than our pit-coal. Here are found shells 
only of the fresh water, and bones among them, not of mammi- 
ferous animals, but of reptiles. It is filled with crocodiles and 
tortoises, &c., whereas the mammiferous genera contained in the 
gypsum are not seen there. They did not yet exist in the coun- 
try when the argilla and hgnites were in a course of formation. 

This last fresh-water formation, which supports all the 


Strata just enumerated, and appears the most ancient of the 
Parisian depositions, is itself supported by the chalk. This 
formation, of immense thickness and extent, appears in coun- 
tries as remote from us as Pomerania and Poland. But in 
the neighbourhood of Paris, in Berri, in Champagne, in Pi- 
cardy, and a considerable part of England, it predominates 
uninterruptedly, and forms a most extensive circle, or basin, 
in which all the strata we have mentioned are contained, and 
its edges are barely covered by them in these places where the 
superstrata are least elevated. 

Such superstrata are not confined to the countries just in- 
stanced, or to the basin in question. Depositions, more or less 
similar, and containing organic remains, are found in other 
regions, wherever the surface of the chalk affords similar 
cavities for their reception. They are found even where no 
chalk formation exists, and where the most ancient strata con- 
stitute their only support. The two distinct formations with 
fresh-water shells have been found in England, Spain, and 
even on the confines of Poland ; the marine beds interposed 
between them exist along the entire range of the Apennines. 
Some of the quadrupeds of the Parisian plaster- stones have 
been found elsewhere, as, for instance, in the gypseous strata 
of Valai, and in the molasse quarries in the South of France. 

Thus it appears, that the partial revolutions which took 
place between the era of the chalk-formation, and that of the 
last great inundation, and which consisted in the alternate 
inversion and retreat of the sea, occurred in many countries. 
This globe has undergone a long series of agitations and 
changes, which appear to have been rapid in their operation, 
from the comparative slightness of the depositions they have 
left behind. The chalk has evidently been the production of 
a more tranquil and extensive sea. It contains marine pro- 
ductions alone, but among them the most remarkable remains 
of vertebrated animals, all of the fish or reptile class — tortoises 
and lizards of colossal size and extinguished genera. 


A very considerable portion of Germany and England is 
composed of strata anterior to the chalk, in the hollows of 
which the chalk reposes, just as the intermediate strata before 
mentioned rests in its own cavities. Immediately under the chalk, 
and indeed paitially intermingled in its lowest strata, are de- 
positions of green sand, and ferruginous sand below it. In many 
countries both are found condensed into l)anks of sandstone, 
in which are seen lignites, succinum, and debris of reptiles. 

After these come the immense accumulation of strata com- 
posing the mountain-chain of Jura, which extends into Suabia 
and Franconia, the chief summits of the Apennines, and many 
similar formations in England and France, 'i'liey consist in 
calcareous schistus, abounding in fish and Crustacea, immense 
banks of oolite, marly and pyriteous grey limestone, containing 
ammonites, oysters with curved valves, and reptiles of more 
extraordinary character and conformation than any of their 

These, which we shall take leave to call Jurassic strata, are 
supported by extensive beds of sand and sandstone, in which 
the impressions of vegetables are frequently found, and which 
rest upon a limestone which has been termed coquillaceous, 
from the immense quantities of shells and zoophytes with which 
it abounds. It is separated by other strata of sandstone of the 
variegated kind, from a limestone still more ancient, called 
Alpine, because it composes the loftier range of the Tyrol 
Alps ; but, in fact, it appears also continually in the east of 
France, and the entire south of Germany. 

In the limestone called coquillaceous, are deposited consi- 
derable accumulations of gypsum and rich beds of salt. Be- 
low it we find slender strata of coppery schistus, with abundant 
remains of fish, and some fresh- water reptiles. The coppery 
schistus rests upon a red sandstone, of the same age as the pit- 
coal, which we have before alluded to as bearing the impres- 
sions of the earliest vegetable productions which adorned the 
surface of the globe. 


We now come rapidly to the transition strata, where matter 
Hfeless and unorganised appears to have made its last stand 
against the vivifying and organising principle of nature. Here 
we find black limestone and schistus, with Crustacea and shells 
of unknown genera, alternating with the latest of the primitive 
strata. We finally arrive at the most ancient formations 
which we are permitted to discover, — the marble, the primitive 
schistus, the gneiss, and the granite, the ancient foundations 
of the earth, and which are themselves, in all probability, the 
result of the united action of fire and water, after myriads of 
revolving ages. 

Such is the exact enumeration of the series of strata which 
compose our globe ; such is the order of facts which geology 
has been enabled to establish, by calling in the aid of mine- 
ralogy, and the sciences of organization, by abandoning the 
reveries of arbitrary hypothesis, and steadily pursuing the safer 
path of observation and induction. 

We shall now rapidly enumerate the fossils in those various 
allocations, beginning with the earliest, and ending with the 
latest formations. 

We have observed that zoophytes, mollusca, and certain 
crusta,cea, begin to appear in the transition strata. Bones and 
skeletons of fish may, perhaps, be also found there. But we 
are far from discovering, among those early formations, the re- 
mains of land animals, or any formed for the direct respiration 
of atmospheric air. 

The great strata of pit-coal, and the trunks of palm and fern 
of which they bear the impression, must presuppose the exist- 
ence of dry land and aerial vegetation. Yet no bones of quad- 
rupeds are found there, not even of the oviparous species. 

Their first traces are found a step higher, in the bituminous 
coppery schistus. There we find quadrapeds of the family of 
the lizards, very similar to the monitors, which are now natives 
of the torrid zone. Many individuals of this description are 
found in the mines of Thuringia in Germany, among innu- 


merable fish, of a genus unknown at present, but which, from 
its analogy with some existing genera, appears to have inha- 
bited the fresh water. The monitors we know to be inhabi- 
tants of the same element. 

A little higher is the Alpine limestone, and on it the coquil- 
laceous limestone, abounding in entrochi and encrini, and form- 
ing the basis of a great portion of Germany and Lorraine. It 
contains the osseous remains of a very large sea-tortoise, and 
another reptile of the lizard tribe, of very great length, and 
pointed muzzle. 

Next come certaui sandstone strata, having only vegetable 
impressions of the large reeds, bamboos, palms, &c.; and then 
of Jurassic limestone, where the remains of the reptile class 
exhibit a diversity of singular conformations, and a gigantic 
degree of development. Its middle portion is composed of 
oolites and lias, or the gray limestone, containing therecurvivalve 
oysters ; and in it were found the debris of two most extraordi- 
nary genera, uniting the characters of oviparous quadrupeds, 
with locomotive organs, like those of the cetacea. Those are 
the ichthyosaurus and plesiosaurus^ first discovered and deter- 
mined here by our distinguished countrymen. Sir Everard 
Home and Mr. Conybeare. These, with their species, shall be 
described in the proper place. Their skeletons are in a state 
of high perfection, and their remains have been found extended 
through all the formations of lias. 

In the same deposition were also found two species of the 
crocodile, amidst ammonites, terebratulae, and other shells of 
the ancient sea. These are called by Cuvier the long-beaked 
and short-beaked gavial. Another crocodile was discovered in 
the oolite at Caen, and another in the same formation here. 

The megalosaurus, a fossil reptile of prodigious size, has 
been discovered by Dr. Buckland in this country. Its remains 
appear to have been contemporaneous with the concretion of 
the lias, but are also dispersed abundantly in the oolite and 
higher sands. From the magnitude of a femur and other 


bones, found in the ferruginous sandstone of Tilgate-Forest, in 
Sussex, the Doctor calculates that the animal in question could 
not have been less than from sixty to seventy feet in length. 
Remains of this reptile, or at least of species referrible only to 
this genus, have been also discovered in France and Ger- 
many, in the calcareous slate above the oolitic beds. 

In this same slate, the long-beaked crocodiles continue to 
abound ; but the most remarkable animals there are the ptero- 
dactyls, or flying-hzards. They appear to have been sustained 
in the air, on the same principle as the cheiroptera : they had 
long jaws, armed with trenchant teeth, hooked claws ; and some 
species, as would seem from the fragments remaining, arrived 
at a considerable size. 

In the nearly-homogeneous limestone of the crests of Jura, 
a little higher than the calcareous slate, are bones, but invari- 
ably of the reptile class. There are crocodiles, but more espe- 
cially fresh-water tortoises, as yet not fully determined, but 
many of which, by their magnitude and conformation, are 
strongly distinguished from all known species. 

Amid those innumerable reptiles, whose varied structure and 
colossal dimensions rival, if not surpass, the fabled monsters 
of poetical antiquity, we begin, as is said for the first time, 
to recognise the remains of some small mammalia. Jaws and 
bones have been discovered in England, appertaining to the 
families of the didelphis and insectivora, in these situations. 
But if the locale of Dr. Buckland's discovery of the opossum 
before-mentioned be completely established, it must be granted 
that they appear sooner. Cuvier, however, seems to think 
that the rocks in which the bones in question are incrusted 
may owe their existence to some local recomposition, posterior 
to the era of the original formation of these strata ; and it is 
most certain that, even for a period considerably subsequent, the 
reptile class exclusively predominate. In the ferruginous sands 
above the chalk in England, abundance of those already enume- 
rated occur ; and an additional reptile has been discovered there 


by Mr. Mantell, of Lewes, which seems to have been herbivio- 
rous, and to have inhabited the fresh water. This is the igua- 
noddn, and it is supposed to have been sixty feet long. 

In the chalk, according to Cuvier, there are only reptiles, the 
remains of crocodiles and tortoises. In the tufa of Mount St. 
Pierre, near Maestricht, which is of the chalk formation, has 
been found, amidst marine tortoises, shells and zoophytes, 
another gigantic member of the saurian family, a distinct 
genus, for which Mr. Conybeare has proposed the name of 

In the argilla and lignites, covering the superior portion 
of the chalk, the Baron declares that he has discovered nothing 
but crocodiles ; and thinks that the lignites of Switzerland, in 
which are bones of the beaver and mastodon, must be assigned 
to a more recent era. He adds, that it was only in what the 
French call the calcaire grassier, surmounting the argilla, 
that he commenced to discover mammiferous remains, and that 
they belonged to marine mammalia. But Dr. Buckland men- 
tions the occurrence of these in the stratum of Cuckfield, in 
Sussex, much anterior to the formation of which we now 
speak ; and they are also declared to have been found in the 
calcareous slate of Stonesfield, and in the corn-brash limestone 
in Oxfordshire. 

These marine mammalia are dolphins, lamantins, and morses, 
apparently of an unknown species. The lamantin is at pre- 
sent confined to the torrid zone, and the morse to the Icy Sea ; 
still those two genera are found together in the coarse limestone, 
in the midst of France. This union of species, whose consimi- 
lars are now allocated in opposite zones, is by no means un- 

In the strata succeeding this coarse limestone, or in the an- 
cient contemporaneous fresh- water depositions, the class of ter- 
restrial mammifera first begins to appear in tolerable abundance. 
Belonging to the same age are the animal remains buried in 
the molasse and ancient gravel-beds in the south of France ; 


in the gypsum, mixed with Hmestone, in the environs of Paris 
and of Aix, and in the marly fresh- water formations, covered 
again with marine strata, in Alsace, Orleannais, and Berri. 

These organic remains are singularly remarkable, as belong- 
ing to a variety and abundance of certain genera of pachyder- 
mata, now rotally extinct, and approximating more or less in 
character to the tapir, rhinoceros, and camel. These genera, 
for whose discovery we are entirely indebted to the Baron, are 
the palaeotherium, laphiodon, anoplotherium, antracotherium, 
cheropotamus, and adapis. Of these there are about forty 
species, all extinct, and to which there are none analogous in 
the living world, except two tapirs and a daman. 

In the same formation with these pachydermata are some 
remains of carnivora, of rodentia, of birds, of crocodiles, and 
tortoises. Of the first, a bat, (and, singular to relate, the only 
instance of the kind occurring in this or subsequent formations,) 
a fox, an animal approximating to the racoons and coatis, a 
peculiar species of genet, some other carnivora not so easily 
determined, and, most remarkable of all, a small sarigue, a 
genus now confined to America. There are two small roden- 
tia of the dormouse kind, and a head of the genus squirrel. In 
the gypsum of Paris, bones of birds are very abundant, consti- 
tuting the remains of at least ten species. The crocodiles ap- 
proximate to those of the present age, and the tortoises are all 
of the fresh water. There are also remains of fish and shells, 
in great part unknown at present. 

There can be no doubt that this immense animal population 
of what Cuvier calls the middle age of the earth, has been en- 
tirely destroyed. Wherever its debris have been discovered, 
there are vast superincumbent beds of marine formation, prov- 
ing the invasion and long continuance of the sea in the countries 
inhabited by these races. Whether the countries subjected to 
such inundation at this era were of considerable extent or not, 
our present acquaintance with the strata in question does not 
enable us to decide. These formations, however, embrace the 


gypsum or plaster-quarries of Paris, and those of Aix in Pro- 
vence, and many quarries of marle-rocks and molasse in the 
south of France. Certain portions of the molasse of Switzer- 
land, and the lignites of Liguria and Alsace, are referrible to 
the same. As for the fossil bones of England, Italy, and Ger- 
many, they belong either to an earlier or a later era, — to the 
ancient reptiles of the Jurassic strata and copper-slate, or to 
the diluvial formations of the last universal inundation. 

We may, then, fairly suppose, that, at the period when these 
numerous pachydermata existed, there were not many fertile 
plains to afford pasture for their support. These plains, too, 
in all probability, were insulated districts, intersected by those 
elevated mountain- chains in which we discover no traces of 
those extinct animals. 

In the same strata with those pachydermatous remains are 
found the trunks of palm, and many other relics of those mag- 
nificent vegetable productions which at present are indigenous 
to tropical climates alone. 

The sea which covered these formations has left extensive 
depositions, constituting, at a moderate depth, the foundation 
of our present large plains. It again retired, and left open 
immense surfaces of soil to a new population, the debris of 
which abound in all the sandy and loamy strata of every region 
of the globe which has been subjected to examination. 

To this last tranquil deposition of the sea we must refer some 
cetacea, very similar to the existing species. Among these an 
entirely new genus has been discovered, and named ziphius by 
Cuvier. It contains three species, and approximates to the 
cachalots and hyperoodontes. 

Among the animals which lived on the surface of this depo- 
sition, when it became dry land, and whose debris now fill the 
loose strata of the earth, we find no palaeotheria, or anoplothe- 
ria, none of the extraordinary and extinct genera contained in 
the gypseous formations. Still, however, the order pachyder- 
mata predominates ; but in the gigantic genera of the elephant, 



rhinoceros, and hippopotamus, accompanied with innumerable 
bones of horses, and many of the larger ruminantia. This 
new animal kingdom was devastated by carnivora, of the mag- 
nitude and generic characters of the lion, the tiger, and the 
hyaena. This population, the remains of which extend to the 
extremity of the north, and the borders of the Frozen ocean, 
has, generally speaking, nothing congeneric at present, except 
in the torrid zone, but in all cases a specific difference is suffi- 
ciently marked. 

Among these species are the elephas primigeniuSj or mam- 
moth of the Russians, whose remains are found from Spain to 
the coasts of Siberia, and throughout all North America ; the 
mastodon, with narrow teeth, common in the temperate parts 
of Europe and the mountains of South America; the great 
mastodon, in immense abundance in North America ; an hip- 
popotamus, very common in England, Germany, France, and 
Italy, and a smaller species ; three rhinoceroses, chiefly in Ger- 
many and England ; a gigantic tapir, in Germany and France, 
and an apparently extinct genus, resting on a single fragment, 
discovered in Siberia, and called elasmotherium by Fischer. 

The bones of the horses are not so clearly determined to belong 
to distinct species. Of the ruminantia several species may be 
pronounced distinct, particularly a stag superior in size to the 
elk, common in the marie and peat of England and Ireland, 
and whose remains have also been found in Italy, France, and 
Germany ; among the elephantine bones of the deer and ox of 
the caverns, and osseous breccia, which appertain to the same 
era, we cannot speak so decidedly. It appears, however, pretty 
clearly that they were not native to the climate ; and what is 
most singular, the bones of the rein-deer, an animal now confined 
to the inhospitable regions of the north, are located with the 
remains of the inhabitants of the tropics. We must not, how- 
ever, omit to notice, that many of the positions from which the 
bones of ruminantia have been taken, are not sufficiently veri- 
fied to warrant us in deciding that they were contemporaneous 


with the larger pachydermata last mentioned. Nay, we are 
even justified in believing many of them to have been post- 

In the osseous breccia of the Mediterranean have been found 
two species of lagomys, a genus confined to Siberia ; two of 
rabbit, some campagnols, and rats as small as the water-rat and 
the mouse ; and hkewise in the English caverns ; also the bones 
of shrews and lizards. 

In the sandy strata of Tuscany the teeth of a porcupine 
have been found ; and in Russia heads of a species of beaver, 
larger than any now known, and called trongothenum. 

The remains of the edentata, above those of all other classes, 
indicate species of a size far superior to that of their existing 
congeners, and even of a magnitude altogether gigantic. Such 
was the megatherium, an animal partaking of the generic 
characters of the tardigrada and the armadillos, and equalling 
the rhinoceros in size. It has been found only in the sandy 
strata of North America. The megalonyx, found in the ca- 
verns of Virginia, and in a small island on the coast of Georgia, 
very much resembled the megatherium, but was not so large. 
Those two edentata were confined to America. But in Europe 
one appears to have existed, which, from a fragment remaining, 
has been considered as not less than four-and-twenty feet in 
length. This fragment was found in a sand-pit, in the district 
of Darmstadt, not far from the Rhine, among the bones of ele- 
phants, rhinoceroses, and tapirs. 

In the osseous breccia are found, but very rarely, the bones 
of camivora, which are, as we have seen, far more abundant in 
the caverns. Those of Germany are principally characterised 
by the remains of a very large species of bear, much surpassing 
any existing one in size, the ursus spelceus. There are two 
others, ursus arctoideus and ursus priscus. There is the 
fossil hyaena, differing, in some pecuharities of the teeth and 
head, from the Cape hyaena ; two tigers, or panthers, a wolf, 
fox, glutton, genet, and some other small carnivora. 



The bears are not very numerous in the loose strata. The 
ursus spelaeus is said, however, to be found there, in Austria 
and Hainault. In Tuscany there is a peculiar species, remark- 
able for its compressed canines, thence termed U. Cultridens, 
or Angustidens. Hyaenas are more frequently found in such 
strata, with the bones of the elephant and rhinoceros. 

It appears, then, that during the era of which we are now 
speaking, the carnivorous order was numerous and powerful. 
The rodentia, smaller in general, and more feeble, have not so 
much attracted the attention of collectors of fossil remains. 
Still, as we have observed, it has presented us with some un- 
known species in the fossil state. 

We have now enumerated the principal animals whose re- 
mains are found in the accumulation of earth, sand, and loam, 
which cover our large plains, and fill many caverns and fissures 
of rocks, and have been called diluvium. They decidedly con- 
stitute the population which occupied our part of the world, at 
the era of the last great catastrophe which destroyed their races, 
and prepared the soil on which the animals of our own era 
exist. Whatever resemblances certain of their species may 
present to those of our days, it cannot be denied that their ge- 
neral character was very different, and that most of their races 
have been annihilated. 

It is, as we before remarked, most remarkable that in all the 
strata, and among all the fossil remains now enumerated, no 
relic has been found of man or monkey. Whether these kin- 
dred orders existed at all during the periods in question, or, if 
they did exist, where they existed, are points which it is yet 
impossible to decide. But what is quite certain is, that we are 
now surrounded by a fourth succession of terrestrial animals, 
and that, after the age of the reptiles, that of the palaeotheria, 
and that of the mammoths, mastodons, and megatheria, the 
age arrived in which the human species, with the aid of certain 
domesticated animals, has appropriated and cultivated the 
earth ; and it is only in alluvion, in peat, in recent concretions, 


in a word, in such formations as have taken place since the last 
general inundation of the globe, that the bones of man and of 
existing animals have ever been discovered. To these are re- 
ferrible the human skeletons, found incrusted in travertino, in 
the island of Guadaloupe. They are accompanied with shells 
and madrepores of the existing and surrounding seas. The 
remains of oxen, deer, &c., common in the peat-formations, 
are in the same predicament ; as are likewise the bones of man 
and domestic animals embedded in alluvion, in ancient burying- 
grounds and fields of battle. To the era of the last general 
catastrophe, or to those of any preceding ages, none of these 
remains are attributable. 

The mode in which the fossil bones have been determined, 
depends upon a principle in comparative anatomy, which re- 
gulates the co-existence of organic forms. Every animal may 
be considered as a whole, all the parts of which are in strict 
keeping and correspondence with each other. If the animal be 
carnivorous, it is characterised by a certain system of dentition^ 
The teeth are trenchant, the jaws are powerful, and their con- 
dyles peculiarly formed. But such teeth and jaws would be 
of little service, unless the animal were also provided with 
claws adapted for seizing and tearing the prey. Claws of this 
kind necessitate a peculiar construction of the phalanges, a faci- 
lity of rotation in the fore-arm, and corresponding changes in 
the humerus. Every animal whose stomach is constituted to 
digest nothing but flesh, must have every other part of his 
frame in consonance with this restriction. On the other hand, 
it is obvious that hoofed animals must be herbivorous, as they 
possess no means of seizing prey. Accordingly we find that 
their masticating and digestive organs correspond with this 
peculiarity. Their teeth are supplied with flat and unequal 
coronals, to bruise the herbage, &c., on which they feed ; and 
as their system of dentition is generally less complete, so their 
stomachs are more complicated. This is not the place to enlarge 


on a subject of this kind ; it is sufficient to observe that, by the 
application of this principle to its utmost extent, assisted by 
careful observation, the skilful comparative anatomist is enabled, 
in general, from a single bone, or fragment of bone, to deter- 
mine with accuracy the form, character, and dimensions of the 
animal to which it belonged. I do not pretend to say that, in 
every case of fossil remains, this method is infallible. Fossil 
fragments may sometimes be too few, too mutilated, or of parts 
not sufficiently influential to warrant a decided opinion. But 
in the vast majority of instances, the induction is quite ample 
enough to justify the conclusion. 

It is the study of fossil osteology alone which has led to any 
precise notions concerning the theory of the earth. Had 
organic fossils been totally neglected, no one would have ima- 
gined that successive eras, and a series of different operations, 
had taken place in the formation of the globe. By them alone 
are we certified that the covering of this planet has not always 
been the same, as it is obvious that, before they were buried in 
its depths, they must have existed on its surface. We have 
extended, by analogy to the primitive formations, the conclu- 
sion with which the fossils have supplied us for the secondary ; 
and, had the strata of the earth been destitute of organic 
remains, it would have been impossible to maintain that their 
production had not been simultaneous. 

It is also to the fossils, slight as our acquaintance is with 
them even yet, that we are indebted for the little that we 
know concerning the nature of the revolutions of the globe. 
By them we learn that certain strata have been tranquilly de- 
posited in a fluid mass ; that the variations in the strata have 
corresponded with those of the fluid ; that their denudation 
was occasioned by the translation of this fluid ; and that this 
denudation has taken place more than once. Nothing of all 
this could have been learned with any certainty, but for the 
study of the organic remains. 


What an immense field for reflection is opened to the mind 
of the philosopher, by a survey of the discoveries to which 
fossil osteology has conducted us ! We read, in the successive 
strata, the successive efforts of creative energy, from the sterile 
masses of primitive formation, up to the fair and fertile super- 
ficies of the globe, enriched with animal and vegetable decompo- 
sition. We find that there was a time when life did not exist 
on this planet ; we are enabled clearly to draw the line between 
inanimate and organised matter, and to perceive that the latter 
is the result of a distinct principle, — of something superadded 
to, and not inherent in, the former. We also contemplate a 
progressive system of organic being, graduating towards per- 
fection through innumerable ages. We find the simplest ani- 
mals in the earliest secondary formations ; as we ascend, the 
living structure grows more complicated — the organic develop- 
ment becomes more and more complete, until it terminates in 
man, the most perfect animal we behold. And shall we say 
that this march of creation has yet arrived at the farthest limit 
of its progress? Are the generative powers of nature exhausted, 
or can the Creator call no new beings from her fertile womb ? 
We cannot say so. Revolution has succeeded revolution — 
races have been successively annihilated to give place to others. 
Other revolutions may yet succeed, and man, the self-styled 
lord of the creation, be swept from the surface of the earth, to 
give place to beings as much superior to him as he is to the 
most elevated of the brutes. The short experience of a few 
thousand years — a mere drop in the ocean of eternity — is in- 
sufficient to warrant a contrary conclusion. Still less will the 
contemplation of past creations, and the existing constitution 
of nature, justify the proud assumption that man is the sole 
end and object of the grand system of animal existence. 

In surveying the different species whose remains are found 
in the fossil state, it will be expedient to deviate from the order 
of the Animal Kingdom, and to follow that which the Baron 


has observed in the Ossemens Fossiles, as by this means the 
reader will be better enabled to understand the order of suc- 
cession, and the respective geological positions of the species 

Note. — As, in our earlier part of this essay, we have stated, in defer- 
ence to the opinion of Baron Cuvier, that the existing- causes which now 
modify the earth's surface are insufficient to produce catastrophes on such 
a scale as that of those we have been surveying-, it is but justice to mention 
that this point has been mooted, with much force of argument, in a very 
able article on the present subject in the Quarterly Review for Septem- 
ber, 1826. Some very strong- facts are there adduced, relative to the 
action of earthquakes and volcanoes to a very g-reat extent, and also proofs 
of derangement in comparatively recent strata, which, though partial, was 
evidently so violent as to prove that the disturbing forces still existed in 
all their pristine vigour. We must, however, waive any further discussion 
of this kind, and content ourselves with referring our readers to the ar- 
ticle in question, which, for its extent, contains as lucid an epitome of all 
the latest information on this interesting topic as we have ever had the 
pleasure to peruse. 



It would be an endless task, and utterly inconsistent with the 
plan of our present sketch, to indicate all the places on this 
globe in which the fossil remains of the elephant have been 
found. They have been discovered, in fact, in every country, 
and at every epoch of time. We shall, therefore, content our- 
selves with a brief geographical view of the principal situations 
where they have been detected. 

We find traces of such discoveries from the time of the an- 
cients. Theophrastus has mentioned the subject in a work 
now lost, but his testimony has been preserved by Pliny, in 
the thirty-sixth book of his Natural History. 

In consequence of the great resemblance of certain bones in 
the elephant to those of man, some tolerably good anatomists 
have been so far imposed on, as to take them for human bones. 
The pretended discoveries of the trunks of giants, so frequently 
alluded to by the writers of antiquity, and of the middle ages, 
are probably to be referred to this source. There are, indeed, 
bones sometimes spoken of, of the most prodigious magnitude, 
being eight or ten times the dimensions of those of the ele- 
phant ; these we might be incHned to refer to the cetacea, if 
the measurements given by those writers were exactly to be 
relied on. 

It was for some time a prevailing opinion, that the elephants 
whose osseous remains have been found in certain countries, 
had been transported thither by man. As long as these dis- 
coveries were confined to Italy, and other countries much fre- 
quented by the Macedonians, the Carthaginians, and the Ro- 


mans, they were sufficiently explained by the prodigious num- 
ber of elephants possessed by these respective nations. The 
Macedonians were the first Europeans who possessed any; and 
Alexander, after the defeat of Porus, brought a sufficient 
number from India, to enable Aristotle to form very precise 
notions respecting them. It is certain that this great philoso- 
pher was much better acquainted with the elephant's mode of 
copulation, of sucking, and, in truth, with almost all the other 
details of its history, than the Count de Buffian. Every thing 
which he relates concerning these points, has been confirmed 
by the testimony of recent observers in India. 

The princes of the house of Seleucus always maintained a 
considerable number of these animals. Seleucus himself, sur- 
named Nicator, received fifty from Sandrocottus, in exchange 
for an entire district on the banks of the Indus. Plutarch also 
assures us, that this prince and his allies had four hundred of 
these animals at the battle of Issus, in which they were vic- 
torious over Antigonus, three hundred and one years before 

Antiochus the Great employed two hundred elephants at the 
battle of Raphia, against Ptolemy Philopator, who had but 
seventy-three, and fifty -four in that of Magnesia against the 
Romans, who had but sixteen. This superiority, however, 
proved but of small utility, inasmuch as he was worsted in 
both engagements. 

Pyrrhus was the first who brought elephants into Italy, and 
the Romans, who were strangers to these animals, gave them 
the name of Lucanian oxen, from the circumstance of Pyrrhus 
having disembarked at Tarentum. Four of these, taken by 
Curius Dentatus, were the first ever exhibited at Rome. 

When Metellus defeated the Carthaginians in Sicily, in 502, 
A. R., he transported their elephants to Rome on rafts. Au- 
thors differ respecting the number of those animals : Orosius 
makes them one hundred and four, Seneca one hundred and 
twenty, Eutropiuis one hundred and thirty, and Pliny one 


hundred and forty-two. All these, according to Varro, were 
massacred in the circus, inasmuch as the Romans did not know 
how to dispose of them. 

Elephants soon came to be very generally exhibited in the 
circus at Rome. They were sometimes opposed in combat to 
bulls. Germanicus exhibited some, which danced in a clumsy 
sort of style, and others were shown in the time of Nero which 
danced on the rope, and performed many other extraordinary 
feats of address. It is remarkable also that these elephants 
were born in Rome, which, as well as the fact of their frequent 
propagation there, we learn from two very remarkable passages 
in ^lian and Columella. 

Down to the time of the Emperor Gallienus, the exhibition 
of elephants was pretty constant at Rome. This prince exhi- 
bited the last that were introduced in the Roman games. They 
were ten in number. 

Thus it appears that, at known historical epochs, a consi- 
derable number of elephants existed in Italy, and in other 
countries under the dominion of the Romans. It was there- 
fore not unnatural to attribute the origin of the osseous re- 
mains of those animals found in such places, to individuals 
which existed on the soil in authentic periods of history. There 
is no doubt that some of them may be referred to this source; 
but, if we consider the usual circumstances under which such 
remains are found, we shall be inclined to believe that but com- 
paratively a small number are in this predicament. They are 
constantly discovered to be intermixed and confused with the 
bones of the rhinoceros and the hippopotamus, animals which 
were certainly not transported there by Hannibal or the Roman 

We shall now present the reader with a brief exposition of 
the principal places in Italy where these bones have been dis- 

The largest tusk was found near Rome, in 1789, by the 
Duke de la Rochefoucauld and M. Desmaresl. It was ten feet 


long and eight inches in diameter, though not entire. About 
1664, some remains of this kind were found at the entrance of 
the Vatican, in digging foundations. Baccius speaks of similar 
discoveries in this city as long ago as 158S. And it is much 
more than probable that the body of Pallas, the son of Evan- 
der, found, or pretended to have been found, in the reign of 
the Emperor Henry III., in the middle of the eleventh century, 
and which was said to have exceeded the walls of the city in 
height, was nothing but some remains of this description. 

In many other parts of Rome elephantine remains have been 
found, and in whatever direction an observer may proceed from 
that city, abundance of such bones will be found. They are 
discovered throughout all the Papal domains, and, in follow- 
ing the course of the Tiber, the Clanis, and the Arno into 
Tuscany, they grow still more numerous. 

It would be endless to notice all the places where fragments 
have been discovered of the elephant. We must therefore con- 
fine ourselves to the most remarkable facts. 

In the Val de Chiano, the Grand Duke Ferdinand II., in 
1663, had an entire skeleton disinterred, some of the bones of 
which are still preserved at Florence, according to Targione. 
It is proper to notice, that some of those remains have been 
found in that sort of consolidated sand, called tufo by the 
Italians, which contains marine bodies and foreign wood in a 
state of petrifaction. 

They are so common in the small earth-hills which border 
the upper part of the Valley of Arno, that the peasants used 
formerly to employ them, in conjunction with stones, in building 
those little walls that inclose their farms. But now that they 
know their value, they preserve them, and sell them to tra- 

Doctor Targione Tozzetti writes to BuiFon, in 1764, con- 
cerning the elephantine remains found near the castle of Cerreto 
Guidi, between the lake of Tucecchio and ihc Arno. He says 
that they belonged to individuals of very (uflbrcnt ages, some 


of them exceedingly young, and that they were found inter- 
mingled with the bones of many other land-animals, such as 
oxen, deer, and horses. 

In consequence of the abundance of these bones, the cabinets 
of natural history in Tuscany are altogether filled with them. 
As Hannibal, after the battle of Trebbia, crossed the Apen- 
nines, and traversed the whole length of the Vale of Arno, to 
march against the consul Flaminius at Arezzo, as he halted for 
a short time near Fiesole, and then must have passed under 
Arezzo, and pursued his course along the Vale of Chiana, 
to arrive between Cortona and the Lake Thrasymene, it 
was natural enough to consider the first bones of elephants dis- 
covered in these districts as the remains of those which were 
attached to the Carthaginian army. This opinion has been 
maintained by Stenon, a learned Dane, in his treatise, " De 
Solido intra Solidum contento." But, according to Eutropius, 
Hannibal brought only thirty-seven elephants with him into 
Italy ; and we are informed by Polybius, that they all perished 
from the effects of cold, after the battle of Trebbia, with a 
single exception. Livy, who is more minute in his accounts, 
tells us that Hannibal had eight remaining after that engage- 
ment, seven of which died very shortly, during the vain at- 
tempt of that general to cross the Apennines in winter. But 
both authors agree, that, in spring, when he descended into 
the marshes of the Lower Arno, he had but a single elephant, 
on which he himself was mounted during that severe march, 
in which he lost his eye from a defluxion. 

Now, it is very clear that this single elephant could never 
have supplied the immense quantity of bones that are scattered 
through Tuscany. Besides, there are as many bones found of 
the rhinoceros and the hippopotamus as of the elephant, confus- 
edly intermingled in the same strata ; and, consequently, we 
can never believe that the elephantine remains are derived from 
animals employed in war. 

We may also observe here, that those bones are found usually 


at the base of those little clay-hills which fill the intervals of the 
calcareous chains ; that in the strata containing them is found 
petrified and bitumenized wood, which M. Dolomieu supposes 
to be oak, and that this again is covered by strata of marine 
shells, mixed with arundinaceous plants, and by immense banks 
of argillaceous earth. 

The north of Italy does not abound less in elephantine re- 
mains. Without, however, descending to particulars, we may 
remark that the same observations which we have made above, 
relative to the locale of the others, are equally applicable to 

There are several relations in authors of the bones of giants 
disinterred in Sicily, which may, for the most part, be referred 
to elephantine remains. 

From the wretched state of oppression and confusion in 
which Greece has so long been, we can expect no rational ac- 
count of her fossil remains. Still, however, that elephantine 
bones were among the number may be reasonably concluded, 
from the many accounts we meet with in both ancient and 
modern writers, concerning the bones of giants discovered 
both on the continent and in the islands of Greece. 

Similar stories are related of Spain. But it is certain that 
there are some remains of the fossil elephant in the royal ca- 
binet at Madrid. In all parts of France, these bones have 
been discovered in the greatest abundance. We know, how- 
ever, from historical testimony, that comparatively very few of 
these animals were carried into that country. The only in- 
stances of this kind that we read of are, when Hannibal passed 
through the southern provinces, and when Domitius ^Eno- 
barbus marched against the Allobroges and the Arverni. 
Some of these remains have been found at a depth of eighteen 
feet in the marly and argillaceous strata near Paris. 

The fossil elephants of the Belgic have long been known 
and described. The absurd notions concerning the bones of 
giants, were combated by the learned Van Gorp, as early as 


the sixteenth century. But he, as was usual in his time, attri- 
buted those remains to the expeditions of the Romans. In the 
environs of Strasburgh many bones have been found, and they 
are abundantly scattered through the vallies of Switzerland. 
The history of a giant disinterred near Lucerne in 1577, made 
almost as much noise as a similar discovery in France, which 
was considered to be that of the body of Teutobocchus, king 
of the Cimbri. Felix Plater, a celebrated professor of me- 
dicine, made a drawing of a human skeleton, of the supposed 
height of the being to whom the fossil remains belonged, 
which was only nineteen feet. The Lucernese have made this 
pretended giant the supporter of the arms of the city. 

These remains are very abundant throughout all Alsace, 
along the entire courses of the Rhine and the Meuse, and na- 
turally to be expected in the beds of alluvion collected in the 
mouths of those rivers. We, therefore, find that Holland 
abounds in those remains. 

But Germany is the country beyond all others in which the 
greatest quantity of fossil elephantine bones have been dis- 
covered. This, as the Baron Cuvier remarks, is not perhaps 
because that country actually contains more of these remains, 
but because there is scarcely a district in the empire without 
some man of intelligence and education, capable of scientific 
researches. As early as 1784, Merk reckoned no less than 
eighty different places, in which those fossils were found. M. 
de Zach increased the number to more than one hundred, and 
Blumenbach has doubled it. Were we to enter even into a su- 
perficial description of those discoveries in Germany, we might 
write a volume. Remains have been found in the basins of 
the Danube, the Elbe, and the Weser ; in every part, in short, 
of this immense empire, in regions where the Roman armies 
never penetrated, and where, consequently, the presence of 
such remains cannot be attributed to Roman importation. In. 
deed, when we consider the immense abundance of those fossils, 
the situations in which they are generally found, the other ani- 


mal and vegetable remains with which they are intermingled, 
we cannot hesitate to renounce an hypothesis of this kind. A 
skeleton was discovered at Tonna, in the territory of Gotha, in 
1696. The physicians of the country consulted by the Duke, 
declared the bones submitted to their inspection to be mere 
lusus natures, and supported this opinion by many profound 
treatises. Teutzel, however, the hbrarian of this prince, com- 
pared each bone separately with its analogous part in the ele- 
phant according to the description of Allen Moulin, and some 
remarks of Aristotle, Pliny, and Ray, and clearly demonstrated 
the resemblance. He also proved, from the regularity of the 
strata under which this skeleton was found, that it could not 
have been brought there by human means, but by some general 
catastrophe, such as the Noachian deluge. Yet, so far did the 
fondness for the contrary hypothesis prevail, that, as long as 
only isolated discoveries of bones were made in those parts 
of Germany where the Romans had not been, they were 
referred to an elephant sent to Charlemagne by the Caliph 
Haroun-al-Raschid, which arrived as far as Aix-la-Chapelle, 
and might have been conducted farther ! 

liet us now pass to our own islands, which, from their situa- 
tion, could not in ancient times have received many living 
elephants ; and yet we shall find as great ^ number of fossil 
remains here, in proportion, as on the continent. It is true, 
indeed, that Pohaenus reports that a single elephant was brought 
hither by Caesar, but that will hardly be deemed more sufli- 
cient to account for our British fossils, than that of Charle- 
magne is for the elephantine remains of Germany. 

We shall briefly notice the more remarkable detections. 
Sir Hans Sloane possessed a tusk discovered in Gray ""s -Inn- 
Lane, twelve feet under ground, in the gravel bed. Bones of 
the elephant, the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, the deer, and 
the ox, were discovered near Brentford, mixed with land and 
fresh-water shells, of which remains a partial description ap- 
peared in the '^ Philosophical Transactions,'' in 1813. They 



were found in a bed of gravel, and upon the great stratum of 
blue argilla which is so considerably extended over England 
and France. 

In 1815, three large tusks and other elephantine bones were 
found at Newnham, in Warwickshire, and with them two 
skulls of the rhinoceros, and several stags' horns. All these 
fossils were found in gravel, thickly mixed with argilla. 

In 1803, a large skeleton was found near Harwich, supposed 
to be about thirty feet in length. But the bones broke imme- 
diately on being touched. 

To be brief, remains of the elephant have been found in 
great abundance in various parts of this island, but the most 
remarkable discovery of them was in the cave of Kirkdale, in 
Yorkshire, with a variety of other fossils, so ably described 
by Professor Buckland, in his admirable work '* Reliquiae 
Diluvianae." There have been also fossil remains discovered in 
Ireland. Scandinavia, a country so little adapted to the sus- 
tenance of elephants, contains many of their fossil bones. They 
are found in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, and even in Ice- 
land, where, according to the report of Torfoeus, a cranium 
and tooth of prodigious size were dug up. 

Those immense sandy plains which commence to the east 
of Germany, give name to Poland, and extend along the 
breadth of the Russian empire, to the Oural mountains and 
the Caspian sea, are not less rich in elephantine remains. They 
are found in the basins of the Oder, the Vistula, and the 
Dniester, and on the banks of the Hypanis. Through the 
vast empire of Russia these remains are immensely abundant, 
especially in those very provinces where we should least expect 
to find them, in the frozen regions of Siberia. They have 
been found near St. Petersburgh, near Archangel, in the val- 
ley of the Dwina, near Kostynsk, on the banks of the Tanais, 
and in the sandy and ferruginous strata by the Wolga. In 
this last situation, a cranium was unburied, measuring four 
feet in length. But they are so numerous in all Asiatic Rus- 



sia, that the inhabitants of Siberia have invented a fable to 
explain their presence. They have supposed those bones to 
belong to a subterraneous animal, living like the moles, and 
unable to endure the light of day. This animal they call 
Mammoth, according to some etymologists, from the word 
mamma, which, in some Tartar idiom, signifies the earth, or, 
according to others, from the Arabian word behemoth, or me- 
hemothi an epithet which the Arabs still attach to the name of 
the elephant. The Siberians call the fossil tusks the horns of 
the mammoth, and they are so numerous and so well preserved, 
especially in the northern parts, that they are employed for 
the same purposes as fresh ivory, and form so lucrative an 
article of commerce that the czars formerly reserved the mo- 
nopoly of it to themselves. 

The Chinese are acquainted with this fable of the subter- 
raneous animal, which they call tien-schu, the signification 
of which word is, mouse that hides itself. They describe 
it as continually remaining in caverns under ground, resem- 
bling a mouse in form, but of the size of an ox or buffalo. 
It is of a dun colour, and has no tail. This is the statement 
of one writer. Another tells us that its tail is an ell long, the 
eyes small, and it dies instantly when it sees the rays of the 
sun or moon. He adds that, during an inundation of the river 
Tan-schuann-tuy, in 1571, several of these animals were seen 
in the neighbouring plains. M. Klaproth adds, from a Mant- 
chu manuscript, that these animals are never found but in cold 
countries, towards the northern sea ; that the bones resemble 
ivory, and have no fissures ; and that the flesh is of a cold 
nature, but very wholesome. 

Those immense rivers that descend to the Icy sea, are con- 
tinually laying bare the remains of elephants. It was ima- 
gined by M. Patrin, that they were brought down by those 
rivers from the neighbouring mountains of India. But there 
are not fewer remains along those rivers which come from the 
north, such as the Wolga, the Tanais, and the Jaik ; nor by the 



Lena, the Kolima, the Indigirska, and the Anadir, which 
descend from the icy mountains of Chinese Tartary. We may 
add that the Irtish is the only river which approaches near 
enough to the mountains of Thibet to allow the application of 
M. Patrin's hypothesis, and that elephantine remains are found 
in the peninsula of Kamschatka, whither they could by no 
possibility have arrived from India. 

We are assured by M. Pallas, that in all Asiatic Russia, 
from the Tanais to the promontory of Tchutchis, there is not 
a single river or stream on whose banks, or within whose bed, 
the bones of elephants are not found, with those of other ani- 
mals foreign to the climate. This observation applies to the 
lower declivities, and to the immense slimy and sandy plains ; 
for the more elevated regions, the primitive and schistous 
chains, are equally destitute of those remains and of marine 
petrifactions. Their prodigious abundance would be sufficient 
to exclude all explication from expeditions conducted by men. 
But what sets this hypothesis totally aside is, that here, as well 
as in Germany, Italy, and France, they are found intermingled 
with the bones of other wild animals : nay, that they are 
constantly found in strata filled with marine productions. 

The most remarkable fact of all is, that in some places the 
bones of elephants have been discovered with pieces of the flesh 
still remaining, and other soft parts. The opinion of the Sibe- 
rians is, that these animals have been actually disinterred with 
their flesh remaining entire, fresh, and bloody ; but this is 
mere exaggeration, founded, however, on the fact of the flesh 
having been occasionally discovered in a state of preservation, 
from the agency of frost. 

Isbrand-Ides speaks of a head, the flesh of which was found 
in a state of putrefaction, and Miiller of a tusk, the cavity of 
which was filled with matter resembling clotted blood. Such 
facts might be doubted, were they not confirmed by subsequent 
relations of the most undoubted authenticity. In 1771, near 
Vilhoui, a rhinoceros was disinterred entire, with the flesh, 



skin, and hair remaining. Since then an elephant was disco- 
vered on the banks of the Alaseia, a river which flows into the 
Icy sea beyond the Indigirska. It was in an upright position, 
was almost entire, covered by its skin, to which some long 
hairs were still attached. Another fact of this kind is so sur- 
prising, that it deserves a more detailed account. 

In 1799, a Tongoose fisherman observed, on the borders of 
the Icy sea, near the mouth of the Lena, in the midst of the 
fragments of ice, a shapeless mass of something, the nature of 
which he could not conjecture. The next year he observed 
that this mass was a little more disengaged. Towards the end 
of the following summer the entire side of the animal and one 
of the tusks became distinctly visible. In the fifth year, the 
ice being melted earlier than usual, this enormous mass was 
cast upon the coast, upon a bank of sand. The fisherman 
possessed himself of the tusks, which he sold for fifty rubles. 
Two years after, Mr. Adams, associate of the academy of St. 
Petersburgh, who was travelling with Count Golovkin, on an 
embassy to China, having heard of this discovery at Yakutsk, 
repaired immediately to the spot. He found the animal already 
greatly mutilated. The flesh had partly been cut away by 
the Yakoots for their dogs, and some of it had been devoured 
by wild beasts. Still the skeleton was entire, with the excep- 
tion of a fore-leg. The spine of the back, a shoulder-blade, 
the pelvis, and the rest of the extremities, were still united by 
the ligaments and a portion of the skin. The other shoulder- 
blade was found at some distance. The head was covered with 
a dry skin. One of the ears, in high preservation, was fur- 
nished with a tuft of hair, and the pupil of the eye was still 
discernible. The brain was found in the cranium, but in a 
state of desiccation. The under-lip had been torn, and the 
upper one being utterly destroyed, left the molars visible. 
The neck was furnished with a long mane. The skin was 
covered with black hairs, and with a reddish sort of wool. 
The remains were so heavy, that ten persons had much diffi- 


// •////,' ///■ 

\ ^^Ifct:^^ 


culty in removing them. More than thirty pounds weight of 
hairs and bristles were carried away, which had been sunk into 
the humid soil by the white bears when devouring the flesh. 
The animal was a male. The tusks were more than nine feet 
long, and the head, without the tusks, weighed more than four 
hundred pounds. Mr. Adams collected, with the utmost care, 
all the remains of this singular and valuable relic of a former 
creation. He re-purchased the tusks at Yakutsk, and received 
for the whole from the Emperor Alexander eight thousand 

These are not the only discoveries of the kind made in the 
Russian empire ; and facts so well authenticated and detailed 
will not permit us to doubt of anterior testimonies on the same 
subject, while they also prove a most important point, namely, 
that these animals must have been arrested by the ice at the 
moment of their death. 

A most extraordinary circumstance, which we read in the 
account of Belling's voyage, is, that certain islands in the Icy 
sea abound more in elephantine remains, in proportion to their 
extent, than any other part of the globe ! These islands lie 
to the north of Siberia, opposite to the shore which separates 
the mouth of the Lena from that of the Indigirska. That 
which is nearest to the continent is thirty-six leagues in length. 
The whole island, with the exception of a few little rocky moun- 
tains, is composed of a mixture of sand and ice. Accordingly, 
when thaw takes place, the bones of the mammoth are found 
in the most prodigious abundance. Nay, this writer adds, 
(following the report of an eye-witness,) that the whole island 
is composed of the bones of this extraordinary animal, of the 
horns and crania of the buffalo, or some animal which re- 
sembles it, and some horns of the rhinoceros. That this is ex- 
aggeration there can be little doubt, but it serves to prove the 
wonderful abundance of those fossil remains. 

In a second island, about five leagues farther, these bones 
and teeth are also found ; but in a third, about five and twenty 
leagues to the north, they are no longer discovered. 


The south of Asia is very far from having furnished these 
remains in a similar degree of abundance. The most southern 
regions of this continent in which the fossil bones of the 
elephant are said to have been found, are the neighbourhood 
of the sea of Aral, and the banks of the Jaxartes. Pallas tells 
us that the Bucharians sometimes fetch ivory from the borders 
of this river. 

But, in fact, every thing relative to those fossil remains in the 
south of Asia, is mere report and conjecture. The ancients talk 
of the bodies of giants found in Syria and Asia. Pausanias 
tells us of the body of Geryon, or Hyllus, found in Upper 
Lydia, and of another, eleven cubits in length, discovered in 
the bed of the Orontes. These may be referred to elephants. 

It is singular enough that these remains should not be found 
in climates to which the elephant is native, and has been as far 
back as historical records extend. Can we suppose that none 
are buried there, or that the bones have been decomposed by 
the force of heat ? It is very possible that instances of their 
discovery have been passed over in those countries, as present- 
ing nothing unnatural or extraordinary. It is also by no 
means improbable, that the mammoth was an animal intended 
to live in the cold climates of the north, from the fact of its 
having been covered with long hair and a thick wool. Geo- 
logists who visit the torrid zone would do well to extend their 
researches on this subject. It appears, however, that some 
discoveries of this kind have been made in northern Africa, 
where elephants do not exist at the present day. They did so, 
however, formerly, and seem to have been native to Mauritania, 
according to the report of all the ancients ; and we know the 
Carthaginians had plenty of them. But there are few accounts 
from this quarter sufficiently authenticated or detailed to iden- 
tify the species. 

We now proceed to the New World, where the elephant has 
never been found in a living state, and where the species could 
never have been destroyed in earlier times by the weak and 


wandering hordes of barbarians that then occupied the country. 
Still we find the remains of the fossil elephant in very consi- 
derable abundance, especially in the northern division of that 
mighty continent. Buffon imagined that they existed in that 
part only in consequence of being unable to cross the isthmus 
of Panama, when the gradual cooHng of the earth had im- 
pelled them southwards. This hypothesis cannot stand a mo- 
ment's reflection, for many parts of Mexico are sufficiently 
warm for the elephant to live in ; moreover the theory does not 
rest on correct facts, as the bones discovered in Buffon's time 
did not belong to the elephant, but to the mastodon. 

The bones of the true elephant are found in tolerable abun- 
dance throughout North America. For this we have the tes- 
timony of many recent writers, who clearly distinguish the 
teeth and bones thus discovered from those of the mastodon. 
Respecting the peculiar species to which those elephantine 
remains belonged, all the accounts are not so clear as might be 
wished. Catesby mentions an instance in which some African 
negroes recognised the resemblance of some fossil molars, dis- 
covered in Carolina, to those of the elephant of their native 
continent. Mr. Barton talks of teeth and bones dug up in 
various parts of North America, as resembling those of the 
Asiatic elephant. But it seems more probable, from the testi- 
mony of Mr. Rembrandt Peale and others, that these and the 
Siberian remains belong to one and the same species. This 
opinion is corroborated by the remains of elephants sent to the 
Baron Cuvier, by M. de Humboldt, from Spanish America. 
These our illustrious author discovered exactly to resemble 
those of the Siberian species. 

A fact worth noticing here is, that the elephantine remains 
found in Kentucky were far advanced in a state of decomposi- 
tion : from which Mr. Peale concludes, that the destruction 
of the elephant in America was considerably anterior to that 
of the mastodon. 

The Spanish accounts of Mexico and Peru arc filled with 


relations of the bones of giants found in several parts of those 
countries. But we cannot, with any certainty, apply these 
stories to the elephant, inasmuch as they are equally applicable 
to the mastodon, whose teeth have a still closer resemblance 
to those of man. 

We shall close this article with a brief view of the compara- 
tive anatomy of the fossil and living elephants. 

Without descending to minutiae, which would be inconsis- 
tent with our limits, we shall dwell simply upon the most 
striking points of difference. The laminae of the molar teeth 
of the fossil elephant (comparing teeth of equal length) are 
narrower and more numerous than those of the Indian species. 
From this it results, that the number of laminae employed at 
a time in trituration must have been more numerous in the 
fossil elephant. 

The lines of enamel which separate the divisions of laminae 
are more slender and less festooned in the fossil teeth. 

The absolute, as well as proportional, magnitude of the fos- 
sil teeth is greater. 

These three characters are in accordance to the differences of 
the jaws and crania. 

The two first are not invariably constant in all the fossil 
specimens, but this may be referred to the difference of ages. 

We are not aware that similar differences in the magnitude 
of the tusks, relatively to sex and variety, existed in the fossil 
elephant as they do in the Indian species. Nor do we know 
their exact limits as to smallness. But their magnitude was 
considerably greater than in the living species, more especially 
than in the African. The texture is precisely the same in all, 
nor is it different in the mastodon. 

In a number of fossil specimens the tusks are more curved. 

Upon the whole, however, the Baron is of opinion that the 
tusks do not constitute a character of great importance. 

The cranium of the elephant is too cellulous, the osseous 
plates of which it is composed too slender, to admit easily of 

F-,.,,:^.^ /.,./,.:,„ //,/./.,„, 



i.yi^aaf' Y^9^^/ ^/fJa^yi/ . 
3. C^'Tn^ryt/a^ oY,.^(Z/?ne . 

'/. O-TTm/^a/^ ay3/u4cca<^ (b/e^/za?i/. 
5. C%/f£ym/!£ oriMia!i}z^ 0^jMa.'/i/. 

^. ^:6: 




perfect preservation in the fossil state. But five crania have 
been sufficiently preserved, to which we may add that of the 
Siberian skeleton above mentioned, to determine the characters. 

The first striking difference is the excessive length of the 
alveoli of the tusks, being found in one instance to be triple 
that of those in the Indian or African elephant of the same 
dimensions. Also the triturating face of the molars, instead 
of meeting the alveolar ridge, must have cut the tube of the 
alveolus at one-third of its length. This difference, as we shall 
see, accords with the form of the lower jaw, and must have 
necessitated a different conformation in the trunk of the fossil 
elephant : for either the points of attachment for the muscles 
of the trunk were the same as in the living species, that is, the 
upper part of the nose, and the lower edge of the alveoli of the 
tusks, which would make the basis of this organ three times 
as thick in proportion, or the attachments were totally different, 
and then the whole structure must have been totally different. 

The zygomatic arch was differently figured; the post- orbital 
apophysis of the os frontis longer, more pointed, and more 
crooked ; and the tubercle of the os lachrymale thicker and 
more projecting. 

These differences were first established upon a drawing of a 
cranium, by Messerschmidt, and have been since verified on 
several others. 

Another difference not less authenticated, and which accords 
with those of the lower jaw, is the parallelism of the molars. 
As to the lower jaws, in the Indian and African species, the 
lower teeth are converging forward, like those above. The 
canal, therefore, is hollowed in the middle, and long and nar- 
rowed at the anterior point of the jaw. 

The teeth in the fossil jaws are nearly parallel. The canal, 
therefore, is wider, in proportion to the total length of the jaw. 
This canal is also much shorter in the African and Indian 
species, for the alveoli of the tusks do not descend below the 
extremity of the lower jaw, which is consequently advanced 


between the tusks, and prolonged into a kind of pointed apo- 
physis. But as these alveoli are much longer in the fossil 
heads^ the jaw must have been truncated in front, otherwise it 
could not close. These observations have been confirmed by 
an immense number of well-authenticated specimens. In the 
bones of the spine the differences remarked are not important. 
But the specimens examined are but few. 

The bones of the extremities are generally distinguished by 
greater massiveness. There are other differences, such as the 
lower head of the femur being distinguished by a slope be- 
tween the two condyles, gradually reduced to a narrow line, 
instead of a wide sinking, as in the two living species. But to 
follow them minutely would tire our readers^ and prove inter- 
esting only to the professed anatomist . 

From what is known of the soft parts, we find that the skin 
resembles that of the living elephant, but without the brown 
points remarkable in the Indian species. Mr. Adams tells us 
that all of the skin which he had preserved was of a dark grey. 
The hair may be said to be of three kinds : the longest 
from twelve to fifteen inches, brown colour, and of the substance 
of horse-hair ; a shorter kind, from nine to ten inches, more 
delicate, and of a fawn colour, and the wool, which garnished 
the roots of the long hairs, four or five inches long, tolerably 
fine and smooth, though a little frizzled towards the root — it 
was of a clear fawn colour. 

No animal has similar hairs, and therefore there can be no 
fraud in the case. It cannot, then, be doubted that the fossil 
elephant, such as it is found in Siberia, was an animal calculated, 
from the nature of its covering, to endure the temperature of 
northern climates. 

The soles of the feet were found to be rounded, but consi- 
derably dilated, as if by the weight of the body^ so as to ex. 
tend beyond the edge of the foot. 

We shall now conclude with a recapitulary view of the sub- 
ject, and a few general reflections. 


After what has appeared in our Ninth Number of the Ani- 
mal Kingdom, it will be unnecessary to refer any more to the 
living species. Our readers are fully enabled thereby to un- 
derstand our comparative view. 

The Elephas Primigenius, fossil elephant, or mammoth, of 
the Russians, may be thus briefly characterised : 

Elongated cranium, concave forehead, very long alveoli of 
the tusks, lower jaw obtuse, cheek-teeth parallel, broader and 
marked with narrower stripes than the elephas Indicus. Its 
bones are only found in the fossil state. It has never been 
found living, nor have we any reason to suppose that the bones 
of the two living species have been ever found in the fossil 
state. The bones are very numerous in many countries, but 
better preserved in the north. It more resembled the Indian 
than the African species. It differed from it, however, by 
the cheek-teeth, the form of the lower jaw, and of many other 
bones, but especially by the length of the alveoH of the tusks. 
This last character must have singularly modified the conform- 
ation of its trunk, and given the animal a very different physi- 
ognomy from the Indian species. The tusks appear to have 
been generally large, more or less arched into a spiral form, 
and turned outwards. We have no proof that they differ 
much according to sex or variety. Its height does not appear 
to have much exceeded what the Indian species is capable of 
attaining to ; but its proportions were, in general, heavier and 
more clumsy. 

It is manifest, from its osseous remains, that it was a species 
more different from the Indian than the ass is from the horse, 
the chacal or the isatis from the wolf and fox. 

The size of its ears is not known, nor the precise colour of 
the skin. The hair we have already described. This was 
long enough to form a mane on the neck. It would appear, 
therefore, as we remarked before, that these animals were 
adapted to sustain a climate, the coldness of which would soon 
destroy the Indian species. 


Their remains are generally found in the loose and super- 
ficial strata of the earth, and most frequently in the alluvion 
which fills the bottom of vallies, or borders the beds of rivers. 
They are never found alone, but intermixed with the bones 
of other quadrupeds of known genera, as the rhinoceros, ox, 
antelope, horse, and often with the debris of marine animals, 
a portion of which is frequently attached upon them. For 
this fact, so important, we have the positive testimony of Pal- 
las, Fortis, and many other writers, and the Baron himself has 
had fragments in his possession, filled with millepores and 
small oysters. The strata which cover the elephantine remains 
are of no great thickness, and scarcely ever of a stony nature. 
These remains are rarely petrified, and but few examples can 
be quoted of any incrusted in stone, whether coquillaceous or 
otherwise. They are often found accompanied with our com- 
mon fresh-water shells. 

Every thing, in short, appears to announce that the catas- 
trophe which overwhelmed them was one of the most recent 
which has contributed to change the surface of our globe. This 
catastrophe was physical and general. It was also aqueous, as 
is clearly proved, both by the strata in which they are im- 
bedded, and those which are above them. They have been 
covered by the waters, and in very many places by waters 
of the same quality as those of our present sea, as is proved by 
similarity of marine productions. But it is not by these waters 
that they were transported to their present situations. They 
have been found in every country examined by naturahsts. 
An irruption of the sea, therefore, which should have carried 
them from the habitat of the Indian elephant only, could not 
have spread them so far, nor dispersed them so equally. 

Let us also observe, that the inundation which overwhelmed 
them was not elevated above the grand mountainous chains of 
the earth. The strata deposited by it, and which cover these 
remains, are found only in plains of moderate elevation. It 
is impossible, then, that the bodies of elephants could have 


been transported across the Thibetian, the Altaic, and the 
Oural mountains. Moreover, these bones exhibit no marks of 
detrition: their ridges, their apophyses, are in perfect pre- 
servation. Even the epiphyses of those not yet arrived at per- 
fect growth still adhere, though the slightest effort would be 
sufficient to detach them. The only alterations that are visible 
are the result of that decomposition which they have undergone 
in the bosom of the earth ; nor can we say that entire carcasses 
have been violently removed. On such a supposition, it is 
true that the bones would have remained perfect, but it is 
also true that they would have been found together, not scat- 
tered. Besides, the marine productions attached to many of 
them prove that they must have remained some time stripped 
of their exuviae and separated at the bottom of the fluid by 
which they were covered. When this fluid overwhelmed them, 
they were in the places where we now find them ; they were 
scattered far and wide, as we frequently find the bones of our 
own animals scattered on their native soil. 

It is, then, much more than probable that the fossil elephants 
inhabited the countries where their remains are found at present, 
and that they must have perished by some simultaneous revo- 
lution, or a change of climate, which put a stop to their propa- 

Let the cause be what it may, it must have been sudden. 
The bones and ivory in such fine preservation in the plains of 
Siberia, are only so because they are congealed by the cold, 
which suddenly arrested the decomposing action of the ele- 
ments. Had this cold taken place gradually and slowly, the 
bones, and still more the soft parts, would have had time for 
decomposition, as has been the case in warm and temperate 
climates. Above all, it is impossible that an entire carcass 
could have been found, with the skin and flesh uncorrupted, 
had it not been instantly enveloped by the ice which continued 
to preserve it. 

Thus we see that every hypothesis, founded on a gradual 


refrigeration of the earth, or a slow variation, whether from the 
inclination or position of the axis of the globe, falls to the 
ground of itself. 

Lastly, had the present elephants of India been the descend- 
ants of the fossil refugees in their present climate, at the period 
of the catastrophe which destroyed the others, how shall we ac- 
count for the destruction of their species in America? The 
elevated parts of Mexico offered them a secure escape from 
such an inundation as we have mentioned, and the climate is 
hotter than necessary for their temperament. Nor can we sup- 
pose that the same cause which extinguished the mastodon, 
the hippopotamus, and the fossil rhinoceros, would have spared 
the elephant. That those animals have ceased to exist can no 
longer be a subject of controversy. 

The Genus Mastodon. 

The Great Mastodon is one of the most remarkable and 
apparently the most enormous of all the fossil species. What- 
ever doubts might have existed concerning the specific differ- 
ence of the elephas primigenius, and its utter extinction, there 
could be little controversy of this nature concerning the mas- 
todon, after its remains had been properly examined. Accord- 
ingly, we find that this was the first fossil animal by whose re- 
mains naturalists were convinced of the possibility of extinct 
species. The monstrous bulk of the molars, and the formidable 
tuberosities with which they are provided, could not fail of 
attracting attention ; and it was easy to observe that none of 
the larger quadrupeds with which we are acquainted, possessed 
teeth of similar conformation or equal volume. Daubenton, 
indeed, for a time was disposed to believe that some of these 
teeth might have belonged to the hippopotamus, but he soon 
renounced this error ; and. Buffon declared that this ancient 
species, the first and largest of all terrestrial animals, must be 
regarded as now extinct. Still he restricted this observation to 
the enormous hinder teeth, considering the middle and half- worn 


teeth as belonging to the hippopotamus. The large femur also, 
dug up in the same place as these teeth, was attributed both 
by Buffon and Daubenton to the elephant. Dr. Hunter, how- 
ever, had shown, 1767, that this part, as well as the teeth and 
the lower jaw, exhibited a different conformation. Still, Dr. 
Hunter fell into two errors concerning this animal. He con- 
founded it with the mammoth of the Siberians, and supposed, 
from the structure of its teeth, that it was carnivorous. These 
errors were sufficiently refuted, the first by Pallas, and the 
second by Camper. Yet the animal continued to be called 
mammoth both by the Americans and ourselves, and carnivo^ 
rous elephant by some naturalists, — names equally improper. 
These misnomers occasioned infinite confusion in the accounts 
of compilers, and determined the Baron to give the animal the 
name of mastodon, compounded of two Greek words, signifying 
mammillary teeth, and expressing its principal character. This 
was the more necessary, as it is found that the mastodon was 
not only a distinct species, but a distinct genus, comprehending 
other species. 

It is above one hundred and twenty years since remains of 
the mastodon were first discovered at Albany, near Hudson 
river. They are mentioned in a letter from Dr. Mather to 
Dr. Woodward, in the Phil. Trans, 1712. He believed them 
to be the bones of giants, and a confirmation of the Mosaical 
accounts of gigantic races of mankind. 

Thirty years after, a French officer named Longueil, navi- 
gating the Ohio, discovered, on the edges of a marsh near this 
river, some bones, cheek-teeth, and tusks. He brought back 
to Paris a femur, the extremity of a tusk, and three cheek- 
teeth, where they are still preserved. These were the first 
specimens of this animal seen in Europe ; and from the place in 
which they were found the French called the mastodon, animal 
of the Ohio, though its bones have been found in many other 

Daubenton declared the tusk and femur to belong to the 


elephant, but the teeth to the hippopotamus. But the con- 
trary opinion even then was held by many. Another French 
officer informed Buffon that the Indians of Canada and 
Louisiana believed these bones to belong to a peculiar animal 
which they csMedi father of oxen. 

The large teeth with eight or ten points, which could not 
reasonably be confounded with those of the hippopotamus, 
were already known. One of them was even engraved by 
Guettard, in the Memoirs of the Academy for 1752. 

When our countrymen became masters of Canada, these 
researches were pursued with fresh activity. Many of these 
bones were discovered south-east of the Ohio, by Croghan, 
the geographer, in 1765. The tuberculous teeth and tusks 
were found mingled together, without any elephantine molar, 
and the notion of a peculiar animal became more and more 
confirmed. This last-mentioned gentleman sent several chests 
of these fragments to London, and from a lower-jaw which was 
among them, William Hunter demonstrated that the animal 
in question differed sensibly from the elephant, and had no- 
thing in common with the hippopotamus. 

BufFon first maintained that similar teeth were to be found 
in the ancient continent. He founded this opinion on a tooth 
presented to him by the Count de Vergennes, said to have 
been discovered in Little Tartary. It weighed eleven pounds 
four ounces. Another, from the cabinet of the Abbe Chappe, 
was supposed to have come from Siberia. Pallas advanced 
the same opinion on teeth with six points, found in the Oural 
mountains. The Baron, however, is inclined to regard these 
proofs as insufficient, inasmuch as it is by no means certain 
that the specimens in question did not come from America. 

Camper, in 1777, showed again that there was more analogy 
between the mastodon and- elephant, than between it and the 
hippopotamus. He also deemed it very probable that it had a 
trunk. A considerable portion of the cranium and some other 
bones were found by Dr. Brown, in 1715. 


Camper, in 1788, retracted his last-mentioned opinion on 
the mastodon. From some drawings presented him by M. 
Michaelis, he declared that he had been mistaken ; that this 
animal had a pointed muzzle without tusks ; that it did not 
resemble the elephant, nor could he form any opinion of its 
true nature. But it afterwards appeared that he took that part 
of the palate where the teeth approximate, for the anterior 
part, and, considering the pterygoid apophyses as intermaxil- 
lary bones, found, consequently, no place for the tusks. 

A famous discovery, made in the commencement of the pre- 
sent century by Mr. Wilson Peale, founder of the Museum of 
Natural History at Philadelphia, seems to have set this question 
at rest for ever, and will require a little more detailed account. 
In the spring of 1801 , he learned that some bones had been 
dug up the preceding autumn, in the neighbourhood of New- 
burgh, on the river Hudson. He repaired thither with his 
sons, and obtained from the farmer who had dug it up a con- 
siderable portion of a skeleton, which he sent to Philadelphia. 
There w^as a cranium much damaged in the upper part ; the 
lower jaw was broken, and the tusks mutilated. At the close 
of autumn, after many weeks labour, were found, in the same 
place, all the cervical vertebrae, many of the dorsal, two shoulder- 
blades, two humeri, a radius and cubitus, a femur, a tibia, a 
peroneum, a mutilated pelvis, and some small bones of the 
feet. These were found between six arid seven feet in depth i 
but many important bones were wanting, such as the lower- 
jaw. Sec. To obtain them, Mr. Peale repaired to another spot, 
eleven miles distant, where bones had been disinterred about 
eight years before. He worked for fifteen days, collected many 
fragments, but not those he wanted. However, on his return 
he met a farmer, who had found some bones three years be- 
fore, and who conducted him to the place of his discovery. 
Here, after much labour, he was fortunate enough to find a 
complete under jaw, and many other principal bones. With 



the materials he had thus obtained by three months of labori- 
ous research, he formed two skeletons, copying artificially from 
the bones of one what was wanting in the other, and from the 
bones of one side what \v^s deficient on the opposite. 

Since this discovery, the osteology of this great animal may 
be considered as completely known, with the exception of the 
upper part of the cranium. The most complete of these ske- 
letons is placed in Mr. Peale'*s museum at Philadelphia; the 
other was brought to our capital by one of his sons, and pub- 
licly exhibited. 

Besides these materials, there are many in the museum at 
Paris. The most remarkable constitute the present made to 
that repository by Mr. Jefferson : these are an enormous tusk, 
two half lower-jaws, one of which, having belonged to a young 
subject, is of great interest, as regards^ the teeth, a tibia, a 
radius, almost all the bones of the tarsus, metatarsus, carpus 
and metacarpus, some phalanges, ribs, and vertebrae. The 
bones of the mastodon, as well as those of the other fossil spe- 
cies which accompany them, are most generally found in marshy 
places, where there is a sort of brackish water, which attracts 
wild animals, especially deer, to which places the Americans 
have, for this reason, given the name of lick. The most cele- 
brated of those depots near the Ohio is called Big-bone-lick. 

There is a spot in Kentucky, to the south-east of the Ohio, 
sunk in between small hills, and occupied by a marsh, in which 
is a small stream of brackish water. The bottom of this consists 
of a black and stinking mud. Here, and on the borders of the 
marsh, the remains of tijie mastodon have been found in the 
most astonishing profusion. This mud is intermixed with a 
fine sand, and some ligneous debris are distinguishable in it. 
On being tried with nitric acid, it exhaled a fetid odour, indi- 
cative of some animal principle, and being analysed was found 
to be composed of about sixty-five parts of argilla, sixteen of 
sand, and five of sulphate of lime to every hundred. The 



argilla retained a little carbonate of lime and sulphuret of iron. 
There was also a little oxide of iron. 

Near the river of the Osages myriads of these bones were 
seen, according to Mr. Smith Barton, and seventeen tusks were 
collected, some of which were six feet in length and a foot in 
diameter, most of them far advanced in decomposition. 

One of the most remarkable of the depots of these bones was 
found at Withe, in Virginia, five feet and a half under ground, 
on a bank of calcareous stone. One of the teeth weighed seven- 
teen pounds. In the midst of these bones was found a mass of 
little branches, grass, and leaves, in a half-bruised state. Among 
these was a species of rose, now common in Virginia, and the 
whole was enveloped in a kind of sack, which was considered to 
be the stomach of the animal. The substratum of this soil is a 
calcareous stone, full of coquillaceous impressions. The caverns 
there abound in nitre, sulphate of soda, and magnesia. 

Not to be tedious as to localities — the bones of the great mas- 
todon are found in abundance all over North America, from 
the forty-third degree of north latitude, north of Lake Erie, as 
far south as Charlestown, in Carolina, in thirty-three degrees. 

As far as we know, the bones of this enormous animal do 
not exist in any other country of the globe. They are always 
found at moderate depths, and exhibit few marks of decompo- 
sition, and none of detrition ; a proof that, like the other fossils, 
they remained in the places where they are found since the 
period of the animaPs destruction. Those on the river of the 
Great Osages were found in a vertical position. The ferrugi- 
neous substance with which they are tinctured, or penetrated, 
proves that they have been a long time imbedded in the interior 
of the earth. 

Indications that the sea rested on, or passed over them, are 
more rare than in the case of elephantine remains. No remains 
of shells or zoophytes have been found upon their bones, nor, 
according to all accounts, in the strata from which they have 
been taken. This is the more singular, as the salt-marshes 

F 2 


where they have been most usually found, might be considered 
as the remains of a more extensive fluid which had overwhelmed 

Mr. Barton considers that the salt water has been a main 
cause of their preservation. It would even appear that some 
soft parts have been occasionally found, which, considering the 
heat of the climate, is wonderful. Some savages, who saw five 
skeletons in 1762, informed Mr. Barton that one of the heads 
had *' a long nosey under which was the mouth T and Kalm, 
speaking of a large skeleton discovered in a marsh, in the 
country of the Illinois, and which he took for that of an ele- 
phant, says that the form of the beak was still observable, 
though half decomposed. These two facts seem to confirm the 
opinion, that the triturated plants above-mentioned were, in 
reality, the materials which filled the stomach of the animal. 

Many hypotheses have been formed on the origin of these 
bones, and the causes of the animaPs destruction. The Shavanois 
believe that men of similar proportions existed with those 
animals, and that the Great Spirit destroyed both with his 
thunders. The savages of Virginia say, that a troop of these 
tremendous quadrupeds destroyed for some time the deer, the 
buffalo, and all the other animals created for the use of the 
Indians, and spread desolation far and wide. At last '* the 
Mighty Man above'*' seized his thunder and killed them all, 
with the exception of the largest of the males, who, presenting 
his head to the thunderbolts, shook them off as they fell, but, 
being wounded in the side, he betook himself to flight towards 
the great lakes, where he still resides at the present day. 

Such stories sufficiently prove that the Indians have no know- 
ledge of the actual existence of the species in those countries 
over which they wander. 

Lamanon imagined the mastodon to be some unknown species 
of the cetacea. A.M. de la Coudreniere having found, in some ac- 
count of Groenland, that the savages of that country pretended 
to an animal, black and hairy, of the form of a bear, and six 


t,„,/. ■>.■-// /,„//d. n„^„r„/. 



fathoms in height, refers not only the mastodon, but the mam- 
moth, to this fabulous monster. This confusion of the two 
species probably made Mr. Jefferson think that the centre of 
the frozen zone is the spot where the mammoth arrived at its 
full perfection, as the countries situated under the equator 
are the best calculated for sustaining the elephant. 

Let us now consider the osteology of the Great Mastodon, 
beginning with the cheek-teeth, the most important character. 
Their form is the most remarkable point about them. The 
coronal approaches more or less to a rectangular figure. The 
substance is two-fold, the ivory and the enamel. The latter is 
very thick, but there is no appearance of that cortical substance, 
so remarkable in the elephant. 

This coronal is divided by very open furrows into a certain 
number of transversal prominences, each of which is itself di- 
vided by a slope into two thick obtuse points, something like 
quadrangular pyramids, a little rounded. Thus the coronal, as 
long as it remains unworn, is furnished with thick points, dis- 
posed in pairs. 

It will be seen that these teeth have no relation to the teeth 
of the carnivora with one principal and longitudinal edge, 
divided into notches like a saw. There is only a difference of 
proportion between these transverse prominences, divided into 
two points, and the little transverse walls, with edge divided 
into many tubercles, in the teeth of the elephant. But in the 
latter, the furrows which separate the prominences are filled 
with the cortical substance, whereas, in the mastodon, they are 
filled with nothing. From this it happens, that the coronal of 
the elephant soon becomes flat from detrition, but nevertheless 
remains always furrowed transversely, while that of the masto- 
don is for a long time mammillated. Its protuberances be- 
come at first truncated by detrition into a lozenge-form^ and 
at last, when worn flat, its surface is perfectly even, or uni- 
formly concave. 

The mastodon must have made the same use of its teeth as 


the swine and the hippopotamus, for the structure is similar. 
It must have fed on tender vegetables, roots, and aquatic plants, 
and could not have been carnivorous. 

The difference in the teeth of the mastodon consist, chiefly, 
in the number of points, and the relation of length to breadth. 

There are three sorts : one almost square, with three pairs of 
points ; another rectangular, with four pair ; a third, longer, 
somewhat contracted behind, with five pair, and an unequal 
heel. The first is the most worn, the last, on the contrary, very 
little so. This points out the order of their growth and posi- 
tion. The disposition of the cheek-teeth in the adult is thus, 
I, two with six points, and two with eight points above ; two 
with six points, and two with ten points below. 

Beside these eight molars in the adult, we find in the young 
subject, that others preceded them, which fell successively. 
The succession of growth took place, as in the elephant, from 
front to rear. When the hinder molar began to pierce the 
gum, the front one was ready to fall. 

The effective number of cheek-teeth which could act toge- 
ther, was eight in the young subject, four in the old. This 
shows that the mastodon could not have been of the enormous 
size that Buffon and others imagined, who were led to this 
conclusion by the error of believing the cheek-teeth equal in 
number to our own. 

These teeth vary in magnitude, and are found in different 
stages of detrition. But to pursue all their variations would 
be inconsistent with our plan, and we must, therefore, refer 
the reader for minuter information to the great work of the 

On examining the lower jaw, we find that, like the elephant 
and the morse, the mastodon had no incisors or canines below ; 
that the lower jaw terminated in front in a hollowed point of a 
sort of canal, and that the posterior angle, though obtuse, was 
yet strongly defined, and not circularly rounded, as in this 
elephant. The condyle differs little from that of the elephant, 

/yW/ cA'Uj/?'/>^?/^. 

r,y. I. X.3 


but all the ascending part is less elevated in proportion. The 
coronoid apophysis is raised to the level of the condyle, while 
it is much lower in the elephant. The longitudinal part is less 
elevated in proportion to its length, but equally inflated, espe- 
cially behind. The lower jaw of Mr. Peale's skeleton is two 
feet ten inches in length, and weighs sixty-three pounds. The 
principal characters of the cranium are, the divergence of the 
cheek-teeth in front, while those of the elephant converge, 
and those of the mammoth are parallel ; the osseous palate 
extends far beyond the last tooth ; the pterygoid apophysis of 
the palatine bones are thick beyond example. Mr. R. Peale 
found no trace of orbit in the anterior part of the arch ; conse- 
quently, the eye must have been much higher than in the ele- 
phant. The maxillary bones have much less vertical elevation 
than in the elephant ; the zygomatic arch is less elevated ; the 
occipital condyles, raised in the elephant considerably above the 
level of the palate, are on that level in the mastodon. The mas- 
todon appears to have had precisely the large cellulse which 
give so much thickness to the cranium of the elephant, and 
are only prolongations of the different sinuses of the nose. 

We cannot precisely ascertain the elevation of the top of the 
cranium ; but its weight, that of the cheek-teeth and tusks, 
cannot permit us to doubt that the occiput was considerably 
elevated, to furnish adequate attachments for the levator- 

The entire length of the cranium of Mr. Peale's mastodon 
seems to have been about 1.139. 

The tusks are implanted in the incisive bone, like the ele- 
phant. They are composed likewise of ivory, the grain of which 
exhibits curvilinear lozenges. 

The tusks of the elephant are often more or less round ; 
those of the mastodon seen by the Baron were elliptical. Their 
curvature varies as much as in the elephant. 

The alveoli in Mr. Peale's mastodon were about eight inches 
deep. The direction of the tusks, on issuing from the alveoli, is • 


more oblique frontwards than in the elephant. Their position 
is disputed ; Mr. Peale thinks that they were placed with the 
point downwards, contrary to the position of the elephanfs 
tusks. His reasons are not very cogent, and the Baron comes 
to a contrary conclusion. 

It seems indubitable, from anatomical reasoning, with which 
we shall not trouble our readers, that the mastodon had a trunk 
like the elephant. Mr. Peale says, that the spinous apophyses 
of the three last cervical vertebrae are shorter in the mastodon 
than in the elephant. The second, third, and fourth dorsal 
have very long apophyses. They decrease rapidly as far as 
the twelfth, after which they become very short. In the ele- 
phant they are more uniform, which argues more force in the 
muscles of the spine, and in the cervical hgament. 

There are seven cervical vertebrae, nineteen dorsal, and 
three lumbar. The elephant has one dorsal vertebra, and a 
pair of ribs additional. The ribs are differently formed from 
those of the elephant ; slender near the cartilage, thick and 
strong towards the back. The first six pair are very strong, 
compared with the others, which grow very short in proportion. 
This character, united to the depression of the pelvis, proves 
that the belly was less voluminous than that of the elephant. 

In general, the long bones of the anterior extremity are 
much thicker, in proportion, than those of the hinder extre- 
mity. The pelvis is much more depressed than in the elephant, 
in proportion to its width. Its aperture is much more narrow. 
This conformation must have rendered the abdomen smaller, 
and the intestines less voluminous. This character, united to 
the structure of the teeth, would lead us to consider the mas- 
todon as less exclusively herbivorous. 

The width of the femur is another distinguishing character 
of the mastodon. The tibia is also much thicker in proportion 
to its length, compared with that of the elephant. It also 
differs in some minuter details. 

Very exaggerated ideas were once entertained concerning 


the height of the mastodon. The result of the justest mea- 
surements, and consequent calculations, seems to be, that it did 
not exceed ten or twelve feet at most, a stature to which the 
Indian elephant very commonly attains. The body, however, 
of the mastodon appears to have been much more elongated, in 
proportion to its height. The skeleton belonging to Mr. Peale 
measured fifteen feet, from the end of the muzzle to the poste- 
rior edge of the ischium. 

The bones of the feet differ, in some minute proportions, 
from those of the elephant, and we may, in general, remark 
that they are shorter and thicker. This is especially the case 
with the metatarsus, and holds good in the phalanges. 

To conclude : the great mastodon, or animal of the Ohio, was 
very similar to the elephant in the tusks and entire osteology, 
cheek-teeth excepted. It most probably had a trunk; its 
height did not exceed that of the elephant, but its body was 
more elongated, the limbs thicker, and the belly not so volu- 
minous. Notwithstanding these resemblances, the structure 
of the molars is sufficient to constitute it a different genus. It 
subsisted, pretty much like the hippopotamus and wild boar, 
on roots and the stringy parts of vegetables. This kind of 
food must have attracted it to marshy places, though it evi- 
dently was not formed for swimming or living in the water, like 
the hippopotamus, but was decidedly a terrestrial animal. Its 
bones are much more common in North America than else- 
where, and most probably are exclusively confined to that 
country. They are better preserved and fresher than any known 
fossils, yet there is not the slightest proof that any of the genus 
are yet in existence. 

The Mastodon with narrow Teeth. — A number of teeth 
have been discovered, from time to time, within the last hun- 
dred and fifty years, in various countries, the origin of which 
was by no means satisfactorily accounted for. These teeth 
have been found in different parts of France, of Italy, of Ger- 
many, and South America. Our author, from a close exami- 


nation of numbers of these teeth, concludes that they belonged 
to a mastodon of a different species from the preceding, and 
which appears to have left its remains in considerable abun- 
dance in several parts of the earth. 

All these teeth, like those of the great mastodon, are fur- 
nished with conic points, more or less numerous, which wear 
in mastication. The forms of some bones found with these 
teeth also resemble those of the great mastodon ; and there is 
some reason to believe that they were also accompanied by 
tusks. From all this, the Baron concludes that they came from 
an animal of the same genus. 

But these teeth are distinguished from those of the great 
mastodon of the Ohio, by Certain specific characters. The 
principal and most general distinction is, that the cones of their 
coronals are furrowed more or less deeply, sometimes termi- 
nated by many points, and sometimes accompanied by smaller 
cones on their sides, or in their intervals. Mastication, there- 
fore, produces, first, upon this coronal many small circles, 
and finally trefoils, or figures with three lobes, but never 

These trefbils have sometimes occasioned these teeth to be 
taken for those of tbe hippopotamus. But, independently of 
magnitude, the teeth of the hippopotamus have never more 
than four trefoils, while those of which we are speaking have 
usually six or ten. 

It is more difficult to determine the specific characters of 
these various teeth, one with another, — they do not altogether 
resemble. That they have been differently placed in the jaw, 
may be judged by the number of the points. There are also 
differences of age, to be determined by the degree of detrition. 
The Baron examined two teeth, one from the turquoise mines 
of Simorre, in Gascony, the other from Peru, and he declares 
that, notwithstanding the distance between the two places, it 
was impossible not to recognise at once the specific identity of 
these teeth. 




QyVi^J/ip'd^^-Tt^ ^/^i^ ^??^ya^m^/ee^/(,' 

.v/ /.// ..; y^;,.../ ../,,/^,, ,.^ \A/rr/r.,.. 


^ I 



^ ^"^ 

\' '-i V. ^ 


Among the fragments collected by Dombey in Peru, is a 
considerable portion of the lower jaw. It terminates in front 
by a sort of beak, like that of the elephant and mastodon, 
which proves that, hke the two last, this animal had neither 
incisors nor canines below. There were two teeth in this frag- 
ment ; one had five pair of points, of which the hinder were 
the shortest. The two first were joined in quadrilobe figures, 
the two following were approaching to the same state; the two 
last and the heel were untouched ; the external side was the 
most worn, the internal most projecting. This must be the 
case to make the teeth below correspond to those above. Be- 
low, the external points form trefoils ; above, the internal. 
This is the result of a general law in the herbivora. When 
the two sides of the tooth do not resemble, they are placed in 
contrary directions, in the two jaws. Thus, in the ruminantia, 
the convexity of the crescents of the upper teeth is inside, and 
outside in those below. 

From a palate, preserved in the British Museum, and which 
belongs to this species, and not to the great mastodon, we find 
that the upper molars diverge forward like those of the last 
mentioned species. 

Analogy renders it probable, that the species of which we 
are speaking, had tusks like that of the Ohio. Daubenton, 
indeed, says that he could recognise ivory among the frag- 
ments sent from the mines of Simorre. Two plates of ivory 
were found by the Baron among the fragments sent by M. 
Chouteau from Avary. But we want the direct proof, for no 
tusk nor alveolus with molar adhering has yet been found. 

The lower jaw is certainly that of an animal with long tusks. 
That from Peru is very like the one of the Ohio. It is, how- 
ever, less high in proportion. Its lower edge is less rectilinear, 
and its external surface more inflated. The foramina menti 
are more advanced. The teeth of this mastodon are much 
longer, in proportion, than they are broad, which induced the 
Baron to give it the name he has done. 


Compared with that of the elephant, the jaw of the mastodon 
with narrow teeth has its anterior beak longer, and more nar- 
row in the middle. It is not truncated so vertically. The 
foramina menti are one behind the other, not one above the 
other. From another lower jaw, entire behind, we find that 
this part was more rounded in this species than in that of the 
Ohio, and more resembled that of the elephant. 

A tibia, brought from the Giants-Field, near Santa-fe-de- 
Bogota, by M. de Humboldt, is the only great bone of the 
extremities which has been seen. It is much mutilated at the 
angles, which renders the characters not well determined. A 
little thicker in proportion than that of the Ohio, it is yet like it 
in its forms. It is short, by calculation from the proportions 
of the teeth ; but no definite conclusions can be drawn from 
a single bone. 

It appears that the remains of this mastodon are often found 
accompanied by marine productions, which is not the case with 
the others. 

The turquoises of Simorre are composed of these and other 
bones, penetrated and impregnated with some metallic oxide. 

The stories of giants in South America seem founded on 
these remains. The name Giants-Field, above-mentioned, is 
probably derived from this source, as, according to M. de 
Humboldt, there is an immense accumulation of these bones 
there. They are found in that continent, usually, in a very 
high degree of elevation. 

Some teeth have also been found, which seem to indicate 
other species of the mastodon, differing from the two preced- 
ing. M. de Humboldt brought some from South America, 
the tubercles of which are divided, like those of the mastodon, 
with narrow teeth, but which have the same canine proportions 
as those from the Ohio with six points, and might be taken for 
them, but for the trefoils. They are of two sizes ; the largest 
are equal in magnitude to those of the Ohio. M. de Hum- 
boldt found one near the volcano of Imbaburra, in the king- 


dom of Quito, at an elevation of 1200 fathoms. The other 
kind, also squared, are about a third less in size ; they were 
also discovered by M. de Humboldt in South America. 

In Europe, also, two teeth were found, which appeared too 
small to the Baron to be classed with any of the preceding 
species. One was sent from Saxony, but its position was un- 
known ; the other from the neighbourhood of Orleans. The 
last Was found in a quarry of fresh-water Hmestone, full of 
shells, &c., and the remains of the palaeotherium. Its pro- 
minences, simply notched, are not so exactly divided into two 
points as those of the preceding. This might make us suppose 
another additional species. These prominences not divided 
show some relation with the teeth of the great tapir, but still 
cannot proceed from that genus, whose prominences are more 
separated, and whose numerous and small indentations bear no 
resemblance to nipples. 

Thus, independently of the great mastodon, and that with 
narrow teeth, we find indications of four other species. The 
Baron would call the two from America, when their characters 
are determined, the mastodon of the Cordilleras, and the mas- 
todon of Humboldt. To the first, of the European kind, he 
w^ould give the name of little mastodon ; to the second, whose 
hillocks, or prominences, are not completely divided into nipples, 
that of tapir oidian mastodon. 

The Fossil Hippopotamus. 

The hippopotamus has always been one of those larger qua- 
drupeds whose history has remained in a state of obscurity, and 
even still is but imperfectly known. Bochart has imagined it 
to be the behemoth of the book of Job, but its description in 
that book is too vague to admit of any definite conclusions. 
The one given by Aristotle of his hippopotamus is so very 
utilike the animal in question, that it is perfectly inexplicable. 
He gives it the stature of the ass, the mane and voice of the 
horse, and the divided hoof of the ox, and says that its astra- 


galus resembles that of the latter tribe ; flat muzzle, mouth 
moderately divided, teeth rather projecting, and tail like that 
of a wild boar. He adds, that the skin of the back is so thick, 
that javelins are manufactured out of it. This strange de- 
scription is almost entirely borrowed from Herodotus, who 
makes an additional error in asserting that the tail of the hip- 
popotamus is like that of the horse. 

It would, however, be inconsistent with our plan and limits 
to enter into the various descriptions given of the living hippo- 
potamus, or into its osteology. We must be contented with 
such references to both, as may be necessary to the complete 
elucidation of our remarks on the fossil species. 

There is but one existing species of the hippopotamus hitherto 
known; but Cuvier has discovered two, and he thinks even 
four, in the fossil state. The first so nearly resembles the 
living species, that this great naturalist found some difficulty 
at first to distinguish them. The second is about the size of 
the wild boar ; the third would seem to be intermediate between 
the other two, and the fourth, of which some traces have been 
discovered by the Baron, might have been about the size of a 

For the knowledge of the smaller species we are entirely 
indebted to the illustrious writer just mentioned, and even 
for the full and complete authentication of the largest of the 
fossil hippopotami. One of his most immediate predecessors 
in this very walk of science has declared, that, in the course of 
his researches, he could find no proof of the discovery of fossil 
remains of the hippopotamus, previously to the period in which 
he wrote. There was not, however, this very absolute dearth 
of information on the subject ; but still the most accomplished 
naturalists have fallen into a very gross error, in attributing to 
the hippopotamus certain fossil remains which had no sort of 
connection with that animal. We have already adverted to the 
mistake of Daubenton, in referring the molar teeth of the mas- 
todon to the hippopotamus. Peter Camper appears to have 


1 . 


fallen into a similar error in a description, addressed to Pallas, of 
a tooth in the British Museum. He could not have confounded 
this tooth with that of the great mastodon, because he has proved 
himself elsewhere to have been well acquainted with this latter 
animal. . But as he was ignorant of the distinction between the 
mastodon with narrow teeth, and that of the Ohio, he might 
have been deceived respecting a single tooth. The teeth of 
that mastodon, as we have observed in the proper place, at a 
certain stage of detrition, exhibit some resemblance on a. larger 
scale to those of the hippopotamus, being marked with trefoils 
in a similar way. But at all events, the tooth in question could 
not, by any possibility, have belonged to the living hippopota- 
mus, nor to that one usually found in the fossil state, since it is 
four times as large as theirs. 

Many more errors of this description have been committed. 
M. Merck describes a molar found in the environs of Francfort- 
on-the-Maine, as belonging to the hippopotamus, but which 
turned out to be an intermediate tooth of the mastodon of the 
Ohio, the summits of which were a little worn. M.deLuc 
speaks of an hippopotamus's tooth, found among volcanic pro- 
ductions in the same neighbourhood, but this M. Merck assures 
us belonged to the rhinoceros. Charles Nicholas Laing, in a 
work published in 1708, Historia lapidum figuratorum Hel- 
vetia, has made a still greater mistake, in attributing to the 
hippopotamus the teeth of the horse. It is singular enough, by 
the way, that lithologists should have been repeatedly deceived 
concerning the teeth of this latter animal, notwithstanding that 
the species is so very common. 

Davila, a very modern writer, in the catalogue of his cabinet, 
describes the jaw of an hippopotamus, with five molar teeth, 
found in the plaster-quarries in the neighbourhood of Paris ; 
but the Baron, whose authority respecting this locale is indis- 
putable, assures us that no remains of the hippopotamus were 
ever found there. He is persuaded that this same jaw was a 
fragment of the great palceothenum. 


Mistakes have also been made on the opposite side : genuine 
teeth of the hippopotamus have been, by some authors attri- 
buted to other animals. Aldrovandus, for instance, attributed 
to the elephant some of the teeth of this same animal ; andBesler 
has characterized one of its petrified molars by the simple name 
of dens maxillaris lapideus. 

The first specimens by which the Baron was convinced of the 
presence of the hippopotamus among the fossil remains, were 
in the Royal Museum, and had been pointed out by Dauben- 
ton. These specimens are two in number : the first, a portion 
of the lower jaw on the right side, containing the penultimate 
and antepenultimate molar ; the second, a penultimate molar of 
the upper jaw, in a moderate stage of detrition. A third frag- 
ment came from the cabinet of M. Joubert, treasurer of the 
states of Languedoc. It is a fragment of the upper jaw, con- 
taining the last molar and the last but one, in the left side, pre- 
cisely in that state of detrition in which the figures of the tre- 
foils and other lineaments of the crown render them most easy 
to be distinguished. 

After this the Baron found an astragalus among various 
fossils collected by M. Miot in the vale of Arno. He observed 
that its form could not sanction its attribution to the elephant 
or rhinoceros, nor its magnitude to any smaller animal. And 
as its figure resembled that of the astragalus of the swine, which 
of all animals approximates most to the hippopotamus in organi- 
zation , no doubt was left on his mind as to the propriety of its 
allocation. However, for still further confirmation, he com- 
pared it with the astragalus of a foetus of the living species, then 
in his possession, and found no difference except in magnitude. 

From M. Fabbrone he subsequently received the drawings 
of those teeth, which had evidently belonged to the hippopo- 
tamus ; one of these was a fragment of a tusk, or lower canine. 
It may not be uninteresting to mark the difference of the tusks 
in those animals which possess them. No other animal has 
tusks formed like those of the hippopotamus. Those of the ele- 


phant are larger, but neither angular nor striated ; those of the 
morse, which are also larger, are very much striated towards 
the root, but not angular ; the tusk of the narwhal is straight, 
but twisted spirally by the striae of the surface. The texture 
of the osseous substance is hkewise very different. In the ele- 
phant we find brownish traits, which cross into curvilinear 
lozenges, of a very regular form ; in the morse there are brown 
grains, moulded, as it were, into a whiter substance ; in the 
narwhal all seems homogeneous ; in the hippopotamus, there 
are five striae, concentrical to the contour of the tooth, 

M. Fabbroni adds, that the diameter of the tusk in 
question bore a nearer proportion to its length than that of the 
African hippopotamus, and its spiral curve was also much 
more marked. These teeth were found in the upper vale of 

The Baron travelled into Tuscany in 1809 and 1810, and 
found in the museum of Florence, and in that of the academy 
of the vale of Arno, such an abundance of fossil remains of the 
hippopotamus, that there could be no difficulty in recomposing 
a skeleton. He brought back a considerable quantity to Paris, 
which he had bought from the Tuscan peasants. A skeleton 
nearly entire, and fragments of eleven individuals, have been in 
the cabinet of the Grand Duke since 1816. In fact the bones 
of the hippopotamus are nearly as numerous as those of the 
elephant in the upper vale of Arno, and more numerous than 
those of the rhinoceros. They are found confused with both in 
the small sand-hills, which form the final links of that moun- 
tainous chain by which this beautiful valley is engirded. 

The bones of the hippopotamus have been found at Rome 
and in other parts of Italy, also in France and England, but 
more abundantly in the vale of Arno than elsewhere. 

The distinguishing characters of the great fossil hippopota- 
mus are not quite so strongly marked as those of the elephant 
and rhinoceros, but still quite sufficient, on a comparison of 
all the bones, to prove a decided difference from the living 



species. In the fossil head the occipital crest is more narrow, 
the zyo-omatic arches less separated behind, and that portion of 
the cranium bounded by these arches on the sides is larger in 
proportion; the junction of the cheek-bone to the muzzle is 
made by an oblique line, and not by a sudden slope ; the occiput 
is more suddenly raised, so that the fall of the sagittal crest 
towards the interval of the orbits is more rapid, and, of course, 
the vertical height of the occiput is greater. In the lower jaw 
the interval between the two branches is more narrow. 

The Baron possessed five vertebrcc^ none of which were com- 
pletely similar to their correspondents in the living species. 

The articular face of the shoulder-blade wsLsmore rounded, and 
had a coracoid tubercle more blunt and curved inwards. This 
fragment must have belonged to an individual fifteen feet long. 
It is unnecessary to pursue this comparison any further, 
as it could not prove interesting to the general reader. It is 
sufiicient to observe that, notwithstanding the general resem- 
blance of all the bones to those of the living species, there are 
differences in every one of them, sufficiently marked to warrant 
a distinction of species. 

The little fossil Hippopotamus was discoervedby M.Cuvier, 
in a block which was for a long time in one of the magazines 
of the Museum of Natural History, and the origin of which 
was unknown. It resembled considerably the osseous breccia 
of Gibraltar, Dalmatia, and Ceuta, except that the paste, instead 
of being calcareous and stalactitic, was a homogeneous sand- 
stone, filled with fragments of bones and teeth, which formed an 
incomparably greater portion of the mass than they do in the 

With infinite labour and care, were at length disengaged 
from this block the remains of an animal, the existence of which 
had never been previously suspected. 

From a block of the same description, submitted to the dis- 
posal of the Baron by M. Journu-Aubert, additional informa- 
tion was derived concerning this fossil species. But no remains 
were found in the place from which the block was taken. 


From these two blocks, M. Cuvier obtained nearly all the 
teeth, which were found in all respects similar to those of the 
hippopotamus, except that they were one-half smaller in all 
their dimensions. Certain fragments of the jaw showed indi- 
cations of that crotchet so characteristic in the lower jaw of the 
hippopotamus. An astragalus, a scaphoid bone, a portion of 
the humerus, another of the femur, a part of the pelvis, also 
exhibit analogous conformations, but of smaller dimensions, 
proportional to those of the teeth. The state of dentition and 
ossification sufficiently proved that this animal was adult, and ' 
consequently belonged to a species distinct from that which in- 
habits the South African rivers. 

Some remains of an animal, which the Baron calls the middle 
fossil hippopotamus, were found in a department of the Maine 
and Loire, in a calcareous tufa, apparently the production of 
fresh water. 

These fragments were not much larger than their analogous 
parts in the little hippopotamus ; but as, in other respects, they 
had no more resemblance to them than to those of the great 
hippopotamus, there is no doubt of their having belonged to a 
diflPerent species ; at the same time their relation to the hippo- 
potamus is sufficiently marked to refer them to that genus. 
Some other teeth were found in France, which seem to indicate 
a species bordering on the hippopotamus, but smaller than the 
swine ; but the Baron did not pass any definitive judgment 
concerning them, for want of other bones. 

The Fossil Rhinoceros. 

Singular as is the genus of the rhinoceros, it is yet less iso- 
lated in the animal kingdom than that of the elephant. It is 
nearly allied in its osteology to the daman, the tapir, and the 
horse ; and among the fossils there are many genera to which 
it exhibits a partial approximation. 

The fossil remains of the rhinoceros, though not quite so 
numerous as those of the elephant, are yet extremely abun- 

G 2 


dant. Both are most generally found together, but the teeth 
of the rhinoceros, being less voluminous, have been less gene- 
rally remarked. These animals have not the enormous ivory 
tusks of the other, which could not fail, in all cases, of attracting 
attention ; and most probably, in many instances, these consti- 
tuted the motive to form collections of elephantine remains. 

Having remarked that the bones of the rhinoceros are gene- 
rally found in the same strata, and very often in the very same 
places as those of the elephant, we may observe, that there 
exist two, or perhaps three, large species, without reckoning 
one or two much smaller than the others. But, says the 
Baron, as this distinction is recent, it would be difficult to 
introduce an historical detail of the particular places where the 
specific bones were found. It will be sufficient to observe, 
that the major part of those which have been found in middle 
and northern Europe, as well as in Asia, belong to the species 
most anciently discovered, in which the nostrils are separated 
by an osseous partition ; that it is only in Italy that fragments 
incontestably belonging to the other species, in which the nos- 
trils are not separated, by bone, have hitherto been discovered ; 
and finally, that we know nothing of the third large species, 
and of the small ones, but by some pieces belonging to each, 
found in a single spot. 

The first specimens of the fossil rhinoceros mentioned by 
writers were found in England, near Canterbury. They are 
described in the Philosophical Transactions, 1701. In the 
number were two teeth of the rhinoceros, which the author of 
the article believed to belong to the hippopotamus. 

South of the Hartz, on the side of Hanover, were discovered 
in 1751 a number of remarkably large bones. They were 
first believed to belong to the elephant, but Hollman showed, 
by comparison with the descriptions of that animal then pub- 
lished, that this could not be the case. The description of the 
skull of the hippopotamus, given, in 1724, by Antoine de Jus- 
sieu, excluded this animal ; and finally, Mickel having com- 


pared one of the teeth with those of a living rhinoceros which 
he saw at Paris, immediately recognized the resemblance, and 
thus the genus was determined. 

Pallas, in 1768, found in the fossil remains accumulated in 
the cabinet of St. Petersburgh, four craniums and five horns 
of the rhinoceros. The most perfect of the four craniums was 
without the teeth. 

Fifteen years after he published a relation of the astonishing 
discovery which he had made in Siberia oi slu entire rhino- 
ceros^ with the skin found buried in the sand on the banks of 
the Wiluji, in 64° north latitude. He adds the description of 
a much more perfect cranium than any of the former, found 
beyond the Lake Baikal. In many other parts of his travels 
he speaks of fossil remains of the same species. 

There are not less of these bones found in Europe than in 
Siberia. Besides those already mentioned, Zuckert has pub- 
lished an account of some discovered at QuedHmbourg in 
1728, in the same place where the pretended unicorn was dis- 
covered in 1663, of which Leibnitz speaks in his Protogea. 
This same unicorn, by the way, was spoken of before Leib- 
nitz by Otto de Guerike, the celebrated inventor of the pneu- 
matic machine. It was found in a calcareous and gypseous 
hill at one league distance to the south-east of Quedlimbourg. 
The bones had been in a great measure broken, until the time 
in which the remnants were collected and deposited in the 
abbatial palace. A sketch was then made of the animal, such 
as it was pretended to have been found entire in the quarry ; 
but a glance is sufficient to show that this sketch was done by 
very ignorant hands, and taken after parts most incongruously 
joined together. The bones of the horse seemed to have 
formed a principal portion of the composition. The bones 
described by Zuckert, being a considerable portion of the 
muzzle, a portion of the humerus, a lower tooth, and an urt- 
guical phalanx, belong, doubtless, to the rhinoceros with bony 
partition of the nostrils. 


In the country of Darmstadt, on the banks of the Rhiney 
were found a cranium, and several other bones, accompanied by 
many bones of the elephant and ox ; another in the department 
of Worms ; and a third by Prince Schwartsburg-Rudolstadt, 
at Cumbach ; of all which Merck makes mention in his letters. 
It would be quite inconsistent with our plan, and not very 
interesting to the reader, to particularize every place in Ger- 
many where such remains have been found. It appears that, 
as early as 1786, there had been fragments of at least twenty- 
two individuals found in that country ; and since that period 
vast numbers of others have been found. 

France has not furnished nearly as great a quantity of the 
remains of the rhinoceros as Germany, or perhaps those which 
have been discovered have not been so universally described. 
It will be sufficient, therefore, to observe, though considerable 
numbers have been discovered, that for the most part, teeth 
excepted, they were rather in a fragmentary state. 

Italy, so abundant in fossils of all kinds, possesses the re- 
mains of the rhinoceros in immense quantities. They are found 
in the Vale of Arno, and most of them appertain to a second 
species distinct from that whose remains are most commonly 
to be found in Germany and Siberia. They principally abound 
in the Vale of the Upper Arno. They are found in the same 
strata as the bones of the elephant and hippopotamus, namely, 
in those clay and sand-hills which constitute, as it were, the 
first step of the mountains. They have also been found on 
this side the Apennine chain, but the most considerable and 
interesting discovery of these bones was made in 1805, by M. 
Cortesi of Pla9enza, on a hill parallel with Monte Pulgnasco, 
where he had also discovered an elephant. 

The skeleton of the rhinoceros was about a mile from that of 
the elephant, and the gangue was the same, though at a much 
greater depth. There was over it at least two hundred feet 
of sand. An entire head was found there, ten vertebrae, four- 
teen ribs, two shoulder-blades entire, and two fore-legs, all 



authenticated to have belonged to a $pecies different from the 

M. Cortesi afterwards discovered two petrified humeri at 
some distance, and a lower jaw, in a state of great preservation, 
on the Monte Pulgnasco itself. 

These bones, as well as the elephant'*s, are in strata filled 
with marine shells. The two last-mentioned humeri are replete 
with oysters, and, singular to relate, close to the lower jaw is 
found the radius of a whale. This would lead us to believe 
that a part of this stratum had been overturned, for the 
cetacea discovered by M. Cortesi were in other beds, and much 
deeper than the last-mentioned. 

In our own country, the remains of the rhinoceros have been 
found in vast abundance : at Chatham, near Brentford, in the 
neighbourhood of Harwich, at Newham, near Rugby in War- 
wickshire, recently at Lawton in the same county, at Oreston, 
near Plymouth, in a cavern, (as we mentioned before) &c., all 
found in the same sort of loose strata, in the blue argilla or 
gravel ; all which Professor Buckland designates as the diluvial 

We may, in fact, conclude that the bones of the rhinoceros 
are found in almost every country where the bones of the 
elephant are found ; that these two kinds of bones accompany 
each other, and are found with the bones of other large 
species ; that almost always they are detected under the same 
circumstances; that their degree of preservation is similar; 
and that they have been placed by the same geological causes in 
the position in which they are found. 

Without entering very minutely into osteological details, we 
shall simply mention that the fossil species are four in number : 
the first was originally called the rhinoceros of Pallas, from the 
circumstance of its having been first described by that cele- 
brated writer. It is the fossil rhinoceros of Siberia, called by 
the Baron Cuvier, rhinoceros tichonnus. We have already 
noticed the fact of this animal having been found in the sand 


on the banks of the Wiluji, nearly entire ; the probability 
that these animals inhabited the places where their remains 
are found ; that they were destroyed by the effect of some 
sudden revolution, or by some change of climate which pre- 
vented their further propagation. The long and thick fur 
with which they were clothed seems to prove that they 
might have inhabited a cold climate, though not one of the 
present temperature of Siberia. 

This rhinoceros was of a considerably greater size than the 
two-horned species of Africa. Its head, extremely elongated, 
seems to have sustained two very long horns, the anterior of 
which was situated on a vast vault formed by the nasal bones, 
and consolidated by an osseous, vertical middle partition, which 
is wanting in the living species. There were no incisors in the 
jaws ; the hair which covered the body was of a brown colour, 
and particularly abundant on the limbs ; while the Indian and 
Cape rhinoceroses are totally deficient of hair in these parts. 
It would also appear that the head is not only absolutely much 
larger, but particularly so in proportion to the height of the 
limbs, and that the general form of the animal was much more 
low and compact than that of any living species. 

So, then, it was owing to some peasants of Siberia that we 
happen to know this species of the ancient world, as exactly 
as we do those of our own times ! With a little more precau- 
tion, the entire body might have been preserved, as well as the 
head and feet. Fortunate, however, it is, that the most essen- 
tial parts of this ancient and singular monument have been 
saved from destruction. 

The second species is the Baron's rhinoceros leptorhiniLS, 
called by other naturalists, in honour of its illustrious describer, 
rhinoceros Cuvierii, Its remains abound most in those parts 
of Italy above-mentioned. It had two horns on the nose, no 
incisors, nor were the nostrils partitioned, as in the last species. 
All these characters are peculiar to the bicorned rhinoceros of 
Africa. But the nostrils, in proportion, were much more 







slender, and the bones of the nose analogously more minute. 
It appears to have been, generally, lighter, more elevated and 
less massive in the limbs than the species with partitioned 
nostrils, and to have had the head less elongated. 

The third species is the rhinoceros with incisive teeth (rhi- 
noceros incisivus). This rhinoceros is a species founded 
solely on the discovery of some incisive teeth in Germany by 
Camper. As neither the fossil rhinoceros with partitioned 
nostrils nor the rhinoceros leptorhinus could have such teeth j 
as their jaws aflPorded no lodgment for them, the Baron has 
assigned them to a third species ; and though he has found no 
other bones which he can positively refer to it, he does not 
hesitate to inscribe it in the list of fossil animals. 

The last fossil species of rhinoceros is the minutus, also 
provided with incisive teeth ; but its size could not much have 
exceeded that of the hog, or one-third of that of the common 
rhinoceros. This species rests on some teeth and divers 
bones belonging to adult, and even old individuals, found in 
1821 at St. Laurent, near the town of Moissac, in the depart- 
ment of Tarn and Garonne, nearly seventy feet deep, after 
having successively penetrated the vegetable earth, a strong 
and compact marl, a bed of gravel, a bed of sandstone, and 
many others of sand and gravel. The stratum containing 
these bones had the appearance of our common river-gravel, 
and also contained the bones of crocodiles and tortoises, and 
many debris of adult rhinoceroses, some of the ordinary size, 
and others two-thirds or one-half less. 

The state of these bones has led the Baron to conclude that 
they may appertain to many different species, differing not only 
in size, b'lt also in many other minute characters, which our 
present limits will not permit us to detail. 

, The Elasmotherium. 

The Elasmotherium is an extinct genus of the pachydermata, 
known unfortunately but by a single piece. M. Fischer, aulic 


counsellor to the Emperor of Russia, observed among the pre- 
sents made to the University of Moscow, (of which he was pro- 
fessor,) by the Princess Daschkaw, a portion of a jaw resem- 
bling that of the fossil rhinoceros, but presenting very peculiar 
characters. He soon perceived that it belonged to a different 
animal, and published an account of it at Moscow in 1808, 
and another in 1809. 

The general disposition of this jaw is nearly the same as that 
of the fossil rhinoceros, and it has, Hkewise, in front, a pro- 
minent part without teeth, but not quite so long as in the 
rhinoceros. The branches where the teeth lay seemed more 
convex. The lower edge forms an almost uniformly elliptical 
curve, and does not form underneath a right line, and then an 
angle, on which the ascending branch rises almost perpendicu- 
larly, as in the rhinoceros. The coronoid apophyses seemed also 
less elevated, and the ascending branch goes more obliquely 
backward. The articular facet of the condyle is transverse, 
rather cylindrical, and a little wider at the external edge, 
nearly like the rhinoceros. 

In this jaw were found four molar teeth, increasing in size 
from the first to the fourth, and the alveolus of a fifth was 
just visible. These teeth are prismatic, like those of the horse 
in his prime, and the bottom of their shaft not yet divided 
into roots. The length of their coronal is double its width. 

, What distinguishes the elasmotherium from all known 
animals is, that the laminae of these teeth form a very elevated 
shaft, which grows like that of the horse, preserving a long 
time its prismatic form, and that they descend vertically 
through the entire extent of this shaft, not dividing into roots 
until after a considerable time, while, in other aninials, they 
unite promptly into a single osseous body which is itself 
speedily divided into roots ; and also that the plates of enamel 
are channelled over their entire elevation, and that their section 
has its edges festooned like those of the transversal bands of 
the molars of the Indian elephant. 


These characters, whatever the age of the animal to whom 
this jaw belonged might have been, or whatever the complete 
number of teeth might have been in the animal's full deve- 
lopement, clearly indicate a distinct genus, and also prove that 
its regimen was more exclusively graminivorous than that of 
the rhinoceros, and more resembled that of the horse and 
elephant. It is also extremely probable that it bore, in other 
respects, very strong relations to the rhinoceros and to the 
horse, and formed, perhaps, an intermediate link between 
these two genera. It appears to have been about the size of 
the former. 

The enamel of the teeth is of a beautiful white and very 
hard. It strikes fire with steel. The osseous substance is 
yellow at the coronal, brown below. It effervesces with acids. 

It is not known in what part of Siberia this precious relic 
of a former world was discovered. 


On the fossil horses it would be useless to dilate. Their 
remains occur in a vast variety of places in the same strata 
with the bones we have been reviewing. This proves that 
they were contemporaneous with those extinct pachydermata ; 
but nothing has as yet been observed respecting them, to 
indicate a distinct species from the existing. The Baron 
merely remarks that the bones are not as large as the bones of 
our large horses, but more approaching the size of those of 
the zebra, &c. 

No well- authenticated remains of the genus of the swine 
have been found, except in the peat and other very recent 
strata, and of course not different from our present races. 

The Gigantic Tapirs. 

These are the first of a series of fossil animals which exhi- 
bited a strong affinity with the existing tapir in the transverse 
hillocks of a part of the molar teeth, and also in their general 


Structure. We shall not pursue the Baron in his extensive 
and luminous survey of the osteology of the daman and living 
tapirs, which, for his purpose, was a necessary introduction to 
the examination of the rest of the ancient fossil pachydermata, 
but would suit neither our plan nor limits. We shall proceed 
. at once to these extinct animals, and endeavour to compress 
our comparisons within as brief a space as possible. 

Remains of these gigantic tapirs have been found in a 
variety of places in the South of France. These remains, 
with the exception of a radius, consist entirely in molar teeth. 
These teeth exhibit the closest affinity to those of the existing 
tapirs in all their forms, but more especially in their transverse 
hillocks ; but they were all of them of dimensions far surpass- 
ing those of the teeth of our living tapirs, and clearly indi- 
cating species of gigantic size. Still it would be necessary to 
find the incisors and canines to establish the complete resem- 
blance of the dentition of these animals to the tapir. For, in 
truth, the tapir is not the only animal possessing the kind of 
teeth above described. The lamantin and kangaroo are in the 
same predicament. In the kangaroo, there are two hillocks, 
and even a line descending obliquely to the external edge, 
exactly resembling a germ of one of the tapiroidian teeth 
above mentioned. The kangaroo also has six molars in youth, 
and the first compressed and triangular. The lamantin has 
nine molars, the first of which only is triangular, the others 
are square, with two crenulated hillocks, just like the tapirs 
in question, and two heels, one before and one behind. 

But the radius which I mentioned before, and which was 
found with some teeth at Carlat-le-Comte, a small town near 
the Pyrenees, was sufficient to determine the Baron to decide 
that the animal to which it belonged appertained to neither of 
the above genera. Its short and rounded form corresponded 
to no animal but the tapir, and its size bears a proportion to 
that of the teeth, nearly analogous to what is observed in 
living tapirs. Besides, the lamantin has this bone much more 


triangular ; and the bone in question, by its thickness, would 
indicate a lamantin of a size much too large to have the cor- 
responding teeth ; for, in the cetacea, all the parts of the 
superior extremity are greatly contracted. To bring the 
radius of the kangaroo into the question would be absurd, 
the slender forms of which are so totally diiFerent, 

Every observation, then, concurs to approximate the animals 
to whom these remains belonged to tapirs; and until it is 
proved that the incisive and canine teeth do not correspond 
with those of this genus, they must be referred to it. 

The Baron uses the name, gigantic tapirs^ in the plural 
number, inasmuch as he observed sufficient discrepancy in size 
in some of the teeth to warrant him in supposing that there 
might have been more than one species. That species to 
which certain of the larger teeth belonged, judging by com- 
parison with living tapirs, especially with that of India, he 
thinks might have been eighteen feet long and eleven feet 
high, equal in size to the largest elephants and to the great 
mastodon of America. The other individuals, whose teeth 
were discovered at Carlat and Cheville, might have been 
somewhat less, but most certainly were very formidable 

It appears that these gigantic tapirs belonged to the same 
era as the fossil elephants and mastodons ; that they lived with 
them, and were destroyed by the same catastrophe: their 
bones are found in the same strata, and sometimes mingled 
with the others. M. Lockhart observes, that at Avary these 
bones were found beyond the valley of the Loire, not inclosed 
in the regular rocky strata ; they were in a bed of sand, im- 
mediately supported by a calcareous fresh-water formation. 
This bed is formed of a very variegated sand, composed of 
small calcareous fragments and rolled quartz, of different sizes 
and colours. This bed is surmounted by the stratum of 
vegetable earth. 


The Lophiodon. 

We now arrive at those numerous ancient pacbydermata, 
whose remains are concealed in the bosom of the earth, and 
which differ more or less from all genera existing at the pre- 
sent day. Accordingly, we find ourselves approaching the 
deeper strata, those more completely covered by marine for- 
mations, and which seem to appertain to eras more remote 
than those in which the animals we have hitherto been survey- 
ing existed. 

The species which constitute the genus lophiodon are not, 
however, so widely removed from the tapirs, though, for the 
sake of precision, the Baron has separated them. Like the 
tapirs, they have six incisors and two canines in each jaw, and 
the greater number of their molars exhibit the same transverse 
hillocks. But in the first upper molars there are not two of 
these, but one. In all, the hillocks are more oblique, and the 
base of the teeth, especially of the last ones, is less rectangular ; 
the molars have three hillocks, instead of two. The anterior 
have hillocks much more unequal ; finally, in some species, 
these more oblique and arched hillocks approach the crescented 
form peculiar to the daman and rhinoceros, and thus conduct 
us by degrees to that most extraordinary genus, the palaeo- 

The remains of the lophiodon have been found in such num- 
bers and variety , and in so many different places, that our readers 
must pardon us if we do not enter very minutely into their 
geographical localities, and other circumstances under which 
they were discovered. They have been found abundantly at 
Issel, a village in France, along the declivities of the Black 
Mountain, in the department of the Aude ; near Argenton, in 
the department of the Indre ; near Buchsweiler, department 
of the Lower Rhine ; along the eastern declivities of the 
Vosges mountains ; at Soissons, Orleans, the Laonnois, and 
the Vale of Arno. 


The generic characters of the lophiodons are as follow : — 
Six incisors and two canines in each jaw ; seven molars in 
each side in the upper jaw, and six in the lower, with an empty 
space between the canine and the first molar, points in which 
they resemble the tapirs. 

A third hillock to the last lower molar. This is wanting in 
the tapirs. 

The anterior lower molars are not provided with transverse 
hillocks, as in the tapirs, but exhibit either a longitudinal series 
of tubercles^ or one isolated conical tubercle. 

The upper molars have their transverse hillocks more oblique, 
and in this respect resemble those of the rhinoceros, from which, 
however, they differ in the absence of crotchets on these same 

The rest of the osteology of the lophiodon, as far as it is 
known, exhibits close relations with the tapirs, the rhinoceros, 
and sometimes with the hippopotamus. But it must be re- 
marked, that many essential points of this osteology are yet 
unknown, particularly the number of toes on each foot, and 
the form of the nasal bones. 

There are twelve species of the lophiodon pretty well deter- 
mined : three found at Issel, the largest of which was again 
found at Argenton ; three other species at Argenton, altogether 
distinct from the former ; two species at Buchsweiler ; one of 
Montpellier ; two of Montabusard near Orleans, the largest 
of which was of gigantic size, being calculated by the Baron 
to have been nine feet (French) in length ; and one in the 
Laonnois. Besides which there was a humerus found in the 
last-mentioned place, and a pelvis in the Vale of Arno, which 
M. Cuvier as yet regards as doubtful. 

The most important point relative to these animals is con- 
nected with the theory of the earth. Their debris, wherever 
it has been possible to authenticate their localities, are enve- 
loped in rocks or earths, exclusively filled with shells of the 
fresh water, and which, consequently, have been deposited in 


fresh water. The animals whose debris are found with theirs, 
are either terrestrial animals, and, like them, unknown; or 
crocodiles, trionyces, and emydes, the genera of which inhabit 
the fresh water at the present day in the torrid zone. Finally, 
in many situations well determined, these strata are again 
covered by strata of an origin indubitably marine. Conse- 
quently, we find this genus of the lophiodon closely united to 
those of the palaeotheria and anaplotheria, and other unknown 
genera yet to be described, and which demonstrate the certainty 
of an anterior state of animal creation, which occupied the sur- 
face of our present continents, and which an irruption of the 
sea overwhelmed, and covered again their debris with rocks of 
a new origin. 

Previously to entering on any account of those more ancient 
races, for whose discovery and description we are exclusively 
indebted to M. Cuvier, it may be as well to take a retrospec- 
tive glance at what we have already done, and present the 
reader with a short recapitulation of this portion of the subject. 

We find, then, that, in the loose or ancient alluvial strata, 
by Dr. Buckland called diluviaU those depositions which fill 
the bottom of our vallies, and cover the superficies of our con- 
tinents, there have been discovered, in the order of the pachy- 
dermata alone, the remains of seventeen or eighteen species : 
one elephant, six mastodons, three, or perhaps four, hippopo- 
tami, as many rhinoceroses, an elasmotherium, one species 
perhaps of the horse, and, at all events, one gigantic tapir. 

Of all these animals^ the horse is the only species that has 
not been clearly proved to be absolutely foreign to the climates 
where these remains are found. 

The mastodons constitute a genus by themselves now un- 
known, but very much approximating to the elephant. The 
elasmotherium is also most assuredly a separate and extinct 
genus. All the others belong to genera now existing in the 
torrid zone exclusively. Four of these genera, the elephant, 
hippopotamus, rhinoceros, and horse, are found only in the 


Old World. The fifth, that of the tapirs, is the only one 
existing in the two continents at the present day. It is only 
in the old continent that the bones of the tapir, the rhinoceros, 
and hippopotamus have been found. In the new have been 
discovered some bones of the elephant ; the mastodon, in one 
species, is common to both. 

The species belonging to known genera are distinct from the 
existing species, and cannot be considered as simple varieties. 
This point is beyond the shadow of a doubt, as regards the 
little hippopotamus, the little rhinoceros, the rhinoceros with 
partitioned nostrils, and the gigantic tapir. It is not quite so 
obvious in the case of the elephant and the other rhinoceros, 
but there are more than sufficient reasons to convince the ex- 
perienced anatomist of the fact. The same conclusion must 
be extended to the great fossil hippopotamus, and, by analogy, 
to the fossil horses, although their remains have not yet fur- 
nished the clearest evidence of specific distinction. 

Such may be considered the osteological result of the re- 
searches that have been made on the fossil pachydermata ; the 
geological consequences are these : — 

The different remains of which we have been treating, are all 
embedded in depositions nearly similar. They are often found 
in company with the bones of other animals pretty similar to 
those which exist at present. These depositions are, for the 
most part, loose and incompact, whether composed of sandy 
or marly substances, and always more or less approximating to 
the surface of the soil. 

It seems probable from this, that these bones were enveloped 
by the last, or one of the latest, revolutions of this globe. 

In a very great number of situations they are accompanied 
with the accumulated debris of marine animals ; in others 
these debris are wanting, and, in some places, the sand or 
marl enveloping the bones contains only fresh-water shells. 

It does not appear, from any account worthy of the slightest 
credence, that they are ever covered by the regular rocky 




strata, which are filled with marine shells. The consequence 
deduced from this is, that the sea did not rest upon them for 
any length of time, and that the catastrophe which over- 
whelmed them was a grand, but transitory, marine inundation. 

It is the opinion of the Baron, as we noticed before in treat- 
ing of the elephant, that this inundation did not rise above the 
higher mountain ranges. Strata analogous to those covering 
the fossil remains in question, he declares are not to be found 
in such situations, nor yet the fossil remains, not even in the 
more elevated vallies, except in some parts of South America. 
It is proper to remark that this opinion has been controverted 
by Dr. Buckland, to whose work we must content ourselves 
with referring the reader, without presuming to decide upon 
the question. 

The bones are generally neither rolled, nor are the skeletons 
found perfect ; they are most usually scattered in disorder, and 
partly fractured. This proves that they were brought from 
no great distance by the inundation ; that they were found by 
it in the places where they are disinterred ; and that the ani- 
mals to which they belonged must have existed in those places. 
In a few instances, as we have seen, the skeletons were disco- 
vered perfect, and even invested with the softer parts, which 
proves the suddenness with which, in those instances, they 
were overwhelmed. 

Previously to the catastrophe in question these animals, then, 
lived in the climates where their bones are disinterred. This 
catastrophe covered with new strata the bones which it found 
scattered on the surface of the soil. It destroyed and buried 
the individuals which it found existing ; and as the same species 
are no longer any where observed, it follows, as a necessary con- 
sequence, that their races were totally annihilated. 

Species of genera peculiar to the torrid zone, existed once in 
the northern climates ; but it by no means follows, that the 
species now existing in the torrid zone descended from these 
ancient animals, gradually or suddenly transported towards 



the equator. They are not all the same, and no well authen- 
ticated fact authorises us to believe that such transformations 
ever take place, more especially in wild animals. Neither is 
there any decided proof that the temperature of the northern 
climates has changed very materially, since the era in which 
those animals existed. The fossil species do not differ less 
from the living, than certain existing animals of the north differ 
from their congeners of the south. There is even proof that 
some of them were destined to inhabit a cold climate, from their 
having had, hke all northern animals, two sorts of hair, and a 
wool next the skin. 

All these results, which hold good respecting the animal re- 
mains discovered in the ancient alluvial strata, will not apply 
to the lophiodons. Most part of their remains, perhaps all, 
appertain to rocky strata of more ancient date. They form, 
too, a connecting link between the tapirs and those more extra- 
ordinary and ancient pachydermata, which it now becomes our 
business to describe. 

CcvrEEiAN Fossil Pachydermata. 

Under this general title we shall describe the remaining ex- 
tinct genera of this order, characterizing them by the name of 
their illustrious and indefatigable describer, to whom all our 
knowledge of them is exclusively due. In doing so, we only 
mean to offer a small tribute of respect to one, to whose labo.- 
rious researches, and invaluable services to the cause of science, 
no language of ours can render adequate justice. 

The Baron declares, that when his attention was originally 
drawn to the subject of fossil osteology, by the accidental view 
of the remains of the elephant and bear, and the idea suggested 
itself of applying the general rules of comparative anatomy to 
the reconstruction and determination of the fossil species, he had 
little notion that he was then treading on a soil replete with 
relics of a far more extraordinary description than any he had 
hitherto witnessed. He httle imagined that his labours were 

H 2 


destined to bring to light so many entire genera of animals, all 
utterly extinct and buried for myriads of ages in the bosom of 
the earth. He had even paid no attention to the partial ac- 
counts given of these remains, in the environs of Paris, by 
certain naturalists, who did not even pretend to determine the 
species, or seem to have suspected that there was any thing 
singular about them Guettard had simply announced their 
existence; Pralon described the strata of Montmartre in a sum- 
mary way, and spoke generally of the bones therein contained ; 
Lamanon gave a partial account of a few bones, as did likewise 
Pazumot. This constituted the amount of all that had been 
done concerning them, previously to the commencement of our 
author's researches. 

His attention was first directed to them by M. Vuarin, who 
presented him with a few specimens, which not a little excited 
his astonishment. He immediately obtained access to the col- 
lections of several gentlemen, and every relic he met with there 
of these bones, excited his curiosity more and more, and deter- 
mined him to proceed in his inquiries. He finally set about 
forming a collection himself from the plaster quarries of Paris, 
and by his liberality to the workmen, and indefatigable zeal, 
he soon succeeded in accumulating an immense quantity of 
materials on which to commence his operations. 

It was more easy, however, to collect the materials than to 
arrange them — more easy to accumulate the bones, than recon- 
struct the skeletons, which was yet the only means by which 
a just idea could be formed of the species. From the first he 
perceived that the species whose remains were found in the 
gypsum were considerably numerous. Soon after he discovered 
that they appertained to different genera, and that the species 
of the different genera were often of the same size, so that the 
relative magnitude would prove rather a source of embarrass- 
ment than of assistance. He had in his possession the mutilated 
and incomplete remains of some hundreds of skeletons, all mixed 
and confused together, and it was absolutely necessary that 



each bone should be placed with those to which it naturally 
corresponded, before any satisfactory result could be obtained 
— a task the stupendous difficulty of which the reader can easily 
appreciate. It was necessary, (to use the eloquent language 
of the Baron himself) that a sort of resurrection in mipia- 
ture should take place ; and he had not at his disposal the all- 
powerful trumpet, at whose sound the scattered fragments 
should re-unite, and each resume its proper place. But stu- 
pendous as was this task, it was yet accomplished. On the 
immutable laws prescribed by nature to living beings, he re- 
constructed those ancient animals, and the voice of comparative 
anatomy was the trumpet of this scientific resurrection. He 
has no language, he says, to depict the pleasure he experienced, 
as he observed, on the discovery of each peculiar character, the 
consequences which he had predicted from it develope themselves 
in gradual succession. Thus, for example, the feet corresponded 
with the peculiarities announced by the teeth, and the teeth 
with those indicated by the feet. The bones of the legs, thighs, 
&c., all proved conformable to the judgment he had formed 
beforehand, from the consideration of other parts. Each 
species, in fact, seemed, as it were, to be reproduced from a 
single one of its component elements. 

The Baron enters into a very minute and detailed account 
of the steps which he was obhged to pursue, in the restoration of 
these monuments of a former age. This, indubitably, is the 
only plan for enabling the reader thoroughly to appreciate the 
difficulty, extent, and value of his labours. By this means, too, 
we are put in possession of the strongest demonstrations of the 
truth and justice of those principles which conducted him to 
his conclusions. This part of his work contains a multiplica- 
tion of examples of the precision with which nature in all cases 
observes the laws of co-existence, and is of inestimable value 
to the natural historian. Such are the researches which have 
raised zoology to the rank of a rational science — which have 
banished from it those absurd and arbitrary combinations. 


dignified with the title of systems, and based it on the natural 
and necessary relations which link together the various parts of 
all organized bodies. 

These researches, also, led to geological conclusions of vast 
importance. They proved that the sea had covered, for a long 
period, all that country in the neighbourhood of the French 
metropolis, and tranquilly deposited there a variety of different 
kinds of strata : it then abandoned it to the fresh water, which 
then expanded over the soil in vast lakes. In these lakes were 
found the gypsum and the marly strata alternating with it, or 
immediately covering it. The peculiar animals, with whose 
bones this gypsum is replete, lived on the banks, or in the 
islands of these lakes, swam in their waters, and fell in there 
when they died. At a more recent era the sea re-occupied its 
ancient domain^ and deposited sand and marl, filled with shells. 
Finally, after its last retreat, the surface of the soil, as well in 
its elevations as its vallies, was again, for a long period, covered 
with ponds or marshes, which have left thick strata of stone, 
abounding with shells of the fresh- water. 

This peculiar stone of fresh-water formation, neglected or 
unknown by geologists, is one of the most remarkable results 
of the Baron's labours. Its existence has since been ascertained 
in almost every part of France, but its alternation with the 
marine strata is no where so evident as in the neighbourhood of 

When animals approximating to those of the Parisian envi- 
rons are found elsewhere, they are invariably in a stratum of 
fresh- water formation, but not always in the gypsum. The 
calcareous depositions of Orleans and Buchsweiler, which con- 
tain such remains, also contain abundance of lacustral shells ; 
and those of Buchsweiler are covered, like the gypsum of 
Paris, with marine coquillaceous strata. This parity of phe- 
nomena proves the vast extent of the catastrophes which pro- 
duced them. 

It may be as well, before we enter on any specific notice of 


these ancient animals, to say a word on the peculiar state in 
which their bones were found in the gypsum-quarries. 

They were either entire or broken, according to the degree 
of resistance which they opposed to the pressure of the strata 
resting on them. The bones of the carpus and tarsus, whose 
interior is solid, were generally found entire, except in cases 
where they must have been mutilated previously to incrustation. 
The femora, the tibiae, and the other long and hollow bones, 
more especially those belonging to the larger species, were 
seldom entire, except in the extremities, which are solid. The 
skulls were generally broken or crushed, or but one half of 
them frequently found. As for the skeletons, those of the very 
small animals were almost always entire, having the ribs and 
frequently the bones of both their sides. In the animals of 
middle size, the ribs of one side alone were to be found, and 
the skeletons of the very large species were almost always 
disunited. The reason of this appears to be that a longer 
time was necessary to incrust them with a coat of plaster of 
sufficient thickness, while a small animal might be incrusted 
before the tendons were rotten and the bones detached. When 
the animal was a little large, and resting on one side, the upper- 
most ribs had time to detach themselves from the skeleton, 
while the under ones were in a process of incrustation These 
bones are scarcely ever worn or rolled, which sufficiently proves 
that they were carried from no great distance. They were occa- 
sionally fractured, and sometimes evidently gnawed, previously 
to being incrusted, which proves that carnivorous animals existed 
contemporaneously with the herbivora in question. Nor are 
they found in a state of petrifaction, but simply fossil, and 
still preserving, after so many ages, a portion of their animal 
substance. On analysis they were found to contain sixty-five 
parts phosphate of lime, eighteen sulphate of hme, and seven 
carbonate of lime, and they still had a portion of gelatine, as 
they were blackened by the action of fire. 

It is astonishing that, in a country of such extent as that 


occupied by the plaster-quarries, more than twenty leagues 
from east to west, that scarcely any bones but those belonging 
to a single family should be found. The remains of the small 
number of species different from this family discovered there, 
are rare in the extreme. It is not to be doubted that the 
number of bones of each species found in the fossil state, bears 
a relative proportion to the number of animals which once 
existed on the soil, for it is impossible to imagine any destruc- 
tive agency, that could have overwhelmed or incrusted in the 
gypsum, the bones of any one species in preference to those of 

In the present state of the globe we find animals of almost 
all families inhabiting the countries which compose all our large 
continents, according to the degree of latitude, and the nature 
of the soil. But this is not at all the case with the larger 
islands of the earth. The actual state of New Holland, in par- 
ticular, may serve to illustrate the probable state of that part 
of France which was once inhabited by these ancient pachyder- 
mata. Five-sixths of the quadrupeds of that island belong to 
one and the same family, namely, the marsupialia. There are 
six genera of these approximating very closely to each other, 
and having nothing analogous in the animal world, except the 
didelphes of the warmer regions of America. To these we 
may add the ornithorhyncus and echidna, which exhibit close 
relations to the pouched animals. The number of species in 
these genera are more than forty, and there are but eight or 
ten species of other mammalia to oppose to them in the whole 

Here, then, we find in a considerable, but isolated, region, 
a proportion in the number of its quadrupeds very similar to 
what appears to have obtained formerly in the country inha- 
bited by those ancient animals. Among a dozen or fifteen 
pachydermata, we find but two or three carnivora. This 
resemblance has led the Baron to conjecture, that, at the era 
in which those animals lived, the country which they occupied 

'/.<■../,; . -^,„'/U^! 

f^f,;//- <^<-////vv 

<S7/f////A i/yf '^// /////<</ // ( ./y/Z/r/ r ///f't^M> 

//Y/^' c^?^^.^^/^^ 



was environed on all sides by the sea, and that, like all the 
greater islands, it possessed its own peculiar population. This 
even holds good with respect to its vegetation : for the debris 
only of plants now unknown in Europe are found in the strata 
of which we are speaking. 

The Baron, in his grand work on the ^' Ossemens Fossiles," 
first gives a geological survey of the environs of Paris, and 
then a very detailed account of the steps which he pursued in 
restoring the skeletons of the ancient animals. It would be 
utterly out of the question for us to attempt to follow him in 
this narrative of his amazing labours. We must limit ourselves 
to giving the results in as brief a space as possible. 

Of the fossil quadrupeds, whose remains were found in the 
plaster-quarries, M. Cuvier has formed two distinct genera 
under the names of Pal^eotherium and Anoplotherium. 
The first approximates to the tapirs, in the number and dispo- 
sition of the teeth, and more particularly in the conformation of 
the nasal bones. The second is peculiarly remarkable in not 
having the canine teeth projecting, and in all the teeth forming 
a continuous series, in the same manner as in the human species. 
Two species only of the palaeotherium furnished a sufficient 
quantity of bones, to enable the Baron pretty nearly to recon- 
struct their skeletons entire, and, consequently, to draw con- 
clusions respecting the forms of these skeletons, respecting those 
of the soft parts, and to advance some probable conjectures 
respecting the mode of living of these animals. The greatest 
number of the other species have only been recognised by por- 
tions, more or less considerable, of heads furnished with teeth, 
or by certain bones of the extremities. The reality, however, 
of these species is rendered incontestable, by the differences 
which their debris exhibit, when compared with those of the 
two restored species. 

The bones of the first species of the palaeotherium were 
found, as we said, in the Parisian calcareous gypsum. Since 
then, other species of the same genus have been found in several 


parts of France, as well as in the different strata in the neigh- 
bourhood of the metropolis. 

The characters of the genus palaeotherium may be thus 
described : Six incisors in each jaw, ranged in one and the same 
line, angular, and tolerably strong ; four canines, one in each 
side in each jaw, conical, and so distant as to cross each other 
when the mouth was closed ; seven molars on the right and left 
in each jaw, the upper of a square form, with four roots and three 
crests on the external side, leaving between them two channels 
— they have a furrow on the internal side ; their coronal, pretty 
analogous to that of the upper molars of the rhinoceros and 
daman, presents, on its external edge, a sort of projecting figure, 
in the form of a W, to which are united internally two oblique 
hillocks, proceeding to the two extremities of the W, leaving 
between them a valley, also oblique, and the entire base of the 
tooth is surrounded by a cincture. The lower molais show their 
enamelled outlines in the form of a double crescent, i. e,, two 
crescents, one at the end of the other, more or less oblique. 
The general form of the head is Hke that of the tapirs ; the 
nasal bones are very short and slender, jutting out only on the 
lower part of the nasal aperture, and very probably having 
formed a point of attachment for the muscles of a small and 
mobile proboscis. The orbital and temporal foramina were 
separated above by a well-marked projection, and the first was 
very small, and less elevated than the second, proving that the 
eye must have been small, and situated low. The zygomatic 
arches rather projected. The cranium was very narrow at the 
elevation of the temporal foramina, which are enormously large. 
The glenoid cavity is level, as in the tapirs. The meatus au- 
ditorius very small, and not elevated, whence M. Cuvier con- 
cludes that the ear was attached very low down. The occipital 
facet was very small, and the crests of the occiput strongly 
projecting. Ribs (in one species. Pal, Minus) true and false, 
fifteen pair; extremities slightly elevated; cubitus distinct 
from the radius ; peroneum distinct from the tibia ; three toes 



on each foot, the middle one the largest, the two others nearly 
equal ; tail of a moderate length. 

The palaeotheria in the environs of Paris, says the Baron, 
do not differ either in teeth or number of toes. It is almost 
impossible to characterize them otherwise than by size. But 
among those which have been found elsewhere there are general 
characters of conformation sufficient for distinction. 

The Parisian species are seven in number. 

The Great Palceotherium (Pal. Magnum.) —This animal was 
of the size of the horse. The head and feet have been restored, 
but the trunk is in a great measure wanting. Of this species, of 
which the Baron has given a figure with the external forms 
he attributes to it, it is easy to form a conception. We need 
only imagine a tapir of the size of a horse, with some dif. 
ferences in the teeth, and a toe less on the fore-feet. Arguing 
from analogy, the hair should have been close and smooth, or, 
perhaps, in no greater quantity than it is on the elephant or 
tapir. It was more than four feet and a half in height to the 
wither, just the height of the rhinoceros of Java. It was more 
squat in its proportions and general figure than the horse. 
The head was more massive, and the extremities thicker and 

The middle-sized V alccotherium (Pal. Medium), was almost 
the size of a hog. The feet were rather long and slender ; 
the bones of the nose were shorter, from which the Baron 
conjectures that the proboscis was more long and mobile than 
in the following species. It resembled a tapir with slender 
limbs, and might have been, in its own genus, something 
analogous to what the babyroussa is among the swine. The 
height to the wither might have been thirty-one or thirty-two 
inches. In addition to the remains of the head were found 
the cubitus, the radius, the fore-foot, the tibia, and the hind- 

The thick-footed PalcBolherium, (Pal. crassum,) — This spe- 
cies, of the same size with the last, had the feet shorter and 


thicker in proportion. It might have been about thirty inches 
in height, and of all the fossil animals of the Parisian gypsum 
most resembled the tapir in its conformation, though inferior 
in size. Of this species there is a head in very great preserva- 
tion, and the superior and inferior extremities. 

The broad-footed Palceotherium {Pal. Latum.) — ^The fore- 
arm and the feet alone were found of this animal, which in 
general conformation seemed exactly opposed to Pal. Medium. 
From the shortness and breadth of its extremities, the Baron 
judges that it must have been singularly slow and clumsy in its 
movements. It appeared to hold a similar place in this family 
with the phascolome among the marsupialia. It was probably 
not more than from four-and-twenty to six-and-twenty inches 
in height, but its proportions were as large, and its members 
as thick, as those of the preceding species. 

The short PalcEotherium {Pal. Curtum.) — M. Cuvier col- 
lected of this species only the head and some portions of the 
feet, by which he judges that it very much resembled thejoa/^- 
otherium latum, but was considerably smaller, not being larger 
than a sheep. 

The small Palceotherium (Pal. Minus) was found almost 
complete at Pantin, and many lower jaws and feet referable to 
it were found elsewhere. The pelvis, the sacrum, and the 
tail remained incomplete, and also the top of the head. But 
the form of the last may be well presumed from the heads of 
the other species. " Could this animal," says M. Cuvier, " be 
as easily re-animated as its bones have been collected, we should 
behold a tapir smaller than the roe-buck, with light and slender 
limbs, for such, to a certainty, was the figure of the animal.'" 

The very small Palceotherium (Pal. Minimum) was only 
about the size of a hare, and had very small and slight feet. 
Nothing has been found of it but some bones of the extremities. 
A fragment of the lower jaw of the palaeotherium, furnished 
with teeth, was found at Puy, in Velay, in a gypsous stratum, 
by M. Bertrand-Roux. But this single fragment was not 



sufficient to convince the Baron of the identity of this palaeo- 
therium with any of those of the Parisian environs. He rather 
inchnes to believe it distinct. In the environs of Mon tabu- 
sard, near Orleans, where, as we have mentioned, the bones of 
lophiodons were found, were also found two species of the 
palaeotherium, different from those of Paris. One must have 
been rather smaller than the 'palceotherium crassum. Some 
other debris, apparently of this species, were found near St. 
Geniez, three leagues from Montpellier. A fragment of a left 
lower-jaw, containing the four last molars, was found at more 
than thirty feet deep, in a coquillaceous, hard, and compact 
stone, which M. Cuvier supposes to be of fresh-water forma- 
tion. Lastly, in the declivities of the Black Mountain, near 
Issel, were also contained the bones of a palaeotherium, ex- 
tremely similar to that of Orleans, and it is not improbable that 
some debris found in this last place are referable to the species 
of Issel. 

These species have been called by the Baron, Pal. Velaunum, 
Pal. Aurelianense^ and Pal. Isselanum. The two last differ 
principally from the others by the lower molars having their 
intermediate re-entering angle divided in two at its summit. 

The Anoplotheria, up to the time in which the Baron's last 
edition was published, were found only in the plaster-quarries 
of Paris. We have noticed, in a preceding part of this article, 
some subsequent detections of them. They have two characters 
not observable in any other animal : feet with two toes, in 
which the bones of the metacarpus and metatarsus remain 
distinct, and are not soldered together as in the ruminantia, 
and teeth in a continued series, without any intervening gap. 
Man alone possesses teeth of this description, whose contiguity 
is uninterrupted by any vacant interval. The anoplotheria 
have six incisors in each jaw, one canine and seven molars, on 
each side, as well above as below. The canines are short, and 
similar to the outer incisors. The three first molars are com- 
pressed, the four others in the upper-jaw are squared, with 


transverse crests, and a small cone between them. In the 
lower they are formed into a double crescent, but without collar, 
or neck, at the base. The last has three crescents. The head 
is of an oblong form, and does not indicate the existence of a 
proboscis. The composition of the tarsus is the same as in the 

This extraordinary genus, to which there is nothing analo- 
gous in existing nature, is subdivided by the Baron into three 
subgenera : the Anoplotheria, properly so called, in which 
the anterior molars are tolerably thick, and the hinder ones in 
the lower-jaw have their crescents with a simple crest ; the 
XiPHODONS,in which the anterior molars are slender and tren- 
chant, and the hinder ones below have, opposite the concavity 
of each of their crescents, a point which, in the course of wear, 
also takes the form of a crescent, so that then the crescents are 
double, as in the ruminants; and the Dichobunes, whose 
exterior crescents are also pointed in the commencement, and 
which have, on their back-molars in the lower-jaw, points 
arranged in pairs. 

The Anoplotherium commune, so called from its remains 
being the most usually found, was an animal about the height 
of a wild boar, but much more elongated in form, and bearing 
a very long and thick tail. Its proportions much resembled 
those of the otter, but on a larger scale. It seems probable 
that it swam well, and frequented the lakes, in the bottom of 
which its bones have been incrusted by the gypsum there 
deposited. There is another, a little smaller, but in other 
respects similar to the last, and called by the Baron, An. Secun- 

As yet but one xiphodon is known. This the Baron for- 
merly called An. Medium^ but has finally given it the epithet 
of ^n. Gracile, from the peculiar elegance of its proportions. 
It was a remarkable animal, of the size and form of the gazelle. 
The lightness of its form causes M. Cuvier to conjecture that 
this species lived after the manner of the deer and antelopes ; 







that its senses were analogous to theirs, and that it was covered 
with hairs somewhat similar to those ruminants. 

There is one ^dichobune pretty nearly the size of the hare, 
and named An. Leporinum. Besides its subgeneric characters, 
it differs from the anoplotheria and xiphodons in having two 
small and slender toes on each foot, at the sides of the two 
great toes. It is not ascertained whether these two lateral toes 
exist or not in the two other dichobunes. They must have 
been very small species, and scarcely larger than the aperea. 

Another genus of the pachydermata, found in the gypsum of 
Paris, is the Ch^ropotamus. This is known only by the 
teeth and some parts of the head. The incisors, if there were 
any, are lost. The lower canine is pointed, and tolerably large. 
Between it and the first molar is an empty space. This molar 
is conical, pointed, and slightly compressed, but by no means 
trenchant, and has two thick roots, which separate as they 
sink into the alveolus. The second is rather more compressed, 
and has also two roots ; and behind its point, which is blunt, 
are other points, much lower, and scarcely projecting, which 
form a second lobe. Then come two teeth, which are tubercu- 
lous. There are four principal tubercles on the coronal, which 
is nearly rectangular. In the middle of these tubercles are two 
smaller ones, and there are some other inequalities about their 
bases. They resemble the third and fourth molars of the 
babyroussa, and these teeth, in general, seem to indicate an 
animal of the swine family. But no known swine has the first 
molar of this conical form, and the pecari alone has a canine 
so small as the chaeropotamus, and is, besides, a smaller animal 
than the individual to whom the teeth we have been describing 

From these and some other fragments, the Baron concludes, 
that the plaster- quarries inclose the remains of an animal more 
approximating to the genus porcus, than the anoplotherium or 
palaeotherium, and which did not yet resemble precisely the 
living swine. He suspects that the dichobunes, whose feet so 


much resembled those of the swine, approached very near this 
new genus, and, perhaps, formed the link between it and the 
anoplotheria proper. 

The Adapis is another of these extraordinary and numerous 
genera. It is only known by some debris of the head. Its 
general form appears to have been something like that of the 
hedgehog, but a third larger. Four incisors were discovered, 
trenchant, and rather oblique, like those of the anaplotherium ; 
then, above and below, a conical canine, thicker and rather 
more projecting than the other teeth ; the upper one a straight 
cone, the lower oblique, and couched forwards ; the alveolus 
of the upper was very deep. The molars appear to have been 
seven in number in each. Six were discovered in the upper 
jaw, the first trenchant, the second surrounded by a crest, 
the third apparently so ; the fourth and two last were like the 
hinder molars of the anoplotherium. In the lower jaw, the two 
first molars are pointed and trenchant, the third similar, but 
longer and wider; the three following were wanting in the 
lower jaw discovered. The last is oblong, and seems to have 
had the tubercles in the form of unequal transverse hillocks. 
The animal might have been about the size of a rabbit, and 
approximated to the anoplotherium. 

The last of these extinct pachydermata is the Antraco- 
THERiuM. Of this genus two species were discovered in the 
lignites of Liguria, at Cadibona, near Savone, and a third in 
the fresh-water formation of the environs of Agen. It is im- 
possible for us to follow the Baron through his account of these 
discoveries and of their osteology. The jaw-teeth exhibited 
considerable analogies with those of the chseropotamus and the 
dichobunes. But besides that these molars presented of them- 
selves specific distinctions, the large and projecting canines with 
which they were accompanied, left no doubt of the existence 
of a new and distinct genus. The first species approached to 
the size of the rhinoceros, the second was considerably smaller, 
and the third rests upon the fragment of a jaw found in the 



2 J{Lc/ <y^^ tc/cyziJ 


department of Lot-et-Garonne which exhibited certain peculi- 

The genus antracotherium, according to the Baron, held an 
intermediate place between the palaeotheria, anoplotheria, and 

This is the place to observe on a very striking fact, which 
the study of the fossils has served to explain. It was an old 
observation of the Baron's, that the order of the pachydermata, 
less abounding in genera than other orders, and in which 
the genera are less naturally connected together, must have 
suffered losses to which those intervals that interrupt its series 
are owing. Accordingly, we find the fossil remains of this 
order in the most immense abundance, developing new and 
singular forms to our observation. The living species bear no 
sort of proportion to the lost. Those shades which approxi- 
mate genera to each other, those intermediate forms, those 
steps from one genus to another, so common in the other 
families of the animal kingdom, are wanting here. It was 
reserved for the science of fossil osteology to recover them from 
the entrails of the earth, among the races which completed the 
grand system of animated nature, and whose destruction has 
produced such wide and striking intervals. Thus we see that, 
without the study of the fossils, zoology itself must have re- 
mained an imperfect science, and the laws of inter-approxima- 
tion, on which natural methods are founded, must have still 
wanted the most complete and satisfactory evidence of their 

Fossil Ruminantia. 

As the species of ruminantia which occur in the fossil state 
have been already so accurately described by Major Smith, in 
that department of the '' Animal Kingdom," the reader must 
excuse me for confining myself altogether to general observa- 
tions on this part of my subject. 

The remains of the ruminantia are excessively abundant 



among the fossils, but their study involves a world of difficulty, 
both in an osteological and a geological point of view. Among 
the living ruminants, the species are by no means easily to be 
distinguished ; for in this family, though so strongly separated 
from all others, the inter-resemblance of its members is so great, 
that naturalists have been forced to adopt parts of comparatively 
little importance as generic characters : the horns, for instance, 
an external character, variable in the same species, according 
to sex, age, and cHmate, in form and in size, and even under 
many of these circumstances totally wanting. 

It is easy, then, to conceive how difficult it is to pronounce 
whether any isolated specimen belongs to an existing species or 
not. If horns, their nuclei, or the frontal bone be wanting, 
our judgments are always liable to doubt and uncertainty. 

The fossil ruminantia are found in the depositions of many 
different eras. The Baron, indeed, states that he discovered 
no remains of this kind in the gypsum of Paris, with the an- 
cient pachydermata there incrusted. But they are coeval with 
the lophiodons, in the calcareous fresh- water formation of 
Orleans, which also incloses the debris of palaeotheria. They 
become exceedingly numerous in the extensive ancient alluvial 
strata where the elephant and rhinoceros are found, even as 
numerous as the bones of horses. The caverns which are filled 
with the osseous remains of carnivora also contain, at times, the 
debris of ruminants. Finally, where they most particularly 
abound is in those apertures which traverse certain mountains 
in the south of Europe, and which are filled with what we have 
already described as the osseous breccia. 

The ruminants, then, were clearly coeval with the other 
mammifera of the ancient world ; and they existed in a nume- 
rical proportion sufficiently great to produce an abundance of 
their bones in various depositions. But this, which holds 
true of the order, does not apply to all the genera which com- 
pose it. The bones of many species of the deer and ox are 
found abundantly among the fossils. But as for the bones of 


sheep, goats, antelopes, camelopards, camels, &c., the Baron 
declares, that in his researches he has been able to meet with 
none. He does not say that, among such abundance of frag- 
ments, there may not be some isolated piece belonging to one 
of these genera, because from such pieces a genus cannot be 
determined ; but he asserts that, in the course of twenty years 
of constant research, both by himself and others, no frontal 
bone, no nucleus of horn, no front part of the jaw, no occiput, 
in short, no bone characteristic of one of these genera has been 
discovered. This could never have happened, had they been but 
a tenth part as numerous among the fossils as the deer or oxen. 

Pallas, indeed, mentions the horn of the antelope among the 
Siberian fossils in the academy of St. Petersburgh ; and at the 
British Museum, Camper took a drawing of a fragment of the 
lower-jaw, which he judged to belong to the camel. But there 
is no authentic testimony that these were genuine fossils, and 
most probably they got into these respective collections by 
some mistake. 

There is nothing in the actual state of the globe which can 
explain the absence of these genera among the fossils. Climate 
will not do it : for the antelopes, like the elephant and rhino- 
ceros, are the natives of warm countries ; and the mouflon, the 
chamois, and the wild goat, hke the ox and deer, are inhabi- 
tants of the north. Nor is it difference of size, for there are 
antelopes superior in stature to the stag, and the wild goat and 
the mouflon are larger than the fossil roebuck ; to say nothing 
of the diminutive rodentia and insectivora, whose littleness did 
not prevent their detection. 

Amongst all these singularities, there is a fact perhaps still 
more singular than the rest. The fossil ruminants appertain 
precisely to the genera and sub-genera at present most common 
in the northern climates ; to the aurochs, the musk-ox, the elk, 
and the rein-deer : while the fossil pachydermata, the elephant, 
the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, and the tapir, are limited at 
present to the torrid zone. 

I 2 


In the loose strata the remains of six species of deer ai*e 
found, one of which at least, namely, that with gigantic antlers, 
has totally disappeared from the face of the earth. In the 
osseous breccia are four others, three of which exist no longer, 
at least in our climates, and bear no analogy to any of the 
tribe at present in existence, except the deer of countries far 
remote from ours. 

The regular rocky strata, which inclose the most ancient 
pachydermata, have also furnished us with one species of deer, 
that of Orleans. It is entirely unknown at the present day, 
and may be said even to exhibit characters of almost generic 

We also find the distribution of this genus in the different 
strata regulated by the same laws as that of the pachydermata. 
There is a most important observation of the Baron's connected 
with this subject ; and that is, that if the fossil rein-deer was of 
the same species as the existing, or had the same habits, its co- 
existence with the rhinoceros in the cavern of Breuges, and with 
the mastodon near Etampes, renders more and more probable 
the opinion that these large pachydermata inhabited the coun- 
tries where their remains have been found. It also proves that 
these countries can have undergone no very great change of 

A similar observation is applicable to the remains of the ox, 
which also accompany those of the elephant. It is clearly 
proved that this genus existed coevally with the pachydermata 
of the ancient alluvion. It appears that there w^ere at least two 
species, one with slender limbs, resembling the auroch, another 
with more massive members, like the domestic ox, or the buf- 
falo. Craniums have been found of the former, and other 
bones, in various localities, which the Baron is inclined to refer 
to the same source ; but as the bones and craniums were not 
found together, it is impossible to speak with absolute certainty 
on this correspondence. It is also to be observed, that the 
distinction between these said crania and those of the European 


aurochs, or the American buffalo or bison, is not yet very clearly 
made out. 

The crania, similar to those of the domestic ox, have not been 
found, authentically verified, except in the turbaries and other 
very superficial formations. It is therefore far from impro- 
bable that they are of more modern origin than the bones of 
the elephant and rhinoceros ; nay, it is far from unlikely that 
they might have appertained to the original wild stock from 
which our native oxen are descended. 

As yet no relic has been found among the fossils which 
resembles any variety of the Indian or Cape buffalo. Con- 
sequently, if the fossils are derived from existing species, it is 
from the species peculiar to cold, and not to hot, climates. 

The crania resembling that of the American musk-ox, hav- 
ing been seen but three times, and on the coast of Siberia, 
there are doubts respecting not only their identity of species, 
but also regarding the question, whether they are truly fossil, 
or might have been transported from America, during the 
thaws, .by currents, on floating ice. 

Bones belonging to 'this genus of ruminants have, as we 
before hinted, been also found in certain caverns, with other 
osseous remains. 

From all the researches which have been made respecting 
the ruminantia, it appears that some species existed in tolerable 
numbers, contemporaneously with the elephant, rhinoceros, 
&c., of the fossil species ; but it still is extremely doubtful, 
that, a few excepted, they can be with confidence referred to 
species no longer in existence. 

The Fossil Carnivora. 

Bones belonging to this order are not found so abundantly in 
the alluvial strata ; but, as we have seen before, they exist in 
immense quantities in the caverns, and are also found in the 
osseous breccia. The Baron has entered very deeply into osteo- 
logical details respecting both the living species and the fossil 


remains, into which, as our limits must prevent our following 
him, we are forced to content ourselves with giving a brief view 
of the discoveries which have been made, and shall consider 
them under the head of each genus successively. We shall 
begin with the 

Fossil Bears. 

The vast abundance of the bones of this animal in the 
caverns of Germany, had long ago attracted the attention of 
the curious, and many authors on the materia medica have 
spoken of them under the title of the fossil unicorn. The 
first truly osteological notice of them was given by J. Paterson 
Hayn, in the *' Ephemerides of curious Matters in Nature,"*' 
in 1672. He describes many of these bones, which he has 
figured respectably enough, under the whimsical title of the 
bones of dragons. Amongst his figures the humeri of two 
species are distinguishable, half a pelvis, a portion of cranium, 
one-half of the lower jaw, an axis, two other vertebrae, and 
some bones of the metacarpus. These bones were found in 
the first cavern of the Crapach mountains, not far from a con- 
vent of the Chartreux, near the river Dunajek. The same 
author mentions, in another place, some more bones found in a 
cavern of Liptov, near the Rag river. 

In the same collection there is another notice of these bon6s 
by H. VoUgnad, who also terms them the bones of dragons, 
and even goes so far as to pretend that true dragons were then 
to be found Kving and flying in Transylvania. There is, how- 
ever, accompanying this notice, a good figure of an entire head 
of our large species of bear, with the convex front. Vollgtiad 
also gives two figures of unguical phalanges, but they belong 
not to ursus, but felis. 

For near a century after we find nothing precise respecting 
these remains, in an osteological view ; nothing, in fact, but 
an occasional notice of their existence by some mineralogist or 
describer of caverns. Some taken from the cave of Schartz- 
fels are mentioned by Mylius ; Leibnitz, in his Protogaea, gives 


three fragments from the same place. Bruckmami, in his 
description of the caverns of Hungary, declares that their re- 
mains do not differ from those of the caverns of the Hartz ; 
and he appears to have been the first who compared them to 
the bones of the bear. 

As a proof the low state of cotnparative anatomy in those 
days, we find Kundmann mistaking two teeth taken from Bau- 
mann''s Hohle, one for that of the horse, the other for that of 
a calf, whereas the first belonged to the bear, and the other to 
the hyaena ; and we find Walch attaching to his figures, of 
half a lower jaw and two canines of ursus, the pleasant obser- 
vation, that they bore a certain resemblance to those of the hip- 
popotamus ! 

Esper''s description of the caverns of Franconia contains a 
great number of exact figures of portions of the head ; and 
though there is no complete head, yet the fragments are suffi- 
cient to distinguish the species from which they come, and 
which may amount to three or four. This writer, however, 
from his superficial knowledge of comparative anatomy, multi- 
plied them far too considerably, making them nine in number. 
Some that belong to ursus he sometimes refers to hyasna, 
sometimes to phoca. There are, however, fragments belonging 
to other genera than the bear ; some, for instance, to that of 
the lion or tiger, one of the wolf, and some of the hyaena. 

M. Esper says, in a subsequent publication, that, having 
procured the head of a polar-bear, he recognised its decided 
identity with those of the caverns ; and M. Fuch, governor of 
the pages of the king of Prussia, declares that, having had 
occasion to see craniums of the fossil and polar-bear together, 
he found the strongest resemblance between them. These 
assertions only prove how easily the most remarkable forms of 
skulls may be mistaken ; for of aU the bears the polar is pre- 
cisely the one that has the least resemblance to the fossil. 

Accordingly, we find that celebrated anatomist Camper, in 
a very early stage of his researches, putting a most decided 
negative on this pretended identity. His principal reason is. 


the want of that little tooth, which the common bears, and the 
polar among the rest, invariably have behind the canine. But as 
there were many other reasons for this negative, and many still 
more convincing, it became a matter of interest that some one 
should employ himself in collecting them. This was done by 
M. Rosenmiiller, an anatomist of Leipsic, first in a Latin 
description, published in 1794, and afterwards in a little Ger- 
man book, called " Materials for the History and Knowledge 
of the Fossil Bones,*" in 1795. He gives a figure of a com- 
plete head of the large fossil bear, with convex forehead, the 
lower jaw of which appertained to an individual of larger size. 
This cranium came from Gaylenreuth. M. Rosenmiiller enters 
into a careful comparison of this cranium with that of the 
brown bear, and with Pallas's description of that of the polar- 
bear. The result of this proves the three animals to have been 
totally different. But the author makes no mention here of 
the other bones of this bear, nor of the other species of ursus, 
with whose bones its remains are intermingled. In 1804, 
however, he published, in French and German, a much more 
detailed description, with very numerous figures, of the fossil 
osteology of the bear. 

Peter Camper seems to have been the first who recognised 
any distinction between the fossil species among themselves. 
His researches were followed up by his son Adrien. M.Blu- 
menbach expressly distinguishes two; that most anciently 
known he calls ursus spelceus, and a second, ursus arctoideus^ 
because he found in it much more resemblance than in the first 
to the brown, or rather black, bear of Europe. These two last, 
as is known, were confounded by Linnaeus, under the name of 
Ursus Arctos. 

Such was the state of ursine fossil osteology up to the first 
publication of Baron Cuvier's work. Though remote from the 
actual localities of these bones, he was fortunate enough, by 
his access to valuable collections, and the assistance of his 
friends, to be soon enabled to treat the subject in a manner infi- 
nitely more complete than any of his predecessors had done. 


It is not only in the caverns that the bones of bears are 
found. Similar remains, though comparatively few in number, 
are found in the loose strata. Many specimens, for example, 
have been found in the Vale of Arno ; but the Baron declares 
them different in species from the cavern bears. 

Dr. Buckland found, in 1820, in the collection of the convent 
of Krems-Munster, in Upper Austria, certain crania and bones, 
which he judges to have belonged to the large fossil species 
with convex chafFron. They had been disinterred from a 
gravel-quarry which had been consolidated into a pudding- 
stone, employed in that part of the country for the purposes 
of building. The bones of bears have also been found in the 
cavern of Oreston, near Plymouth, which we mentioned in an 
earlier part of this essay. 

As to the osteology of the fossil bears, we shall only trouble 
our readers with a few remarks on the teeth and crania, these 
constituting the most material specific characters. 

The teeth of which the caverns of Germany have furnished 
so many myriads, have been clearly proved to have all the ge« 
neric characters of the bear. The first point which indicates 
diiference of species is their magnitude. The largest living teeth 
are either less than, or, at the most, but equal to, the smallest 
fossil; and, in general, one-fourth smaller than the largest. 
This constant superiority was a sufficient indication of a differ- 
ence and a superior size of species, which the other parts have 
since confirmed. Those other parts have also proved, what the 
teeth alone could never do, at least not very clearly, namely, 
that the remains of more than one species of bear existed in 
these caverns. 

These teeth are, in general, less worn, and have preserved, 
their enamel and their eminences better than those of the living 
bears, which proves that the species from which they came were 
more exclusively carnivorous. 

Among the fossil crania, we find the cheek-teeth worn only 
in the oldest and largest subjects. 


But a more marked difference between the fossil and living 
crania, is in relation to the little molar situated immediately 
behind the canine, both above and below, and to the first of 
the molars in the series of the upper jaw. The little molar 
aforesaid is never wanting in the living bears at any age, and 
has never yet been found in the fossil of the large species, 
young or old, in the upper jaw. It exists, however, in the 
cranium of the inferior species lately described by M. Goldfuss; 
nor is it always wanting in the lower jaw of the other. The 
other difference regards the second little molar in the upper 
jaw, which, in the living bears, is immediately situated in front 
of the antepenultimate, and forms, with it, a continued series. 
Its alveolus has been found by the Baron but twice, in frag- 
ments of craniums from Gaylenreuth and Sundwich ; but there 
appears no vestige of it in any other fragment, nor in any of 
the entire craniums seen by the Baron, or any body else. 
From this he concludes, that these bears had usually but three 
cheek-teeth above, in a continued series, and but thirty teeth 
in all ; the living bears have generally thirty- six^ and some- 
times forty. 

Still, however, the circumstance of these little teeth being 
occasionally found at all, seems to prove that the specific cha- 
racter of these bears was, that they lost these teeth early, not 
that they wanted them altogether. 

The most common cranium found in the caverns having 
decidedly all the generic characters, and being in perfect cor- 
respondence with the structure of the teeth, all that remained 
was the determination of the species to which these craniums 
belonged. These species were at least two in number. 

The first is characterized by a prominent and convex chafFron, 
a strong elevation of the forehead above the root of the nose, 
and two convex prominences on this same forehead, while no 
bear has so flat a forehead as the polar, to which, as we have 
seen, the fossil has been absurdly compared. 

These crania are also remarkable for the great projection 


and prompt approximation of the temporal crests, and also for 
the length and elevation of the sagittal, both indications of 
vast force in the crotaphite muscles. Now, in the polar bear, 
these parts are the least strongly developed. In these points 
the black bears, both of Europe and America, more approach 
the fossil ; but they are as remote from it as the others, by the 
flatness of the front of the head. 

In the peculiar serpentine line of the profile, the brown bear 
approaches to the fossil, and so does that other bear, which 
Shaw placed among the sloths ; but, in other points, there is no 
sort of comparison. 

The fossil head measures one-fourth more, from the spine of 
the occiput to the incisives, than the largest of the living heads ; 
one-third more than that of the polar bear. 

These pecuharities might be supposed to attach to the age 
of the individual, but they have been found to hold good in 
subjects that other characters evidently proved to have been 

Other crania have been found equally large, but less convex, 
than the last ; and a third one, smaller, and partaking more of 
the characters of our brown and black bears. 

From all this the Baron concludes, that these caverns have 
furnished three distinct forms of the adult head. Those with 
convex forehead ; those equally large, but flattened, and a 
smaller one, resembling the brown bear. 

It is sufficient to observe, without entering into further 
details, that the entire osteology of the fossil bear justify the 
following conclusions : — 

The most common bones in the caverns belong to this genus. 

The largest of the crania, and some of the other bones, 
present such striking differences, that they must be regarded 
as belonging to species distinct from those of the present day. 

Among these large crania some are less convex, and, most 
probably, belonged to a different species from those which are 
more so. 



Among the other bones, there are decidedly found those of 
at least two species. 

Some bones of one of these more resembled those of our 
living bears, than some of the other. A humerus, &c., in 
particular, were scarcely distinguishable. This was also the 
case with some other small bones belonging to both species. 

The bones of bears are also found in the loose strata. Those 
observed in Tuscany differ from the cave bears^ and approach 
more to the brown. 

To the large species with convex front, the Baron gives the 
name of Ursus Spelceus. The large species with flattened 
front, he hypothetically terms U. Arctoideus, The one with 
small cranium he calls U. Priscus, and the one of Tuscany he 
first named U, Etruscus ; but afterwards, on account of its 
compressed canines, he changed the name to Cultridens, 

The Fossil Hy^na. 

So much is already known and written concerning this animal 
that we must be brief. One hyaena has most assuredly been 
very abundant among those ancient animals which we have 
been describing. Its bones have been found not only in the 
caverns where we have seen the remains of the bear so abun- 
dant, but also in the alluvial strata containing the debris of 
elephants. There are sufficient proofs in print of the very 
ancient existence of some one species of this animal in three 
different places in Germany, in the cave of Gaylenreuth, in 
the sand-hills near Eichstadt, and in Baumann's Hohle. For 
this we have the testimony of figures given by Esper, CoUini, 
and Kundmann, though all three mistook the animal to which 
the bones they figured had belonged. 

Hyaenas^ bones have also been discovered in other parts of 
Germany, and in France ; but by far the most abundant depot 
of them was found in the cave of Kirkdale, which we have 
already noticed. 

The Baron is satisfied, from an examination of vast numbers 


of these bones, that they belonged to a species different from 
those which now exist. 

The habits, however, of this ancient hysena exactly resembled 
those of the modern hyaenas. A passage of Busbequius, de- 
scriptive of their habits, has been quoted by Dr. Buckland : 
" Sepulchra suffodit, extrahitque cadavera portatque ad suam 
speluncam, juxta quam videre est ingentem cumulum ossium 
humanorum, veterinariorum et reliquorum omne genus anima- 

If the Kirkdale hyaenas did not accumulate human bones with 
those of the herbivora abounding there, it is very clear that the 
Imman species did not exist in the time and place in question. 
The bones of hyaenas have been found in other caverns of 
England, such as Oreston and Rugby, with the large bones 
already described, proving the coeval existence of this carni- 
vorous animal with the great pachydermata in our island, as 
well as on the continent. 

It is enough to observe, in a few words, that the fossil hyaena 
was nearly one-third larger than the largest of the existing 
species. In the structure of the teeth it more nearly resembled 
the Cape than the Abyssinian hyaena. The muzzle was also 
shorter and stronger than in either of the last, and the bite 
must consequently have been more powerful. 

We shall conclude by extracting from Dr. Buckland the 
various localities on the continent in which hyaenas'* bones were 

In the caves of Muggendorf, in Franconia, with bears and 

In the Hartz forest, with similar bones, in Scharzfield, and 
Baumann's Hohle. 

At Sundwich, in Westphalia, with the bones of carnivora, 
and some remains of deer and rhinoceros. 

In France near Fouvent, in the department of Doubes, with 
remains of elephant, rhinoceros, and horse. 

At Kostritz, in the valley of the Elster, in Saxony, with 
carnivorous and herbivorous bones. 


At Candstadt, in the valley of the Necker, in Wirtemberg, 
in the same company. 

In Bavaria, on the west base of the Hartz Forest, and in 
the VaP d'Arno. 

In the four last-mentioned places they were embedded in the 
ancient alluvial strata. 

Fossil Felin^e. 

One very large animal, and another less in size, of the genus 
Felis, have left their remains in the caverns and in the loose 
strata. Proofs of this, as far as respects the caves of Hungary, 
we find as long ago as the memoir of Vollgnad, mentioned in 
our last article. Also from the cavern of Schartzfels we have 
a portion of cranium, represented by Leibnitz in his Protogasa. 
According to M. Soemmering, this cranium entirely resembled 
that of a lion of middle size, and differed in no less than thirty- 
six points from that of the cavern bears. But most of these 
have as much relation to the genus felis in general, as to the 
lion species in particular. 

In Esper's figures from Gaylenreuth, there is one-half of the 
upper jaw and many teeth easy to be recognised as belonging 
to felis, and the resemblance of which this author himself had 
recognised. M. Rosenmiiller, in his treatise of the bear, men- 
tioned before, announced that he should soon publish a work 
containing a description of the bones of an unknown animal of 
the Hon family, and adds, that those bones appeared not exactly 
to resemble those of the existing lion. M. Goldfuss, in his de- 
scription of the environs of Muggendorf, has given a figure of 
a complete head, evidently of the feline genus, but of an un- 
known species. He says that in Gaylenreuth the isolated bones 
and teeth of felis are not more rare than those of hyaena. 
In Kirkdale, Dr. Buckland only found two teeth, between 
which and those of the existing lion the Baron can discover no 

The Baron, as we have said, has decided on there having 


been two extinct species of felis. The first and largest he calls 
Felis Spelcea, the second and smaller Felis Antiqua, It is 
totally unnecessary, and it would be quite uninteresting, for us 
to enter into the osteological distinctions of those from the 
living felinse, which differences, though sufficient for the natu- 
ralist, would not, perhaps, be deemed very striking by the ge- 
neral reader. It is sufficient to remark, that M. Cuvier has 
discovered in these remains a closer analogy to the jaguar than 
to any other living felis. 

The rest of the fossil carnivora may be soon despatched. 
Bones of the wolf, the fox, the glutton, the weasel, the genet, 
and other small carnivora, have been found in the same situations 
as the animals we have been describing. It must be observed, 
however, that in no case have these bones been clearly esta- 
blished as belonging to species distinct from those now existing. 
Neither can we say that, in every instance, identity with the 
existing species has been proved. It is certain that these bones, 
be they what they may, are in the same state with those of the 
bears, the hyaenas, and the felinse ; they have the same colour, 
the same consistence, and are similarly embedded. Every 
thing indicates that they must all be referred to the same era, 
and that they were all overwhelmed by the same catastrophe. 
The differences between them and their living congeners prin- 
cipally consist in relative magnitude. Two teeth were found 
at Avary, in France, with the bones of the mastodon, rhinoce- 
ros, and tapir, which seemed to prove the ancient existence of 
canis ; but one of gigantic size. The Baron calculates, that it 
could not be less than eight feet from the extremity of the 
muzzle to the root of the tail, and at least five feet in height to 
the shoulder. But, in general, it may be said of these animals 
that the resemblance to the living species is much stronger than 
the difterences. The same observation is applicable to the 
same genera of carnivora whose remains were found near Paris, 
with few exceptions. One large animal, however, of this order 
was there found approximating to the racoons and coatis, but 
certainly not referrible even to any known genus. 


But the most remarkable of this order discovered in those 
rich depositaries of the earlier works of animated nature, the 
gypsum-quarries of Paris, was a small species of Sarigue, an 
animal the family of which is now confined to the tropical re- 
gions of the New World, and to that newer world, Australasia 
The reflections of the Baron on this head are so just and strik- 
ing, that we cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of a short 

*' The rich collection of the bones and skeletons of an ancient 
world, which nature appears to have assembled round our city, 
and reserved for the instruction of the present age, is doubtless 
a most striking phenomenon. Some new relic is discovered 
every day; every successive day presents new materials for 
astonishment, and additional demonstration that nothing which 
once constituted a part of the past population of our soil 
constitutes a part of the present. There is little doubt, too, 
that proofs of this description will multiply in proportion as 
more interest is taken in, and more attention given to, their 
production. There is scarcely a single block of gypsum in 
certain strata that does not contain bones. How many millions 
of these bones have been destroyed since those quarries first 
began to be worked, and the gypsum to be used as materials for 
building ! How many, even at this present moment, may not 
be destroyed by negligence, and how many, by their minute- 
ness, may escape the eye of the most attentive collectors ! 
The fragment in question is a proof of this. The lineaments 
imprinted in the gypsum are so slight, that it requires the very 
closest inspection to be enabled to trace them ; and yet how 
valuable are such lineaments ! They bear the impression of an 
animal, of which we find no relic elsewhere, in the same district ; 
of an animal which, buried perhaps for myriads of ages, now 
re-appears for the first time to the eye of the naturalist." 

The impression of the skeleton was found nearly complete 
on two stones, one covering the other, and thus dividing it, as 
it were, between them. The animal is there, or its outlines 


rather, nearly in the natural position. That it belongs to the 
genus of the sarigue, now exclusively appropriated to America, 
the Baron has proved, by a long and scientific comparison of 
it with the different genera of this numerous and extraordinary 
family in both America and Australasia. But whether it is an 
extinct or a living species he has not, from our imperfect know- 
ledge concerning this family in general, been able completely 
to determine. He is, however, decidedly of opinion, that it 
belongs to no species of that family of which we know suffi- 
cient to furnish data for a satisfactory comparison. 

Fossil Rodentia. 

It does not appear that this order bore a less relative propor- 
tion to the other animals of former worlds, than it does to the 
population of the present. The majority, however, of the spe- 
cies were small, as are those of the present day, and it is only 
under peculiar circumstances that their remains have been 
remarked and collected. In fact, they have been generally 
found incrusted in stones, or in such concretions as have pre- 
served them from decay. The genus of the castor alone seems 
to have, from its magnitude, escaped destruction under other 
circumstances, and some remains of it have been discovered in 
the loose strata. 

We shall simply notice, without dwelling on them, that two 
species of the rabbit have been found in the osseous breccia 
of Gibraltar, Cette, and Pisa ; remains of the lagomys in that 
of Corsica and Sardinia ; and of the campagnol in that of 
Sardinia, Corsica, and Cette : besides two species of the loir, 
or dormouse, in the plaster-quarries of Paris. Without enter- 
ing into any specific account of these, we shall at once proceed 
to the fossil rodentia of other localities. The small bones of 
the caverns have been generally too much neglected. This, 
however, has not been the case with the cave of Kirkdale. Dr. 
Buckland, in his account of that, particularizes the bones of 
rabbits, of campagnols, and of mice found in this cavern, 



Those of one species of campagnol (the hypudaus), about the 
size of a water-rat, are there in the most immense abundance. 
In these bones the generic characters of the campagnol, more 
especially of that particular subdivision to which the water-rat 
belongs, are easily to be recognised. Still, with the exception 
of the jaws and teeth, all the other bones are somewhat smaller, 
which causes the Baron Cuvier to consider the species as not 
the same. This campagnol of Kirkdale is found, on compa- 
rison, considerably smaller than those of the osseous breccia of 
Sardinia, Corsica, and Ceuta. 

There are also in this cavern campagnols of another species, 
not exceeding in size the mus arvalis. There are also teeth 
found there which indubitably appertain to the genus of the 
rat, properly so called. There are, besides, some bones which 
Dr. Buckland gives as those of the rabbit, but M. Cuvier is 
more inclined to think (if not of an unknown species) to belong 
to the hare. 

In the turbaries the bones of castors have been found, but in 
such formations scarcely any but the bones of indigenous ani- 
mals are preserved. This animal formerly inhabited all the 
great rivers of Europe, as it does many of them still. It is 
not, therefore, surprising that its bones should be found in peat 
formations, and preserved by the same causes by which the 
aquatic mosses are preserved there. This proves nothing with 
respect to the antediluvian existence of this genus. 

In the loose strata, however, near the sea of Azof, in the 
neighbourhood of Taganrok, was found the head of a castor, 
apparently of a lost species. M. Fischer, indeed, attributed it 
to a lost genus, which he named Trongotherium. 

The teeth and all the forms of this head possess the characters 
of the castor, but the head is about a fifth larger than our 
European castors, which exceed the American in size. In the 
whole order rodentia no animal has a larger head, except the 
cabia. Another head was found near the lake RostofF, infe- 
rior in length, incontestably belonging to a castor, and fully 


agreeing in all the details with the existing castors. The stra- 
tum in which it was found is unknown. 

It is singular enough that among the innumerable fish that, 
in various situations, fill the laminae of the calcareous and 
marly schists, are found, though very rarely, some viviparous 
quadrupeds belonging to the order rodentia. 

The most numerous and considerable have been taken from 
the celebrated quarries of GEningen, where it was for a long 
time imagined that no animals were incrusted but those indige- 
nous to the country. 

Three species of rodentia have been drawn from thence: 
one is the domestic mouse, of which M. Karg assures us he 
has found several individuals. Another is the muscardin, 
of which there is one individual in the cabinet of Mersbourg : 
it is five inches long, but its limbs are wanting, and is so 
bent and compressed, that its determination is next to im- 

There is a third preserved in the collection of M. Ziegler, at 
Winterthur, which is thought to be an aperea. In short, we 
we may with safety say that, concerning these rodentia of the 
fissile strata of CEningen, nothing can be learned with the least 
certainty. Let us pass on to the 

Fossil Edentata. 

As yet but one genus, and, at most, but two species, belong- 
ing to this order have been discovered in the fossil state. But 
this genus has the closest and strongest analogy with the living 
genera of the edentata. The animals of which we are about 
to treat belonged to the family of the Tardiguada, constitut- 
ing a distinct genus, to which M. Cuvier has given the name 
Megatherium. It comprehends two species, the megaihe- 
Hum, properly so called, and the megalonyx. 

The skeleton of the first of these animals is known almost 
entirely, and its examination proves that it had more analogy 
to the sloths than to any other living beings, especially in 

K 2 


regard to the system of dentition, to the form of the head, and 
the composition of the extremities. 

As for the megalonyx, but one tooth and a few bones be- 
longing to the limbs have as yet been collected ; but those relics 
are sufficient to prove its approximation to the megatherium, 
though it must be considered specifically different. 

Both were at least as large as the ox. Their limbs were 
robust, and terminated by five thick toes, of which only some 
were provided with an enormous claw, arched and crooked like 
the claws of some tatous, ant-eaters, and bradypi. The mega- 
therium, of which a clearer idea may be formed than of the 
megalonyx, had a small head, short muzzle, terminated, per- 
haps, by a short proboscis, the mouth furnished only with 
molars, whose coronals were marked with transverse hillocks. 
The neck was moderately short; the body voluminous and 
heavy ; the limbs extremely robust, and the anterior ones pro- 
vided with powerful clavicles. Recent observations seem to 
prove, that if it had analogies with the bradypi, in the forms of 
the head and dentary system, and with the ant-eaters in the 
conformation of the extremities, it also resembles the tatous in 
the nature of its teguments. Its skin, thick and, as it were, 
ossified, was divided into a number of polygonous scales, ap- 
proximating one to the other, like the pieces which enter into 
the composition of mosaic work. 

The form of the molars, and the size of these animals, seem 
to indicate that they fed on vegetables and roots. The confor- 
mation of their limbs shows that their walk must have been slow 
and equal. Their debris have been found only in America. 

The megatherium, sometimes called the animal of Para- 
guay^ was discovered towards the end of the last century. 
The skeleton, almost entire, was found nearly at one hundred 
feet of depth, in excavations made in the midst of an ancient 
alluvial stratum, on the banks of the river of Luxan, a league 
south-east of the town of the same name, which is three leagues 
west-south-west of Buenos Ayres. It was sent to the museum 


of Madrid in 1789. A second skeleton, less complete, forming 
part of the same collection, was sent there from Lima, in 1795. 
A third has been found in Paraguay. Bru put together at 
Madrid the skeleton of Buenos Ayres, and had some good 
figures of it engraved. M. Cuvier, on the examination of these 
figures, unfolded the affinity of this animal to the sloths and 
other edentata. Afterwards, Garriga, who translated Cuvier' s 
article into Spanish, added to it the original and very extended 
description given by Bru. The Baron has left nothing want- 
ing on the subject in his '^ Ossemens Fossiles."" 

Many other writers have treated concerning this animal. 
Abildgaard, who knew nothing of the researches of Cuvier, 
did yet, like him, refer the megatherium to the edentata, or the 
bruta of Linnaeus. Shaw more tardily adopted this opinion, 
which Lichtenstein and Faujas combatted without success. 
After that, for a long space of time, nothing was added to our 
knowledge of this fossil animal, until Don Damasio de Laran- 
haia acquainted the Philomathic Society with the discovery of 
certain parts of the head analogous to that of the tatou, and 
which appeared to have belonged to the megatherium. 

The general forms of the head of the megatherium resemble 
considerably that of the bradypi. But the most striking trait of 
resemblance consists in a long descending apophysis, flattened, 
and situated at the basis of the zygomatic arch. This arch is 
entire, while in the bradypi it is interrupted behind. The 
under part of the lower jaw has on each side a very remark- 
able projection, to which there is nothing analogous but in the 
lower jaw of the elephant, though there it is much less per- 
ceptible. The symphysis is considerably elongated, which 
renders the muzzle much more projecting than that of the ai 
or unau. The bones peculiar to the nose being very short, 
it is suspected that the animal might have had a trunk like 
those of the elephant or tapir. But, if so, this trunk must 
have been short, as is indicated by the length of the neck. 
There are neither the usual incisors, nor tusks, nor canines. 


The molars, four in number on each side of the jaws, approxi- 
mate to each other, are prismatic and squared, and the coronal 
exhibits two transverse hillocks, separated by a furrow. The 
bradypi have the molars separated, and preceded by a canine, 
in the form of a pyramid with three faces. 

The cervical vertebrae appear to have been seven in number, 
like the unau, and not nine, as in the a'l ; sixteen dorsal ver- 
tebrae have been collected, and, consequently, sixteen pairs of 
ribs. There are three lumbar vertebrae, and the caccygian, 
the knowledge of which is owing to Don Damasio, seem 
tolerably numerous. The bones of the ilia form a semi-pelvis, 
rather wide, which indicates that the belly was large. The 
pubis and the ischion are wanting in the skeleton of Madrid. 

The anterior extremities are longer, but more slender than 
the posterior, but have not the immeasurable length of those 
of the ai, nor even of the unau. The femur is thicker than 
that of any known animal, and its length is only double its 
greatest thickness ; the tibia and the peroneum, also very thick 
and short, are cemented at their two extremities ; the shoulder- 
blade has the same proportions as those of the bradypi ; the 
existence of the clavicle, and the length of the phalanges of the 
unguiculated toes, proves that the anterior extremities might 
have been used for grasping, and even for climbing. The 
humerus is very wide in its lower part, in consequence of the 
great development of the crests to which the motores muscles 
of the toes are attached. The radius, distinct from the cubi- 
tus, had the power of rotation upon it. On the olecranon was 
a projection considerably marked. The hand which leant al- 
together on the ground, had the metacarpus very short, and 
composed of separate bones. The three middle toes, very thick 
and long, are terminated by an enormous unguical phalanx, 
the extremity of which is composed of an arched and conical 
axis, which sustains a claw, and of a deep sheath, which in- 
closes the base of this claw, and strengthens it. The two lateral 
toes are shorter, appear to have had no claw, and were doubt- 



less rudimentary. The hind feet are smaller than the fore, 
and are articulated with the tibia by a broad astragalus, in a 
manner much more oblique than in the bradypi. In the 
Madrid skeleton, but one of their toes is provided with a claw 
at all comparable to those of the fore-feet. Next this toe are 
two external rudimentary ones, and there is none visible on 
the interior side. M. Cuvier suspects that these feet are not 
completely reconstructed ; for it is a rule without any excep- 
tion, that all unguiculated animals have five toes, either visible 
or rudimentary. There is reason, then, to believe that the two 
internal toes are wanting, and it is possible that all were pro- 
vided with claws. According to the measurements reported 
of the different parts of the megatherium, it must have been 
pretty nearly about the magnitude of the rhinoceros. 

The megalonyx was thus named by Mr. Jefferson, the 
celebrated President of America, who was the first describer 
of some of its bones, in the thirtieth number of the " Transac- 
tions of the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia." It has also 
formed an object of the Baron's researches. 

Its debris were found, for the first time, at a depth of two 
or three feet, in one of the caverns of the calcareous mountains 
of Green-Briar, in Western Virginia. They consist of bones 
of the extremities, particularly a fore-foot, the forms of which 
are almost absolutely identical with the analogous parts of the 
megatherium ; but these bones are one-third smaller, though 
they bear evident marks of having belonged to an adult subject. 
A tooth, reported to be American by M. Palisot de Beauvois, 
has been recognised by Cuvier to be precisely and rigorously 
the tooth of a bradypus. It was a simple cylinder of osseous 
substance, enveloped in a case of enamel. Its coronal was 
hollow in the middle, with projecting edges ; as to the form of 
this tooth, the megalonyx differed remarkably from the mega- 
therium, in which the coronal of the molars is marked with 
transverse hillocks. 

In his memoir on the megalonyx, M. Cuvier has given tlie 


most minute details on the forms and relative localities of these* 
different debris. He has taken particular pains to prove the 
resemblance which they exhibit to the analogous parts of the 
ant-eaters and bradypi, and has discussed and refuted the 
opinion of Mr. Jefferson and M. Faujas, who considered the 
megalonyx as a large carnivorous animal with acerated claws, 
and probably appertaining to the genus felis. He has particu- 
larly compared the unguical phalanges of the lion with those of 
the megalonyx, and shown that their difference is enormous, 
while between the latter and those of the edentata there is the 
strongest analogy. 

Some time since, Mr. Clinton, of New York, attempted to 
prove that the debris of the megalonyx belong to the living 
species of the large gray bear of America. But he docs not 
support this opinion by an exact and detailed comparison of 
these debris with their correspondent parts, the only process 
from which any just result can be expected. He confines 
himself to remarking that the bones of the megalonyx are not 
really fossil, because they have been discovered at a little depth 
in the loose earth, in some caverns of the United States. That 
the size of the megalonyx was nearly the same as that of the 
gray bear ^ (the magnitude of the ox!); and that the last- 
mentioned animal must have the unguical phalanges ex- 
tremely robust, to support the enormous claws with which it is 

If the gray bear differed no more from other bears in the 
conformation of the bones of the extremities, than they differ 
from each other, which is extremely probable, this opinion of 
Mr. Clinton's would be totally overturned by a simple compa- 
rison of these bones with the extremities of the megalonyx. 

To sum up : M. Cuvier approximates the megalonyx to the 
megatherium, and considers that these two animals must have 
constituted an intermediate genus between the bradypi and 
ant-eaters. He considers them both as herbivorous, and the 
megalonyx especially as herbivorous after the manner of the 


sloths, since its teeth were conformed precisely like theirs. 
From the resemblance of their feet he concludes that their gait 
was similar, their movements alike, with the differences that so 
considerable a volume of body in the one might have occa- 
sioned. Thus, he observes, the megalonyx could but seldom 
have climbed up trees, because it must rarely have found any 
sufficient to support its weight. This difference of habit from 
the bradypi, he considers no more surprising than what is found 
to exist in the habits of animals of the genus felis, the small 
species of which, such as the wild-cat and the lynx, climb trees 
with facility, while the larger ones, such as the lion and the 
tiger, rarely, if ever, do so. 

Before we altogether dismiss the fossil edentata, it is neces- 
sary to notice an unguical phalanx, which appeared to have 
belonged to some unknown animal of this order, probably of 
the genus of the pangolin, but like the megatherium, of gigantic 

Those who understand the laws of comparative anatomy, 
and have thoroughly studied the researches of the Baron, must 
be satisfied that this single fragment is sufficient to prove that 
animals, unknown at the present day, existed in more ancient 
eras, and that some catastrophe has caused them to disappear 
from the countries which they inhabited, and, in all probability, 
annihilated them throughout the entire globe. 

The knowledge of this fragment, the Baron says, he was but 
recently indebted for to M. Schley ermacher, librarian and pri- 
vate secretary to the Grand Duke of Hesse, who sent him a 
model of it in plaster. It was found, with many bones of 
rhinoceros, mastodon, hippopotamus, and tapir, near Eppels- 
heim, a canton of Alzey, in that part of the ancient palatinate 
which at present belongs to the Grand Duke of Hesse, in a pit 
of sand and gravel, supposed to have been accumulated by the 
alluvions of the Rhine. 

On the first view, this fragment exhibits two very distin- 
guishing characters of the order edentata. Its hinder facet for 


the articulation with the last phalanx but one, is after the fashion 
of a double pulley, hollow on each side, with a projecting crest 
in the middle, which constitutes a serrated gynglymus, as in the 
edentata. The concave arch formed by this pulley goes more 
in the rear of its upper part, which prevents the phalanx from 
straightening again as in the felinae, but forces it to bend under- 
neath, as in the edentata. These characters clearly prove it to 
be an unguical phalanx of this order. 

There are two others, which as clearly determine the genus. 

1. On the unguical phalanges of the ant-eaters is a furrow, 
indicating a disposition to bifurcation ; but the pangolins alone 
have this bifurcation decidedly marked, and deepening verti- 
cally through the entire elevation of the bone, as far as the 
middle of its length. Now, the fossil bone has this bifurcation 
still more strongly marked. Though one of the branches of 
the fork is broken towards the root, yet the entire bottom of 
the fissure which separates them is visible, and it must have 
occupied more than half the length of the bone. 

2. The unguical phalanges of the pangolins want those 
osseous sheaths which, in the sloths, and partly in the ant- 
eaters and the tatous, rise on the sides of the base, and envelope 
the root, of the claw . The largest of these unguical phalanges 
is marked by nothing but a slight enlargement under the base, 
which forms on each side a small longitudinal edge. The fossil 
bone is precisely similar ; no osseous sheath is visible upon it. 

Thus we find that this bone has nothing analogous in nature, 
excepting the correspondent parts of the pangolins ; and from 
all the laws of co-existence, no other conclusion can be drawn 
but that the animal which possessed it belonged to the same 
genus with these quadrupeds. Nor was this the largest of the 
unguical phalanges, for it has not the slight edges of the large 
phalanges of the pangolins — the under part of the base is only 
a little rugous and inflated. The holes through which the 
larger vessels pass are not pierced underneath, but towards the 
bottom and hinder part of each lateral facet. 


It is impossible to establish an exact comparison of the size 
of this animal with that of the pangolin, without knowing to 
what foot and what toe this unguical phalanx appertained. 
But supposing it to have belonged to the second or fourth toe 
of the hind foot, the fossil animal must have been more than 
eight times the size of the adult pangolin ; and supposing the 
general proportions of both to have been nearly analogous, the 
former must have been four-and-twenty feet in length. 

It is impossible to avoid remarking here, not can it be too 
often impressed on the mind of the reader, how scientific a 
character fossil osteology has received under the hands of 
Cuvier. We find, from the instance just now mentioned, 
that a single fragment, certainly of a characteristic part, is 
sufficient to determine the order and genus of an animal with a 
precision amounting almost to mathematical certainty. We 
arrive, too, by the same means, at least to a strong probability 
regarding the dimensions of the skeleton ; — a probability suffi- 
cient to warrant the inference of a specific distinction : for, in 
wild animals not subject in, by any means, the same proportion 
to those varieties which domestication induces, a considerable 
discrepancy of size furnishes a sufficient basis for a distinction 
of species. 

Fossil Marine Mammalia. 

We now arrive at the last order of this class, in considering 
the fossil remains of which we will, after the example of the 
Baron, though contrary to the order observed in the Animal 
Kingdom, make some preliminary remarks on the 

Fossil Phoc^. 

It was natural enough, at a time when all the kinds of strata 
were confounded together, and all considered as the produc- 
tions of the sea, to attribute to marine animals the osseous 
remains so abundantly found in certain formations. Accord- 
ingly we find the describers of fossil bones continually referring 


them to the genus of the seals. But at present, when it is so 
amply demonstrated that the mammiferous remains inclosed in 
such a variety of different strata belonged to land animals, we 
must expect to find among them very few debris indeed of the 
marine genera. 

In truth, nothing is more rare than the bones of seals and 
lamantins among the fossils. No remains of the morse, clearly 
established, have been found ; and if there are rather more of 
the larger cetacea, they are always found, like those of the 
lamantins and phocae, in strata evidently of marine origin, with 
bones and teeth of the usual fishes, and shells, or simply in 
alluvions very recently abandoned by the sea. 

The only well-authenticated remains of phocae have been 
found in the neighbourhood of Angers. They consist in the 
upper part of a humerus, and in the lower part of another of 
smaller size. They bear all the characters of the genus, and 
the first seems to have belonged to a phoca, about twice and a 
half as large as vitulina, and the second to a smaller one. 

Fossil Lamantins. 

Some debris of fossil bones have been found, which the 
Baron Cuvier has recognised to belong to this genus. The 
principal portions have been discovered by M. Renou, in a 
very coarse shelly limestone, of which a part of the hillocks 
bordering the river of Layon, in the department of the Maine 
and Loire, is composed. These debris consist of fragments of 
the head, anterior extremities, and ribs, and they were accom- 
panied with other fragments which appeared to have belonged 
to the bones of phocae and cetacea. All these bones were 
changed into a ferruginous reddish limestone, which was found 
to contain some fluate of lime. 

These debris of lamantins diifer sufficiently from the ana- 
logous parts of the known species, to justify the inference of 
specific distinction. It would also appear that they belonged 
to a lost species, hke all the mammalia found in similar marine 


depositions. This species seems to have been remarkable for 
its size, and the peculiar forms of the head. 

Other debris of lamantins, not so well characterised, con- 
sisting of remains of ribs, have been found by M. Dargelas, at 
Capian, about fifteen leagues from Bourdeaux. They were 
also in a marine coarse limestone, and had suffered the same 
change as the former. 

Some more fragments of ribs of lamantins were found at 
Marly, enclosed in the plastic argilla which is generally found 
above the chalk formation, wherever it exists in the environs of 

They have also been found in a few other localities, which 
it would be superfluous to enumerate. 

It is quite certain, however, that an animal of this genus, 
now proper to the torrid zone, inhabited the ancient sea which 
covered Europe with its shells, at a period subsequent to the 
chalk formation, but anterior to that of the gypsum in which 
the ancient pachydermata were found. 

Fossil Dolphins. 

A dolphin, approximating to the grampus and globiceps, 
was discovered by Cortesi, on the acclivities of the Apeninnes, 
to the south of Fiorenzuola^ in 1793. The skeleton was found 
almost entire, in a bluish argilla, filled with marine shells. 
The head was nearly complete, and also one of the branches of 
the lower jaw. Even the bones of the ear were in their proper 
places. There remained thirty-three vertebrae ; twenty ribs, 
thirteen of one side and seven of the other; three quadrangular 
bones, supposed to belong to the sternum ; and some small 
bones, more or less mutilated, which M. Cortesi supposed to 
appertain to an anterior extremity. 

There were twenty-eight teeth in each jaw, fourteen of a 
side, in all fifty-six. It does not appear that any grampus or 
globiceps possesses an equal number. The largest of these 
teeth were two inches long. 


In other points this fossil dolphin differed essentially from 
the congeners we have named. The head was much more 
narrow in proportion to the length, the muzzle much longer in 
proportion to the cranium, the orbit smaller, and the indention 
before the nostrils more narrow and more hollowed. 

In the dimensions of the other parts similar differences ex- 
isted, and M. Cortesi calculates, with great probability, that 
the animal was nearly thirty feet long. 

On the whole, the Baron concludes that it belonged to a 
species different from those of any of the genus now existing. 

Another dolphin, with a peculiarly long symphysis of the 
lower jaw, was discovered in the falun of the department of 
Landes, at Sort, a village two leagues from Dax. This falun 
is very abundant in shells and other marine productions. 

A tolerably complete jaw of this dolphin is in a collection 
made by M. de Borda d'Ovo, and attached to the town of Dax, 
along with another fragment containing some teeth. 

The peculiar character is the length of the symphysis, to 
which no living dolphin approaches, except the front atus, and 
the species of the Ganges. Both these, however, are much 
smaller, and differ somewhat in the form of this part and of the 
teeth, and in the number of the latter. The conclusion from 
these and other considerations is, that the species to which this 
dolphin belonged is unknown, at least as far as our very im- 
perfect knowledge of the cetacea will bear us out in such a con- 

In the formation above mentioned was also found a portion 
of lower jaw, indicating a species very near the common dol- 
phin, but with some slight differences. 

A portion of upper jaw, found in the calcaire grossier of 
the Orne, seemed also to belong to a dolphin different from 
any known species. The characteristic distinction is, that the 
pyramidal and descending projection of the back nostrils begins 
to be visible opposite to the last molars. This is not the case 
with any living dolphin with which we are acquainted. 


Fossil Narwhals and Cetacea, 
Approaching the Hyper oodontes and Cachalots. 

The osteology of the cetacea was too little known, even a 
comparatively short time back, to distinguish the Narwhal by 
any character but the long tusk. This, however, is one not 
easily mistaken, if met with. Still the examples of it are very 
rare, and, what is more, by no means well authenticated. 

Mr. Parkinson speaks of two fragments of it in the Leverian 
museum, and suspects that they were found on the coast of 

Georgi, in his description of the Russian empire, speaks of a 
fossil tooth from Siberia, in the museum of St. Petersburgh ; of 
another from the banks of the Indigirska ; and a third found 
in a marsh near the Anadir. 

The geological position of these, and one or more other 
fragments, is totally unascertained : it is, therefore, superfluous 
to speak of them further than as affording a motive to ulterior 

The petrified head of some unknown genus of cetacea, ap- 
proximating to the hyperoodontes and cachalots, was discovered 
in 1804 on the coast of Provence. To this genus the Baron 
gives the name of Ziphius. The head differs from that of the 
hyperoodon, in the maxillary bones not forming vertical par- 
titions on the sides of the muzzle, and in the partition be- 
hind the nostrils not only rising vertically, but also curving, 
so as to form a kind of half cupola over these cavities. The 
species to which this head belonged, M. Cuvier calls Ziphius 

These portions of petrified heads, found in excavating the 
basins of Anvers, presented generic characters, like those of 
the last, with sufficient indications of a distinct species, to which 
our author gives the name of Ziphius planirostris. 

A petrified fragment, preserved a long time in the Paris 


museum, indicates a species approaching to the preceding, but 
with much more elongated muzzle. This is Cuvier's Ziphius 

Fossil Bal^eNuE. 

It is evident, from divers accounts, that more or less consi- 
derable portions of the skeletons of the larger cetacea have 
been found embedded in various places, and among them there 
are many attributed to the balsenae. But the authors of these 
accounts have rarely given drawings or descriptions sufficiently 
precise to enable us to determine the species. Such is the case 
with some bones found in Clackmannan, in Scotland, in a mu- 
tilated state, but which indicated an individual of considerable 
size. As they were found, however, only at eighteen inches 
depth in a recent alluvion, it is more than probable that they 
belong to a living species. 

But two skeletons of a whale, of the sub-genus of the ror- 
quals^ were discovered by M. Cortesi, in Lombardy. The 
first in 1806, on the eastern side of Monte Pulgnasco, six hun- 
dred feet below the summit, which is, itself elevated twelve 
hundred feet above the plain. In this part the hill is formed 
of regular strata of bluish argilla, inclined towards the north, 
and filled with n)arine shells, exactly like those on the opposite 
hill, where the same naturalist discovered the skeleton of the 
dolphin which we have already mentioned. 

Excepting some ribs a httle scattered, the bones of this ske- 
leton were found in their natural connexion. It was surrounded 
by innumerable shells, and especially by a small species of the 
oyster. There were also many teeth of the squalus there. 
The head, &c., presents all the sub-generic characters of the 
rorqual, with specific ones that are incontestable. These con- 
sist principally in the dimensions and conformation of the 
lateral parts of the frontal bone, and in the more speedy union 
of the transverse crests at the anterior part of the same bone 
into a middle and longitudinal crest. 


The entire length of this skeleton might be about one-and- 
twenty feet ; but a small rorqual, if adult. 

The other skeleton of the same species was discovered in 
1810, in a neighbouring valley. It was much less preserved, 
and in its actual state was only twelve feet five inches long. 
Its characters were precisely similar to those of the other. 

A considerable fragment of the head of a balacna was found 
in the centre of Paris, in 1799, by a wine-merchant of the Rue 
Dauphine, making excavations in his cellar. The proportions 
were different from those of the living bala^nae, and there is 
great probability that it belonged to a species hitherto unknown 
even among the fossils. 

Having finished this last order of the mammalia, we shall 
say a few words on it, by way of recapitulation. 

The fossil bones of cetacea which have been collected or 
described, are far more numerous than those to the notice of 
which our limits have of necessity confined us. But, in fact, 
it must be observed that, even were those limits much more 
extended, we should only be spinning out our observations, and 
fatiguing our readers to little purpose, by entering more 
largely into the detail of accounts which have neither sufficient 
authority nor sufficient precision to confer upon them interest 
or importance. In most cases the remains themselves are not 
in the state of preservation which can enable a naturalist to 
appreciate their forms, and, consequently, to determine the 
species to which they belonged. But even were it otherwise, 
the determination of the fossil cetacea must be still attended 
with difficulties of no common kind. Fossil remains can never 
be properly determined but by a minute and critical acquaint- 
ance with the osteology of living species, an acquaintance 
which we are yet far from possessing with the animals of the 
order in question. We find, in general, that the departments 
of natural history which relate to the large animals of all spe- 
cies, are precisely those in which error and confusion more 
especially predominate. The reason is, that over such animals 



man can seldom exercise a sufficient control. It is not possible 
to know and distinguish any species but those which we are 
able to examine nearly, and compare carefully one with ano- 
ther. Many of the larger quadrupeds of the earth disdain 
our sway, and will not submit themselves to our inspection. 
The wild and fearless tenants of the desert, the mountain, and 
the forest, are often alike intractable by force or kindness. The 
puny power of man cannot always cope with their giant strength, 
or soften their indomitable ferocity ; nor can his flimsy strata- 
gems escape their penetration, or deceive their vigilance. We 
find, therefore, in many instances the accidental possession of 
a single individual sufficient to overturn many of our received 
notions respecting the habits, and even the conformation, of a 
species. A nearer view serves to falsify the accounts of care- 
less, ignorant, or inventive travellers, which may have been 
long entertained by philosophers as well as fools with easy cre- 
dulity. A case in point has occurred almost at the very moment 
I am writing. The presence of a cameleopard in the capital of 
France has at once dispelled a variety of illusions connected 
with the structure and habits of this singular quadruped. 
Animals must be under immediate and constant inspection, and 
under the inspection of the skilful naturaUst, before almost any 
thing can be predicated with certainty of their peculiarities. 
Before such inspection the fine-spun cobwebs of theory, and 
the fairy fictions of imagination, vanish '^ like the baseless 
fabric of a vision." The progress of science, while it unfolds 
to us the real wonders of nature, destroys the marvels and 
monstrosities of man"'s creation. 

If such observations are applicable to the larger animals of 
the earth, with how much more force will they not apply to 
the gigantic inhabitants of the deep ? They more particularly 
hold good respecting the larger cetacea. These have excited 
universal astonishment by the enormity of their dimensions, 
and have given rise for ages to the most unparalleled exertions 
of activity and courage. Yet, except when, by a felicitous 


chance, their bodies have been cast ashore, in the neighbourhood 
of some enhghtened man, they have been scarcely ever described 
with exactitude, or compared with accuracy. 

Myriads of sailors have caught and divided whales, who 
perhaps have never had the opportunity of properly contem- 
plating one in its entire state. Yet naturalists have deemed 
themselves able to compose the history of these animals, from 
the vague descriptions and the ruder figures given by such 
uninstructed observers. No critical accuracy, no correct de- 
duction, could exist in such compilations for want of the proper 
basis of well- authenticated facts. Consequently we find the 
history of the cetacea, on the one hand, meagre in the extreme, 
and, on the other, swarming with contradictions, and confusions 
of nomenclature. 

Furnished with such imperfect materials of truth, and per- 
plexed and encumbered by such abundance of falsehoods, the 
most expert naturalist must encounter incalculable difficulty in 
separating the one from the other, and reducing the chaotic 
mass to any thing like harmony and order. He must beware 
of attaching too much importance to these vague and contra^ 
dictory accounts, as to establish on them alone the distinction 
of species, and still less those of genera and sub-genera. It is 
no doubt easy, from rude figures drawn from imagination or 
memory — from confused and mutilated descriptions — from the 
accumulation of synonimes, which are but copies of each other, 
to produce a long catalogue of species which have no reality, 
and which the slightest breath of criticism is sufficient to de- 
stroy ; but a line of conduct precisely the reverse of this is ne- 
cessary to be pursued, if natural history is ever to be freed from 
absurdity and disorder, and established on the basis of truth. 

One of those causes which have most contributed to embarrass 
the history of the cetacea is, that the people of the North, from 
whom our knowledge of them is chiefly gleaned, as it is in their 
latitudes that they most abound, designate them all by one 
common generic name. Thus, wall in German, whale in 



English, huval in Swedish and Danish, qual m Norwegian, 
and hwalune in Islandic, is applied to all cetacea without dis- 
crimination. In French, too, this word, which probably has 
some relation with (pcxXonMa, and bal(E7ia, has constantly been 
translated baleine^ even when it simply signified the dolphin, 
and has led naturalists, who did not understand the full extent 
of its acceptation, into the most serious errors'^. 

We may, however, in summing up this account of the fossil 
cetacea, speak with tolerable certainty of the following remains. 

There is, as we have seen, a collection of vertebrae in the 
Paris Museum, from the basin of Anvers, which approach the 
form of the corresponding vertebrae in the dolphins, but the 
body of which is more elongated in proportion to their dia- 
meter, and which appear to have belonged to two or three 
species of different sizes, the largest of which may have been 
double the size of the grampus. There are also among them 
some flatted ones, almost similar to those of the dugongs and 

From the environs of Havre, and some other places, there 
are more of these bones in the same collection, the locale of 
which has not been well described, and which do not appear, 
in what remains of them, to differ from the existing balaenae 
and cachalots : but the apophyses are too much fractured to 
furnish characters that can be distinctly appreciated. 

The same may be said of a certain number of entire or 
mutilated ribs, which were found in various situations. One, 
for example, from the valley of I'Authie, near Montreuil-sur- 

♦ The word wall, imported by the Normans, was used on the French 
coasts in the middle ages. In several charters of the eleventh century, 
when mention is made of an association of whalers, they are designated 
societas, or communio walmannorum. The cetacea are also called in 
these charters, cr«5sws piscis, grassus pesius, and generhUy piscis ad 
lardum. It would appear that those animals were estimated more highly 
in those days than at present. The flesh was a common article of food, 
and sent in great quantities to Paris. From crassua piscis comes the 
French graspois, and the English grampus. Graspois, for a long time, 
signified the fat of the cetacea generally. 


mer. This rib entirely resembles that of a small whale ; it was 
found two leagues from the sea, in a sandy stratum, at a depth 
of twelve feet. 

An enormous shoulder-blade was taken from the lake of 
Geneva, which^ to all appearance, had belonged to a rorqual. 

A radius, disinterred in the neighbourhood of Caen, though 
destitute of its epiphyses, exhibits the proportions and forms of 
the radius of a whale. 

But all these last-mentioned fragments, though giving addi- 
tional demonstration to the existence of the cetacea among the 
fossils, afford no positive indication of the species to which 
they belonged, whether living or extinct. 

It is sufficient to draw the reader's attention to the better- 
determined specimens we have already noticed, and the incon- 
testable result which flows from them. This result is, that all 
the marine mammifera collected in the strata, and whose spe- 
cies it has been possible to characterise, do not differ less from 
their existing congeners in our seas, than the fossil land animals, 
of which we have previously treated, do from theirs. Nay, we 
may go farther and say, that they differ very sensibly from all 
the cetacea that have been observed up to the present time in 
every sea. 

Thus, the lamantin of the neighbourhood of Angers is not 
only of a genus foreign to our climates, but of a different 
species, both from the lamantins of Africa and America, and still 
more so from those animals of the Indian and Pacific oceans, 
which had hitherto been deemed as approximating to this genus. 

The dolphin again, with long symphyses, disinterred by M. 
de Borda, is entirely unknown among the numerous species of 
this genus described by naturalists. The dolphin with narrow 
muzzle, of the environs of Angers, and the dolphin with broad 
muzzle, discovered by M, Cortesiin Lombardy, though much 
less remote from the living congeners, are yet distinguished 
from them by characters of a nature perfectly specific. 

The same may be said of the rorqual of Lombardy, for the 


discovery of which we are also indebted to the researches of 
M. Cortesi. 

But what is far more singular than all this is, that there are 
among the fossils three or four species so utterly dissimilar to 
all the other cetacea, that it has been found necessary to form 
them into a separate genus. 

The ziPHius, as we have seen, comprehended animals neither 
altogether balaenae, nor cachalots, nor hyperoodontes. They 
hold in the order cetacea a place analogous to that which the 
mastodons, the palaeotheria, the anoplotheria, and the lophio- 
dons hold among the pachydermata, and the megatherium and 
the megalonyx among the edentata. Like these, they are, in 
all probability, the relics of a destroyed creation, whose living 
types it would be vain to seek for in our present world. 

These researches on the lost cetacea tend more and more to 
confirm the opinion to which the examination of the fossil shells 
had already conducted naturalists. From them it is still more 
evident, that not only have the productions of the earth changed 
with the revolutions of the globe, but also that the sea itself, 
the principal agent of these revolutions, has not preserved the 
same inhabitants : that when it formed those immense calca- 
reous beds, replete with shells, almost all unknown in the 
present day, the large mammifera which it supported were 
different from its modern tenants of the same class. It appears 
that their gigantic size and tremendous force did not avail them 
better in resisting the catastrophes of their native element, than 
did the robust proportions of the mastodon, the elephant, the 
rhinoceros, or any other of those monstrous quadrupeds avail 
their possessors in resisting the revolutions of the land. Whe- 
ther it is in the power of man, or not, completely to extirpate 
any race of animals, is doubtful ; but it is evident that where 
man was not, nothing could have destroyed these numerous 
and powerful tribes, but a grand and general convulsion of 



Naturalists are agreed that, of all animals, the birds are those 
whose bones or other debris are most rarely to be met with in 
the fossil state. Some have even gone so far as absolutely to 
deny their existence. It is, indeed, a remarkable fact, and one 
of the many, singularities attached to the gypsum strata of 
Paris, that there are scarcely any other fossil bones of birds, well 
authenticated, except those which they contain ; and it is even 
but a short period since the true nature of these fossils has 
been clearly ascertained. 

We shall give a rapid sketch of the various testimonies which 
have been given by writers, from time to time, concerning true 
or pretended ornitholites. 

Walch had pretty early made a considerable collection of 
these, to which Hermann added many others. But the first 
of these writers was frequently deceived from the want of due 
precaution. Even Gesnerhas declared that stones named after 
certain birds, supposed to be petrified therein, such as hiera- 
cites, and perdicites^ have no other relation with them, than 
some resemblance of colour. 

Neither do the rude figures of birds, traced accidentally on 
some coloured stones, appertain to the ornitholites, nor yet the 
stones or flints figured by chance into a likeness to certain parts 
of birds. The cock of Agricola, and the hen of Mylius, im- 
printed on a slate from Ilmenan, are of this description. 

Many authors have very gratuitously considered certain 
fossil bones as belonging to birds, merely because they were 
light and slender ; but a little attentive examination soon 
proved them to be parts of fishes, of small quadrupeds, and 
sometimes even nothing but shells or Crustacea. Thus, the 
sulcidata littoralis rostrata of Luid seems to be nothing but 


the extremity of the dentelated spine of the fin of some fish, 
Rome Delille, in his catalogue of the collection of Davila, 
mentions a beak found in the neighbourhood of Reutlingen, 
and a bone from Cronstadt, which he thought belonged to a 
chicken ; but this pretended beak turns out to be nothing but 
a bivalve shell, which shows itself obliquely on the surface of 
the stone. If it were a genuine beak, it would differ most 
prodigiously from any thing with which we are acquainted ;n 
existing birds; as for the bone, there is neither figure nor 
description of it in the work. 

Scheuchzer speaks of the head of a bird, in a black schistus 
from Eisleben ; but he subsequently adds, that it might be 
taken for a pink-flower — this is quite sufficient. 

Many writers quote the description of the environs of Masse! 
by Hermann, as if he had spoken there of the bones of birds ; 
but the fact is, he only mentions small bones, without specify- 
ing to what they belong. 

The error of compilers respecting the petrified cuckoo men- 
tioned by Zannichelli, is still more glaring, and positively 
ludicrous. That author, in fact, speaks of a fish so called, 
and which belongs to the genus Trigla {Trigla culususoi Lin- 
naeus, in Italian 'pesce capone) and not of a bird. 

There are other testimonies on this subject, wholly unsup- 
ported by details, figures, or descriptions. Such are those in 
the subterranea Silesia of JVolkmann, and those of many 
other systematic mineralogists. It is utterly impossible to 
establish any thing on such vague indications. 

It is quite evident that what are termed incrustations, have 
nothing to say to the subject in question. We are not inquir- 
ing whether birds, exposed in particular situations to waters 
charged with mineral substances, may be enveloped in those 
substances, but whether there have been any remains of birds 
arrested and inclosed in the grand strata which occupy the 
external surface of the globe. 

Thus, the examples of birds, of eggs, and of nests, incrusted 


in gypsum, tufa, salt, or other minerals, related by Volkman, 
Lesser, Bruckmann, Baccius, Burner, Dargenville, and Bock, 
even if true, would prove nothing for the existence of orni- 

After all these exclusions, nothing remains but some debris 
contained in certain schists, as those of GEningen, of Pappen- 
heim, and of Mount Bolca, which have any pretensions to a 
serious examination, or, in fact, which have even been con- 
sidered as omitholites by any real naturalists. 

Now, all that is cited on this head is either more or less 
equivocal^ or, at all events, unsupported by sufficient figures 
or descriptions. These schists swarm with the bones of fishes 
and other marine productions. How can it be supposed that, 
in such situations, it is always possible to distinguish the bones 
of fishes from those of birds ? What mode is there of judging 
when no entire limb, when no part of sufficient importance, 
remains ? 

The authority of M. Blumenbach must be considered as 
having the greatest weight on a point of this kind. But all 
he says is, that at CEningen were found the bones of water- 
fowl. He refers us to the Memoirs of the Academy of Man- 
heim for an account of the bones of Pappenheim; but all we 
find there is a notice of a singular reptile (the pterodactylus) 
and not of a bird, as M. Blumenbach says, of the order pal- 

It seems, in short, from a careful examination of the testi- 
monies given by various writers on this subject, that no well- 
authenticated bones of birds have been found any where, ex- 
cept in the gypsum of Paris. 

It is not very long since these remains have been properly au- 
thenticated. Lamanon, indeed, as long ago as 1782, described 
the impression of an entire bird found at Montmartre by M. 
Darcet. Were we to trust to the figure which he has given, 
no doubt could remain on the subject, for it represents a bird 
completely. He has even put feathers on the wings and tail. 


Unluckily, however, the aid of imagination was summoned, in 
the drawing of which we speak, and the picture is exceedingly 
inilike the original. 

Fortis, who had conceived strong prejudices against the 
existence of ornitholites, examined afresh the specimen which 
Lamanon had described. He also gave a figure of it accord- 
ing to his own notions. This is a striking example of how 
differently the same object may appear, according to the no- 
tions of the observers. In Fortis's figure the head is placed 
below, all the inequalities of the stone are exaggerated, and 
the osseous impressions weakened, and the author declares that 
he can see nothing but a frog or a toad in the fragment in 

The stone, however, turns out to be a genuine ornitholite. 
Yet this point might still have remained doubtful, but for sub- 
sequent discoveries of similar specimens better characterised. 

Peter Camper takes notice of one, but without describing it, 
in an article on the fossil bones of Maestricht, inserted in the 
** Philosophical Transactions for 1786." This was a foot 
found at Montmartre; a second specimen, also a foot, from 
the same place, was described by the Baron as early as the year 
1797. At the same time he learned that two other specimens 
were in the hands of a person in Abbeville, who had received 
them from Montmartre : these were the body of one bird, 
and the leg of another. It was easy to observe that the leg 
did not belong to the same individual as the body, for even the 
stone which incrusted it was derived from a different stratum. 

Here, then, were four specimens of ornitholites, perfectly 
well authenticated, as long back as the year 1800. Since that 
period the Baron has continued his researches, and collected so 
great a number, that no manner of doubt could remain that 
the gypsum quarries contained the debris of birds in great 

The feet are by far the most remarkable part in all the 
ornitholites, even to the most inexperienced eye. The foot, in 


fact, of every bird is composed in a very peculiar manner, and 
resembles that of no other animal whatever. The birds are 
the only class in which there is but a single bone to answer the 
purposes of the tarsus and metatarsus. In the horses, the 
metatarsus consists but of a single piece, whereas the tarsus 
contains many. In the jerboa and alactaga there is also but a 
single bone of the metatarsus, which supports the three prin- 
cipal toes. But the bones of the tarsus are distinct. In the 
tarsiers and galagos, the scaphoid and calcaneum are elongated, 
so as to give as much length to the tarsus as in certain birds. 
But the other bones of the tarsus and metatarsus do, neverthe- 
less, equally exist. Frogs, toads, &c., also have the tarsus 
considerably elongated. But it is always composed of two 
long bones and several small ones. 

In the number of toes and of articulations on each toe in the 
birds, characters are found no less striking than those furnished 
by the tarsus. 

The birds are the only class in which the toes are all differ- 
ent in the number of their articulations, under which never- 
theless this number and the order of the toes are fixed. The 
thumb, for instance, has two articulations, the first toe of the 
internal side three, the middle toe four, and the external five. 

To this rule there is but one exception, and that is in the 
case of birds which have no thumb ; but the other toes pre- 
serve the usual number of articulations. 

This rule is never completely observed, excepting in this 

The quadrupeds have two articulations on the thumb and 
three on the other toes, be the number of the toes what it 
may. The tridactyled sloths alone have but two, because the 
first phalanges are cemented with the bones of the metatarsus. 
Some few toes, indeed, that are concealed under the skin, want 
the usual number. 

In the reptiles the number of articulations is less equal, but 
scarcely ever do we find them exactly the same as in the birds. 



The following table shows the number and order of articula- 
tions in the various reptiles : — 

Land tortoise 

Marine tortoise 


Lizards of all species 


Seps tetradactylus . 

Seps tridactylus 

Frogs, toads, &c. 


. 2. 2. 2. 2. 

2. 3. 3. 3. 2. 

2. 3. 4. 5. 

2. 3. 4. 5. 3. 

1. 2. 3. 3. 2. 

2. 4. 5. 2. 
2. 3. 4. 

2. 2. 3. 4. 3. 

2. 3. 3. 2. 

Thus we see that in the crocodile alone the number of arti- 
culations are the same as in the birds ; but as each of their 
toes is supported besides on a particular bone of the metatarsus, 
there can be no mistaking the foot of one for that of the others. 

Now, all the different feet in the ornitholites examined by 
the Baron had precisely the characters we have just instanced 
as belonging to the birds. In one of the feet we mentioned 
above, the thumb was wanting, but the httle supernumerary 
bone which supports it in many birds was observable. In 
another specimen these characters were still more complete; 
the femur was wanting, but the tibia was more entire, and the 
thumb and three other toes are very complete, and provided 
with their entire number of articulations. 

In another specimen belonging to the Baron, the tibia and 
tarsus were rather longer than in the last. Feet of a similar 
description are very common in the gypsum, and seem to be- 
long to a different species. 

A third species is indicated by a foot about the same size as 
the last, but in which the bone seems thicker, and the tarsus 
more arched in its length. In other respects it has all the cha- 
racters of the genuine foot of a bird, except that the external 
toe having left but a single print of its upper part, the three 
articulations of which it should be composed are not well dis- 

To a fourth species belonged the foot, which wc mentioned 


before as accompanying an impression of the body of a bird. 
That it could not liavc belonged to that body, is proved by 
the latter having its femora, while there is another femur with 
the foot, which is moreover much too large in proportion. 
The foot itself is also too large, and the bones too thick, to 
suffer it to be confounded with any of the preceding. The 
characteristics of the bird are all perfect in it. 

From the discovery of some other feet, into a detailed de_ 
scription of which it is quite unnecessary to enter, the Baron 
concludes from these alone, that there were at least nine species 
incrusted in the gypsum . From such a number of fragments 
attesting, by their assemblage, the existence of ornitholites in 
the regular rocky strata, it was impossible that any doubt could 
remain on this subject; and, consequently, the negative argu- 
ments of Fortis, and other naturalists, against their existence, 
must fall to the ground before the evidence of facts. 

Several other little isolated bones proved, on examination, 
to be referrible to the class of birds. A portion of tarsus, 
divided below into three apophyses, each terminated by a demi- 
pulley, for the articulation of the first phalanges of the three 
front toes, proved to be of this description. 

Among the quadrupeds, none but the jerboa and alactaga 
exhibit any thing similar. But as there is no other indication 
in all the plaster- quarries of such animals, the remains in ques- 
tion must not be referred to them. 

The femora of birds have also a distinctive character, which 
belongs to the peculiar nature of the knee. This articulation 
in birds is provided with a sort of spring, analogous to the 
hinges of a clasp-knife. The blade, we know, has but two 
points on which it can rest steadily ; namely, when it is com- 
pletely open or completely shut, because there are only those 
two points on which the spring is not removed from its natural 

Now, the birds having but two feet on which to find a solid 
seat, have received an articulation of this kind with two fixed 


points ; namely, that of the greatest flexion, and that of the 
most perfect extension. Those are the only points in which the 
ligaments are not stretched, and in which the bones are pre- 
served in their proper places by the simple action of these 
ligaments, unless the bird makes an effort to displace them. 
The head of the peroneum produces this effect, by its mode of 
catching in a particular fossa of the femur. 

This head enlarges very much from front to rear, and its 
upper edge is nearly a straight line, which mounts obliquely 
behind, thus rendering its posterior extremity more elevated 
than the other. The femur rests upon this right line by a 
projecting line drawn over its external condyle, the middle of 
which forms an almost semicircular convexity, while the two 
ends, on the contrary, are a little concave, and the two bones 
are attached in this place by an elastic ligament which goes 
from one to the other, crossing almost perpendicularly the line 
by which they touch. 

It is clear, then, that this ligament will be more stretched, 
according to the degree in which the femur shall touch the 
peroneum by the convexity of the projecting line which we 
have described : that is, so long as the leg is neither completely 
extended, nor completely bent. But in these two extreme po- 
sitions the peroneum will re-enter into one of the concavities 
placed at the two ends, and will be retained there by the elastic 
contraction of the ligament. 

The femur, then, of birds is distinguished from that of qua- 
drupeds in this, — that its external condyle, instead of presenting 
a simple convexity behind, for the external fossa of the head 
of the tibia, presents two projecting lines : one stronger, which 
is the true condyle, and which corresponds to the upper exter- 
nal facet of the tibia, and the internal facet of the peroneum ; 
and another more exterior, descending less, and resting on the 
upper edge of the peroneum. The external condyle, therefore, 
of birds is forked, or hollowed into a canal more or less deep 


The only quadrupeds in which any thing analogous may be 
suspected, are those which, like the birds, rest and leap on 
their hinder feet, with the body in an oblique position ; such 
are the kangaroos and jerboas. 

We do find, in fact, in the various kangaroos a slight inden- 
tion in the rear of the condyle to which the peroneum corre- 
sponds, but only by a tubercle. The jerboas have not this 
conformation. In the helamys of the Cape, indeed, there is a 
particular osselet, which establishes a connexion between the 
peroneum and the femur, but not in the same manner. 

There are moreover many traits which must prevent us from 
ever confounding the femur of a bird with that of a kangaroo, 
as well as with that of any other quadruped. Such, for ex- 
ample, is the breadth of the great trochanter from front to 
rear, &c. 

By the observation of these characters, two femora found in 
the gypsum were clearly recognised to belong to birds. Their 
cavity was filled with gypsous matter; they had not been 
crushed by the weight of the strata deposited upon them, and 
their forms were preserved perfectly entire. 

The tibia of birds is doubly characterised, by an upper head 
corresponding to the form of the femur just described, and by 
a lower one in the shape of a convex pulley, with a concave 
neck, on which is articulated the bone of the tarsus. Many 
such bones are found in the gypsum. The humerus of birds 
is not less distinguished than the femur and tibia. 

The characters consist in the two extremities. In the upper 
one the head is always oblong from right to left, to play like a 
hinge in the articulation to which the shoulder-blade and 
clavicle contribute. 

This part of the bone is singularly enlarged by two lateral 
crests. The upper, or rather the external one, which is angu- 
lar, and the edge of which is trenchant, and a little re- curved 
in front, serves to give sufficient attachments to the great pec- 
toral muscle, the powerful action of which constitutes the 


primum mobile of flight . The opposite crest is not so long, 
its edge is rounded, and a httle curved behind, where it forms 
towards the head of the bone a small crook. Under this crook 
is the hole by which the air penetrated into the cavity of the 
bone. In quadrupeds this head is always round, the crests 
small, and that part of them near the head forms tuberosities. 

Even the bats do not resemble birds in the humerus. The 
mole alone exhibits any analogy with them in this respect, 
because the manner in which that animal throws the earth 
backward in burrowing, equally demands a great force in the 
pectoral muscles. But it is useless to dwell on this exception, 
as the rest of the humerus of the mole is distinguished by such 
extraordinary forms, that it is impossible to confound it, not 
only with the humerus of birds, but with that of any other 
known animal. 

The character of the lower head of the humerus of birds is 
not less striking than that of the upper. The articulating 
pulley is divided into two parts, one internal, or inferior, almost 
round, for the cubitus ; another external, or superior, for the 
radius. This last is oblong, in the direction of the length of 
the bone, and thus re-ascends a little obliquely over its anterior 
face. In this manner the radius has a greater arch to describe 
than the cubitus, and the motion of the fore-arm is not made 
on a plane, perpendicular to the anterior face of the humerus. 

The lower part of this radial face enlarges behind, and rests 
on an external articulary facet of the cubitus. 

There is nothing similar in the quadrupeds. The cubital 
pulley is always concave, and the radial is also hollowed in 
a furrow, in such animals as have not the power of supination in 
the fore-arm. 

All these distinctive characters of the humerus of birds are 
found in certain specimens from Montmartre. The characters 
of the radius are also found in certain speciniens from the same 
place ; all have the upper head round, and a little concave — 
the smallest has the inferior extremity more enlarged, precisely 
as in the birds. 


As these quarries had furnished such a number of sepa- 
rate bones, obviously appertaining to the class ** Aves," it 
was natural to expect that some skeletons, in a state of greater 
or less completeness, and belonging to the smaller species, 
might be found there also. This accordingly was the fact. 
One, in the possession of a M. EUuin, the Baron gives a 
drawing of, executed by himself. This, though one of the 
worst preserved, is still perfectly recognizable as the relics of a 
bird. Though no bone is entire, and the forms of the articu- 
lations are lost, yet the position and proportions of the bones 
are sufficiently visible to enable us to recognize the bill, 
the head, the neck, the body, the two wings, the two thighs, 
and a part of the two legs of a bird. 

This body appears to have been crushed by the superin- 
cumbent strata, and entirely flattened. It has left no impres- 
sion but a brown lamina, the thickness of which can be scarcely 
appreciated. Neither the bones of the head, the vertebrae, the 
ribs, nor the sternum, are distinguishable. Some vestiges alone 
of the pelvis are visible. There is not the slightest impression 
of the plumage. 

The one found by M. Darcet was in a still more imperfect 
state; and, as we have already seen, occasioned considerable 
doubt and discussion. Still, however, one wing is almost com- 
pletely characterized ; and the fore-arm, the metacarpus, and 
commencement of the great toe, are distinctly visible. The 
other wing and the bill are also sufficiently traceable, but 
what remains of the feet and of the bones of the body has lost 
every description of character. 

Three skeletons obtained by the Baron were in a state of 
preservation far superior to that of the two last mentioned. 

The first is an almost entire skeleton of a bird, flattened in 
the same manner as are all the skeletons of small animals 
found in the gypsum. This one, when the stone was cut 
which contained it, was divided into halves, each of which 
remained adherent to the piece of stone on its own side. The 



bird had fallen on its belly on the bed of gypsum which was 
already formed. Previously to the deposition of sufficient 
gypsum completely to envelope it, it had lost, either by the 
movement of the water, or by the agency of voracious animals, 
the principal part of the head, and all the left leg, which were no 
where to be found in the neighbourhood. Part of the bones 
remained in their place where the stone was cut, and another 
part fell in shivers, and left nothing behind but an impression. 

The under part of the bill is very distinct in the im- 
pression, the left branch remaining almost entire. There are 
the remains of the two sides of the basis of the cranium, 
which, like that of all birds, was cellulous. 

The vertebrae of the neck are very distinguishable as far as 

The clavicle on one side is very well preserved, and there 
are some remains of that of the other. A small remnant of 
the shoulder-blade is visible, but the greater portion of this 
bone has disappeared. The clavicle, however, is so peculiarly 
conformed in birds, that this bone is alone sufficient to identify 
the fossil in question as belonging to that class. 

The sternum is very much crushed and disfigured. The 
remnants or impressions of ribs are visible here and there, 
some of which are covered, or rather interrupted by debris of 
the sternum, and others bv the clavicles. 

The pelvis has left an impression not remarkably perfect, in 
consequence of its being mixed with that of the coccyx, but 
the two points formed by the ischia and the ossa pubis are 
very distinct. 

All the parts of the two wings are very well preserved in this 
ornitholite, and exhibit osteological characters eminently 

The humerus of one side is almost entire, the cubitus and 
radius in the two wings have also lost but little, and even one 
of the small osselets of the carpus is visible. 

The metacarpus, which in birds has a very peculiar form. 



being composed of two branches cemented together at their 
two extremities, is very visible ; as also is the little osselet 
which stands for a thumb. 

The bone of the first phalanx of the great toe is also formed 
of two branches in this ornitholite, as in birds in general. The 
osselet representing the little toe is preserved on one side of 
it, and that of the last phalanx at its extremity. 

The posterior extremities are not nearly so well preserved 
as the anterior : there are, in fact, but some parts of one only, 
but notwithstanding this, it is impossible to mistake them for 
anything but portions of the leg of a bird. 

There is a lower half of the femur, and a tibia almost 
entire, with a small remnant of the peroneum engrafted on its 
upper part, as in all birds. 

The impression of the second fossil skeleton on the stone is 
so extremely faint, that it requires eyes well habituated to 
such examinations to recognize it. Yet, when the idea is once 
conceived that it is the skeleton of a bird, the different parts 
soon develop themselves very sensibly. 

The sternum, cast a little aside on the stone, and an extended 
left wing, are visible. 

The humerus, the fore-arm with scarcely any traces of the 
radius, the hand, the last phalanx, or little end of the wing, 
have left their impressions. 

There are some traces of the left shoulder-blade, some better 
marked of the right, and the humerus of this side is almost 

Of the neck, but three vertebrae remain. 

The body has left but a shadowy impression between the 
shoulder-blades, but the last ribs on each side are distin- 
guishable enough. The pelvis and the coccyx are but barely 

All the right posterior extremity is perfectly to be recog- 
nized, as is likewise the lower portion of the left. 

The third of these skeletons is, perhaps, the most complete, 

M 2 


and the best characterized of any ornitholite that has ever yet 
been discovered. It came from Montmartre, and there is 
a minutely exact representation of it in the " Ossemens 

The head, neck, trunk, pelvis, the two extremities of the 
right side, and a part of the left wing, are nearly perfect. The 
form of the head and the beak, which appears to have been 
tolerably long and strong, are quite distinguishable. There are 
the remains of a furca, a part of the right coraco'id bone, and 
a part of the shoulder-blade on the same side. There are 
the left coracoidian and shoulder-blade, the last of which is 
almost complete. The humerus, cubitus, and radius on both 
sides, the thumb, or bone of the bastard wing, the bone of the 
metacarpus, the first phalanx of the termination of the wing, 
are all visible. Some of the ribs are so well preserved, that 
the vertebral and sternal part of the rib are quite distin- 
guishable, as also is the recurrent apophysis, a part so cha- 
racteristic of the ribs of birds, that it alone would be sufficient 
to identify this ornitholite. The pelvis is not less characteristic, 
from its general form and the direction of the pubis, than 
from the holes and emarginations observable in it. The femur, 
tibia, tarsus, three entire toes, and two phalanges of a fourth, 
constitute the leg of a bird thoroughly well characterized. The 
neck and the coccyx have left impressions rather more con- 
fused, in consequence of the more complicated forms of the 
bones which compose them ; but the whole is most clearly to 
be recognized by every person who has ever cast his eyes on 
the skeleton of a bird. 

It would appear that this and the last mentioned ornitholite 
are precisely of the same species, but the first of the three be- 
longed to a larger species. 

It remained only (after having thus clearly ascertained the 
class) to determine the genera to which those different ornitho- 
lites belonged. But this the Baron confesses to be a problem 
excessively difficult, if not absolutely impossible, to resolve. 


The inter-resemblances of birds are considerably greater 
than those of quadrupeds. The extreme limits of the class 
are more approximated to each other, and the number 
of species contained within those limits is much more con- 
siderable. The differences, therefore, between two species 
must at times be utterly impossible to decide, on inspection of 
the skeletons. Even the genera do not always possess osteo- 
logical characters of a sufficiently discriminative importance; 
They are almost all distinguished according to the form of 
the bill, which is not preserved entire in the ordinary 
skeleton, and still less so in the fossils, crushed and fractured 
as they have been in the gypsum of Paris. All, therefore, that 
can be said on the specific characters of ornitholites amounts 
to little, and scarcely passes the bounds of mere conjecture. 

It is, however, certain that the number of complete feet 
found in the gypsum furnishes proof of the existence of at 
least nine species, which M. Cuvier has arranged according to 
size, beginning with the largest and ending with the least. The 
other skeletons and fragments he refers to certain of these feet, as 
belonging to those species, with the exception of the skeleton of 
M. Darcet. To this skeleton there are no feet, nor any portions 
of feet remaining ; but as the wings and neck are shorter than 
those of the skeletons above cited, and as in those two the first 
is smaller than any found, the Baron concludes this bird to 
have been of a different species from all the others, and to have 
constituted a tenth. 

Several feet and bones, not referable to the skeletons we 
have mentioned, have been found, nor in all instances refer- 
able to the feet which we have noticed as designating distinct 

A shoulder-blade was found, resembling that of the genus 
pelican ; a foot resembUng that of the sea-lark ; a metacarpus 
of a bird of prey, of the magnitude of Faico haliaetos, and 
which M. Cuvier thinks may indicate an eleventh species : 
there was also a femur which had the strongest resemblance 


to that of the preserved skeleton of the celebrated Ibis, though 
evidently not exactly of the same species. 

But all these ideas must be considered as conjectures, and 
by no means possessing the decided certainty which attaches to 
the proposition which we have laid down, concerning the bones 
of quadrupeds. 

It is^ however, a very great point, to have proved the exist- 
ence of the class of birds among the fossil remains of former 
worlds ; to have proved that at this remote era, when the 
species of animals were so different from those which we behold 
at the present day, the general laws of co-existence, of struc- 
ture, in short of all which is elevated above simple specific 
relations, all which belongs to the nature of organs, and to their 
essential functions, were the same as at present. 

We find, in fact, that when the proportions of the parts, the 
length of the wings and of the feet, the articulations of the 
toes, the forms and number of the vertebrae in birds, as well as 
in quadrupeds, and among the latter, the number, form, and re- 
spective position of the teeth, are subjected to the great rules 
established by the nature of things, almost as certain conse- 
quences are to be deduced from reasoning as from actual ob- 

It is vain, then, any longer to insist on variations of organic 
structure being the result of habits or circumstances. Nothing 
has been elongated, shortened, or modified, either by external 
causes or internal volition ; all that has been changed has been 
changed suddenly, and has left nothing but wrecks behind it, to 
advertise us of its former existence. 

Fossil Reptiles. 
In describing the fossil remains of extinct animals, M. Cuvier 
found it necessary, in his great work, to give a preliminary and 
very detailed description of the fossil osteology of the living 
species. Through this it was not to be expected that we should 
strictly follow him, as the necessity of so doing has been in some 


measure anticipated by the preceding portions of *' The Animal 
Kingdom," and as we should exceed all reasonable limits by 
dilating much on so extensive a subject. Occasional reference 
to it, however, has been, and will be necessary, to enable the 
reader to appreciate the distinctions between the present and 
the past animal population of the earth. It will, indeed, be 
necessary to treat a little more formally of specific characters 
in reptiles, though our notices, of course, must be confined to 
osteology : the other attributes of this class will be found in 
their proper places in the present work. 

Every research on the differences of the productions of 
nature must also infallibly conduct us to a consideration of 
their relations. It is easy for the reader to perceive, that not- 
withstanding the very varied proportions of the bones we have 
hitherto surveyed ; notwithstanding the very singular external 
forms which have often resulted from these varied proportions, 
that, nevertheless, there exists among all the mammifera a sort 
of common plan, a composition or combination, nearly similar ; 
so much so, that every bone may be recognized by its uses and 
position through every metamorphosis which it undergoes, 
and in spite of all the augmentations and diminutions which it 
experiences. Thus, in all the heads of this class, from man to 
the balsense, we trace the frontal bones, the parietal, the nasal, 
in a word, all the constituent parts of the cranium and face, 
with such few and trifling exceptions as the absence of the 
lachrymals in some species, and perhaps that of the interpa- 
rietals in some others. The other apparent differences in the 
number of the bones are referable, generally, to the greater or 
less promptitude with which these bones unite, and the sutures 
which distinguish them disappear. Thus the parietal in the 
adult sometimes appears simple, sometimes double, and even 
triple or quadruple, counting the interparietals, which always 
finish by uniting together. But when we consider the animal 
nearer to its birth, these anomalies disappear, and in the foetus, 
or generally at the time when all the bones are still distinct, 


we find a regular number, the same for all species, with indeed 
some very rare exceptions. 

It was a curious question to find out whether this analogy 
was sustained in the other classes of the vertebralia, and if the 
differences which they exhibit might not depend upon the 
periods in which their bones became inter-cemented ; if the 
reptiles, for instance, which always preserve many more su- 
tures in the head than the mammifera, might be considered 
in this respect as mammifera, in a state analogous to that of the 
foetus ; if the birds, which, in their early age, have as many as the 
reptiles, but which, when they approach the adult state, often 
exhibit less than the mammifera, might be considered, on the 
contrary, as mammifera passing rapidly from one state to the 
other, and even going beyond this last, in reference to the union 
of their bones. 

M. Geoffroy St. Hilaire was one of the first to consider 
this interesting problem ; and in many particulars he has 
treated it with signal success. The Baron has also considered 
it several times in the course of his lectures, and on other 
occasions. But many other profound anatomists, especially 
certain of the German school, have made it the object of more 
consecutive researches and detailed examinations. 

These writers have not only endeavoured to assign to each 
bone in the oviparous vertebralia its correspondence with some 
bone, or determined portion of a bone in the mammifera, but, 
following the ideal and pantheistic system of metaphysics, 
termed the philosophy of nature, which has for some time 
prevailed very much in Germany, and the language of which 
has been adopted in the positive sciences, they have endea- 
voured to find in the head a representation of the totahtyof the 
body, as in general, according to the principles of this philo- 
sophy, each part, and each part of a part, should always repre- 
sent the whole. 

Thus M. Oken, in his programma on the signification of the 
heady has proceeded from the analogy which exists, in many 


respects, between the kind of rings which the bones of the cra- 
nium form, and those of the vertebrae, to consider^the cranium 
as composed of three vertebrae. Thus the body of the anterior 
sphenoid represents the body of the first vertebra, its alae 
orbitales the lateral parts of the ring, and the frontals the 
spinous apophysis : this is called the ocular vertebra. The 
second, or the maxillary , is represented in the same manner by 
the body of the hinder sphenoid, by its temporal alae and by the 
parietal bones ; and the third or auricular vertebra, by the basi- 
lary bone, the lateral and upper occipitals. Thus seeking in 
different parts of the head the representatives of the different 
parts of the entire body, he has seen in the cranium, taken sepa- 
rately, the head of the head, in the nose the thorax of the head, 
in the jaws, the upper and lower extremities, or the arms and 

It is easy to conceive that, with a little imagination, applica- 
tions very different from these, and very different inter se, might 
be made of a principle so abstracted from common sense, and 
elevated to such a soaring pitch above mere matter of fact. 
Accordingly, we find that in 1811, M. Meckel, in his " Materials 
for Comparative Anatomy," takes the ethmoid for the body of a 
vertebra, of which the frontals will be the annular part, and 
represents the temporals as another vertebra, the body of which 
is divided into two parts (the petrous portions) by the forced in- 
troduction of the body of a third (the basilary bone). 

The ethmoidal vertebra was afterwards adopted as a fourth, 
and added, under the name of olfactive vertebra, to the three 
of M. Oken, by M. Bojanus, in 1818, in the third number of 
the Isis, and in 1821, in the Parergon of his great work on the 
anatomy of the tortoise. 

M. Spix, in his work on the composition of the head, entitled 
Cephalogenesisy published in 1815, sticks to the three vertebrae 
of the cranium, but departs widely from the views of M. Oken, 
relative to the bones of the face. 

Representing the hyoid bone, the shoulder, and the pelvis 
with the extremities thereto attached, as three circles, or groups 


of osseous pieces of similar nature, he finds them again in the 
face attached to the three vertebrae of the cranium. The bones 
which compose the nose represent the hyoi'd and laryngian 
apparatus, and those of the two jaws represent the two extre- 
mities of the body, but with an arrangement of relations quite 
different from that of M. Oken. Thus the nasal bones, properly 
so called, represent the sternum^ the cartilages, and the xyphoid ; 
the shoulder-blade corresponds to the posterior frontal bone, 
the clavicle to the cheek-bone. The small bones of the ear 
represent the pubis, the condyloid apophysis, the femur, the 
coronoid, the tibia, &c. The teeth, according to M. Spix, 
are only claws, and the alveoli represent the phalanges ! 

This strange fantasy, of finding a representative of the body 
in this way, has obliged some authors to give denominations to 
certain bones of reptiles and fishes, which they would have 
never thought of otherwise. The wish of constantly finding the 
number of osseous pieces to be the same has led others into 
deviations not less strange. When they found it difficult to 
support their theory on those bones where it appeared most 
natural to seek a foundation for it, they betook themselves to 
the neighbouring bones. Sometimes they found themselves 
obliged to admit the most singular metastases, without even 
ever thinking of the number of organs and soft parts which it was 
necessary to displace, and assign a different agency to,-b^fore 
they could transport a bone from one place into another, ad- 
joining. For instance, they would insert (to make out their 
system) a piece belonging to the sternum between two pieces 
belonging to the hyoid bone, or make some similar transposition, 
as if such a process was quite simple, and that none but osseous 
parts entered into the composition of the animal. 

Such theoretical reveries have been carried to a great extent 
by these writers in their discussions on the reptile class, 
and still farther in treating of the fishes, especially regarding 
the osseous pieces composing the opercula and the hyoid 

But in matters of inductive science, it is absolutely neces- 


sary to steer clear of the errors attendant on preconceived theo- 
ries. This rock, the Baron, with his usual judgment and caution, 
has particularly avoided. He neither pretends to find a per- 
manent recurrence of the same number of osseous pieces, nor 
representations in the head of the other component parts of 
the corporeal system. Neither does he attempt to maintain 
that the bones of the head are absolutely the same in all the 
genera^ but he endeavours to ascertain how far their corre- 
spondence extends, and what are the precise limits of its pro- 
gress. For this purpose, he commences with that oviparous 
quadruped, which, in the head at least, affords the most sen- 
sible analogies with the mammifera : this is the Crocodile. He 
points out the bones which correspond with our own, and, in 
establishing this correspondence, he consults not merely their 
position, but also the muscles which are attached to them, the 
nerves, vessels, &c. He candidly instances the bones which 
escape this analogy ; shews where a bone, a foramen, a facet, 
a suture, appear to be wanting, and where some new one is 
to be found. 

On this principle he proceeds through all the genera. 
Having no necessity to represent things otherwise than they 
are, he neither employs vague propositions nor figurative ex- 
pressions, which have proved so fertile of self-illusion to the 
ablest writers. Thus, though the results he arrives at are not 
so calculated to dazzle the imagination as theirs, they satisfy 
the judgment, from their consistency with facts. 

A development of the bones of the head, in treating of the 
crocodile, becomes of the greatest importance, for when this 
is done, the study of those of the tortoises, lizards, and cro- 
codiles, is comparatively easy. With the batracian reptiles, 
indeed, the case is a little different. 

The bones of the shoulder and the sternum in the lizard 
require considerable attention, as there is a greater degree of 
complexity attached to them. 

The hyoid bone in the batracians is of the greatest impor- 


tance, because its study enables us to form clear ideas on that 
of the fishes, concerning which numerous and discordant 
systems have been proposed. 

Relative to this point, we shall find that the successive sim- 
plification and final disappearance of the auricular apparatus 
in the batracian reptiles, and also the gradual development of 
that of the hyo'id, notwithstanding the existence of a larynx 
and sternum, will lead us to the idea that the bones of the ear 
do not re-appear in the osseous fishes under the form of 
opercula ; that the bronchial apparatus has no need to com- 
plete its complicated formation by the intercalation of sternal, 
laryngian, or costal pieces; and, in short, that the operculary 
apparatus is one specially peculiar to the animals to which 
nature has accorded it. 

As to the bones which compose the other parts of the body 
of reptiles, the pieces which constitute them are so far from 
being multiplied, like those of the head, that, in youth, they 
not unfrequently want those portions of their extremities 
called epiphyses. 

In the crocodiles and tortoises, the extremities of the bones 
and their principal eminences are clothed with cartilages of 
greater or less thickness, which harden and ossify with age. 
They do not, however, as in the mammifera, form an osseous 
nucleus, separated for a time from the body of the bone or 
diaphysis by a suture. This is singular enough, as the sau- 
rian reptiles, and particularly the monitors, exhibit epiphyses 
strongly marked. 

Without a thorough investigation of the osteology of existing 
reptiles of every genus, and without reducing this osteology 
to general rules, it was impossible for the Baron to conduct 
his researches on the fossil reptiles in a satisfactory manner. 
The necessity of this led to views and details much more 
extensive than those which the bones of mammiferous animals 
had suggested. We shall accordingly (in proportion to our 
limits) follow him more extensively into this department. 


The raammifera were the last, as they evidently are the 
most perfect productions of the Creative power. Their or- 
ganization is in all points more complicated and complete, 
fitting them for the performance of a greater variety of 
functions, and placing them altogether in a more extended 
range of existence. There is among them a more decided 
separation of all the organs which concur to the purposes of 
life, and nature appears to have employed more art, and less 
economy, in the process of their conformation. 

The reptiles commenced their existence long before the 
mammalia. Their debris are found in formations of greater 
antiquity, and the naturalist is compelled to seek for their 
remains in the deeper strata of our globe. 

We have already seen, in the brief review of fossil mammi- 
fera, which we have presented to our readers, that the greatest 
number, beyond all comparison, of viviparous quadrupeds, 
have left their bones in the latest diluvial strata, in caverns, or 
in the clefts and crevices of rocks. The sea which passed 
over them had scarcely sufficient time to deposit many traces 
of its transitory inundation : at all events, it has not covered 
them with compact, solid, regular strata. Some local for- 
mations alone, and which appear to be of a more ancient 
date, inclose principally the remains of non-existing genera, 
and are covered in certain places by marine depositions. But 
in the coarse limestone, the calcaire grossier of the French, in 
the limestone with cerithiaf none but marine mammifera have 
been found, such as phocae, lamantins, and cetacea. In one 
instance alone, which may, after all, be attributable to some 
mistake, has an exception to this law been found. We 
allude to the molasse, the lignites contained therein, and 
certain contemporary lignites, in which incontestable bones of 
mammifera have been observed, and where the Baron found 
his antracotheria, and palseotheria, accompanied, as in the 
Parisian gypsum, with trionyces and crocodiles, and where 
he also met with some bones and teeth of mastodon, and a 


jaw-bone of castor. These molasse and lignites are said to 
be invariably lower than the coarse limestone ; but though this 
point were as well established as it appears to be doubtful ; 
though it were true, that the molasse and lignites of two dif- 
ferent eras had not been confounded together, still it must be 
remembered that the strata resting on the chalk are universally 
allowed to be the most ancient in which the debris of mam- 
mifera are observed ; that the chalk itself positively contains 
none, and still less can they be supposed to exist in strata 
of an anterior state ; while, on the other hand, the chalk, and 
most part of these anterior strata, even to the great pit-coal 
formation, abound, in certain places, with tortoises, lizards, and 
crocodiles, species which are very rare in the superficial 

We now come to the consideration of another age of the 
world, an age in which the earth was inhabited only by the 
cold-blooded reptiles, and in which the sea abounded in 
ammonites, belemnites, terebratulse, and encrinites, and in 
which all these genera, now of such prodigious rarity, con- 
stituted the basis of its population. This age is termed by 
geologists that of the secondary strata. 

We shall begin with the crocodiles, in our review of the 
remains of reptiles. 

Fossil Crocodiles. 

The bones of crocodiles are more abundant than those of 
other reptiles, and more easily recognized. They exist in a 
great number of strata, both in those of a comparatively middle 
antiquity, as in the gypsum of Montmartre, or those of an an- 
tiquity more remote, such as the limestone of the neighbour- 
hood of Caen, from which the frieze-stones are taken, and the 
blue calcareous marl of the environs of Honfleur. 

It will be necessary, before we proceed to the consideration 
of their fossil remains, to say a word or two concerning the 
distinctive characters of the existing species of crocodiles, and 


to give a sketch of their osteology. Without this, the reader 
would but imperfectly understand the account which we have 
to furnish concerning the fossil debris. If we did not do this 
to the same extent in the case of the mammifera, it was 
because their species and osteology are now in general better 

The precise determination of species and of their distinctive 
characters constitutes the first and grand basis on which all 
the researches of natural history should be founded. The 
most curious observations, and the newest views, lose nearly 
almost all their value when deprived of this support. Nor should 
the dryness of this sort of labour prevent those who are de- 
sirous of arriving at satisfactory results from undertaking it. 

For a considerable period of time, the larger animals were 
precisely those concerning whose species naturalists were in 
possession of the least accurate information. Their size, the 
difficulty of killing, of transporting, of preserving them, and 
the remoteness of the climates which they inhabit, rendered it 
impossible to assemble and compare together, at once, a 
sufficient number of individuals. 

It has been only, for instance, of late years, comparatively 
speaking, that it became known that many species existed of 
the elephant and the rhinoceros ; and though it was main- 
tained more anciently that the species of the crocodiles were 
numerous, yet so vague and variable were the characters 
assigned to them, and so little in conformity with truth, that 
those who maintained the negative of this question could 
scarcely be blamed. 

The ancients, who might, if they pleased, have compared 
the crocodile of India with that of the Nile, have entered into 
no such detail. One author alone, JElian, has casually no- 
ticed, in a word, the gavialf and the common crocodile of the 
Ganges. A little more attention was paid by them to the 
crocodile of Egypt, of which, however, their knowledge was im- 
perfect enough, though more accurate than their knowledge of 


the hippopotamus. Herodotus has given a tolerably exact de- 
scription and history of this crocodile, and even his errors 
have some foundation in truth. Aristotle reduced to their 
just value many assertions more or less erroneous of the Father 
of History on this subject ; and added, to the external and 
internal description of this animal, many particulars equally 
correct and valuable. The successors of these two great 
writers did little more than either copy them implicitly, or add 
to their relations circumstances of doubtful authority, or idle 
superstitious tales. 

There are few things in history more remarkable than the 
utter incuriosity of the Romans respecting all subjects of 
natural science. No other nation ever possessed such ad- 
vantages as they did for the study of zoology, and scarcely 
any other civilized nation ever paid less attention to the 
subject. With opportunities infinitely more numerous than 
ever occurred to any other people, of observing the rarest 
animals, they took no pains to transmit to us anything valuable 
concerning them. With respect to the crocodile, they are 
liable to the same reproaches which have been made with 
so much justice against them on the score of the hippopo- 
tamus. These two animals, they saw, for the first time, under 
the edileship of Scaurus, when five crocodiles were exhibited. 
On another occasion these animals were brought to Rome by 
certain inhabitants of Dendera, who played a variety of tricks 
with them. One of the most astonishing spectacles of this 
kind was given by Augustus, in the year of Rome 748, seven 
years before the Christian era. The Flaminian circus was 
filled with water, and thirty-six crocodiles were exhibited and 
destroyed there. Crocodiles were also shown by Antoninus 
and Hehogabalus, according to the accounts of Julius Capi- 
tolinus and Lampridius, and it is highly probable that they 
were exhibited on many other occasions, which the authors, 
whose works have descended to us, have not thought proper 
to notice. 


Nevertheless, the Romans, and the Greeks who lived under 
their dominion, availed themselves of all these opportunities of 
seeing the crocodile, only for the purpose of giving some exact- 
ness to their figures of this animal. It is certainly very well repre- 
sented on their medals and monuments. The mosaic of Pales- 
trina, the plinthus of the statue of the Nile, various medals of 
the different emperors^ and sundry engraved stones, clearly prove 
that the artists were sufficiently familiarized with the external 
conformation of the crocodile. But we have no reason to be- 
lieve that any of the ancient naturalists recognized more than 
one species. The fact that some of them have spoken of a 
crocodile called suchus or suchis, does not, as we shall have 
reason to observe hereafter, invalidate this assertion. 

Nor shall we find that even the moderns themselves, before 
the attention of M. Cuvier was drawn to the subject, have car- 
ried their exacter modes of observation and arrangement in 
natural history into this department of the animal kingdom. 
The most enlightened naturalists of the eighteenth century 
have confounded together, contrary to all rules, distinct species 
of the crocodile, and mixed with them certain of the larger 
lizards, which have no claims to such an arrangement. Thus, 
Linnaeus, in the editions of the Systema Natures, published 
during his own life, admitted only a single crocodile, without 
even distinguishing the species of the Ganges with elongated 
beak. His contemporary Gronovius separated from the cro- 
codile, properly so called, the cayman, or American crocodile, 
the crocodile of the Ganges, (to which last he joined the black 
crocodile of Adanson,) and a fourth species which he named 
the crocodile of Ceylon, and which he distinguished by this 
accidental character, and one peculiar only to the individual 
which he described, namely, that the two external toes only are 
completely palmated. Laurenti has established two particular 
species besides the crocodile and the cayman, founded upon 
indifferent figures from Seba, (Crocodilus Africanus et C. ter- 
restris,) but he has totally forgotten the gavial and the black 



crocodile, Lacepede, like the two preceding 'writers, admits 
four species, but combines them differently. His first species 
is the crocodile, under which he includes, after the example of 
Linnaeus, the common crocodiles of the old and new world as 
one and the same species. 2. The black crocodile, which he 
merely slightly notices after Adanson. 3. The gavial, or long- 
beaked crocodile of the Ganges, of which he was the first to 
give a good description. And lastly, an animal which he terms 
fouette-queue, because he judges it to be the same as the lacerta 
caudiverbera of Linnaeus. Its description was taken, however^ 
from an altered figure of a crocodile given by Seba. 

Gmelin reduced the crocodiles to three species, 1st, by joining 
the common crocodile and the crocodilus ^fricanus of Laurenti, 
under the name of lacerta crocodilus ; 2ndly, uniting the gavial, 
crocodilus terrestris of Laurenti, and the black crocodile, under 
his lacerta Gangetica; andSrdly, by separating the cayman under 
the name of lacerta alligator. Finally, Bonaterre returned to 
the quaternary number, by adding the fouette-queue of M. de 
Lacepede to Gmelin's three species, and neglecting the black 
crocodile. These differences, however, in the establishment of 
species were nothing in comparison of those which existed in 
their characters and synonymy. 

Without entering into an account of these inconsistencies, 
which produced a perfect chaos in this department of natural 
history, we shall notice, in a few words, the characters which 
circumscribe the genus. 

All the lizards or saurian reptiles which have the tail flat- 
tened at the sides, the hind feet palmated, or semi-palmate ; 
the fleshy tongue attached to the floor of the mouth, almost as 
far as its edges, and by no means extensible ; sharp, simple 
teeth on a single range, and a single penis in the male ; — these 
are crocodiles. The three first-mentioned characters deter- 
mine the aquatic nature of these animals, and the fourth con- 
stitutes them voracious camivora. 

All the animals of this genus hitherto known also unite the 


following characters, which future discoveries may, perhaps, 
prove to be less general and less essential : — 

Five toes before ; four behind ; three toes only armed with 
claws on each foot ; thus there are two before and one behind 
without a claw: all the tail and the upper and under part of the 
body covered with square scales ; the greatest part of those of the 
back raised by longitudinal crests or ridges, projecting more or 
less : the flanks furnished with small rounded scales only: simi- 
lar ridges forming on the base of the tail, two crests denticulated 
like a saw, which unite in a single one for the rest of its length : 
the ears closed externally by two fleshy lips : the nostrils form- 
ing a long narrow canal which opens internally in the throat : 
the eyes having three lids : two small pouches opening under 
the neck, and containing a musky substance. 

Their anatomy also presents characters common to all the 
species, and which clearly distinguish their skeleton from that 
of other saurian reptiles. These are : — 

1. The vertebrae of the neck have certain kinds of false fibs, 
which, touching each other by their extremities, hinder the 
animal from completely turning the head aside. 

2. The sternum is prolonged beyond the ribs, and has false 
ribs of a description altogether peculiar, which do not articulate 
with the vertebrae, but serve for the purpose of guarding the 
abdomen, &c. 

The crocodiles with all these characters constitute a very 
natural genus. This is a truth which was sufficiently percep- 
tible to various systematic writers, but they were wrong in uniting 
to this genus certain species which in truth possessed the cha- 
racter assigned by their system, but which differed from the 
genus crocodile in every other respect. 

It is not unimportant nor uninteresting to trace the steps by 
which the Baron Cuvier was led to a just classification of these 
animals. To arrive at the distinction of species, he commenced 
by putting out of the investigation the long-beaked crocodiles, 
vulgarly termed gavials, or crocodiles of the Ganges, they being 



allowed, by universal consent, to constitute, if no higher a sub- 
division, at least a species perfectly distinct from all others. 

There remained all those animals known under the names of 
crocodile, and o^ cayman, or alligator, and so frequently taken 
one for the other. These animals are very numerous in the 
collections of natural history in France, in consequence of the 
relations of that country with Egypt, Senegal, and Guyana, 
which, with the East Indies, are the climates where crocodiles 
chiefly abound. 

The Baron, after an examination of about sixty individuals 
of both sexes, from the length of tvv^elve or fifteen feet down to 
the very young which had but broken the shell, seemed to think 
that they might all be reduced to two species, which he thus 
defined : — 

1. Crocodile, Oblong muzzle ; upper jaw notched on each 
side, to let the fourth lower tooth pass ; hinder feet entirely 
pal mated. 

2. Cayman. Obtuse muzzle ; upper jaw receiving the 
fourth lower tooth in a particular hollow which conceals it ; 
hind feet semi-palmate. 

All the individuals of the first form, whose origin the Baron 
could then learn with certainty, came from the Nile, Senegal, 
the Cape, or the East Indies. All of the second from America, 
either from Cayenne or elsewhere. 

The Baron thus at first established two very distinct species 
of crocodile, without reckoning the gavials with the long muz- 
zle ; and he deemed himself justified in assigning the Old Con- 
tinent as the country of the one, and the New as that of the 
other. Moreover, at the time of which we speak, he gave an 
indication of a third species, that of North America, of which 
he then possessed but a single individual, and the distinction 
has been since completely confirmed. 

Such were the results of the earliest labours of M. Cuvier 

published in the year 1801. But during the ten subsquent 

years very important researches took place on the subject of the 


crocodiles — researches, prosecuted by various naturalists of 
different countries, and by the Baron himself. These researches 
occasioned certain modifications in the results of his former 

They proved, in the first instance, that what he had regarded 
merely as two species were in reality two subdivisions of the 
genus, susceptible of being themselves divided, by means of 
secondary characters, into several different species. They also 
shewed, in the second place, that the two subdivisions are not 
entirely peculiar to the two continents to which he had respec- 
tively attributed them : for the crocodile of St. Domingo, for 
example, though certainly forming a species apart, does yet 
much more closely resemble the crocodiles proper, of the Old 
Continent, than those which are most commonly found in the 
New, and to which the Baron had restricted the appellation of 
cayman. From this the possibility was deduced that a reciprocal 
discovery might be made in the old continent of some species 
appertaining or approximating to the subdivision of the cay- 

The Baron, in enumerating the names of those naturalists to 
whom we are indebted for the augmentation of our knowledge 
on this genus, expressly excepts the editors of Buffon. They 
have given nothing original. Their figures even are but copies 
from other figures badly chosen. Daudin alone has given some 
slight indication of a new species. Neither has Shaw, in that 
part of his General Zoology which treats of reptiles, done any- 
thing to elucidate the subject. He admits but two species with 
short muzzles, namely, the common crocodile and the alligator. 
To represent the latter, he takes the altered figure of Seba 
above mentioned, which had been used for Lacepede'sybi«e^^e- 
queue^ and his two figures of crocodiles are caymans. 

M. Faujas de Saint- Fond wrote especially on this subject in 
his geological essays and other works. He had numbers of indi- 
vidual specimens under his inspection, and a full opportunity of 


marking the distinctive characters above assigned to the cro- 
codile and cayman. But he preferred pronouncing, without an 
examination, *' that the cayman so nearly approaches the Afri- 
can species, that some naturalists, and I (adds he) am of the 
number, regard it only as a simple variety appertaining to 

A strong proof that this gentleman gave no proper considera- 
tion to this question, is that, in another work of tolerable circu- 
lation, he has given the figure of a crocodile, which he believed 
to be taken from an African individual preserved in the Museum 
of Paris. This, however, turned out to be the figure of a very 
different species from the East Indies, and of a species of which 
there was no specimen in the Museum. Another proof is an 
assertion in his Geological Essays, where he says, that sup- 
posing caymans to exist in the fossil state, the semi-palmation 
of the hinder foot must disappear, nor would their second cha- 
racter be more stable. Now, as this second character consists 
in the form of the osseous head, it is quite obvious that it would 
be as stable as any other that could be met with in fossil bones. 

M. Schneider was the first who endeavoured to throw some 
little light on this confused subject. For this purpose he col- 
lected carefully all the passages of ancient authors respecting 
the crocodile, that a clear idea might be formed of the croco- 
codile of the Nile; and also everything that modern writers 
have alleged on the same subject. He compared this recom- 
posed description with that of the crocodile of Siam made by 
the missionaries, and of an American crocodile from Plumier, 
whose manuscript is preserved at Berhn. 

But as the differences which M. Schneider deduces from this 
comparison, result only from the terms, or the peculiar views 
employed by authors who had no intention of giving distinctive 
characters, and as the American species dissected by Plumier 
happened to be that which has an exact analogy with the cro- 
codile properly so called, the labours of this gentleman have led 


to little in the illustration of the genus except in the case of the 
crocodile of Siam, the peculiarities of which are well distin- 
guished in his comparison. The species of the Nile is so 
badly authenticated by him, that most of the characters attri- 
buted to it belong in reality to the cayman. Even the cranium, 
of which he gives a figure, is not that of the crocodile, but one 
belonging to a cayman of a particular species. 

Still there are many passages in M. Schneider containing 
useful and true indications respecting the multiplicity of species 
in America. He has also the merit of having been the first to 
recognise the distinction of that species, called by the mission- 
aries the crocodile of Siam, and which certainly seems to be 
distinct His porosus seems to be the same as the biporcatus 
of Cuvier, which we shall notice presently. The pores to each 
scale, which M. Schneider makes a specific character, are more 
or less to be found in all the crocodiles, properly so called. He 
also enumerates as distinct the longirostris or gavial universally 
known to be so. That which he names scleropSj and very erro- 
neously gives as the crocodile of the Nile, is the most common 
cayman in Guiana. His crocodilus triijonatus appears to be 
another cayman, which is named palpebrosus by Cuvier. His 
crocodilus cazrinatus, oopholis and palmatus, all belong to the 
crocodile division, but his characters are so insufficient, that it is 
impossible to refer them to one species more than another. 
Lastly, his crocodilus pentonix is an imaginary being. It may 
be added that all his figures are made with singular carelessness 
and inaccuracy ; neither do the descriptions of the text always 
accord with them. 

M. Geofiroy St. Hilaire rendered a very eminent service to 
this branch of natural history by bringing from the Thebais a 
well-authenticated crocodile of the Nile. He has informed us 
that the fishermen of that country pretend to be acquainted 
with two other species. He brought back the mummy of a 
cranium from the catacombs, which induced him to examine 


analogous individuals in the Paris collections ; and as this 
cranium and these individuals differed in some points from the 
common crocodile, he concluded them to belong to one of the 
species mentioned by the fishermen. To this species, M. 
Geoffroy is disposed to refer the crocodiles which were held in 
such peculiar veneration by the ancient Egyptians, and to 
apply to it the name of suchus, mentioned by Strabo and 
Photius. His numerous observations on the habits of the 
crocodile perfectly explain everything, doubtful or obscure, on 
this subject in the writings of the ancients, and form very 
valuable additions to the natural history of this reptile. He 
has also given a comparative description of the bones com- 
posing the head of this animal, embracing new and interesting 
views on the osteology of reptiles. But one of the most im- 
portant facts relative to specific classification, ascertained by 
M. Geoffroy, is the establishment of the astonishing resem- 
blance of the crocodile of St. Domingo with that of the Nile ; 
and, consequently, of the great differences which distinguish 
the former from the common cayman of Cayenne. 

The Baron, in his grand work on *' Fossil Osteology," has 
finally divided the genus Crocodile, the characters of which 
we have already laid before our readers, into three sub-genera. 
This division was not made until he had personally inspected 
every new specimen that it was possible to procure ; — taken a 
second review of all that he had already seen, and again pe- 
rused all the most ancient writers on the subject — it was impos- 
sible, in fact, by any means, to make closer approaches to the 
truth, or arrive at an enumeration more complete and distinct. 
The genus itself became so clearly circumscribed and deter- 
mined, that it could not be confounded with any other of the 
reptilia ; and M. Cuvier's first division of it (already men- 
tioned) in a general way, was fully confirmed by his subse- 
quent observations. The general form, thus determined, be- 
came modified in its details into three particular forms, which: 
we shall now lay before the reader. 


The first sub-genus is named Cayman or Alligator. The 
name of Cayman or Caiman is almost generally employed by 
the Dutch, French, Spanish, and Portuguese colonists, to 
designate the crocodiles which are most common in the neigh- 
bourhood of their establishments. Authors are not agreed on 
the origin of this name. According to Bontius it came from 
the East Indies: his words are ^^ per totam Indiam Cayman 
audit.'' Marcgrave makes it come from Congo — " Jacare 
Brasiliensibus, Cayman JEthiopibus in Congo ;" and Roche- 
fort says, it was original with the native islanders of the 
Antilles. The opinion of Marcgrave was confirmed to 
M. Cuvier, by the report of a very enlightened inhabitant of 
St. Domingo, who declared, that the slaves on their arrival from 
Africa, at sight of a crocodile, instantly gave it the name of 
cayman. The word alligator has been more peculiarly em- 
ployed by our own countrymen, but rather in a loose way. 
Notwithstanding the Latin air of this word, it has no relation 
with its apparent etymology. Some say that it is derived from 
legateer or allegater, which is the name of the crocodile in 
some parts of India. This, however, is not a well-authenti- 
cated etymology : it seems more probable that it is a corrup- 
tion of the Portuguese lagarto which, itself, is clearly derived 
from lacerta. 

This first sub-genus has the head less oblong than the 
crocodiles. Its length to its breadth, taken at the articulation 
of the jaws, is usually as three to two : never more than double. 
The length of the cranium makes more than a fourth of the 
total length of the head. The teeth are unequal : they are at 
the least nineteen, and sometimes two-and -twenty on each 
side below — nineteen at the least ; and often twenty above. 
The first teeth of the lower jaw pierce the upper at a certain 
age ; the fourth, which are the longest, enter into hollows in 
the upper jaw, where they are concealed when the mouth is 
closed. They do not enter into notches. The legs and hind 
feet are rounded, and have neither caruncles nor indenta- 


tions at their edges. The intervals are at most but one half 
filled by a short membrane. The foramina of the cranium, in 
such species as have any, are very small : one species is 
entirely destitute of them. 

The second sub-genus is that of the crocodiles properly 
so called. 

The name of Crocodile was given originally to the Nilotic 
species, according to Herodotus by the lonians, because, says 
he, it resembled the crocodiles which, among themselves, (the 
lonians), inhabit hedges. These were probably the lizard, 
named Stellion by Linnaeus, and which is still called in modern 
Greek, by a slight change, koslordylos. In its primitive accep- 
tation KpoKohiKos signified " that which fears the bank or 
shoreJ^ The true crocodile of the Nile was formerly, accord- 
ing to the historian above cited, named Chamses by the ancient 
Egyptians, and at the present day, in Egypt, is called temsach, 
according to all travellers. 

In the individuals of this sub-genus the head is oblong, the 
length is double, and sometimes more than double the breadth. 
The length of the cranium is less than one-fourth of the total 
length of the head. The teeth are unequal. There are fifteen 
on each side below, and nineteen above. The first teeth of 
the lower jaw pierce the upper at a certain age ; they pass 
into notches, and are not lodged in hollows of the upper jaw. 
The hind feet have at their external edge an indented crest 
or caruncle : the intervals of the toes, at least of the external 
ones, are entirely palmated. In the cranium, behind the 
eyes, are two oval foramina, which may be observed through 
the skin, even in dried individuals. 

The Gavials constitute the third sub-genus. The muzzle 
is narrow, cylindrical, extremely elongated, and a little swelled 
out at the end. The length of the cranium is scarcely one- 
fifth of the entire length of the head. The teeth are nearly 
equal — twenty-five to twenty-seven on each side below ; twenty- 
seven to twenty-eight above. The first two and fourth two of 


the lower jaw pass into notches of the upper, and not into 
hollows. The cranium has large foramina behind the eyes, 
and the hind feet are indented and palmated like those of the 
crocodiles proper. The slender form of their muzzle renders 
them, though superior in size, much less formidable than the 
two other sub-genera. They usually content themselves with 

A brief notice of the species of these sub-genera will be 

The first is the Pike-muzzled Cayman (Crocodilus lucius), 
so called by M. Cuvier, who was under the necessity of new- 
naming all the species, to prevent the confusion which must 
have resulted from retaining the popular appellations. Several 
individuals, all from North America, came under the inspection 
of the Baron ; who, however, hesitates to say that this is the 
only cayman found in that part of the globe. Dr. Leach has 
given a figure of it in the "Zoologist's Miscellany," t. ii. p. 117, 
pi. CII. 

It has all the characters common to the Caymans. Its 
muzzle is very flatted, the sides are almost parallel, and they 
unite in front by a parabolic curve. These circumstances give 
it a striking resemblance to the muzzle of a pike. The internal 
edges of the orbits are very much raised ; but they are not 
united by a transversal crest or ridge. The external apertures 
of the nostrils are from the earliest age separated from each 
other by an osseous branch, which does not take place at any 
other age in the other species. The cranium has two oval, 
oblique fosses, of no great depth ; in the bottom of which are 
small holes. The nape of the neck is armed in the middle 
with four principal plates, each of them being raised by a 
ridge. There are besides, two small ones in front, and two 
behind. On the back are eighteen transverse ranges of plates, 
each raised with a ridge. The number of the ridges, or of the 
plates of each range is as follows : — 

One range with two ridges, two with four, three with six, 


six with eight, two with six, and the rest with four. The un- 
equal ridges sometimes found on the sides are not reckoned 

These ridges are tolerably elevated, and nearly equal ; but 
on the tail, as in all the crocodiles, the lateral ridges predomi- 
nate, until they unite. There are nineteen transversal ranges 
of them as far as the union of the two crests, and as many 
after. It is to be observed, however, that these two numbers 
are more subject to variation than those of the ranges of the 

One individual of this species measured but five feet ; and 
the longest seen by M. Cuvier was not more than from six to 
seven. According, however, to the accounts of travellers, this 
species grows as large as any other ; and Catesby, in particular, 
says, that he has seen some fourteen feet in length. The 
breadth of the cranium, at the articulation of the jaws, makes 
one half of its length ; by which it will be found that the 
muzzle of this species is both wider and longer than those of 
the following. 

This species seems adapted to a northern climate, and has 
been found as high as 32J° north latitude, even in the depth 
of a rigorous winter. In Louisiana, they throw themselves 
into the marshes when the cold commences, and fall into a 
lethargic sleep without being frozen. Their lethargy is so 
complete, that they may be cut in pieces without being 

The Spectacled Cayman {Crocodilus Sclerops) is the most 
common in Cayenne. Its muzzle, though wide, has not the 
edges parallel. They proceed, approximating throughout 
their entire length, and forming a figure rather more triangular 
than in the preceding species. The surface of the bones of 
the head is very unequal, and appears throughout as if rotted, 
or gnawed into small holes. The interior edges of the orbits 
are greatly raised. From their anterior angle springs a project- 
ing rib-like bone, which extends in front, and a little outwards 


branching towards the teeth in aged individuals, especially in 
males. Another very marked projection proceeds from the 
anterior angle of one orbit to that of the other transversely. 
This is the most remarkable character of this species, and the 
one from which its name is derived. Behind the eyes, only, 
are two rather small holes. 

Besides some scales, spread behind the occiput, and which 
form there in certain individuals a transverse range of tolera- 
ble regularity, the nape is armed with four transverse bands, 
very robust, which touch each other, and proceed to join the 
series of the bands of the back. The first two consist each 
of four scales, and, consequently, four ridges, the middle ones 
of which last are sometimes very much effaced. The two 
others have most frequently but two of these scales with their 

Of the transverse ranges of the back, two have two ridges, 
four have six, five have eight, two have six, and four have 

But with age, the lateral scales, not much marked at first, 
assume the form of the others, and two must be added to the 
number of ridges in each range. In general, it is rare to find 
two individuals perfectly similar in this respect. 

All these ridges are not much raised, and are nearly equal 
with one another. Even the lateral ones of the base of the 
tail predominate but httle over the others. It is only at their 
juncture that they become very projecting. 

There are eleven, twelve, or thirteen ranges before this 
union, and twenty-one after. But these numbers vary. 

This species grows to a considerable size ; some being 
eleven, and some fourteen feet in length. 

The Yacare of M. D'Azara (which is the present species) 
proceeds no further south than the 32d degree — precisely the 
same limit which bounds the northern extension of the pre- 
ceding species. In the flat island of Marajo, or Johannes, at 
the mouth of the Amazon, these animals remain in summer 


in the marshes ; and when these dry up, what remains of 
water in the bottom is so completely filled with them, that no 
liquid is to be seen. It is thought that, at this time, the large 
devour the smaller. They cannot re-ascend the river, because 
the island is surrounded with salt water. Those of Guiana, 
according to Laborde, sometimes remain almost dry in the 
marshes, and are then considered most dangerous. 

The Cayman, with hony eyelids, {C. Palpebrosus,) is the 
third species of M. Cuvier. In this he has established two 
varieties. Of the first, of which he received specimens from 
Cayenne, the following is a summary of the characters : — 

The muzzle is a little more elongated and less depressed 
than in the preceding species. The surface of the bones is, 
however, equally vermiculated. No osseous band unites the 
orbits, but the upper lid is entirely filled by an osseous plate, 
divided into three pieces by sutures. The nape is armed with 
a range of four small scales ; then come four transverse bands, 
each being provided with two projecting ridges, and they join 
those of the back. The cranium is not pierced, nor are fora- 
mina observable there at any age. There are twenty-one 
teeth below on each side, and nineteen above. The interval 
between the two external toes behind is obviously less pal- 
mated than in the preceding species, which renders the ani- 
mal, according to M. Cuvier, more terrestrial. Cayenne is 
assuredly the country of this variety, to which the Baron 
appears to restrict the epithet Palpebrosus. 

From four other specimens this eminent naturalist forms his 
second variety. The characters are : — 

Osseous lids like the preceding : a ridge proceeding from 
the anterior angle of the orbit. A small emargination at the 
posterior edge of the cranium. The second band of the nape 
wider than the others, with two or three small ridges irre- 
gularly arranged ; the large ridges cut into scalene triangles, 
greatly raised, which give a very bristling appearance to the 
nape. The ridges of the back and tail also project very 


The Baron is very much in doubt whether these two be 
merely varieties or distinct species. The crocodile of St. 
Domingo differs little more from that of the Nile than they 
do from each other. The country of the second is not de- 
termined, and a difference of continent would strengthen the 
supposition of a distinction of species. Seba, who has evi- 
dently figured the last one we have described, makes it an 
animal of Ceylon ; but as the Baron observes, there is no more 
dependence to be placed on this assertion than on many other 
erroneous ones made by the same author relative to the origin 
of the specimens in his collection. One, however, of the 
individuals, on which the Baron founds the variety, was ticketted 
thus, in the Paris Museum, the letters being half effaced — 
Krokodile noir du Niger^ which is the orthography and hand- 
writing of M. Adanson. This naturalist tells, in his Voyage, 
that there are two crocodiles in Senegal, and M. de Beauvois 
says that there have been seen in Guinea a crocodile and a 
caiman. But an embarrassment still remains, for Adanson 
says that his black crocodile has a more elongated muzzle 
than the green. Now the latter is the crocodile of the Nile, 
and it happens unluckily that the variety of which we are now 
treating has the muzzle much shorter than that of the Egyptian 
species. The Baron therefore leaves these two animals we 
have described, provisionally, as varieties, giving to the latter 
the epithet trigonatus, which M. Schneider appears originally 
to have bestowed upon it. 

The difficulty with the sub-genus of the Crocodile is of a 
different nature from that which is attached to the investigation 
of the caymans. The species most easily authenticated re- 
semble each other infinitely more. In the numerous varieties 
of age and sex, of which multifarious specimens have arrived 
in Europe, so many various shades, yet graduating towards 
each other, have been found, that it is impossible for a 
naturalist to know where to stop in their determination. 

The Common Crocodile of the Nile (Crocodilus vulgaris 


Cuv. Lacerta crocodilus, Linnaeus. Crocodilus Niloticus 
Daud.) has, notwithstanding its ancient celebrity, been almost 
continually mistaken by those modern naturalists who have 
attempted to distinguish the species of this genus. Laurenti, 
and even Blumenbach, have taken for it the palp ebrosus ; and 
Schneider, for the sderops. This has chiefly proceeded from 
the very detestable figures generally given by Egyptian travellers 
of this animal, and the slender authentication of most of the 
specimens dispersed through the different cabinets of Europe. 
To the researches of Geoffroy we are indebted for the first 
establishment of precise notions on this subject. 

In the true crocodile of the Nile, the length of the head is 
double the breadth. The sides are in a general direction, nearly 
rectilinear, and the head thus represents an elongated isosceles 
triangle. The foramina with which the cranium is pierced are 
large, and broader than they are long. The muzzle is rugged 
and uneven, especially in aged individuals, but has no par- 
ticular projecting ridge. Immediately behind the cranium, on 
a transverse line, are four small isolated scales, with ridges. 
Then comes the large plate of the nape, formed of six scales 
with ridges ; then two scales a little separated ; and afterwards 
the transverse bands of the back, almost always fifteen or 
sixteen in number. The first twelve have each six scales and 
six ridges ; the three bands between the thighs have only four 

All these ridges are nearly equal, and moderately pro- 
jecting. There is, moreover, on each side, a longitudinal 
range of seven or eight ridged or carinated scales, not so 
much united to the assemblage of the others. The lateral 
ridges of the tail only commence to become prominent on 
the sixth band, and to form two crests ; these unite on the 
seventeenth or eighteenth band, and there are yet twenty- 
eight more to the end of the tail. 

The equality of the scales, of the ridges, and of their number 
in each band, and their position on two longitudinal lines, 



give, says M. Cuvier, the crocodile of Egypt the appearance 
of having the back regularly paved with squares, or diamonds 
with four angles. 

The scales of the back and nape, especially those of the 
two longitudinal middle lines, are wider than they are long. 
Those of the belly have a pore more or less marked towards 
their lower edge. The colour of the upper part is a bronzed 
green, more or less clear, marbled with brown ; that of the 
lower a yellowish green. 

The Nilotic species also inhabits Senegal. It is probable 
also that it is found in the Zaire, in the loliba, and other 
rivers of Africa. It certainly exists in Madagascar, as appears 
from a specimen sent to France by M. Havet. 

Among the crocodiles referable to this species, there are 
some which have the head rather more elongated in proportion 
to its breadth, and a little flatter, or rather less unequal, at its 
surface. Beside the differences in the form of the head, 
these individuals exhibit some in the shades of their colours. 
These differences, joined to the testimony of the fishermen of 
the Thebais, would seem to authorize the distinction admitted 
by M. Geoffroi, if not of another species, at least of a par- 
ticular race of the crocodile inhabiting the same country. M. 
Geoffroi has given the name of Suchus to this variety, a name 
which we find in Strabo. 

It was the opinion of Jablonsky and Larcher, that the 
Suchus, or Souchis, was a particular species of the crocodile, 
and that which, in preference to the other, the Egyptians used 
to rear in their temples. 

This opinion, however, is liable to great controversy. It 
appears certain that neither Herodotus, nor Aristotle, nor 
Diodorus, nor Pliny, nor ^lian, had any idea of two species 
of the crocodile in Egypt. Herodotus, after telling us that the 
inhabitants of Elephantina used to eat crocodiles, informs us 
they are named Champses, and this he states in a general way, 



without applying it to this particular district, or to any par- 
ticular species. He says, KaXg'ovrat ^£ 8 TipoKo^eiXoi aXkoc 
p^a/x4^af. He does not mean that they are marine crocodiles 
in the rest of Egypt^ and champses only in Elephantina, for he 
afterwards informs us that the word crocodile is Ionian. 

As for the passage in Strabo, it will not be found, on ex- 
amination, to prove anything in favour of a distinct species, 
and appears to apply only to the individual particularly con- 
secrated. His words are, K«t fsiv Upos (^aqoyco^iiXos) mxpa-vroX^ 
h Xi/xv>3 Y.a.^'' oLvroM r^e(po/A£V05-, y^zipori^fis toTs- IspsDfft, KaXetTat ^e 


The proper translation of this is — ^' They have a sacred 
crocodile, which they rear by itself in a lake, which is tame 
(or gentle) to the priests, and which they name Suchis^ Thus, 
in the same manner the sacred bull of Memphis was named 
Apis, that of Heliopolis Mnevis, and that of Hermonthis 
Pads, these names not being intended to designate particular 
races of the ox, but consecrated individuals. 

Strabo, in his account of the sacred crocodile, which he 
himself presented with food, speaks but of a single individual. 
Herodotus, in the same way, attributes but to one individual 
the ornaments and honours which he describes. Diodorus 
speaks of the crocodile of Lake Maeris, of the he-goat of 
Mendes, in exactly the same style as he does of Apis and 
Mnevis, obviously meaning only individuals. 

Plutarch is very express upon this subject. He says, 
*' Though some Egyptians reverenced the entire species of 
dogs, others that of wolves, and others that of the crocodile, 
they only rear one individual respectively: some bring up a 
dog, others a wolf, and others a crocodile, for it would not be 
possible to rear them all." 

iElian, indeed, in the history which he relates of one of the 
Ptolemies, who used to consult them as oracles, seems to 
countenance the supposition that there were several " Quum 


ex crocodilis, antiquissimum et prestantissimum appellaret;*' 
but Plutarch^ in relating the same history^ speaks of but one, 
^^the sacred crocodile.^' 

It is very true, that the entire species was spared in those 
places, where an individual was reared and consecrated. It is 
also true that these consecrated individuals, fed and well 
treated by the priests, in the course of time grew tame. But 
this, so far from being a peculiar character of the species, was 
constantly cited by the ancients, as a proof that there was no 
animal^ however cruel, that might not be tamed by the care 
and assiduity of man; and especially when food was abun- 
dantly provided. Aristotle expressly concludes, from this 
familiarity between the priests and the crocodiles, that the 
most ferocious animals might live peaceably together as long 
as there was no lack of nourishment. Whether this illus- 
trious philosopher considered that the priests on their side 
furnished an illustration of this fact with the crocodiles, we 
cannot pretend to determine. 

There are, moreover, very sufficient proofs, that the cro- 
codiles most common in the districts where they were brought 
up and reverenced, were not an atom more gentle than those 
of the rest of Egypt. On the contrary, they were more cruel, 
because they were less timid. ^Elian relates, that among the 
Tentyrites, who destroyed these animals as much as they 
possibly could, one might bathe and swim in perfect safety 
in the river. While at Ombos, Coptos, and Arsinoe, where 
they were revered, it was not safe even to walk upon the 
bank, much less to wash the feet, or draw water. He adds, 
that the inhabitants considered it an honour, and rejoiced when 
these animals devoured their children. 

Whatever might have been the origin of so besotted a 
worship as that of the crocodile, we have sufficient evidence 
that the Egyptians did not attribute it to the gentleness of the 
species thus held in adoration. On the contrary, many were 
of opinion that it vyas the ferocity of these animals which 



raised them to the rank of deities, for by that was arrested the 
progress of the Arab and Libyan robbers, who, but for the cro- 
codiles, would have been passing and repassing the Nile and 
its canals incessantly. Diodorus especially mentions this, 
among other reasons, and Cicero, before him, states it in the 
plainest language: " jEgyptii nullam helluam nisi ah aliquam 
utilitatem consecraverunt ; crocodilum^ quod terrore arceat 

A strange passage of Damascius, a Greek writer of the 
Lower Empire, quoted by Photius, has given rise to the opi- 
nion of Jablonski and Larcher. His words are : 

*0 l9r7ro9r6rapcos- a^txov l^uov ; 6 ^Z%os (or more properly Saxts") 

" The hippopotamus is unjust; the suchis is just: it has the 
name and figure of the crocodile : it hurts no animal." 

The explanation of this is very simple. In the time of Da- 
mascius, who lived under Justinian, the Pagans were perse- 
cuted, and sacred animals were no longer reared in Egypt. 
Nothing remained of the ancient worship but in tradition 
and the reports of books. Damascius was, from all that is 
known of him, evidently a very ignorant and credulous man. 
He had read or heard that the suchis, or sacred crocodile of 
Arsinoe, was harmless, and he immediately sets it down as an 
innocent and peculiar species. This explanation is sufficient, 
if we translate the word si^o^ species ; but the signification of 
this word is ambiguous, and the mode in which it is used by 
this author is not calculated to fix the sense. We have thought 
proper to translate it in its original and natural acceptation, in 
which we are fully convinced it was employed by Damascius. 
It is, moreover, evident that the suchis, even supposing that it 
was a weaker kind of crocodile, must have been carnivorous. 
To say, therefore, that it did no injury to any animal, is false 
and absurd, and such an error ought to deprive the passage in 
question of all credit. 

The second species established by the Baron is the double- 



crested crocodile (crocodilus biporcatus), which is the porosus of 
Schneider. M. Cuvier had the good fortune to possess speci- 
mens of this species at all ages, from its issuing from the egg 
to its attainment of the length of twelve feet. This enabled 
him not only to distinguish the characters with the utmost cer- 
tainty, but also furnished him with the most useful knowledge 
concerning the variations of form which the crocodiles in gene- 
ral undergo in proportion to age. 

The head diflfers from that of the common crocodile only by 
two projecting crests or ridges which proceed from the anterior 
angle of the orbit, and descend in almost a parallel line along 
the muzzle^ disappearing by degrees. The scales of the back 
are more numerous than in the preceding species. The first 
range has four ; the following have six. The eight which come 
after have each of them eight : then there are three with six, 
and three with four. The entire number of ranges is seventeen. 
These scales, instead of being square, and wider than long, are, 
on the contrary, oval, and longer than wide. In young indivi- 
duals there are pores to all the dorsal scales, and at the trian- 
gular intervals left between them. The ventral pores are also 
very obvious in this species. 

This crocodile is the most common in all those rivers which 
flow towards the Indian Ocean. It is found in Java. Peron 
has observed it in Timor and in the Sechelles Islands. It has 
also been taken in the Ganges, and M. Cuvier received from 
Calcutta a skeleton seventeen feet in length. 

The next species is the lozenge crocodile (crocodilus rhom- 
bifer.) The country of this crocodile is unknown, and the Baron 
had only seen two individuals. 

The chaffron is more gibbous than in the other species, its 
transverse section representing at least a semicircle. From the 
anterior angle of each orbit proceeds a blunt rectilinear ridge, 
which promptly approaches its correspondent one, and forms 
with it and the internal edges of the two orbits an incomplete 
bzenge at its posterior angle. The four limbs are clothed in 


stronger scales than in the preceding, each elevated in the 
centre with a bulky projecting ridge. This gives them the ap- 
pearance of being more vigorously armed. 

The fourth species is the crocodilus galeatus, Cuv., Siamensis, 
Schneider. Its distinguishing character consists in two trian- 
gular osseous crests implanted one behind the other on the 
central line of the cranium. It resembles almost in everything 
the common species of the Nile, attains the length of more than 
ten feet, and inhabits the rivers of Siam. 

It is only known by the description given by the French 
missionaries at Siam. 

The crocodilus biscutatus of Cuvier, black crocodile of Adan- 
son, is the fourth species. The muzzle is more elongated than 
in the preceding species, but less so than in that of St, Do- 
mingo. The two middle longitudinal lines of the crests are less 
projecting than the lateral ones, and these last are somewhat 
irregularly disposed. The nape is armed with only two large 
pyramidical scales on its centre^ and two small ones in front. 
The number of transverse scales, as far as behind the thighs, is 
only fifteen. The scales of the two longitudinal central lines 
are broader than they are long. 

This species has been found in the river Senegal by Adan- 
son. This naturalist says that it is blacker and more ferocious 
than the common species, which is also to be met with in the 
same river. 

The slender-muzzled crocodile of St. Domingo, crocodilus 
acutusy Cuv., is the fifth species. The muzzle is more slender 
than that of all the other crocodiles properly so called. 

The breadth of the head, taken at the articulation of the 
jaws, is comprised twice and a quarter in the length. The 
length of the cranium is little more than a fifth of the total 
length of the head. The males, however, have all these pro- 
portions a little shorter than the females, approximating in this 
respect to the females of the common crocodile, especially when 
young. On the middle of the chaftron, a little in front of the 


orbits, is a rounded convexity, more or less sensible. The 
upper face of the muzzle presents no projecting lines. The 
edges of the jaws are still more sensibly festooned than in the 
Egyptian species, taking individuals of the same age. 

The plates of the nape are nearly the same as in the croco- 
dile of the Nile, but those of the back, and this is a distinctive 
character, properly form but four longitudinal lines of crests 
(as in the preceding), the middle ones of which are more 
raised, and the external very projecting. These are placed 
more irregularly, and some of them scattered along the external 
side. This armour of the back does not resemble in number of 
pieces, nor in equality, that of the Egyptian crocodile. The 
middle pieces are wider in proportion. There are but fifteen 
or sixteen transverse ranges as far as the origin of the tail. In 
the tail are seventeen or eighteen ranges before the union of 
the two crests, and seventeen after. The middle ridges cease 
at the eighteenth or nineteenth range. 

The feet do not differ from those of the common crocodile. 
The under scales are each provided with a pore. The head is 
to the length of the body as one to seven and four-tenths. The 
upper part of the body is of a deep green, spotted and marbled 
with black ; the under of a paler green. 

The males have all the proportions of the head a little shorter 
than the females. 

Another species of living crocodile, with the nape of the 
neck armed (cuirass^e) has been marked by M. Cuvier, who 
names it crocodilus cataphradus. The specimen was seen by 
the Baron in this metropolis, in the museum of the College of 
Surgeons. The muzzle is still more long and narrow than in 
the crocodile of St. Domingo. It has not the peculiar con- 
vexity on the chaffron belonging to this last species, nor any 
other remarkable mark. 

There are seventeen teeth on each side in the upper, and 
fifteen in the lower jaw. The foramina of the cranium may be 
seen through the skin, as in the crocodiles. But what charac- 


terizes it particularly, more than the muzzle, is the armour of 
the nape. After two oval isolated plates, and a range of four 
others, smaller, come five scaly bands continuous with each 
other and with the scales of the back, formed each of two large 
square scales. The two first pair are very broad. The fol- 
lowing three diminish gradually, and altogether they form on 
the nape a cuirass as solid as that of any cayman or gavial. 
The scales of the back are careened and disposed in trans- 
verse ranges of six each, except the two first, which have but 

This species, says the Baron, is obviously distinct from the 
preceding, but unluckily no note respecting its origin has been 

We now come to the species of the Gavial. 

The great gavial ; crocodilus longirostris, Schneider ; lacerta 
Gangetica^ Gm. ; has been rather improperly named the cro- 
codile of the Ganges, which would lead us to suppose that no 
other crocodile existed in that river, which is not the fact. 

The muzzle is nearly cylindrical. It swells a little at the 
end, and widens at the root. The head is singularly en- 
larged, especially behind. Its transverse dimension is com- 
prised twice and two-thirds in its total length. The upper 
table of the cranium behind the orbits, forms a right angle 
one-third wider than long. The length of the cranium, taken 
from between the anterior edges of the orbits, is comprised 
four times and a third in the total length. The orbits are 
more wide than long. The space which separates them is 
wider than themselves. The foramina of the cranium are 
larger than in any other species ; larger even than the orbits, 
and like them, more wide than long. They do not grow nar- 
row scarcely even towards the bottom. 

There are twenty-five teeth on each side below, and twenty- 
eight above, in all one hundred and six. 

The length of the beak is to that of the body as 1 to 7J. 

1 . iri^al ^^Mi'i/tm . 
3 Jr^aoman . 

. kJ'' tvfxe-i'- iteiir <4 lvivt,/-ian- Or LlCLl/ljClly . 


There are only two small shields behind the head, fol- 
lowed by four transverse ranges, continuous with those of the 

This gavial attains to a gigantic size. The Baron received 
one whose skeleton measured seventeen feet ; and M. de 
Lacepede observed in the Paris Museum the portion of a jaw, 
from the size of which he concluded that the individual to 
which it belonged must have been thirty feet ten inches in 

The little Gavial (Crocodilus tenuirostris, Cuv.) has the 
cranium less long and less wide in proportion to the muzzle 
than the last noticed species. The length of the cranium, 
taken from between the anterior edges of the orbits, is com- 
prised three times and one-third only in the total length. 

The upper table of the cranium behind the orbits forms a 
square of equal length and breadth. The orbits are more long 
than broad, and larger in proportion to the head, and separated 
by a space one-half more narrow than each of them. The 
foramina of the cranium are more long than wide, and very 
much narrowed in the bottom. The number of teeth appears 
to be the same as in the preceding. 

The length of the beak is to that of the body as one to 
seven ; and, therefore, is a little longer than in the last. 

The nape is armed behind the cranium with two pairs of 
oval escutcheons, then with four transverse ranges. The first 
of these has two large scales ; the two following, two large and 
two small ; the fourth, two large ones, of \vhich the bands of 
the back are a continuation. They all have four large squared 
scales, and two very narrow ones on the side. All these scales 
have equal but not very elevated ridges. The number of 
dorsal bands is eighteen. The crests of the tail are double as 
far as the nineteenth band. 

If this little gavial be anything but a young one of the 
great, of which the Baron seems doubtful, it is certain that it 
also inhabits the waters of the Ganges, for M. Cuvier received 


from Calcutta a specimen exactly according to the above 

That the reader may have clearly before him the number 
of living crocodiles, which it is absolutely necessary he should 
be in full possession of, for the thorough discrimination of 
the fossil species ; — we will copy here M. Cuvier's tabular 
synopsis of them from the '' Ossemens Fossiles." 

Classis. Amphibia. 
Ordo. Sauri. 
Genus. Crocodilus. 

Dentes conici, serie simplici ; Lingua carnosa, lata, ori 
affixa ; Cauda compressa, supreme carinato serrata ; plantse 
palmatae, aut semipalmatae ; squamae dorsi, ventris, et caudae, 
latae subquadratae. 

* Alligatores. 

Dente infero utrinque quarto in fossam maxillce superioris 
recipiendOf plantis semipalmatis. 

1. Crocodilus lucius. 
Rostro depresso parabolico, scutis nuchae quatuor. 
Habitat, in America septentrionali. 

2. Crocodilus sclerops, 

Porca transversa inter orbitas, nuchae fasciis osseis quatuor 


{Seb. I. t. 104. f. 10. Mediocr.) 

Habitat, in Guyana et Brazili^. 

3. Crocodilus palpebrosus. 
Palpebris osseis, nuchae fasciis osseis quatuor cataphracta. 
Habitat, in Guyan^. 

4. Crocodilus trigonatus, 

Palpebris osseis, scutis nuchae irregularibus carinis elevatis 


{Seb. 1.^.105./. 3.) 


Num varietat. praeced. ? 
Habitat, in Guyana. 

** Crocodili. 

Dente infero, utrinque quarto, per scissuram maxilla supe- 
rioris transeunte, planfis j)oJmatis, rostro oblongo. 

5. Crocodilus vulgaris, 

Rostro aequali, scutis nuchse 6, squamis dorsi quadratis, 

sexfariam positis. 

(Ann. Mus. Paris x. t. 3.) 

Habitat, in Africa. 

6. Crocodilus biporcatus, 

Rostro porcis 2 subparallelis, scutis nuchaB 6, squamis dorsi 
ovalibus, octofariam positis. 

Habitat, in insulis Maris Indici, in Gange, &c. 

7. Crocodilus rhombifer. 

Rostro convexiore, porcis 2 convergentibus, scutis nuchse 6, 
squamis dorsi quadratis sexfariam positis ; membrorum squa- 
mis crassisj carinatis. 


8. Crocodilus galeatus. 

Crista elevata bidentata in vertice, scutis nuchas 6. 

(HisL An, Paris, t 64.) 
Habitat, in Indi^ ultra Gangem. 

9. Crocodilus biscutatus, 

Squamis dorsi intermediis quadratis, exterioribus irregulari- 
bus subsparis, scutis nuchas 2. 


10. Crocodilus acutus. 

Squamis dorsi intermediis quadratis, exterioribus irregulari- 

bus subsparsis, scutis nuchas 6, rostro productiore, ad basim 


(Geoff, An. Mus, Paris, ii. t, 37.) 

Habitat, in Magiiis Antillis. 


11. Crocodilus cataphradus. 
Nucha fasciis 4 osseis cataphracta, rostro productiore. 


Rostro cylindrico, elongato, plantis palmatis, 

12. Crocodilus gangeticus, 

Vertice et orbitis transversis. 

(Faujas. Hist Mont S, Petri, t 46.) 
Habitat, in Gange fluvio. 

13. Crocodilus tenuirostris, 
Vertice et orbitis angustioribas. 

{Faujas, loc. cit, t, 48. 
Habitat, in Gange fluvio. 
Num puUus praeced. ? 

It will now be necessary to enter into a few details respecting 
the osteology of the living crocodiles. This was as imperfectly 
known previously to the researches of M. Cuvier, as the osteology 
of many of the large viviparous quadrupeds. It is not neces- 
sary to trouble the reader with the labours of his predecessors ; 
suffice it to say, that he came to the task provided with mate- 
rials, the extent and value of which could scarcely be surpassed. 
Nor, as he himself observes, is the greatest abundance of spe- 
cimens superfluous in labours of this kind. It is necessary 
to examine almost all the variations that the osteology of a 
species can undergo in different individuals, before the naturalist 
can venture to establish a new species on any isolated bones ; 
on this account, it was the constant endeavour of this most 
eminent contributor, to human knowledge, for many years, to 
multiply, as much as possible, skeletons of all interesting 
species, but more especially of those to which approximating 
ones existed. 

We shall first proceed to the determination of the bones of 


the head, in the crocodiles properly so called, and their com- 
parison with those of the mammifera. 

One advantage in studying the osteology of the crocodile, 
and indeed that of many other reptiles, is, that the sutures do 
not become effaced. It is not so easy, however, to refer each 
bone to its analogous one in man and other animals, as to reckon 
them, and on this subject anatomists have differed much. 

The muzzle of the crocodile is elongated and depressed. The 
external aperture of the nostrils, placed near its anterior ex- 
tremity, is directed upwards, pretty nearly as it is in the La- 
mantin. There is but a single incisive foramen, because the 
intermaxillaries have no middle apophysis, which is likewise 
the case in the animal just mentioned. The intermaxillaries 
surround the external nostrils, excepting one place, very 
narrow where the point of the nasal bones is placed between 
them. This is the case, more or less, with the majority of 

On each side the maxillary supports thejugal behind, which 
goes to form the external edge of the orbit. This edge would 
be the lower one in most animals, but here it is external, 
in consequence of the opening of the orbit being directed 
towards the top. 

Underneath, the palatine bones prolong the roof, furnished to 
the mouth by the intermaxillaries, and by the maxillaries ; but 
while they prolong it they also render it more narrow, because 
they leave a void between themselves and the elongations of 
the maxillaries, which support the jugals, and which void serves 
for the passage of the crotaphite muscles. 

The lachrymal bone occupies on the cheek an oblong 
space, between the nasal, the maxillary, and the jugal. It re- 
enters the orbit by a sort of plane contiguous to the jugal and 
to the maxillary, in which plane is pierced the lachrymal canal : 
all this is exactly an arrangement similar to that in the mam- 
mifera ; but we must now observe the differences. 

In the mammalia, the frontal bone would commence imme- 


diately at the external edge of this lachrymnal bone, and would 
occupy all the space between the two lachrymals above the 
nasal. It would descend into the bottom of the orbit to 
articulate broadly to the palatine, and the anterior sphenoid ; 
and in such genera as the quadrumana and ruminantia, which 
have the frame of the orbit completely osseous, it would give 
an apophysis behind, which would unite to the jugal to sur- 
round the orbit. 

But this is not the case with the crocodile. There is, indeed, 
a frontal bone, covering, as in the mammalia, the interval of the 
orbits, furnishing a roof to them, or rather here, in consequence 
of their direction, an internal border descending almost to the 
root of the nasals. This bone even exhibits, in the individuals 
just broken from the egg, a remain of a longitudinal suture, as 
there is one in the mammalia, and which is speedily effaced. 
But a suture, which never exists in the mammalia, and which 
always, on the contrary, continues in the crocodile, separates 
in front of the frontal on each side, a bone, which is thus 
interposed between the lachrymal and the chief frontal, and 
descends from the edge of the orbit to the root of the nasals. It 
re-enters the orbit like the lachrymal, and descending lower, 
there unites itself by an apophysis with the palatal bone. 

Between this apophysis and the palatal on one side, and the 
maxillary on the other, and under the lachrymal, is a large 
aperture which penetrates into the nasal cavity. It at once 
fills the place of the sub- orbital canal, and of the pterygo-pala- 
tine, and spheno-palatine foramina ; but it is especially filled, 
in the fresh animal, by certain motive muscles of the lower 
jaw, muscles which we shall find to be peculiar to the ovipara. 

The principal frontal bone does not descend into the orbit 
under an osseous form, and all the space between it and the 
palatine, as far as the sphenoid, or what may be called the inter- 
orbital partition, is simply cartilaginous or membranous in the 
fresh animal, which leaves it entirely vacant in the skeleton. 

Some traces of this arrangement are observable in certain of 


the mammifera. In the saimiri for example, and some of the 
moschiy in which the interorbital partition is reduced to a 
single lamina; it has membranous spaces. 

The bone above mentioned, placed between the lachrymal 
and frontal, M. Cuvier first considered as a second lachrymal; 
but a more attentive examination clearly proved it to be a 
portion of the frontal bone, that which in man is named the 
infernal orbital apophysis, or in the mammalia the antiorbital 
apophysis, which here is constantly detached from the body of 
the bone ; M. Cuvier names it the anterior frontal. 

It is sufficient to place the head of a mammiferous animal, of 
a ruminant, for instance, by the side of the head of a crocodile, 
to be assured that in the latter this dismemberment of the frontal 
bone has taken place ; one might, without deranging anything, 
design on the frontal of the mammiferous animal, the suture 
which exists in the crocodile, and thus detach, in the first, an 
anterior frontal which would have the same position, almost the 
same figure, and absolutely the same office as in the crocodile. 

This theory is entirely confirmed by the observation of the 
fresh head. There we see the frontal, conformably to its or- 
dinary part, covering the anterior portion of the encephalon ; — 
separating the orbits — giving a point of attachment to the 
levator muscles of the eye — allowing the olfactory nerves to 
pass under its part situated between the orbits. We find that 
it is expressly between its two dismemberments, called anterior 
frontals, that these nerves proceed from the cranium, after 
having been swelled into ganglia, and divided into numerous 
threads, — that these threads cross a cartilaginous sieve, placed 
between the two anterior frontals, as in the mammifera is 
placed the sieve -like plate of the ethmoid. We find that it is un- 
der this sieve that the anfractuosities or cornets commence, over 
which the pituitary membrane is spread, and where the threads 
in question are distributed ; but that these cornets remain 
cartilaginous like the sieve, and like the vertical lamina, 
which separates the orbits under the passage of the olfac- 


tory nerves, a vertical lamina, which, were it ossified, 
would probably appertain to the anterior sphenoid, as it does 
appertain to it in such of the raminants as it exists in, that 
is, in the Moschi. In the Saimiri, its lower front part is of 
the ethmoid, and its hinder part of the anterior sphenoid. 
All the upper part is membranous. The nature, then, of these 
anterior frontal bones is clearly established, though their exist- 
ence has been questioned by some comparative anatomists. 
It is no business of ours to meddle with the controversy in an 
humble compilation like this. It is sufficient for the satisfac- 
tion of our readers to know that we follow the best of all 

Behind the orbit is again another separated bone, which 
completes the frame, by proceeding to join, by an apophysis, a 
corresponding apophysis of the jugal. Inspection alone will 
prove that this piece answers to that part of the frontal which 
gives the postorbital apophysis ; and even the connexion of this 
part with the jugal, in the ruminantia, is entirely similar to 
that which takes place in the crocodile. This is named by the 
Baron the posterior frontal. 

In fact, this piece is virtually nothing but the postorbital 
apophysis. It performs the same functions, for it closes the 
orbit, and is placed before the fossa temporalis and the crota- 
phite. It has the same position and connexions, being situated 
over the junction of the frontal and parietal bones. 

Behind the chief frontal and the two anterior frontals is a 
large unequal bone, which covers all the middle and hinder 
part of the cranium, and affords, by its sides, an attachment to 
a part of the crotaphite. This presents no difficulty : it is the 
parietal. It is simple in the crocodile, as it is in a vast num- 
ber of quadrupeds when adult ; but it is double in a great num- 
ber of other ovipara. It is even probable that it may be so 
likewise in the foetus of crocodiles in no great degree of ad- 
vancement, but it is simple in them on their coming out of 
the egg. 


There is no dispute respecting the four parts of the occi- 
pital which constitute the hinder portion of the head of the 
crocodile. They are obviously the same as in the young'mam- 
mifera — only the single condyle, placed under the occipital 
foramen, appertains entirely to the basilary bone. The upper 
occipital and the two lateral pieces have also a more important 
part to play than in the mammifera, because they are hollowed 
with cavities for the internal ear, for which the os petrosum is 
insufficient. The same arrangement prevails for the birds, and 
probably for all the ovipara. 

No difficulty remains but for those parts which, in man, are 
termed the temporal and sphenoid bones, and for the different 
pieces into which these bones are dismembered. 

The aldB temporales of the sphenoid are easily recognizable 
by their position, figure, and function of supporting the central 
lobes of the cerebrum. It is not surprising to see them form- 
ing distinct bones, for the same is the case with all the foetuses 
of mammalia. 

It must be remarked here, that this osseous piece encloses 
at the same time, and in a single mass of ossification, the ala 
temporalis, and a great portion of the ala orbitalis. When we 
examine a fresh crocodile, we find that, if the olfactory nerve 
and the optic pass between this ala and its corresponding one, 
the nerves of the third, the fourth, the sixth pair, and the first 
branch of the fifth, pass through foramina formed in the body 
itself of the ala, and the assemblage of which, if they were 
continued, would represent the spheno-orbital cleft. 

The internal pterygoid apophyses of the sphenoid are very 
obvious, especially when we consider that they not only remain 
distinct from the body of the bone in many of the mammalia 
to an advanced age, for which reason they have been named 
ossa pterygoidea, but that in some ant-eaters they come under- 
neath, uniting one to another, in concert with the palatine 
bones, to prolong the nasal tube as far as the basilary region. 
In the crocodile, even from the foetus state, these pterygoi- 



dean bones are united one to another under the body of the 
bone, to form the roof of the hinder nostrils. They unite also 
below by a suture to form the floor of this same tube, and they 
extend horizontally into a large wing, or broad surface, in 
which the pterygoidean muscles are inserted above, and which 
the membrane of the palate doubles below. 

One ridge or process from their roof, corresponding to 
another of their floor, divides the nasal tube in two. Their 
upper lamina, or plate, proceeds forward in the form of two 
demi-cylinders to form again the roof of the double tube of the 
back nostrils over that part where the palatines constitute its 
floor, as far as the descending apophysis of the anterior 
frontals, and even by the internal face, a little in front into the 
cavity of the nose. 

The body of the sphenoid gives ris'e to no difficulty. It is 
situated at the centre of the floor of the cranium, is slightly 
concave, supporting the part of the brain placed behind the 
optic tubercles, articulating by its sides with the temporal 
wings in front, behind with the petrous processes, and by its 
posterior extremity with the basilary or lower occipital bone, 
descending between this occipital and the ossa pterygoidea, so 
as to shew itself externally only by a small surface below the 
lower occipital. An open canal in this surface traverses the 
entire body of the bone, and opens in front by two branches 
into a wide funnel, where the pituitary gland is lodged. In 
front of this funnel the sphenoid gives out a vertical truncated 
lamina which enters into the composition of the interorbitary 
partition, and which is the only osseous part of it. 

Above this lamina is an empty space, the sides of which are 
formed by the temporal wings, and the vault by the frontal 
bone. In the fresh subject, the membranous and cartilaginous 
interorbitary partition ends at the middle of this space, and 
bifurcates for the purpose of closing it. 

It is through the upper part of this space that the olfactory 
nerves pass ; the optic pass through the middle. Some vessels 


pass through the two sides of the osseous vertical plate of the 
sphenoid. The nerves of the third and fourth pair, and the 
first branch of the fifth, pass through particular foramina (be- 
fore mentioned) of the temporal alae. Those of the sixth 
through a canal of the body of the sphenoid. 

This vertical lamina in front of the lodgement of the pitui- 
tary gland evidently corresponds to a part of the anterior 
sphenoid in the mammalia, which, in the same manner, as- 
sumes the form of a vertical lamina in the species whose inter- 
orbital partition is slender, such as the sdimiri and the mush. 
At the same time it is clear that there is no particular orbital 
wing, since the nerves which, in the mammalia, pass through 
the spheno-orbital cleft or foramen, or in other words, through 
the interval of the orbital and temporal wings, pass here through 
particular foramina in the temporal wing ; and also, that the 
optic nerve, the essential function of whose orbital wing is to 
surround its passage, passes into a foramen of the membrane, 
or of the cartilage. 

In the foetus, indeed, a small point of ossification has 
been found above the place through which the optic nerve 
passes, which, however, is soon enveloped in the growth of the 
temporal wing. This is the only vestige of an orbital wing in 
the crocodile ; but it by no means fulfils the functions of that 
process, for it is not between it and the rest of the temporal 
wing that the nerves of the spheno-orbital foramen pass. 

It is only in the small vertical lamina that we might look 
for an osseous representation of the anterior sphenoid; but no 
suture is to be found distinguishing this lamina from the rest 
of the sphenoid. 

To complete what relates to the sphenoid, we must speak of a 
bone common to almost all reptiles, but which is never found 
separate, either in the mammifera or birds. This is a large bone 
with three branches, which proceeds from the as pterygoidevm, 
or its internal apophysis, to the union of the jugal, the maxil- 
lary, and the posterior frontal bones. This, says the Baron, if 

P 2 


not altogether a new bone peculiar to the animal, is at least a 
decided dismemberment from the sphenoid, as the fore and 
hind frontals which we have mentioned are dismemberments 
of the frontal bone. It can by no means be compared to any 
of the bones naturally distinct in the foetus of the mammalia. 
M. Cuvier has, therefore, bestowed upon it a particular name, 
calling it the transverse bone. 

In the Crocodile, as in the other ovipara, many parts of the 
ethmoid remain cartilaginous. Four alone become osseous. 
The first, or lower two, are articulated to the internal edge of 
the palatines in front of the anterior frontals, and of the vaulted 
portion of the ossa pterygoidea. Between them and the 
neighbouring part of the palatines, commences on each side 
the double canal of the back nostrils, which proceeds to ter- 
minate at the posterior edge of the ossa pterygoidea. These 
pieces are analogous to the lower and canaliculated part of the 
vomer in quadrupeds. 

The two other ossified pieces of the ethmoid adhere to the 
roof of the nostrils, between the nasal, the lachrymal, the 
anterior frontal, and the chief frontal bones. Nothing of them 
is to be seen externally in the caymans or the gavials. But 
they are easily distinguishable in part outside, between the 
frontal and nasal bones in the crocodiles proper. They are 
manifestly analogous to some portion of the upper cornets. 

We must now speak of the temporal bone, and determine 
the analogy of its parts. 

In the foetus of mammalia this bone is divided into four 
pieces: — 1. The squamous and zygomatic, which, as we 
descend in the scale of quadrupeds, becomes more and more 
foreign to the cranium, so that in the ruminants it appears 
rather pasted or glued on above, than entering into the compo- 
sition of the parietes of the skull. — 2. The tympanic, having 
at first in the foetus no part ossified, except the frame of the 
tympanum, and extending itself successively so as to form an 
OS tympani, and a meatus externus, — 3. The petrous portion 


which envelopes all the membranous labyrinth. — 4. The mas- 
toid portion which covers the os petrosum behind the squamous 
portion and the os tympanic but which is so soon soldered to 
the OS petrosum, that it can scarcely be recognized as distinct 
in the youngest foetuses, in which it is sometimes double. 

In the crocodile we find an os tympani, and three other 
bones, two of which are external to the cranium, and one 
altogether internal. 

The OS tympani is easily recognized, for it gives an attach- 
ment to the membrana tympani, forms a lodgment for the 
osselet of the organ of hearing, and contributes to form, in a 
great measure, a cavity in front of the two fenestrse, from the 
bottom of which cavity proceeds the Eustachian tube. 

The OS petrosum is equally observable by its internal posi- 
tion, and by its lodging in a great measure the labyrinth, and 
essentially contributing to the formation of one of the fenestras; 
but, in the crocodile, neither the os tympani, nor the os petro- 
sum, is sufficient to lodge the cavity of the tympanum and the 

The OS tympani communicates with some large cells analo- 
gous to the mastoid, or mammillary cells in man, some of 
which extend into the lateral occipital piece, and others into 
the upper occipital. These are common to the ossa tympani 
of both sides, and unite the two cavities. 

The same is the case with the Eustachian tube. It com- 
mences in a sinking of the bottom of the cavity of the os tym- 
pani, descends almost vertically, passes between the basilary, 
the sphenoid, and the lateral occipital, and terminates in the 
skeleton, at the point in which these three bones unite: but it 
is afterwards continued by a membranous tube, and approaches 
to its correspondent part to arrive, by a common aperture, into 
the hinder mouth, behind the back nostrils. 

The labyrinth, like the tympanic cavity, and the tube, is 
surrounded by many bones. Its principal part, the vestibu- 
lum, is lodged in a cavity, to the formation of whose parietes 


the OS petrosum, the upper, and lateral occipitals, concur. 
The upper and lower serai-circular canals wind in narrow 
tubes hollowed in these same parietes, and, consequently, in 
these three bones. 

The portion of these parietes which separates the vestibulum 
from the cavity of the cranium is very slender, and divided by 
a suture with three branches, which marks the limits of the 
three bones. 

On the side of the os tympani the paries is pierced by two 
transversely-oblong fenestrse, separated by a thin division. The 
upper one, which answers to the fenestra ovalis in man, and 
which is closed by the osselet of hearing, is formed partly by 
the OS petrosiim, and partly by the lateral occipital. And the 
other, which is analogous to the rotunda, is altogether in the 
lateral occipital to which the separating division belongs. 

These two fenestrse are elongated from front to back. They 
open into the same osseous cavity, which is pretty large ; but 
a slender ridge, proceeding from the bottom and anterior par- 
tition of this cavity, and continued in the fresh subject by a 
membrane, divides it into two parts, of which that which is 
lower and anterior, and communicates with the under fenestra 
(^rotunda in man), contains a small lenticular mass, of a sub- 
stance resembling hardened starch, and quite analogous to 
what is found in the sac of the ear of thornbacks and squali. 
This external and anterior part evidently represents the coch- 
lea. But it is far from being so much developed even as it is 
in birds, in which it is yet considerably less than in the mam- 
malia from its trifling inflexion. Still in the aves, especially 
in the ulula, there is found in it a demi-osseous partition, sen- 
sibly tending to a spiral curve. The internal and upper part, 
into which the upper fenestra (ovaJh) opens, as do also the 
semi-circular canals, is the vestibulum. 

This extension of the two cavities of the auditory organ, in 
the different bones, is found more or less in all the ovipara. 
That of the tympanic cellulae, in particular, is much larger in 
certain birds. 


The OS tympani exhibits a large concave surface underneath, 
which articulates with the sphenoid, the pterygoid, and the 
great ala temporalis. Between this last and the os tympani is 
pierced the foramen, through which the fifth pair passes. This 
is the same with many mammalia in relation to the foramen 

The hinder free edge of the os tympani^ which projects be- 
hind, supports almost entirely the articulary facet for the 
lower jaw. This is nothing very anomalous, for in several 
mammalia, and even in man, the bone of the tympanic closet 
begins to contribute to form the posterior edge of the articular 

All these functions of the tympanic bone in the crocodiles 
are performed in birds by the bone which has been named os 
quadraturriy and the latter is distinguished from the former 
only by its mobility. And we may consider the os quadratum 
a true tympanic bone. 

This bone, however, in the crocodile, does not include the 
whole bony cavity of the tympanum, even abstracting the mas- 
toid cellulae, but neither does it do so in the mammalia. The 
os petrosum, the temporal squamous process, and frequently 
the sphenoid, contribute also to the formation of the same 
part. This grand cavity is formed of many bones. Its internal 
paries is always the os petrosum. The os tympani forms, in 
general, a great portion of this cavity, constituting the entire of 
its external and lower paries. 

The squamous temporal piece is entirely separated from the 
cranium, an approach to which arrangement we find already 
commencing in the ruminantia and cetacea. 

The mastoid piece of the crocodiles proper and gavials has 
this peculiarity, that it advances laterally to unite itself with 
the posterior frontal, and to surround with it, and the parietal, 
the foramen of the upper face of the cranium which communi- 
cates with the fossa temporalis. In some caymans it even unites 
with these three bones to cover this fossa altogether above. 


AVhat we have now given respecting the head of the croco- 
dile, is taken from the ^' Anatomie Comparie'^ of M. Cuvier, 
and extracted by himself into the '^ Ossemens Fossiles.^^ We 
shall borrow from the latter work^ to which we must of neces- 
sity be indebted for all details of this kind, a summary recapitu- 
lation of the comparison of the bones of the head and face 
with their analogues. But it will first be necessary to mention 
the osselet which represents, or rather is substituted for, the 
four little bones of the ear of mammalia, namely, the malleus, 
the incus, stapes, and os orbiculare. It consists of a small, long, 
narrow, elliptical plate, applied over the upper fenestra, and 
from which proceeds a sort of handle, long and slender, and 
which is fixed to the membrana tympani. There it is curved, 
and assumes a cartilaginous consistence. From the hinder 
paries of the long cavity proceeds a muscular filament, which is 
attached to the handle of the bone, at about a third of its 
length, and a doubling of the internal tunic of the tympanum 
forms a triangular ligament which extends to the same point, 
and thus contributes to fix this handle to its recurved and tym- 
panic part. — Now to the recapitulation. 

The intermaxillary, maxillary, nasal, lachrymal, jugal, and 
palatine bones, belong to the head of the crocodile equally with 
the mammalia, occupy the same positions, and fulfil the same 

The ethmoid is similarly formed, of a sieve-like plate, lateral 
wings, upper cornets, and a vertical plate; but it remains, for 
the most part, cartilaginous. Two pieces seem to represent 
the lower portion of its vertical plate or vomer ^ two others some 
portion of its upper anfractuosities. 

The frontal bone in its position and functions is the same as 
in the mammalia, but its ante and post-orbital apophyses are 
distinct bones. 

The same is the case with the occipital, and it remains 
divided into four portions, as in the mammiferous foetus. 

The same may be said of the body of the sphenoid, but it is 


not separated from the anterior sphenoid. Its great wings are 
similarly situated, and perform the same functions as in mam- 
malia ; but they always remain separated from the body of the 
bone, as in the foetus of that class. They embrace a great part 
of the space and functions of the orbital wings, of which last 
no vestiges remain, except some little points of detached ossifi- 
cations in the membrane which closes this part. 

The pterygoid wings are similarly situated, and perform 
similar functions as in the mammalia. But they always remain 
separated from the body of the bone, and unite below to prolong 
the nasal tube, as in the ant-eaters. 

The situations and functions of the tympanic bone are the 
same as in mammalia, but it gives the facet for the articulation 
of the lower jaw. So are those of the mastoid, but its processes 
are rather more extended than in mammalia. The place and 
offices of the os petrosum are the same, only that the labyrinth 
extends into the neighbouring bones. 

Between the osseous box of the tympanum and the jugal 
bone, is one which can only correspond with the zygomatic of 
the temporal bone ; and between the pterygoid wing and the 
jugal and maxillary bones, is another, which corresponds, but 
feebly, to an external pterygoid apophysis of the sphenoid, 
which would be entirely detached from its principal bone, a 
thing which never occurs in mammiferous animals. Thus we 
see that all the essential differences are reduced to this distinc- 
tion and division of the frontal bone. 

In consequence of the importance of this head, we have been 
a little more extended in our remarks upon it. In our subse- 
quent anatomical details we shall be as brief as is consistent 
with perspicuity, noticing what is of chief import only. 

We have before mentioned, that an apophysis of the tym- 
panic bone forms a facet for the articulation of the lower jaw. 
This facet forms a gynglymus of no great depth. In the mam- 
malia, even in the foetus state, as soon as the lower jaw has 
acquired any consistence, it presents but one bone on each 


side. The crocodile, like most reptiles, has six. These are 
the dentary, in which are hollowed the alveoli of all the teeth. 
The opercular J thus named by M. Adrian Camper, which covers 
the entire internal face, except all in front, where it is formed 
by the dentary. The angular and subangulart placed one above 
the other, and extending to the hinder extremity of the jaw. 
They leave a space between them in front occupied in its an^ 
terior part by the end of the dentary, and afterwards by a large 
oval foramen. Between the angular and opercular, on the 
external face of the jaw, is another oval foramen smaller than 
the last, and above it an empty space. The anterior point of 
this space is bordered by a particular little bone, of a crescented 
form> which the Baron names complementaire. 

The condyle, all the upper face of the posterior apophysis, 
which gives an attachment to the digastric muscle, and all the 
internal face of this part appertain to a special bone called by 
M. Cuvier articulaire. 

Many interesting particulars may be remarked concerning 
the teeth. Their number does not vary according to age. The 
crocodile just broken from the egg has as many as the animal 
of twenty feet in length. Their internal solid part is never 
completely filled up, though, like other teeth, they are formed 
by superposition of laminae. At whatever age the teeth of the 
crocodile may be pulled out, there is found, either in the alve*- 
olus, or in a cavity of the tooth itself, a small tooth in a greater 
or less state of advancement, and ready to occupy the place 
of the old one as soon as it shall have fallen. This succes- 
sion would seem to take place many times, and to continue 
during the life of the animal. Thus the teeth of the crocodile 
are always observed to be fresh and pointed, and not more worn 
in the old than in the young subject. The mode in which this 
replacing of the teeth is performed is very curious. The teeth 
of the crocodile being generally perfect cones widening towards 
the root, could not fall out of their alveoli, whose entrance is 
narrower than the bottom, but that the new tooth, as it develops, 


and fills the cavity of the old one, compresses its substances 
against the sides of the alveolus, destroys its consistence, splits 
it and disposes it to detach itself to the level of the guna at the 
slightest shock. The fragments which remain in the alveolus 
are afterwards easily expelled by the forces of living nature. In 
the crocodiles that change their teeth rings are often found thus 
formed in the alveolus by the remains of the old and broken 
teeth, and through which the new ones begin to shoot ; and the 
same is observed, as we shall see presently, in the fossil jaws of 
true crocodiles. 

Very frequently, the basis of the cone of the tooth is not 
entire, and a notch is observable in it on the side next the inside 
of the jaw. This proceeds from the germ having been formed a 
little on the inside of the alveolus, and commencing from this 
side to hinder the continuance of the old tooth. Sometimes 
tliere are two of these, for a second germ will sometimes be 
found before the fall of the tooth which is in place. 

The hyoi'd bone in crocodiles is very simple. Its body 
consists of a large and cartilaginous plate, convex below and 
concave above. The contour of its anterior part is semicircu- 
lar, and the posterior part, more narrow, is terminated behind 
by a concave edge. The lateral angles of this edge ossify by 
small degrees, but always continue embodied with the rest of 
the cartilage, so that they cannot even be considered as ves- 
tiges of posterior cornets. The anterior semicircular part 
has two small notches, filled by a membrane. Behind this 
semicircle, where contraction begins, the anterior horn is arti- 
culated on each side. This is osseous, a little square, and 
goes off obliquely behind and towards the top. There it is 
terminated by a small cartilaginous appendage, which is neither 
articulated, nor suspended to the cranium by a ligament, but 
only by certain muscles which have some analogy with those 
of birds. The anterior edge of the plate is raised a little at the 
base, and forms a slight representation of an epiglottis, which 
would be very broad and very low. On this cartilaginous plate 


the larynx reposes, composed only of a cricoid cartilage, and two 
annular arytenoids, so that the plate performs at one and the 
same time the function of epiglottis, corpus hyoidis, and thyroid. 

The number of vertebrae is subject to some variation, but M. 
Cuvier considers the average number to be sixty. In the young 
the number is generally more complete, as their tail has not 
been mutilated by any accident. He reckons in some seven 
cervical, twelve dorsal, five lumbar, two sacral, and four-and- 
thirty caudal. All these vertebrae, including the axis, have the 
posterior face of their body convex, and the anterior concave. 
An important remark, as will be seen hereafter. Both of these 
faces are circular. In some young individuals, forty, and even 
forty-two caudal vertebrae have been found. The last M. 
Cuvier regards as the normal number, for the tail. 

The atlas is composed of six pieces, which, as it would ap- 
pear, remain distinct during life, and are retained only by car- 
tilages. The axis has five. With respect to the rest it would 
be tedious to enter into details, and unimportant, at present. 
Any variations that may occur in the fossil specimens shall be 
duly noticed and explained. 

The ribs are twelve in number on each side, without reckon- 
ing the appendages of the cervical vertebrae, which might very 
well be named false ribs. The first, and sometimes the first 
two ribs, have no cartilage to unite them to the sternum. The 
following eight or nine have each a cartilage or sternal part, 
which quickly ossifies, but which unites to the vertebral part by 
an intermediate portion, which for along time, perhaps always, 
remains cartilaginous. 

The sternum, even in the oldest individuals, has but one 
piece, which is osseous. This is flat, elongated, pointed in 
front and behind, the anterior part of which goes under the 
neck in front of the coracoid bones, and the posterior part is 
enchased in a cartilaginous, rhomboidal, or elliptical disk, at the 
anterior lateral side of which is a groove into which the coracoid 
bones are articulated. 


The omoplate is very small in proportion to the size of the 
animal. Its plane forms a very narrow isosceles triangle. Its 
neck grows cylindrical, is curved internally, and widens to 
present a face to the coraco'id bone. On the external edge of 
this is an apophysis, which, with a corresponding apophysis of 
the clavicle, contributes to the formation of the fossa which 
receives the head of the humerus. 

The head and body of the coraco'id resembles in form those 
of the omoplate. It has a thick and arched neck, and a plane 
portion which unites with the lateral edge of the sternum. This 
bone alone in the crocodile performs the office of buttress 
against the sternum, for in this genus there is no true clavicle. 

The humerus, in front, behind, above, and below, is curved 
in two directions. Its upper part is a little convex in front, 
and the lower concave. Its upper head is compressed trans- 
versely, so is the lower, and it is divided in front into two con- 

The cubitus has no olecranon, nor sygmoid facet. Its upper 
head is articulated to the external condyle of the humerus by 
an oval facet wider on the radial side. Its body is narrowed 
and compressed. The lower head is smaller, and descends a 
little lower on the radial side. 

The radius is shorter and more slender than the cubitus, and 
almost cylindrical. 

There are but four bones in the carpus, — a radial and a 
cubital; a third which may be regarded as a sort of pisciform, 
articulating to the cubital osselet and to the cubitus; and a 
fourth of a lenticular form, between the cubital and the meta- 
carpians of the index and the medius. 

The metacarpians pretty nearly resemble those of the mam- 
mifera ; the differences are very minute. To the thumb are 
two phalanges, to the index three, the medius and the annular 
have four, and the last digitus three. 

The OS ilium is vertical, concave without and convex within, 
where it receives the transverse apophyses of the sacral verte- 


brae. The ischium is nearly formed like the coracoid bones. 
The femur is a little longer than the humerus. Its upper head 
is compressed. It has but one trochanter, which is a pyra- 
midal blunt eminence. The tibia approaches the usual form 
in mammalia. Its upper head is gross and triangular. The 
lower is crescentwise and placed obliquely, and its surface 
is concave. The peroneum is slender and cylindrical. Nothing 
in the calcaneum is worth remarking as different from what is 
found in quadrupeds. But the figure of the astralagus, as in 
all the lizards, is very singular and anomalous. The contour 
of its anterior face is determined by four faces ; one upper, 
which is small and square, for the peroneum ; one internal, for 
the tibia, oblique, and elongated ; another is external, and 
crescented, the upper and lower parts of which only bear against 
the internal side of the peronean prominence of the calcaneum. 
All the lower part of the astragalus is occupied by an irregular 
surface, very convex, whose external posterior part rests in the 
astragalian apophysis of the calcaneum, and the rest of which 
supports the first two metatarsians. 

There are three bones more which must be reckoned among 
those of the tarsus ; one analogous to the cuboid, placed between 
the calcaneum and the last two metatarsians ; another, cunei- 
form, which answers to the second and third metatarsian ; and 
one supernumerary, flattened, triangular, with a point slightly 
crooked, which is attached to the external side of the cuboid. 
This holds the place of the fifth toe. 

A few words respecting the differences in the skeletons of 
the caymans and gavials, from what we have now described, 
will finish all we have to say respecting the living crocodiles. 

In the head of caymans, there are these differences from 
that of the crocodiles. The anterior frontal, and the lachry- 
mal, descend much less upon the muzzle. The holes pierced 
on the upper face of the cranium, between the posterior 
frontal, the parietal, and the mastoid bones, are much smaller, 
and often disappear altogether, as in palpebrosus. A portion 


of the vomer is visible in the palate, between the intermaxil- 
laries and the maxillaries. The palatines advance farther, and 
widen in front. The posterior nostrils are wider than long. 

In the head of the gavial the differences are much more 
sensible. The enormously long muzzle is formed underneath, 
one third by the intermaxillaries, and two thirds by the maxil- 
laries ; the palatines advance in a point which occupies only a 
sixth of its length. 

The bones of the nose above, do not by any means come so 
far as to end at the aperture of the nostrils. They terminate 
in a point nearly towards the upper fourth of its length. The 
intermaxillaries surround the external nostrils, and mount in a 
point towards the under fourth of this length. All the inter- 
mediate part is formed solely by the maxillaries. All this 
muzzle has pretty nearly the form of a depressed cylinder ; 
towards the middle its height pretty nearly equals two thirds of 
its breadth. 

The cranium of the gavial is much broader in proportion to 
the muzzle, and in proportion to its own length than that of 
the crocodile. Its length is a fourth of the total length to end 
of muzzle, and is less than the breadth by about one-tenth. 
The orbits are more wide than long. 

The lachrymal descends in a sharp point along the nasal, 
much more forward than the anterior frontal. 

The foramina, between the parietal, the posterior frontal, 
and the mastoid, are enormous, larger even than the orbits, 
and more wide than long in the adult individual, which very 
much contracts that part of the cranium which covers the 

The foramina of the lower face, between the palatines, the 
maxillaries, and the bones which unite these last to the ptery- 
goids are shorter in proportion than in the crocodile. 

The ossa pterygoidea form, above the palatines, a kind of 
gross bladders, swelled out and oval, about the bulk of a 
hen's egg, instead of a simple cylindrical vault as in the cro- 


codiles and caymans. These communicate with the nasal 
canal only, by a hole of moderate size. These vesicae are not 
observable in the little gavial, and the Baron considers them 
the result of age, as he has found this part much more swelled 
in the old than in the young individuals of Gangeticus, In 
this respect it presents an additional analogy with the sphenoidal 

The lower jaw of the gavial, independently of its elongation, 
which corresponds with that of the muzzle, has this peculiarity, 
that its symphysis predominating as far as the last tooth, the 
bone called opercular is comprised within a little more than 
one-third of the length of this suture. 

As for the rest of the skeleton, no other difference exists 
between that of the cayman and crocodile, but in total length. 
The bones of the cayman are almost all a little broader in 

The form of the bones of the gavial, also, have a prodigious 
resemblance to those of the crocodile, only that the spinous 
apophyses of the vertebrae are more squared. M. Cuvier 
considers the normal number of vertebrae for all the living cro- 
codiles of each sub-genus to be, seven cervical, twelve dorsal, 
five lumbar, two sacral, and forty-two caudal, in all sixty- 

We now come to the fossil remains of this remarkable genus 
of reptiles. 

The Fossil Crocodiles appear to be by no means of rare 
occurrence in the ancient secondary strata ; and what is re- 
markable is, that, though they all belong to species different 
from each other, yet they are almost all referable to the sub- 
genus with elongated muzzle, namely, the Gavials. 

We shall first notice an account of two fossils, discovered in 
this country many years ago, though it is doubtful whether 
they are really referable to this genus. The account of one 
was published in 1718, by Dr. William Stukely; and the 
other in 1758, by Messrs. Wooler and Chapman. 


A description of Stukely's specimen will be found in the 
thirtieth volume of the " Philosophical Transactions." It was 
the impression of a skeleton which was found at Elston, near 
Newark, in Nottinghamshire. 

The stone which contained it had served for a long time 
near a well, for the purpose of resting on it the vessels of 
those who came to draw water. The impression was on the 
side next to the ground, and was accidentally discovered by the 
turning of the stone. The stone was a bluish argile, and pro- 
bably came from the quarries of Pulbeck, which belong to the 
western declivity of the long chain of hills which extends 
throughout the whole of Lincolnshire, and contains an abun- 
dance of coquillaceous remains, and even of fishes. 

As usual, this skeleton was supposed to be human ; but 
Stukely quickly perceived the contrary, and declared it to be 
that of a crocodile, or a porpus. This was certainly giving 
himself a sufficient latitude. His first conjecture, however, 
was the only one that could be sustained, as, according to his 
own account, the remains of a large pelvis were visible, which 
could not have belonged to a cetaceous animal. 

The resemblance of this stone to those of Honfleur, where 
animals of this genus were assuredly found, disposed M. Cuvier 
to adopt the opinion that this was the impression of a croco- 
dile ; but the subsequent discovery in similar strata, of ichthyo- 
sauri and plesiosauri, threw some doubts about this conjecture. 

A portion of the spine remained, containing sixteen vertebrae, 
the spinous apophyses of which are a little oblique, cut squarely, 
and nearly equal ; the anterior six have large ribs. There are, 
more forward, the fragments of three ribs which were attached 
to some vertebrae lost by the breaking of the stone. The five 
vertebrae, which succeed those bearing the ribs, had long and 
narrow transverse apophyses, or, probably, false ribs, of no 
great elongation. The following four had but small ones. 
The OS ilium, or, at least, an impression which seemed to have 
some relation with this bone in the crocodile, comes after the 



last of these four, which is the sixteenth. But it is difficult 
to say if it has not been displaced, and it might easily be be- 
lieved that it was originally behind the fifth of those vertebrae 
with large transverse apophyses, which would then be the 
lumbar vertebrae. Then come twelve traces which might have 
been the marks of the bones formed like a V, placed under the 
vertebrae of the tail. 

On the sides are two bones which Stukely took for femora ; 
but by their form they might be judged to be ossa ischia, tole- 
rably like those of the crocodile. There are besides, on the left 
side, two short and broad impressions, which might have been 
the top of the tibia and peroneum. 

The plesiosauri and ichthyosauri have long bones much 
resembling the ischia just mentioned ; and, on the whole, M. 
Cuvier is of opinion that the specimen in question is as likely 
to belong to either of these new genera as to the crocodile. 
Our respected countryman, Mr. Conybeare, has decided that 
it does belong to the plesiosaurus. 

The other specimen was found on the sea-coast, near Whitby, 
in Yorkshire, in a blackish slate, called aluminous rock, and 
which comes off in exfoliations. Ammonites are observable in 
it, the interior of which is filled with spathic concretions. 

As the flood tide used to cover this skeleton with five or six 
feet of water, it was considerably damaged by the sand and 
pebbles cast upon it. As it was at no great distance from a 
steep shore, very much elevated, and which the sea is inces- 
santly undermining, there is no doubt but that it was formerly 
covered by the entire of this cliff. When a drawing of it was 
taken, a part of the vertebrae, and the slenderest bones of the 
head, had already been washed away by the sea, or carried oflf 
by virtuosi. 

The spinal column was nine feet long, but probably not 
complete. There was also a head a little displaced, two feet 
nine inches in length. 

But twelve vertebrae of the tail remained in their place, and 


a series of ten other vertebrae, which appeared to have consti- 
tuted the lumbar, the sacrum, and the basis of the tail. Those 
of the neck, back, and middle of the tail, left nothing but their 
impressions. The space which they occupied does not appear 
to have been sufficient for more than eight, so that the tail 
could have had no more than twenty-two or twenty-three 
vertebrae, unless it had been trunrated at the end. We might 
also believe that this spinal column was not complete in front 
when it was incrusted in the stone ; for there is by no means 
sufficient room for the usual number of vertebrae in the cro- 

The head is turned, presenting its lower face. The occipital 
condyle is visible behind. On the two sides we find the zygo- 
matic arches which terminate, as in all the crocodiles, in two 
broad condyles for the lower jaw, and which are placed on the 
same transverse line as the occipital condyle. 

The cranium occupies but a narrow space, and the interval 
between it and the arches was furnished only with very 
thin small plates, coming doubtless from the pterygoidean 
laminae. The head grows narrow in front, not suddenly, but 
by degrees, as in the crocodiles of Altorf and Honfleur, ending 
in a pointed muzzle, covered in certain places by the remains 
of the lower jaw. In these places, in the two jaws are observed 
large pointed teeth, placed alternately, and crossing each other 
narrowly. But in those places where the lower jaw had been 
removed, the teeth of the upper were also taken away, and 
nothing was visible but their deep alveoli, placed at the same 
respective distances as the teeth themselves. There were 
large fangs or tusks towards the point of the muzzle stronger 
than the others. The enamel of these teeth was well polished. 

The vertebrae seem to have been placed on the side. 
Each was three inches long. Near the place where the pelvis 
should have been, was found, in digging into the stone, a por- 
tion of the OS femoris, three or four inches long, and a very 
small portion indeed of the ossa innominata, to which this 

Q 2 


femur was articulated. Some fragments of the ribs were also 
found near the dorsal vertebrae. 

On the whole, the Baron's opinion is doubtful respecting 
this relic. He seems to hesitate between referring it to the 
new genera before mentioned, or to the crocodile, but yet 
leans more to the latter. Of its belonging to the class of 
reptiles tliere can he no doubt, yet M. Adrien Camper 
hazarded the assertion that it was a balcBna, though, the balaenae 
have no teeth, and M. Faujas St. Fond confidently pronounced 
it physeter ; the teeth in the upper jaw, the femur, and portion 
of pelvis completely refute the last notion. The physeters 
have teeth only in the lower jaw, and the vestiges of pubis are 
very faint in all the cetacea. 

The crocodiles of Franconia are better ascertained than the 
preceding. The deposition in which they are found is very 
similar to that in which the undoubted crocodiles of Honfleur 
are found. It is described as a calcareous stone, or bad sort 
of marble of a grey colour, full of ammonites and other ancient 
shells. The quarries are near the little town of Altorf, which 
was formerly subject to that of Nuremberg, and which has 
passed along with it under the domination of the Kingdom 
of Bavaria. The position, as well as nature of the strata, leads 
geologists to consider them as belonging to the middle layers 
of Jura. 

The first head of this genus was discovered by a burgo- 
master of Altorf, and described by M. Walch in 1776, in the 
Natiirforscher, a German periodical. He considered it to be- 
long to the gavial. With the exception of the muzzle, the rest 
of the head adhered in such a manner to the stone, that it was 
impossible to design it distinctly. Some other discoveries of 
the same kind were subsequently made in the same place, 
which, though some controversy and confusion prevailed con- 
cerning them, are undoubtedly referable to the genus crocodilus. 
According to Schroeder, at Erkrode, half a league from 
Brunswick, was discovered, in 1755, an entire skeleton of a 


crocodile, whose head, one foot long, with all its teeth, is said 
to be in the Ducal collection in Brunswick. 

The bones found in the Vicentine territory were not situated 
in depositions precisely resembling the foregoing ; but they 
belonged, however, to the limestone of Jura. 

Considerable portions of jaws have been discovered in a 
mountain near Rozzo, on the confines of the Vicentine and 
the Tyrol^ in calcareous stone, of a reddish yellow colour. 
This stone is the ammonitiferous limestone of Jura, covered 
by the other kind which is destitute of shells. 

There was found there the anterior portion of a muzzle, and 
two halves of the lower jaw detached from each other, but 
remaining nearly in their natural position. The lower jaw is 
twenty-five inches and a half in length, and eight inches broad. 
Many of the teeth had fallen, but became engaged in the stone, 
where they still surround the maxillary bones. The alveoli 
are visible in their proper places, and even a part of the roots. 
M. Sternberg, who gives this description, assures us that no 
little tooth was found in the cavities of the large ones. These 
bones appear to have belonged to a crocodile, but by no 
means to the common gavial, as M. de St. Fond confidently 
asserts. The posterior portion of the jaw would not be in a 
right line with the anterior, that is, with the part which be- 
longs to the symphysis, but would make an angle with it, and 
thus remove more from its correspondent part on the other 
side, if this specimen was a relic of the common gavial. 

This is a sufficient character for distinguishing this head, 
and especially the lower jaw, from that of gavial, and to ap- 
proximate it to the head found at Altorf, and one of those of 
Honfleur. The Baron would assign them all to one and the 
same species, if he could depend on the drawings. 

There are few countries more remarkable for petrifactions, 
than that which extends along the banks of the Altmuhl, one 
of the streams of the Danube, towards Pappenheim and Aich- 
sted, where numerous quarries of a whitish calcareous slate, in 


great esteem, continually present impressions offish and Crus- 
tacea, entirely unknown in Germany at present ; and, in all 
probability, in living nature itself. Some reptiles, also, of 
very curious kinds, have been found there ; among which, the 
pterodactyliy which shall be described hereafter, are particu- 
larly to be remarked. 

These schists belong to that prolongation of the chain of 
Jura which, after the fall of the Rhine at SchafFhouse, extends 
into Germany, over the borders of the Mein, near Cobourg. 
The sides of the valley of the Altmuhl are very precipitous, 
and it is easy to see, over two hundred feet of height, the 
strata which compose them. The calcareous schists, so abun- 
dant in fishes, in Crustacea, in reptiles, and even in asterise, 
but which contain scarcely any other shells but two species 
of tellinse, and some small ammonites, occupy the summit. 
They rest on a considerable mass of magnesian limestone. It 
is not stratified, and scarcely exhibits any traces of petrifac- 
tions. This, and the schists which cover it, do not prevail at 
all, to any extent, through the chain of Jura. They only begin 
to appear between Donawert and Noodlingen. The said lime- 
stone extends much farther northward than the schists, and 
the celebrated caverns filled with bones, which we have men- 
tioned, when treating of the fossil mammalia, exist in it. 
Under it are banks of limestone of a greyish white, abounding 
in ammonites, and furnishing enormous frieze-stones, and a 
brownish or greyish sandstone, of a fine grain, which consti- 
tutes the bases of all the hills in this district. The most cele- 
brated of these quarries is that of Solenhofien, in the very 
valley of the Altmuhl, a little below Pappenheim. Here was 
found a remarkable fossil, which has been described by M. de 

The two plates containing it are of a marly calcareous schist, 
yellowish gray, spotted with red and yellow oxide of iron, and 
mixed here and there with parcels of quartz, with very delicate 
blackish and crystallized veins. Some impressions have been 


seen in them which have been referred to ammonites, but are 
as likely to belong to planorbes. There is also the impression 
of the tail of a small fish, and some remains of an insect. 

The bones themselves are browner than the stone. On being 
analyzed, they were found not to have lost all their animal 
matter, and particularly to have preserved a remarkable pro- 
portion of phosphoric acid. 

The largest of these plates, about three feet long and fifteen 
inches in breadth, contains the head, trunk, and tail of the 
animal, from one extremity to the other, and very little de- 
ranged, and a hind foot almost entire, detached from the trunk 
and encrusted at some distance. Scaly parts are also mingled 
with the bones. M. Soemmering has published an excellent 
figure of it. In it is to be seen the lower jaw at its upper 
face, having twenty-five or twenty-six teeth on each side. The 
upper jaw is seen at the palatine surface, also the upper paries, 
and other parts of the cranium together, but a little detached 
from the muzzle. The condyle for the articulation with the 
atlas, and the articulary facet of the tympanic bone for the 
lower jaw, are also distinctly to be recognized. The series of 
the vertebrae is deranged only towards the end of the tail, and 
contains seventy-nine. Those of the neck have lost their 
transverse apophyses. Twenty-three ribs, more or less entire, 
are all out of place, or nearly so. A fragment of sternum, of 
the OS ilii, an ischium of the left side, and a coracoid bone, 
(these three are detached,) and some other bones, not so well 
determined, are to be seen. The left hind foot is in its place, 
but detached and disarticulated. The right hind foot, on the 
contrary, is cast out of its place, but has preserved its parts in. 
their natural connexions. 

This figure is as sufficient for determining the characters of 
the animal, as if the latter were under one's eyes itself. On the 
first glance, this fossil was found to resemble the little gavial 
more than any other known animal. The proportions, number of 


parts, teeth, &c. are similar. To discover the differences 
required a more attentive examination, but they were all found 
to be specific. The symphysis of the lower jaw is much less 
long in proportion. It exceeds only by a tenth the length of 
each branch. In the little gavial it exceeds it by one third. 
In the great gavial it exceeds it by a fourth and more. There 
must be a corresponding difference of proportion in the upper 
muzzle, but as it is detached from the cranium it cannot 
be given so exactly. The teeth of the lower jaw are regularly 
and alternately longer and smaller, counting from the fourth; 
so that the fifth is one half shorter than the sixth, the seventh 
than the eighth, and thus in succession. In the gavials, great 
and small, this regular inequality does not take place. The 
teeth which follow the fourth are nearly equal, except such as 
appear to have shot forth more recently. 

In the upper jaw there are at first, on each side, two small 
teeth, then a very large one a little back, and the others are 
nearly equal and short. In the little gavial there is at first, on 
each side, a small tooth, then at some distance another small 
one, then one a little larger, and the following are nearly equal, 
but as long as those below. 

If the aperture observable in the figure be that of the exter- 
nal nostrils, it is more broad,- less long, and placed more forward 
than in the little gavial. If it be the incisive foramen, as might 
be conjectured from the position of the head, the character 
would be still more distinctive. 

What appears to be the foramen which the crocodiles have 
between the parietal, the mastoid, and the anterior frontal, is 
much larger than in the little gavial, although it has the same 
form. It exceeds the size of the orbit, which does not even 
take place in the great gavial, in which also this aperture has 
more breadth than length. The reverse is the case in the 

Seventy-nine vertebrae are to be reckoned in the fossil skele- 






ton. The little gavial has never more than sixty-eight. This 
difference is especially owing to the tail. It has at least ten 
vertebrae more than that of any known crocodile. 

The spinous processes of the cervical vertebrae are square 
and touch together, which, in the little gavial, takes place only 
in the dorsal. The articular apophyses of the same vertebrae 
are also less advanced beyond their body. This difference 
continues in the back. There are no traces of the lower spinous 
processes which exist in the last cervical and first dorsal verte- 
brae of the little gavial. The vertebrae of the tail, beside their 
greater number, are sensibly thicker and shorter than those of 
the little gavial. Their spinous processes, like those of the 
cervical, are broader, and approximate more together, especially 
towards the middle of the tail. 

The neck of the iliac bones is longer, and the ischium has its 
widened part much more broad and short than in the little 
gavial. The length of the femur in the fossil is more than dou- 
ble that of the tibia. In the little gavial it exceeds it only by 
a fourth. The tibia is thicker in proportion to its length, and 
the same difference takes place in the metatarsian bones, and 
particularly in those of the little toe. These differences are 
assuredly more than sufficient to prove that this fossil gavial is 
of an unknown species. M. Soemmering has called it Croco- 
DiLus PRiscus, and gives these characters: Rostro elongato 
cylindrico, dentibus inferis alternatim longiorihus^ femoribus 
dupla tibiarum longitudine. 

The entire length of the individual described by M. Soem- 
mering is two feet, eleven inches, seven lines, French measure. 
It is very remarkable that the tail should not be longer in pro- 
portion than the body, though it has ten additional vertebrae. 

In the collection at Dresden is another fossil specimen, found 
at a place called Boll, in Wirtemberg, remarkable both for its 
baths and the fossils in their neighbourhood. It is situated 
between the Wils and the Lindach, two streams of the Necker 
at the north-west foot of the Albe of Suabia, which is a conti- 


nuation of Mount Jura. This fossil would appear to have been 
but ill preserved. Its gangue is a grey, schistous, argillaceous 
earth, and an impression of ammonite is visible in it. The 
head, breast, anterior limbs, and hinder part of the tail, are 
wanting. What remains, however, is sufficient to justify the 
reference of this specimen to the genus of the crocodiles, and 
M. Cuvier thinks it probable that it is the same species as that 
last described. The situation of the two along the two borders 
of the same chain gives additional weight to this conjecture. 

This fragment is forty-five inches and a quarter in length. 
The two knees are separated three-and-twenty inches and 
a half. Nothing is very distinct, except five vertebrae of the 
back, the femora, a part of the leg, and the left foot. But the 
form of the vertebrae, long, narrow, cut squarely at the two 
ends, and more contracted in the middle, would suffice to prove 
it a crocodile, and not a monitor. The vertebrae in the last- 
mentioned genus would be wider in front, narrower behind, 
terminated in front by a concave arch, and behind by a con- 
vex. Other minuter particulars go to establish the resemblance 
between these remains and those of crocodilus priscus. 

The town of Caen, in Normandy, is surrounded by quarries of 
a very fine limestone, from which beautiful stones have been 
supplied for the construction of the city, and for churches and 
other public edifices throughout the province. It is even said 
that most of the cathedrals erected in this country, by our 
Norman princes, were built with stones brought from Caen. 
The nature of this stone bears some resemblance to that of a 
hardened chalk, and the geological position of its beds is 
unquestionably lower than that of the chalk in the neighbour- 
hood of Paris, which extends very far into Lower Normandy, 
and occupies all the upper part of that province, as well as 
Picardy and the opposite coasts of England. 

The whole soil of this country is essentially composed of four 
kinds of strata. The upper stratum, immediately above the vege- 
table soil, but which elsewhere passes under the chalk, is a lime- 



i' (i 'II 


stone, with large spathic grains, filled with polypiers, encrinites, 
terebratulae, and some ammonites. The second is of that sort 
of stone especially named Caen-stone, which contains ammo- 
nites, pinnites of particular species, and other shells, but in no 
great abundance. The third is composed of a very hard bluish 
marie and often pyritous, and is of very great extent. In this 
might be found remains of crocodiles, similar to those of Hon- 
fleur. It contains abundance of gryphites, ammonites, nau- 
tili, oysters, terebratulse, fossil bones, encrinites, and fossil 

Below this is the oolitic limestone, which occupies an im- 
mense space in the department, and furnishes almost all the 
chalk-stone of the country. Its strata are horizontal, of various 
thickness, and separated by potters' clay. They contain oolites, 
belemnites, nautili, and starred encrinites. A fish has been 
found there like the dapedium politum, taken from the blue 
lias of Lyme Regis, by Mr. de Labeche. Its lower beds are 
very thin, and contain siliceous rolled flints. It rests on the 
red sandstone, schists, diabases, and marbles, which are subor- 
dinate to it. 

Below the chalk and the green ferruginous sand, which 
serves for its basis, is a bed of blue marie, which begins to 
show itself at Havre, and rises more on the other side of the 
Seine, at Henqville. In this bed near Havre some bones of 
crocodile have been found. ' ; ^;,'p. 

Under this bed rest some vestiges of the Portland stone, and 
below this, coral rag. Under this last are often found beds 
three hundred feet deep, of another blue marie analogous to 
the Oxford clay, which forms that tract called, in French, the 
*'V^ches noirs," where crocodiles, which shall be described 
hereafter, have been found, and also the plesiosaurus. Between 
this marie and the Caen-stone there should be still two banks 
analogous to those we call cornbrash and forest marble. After 
this last mould is again a bank of oolite ; and finally, the last 


bank of blue marly stone, analogous to our lias, which rests on 
the red sand-stone. Mr. de Lab^che believes that this lias of 
France contains bones of the ichthyosaurus, as well as that of 
England. From the ascertainment of these three distinct 
banks of blue marie, there must be a considerable difference 
between the ages of the crocodiles there found. 

The view we have just given is taken from Mr. de Labeche. 
M. Prevost, who has very accurately examined the coasts from 
Calais to Cherbourg, agrees with him to a certain point. Ac- 
cording to him, the upper strata are the bluish argilla of the 
environs of Havre, with lignites. Then comes the limestone of 
Caen, the upper strata of which contain polypiers, trigoniae, 
and cerithia^ and the lower contain bones of crocodile. Under 
this hmestone come the lower blue argilla, and the oolites, 
alternating with the lias, containing, or supposed to contain, 
the ichthyosaurus, and all would rest on the limestone with 
gryphytes, and the limestone used for lithographic operations. 

Be all this as it may, it is incontestable that the crocodile of 
Caen, like the last described, and those of Honfleur, and many 
others, belongs to this great assemblage of strata, which con- 
tinental geologists have agreed to call the formation of Jurat 
and which holds a sort of middle rank among the secondary 
strata, being placed below the chalk and above the other 
secondary formation, which has been named Alpine. 

This crocodile of Caen does not appear to have been very 
rare in these environs at the epoch in which it lived ; for, within 
but a few years, comparatively speaking, have been found the 
remains of at least ten individuals. The specimen which has 
excited most attention was found at the end of 1817, in part 
of the banks of Caen-stone, on the right of the Orne, and in 
the quarries of a village called Allemagne, a short league to the 
south of Caen. 

The principal piece was composed of from fifteen to sixteen 
vertebrae, placed on a continuous hne, and pretty nearly in 


their natural position, with some portions of ribs, and a great 
number of scales still in connexion, and almost such as they 
were when they formed the armour of the animal. 

At the same time, and at no great distance, was discovered 
a considerable portion of a head, which was presented to M. 
Cuvier ; he also received some incomplete vertebrae and a group 
of scales^ which had been more anciently found in another 
quarry near the same place. 

In 1822, M. Lamouroux procured two considerable blocks, 
on which was the impression of a head, tail, part of the ribs, 
and some long bones. The bones which formed these impres- 
sions had been lost in getting out the blocks. Some portions of 
the parietal, however, were preserved, the frontal and the muzzle 
almost entire, some vertebrae, and some other fragments. The 
portion of head above mentioned having been carefully dis- 
engaged, presented almost every advantage that could be desired 
for determining this part of the osteology. It was one half of 
the left side, which had been detached longitudinally from the 
other half, and only showed, at first, its vertical and longitudinal 
section, but when it had been disengaged from its stony cover- 
ing, all the parts were found perfectly preserved, from the occi- 
put to beyond the anterior extremity of the lachrymals. This 
half being thus complete, it was easy to represent the other half. 

On the first view, the Baron pronounced this specimen to 
have appertained to a gavial equally different from the living 
species and the fossils discovered before. These are its special 
characters : — On the upper faces the sides gradually approach 
each other to form the muzzle. The anterior frontal advances 
less upon the cheek, the lachrymal advances more, and is 
broader at its base. The jugal, on the contrary, is more nar- 
row. The edges of the orbits are not raised ; the orbits ap- 
proach each other more, and are of a circular figure. The prin- 
cipal frontal between them is not concave. The foramen of 
the crotaphite is much larger in proportion, and nearly squared, 
not round. The posterior frontal, which separates this foramen 


from the orbit, is much longer and narrower. The parietal sur- 
face between the two crotaphidians is more elongated. The 
occipital crest is not in a right angle, but in a very slender, 
trenchant lamina, extending from the parietal to the mastoidean 
angle. On the occipital face the mastoidean angle is not unin- 
terruptedly united with the back of the articular apophysis of 
the OS tympani. It is separated by a deep depression, above 
which advances a trenchant crest, which belongs to the lateral 
occipital. The mastoidean bone has a concavity in its descend- 
ing part, of which there is no trace in the gavial. The emargi- 
nation of the lower edge of this face between the articular 
apophysis of the os tympani and the tuberosity of the basilary 
bone, is much less than in the gavial ; and, consequently, this 
apophysis is less salient towards the bottom, and less detached. 

On the lower face of this head the palatines do not close the 
nasal cavity underneath, but opposite the posterior edge of the 
great palatine foramen. So that the hinder nasal fossa is very 
large, and does not open but towards the extremity of the 
basilary face, where, in the common crocodiles, the back nos- 
trils are situated a little before the foramen of the arteries 
The pterygoidean wing is not widened externally, as in all the 
crocodiles, but is contracted by a broad emargination in the 
part where it is about to unite to the bone. 

On the lateral face of this head, the orbital edge of the jugal 
is not raised, and does not leave behind it a deep emargination, 
as in the gavial. The jugal does not re-ascend to articulate 
with the posterior frontal, but, on the contrary, this last de- 
scends to unite itself with the jugal, at the external edge of 
the orbit, at its posterior angle. The vacancy between the 
orbit and the anterior edge of the os tympani is greatly elongated 
in the fossil, and occupies four-fifths of the temporal fossa ; so 
that the tympanic cavity is much shorter and more thrown 
behind. The anterior part of this temporal /oss is also very 
narrow and acute, which gives it quite another figure from that 
of the gavial. The bone which is analogous to the stapes, and 


which, singularly enough, has been preserved in this specimen, 
is cylindrical, and much thicker in proportion than in any cro- 
codile or any known reptile whatever. 

In this fossil are eleven alveoli, two of which alone preserve 
their teeth. These cavities are all nearly of the same diame- 
ter, and are filled with the matter of the stone, which proves 
that the teeth had fallen before the incrustations took place. 

M. Cuvier has finished the determination of this head from 
the impression, and some remains of other bones in the blocks 
before mentioned. These pieces, though belonging to an in- 
dividual four times the size of that to which the demi-head we 
have just described belonged, yet appertained to the same 
species, as the Baron judged from what remained of the 
frontal, the parietal, and the anterior frontal bones. The nar- 
row crest formed on the parietal by the approximation of the 
temporal fossae, he considers as an ordinary effect of age, which 
enlarges the crotaphite muscles. To the same cause he at- 
tributes the curve of the crest in the form of a chevron, which 
is strongly marked in this crocodile. The frontal just men- 
tioned is singularly flat ; a ridge slightly salient traverses the 
middle of its length, and its surface is rendered a little unequal 
by vermiculations. 

According to the impression, the muzzle of this crocodile 
was longer in proportion than that of the gavial. It grew gra- 
dually more slender towards the end, where it dilated a little, 
and the total length of the head must have been more than 
thirty-seven inches. 

There was also found a portion of muzzle twenty inches 
long, which confirmed the characters drawn from the impres- 
sion. Its depression was stronger than in the gavial; the 
bones of the nose descended lower, and formed a more acute 
angle. Along its length was a sort of central rib, slightly pro- 
jecting, and marked with a longitudinal furrow. From the 
roots remaining on either side, it appears that, in this length of 
twenty inches, there must have been at least thirty teeth. 


According to the impression, the entire muzzle must have 
been twenty-nine or thirty inches in length. M. Cuvier thinks 
it probable that there were forty-five teeth on each side in each 
jaw. This would make the entire number one hundred and 
eighty. The gavial has only one hundred and twelve. 

In another considerable fragment of the lower jaw, part of 
the opercular bones was visible ; and on the right side three 
teeth, the middle one of which was double the size of the two 
others. The teeth are long, narrow, arched, and very pointed, 
but not trenchant. 

From a model of the anterior end of the lower jaw, the 
Baron observed that it was much depressed, widened a little 
in front, and emarginated at its extremity. On one side twelve 
teeth were visible, alternately longer and shorter, but all tolera- 
bly long in proportion to their bulk. In the gavial they are 
not nearly so close. 

On the annular portions of two cervical vertebrae, it was 
observed that they did not differ from those of the common 
crocodile, but in having spinous apophyses broader from front 
to back, and more inclined behind. Two sacral vertebrae, a 
portion of the ossa ilii, and the cotyloid cavity, three lumbar 
vertebrae, and ten dorsal, bearing ribs, were found ; and also 
some caudal, &c. ; all these presented characters different 
from the existing species. In the bones of the extremities 
which remained there was more analogy with those of living 
crocodiles ; but still there were many slight variations easily 
perceptible to an experienced eye. 

Abundance of scales and impressions of scales were found, 
many of them still adhering to the parts of the body to which 
they belonged, so as to leave no doubt of their appertaining to 
the same species. They differ from those of the Hving croco- 
dile more than any other part of the skeleton, and this croco- 
dile of Caen was beyond all comparison the best provided with 
defensive armour of any of the genus. The scales are very 
thick, rectangular, slender towards the edge, and have all their 


external surface hollowed with little semi-spherical fossets, 
about the bulk of a pea, and closely pressed against each 
other. They were arranged^ as in the living crocodiles, in 
regular series, both longitudinally and transversely. The 
hinder edge of one covered the base of that which followed. 

From the largest fragments, the Baron judges that this 
species might have been twenty feet in length. Some of the 
remains, however, did not belong to individuals more than 
thirteen, and ten feet long ; so that, notwithstanding the clear 
distinction of species, this crocodile of Caen did not exceed in 
dimensions its Hving congeners. 

It resembled crocodilus priscus, in the alternation of size in 
the teeth, and the dilatation of the anterior extremity of the 
two jaws. However, the more elongated and slender form of 
the upper jaw in front, and the form of the temporal fossa 
more wide than long, seem to mark a sufficient difference for 
the species. 

Some remains, very similar to the last, were found in the 
formation of Jura, and sent to M. Cuvier from Switzerland. 
Some of the teeth, however, from their greater bulk and 
obtuseness, seemed to indicate another species. It is most 
remarkable, as the Baron observes, to find an animal, so espe- 
cially a native of the fresh water as the crocodile, in the strata 
of the formation of Jura. It is also worthy of remark, that it 
is accompanied by abundance of tortoises, equally belonging to 
the fresh water. This fact, joined to many others, proves that 
there existed here dry lands, watered by rivers, at some won- 
derfully remote era, and long before the three or four succes- 
sions of these kinds of strata which have been observed in the 
neighbourhood of Paris. 

We shall now speak of the bones of two unknown species of 
gavial found near Honfleur and Havre. 

These bones, the Baron thinks, may have belonged to two 
depositions different from each other, but superior to that of 
the Caen-stone. But he considers them much more ancient 



than the immense mass of chalk which rests upon them, and 
much anterior to those which contain the bones of even the 
most ancient quadrupeds^ such as the gypsum of Paris ; for 
this gypsum rests upon the most common coquillaceous lime- 
stone, which last rests upon the chalk. 

The substance of the bones is of a very deep brown, and 
takes a fine polish. It is soluble in acids, and assumes a red- 
dish tint, which shows that it is coloured by iron. It has, 
however, preserved a portion of its animal nature. The great 
cavities of the bones, as the box of the cranium, the canal of 
the nostrils, and that of the vertebrae, are filled with the same 
hard and greyish marie which envelopes their exterior. But the 
pores, or small cells, are occupied by a calcareous demi-trans- 
parent spath, sometimes tinted with yellow. Each cellule is 
usually carpeted with pyrite, Avhich envelopes the spath with 
a thin and brilliant bed. The interior of the shells found here 
is also, sometimes, furnished with it ; and some are found 
whose substance has been entirely replaced by the pyrite. 

The most considerable piece in the collection of which we 
are now to speak, is a lower jaw almost complete. The arti- 
cular extremity of the branches appears to be all that is 

This jaw bears the most incontestable characters of the cro- 
codile. The teeth are conical and striated. The majority are 
broken, but some are entire, and the two trenchant ridges very 
distinguishable. Many of those which are in their places show 
in their cavities the little germ which was to replace them. 

The sutures which divide this jaw into six bones on each 
side are easily distinguished. They are pretty nearly in the 
same positions, and of the same form, as those which compose 
the jaw of the gavial. Still, an attentive examination soon 
leads to the discovery of characters which distinguish it very 
clearly from the last-mentioned species. 

The branches are much longer in proportion than the ante- 
rior or symphysized part, which they exceed by some thirds of 









1 . 












an inch. In the gavial, when the articular part has been re- 
moved, as here, they are, on the contrary, shorter by one-third ; 
and even, adding this part, they are shorter by a sixth. 

They do not form together so open an angle as in the gavial. 
Theirs is about thirty and some degrees. That of the gavial 
is nearly sixty, taking these two angles within and between the 
lines which the internal edges of the branches form. 

For the same reason, they separate less from the external 
line of the symphysis, and almost appear prolongations of it. 
In the gavial they remove from it by a much more sensible 

The upper face of this jaw is hollowed by a middle and two 
lateral furrows, which approach each other in front. It is 
smooth in the gavial. 

The transverse diameter near the anterior third of the sym- 
physis does not exceed by quite one-fifth the vertical diameter. 
In the gavial it is almost double. The emargination which 
separates the branches penetrates more forward between the 
teeth than in the gavial. There are seven teeth on each branch; 
in the gavial there are but two or three. Nevertheless, the 
entire number is less ; for there are but two-and-twenty on 
each side, while the gavial has five or even six-and-twenty. 
Finally, there does not appear to have been any oval foramen 
on the external face of the branch. 

In the same strata were found fragments of another lower 
jaw, much more approximating to that of gavial. If not gavial, 
it is certainly distinct from the last. Another fragment, 
apparently from the same species, was found near Auxerre. It 
was remarkable for its size, and the resemblance of its propor- 
tions to those of gavial. The Baron thinks the individual to 
which it belonged might have been seventeen feet and a half in 

These two lower jaws suggested to M. Cuvier that two spe- 
cies might exist at Honfleur. By great chance he got together 
six pieces which had belonged to the same cranium, and by 

R 2 


means of these re-constructed a considerable portion of the 
head, containing all the occiput, the greatest portion of the 
upper face, and of the sides as far as the muzzle. He also 
got three fragments which had appertained to one and the 
same muzzle, united them as they had been in nature, and 
joining them to the partial cranium which he had already 
formed, he found the muzzle so well adapted to the cranium, 
that he had no doubt of its having originally belonged to it, and 
that the nine fragments were from one and the same head. 
At all events, it was quite certain, that even if the muzzle did 
not belong to the head in question, \t belonged to an individual 
of the same species and of the same size, which was fully suffi- 
cient for all purposes of determination. 

In the mutilated state, this head was two-and-thirty inches 
in length, and allowing four inches for the end of the muzzle 
which was wanting, it must have been three feet long. The 
largest head of gavial in the Baron's possession was but thirty- 
one inches. But this is the least difference existing between 
the two species. The muzzle of the gavial is both wider in 
proportion and in actual measurement ; and the excess of width 
is still more marked in the occiput. The cranium of the fossil 
has an oblong form, quite different from that of the gavial, and 
unites itself to the muzzle by an insensible narrowing, and not 
by a sudden contraction. 

The occiput of the gavial is limited above by a horizontal 
right line. In the fossil it is an angular line, whose middle 
projecting angle corresponds to the sagittal crest. 

The crotaphite foramina of the fossil are much wider and 
very considerably longer than those of the gavial. Their figure 
is elliptical, and their grand diameter longitudinal. They in- 
tercept a long and narrow sagittal crest, and not a short and 
flat parietal surface, as in the gavial. The arch which is 
formed by the posterior frontal and the mastoid, which limits 
the crotaphite foramen below, is not straight as in the gavial, 
but forms a convexity externally. 


The length of the cranium, and of all that surrounds it, cor- 
responds to the length of the crotaphite foramina, in conse- 
quence of which the orbits are carried forward much more in 
proportion than in the gavial. 

The frontal of the fossil is not concave, as in the gavial, but 
flat. It is less emarginated by the orbits. Their edges are 
not raised ; from which it results, that the bones which form 
these edges, the anterior frontals, the lachrymals, and the 
jugals, have a more even form, and by no means concave. 
The anterior frontals are much larger in proportion in the fossil 
than the lachrymals. 

There is one thing especially worthy of remark in the fossil : 
instead of the slight emargination of the orbital edge of the 
anterior frontal which is in the gavial, there is a smooth demi- 
canal, which descends on thejunction of the anterior frontal and 
nasal bones. The nasal, instead of re-ascending entire along the 
internal edge of the lachrymal and the anterior frontal, widens 
to embrace the point of the anterior frontal in an emargination 
of its base. The external apophysis of this base separates the 
lower point of the jugal from the lachrymal and the anterior 

The base of the muzzle below, at the spot where the palatines 
enter into its composition, is much more gibbous, and more 
high vertically in the fossil than in the gavial. These charac- 
ters were confirmed by the examination of another fragment 
unnecessary to be described here. 

This distinction of two species shown by the lower jaws, and 
confirmed by the examination of heads, was further corroborated 
by many portions of the skeleton. An attentive examination 
of the vertebrae proved that they form two systems, and would 
have indicated the existence of two crocodiles in these marly 
strata, of difierent species, even if it had not already been 
recognized by the examination of the jaws. The vertebrae 
afforded even more positive demonstrations of this fact. In 
the first specimen examined, the atlas and axis were found sol- 


dered together. Of the atlas was preserved only its lower 
piece, and a part of its lateral pieces destined to embrace the 
condyle of the occiput. All that had contributed to form the 
canal had disappeared. The axis is more complete, having 
lost only the hinder part of its annular piece. Many characters, 
even in this specimen, indicated a species different from that of 
the gavial of the Ganges and all other living crocodiles. The 
tubercle of the axis showed that the false rib of this vertebra 
had two heads, as well as those of the succeeding cervical verte- 
brae. In the crocodile and gavial there is but one. The pos- 
terior face of the body of the axis is concave ; while it is convex 
in all known crocodiles. From these, and many other fragments 
found in the same neighbourhood, M. Cuvier has established 
that there was one species here exhibiting a peculiar vertebral 
system in which the vertebrae are convex in front. This he 
calls the convex system. 

But there were also found in the same places, and mixed up 
with the former fragments, others demonstrating a very different 
system, which Baron Cuvier terras the concave si/stem. The 
vertebrae which compose it have not the body narrowed in the 
middle. Their transverse apophyses do not spring from the 
union of many salient crests. They much more resemble those 
of our living crocodiles ; but their principal difference, both 
from our living species and the first fossil species, is, that nei- 
ther of the faces of their bodies are convex, but both slightly 
concave. As to the rest, they have the sutures, and all the 
arrangement of apophyses which characterize, generically, the 
vertebrae of crocodiles. M. Cuvier is inclined to refer the ver- 
tebrae of the first system, or the convex, to the first jaw which 
we described from the Honfleur remains- — that belonging to a 
shorter and more obtuse muzzle. As that least resembles the 
living crocodiles, it seems natural to refer to it the vertebrae 
which least resemble theirs. Be this, however, as it may, the 
clear distinction of all the fossil fragments found in the places 
which we have described, from all that characterizes living 


species, is completely made out. This must be evident even 
from the necessarily abridged account to which our limits con- 
fine us. It is scarcely necessary, as the Baron remarks, to 
reply to those who would explain the extraordinary differences 
of those bones from those of the gavial, by the influence of age^ 
of nutriment, of climate, or of the passage to a state of petri- 
faction. Could all these causes united, continues this distin- 
guished philosopher, place in front the convexity which the 
other crocodiles have behind in the vertebrae ? Or could they 
change the origin of the transverse apophyses, flatten the edges 
of the orbits, diminish or augment the number of the teeth ? 
As well might it be said that all our living species are derived 
from one another. 

Having noticed the remains of the most ancient croco- 
diles which belong to the formations called Jurassic, we must 
now mention such as are a little more recent^ and appertain to 
the age of the chalk. Crocodiles have been discovered in the 
ferrugineous sands under the chalk in this country — in the 
chalk at Meudon ; and immediately under the chalk in lignites 
and plastic argile in several places. Unfortunately_, there have 
not been collected specimens in a sufficient state of preserva- 
tion to determine the species : all, therefore, that can be said 
respecting them is reduced to mere indications. 

A tooth from the chalk of Meudon, in its form, curve, and 
slight ridge on one side, much resembled that of the common 
crocodiles. The individual from which it came might have 
been twenty feet long. 

Our countryman^ Mr. Mantell, in his " Illustrations of the 
Geology of Sussex," has described the fossil remains in the dif- 
ferent strata of that county very minutely. He has given a very 
particular account of those which are found in vast abundance 
in the forest of Tilgate, near Horsham^ and has determined the 
strata of which the soil of this forest is composed. These are such 
as are immediately below the chalk formation. After the com- 
mon chalk with silex, comes a lower chalk, without silex, then a 


sort of grey marie or tuphous chalk, a bluish argillaceous marie 
analogous to that of Havre, the green sand, an argile contain- 
ing beds of hmestone, which we call Sussex marble, and, lastly, 
the ferrugineous sand which is so much extended throughout all 
this country. 

The different strata are situated obliquely, so that the lowest 
rises on the eastern side, and forms plateaus as high as those 
of the chalk on the western side ; on one of which the forest 
of Tilgate is situated, so that the ferrugineous sand is imme- 
diately under the diluvial or superficial stratum. 

Amidst innumerable remains of testacea, Crustacea, and 
fish, this sand also contains an abundance of reptiles' bones, 
and especially those of tortoises and crocodiles. There are 
many teeth, vertebrae, and other bones of the latter. Many of 
the megalosaurus, to be noticed hereafter, and especially some 
very singular teeth belonging to a reptile, but which are worn 
by detrition, as in the herbivora. 

The vertebrae are a little concave at the two extremities, 
which approximate them to the crocodile of Caen, and the 
second of those of Honfleur. They are, however, nearer the 
first. The teeth are, for the most part, more obtuse than those 
of the common crocodiles. 

In the deposition of lignites and plastic argile at Auteuil, 
near Paris, some small remains were found belonging to this 
genus. This formation is much more ancient than that of 
Montmartre, where there were also found a frontal and muti- 
lated humerus of crocodile. In the lignites of Provence was 
found the upper part of a femur, which M. Cuvier seems to 
regard as having belonged to a peculiar species. In the isle 
of Sheppey, a cervical vertebra was found by M. de Luc, and 
determined by the Baron. 

It is remarkable that crocodiles equally resembling the 
living species, accompany the palaeotheria and lophiodonta in 
the fresh-water calcareous formation as well as in the gypsum ; 
and what, perhaps, is still more surprising is, that they are 
found there with trionyx. 


Thus, in a collection of bones made at Argenton, there were 
found seven left femora, in a fragmentary state, indicating the 
existence of, at least, seven individuals, all of moderate size, 
not supposed to be more than nine feet long. The number 
of teeth in this collection was prodigious, and their character 
differed somewhat from that of the teeth of known crocodiles. 
There were, also, remains of vertebrae and some fragments of 
head, from which M. Cuvier concluded the existence of a 
species different from those of Caen and Honfleur. There 
have, also, in several other places, been found remains more 
or less resembling the correspondent parts in living species, 
but of which it would be tedious to enter into any details here, 
and, from their fragmentary state, unimportant. 

We find, upon the whole, that if the existing crocodiles are 
more numerous than was formerly believed, the fossil species 
of this genus also present a sufficient variety. Six, at the 
least, perfectly distinct, can be reckoned, and which do not 
differ less from the living crocodiles than they do from each 
other. These are the crocodilus pnscus, two of Honfleur, one 
of Caen, all which four appertain to the sub-genus of the 
gavials ; and the species of Montmartre and Argenton, which 
are referred by the Baron either to the sub-genus of Crocodile, 
or Cayman. 

Had more considerable parts of skeletons been found in the 
other places, which presented remains of these animals, M. 
Cuvier thinks it probable that the characters of some other 
species might have been determined. However, the knowledge 
which has been gained on this subject is of great interest. It 
proves that the crocodiles have undergone the same fate as 
the mammalia, and that their species have not resisted the 
catastrophes which have broken and convulsed the external 
covering of our globe. But there is another truth of the 
greatest importance, of which they present us with the first 
indication, namely, that the various classes of vertebrated ani- 
mals do not date their origin from the same epoch, and that 


the reptiles in particular are considerably anterior to the mam- 

We have seen before, that the fossil mammifera of the 
genera most known, appear to be those which perished only 
at the latest revolution of this globe ; that their debris fill the 
most superficial strata; that many of them have even preserved 
some of their soft parts, and that some have been even found 
entire, having been seized by the ice at the moment of their 
destruction, and not disengaged from it after. If we ascend 
higher in the series of ages, or, in other words, if we penetrate 
more deeply into the strata, we discover mammalia of genera 
less known, or that have for ever ceased to exist; such as the 
palseotheria, the anoplotheria, and the lophiodonta. They 
appertain to stony strata, formed, it is true, by the fresh water, 
but which cover others equally stony, and of an origin evi- 
dently marine. With these singular beings are also found a 
few species of existing genera, but their number is small, and 
it is quite clear that they by no means formed the character 
of the animal population of those remote ages. 

Again, earlier than these we find only marine mammalia, 
dolphins, phocse, lamantins, and other remains of similar genera. 
Beyond these, there are no further vestiges of mammalia, or, 
at all events, there are none whose origin is not more than 
doubtful. The antracotheria of the lignites, and the other 
mammalia there, nor those of the schists of CEningen, form 
any exception to this, for the position of these strata is not 
well ascertained, and the Baron does not think that these 
schists, and many strata of lignites, are of such antiquity as is 
commonly supposed. 

In any case, the strata which are regarded as the most 
ancient of the tertiary, must be the first which would have 
enveloped the remains of mammalia ; and supposing what is 
said of the small number of places presenting debris of this 
class to be correct, it would only oblige us to admit of an 
additional revolution — that is to say, of the existence of some 


tracts inhabited by mammifera, previously to the invasion of 
the sea, by which the cerithian limestone was formed. 

The crocodiles, however, give rise to no doubts of this 
description. We see them appear in the very first secondary 
strata. The monitors of the coppery schistus alone precede 
them in point of time, but they show themselves immediately 
after in the lias in this country, the banc bleu of Normandy, or 
in the bluish and pyritous calcareous marie, which has so 
much analogy with the coppery schistus. 

From then, until the epoch of the last catastrophe but one, 
some species of them have always subsisted, and in consider- 
able abundance. To those of the different strata of the Juras- 
sic formation, succeed those of the chalk. There are some 
above the chalk in the lignites of Auteuil and Mimet, and in 
the sandstone of Kent. Above the cerithian limestone, which 
the French call calcaire grossier, some are found in the marly 
fresh-water formation of Argenton, and in the gypsum of Paris. 
Finally, there even may be some in the loose and superficial 
strata, in which so many remains of elephants and other 
large quadrupeds are buried, if the small number of fragments 
collected at Brentford were not brought there from some other 

It must be confessed, however, that they are of exceeding 
rarity in the last-mentioned depositions. None have been 
seen in the immense collections of bones made from the 
valley of the Arno, nor in those from any part of Germany or 
France. This is the more extraordinary, as the crocodiles of 
the present day live in the torrid Zone with the elephant, the 
hippopotamus, and all the other genera which have furnished 
those remains. Some few, indeed, are said to have been 
recently found in the superficial strata of the Vale of Arno. 


The Fossil Tortoises. 

We shall begin with a brief and rapid survey of the osteology 
of the living species, and then proceed to the fossil. 

The sub-genera of the tortoises differ much more in the 
head than those of the crocodile. In the Land-To rtoises, 
such as the great Indian tortoise, the head is oval, and obtuse 
in front. The interval between the eyes is wide and gibbous. 
The nasal ^aperture is large, of greater height than breadth, 
and inchning a little back. The orbits are large, almost 
round, enframed on all sides, directed sideways and a little to 
the front. The parietal region of the cranium sharpens behind 
into a large and very salient occipital spine, and has on each 
side two very large temporal fossa, under which are two enor- 
mous ossa tympani. Behind these last, and a little above, 
are two bulky mastoid protuberances, and under them are the 
apophyses, which serve for the articulation of the lower jaw. 
These apophyses descend vertically, and do not go backward 
as in the crocodile. Below, the basilary region is plane, the 
palatine concave. At the anterior part of this last, the osseous 
back-nostrils open, the palatines having no palatine floor, and 
the palatine portion of the maxillaries being grooved as far as 
the anterior fourth part of the muzzle. This disposition is 
rendered necessary by the manner in which the tortoises 
respire, and which as much resembles that of the frogs as it 
differs from that of the crocodiles. 

The occipital region, on the whole, is vertical, although the 
occipital spine, the masto'idean protuberances, and the articu- 
lar condyle of the head, which is a very salient tubercle, 
render it very unequal. 

The first remarkable trait in the composition of the head of 
tortoise is, that there are no bones of the nose. 

In the fresh animal, the external osseous nostrils are con- 
tracted by cartilaginous laminae which represent these bones ; 
but in the skeleton, immediately at their upper edge, is found 


the frontal anterior bone, which takes its usual place in the 
frame work of the orbit, is also articulated as usual to the 
ante-orbital apophysis of the maxillary, forms the anterior par- 
tition which separates the orbit from the nose, and articulates 
below with the palatine and the vomer, leaving between itself, 
the maxillary, and the palatine, an oblong foramen, which 
opens into the back-nostrils. 

The osseous cavity of the nose is oblong, and formed by the 
maxillaries, the inter-maxillaries, the vomer, the two anterior, 
and the principal frontals. The extent of the frontals, and the 
absence of nasal bones, cause the first to articulate one with 
the other, and to extend above the orbit, and outside the prin- 
cipal frontals, as far as the posterior frontals in this species, 
and very near them in some others. 

The inter-maxillaries have no ascending apophysis. They 
form, as usual, the end of the muzzle, and go back into the 
palate between the maxillaries, and even between the back- 
nostrils, as far as the vomer. These back-nostrils are two 
wide apertures, pierced on each side, in the midst of the floor 
of the nasal cavity, between the maxillaries, the inter-maxil- 
laries, the vomer, and the anterior frontals. 

The bottom of the cavity of the nose is covered above, and 
closed behind by the principal frontals, which leave between 
them a wide aperture, closed in the fresh subject by a cartilage, 
which allows the threads of the olfactory nerve to pass. 

Lower down, and laterally, there is between the frontal, the 
anterior frontal, and the vomer, a tolerably large space, closed 
in the fresh subject by a continuation of the same cartilage 
which represents the os planum. 

In the land-tortoise there is nothing, or scarcely anything, of 
a simple, inter-orbital, cartilaginous partition, which want results 
from the great depth of the nasal cavities behind, and from the 
anterior and cartilaginous portion of the cerebral box approach- 
ing them considerably. But this is not the case with other 


The frontals cover but a small portion of the cerebral cavity, 
for they are but short, and form^ in conjunction, a lozenge 
more wide than long. 

The parietals form together a pentagon^ the most acute 
angle of which unites to the occipital spine. They cover more 
than half of the cerebral case, and go back by a squamous 
suture on the occipital and os petrosum. On each side the 
parietal descends very low into the temporal foss. It occupies 
there almost all the space occupied in the crocodile by the 
temporal wing of the sphenoid^ and there remains of this wing, 
in the tortoise, only a very small piece, which unites itself on 
one side to the descending portion of the parietal 3 on the 
other, to the palatine, to the internal pterygoidean bone, to 
the body of the sphenoid, to the os tympani, and to the os 

The jugal bone is, as usual, articulated with the external 
and posterior angle of the maxillary. It is narrow, and ex- 
tends under the orbit, behind which it meets the posterior 
frontal which completes the frame in this part, and the squa- 
mous temporal, which of itself forms all the zygomatic arch, 
an arrangement of which there are a multitude of examples in 
the cetacea. 

This temporal widens to unite itself to the os tympani, which 
is extremely large. It forms almost a complete osseous frame 
for a wide tympanum ; and under this it descends as an apo- 
physis for the articulation of the lower jaw. This frame gives 
entrance into a vast cavity, completed only at its upper angle 
by the mastoidean bone. At the bottom of this cavity is a 
foramen, through which the auditory osselet passes to arrive 
at a second cavity, formed externally by the tympanic bone, 
internally by the os petrosum and occipitals, underneath a little 
by the sphenoid, and closed behind by cartilage. This tym- 
panic bone, moreover, composes a good part of the posterior 
parietes of the temporal fossa. 

Between it and the parietal in this same foss, the os petro- 


sum shows itself, and the cranium is closed behind by the oc- 
cipital, which is here divided into six bones, and not into four; 
for the lateral occipitals are each divided into two parts, the 
external one of which the Baron terms the external occipital. 

The fenestra ovalis is situated, as in the crocodile, at the 
OS petrosum and the common lateral occipital ; but the fenes- 
tra rotunda is pierced in the external occipital, in the same 
manner as it is in the lateral occipital of the crocodile. 

In this tortoise, as well as in the crocodile, the grand fora- 
men for the passage of the fifth pair is in front of the os petro- 
sum, between it and the temporal wing. In the sea-tortoise 
this foramen is between the os petrosum, and the descending 
portion of the parietal. 

The auditory osselet is simple, as in the crocodile, and 
formed of a slender stem, which widens at its approach to the 
fenestra ovalis, and attaches itself there by a round and con- 
cave face, so that it has pretty nearly the figure of a trumpet. 
The external edge of this stem is in a great part cartilagi- 
nous, and is terminated by a plate of the same substance, and 
of a lenticular form, which is enchased in the membrana tym- 
pani, and which, perhaps, may be considered as analogous to 
the malleus. 

The Eustachian tube is altogether cartilaginous or mem- 
branous. It commences in the external chamber of the ca- 
vity in the upper part, by a wide emargination of the posterior 
edge of the tympanic bone, and goes obliquely within, passing 
between that bone and the depressor muscle of the lower jaw, 
as far as an emargination of the lateral and posterior edge of 
the pterygoidean bone, through which it penetrates into the 
back part of the mouth, on the side very near the articulation 
of the lower jaw, and especially very far behind the interior 

The orifices of the two Eustachian tubes may be seen at the 
palate, or rather at the back of the roof of the hinder mouth, in 
the form of two little holes sufficiently remote from each other. 


Behind the maxillaries and the posterior frontals, on the 
two sides of the vomer are the palatines, surrounded behind 
and externally by the pterygoidea, which last extend along the 
external edge of the palatines as far as the maxillaries. The 
rest of these pterygoidean bones covers the lower face of the 
cranium, between the two ossa tympani and the two temporal 
wings, leaving visible behind only a small triangular portion of 
the body of the sphenoid. The palatines have only their 
upper part, and want the curved part which prolongs the floor 
of the palate behind the maxillaries. The lachrymal bone is 
not discoverable in the tortoises, no more than in the phocae 
and dolphins. 

The olfactory and optic nerves come forth through cartila- 
ginous partitions of the cranium, and have no particular fora- 
men in the skeleton. The same appears to hold good for the 
third and fourth pair. The sixth passes through a small canal 
of the body of the sphenoid. The fifth pair has a large fora- 
men between the os petrosum and the temporal wing, divided 
into two at the exterior. At the external edge of the palatine 
there is a foramen analogous to the pterygo-palatine. 

Internally, the cerebral cavity is more high than wide. 
The bottom is very even. But in front, in the sphenoid, is a 
deep fosset for the pituitary gland, a sort of sella turcica. 
From the sides of this part originate the cartilaginous parti- 
tions, which, joining the ante-cerebral partition of the frontal, 
close the cavity of the cranium in front, support all the anterior 
portion of the encephalon, hold the place of the lamina cri- 
brosa, of the orbital wings, and of the greatest portion of the 
temporal wings ; another considerable part of which is replaced 
by the descending portions of the parietal, so that what re- 
mains does not participate in the formation of the cerebral 
case, except a little in front of the foramen of the fifth pair. 

There is no bony vestige of an anterior sphenoid any more 
than in the crocodile. 

This description, taken from the Indian tortoise, is equally 


applicable to all land tortoises. In the testudo Grcsca the 
cranium is less gibbous between the orbits. The principal 
frontals, more long than broad, reach to the edge of the orbit, 
between the two frontals, and re-descend into its roof. 

In the emydes, or common fresh-water tortoises, the head is 
more flatted. The principal frontals, though more broad than 
long, do not always reach the edge of the orbit, as, for example, 
in the testudo Europcea. The posterior frontal is broader. The 
frame of the tympanum is not complete ; and instead of a fora- 
men, there is a scissure for the passage of the auditory osselet, 
from one chamber of the cavity into the other. The basilary 
region and the palatine make but one plan, the palatines not 
even being concave. The test, scripta, picta, scabra, dorsata, 
centrata^ dausa, virgulata, are all thus distinguished. 

Some emydes, as the emys expansa, have characters in com- 
mon with the sea and fresh-water tortoises, and others beside, 
peculiar to themselves. The head is depressed, the muzzle 
short, the orbits small and very forward. There is no osseous 
vomer, so that the two back-nostrils form but one foramen in 
the skeleton. The palatines have not the palatine portion. 
The frame of the first chamber of the tympanic cavity is com- 
plete. This chamber communicates only by a narrow foramen 
with the masto'idean cellule, and the Eustachian tube origi- 
nates there by a cleft which is an extension of the foramen 
through which the osselet passes into the second chamber. 

The temple is covered as in the sea-tortoises by the parietal, 
the temporal, the jugal and the posterior frontal bones. The 
last of these is very narrow. It has a portion descending into 
the temple, which, uniting itself to an ascending portion of the 
palatine, and a re-entering portion of the jugal, forms a parti- 
tion, which separates the orbit from the temporal fossa, leaving 
no communication but a large foramen near this descending 
part of the parietal, which replaces the temporal wing. 

The pterygoid bone unites itself in front to the palatine and 
jugal, and not to the maxillary, which does not extend so far 



back. Its external edge recurves with the neighbouring portion 
of the jugal, and thus forms, in the lower part of the temple, a 
sort of canal which commences at the foramen of communica- 
tion of the temple with the orbit. Its posterior angle, on the 
contrary, is directed a little towards the bottom, descending more 
than the articulary facet for the lower jaw, and leaving between 
it and the raised portion of the external edge a broad emargi- 
nation. Between this angle and the articulary facet is a foss 
hollowed in the tympanal, the sphenoid, and pterygoidean bones. 
The mastoid tubercles are depressed, very salient behind, 
and pointed. Their point is formed one-half by the mastoidean 
bone, and the external occipital. The sphenoid shows itself 
underneath on a wider surface than in the land-tortoises, and 
the basilary appears there less. The lateral occipitals are also 
very small, and speedily are soldered with the basilary. The 
tubercle for the articulation of the atlas projects less than the 
mastoidean apophyses. 

In the emys serpentina, at a certain age, no external occi- 
pital is found distinct. It is united to the lateral occipital, but 
in the land-tortoises to the upper occipital. The head is de- 
pressed in front, the muzzle very short ; the orbits moderate, 
and approximating to the muzzle ; the temple covered only at 
its anterior portion by a lamina of the parietal, less com[)lete 
than in the sea-tortoises, and by a widening of the posterior 
frontal and of the jugal. The palatines have no palatine lamina : 
the palatine and pterygoidean region is very flat. The foramina 
analogous to the pterygo-palatines are very large, and the passage 
of the auditory osseletis made by a foramen, and not a scissure. 
In the Trionyx, or soft tortoises, the head is depressed, and 
elongated behind. The muzzle in certain species, as in that of 
the Nile, is pointed, short and rounded in others. The inter- 
maxillaries are very small, and have no nasal or palatine apo- 
physes. Behind them is a large incisive foramen. The maxil- 
laries unite between them in the palate on a tolerably long 
space, so that the back-nostrils are further back than in the 


sea>tortoise. The palatines do not unite below to prolong the 
palate ; they are hollowed into a demi -canal in front, and less 
extended than in the land-tortoises. The body of the sphenoid 
reaches to them, proceeding between the two pterygoidean 
bones, which are not united one to the other, but go from the 
lateral occipital, between the tympanic cavities and the basilary 
bone, and at the sides of the body of the sphenoid, as far as the 
palatines and maxillaries, which renders all the basilary and 
palatine region broad and flat. 

The anterior frontals advance between the maxillaries, and 
in this part occupy exactly the place of the proper nasal bones, 
without being distinguished by any suture. They even form a 
point over the external aperture of the nostrils, as the bones of 
the nose often do in the mammifera. 

The principal frontals form almost a square. They reach the 
edge of the orbit. The posterior frontal is as wide above as it 
is high. The jugal forms a part of the posterior and lower 
edge of the orbit, and almost all the zygomatic arch, of which 
the squamous temporal bone constitutes but a small portion in 
front of the tympanic cavity. This last has its frame complete. 
The osselet passes through a foramen into the second chamber, 
which, as in the other tortoises, is closed behind only by carti- 

The spine of the occiput and the mastoidean tuberosities 
are all pointed, and more salient behind than the articulary 
condyle. The space occupied by the os tympani at the poste- 
rior edge of the temporal foss is very narrow, but it widens in 
re-descending towards its apophysis for the lower jaw. The 
temporal wing is placed below and in front of the grand fora- 
men of the fifth pair, and the descending portion of the parietal 
articulates in front of it to the internal pterygoid bone. There 
is no trace of an anterior sphenoid, or of its wings. Its place 
is held by a slender membrane, which closes on each side the 
forepart of the cerebral cavity. 

The principal character of the Marine Tortoises, or Chelo- 

S 2 


nian reptiles, is, that a lamina of the parietal, the anterior fron- 
tal, the mastoid, the temporal, and the j'lgal, unite together, 
and with the os tympani by sutures, to cover all the region of 
the temple with an osseous penthouse uninterrupted in its con- 
tinuity. Their muzzle being much shorter and the orbits much 
larger than in the other tortoises, the nasal cavity is smaller, 
and of equal width, height, and length. Its hinder paries be- 
longs entirely to the anterior frontals, and between them is the 
introduction of the olfactory nerves. The osseous tubes of the 
back-nostrils commence in the lower part of this hinder paries, 
and as the palatines have a lower lamina, these tubes are a little 
longer, directed more backwards, and have less resemblance to 
simple foramina. 

From the size of the orbit it also results that the inter-orbital 
membranous or cartilaginous space is more extended. The 
piece which we regard as the temporal wing is singularly small 
in the chelonia my das, altogether at the external face, and sim- 
ply pasted on the suture of the descending portion of the parietal 
with the pterygoid. 

The auricular osselet does not pass through a foramen, but 
by a wide emargination, from the first chamber of the tympa- 
num into the second, and this second chamber is cartilaginous in 
all its hinder paries. By the same emargination the Eustachian 
tube descends towards the back part of the mouth. The first 
chamber of the tympanum is not very concave. There is, pro- 
perly speaking, no mastoidean cellules. But the bone of that 
name completes the roof of this chamber, and thus extends its 
concavity. The foramen of the fifth pair is oval and very large, 
between the descending portion of the parietal, the pterygoid, 
and the os petrosum. 

The most anomalous head of tortoise is that of theMATAMATA 
(testudo fimhriata) . It is so singularly broad and flat, that it 
has the appearance of having been crushed. The orbits are 
extremely small, and very near the end of the muzzle. The 
hinder region of the cranium is elevated, and the two tympanic 


bones, formed like trumpets^ widen on each side of the cra- 
nium. The temple is a wide horizontal foss, but not deep. It 
is uncovered, except on the back part, by the union of the 
posterior angle of the parietal with the masto'idean bone. The 
osseous temporal is reduced to a mere vestige. 

The two maxillaries form a transverse arch, at the middle of 
which, underneath, is a single interparietal bone, and above the 
external aperture of the nostrils, which in the fresh subject is 
continued in a small fleshy trunk. The two palatines, and 
between them the vomer, fill the concavity of this arch under- 
neath, and have in front of them the two hinder nostrils consi- 
derably separated, but the palatines do not surround them 
below. At the posterior edge of the palatine is a tolerably large 

The anterior and posterior frontals form the upper part of 
the orbits. The principal frontals advance between the ante- 
rior as far as the edge of the external nostrils. There are no 
nasal bones, no more than in the other tortoises. 

The jugal bone takes its place from the posterior angle of 
the orbit, between the maxillary and the posterior frontal, 
which it does not pass, touching a little on the pterygoi'dean 
behind and underneath, but forming no projection behind to 
border the temple. The temple is thus separated from the 
orbit by a postorbital branch of excessive breadth, which takes 
up the totality of the posterior frontal and jugal bones. 'J'he 
posterior frontal is itself articulated to the pterygoi'dean bone by 
its external hinder angle. The rest of its hinder edge is free, 
and continues with that of the parietal to cover a wide and flat 
canal of communication, going from the temple to the orbit, 
and formed underneath by the pterygoidean and palatine bones. 

The two pterygoidean bones are enormous. They form the 
greatest portion of the basis of the cranium and the ground of 
the temple. Their external edge is curved in its anterior part 
to continue with the free edge of the posterior frontal. There 
are neither orbital nor temporal wings. The parietals, which 


form a large right angle above, unite by their descending parts 
to the palatines, the pterygoideans, the ossa petrosa, and the 
upper occipitals. They form of themselves almost the entire 
penthouse of the cranium. At the sequel of the pterygoidean 
the temple is bounded behind by the tympanic bone, which 
partly resembles a trumpet. The frame of the tympanum is 
complete. A foramen of the hinder paries lets the osselet 
pass into the second chamber, which, in the skeleton, is only a 
long groove of the posterior face of the os tympani, which ter- 
minates in a cavity, to the formation of which the os petrosum 
and the external and lateral occipitals concur. It is closed 
behind only by cartilage and membranes. The fenestrse are in 
their usual place. 

Above this foramen of the first chamber, through which the 
osselet passes, is another which conducts into the mastoidean 
cell, which, in consequence of the outward projection of the 
tympanum, is found within, and not behind. The occipital 
spine is a short vertebral crest, and the mastoid tubercles are 
transverse crests belonging entirely to the mastoidean bone. 

Underneath, the cranium is smooth and almost plane, and 
exhibits a sort of regular compartment, formed of the inter- 
maxillaries, the maxillaries, the vomer, the palatines, the ptery- 
goideans, the sphenoid, the ossa petrosa, the ossa tympani, the 
basilary, and the lateral and external occipital bones. Behind 
the floor of the temple the os petrosum forms a square com- 
partment, between the pterygoid, the tympanum, the external 
occipital, the upper occipital, and the parietal. 

In the lower jaw, the space occupied in the crocodile by the 
two dentary and two opercular bones, is occupied in the marine, 
fresh-water and land-tortoises by a single bone analogous to the 
two dentaries. There is no trace of symphysis, the bone being 
continued as in birds. But in the testudo fimhriata a division 
is preserved at the anterior part, at every age. The opercular, 
however, exists at the internal face of the jaw, but is thrown 
more backward than in the crocodile. Under it is the angular, 


constituting the lower edge of the jaw, and the external face of 
this part is occupied by the subangular, which touches not the 
angular except very far back, being separated from it on the 
two anterior thirds of its length by the dentary. 

Above and towards the back, between the opercular and 
subangular, is situated the articulary bone. Its dimensions 
are but small, and it serves only for the articulation and inser- 
tion of the depressor muscle, which is analogous to the digas- 

The coronoid apophysis does not belong to the subangular 
bone, but to a bone placed between the dentary, opercular, 
and subangular, and in front of the aperture by which the 
nerves enter the jaw, which aperture is here on the upper edge, 
instead of being, as in crocodiles and birds, at the internal 

The hyoid bone is very complicated and singularly varied in 
conformation in the genera and species of tortoises, but it is not 
necessary for our purposes to enter into a detailed description 
of it. 

From what has preceded, it may be observed that there is 
more difference in the arrangement and mutual relations of 
the bones of the head in the different tortoises, than pro- 
bably in the heads of all quadrupeds, and most assuredly 
than in the entire class of birds. There are proportional, 
though not so considerable, differences in the other parts of the 

The most general character of the tortoises, as is well 
known, consists in their having the bones of the thorax out- 
side, enveloping with a cuirass or double buckler what subsists 
of the muscles, and serving even as a shelter to the bones of the 
shoulder and the pelvis. This dorsal buckler is formed prin- 
cipally of eight pairs of ribs, united towards the middle by a 
longitudinal series of angular plates, which either adhere to the 
annular parts of so many vertebrae, or constitute a part of 
them. What is most remarkable is, that these annular parts 


alternate with the bodies of the vertebrae, and do not correspond 
to them directly. 

The ribs catch in by sutures with these plates. They also 
catch together through all or a portion of their length. There 
are eight vertebrae in front, which do not share in this arrange- 
ment. The first seven, which are the ordinary cervical, are 
free in their movements. The eighth, which may be consi- 
dered as the first dorsal, is placed obliquely between the last 
cervical, and the first of the fixed vertebrae of the dorsal buck- 
ler, which position shortens it in front. Behind, its spinous 
process is elongated, and thickens a little to attach itself by 
sychondrosis to a tubercle on the lower face of the first of the 
plates of the middle series of the buckler. 

The first of these fixed vertebrae, which is the second dorsal, 
is rather short, has also its proper annular part, the spinous 
apophysis of which, shorter than the preceding, attaches itself 
in like manner to the second plate by a cartilage. 

This second plate, more narrow than the first, makes but 
one bone with an annular part which is underneath ; the an- 
terior portion of which is articulated, by two small apophyses, 
with the articular apophysis of the second dorsal vertebra. It 
is, then, properly speaking, the annular part of the third 
dorsal vertebra, but the body of this last is only articulated by 
its anterior half with the posterior half of this third annular 
part, while its posterior half is articulated to the anterior half 
of the fourth annular part. This alternation continues, so 
that the body of the fourth vertebra corresponds to the annular 
parts of the third and fourth ; the body of the fifth, to the 
annular parts of the fourth and fifth, and so on, as far as the 

The eleventh vertebra after the cervical is the only one 
which can be called lumbar. It bears no rib. The twelfth 
and thirteenth are the sacral. To their sides are attached two 
lateral pieces, swelled at the end to unite to the hinder and 
upper angle of the iliac bones. Their annular part is close 


and complete, and does not make a body with the plates of 
the buckler which follow that of the eleventh vertebra. 

The vertebrae of the tail are free like those of the neck. 

The sea-tortoises have three longitudinal plates after the 
tenth ; thirteen in all. But as the second and ninth are some- 
times divided, we may reckon them fifteen. Fourteen have 
been found in the emys serrata. The eleventh and twelfth, 
however, are very small. There are but eleven in the land- 
tortoises and chelydes. 

The ribs do not always catch in their entire length. To- 
wards their exterior a narrow portion remains^ and the inter- 
vals between it and those of the anterior and posterior ribs 
are filled only by a cartilaginous membrane. In the fresh- 
water tortoises and chelydes, this buckler is entirely filled up 
in course of time, and the ribs catch, in their whole length, 
both with each other and the marginal pieces. Ossification 
goes on still more rapidly in the land-tortoises ; and it is only 
in their early age that vacancies are observable between the 
external parts of their ribs. This buckler is, more or less, 
gibbous, according to the species. There are many other 
variations which our plan and limits oblige us reluctantly to 
pass unnoticed. 

The sternum, or anterior portion of the buckler, is composed 
of nine pieces ; the atlas of four. The axis and the succeed- 
ing vertebrae are composed of a body nearly rectangular, cari- 
nated underneath, concave in front, convex behind, and of 
an annular part which remains distinct from the body during 
life, by two sutures, is raised above by a crest, instead of a 
spinous apophysis ; and its anterior articular apophyses, 
placed at first under the posterior apophyses of the preced- 
ing vertebrae, rise obliquely to embrace them, as far as the 
sixth, and resume a little their horizontal position in the two 

The bone which proceeds from the dorsal buckler to the 

sternum is suspended by a ligament under the dilatation of 


the second rib. Sometimes in this hgament are one, or even 
two particular little bones. One of these bones is at first a 
little cylindrical. It goes forward, and after having given from 
its external face a portion of the articalary facet which re- 
ceives the head of the humerus, it goes, making a greater or 
less inflexion internally, to attach its other extremity to the 
internal face of the sternum. The rest of the facet for the 
articulation of the humerus is furnished by another bone, 
which goes back more or less obliquely, and towards the cen- 
tral line, widening like a fan. This remains nearly parallel to 
the sternum. 

All the muscles which proceed to the arm are respectively 
the same as in birds, whatever changes may take place in their 
position relatively to the horizon, and in their size and figure. 

The existence of a clavicle is doubtful. A shoulder with 
three branches, an omoplate nearly cylindrical, an acromial 
portion nearly equal in volume to the rest of the omoplate, are 
characteristic of the tortoises. There is nothing similar in 
other animals, because in no other is the shoulder within the 
thorax. Their varied forms present very good characters for 
distinguishing the subgenera. 

In the sea-tortoises, that part of the omoplate which forms 
the articulary face, is detached in some sort from the bone, 
and forms a lateral apophysis ; and the two branches at the 
re-entering angle which they form together are compressed, 
broad and flat. The acromium is compressed, but in another 
direction, and the coracoid bone is very long and not very 
wide at its sternal extremity. 

In the land-tortoises, in which the dorsal buckler, being more 
raised, gives more room for the extension of the omoplate and 
its acromium, the angle is more open and the bone less com- 
pressed. The coracoid is short, and so widened, that its ster- 
nal edge is equal to its length. 

The shoulder of the fresh- water tortoises is a sort of medium 
between these two. The coracoid bone is more long than 


wide. The acromial branch is compressed. The angle which 
it makes with the omoplate is marked, but less so than in the 
marine tortoises. 

The chelydes have the coracoid bone wider and shorter 
than the fresh-water tortoises, but less so than in the land- 

In the trionyx, the angle is sufficiently marked, but the 
coracoid bone is distinguished by a peculiar form. It is wider 
than in the other sub-genera. Its external edge is convex, 
and is continuous with the hinder edge, while the internal is a 
little concave. 

The humerus of the tortoise must turn singularly on its axis, 
to place the fore-part in the position which the osseous cuirass 
requires, which leaves it no passage but by a narrow emargina- 
tion. The head proceeds more out of the axis than in any other 
animal, and that towards the upper face. It is a segment of a 
sphere, and very concave. The two tuberosities are very large, 
very salient, and leave between them a concavity, the same as 
exists between the condyles of the humerus in the majority of 
the mammifera. The internal tuberosity is the largest. It 
has the form of a long obtuse crest, analogous to the deltoid 
crest, and which receives the same muscles. The other tube- 
rosity also forms a crest, but much shorter. The body of the 
bone itself is arched ; and its concavity which, in man, would 
be anterior, is here, in general, lower. The opposite face is 
convex. In the upper part is a small hollow, opposite the end 
of the foss, which is between the two tuberosities. 

The bottom of the bone is widened, and a little flatted from 
front to rear. On its external edge may be remarked a fur- 
row, not very distinct in the land-tortoises, deeper in the 
emydes, the chelydes, and the trionyx, and which, in the 
marine tortoises, separates the lower head of the bone into two 
unequal parts. This furrow is the best character for distin- 
guishing the lower part of the humerus from that of the femur. 
This lower head is transversely oblong, and of an uniform 


convexity, and receives the bones of the fore-arm without pre- 
senting to them two distinct facets. There are always two 
bones in the fore-arm, but of httle mobihty. They are so 
placed that the cubitus forms the external edge of the arm, 
and the radius the internal. The upper head of the radius is 
semi-circular, and a little concave ; the body is slender ; the 
lower head compressed, and cut obliquely, so that it is shorter 
on the cubital side. 

The cubitus is compressed ; its upper head is triangular 
and cut obliquely. The lower head is squared. 

The pelvis of the tortoises is always composed of three bones, 
contributing, as in quadrupeds, to the composition of the coty- 
loid foss : these are an ilium, a pubis, and an ischion. At 
the place where they unite to form the cotyloid cavity, each 
bone has three faces, one for each of the two others, and one 
for the cavity. 

The femur might easily be taken for the humerus of a qua- 
druped ; its oval head is removed from the body of the bone 
without being separated precisely by a narrow neck. Instead 
of a trochanter, there is a transverse crest not much raised, and 
separated from the head by a semicircular depression. The 
middle of the bone is slender and round, and the bottom 
compressed from front to rear, and widening by degrees to 
form the lower head, which is a transverse portion of a cylinder, 
a little inflected behind. 

The two bones of the leg are nearly straight. The tibia is 
bulky and semicircular in the top, and again grows rather 
bulky at bottom. The peroneum is more compressed, and 
wider in the lower part. 

In all the parts now described there are slight variations ac- 
cording to the subgenera, which, if necessary, shall be noticed 
in our comparison of the fossils. 

In the sea-tortoise all the bones of the carpus are flat and 
cut nearly square. The metacarpian of the thumb is short and 
broad, the others are long and slender. There are but two 


phalanges on the little finger, which is not longer than the 
thumb. The three others, particularly the medius, are elon- 
gated. This arrangement produces a pointed hand, in which 
the thumb and the index alone have the unguical phalanges 
armed with a claw. 

The calcaneum of tortoises, in general, has no prominence 
behind, so that the tarsus is as flat as a carpus. It is com- 
posed of six or seven bones in the sea-tortoises. The bones of 
the metatarsi of the great and little toe are shorter than the 
others, and singularly broad and flatted. 

We must now speak of the fossil remains of this genus. 

The number of existing tortoises is so very considerable, 
that it 13 very difficult to decide whether or not a fossil tor- 
toise belong to an unknown species. It is necessary to com- 
pare not only the carapaces, and bucklers provided with their 
scales, but also the skeletons themselves, to observe the junc- 
tures of the ribs and of the other bones which concur to the 
composition of these cuirasses. The most that can be done 
for many of them is to assign their subgenus, which, however, 
is a point of considerable importance, as it tends to throw light 
on the origin of the stratum which envelopes them, or at least 
on the existence or non-existence of some dry land in the 
neighbourhood of the waters where this stratum was formed. 

A remarkable abundance of the bones of Trionyx are found 
in the same strata with palaeotheria, &c. though this subgenus 
has never been known to exist in Europe at any period of 
authentic history. There are, in fact, no species nearer to us 
than in the Nile and the Euphrates. These are the thirst of 
the Nile and the rafcht of the Euphrates, (^Testudo triunguis,) 
All the other species whose country is known inhabit the rivers 
of warm climates, which renders it probable that those whose 
country is not known have a similar habitat. It seems pro- 
bable that the tortoise described by Aristotle under the name 
of emys, was the species of the Nile just mentioned. It is the 
only species of which he could affirm that the head was suf- 


ficiently soft to let the humours transpire. It is evident, how- 
ever, that he was very ignorant of this species^ for he employs 
this character of its organization to explain a very erroneous 
supposition, that the animal in question had neither reins nor 
bladder. M. Cuvier has examined numbers of this subgenus, 
and found them conformed in these particulars, like all other 

From the remains found in the plaster-quarries of Paris, it 
appears that at least one trionyx abounded at the period in 
which the palaeotheria, anoplotheria, cheropotami, adapis, 
sarigues, crocodiles, and all the singular animals which we have 
already described, existed. But there was nothing in these 
remains which could determine the characters of the species. 

In the plaster stones of Aix some remains were found of 
trionyx, consisting of a carapace which had lost a great part 
of its left side, and several of the rib ends of the other, and also 
a left moiety nearly complete of the sternal portion of the 
buckler, and a small fragment of the lower part of the right 
moiety. The portion of carapace was twelve inches long, and 
eight broad, and differed in its characters from those of all 
known species. There was, however, some approximation to 
the trionyx of Java, and of the Ganges, but not sufficient to 
identify the fossil as belonging to either. The breast-piece 
showed considerable analogy to those of the Egyptian and 
Indian species, especially to the former, in the shape of its 
middle piece, and the small extent of the mutual articulation of 
its two hinder pieces. But the upper denticulations form a more 
elongated groupe, and the lower piece has only its middle ver- 
miculated. Its anterior and external contour is smooth, which 
is the case only with the angles, in the Egyptian species. 

The Baron considers this trionyx to be of a species unknown 
at the present day. 

On an estate of the Duke de Caze, in the department of 
the Gironde, was found a stone analogous to the molasse of 
Switzerland, which contained fossil remains of many genera; 


teeth fragments of jaws, and oth6r bones of palseotherium 
were discovered there. It also presented a great number of 
manifest fragments of tortoises, especially of trionyx. By one 
of the last, M. Cuvier thinks himself authorized to pronounce 
these fragments to belong to a different species from the 

This was a fragment broken in two, and rather mutilated, 
of the first piece of the carapace, the unequal and transverse 
piece which adheres neither to the ribs nor vertebrae. This 
is easily recognised by the irregular crest which traverses ob- 
liquely its lower face, and by the oblique foramina which are 
pierced there for the vessels. The species of Java most nearly 
approaches this, but is still very far from resembling it alto- 
gether. This trionyx appeared to have equalled that of the 
Nile in size. In parts of France more fragments have been 
found referable to this subgenus, but by no means so well 
characterized as to justify specific distinction. 

On the left bank of the Aar, to the north of the town of 
Soleure, are numerous quarries, in which many discoveries of 
fossil remains have been made. They are excavated in a small 
hill which borders the valley, and is situated at the foot of that 
portion of the lofty chain of Jura, nearest to Switzerland, which 
ends at that part of the Rhine close to the confluence of the 
Aar, and partly separates the canton of Soleure from that of Bale 
and the territory of Porentruy. The stone of which they are 
composed is a limestone of the recent formations of Jura. It 
is hard but not brittle, of a whitish colour, approaching to grey, 
to bluish, and sometimes to yellowish. Its strata are generally 
horizontal In many places they rest on the marly banks of 
intermediate formation, and they constitute no part of complete 
and regular chains. Many similar strata are found on the 
other side of the great crest of Jura. 

There are eight or nine banks worked in these quarries of 
Soleure. In the upper one, the stone, left in various directions, 
serves for no other purpose than making lime. It contains 


shells of different kinds, and some bones, but the latter occur 
rarely. The second, of a regular thickness of three feet and a 
half, furnishes, with terebratulse, oysters, &c. some debris of 
the bones of tortoise, and certain portions of the jaws of fishes. 
In the third, there is the greatest quantity of debris of tortoise, 
but never in any good state of preservation. They are accom- 
panied by teeth of crocodile, which we have already noticed, 
and many marine shells of the genera we have just mentioned. 
The teeth offish are found in the fourth, with some remains of 
other bones. In the fifth, shells again appear. The sixth is a 
small bed of marie. In this are found the bones of tortoise more 
entire, with shells of different genera. The seventh and eighth are 
filled with terebratulae, and contain some vertebrae of fish, but 
rarely the remains of other bones. In the ninth are crystals of 
pyrites, but no petrifactions. In the tenth, which is very thick 
and of a gross and friable grain, are only found terebratulae. 
This formation, notwithstanding its peculiarity, is nevertheless 
marine. It is, therefore, astonishing enough to find there the 
remains of animals whose genera exist at the present day only 
in the fresh water, such as the emys and the crocodile. Never_ 
theless, it is a most certain fact. 

A tolerably complete cuirass was found here with its cara- 
pace and breast-piece, and the impression of the scales was 
quite distinguishable. It was twenty-four inches long, and 
twenty in its greatest breadth, which was towards the lower 
third part. Its form was a fine oval, rounded at the two ends, 
and moderately convex. The notches for the paddles are 
wide. The scales of the middle of the disk appear to have 
been as broad as those of the sides, but those of the edge were 
very narrow. 

Two other fragments were found, apparently belonging to two 
other species. One of them, which is a lateral portion, con- 
taining the remains of four ribs, and the correspondent margi- 
nal pieces, is remarkable for its size. It is very flat, and mea- 
sures more than eleven inches from back to front. The other 


is the hinder part of a dorsal huckler, distinguished by three 
projecting ridges in its anterior and most hollow part. 

Many singularities are observable in the arrangement of these 
bones. The last two ribs join each other in front of a very 
small dorsal piece, which is followed by another very large, and 
triangular. This has got another very small one at each of its 
sides. Then come the last two dorsal pieces, both tolerably 
broad. It is not without example to see, in the emydes or tor- 
toises of the present day, ribs thus united to one another along 
the dorsal line, and causing to disappear or contracting much 
the dorsal plates which should separate them. 

A head was found in the same formation, in a fragmentary 
state. It was broken in such a manner behind, that nothing 
was left but the anterior paries of the os tympani. The poste- 
rior frontal is broader than in the emys of Europe, but not so 
broad as in the expansa or serpentina. It does hot cover the 
temple behind until just opposite the anterior edge of the tym- 
panum, as is usual in the common emydes. But the parietal 
does not unite with it to cover the rest of this foss, which shows 
that it did not belong to a marine tortoise. The land-tortoises 
are also equally excluded from any claim to this specimen, be- 
cause in them the posterior frontal is much more narrow. The 
size of the orbit, shortness of the nose and muzzle, the marked 
emargination behind of the maxillary edge, all exist in this 
head, the same as in the common emydes. 

Two plates of the dorsal series found in the same locality, 
were examined by the Baron. Their form was an almost regular 
hexagon, arched in the longitudinal direction in the middle, 
and they were very remarkable for their extreme thickness. The 
plates of the emys serrata approach most nearly to the figure 
of these, but their hexagon is far from being so regular. 

These specimens, and several others, which it would be 
tedious to dwell upon, perfectly establish, in the opinion of M. 
Cuvier, the existence of numerous remains of two large 
and unknown emydes in the quarries of Soleure. Another 
bone, which seemed to be a fragment of a breast-piece, even 



appeared to indicate the existence of a particular and unknown 

In the forest of Tilgate, where Mr. Mantell collected the 
bones of crocodile which we have noticed, were also found 
some remains of emys by the same gentleman. One seemed 
to have belonged to a part of the carapace, which was a little 
concave ; the other is a portion of the anterior edge. The 
first was found in a very fine ferrugineous sand, strongly 
agglutinated : the other in an agglomeration of divers little 
rolled stones, or gravel, partly agglutinated by the sand, and 
partly by spathic infiltrations. 

The immense beds of soft sandstone, called by geologists 
molasse, which fill all the lower parts of Switzerland, and again 
appear over great spaces in the south of France and in 
Hungary, are considered as well as the lignites and the other 
subordinate beds which they contain, to be superior to the 
chalk, and inferior, or perhaps, in some places, contemporane- 
ous, to the coarse coquillaceous limestone, and some other more 
recent tertiary strata. These strata are rich in fossil remains, 
which belonged to the land, and to the fresh water, in croco- 
diles, in trionyx, and in palseotheria. It is, therefore, not 
surprising to find among them, in the same strata, the bones 
of emydes. Fragments have been found in the quarries of La 
Grave, which appeared to have belonged to very large species. 
They corresponded in form to the analogous portions of the 
buckler of the emys serrata, but many of them were three or four 
times as thick. One of these fragments M. Cuvier supposes to 
have come from an individual of more than three feet in length, 
which is an uncommon size in the existing species of emys. 
There was even found the head of a coracoid bone, which indi- 
cated a still greater size in the individual to which it had 
belonged. Similar fragments were found in the molasse of 
Switzerland, near the town of Aarberg, but which seemed to 
have rather more analogy with the emys of Europe. 

In the argillaceous formation of the Isle of Sheppey, which 
is a continuation of the plastic argilla of the neighbourhood of 


Paris, very evident remains of this subgenus have been dis- 
covered. A portion of carapace was sent to the Baron by 
Mr. Crow of Feversham, which, though a Httle compressed 
and deformed, still clearly exhibited all the characters of emys. 
Five pairs of ribs were distinguishable, and the remains of a 
sixth, with six vertebral plates. The fifth of these plates is 
separated from the sixth by a point formed by the ribs of the 
fifth pair, which unite together in front of the sixth plate, 
which is very small. This arrangement somewhat resembles 
what has been seen in some remains of emys from Mount 
Jura. There were also the entire impressions of two scales 
of the middle series. The ribs which remain are of an equal 
breadth throughout; a constant character of the emydes. 
The vertebral plates are more narrow than in the existing 
species ; and, from the impressions remaining, it appears that 
the scales of the middle range were more long than broad. 
M, Cuvier is of opinion that the emys expansa most resembles 
this fossil. The marine tortoises have, it is true, like this 
specimen, their ribs of equal length ; but their middle scales 
are rhomboidal, and of greater breadth than length, 

Mr. Parkinson, in his *' Organic Remains," has given a 
figure of a breast-piece from the same locality. The parts 
which compose it do not appear to have been completely 
joined by sutures, which might give rise to the opinion 
that they belonged to a marine tortoise, or a trionyx; but 
M. Cuvier prefers attributing them to a young emys, whose 
ossification had not been completely terminated. The simi- 
larity of the forms of the bones renders this notion extremely 

Some remains were found in the neighbourhood of Brussels, 
which were at first attributed to the subgenus of the marine 
tortoises. Even M. Cuvier himself was inclined to this idea, 
though he clearly considered them as specifically distinguished 
from any existing sea-tortoises. A close and more extensive 
examination, however, of the carapaces of the different sub- 

T 2 


genera, and of the sutures which unite their bones, fully 
convinced him that the remains in question belonged to the 
subgenus on which we are now writing. The description of a 
carapace found in the quarries of the village of Melsbroek will 
prove this. Its contour is oval, a little narrowed behind, but 
not more so than in the emys centrata. The ribs unite unin- 
terruptedly with the marginal pieces, as they do in all the 
emydes and land-tortoises. The curve of these ribs is pretty 
nearly the same as in the emys centrata. The vertebral plates 
are singularly narrow, more so than in any living emys, and 
even than in the fossil emys of Sheppey, which we have just 
spoken of. This peculiarity may be remarked in this speci- 
men, that the seventh and eighth ribs are each of them united 
to their opposites, between the eighth and ninth vertebral 
plate. This is a circumstance which also takes place in 
relation to the seventh pair in the emys of Sheppey, and which 
in the eighth pair, but only in the internal face, is found in the 
emys centrata, but is just the same in the emys expansa, as in 
the specimen of which we now speak. 

Comparing this carapace with that of any sea-tortoise of the 
same size, a specific character, very strongly marked, is in- 
stantly discovered. The fossil tortoise has the intervals of its 
ribs completely ossified, and no vacancy remains between them 
and the pieces of the edge, which are also much more broad 
in proportion than those of a sea- tortoise. In the testudo 
mydas, for instance, at the age when its carapace is no more 
than thirteen or fourteen inches in length, a vacancy remains 
between the ribs, not ossified, which almost equals one-half of 
the length of the rib. A part of this vacancy has been found 
remaining, even in an individual whose carapace was nearly 
four feet in length ; and it has been verified upon many of a 
size intermediate between the last two mentioned. All this 
serves to prove that the fossil tortoises of Melsbroek cannot 
belong to testudo mydas ; nor in fact to any marine tortoise, 
for the ossification does not take place more rapidly in any of 





them than in the species between which and the fossil emys in 
question we have instituted a comparison. 

It is said that many other emydes, or fresh-water tortoises, 
are found in diluvial formations with the bones of elephants, 
&c. ; but nothing satisfactory is ascertained concerning them. 

The remains of sea-tortoises, turtles, or Chelonian reptiles, 
are found in the neighbourhood of Maestricht, in celebrated 
quarries of a sort of coarse and sandy chalk in the mountain 
of St. Pierre. They are mixed with marine productions of 
many kinds, and with bones of a gigantic reptile of the 
Saurian order. Some incomplete portions of the upper testa, 
or carapace, were found here, which M. St. Fond, in his 
" History of the Mountain of St. Pierre," thus speaks of: — 

*' The upper part, towards the top, bears a sufficient re- 
semblance to a military cuirass, provided with a fore-arm, and 
indicates that the fore-paws were partly covered with scales 
adhering to the buckler. This constitutes a marked character, 
from which a distinct genus might be formed, as nothing of 
the kind occurs in any of the living species of tortoise." 

This opinion, however, of M. St. Fond is totally without foun- 
dation. There is nothing extraordinary in these pretended fore- 
arms, nor any thing which is not found in all the sea-tortoises, 
and those of the land and fresh-water, the trionyx alone 
excepted. This is easily proved by a comparison of these 
fossil carapaces with such as have been deprived of their 
scales, and reduced to merely their osseous frame- work, and 
not by a comparison with those which are still covered by 
their exterior envelope. What M. St. Fond calls the fore- 
arm, is only the commencement of the edge which surrounds 
the carapace, and which is usually formed by twenty-four 
osseous pieces : only two or three of these pieces remained in 
the specimen of which we have been speaking, the others 
having fallen. The emargination which separates this com- 
mencement of the edge from the disk of the carapace, is pro- 
duced by the unossified space which remains in the tortoises 


in general, but more especially in the sea-tortoises, to a greater 
or less- advanced age. 

Accordingly, it is impossible to believe that the test<E, or 
carapaces, represented in M. St. Fond's "History of the 
Mountain of St. Pierre," indicate a new genus. They exhibit 
no part which does not exist in the testce of all tortoises, or 
nothing which does not resemble the sea-tortoises in general. 

M. St. Fond was also desirous to estabhsh another genus, 
or at all events a new and unknown species, on some other 
remains, found in the same mountain, but apparently with as 
little foundation as in the instance just cited. This, however, 
was entirely established on mutilated specimens. 

At all events, it is quite certain that the tortoises of Maes- 
tricht bear the generic character of the sea-tortoises, or Chelo- 
nian reptiles ; and it is equally certain that they appertain to a 
species very different from all existing sea-tortoises. They 
have the ribs ossified scarcely for one-third of their length ; 
whereas any of the existing species of similar size would have 
them ossified almost to the end. It is, however, observable, 
that in these tortoises, as in others, the progress of ossification 
is in proportion to age. 

Near Glaris, in the mountain called Plattenberg, is a slate- 
quarry, with strata inchning to the south, which is very abun- 
dant in impressions of various kinds of fish, and in which some 
remains of tortoise appear to have been found. Those who 
endeavoured to determine the species took these for the re- 
mains of our common emys, or fresh-water tortoise (testudo 
Europaa.) Thus was it named by Andreae, who observes, that 
these animals formerly existed in the lakes of Switzerland ; 
just as if the formation of the slate-mountains could have any- 
thing in common with the present lakes of that country. 

There can be no doubt, as M. Cuvier observes, that the tor- 
toise in question belongs to the marine sub-genus. A decisive 
proof of this is the elongation, and more especially the unequal 
elongation, of the toes. In the fresh- water tortoises the toes 

Wfn^m^- (/"''Tl'M//- ^_yrt6r7lj/cr iL^^A(y? 


are of moderate length, and nearly equal. In the land-tor- 
toises they are nearly equal, and all remarkably short. But 
in the sea- tortoises they are strongly elongated, and those of 
the fore feet form a pointed fin, as they go on increasing from 
the thumb to the medius, and then decreasing. This is exactly 
to be observed in the tortoise of Glaris ; but it is too badly 
preserved to determine the species, or even to determine whe- 
ther or not it belong to any species now existing. 

In the neighbourhood of Aix, in Provence, some remains were 
found in 1779, which the Baron, with good reason, refers to 
the sub-genus of the land-tortoises. The figures given of them 
by M. Lamanon, in the " Journal de Physique," are, it is true, 
very imperfect ; but there can be no doubt of their having be- 
longed to the genus of tortoises, and the very convex figure of 
the carapace leads infallibly to the conclusion that they must 
be referred to the sub-genus we have mentioned. They were 
at first taken for human heads. Guettard iipagined them to 
be nautili. Lamanon was the first who recognized them to be 
what they really are. All the laminae and sutures did not ap- 
pear in the petrified tortoise, until what remained of the shell 
had been removed. The substance of the stone, while it was 
yet soft, had taken the place of the animal, and formed a 
mould, over which all the parts of the shell were clearly to be 
distinguished. Eight ribs remained on each side very much 
curved, and came to an end at the vertebral plates, which are 
arranged longitudinally, and separated by a tolerably deep fur- 
row. This is the description of M. Lamanon ; but the furrow 
was caused by the projection of the body being imprinted con- 
cavely on the mould. The writer in question adds a charac- 
ter, which, united to the great convexity of the carapace, 
proves that those remains must have belonged to the land- 
tortoise. This is, that the laminae are not of equal breadth 
throughout their whole length ; they go on growing more nar- 
row, and are emboxed into each other, so that after a base 
comes a summit, and so on. This is an exclusive charac- 


and tortoises, and still more from salamanders. M. Cuvier would 
also join with them the serpents of the family of anguis, for 
their osteology, especially that of the head, greatly resembles 
that of many lizards. 

As to the head, the principal characters of this family are as 
follow : — 

The four common occipital bones form the ring which sur- 
rounds the encephalon behind. The lateral occipital is not 
divided into two portions, as in the tortoise. In front of the 
occipitals are placed the sphenoid, underneath, and the os 
petrosum laterally. The parietal covers the whole as a roof or 

The sphenoid is visible throughout its entire lower face. The 
pterygoidean bones forming a simple continuation of the pala- 
tines, are prolonged as far as the internal edge of the ossa tym- 
pani, not touching the sphenoid, except on a lateral tuberosity 
of that bone, and not uniting together. The sphenoid is pro- 
longed in front, by a cartilaginous process, on which is raised 
the interorbital partition, and in this last are seen many points 
of ossification which belong to the ethmoid. The bone which 
is analogous to the petrosum, and which is not concealed by 
the tympanic box, extends externally, and forms between the 
sphenoid, and the occipitals, all the hinder lateral paries of the 
cranium. The lateral and anterior paries of the cranium, from 
the OS petrosum to the interorbital partition, is membranous, 
and contains only, on each side, a bone differently configurated 
according to the species, and which represents the temporal 
and orbital wings. 

An osseous stem arises from the upper edge of the ptery- 
goid, where it is articulated into a fosset, as far as the lateral 
edge of the parietal, where it attaches by a ligament. Some 
anatomists have imagined that this bone was analogous to the 
temporal wing, but it does not perform the functions of that 
bone. Others have named it the tympanic bone, for which 
there does not appear to be the slightest foundation. It cannot 



even be averred that it is comprised in the paries of the cra- 
nium; and this paries has also sometimes in the thickness of its 
membranes a point of ossification which truly represents the 
temporal wing. M. Cuvier, who regards it altogether as a new 
and peculiar bone, has given it the name of columella. Its ob- 
ject is to support the vault of the cranium, which is not sup- 
ported in front, because the orbital and temporal wings and the 
ethmoid are in a great measure membranous. 

The lateral occipital gives out a projecting part externally, to 
which are united by their extremity the mastoidean, which is 
much reduced, and the temporal bones. To this common 
junction of these three bones is suspended the tympanic bone, 
which descends vertically to serve as a pedicle to the lower jaw. 
This bone, for the most part, gives attachment only to the 
anterior edge of the tympanum ; and the rest of the contour of 
that membrane, as well as the hinder paries of the cavity, is 
cartilaginous, or simply membranous. 

The Eustachian tube is merely a wide communication from 
the cavity into the back part of the mouth, between the extre- 
mity of the pterygoidean and the sphenoid. In the fresh 
animal it corresponds to the inside of the mouth, near the 
articulation of the jaws ; and the communication is sometimes 
so open, that one can scarcely tell whether the auricular osselet 
is in the mouth, or in the pharynx. 

The cavity of the vestibulum is formed in common by the os 
petrosum, the lateral, and upper occipitals. The fenestra 
ovalis, where the auricular osselet is attached, is common to 
the 0.9 petrosum and the external occipital. Under it is a 
wider opening, pierced in the lateral occipital only, and at the 
bottom of which are two foramina ; one, anterior, which goes 
into the cranium ; the other, posterior, which is the fenestra 
rotunda, and opens into a fosset of the vestibulary cavity which 
represents the cochlea. 

A transverse bone unites the pterygoid to the jugal, and to 
the maxillary, as in the crocodile. 


The palatines have no palatine laminae, or, at least, these 
laminae are not sufficiently extended to unite ; and the hinder 
osseous nostrils are large holes in the anterior part of the vault 
of the palate, between the maxillaries^ the vomer, and the 

Such are the principal peculiarities of the headoflacerta, in 
general, and all that are necessary to be noticed here. 

This family is sub-divided into two tribes, in relation to the 
composition of the muzzle : that of the monitors of the an- 
cient continent, which have but a single nasal and two princi- 
pal frontal bones, and those American lizards, such as the 
bicarinafa, teguixin, ameiva, &c. of Linnaeus, and which are 
termed sauvegardes, by M. Cuvier, and other French natu- 
ralists. This sub-division embraces most of the other genera 
of Saurian reptiles, and the animals comprised therein have 
two nasal and one principal frontal bone. 

The first family comprises only the monitors of the old 
continent, with small scales under the belly, and on the tail. 
We shall consider, as an example of this, the great Monitor of 
the Nile, (^Lacerta Nilotica,) called Ouaran by the Arabs. 

The general conformation of the head is that of an 
elongated cone, depressed, blunt at the point, with the anterior 
frontal and parietal region plane. The orbits are round, and 
pretty nearly in the middle of each side. The external osseous 
nostrils rise almost to the elevation of the orbits. 

There is but one inter-maxillary widened in front, where it 
has four teeth on each side, and mounting by a long com- 
pressed apophysis as far as towards the middle of the nostrils, 
where it unites to what represents the nasal bone. This is 
also equally uneven, widening in the top, and there bifurcating 
to unite itself to the two frontals. These occupy their usual 
space between the orbits, and have, each of them, underneath, 
an orbital lamina, which approaches and unites to its cor- 
responding one, to complete the canal of the olfactory nerves. 
The maxillaries embrace in front, by a depressed part, the 



widened part of the inter-maxillary, under which, and behind 
the teeth, is a projecting apophysis ; and the bone then proceeds 
to unite itself by a short process, which is furcated and marked 
with a groove, to the vomerian bones, which occupy the middle 
of the palate. 

The maxillaries, as usual, form the edges of the palate, 
leaving on each side between themselves, the vomer, and pala- 
tines, a wide hinder nostril, which, consequently, opens into the 
palate. The maxillaries, also, form the sides of the muzzle or 
the cheeks, and terminate by widening towards the orbit, from 
which they are separated by the anterior frontal, the lachrymal, 
and the jugal bones. 

The anterior frontal has, as usual, a frontal and orbital 
part, which serves as a hinder partition to the nasal cavity. 

The lachrymal is partly on the cheek, and partly in the 
orbit. It has a projecting point at the edge of the orbit, a 
lachrymal foramen within, and leaves another hole tolerably 
large between it and the anterior frontal. 

The jugal touches on the lachrymal, the palatine, and the 
transverse bones. It is an arched and pointed stilett which 
does not reach the posterior frontal, nor the temporal bones, 
so that the orbit remains incomplete. No other example 
of this is found among the Saurians except in the genus of 

There is a particular bone which has nothing analogous in 
other genera, and which M. Cuvier terms the superciliary bone. It 
is articulated by a wide portion to the orbital edge of the anterior 
frontal, and directs behind a pointed apophysis, which protects 
the upper part of the eye. This is also found in birds. The 
line of the union of the frontals with the parietals is nearly 
straight. On the two extremities of this line the posterior 
frontals are articulated, one half on the principal frontal, and 
one half on the parietal. Each of them presents an orbital 
apophysis, and one behind, which unites obliquely to the tem- 
poral bone to form the zygomatic arch. 


This last is narrow, and a little crooked towards the summit. 
It is chiefly formed by a temporal of similar configuration, 
which is closely united by its posterior extremity to the mas- 
toid. The mastoid is equally narrow and crooked, and is simi- 
larly fastened on the lateral point of the parietal. 

The parietal is in the form of a buckler, widened in front, 
hollowed on the sides of the two temporal fossae, furcated be- 
hind, and giving out there two long points, which, with the 
temporal and jugal, and a salient apophysis of the lateral occi- 
pital, proceed to give a point of suspension to the tympanic 

A foramen should be remarked which is naturally pierced 
in the parietal bone, very nearly towards the centre, and which 
is again found in many of the Saurian reptiles, and even in 
the ichthyosaurus. 

In the bifurcation of the parietal behind is placed the upper 
occipital, which attaches to the emargination of the parietal 
only by a round ligament, and not by a suture. The ossa 
petrosa are tolerably extended, and cover, both at top and in 
front, the vacancy which remains on each side between the 
occipitals and the sphenoid. 

Besides the vacant space which descends into the temporal 
fossa, between the parietal, the posterior frontal, and the tem- 
poral, there is another which penetrates behind, between the 
point of the parietal, and the occipitals. These are great 
spaces which correspond to the foramina which exist in the 
crocodiles, but which are much smaller, because there the bones 
are less dilated. 

Th& fenestra ovalis is, as usual, common to the os petrosum 
and to the lateral occipital. 

The fenestra rotunda is pierced in a fossa of the lateral oc- 
cipital. This last bone proceeds laterally, having the os 
petrosum before it to unite by its external extremity to the 
lower extremity of the mastoid, on the outside of which also 
terminates that of the temporal. 


There is found in this place, between the occipital and the 
mastoid, and above the tympanic bone, a very small osseous 
piece distinct from all the others, and which is a sort of epi- 
physis, or inter-articulary bone for the os tympani. This last, 
suspended to a pedicle, to which, as we have already seen, five 
bones contribute, is prismatic, almost straight, and slightly hol- 
lowed into a semi-canal at its external face. It only supplies 
the anterior paries of the cavity. The tympanum behind is 
extended only on membranous parts, and when the throat is 
opened and the pterygoidean muscles a little removed, the tym- 
panic cavity appears as a simple hollowing in the roof of the 

The floor of the cranium on the sphenoid and basilary bones 
is concave ; the foss of the pituitary gland is very large, and se- 
parated almost horizontally from that of the cerebrum by a 
projecting lamina of the sphenoid. 

The palatines are short, concave in front to conduct to the 
back nostrils, uniting to the vomer, the anterior frontals, the 
maxillaries, the transverse, and pterygoidean bones ; not leav- 
ing there a large empty space, but forming, as usual, a part of 
the floor of the orbit. They are, each of them, pieced with a 
small hole analogous to the pterygo-palatine. 

The palatines are continued by the pterygoidean bones. 
These remaining considerably separated from each other, and 
becoming vertical, are supported in passing, on the lateral apo- 
physis of the sphenoid, and proceed to their termination in a 
point near the internal lower edge of the tympanic bone. They 
present on their external side an apophysis for their articulation 
with the transverse bone, which is short and broad, and unites 
the pterygoid to the palatine, the maxillary and the jugal on 
each side, leaving between itself the pterygoid, and the palatine, 
an oval foramen tolerably large, though much less so in propor- 
tion than in the crocodile. 

That particular, straight, and narrow bone already men- 
tioned, called the columella^ is articulated on the pterygoidean 


bone, in a fosset for the purpose. Its other extremity unites 
to the anterior extremity of the junction of the parietal and the 
OS petrosum. It is nearly parallel to its correspondent bone, 
and it is between them both that the membranous partitions, 
which close the cranium in front, commence to approach each 
other and be confounded in the partition, equally membranous, 
which separates the two orbits. The bottom of this partition 
is supported by the prolongation of the anterior and middle 
apophysis of the sphenoid, which diminishing in thickness and 
consistence in front, finishes by attaching itself between the 
two vomeres. 

In the anterior membranous partitions of the cranium is an 
osseous branch, at first, crescent-formed, to surround the pos- 
terior or external edge of the optic foramen, and then giving 
out a point in front and one above, which extend themselves in 
the membrane and assist to support it. This is the sole re- 
presentative of the orbital and temporal wings. 

The vomeres form the middle of the under part of the palate, 
going from the intermaxillary bone to the palatines, and hol- 
lowed each of them in front into a small canal. 

All the anterior and lower part of each great osseous nostril 
is occupied by a bone formed like a spoon, which seen from 
above is concave behind, and convex in front, and which mani- 
festly corresponds to the lower cornet of the nose. It proceeds 
in all this part from the vomer to the maxillary, leaving under- 
neath, in front, between the maxillary and the vomer, a hole 
which penetrates into its convex part. 

A little more in front, on each side, is an incisive foramen 
between the maxillary and intermaxillary bones. 

Besides its eight intermaxillary teeth, this monitor has usu- 
ally eleven teeth in each maxillary bone, and as many on each 
side of the lower jaw. The anterior are conical and pointed, 
the hinder blunt. 

With the exception of some trivial differences of proportion, 
such is the structure of all the monitors. The principal of 


such differences consist in the number and form of the teeth, 
which in many species are trenchant, and the number in the 
intermaxillary unequal. 

The Lacerta teguixin, or American safeguard, is taken by 
M. Cuvier as the type of the second family. 

Compared with the monitor of the Nile, the head is shorter 
and less depressed. The muzzle is a little more raised. The 
intermaxillary is also unequal ; but its nasal apophysis is much 
shorter^ and instead of a single nasal, there are two large pe- 
culiar bones of the nose which cover the greatest part of the 
nasal cavity, so that the external osseous nostrils are small and 
altogether towards the fore part of the muzzle. On the con- 
trary, the principal frontal is single. The point of the edge of 
the orbit appertains to the anterior frontal, and not to the 
lachrymal, which is very narrow, and even not pierced. The 
single lachrymal foramen is between the two bones, and below 
it is seen a pterygopalatine foramen, or a posterior suborbital 
one, formed between the anterior frontal, the palatine, the max- 
illary, and the lachrymal. 

There is no foramen in the parietal. 

The jugal rejoins the posterior frontal and closes the frame- 
work of the orbit. The descending laminae of the principal 
frontal project very little. There is no suborbital ; but what 
is very remarkable, the posterior frontal is divided by an ob- 
lique suture into two bones, oneof which attaches only to the 
frontal and parietal, the other to the jugal and temporal. 

Underneath, the intermaxillary, instead of forming a pro 
cess behind, suffers an emargination there, and into this emar- 
gination enter the points of the maxillaries and the vomeres. 
The incisive foramina are extremely small. 

The lower cornets of the nose are ossified as in the Ouaran, 
but they are not seen so easily in the head when entire, because 
they are covered by the proper bones of the nose. But the 
vomeres are shorter, wider, and not hollowed. The palatines 
advance more, which renders the back nostrils more narrow. 



They are, however, continued under the palatines in a con- 
cavity of their surface. These two bones are less separated 
from each other. 

In the pterygoidean bones, that part which is between the 
apophysis of the sphenoid and the tympanic bone is hollowed 
into a canal, deeper at its lower or internal face. The tym- 
panic bone is widened at the summit, and slightly concave 

The basilary has on each side a descending tubercle, which 
is wanting in the ouaran. The lamina which separates the 
pituitary foss from that of the cerebrum is less prominent. 

The osselets, representing the alae temporales^ are in the 
form of a Y, the two upper branches of which end at the 
frontal and parietal, and the inferior at the sphenoid, at the 
place where it comes forward in the form of a crest, or ridge, 
to serve as a basis to the interorbital partition. 

In this same partition are also certain ossified parts, repre- 
senting the orbital wing, and distributed so as to leave a 
foramen common to this interorbital partition, and to that of 
the cerebrum. Into this foramen pass the optic nerves, before 
the two temporal wings of which we have spoken. Behind 
them, but in front of the point opposite to which is the colu^ 
mella, pass the nerves of the third, fourth, and sixth pair, and 
the nerve of Willis ; and behind this columella, into an emar- 
gination of the os petrosum, passes the rest of the fifth pair. 
Thus this emarginated division corresponds with the fenestra 
rotunda and the fenestra ovalis. 

The Dracaena of Lacepede, not Linnaeus, resembles almost 
in every thing the last-mentioned species. The resemblance 
also is still stronger in the bicarinata and the ameiva. 

The lizards, properly so called, such as the lacerta agilisy 
independently of some details of forms and proportions, have 
all the characters of the last, except what follow : — The 
principal frontal is longitudinally divided into two bones. 
The anterior frontal descends but little into the orbit, where 


the lachrymal occupies much more space. The posterior 
frontal is united to the parietal ; a wide suborbital, divided 
into many pieces, is united to the anterior frontal, the prin- 
cipal, and the posterior frontals. The pterygoidean bones 
have each a range of small teeth near their internal edge, 
almost midway of their length. There is a small foramen in 
the middle of the parietal. 

In the stellio uromastix (Merrem.), of which there are two 
species, the head is depressed and widened externally, so as 
to produce a swelled appearance of the cheeks from the size 
of the jugal bones. The frontal is very narrow; the nasal 
bones small and short; the external nostrils and the orbits 
very large ; the hinder branches of the parietal very long. 
When this bone joins the frontal, it is emarginated by a wide 
foramen, closed by a simple m-embrane. The anterior and 
posterior frontals are very small ; the palatines broad and 
short. There are no teeth in the intermaxillary bone, the 
edge of which projects between the maxillary teeth. 

In the common Stelliones the frontal is shorter; orbits 
and nostrils not so large. There are two teeth in the inter- 
maxillary, and the second of the maxillary teeth is a sort of 

In the iguanas the muzzle is swelled and convex; the 
frontal is flat ; the anterior frontal is broad upon the cheek, 
and has a tubercle in front of the orbit. The posterior frontal 
is divided into two parts. The internal nostrils are very long, 
and the palatines very wide. 

The geckos differ much from the other lizards, by the 
extreme smallness of the osseous parts of the jugal and tem- 
poral, and the longitudinal division of the parietal into two 
bones. The muzzle varies in elongation and depression, ac- 
cording to the species. The principal frontal is broad, and 
slightly concave. The orbit is large, round, and incomplete 
on the side of the temple. A great part of the hinder edge of 
the orbit is visible only by a ligament, in consequence of the 

U 2 


smallness of thejugal. The pterygo'idean bones, greatly sepa- 
rated from each other, have no teeth. 

The head of the cameleon is very singularly formed, still its 
composition presents sufficient analogy to that of other lizards. 
The casque of the occiput is supported by three ridges, one of 
which appertains to the parietal, and the two others to the 
temporal bones. In fact, it is that the parietal is very narrow, 
and instead of sending branches to the temporal, it rises into a 
point like a sabre, and the temporals also send similarly pointed 
ridges or crests, which unite their points to that of the parietal. 
There is but one principal frontal, bordered on each side by 
the anterior and posterior frontals, above the orbit, the frame 
of which cavity they unite together to form, and also to form 
the sort of denticulated crest which the cameleon has in this 
part. The rest of the bony orbit is formed by the lachrymal 
and jugal, which last unites to the posterior frontal and 
temporal bones. The muzzle is formed by the upper maxil- 
laries, between which is a very small intermaxillary. 

The most extraordinary part of this arrangement is, that the 
external nostrils are pierced in the maxillary bone, one on each 
side, whose edge is somewhat completed above by the anterior 
frontal. Still, on the muzzle, in the skeleton, are two fora- 
mina, covered externally by the skin, and between which are 
two very small nasal bones. The tympanic bone is cylindrical, 
strait, and without concavity. Though the cameleon has no 
external tympanum, there is, however, a tympanic cavity 
tolerably large, closed on every side by muscles or bones, and 
on the side of the mouth by a membrane which doubles that 
of the palate, and is extended between the basilary and the 
hinder point of the pterygoid. In this place, on each side, 
is a narrow hole, which holds the place of the Eustachian tube. 

The lower jaw of lizards in general is composed of six 
bones, like that of the crocodile and tortoise, but somewhat 
differently disposed, and producing a form a little different. 
This is principally occasioned by the coronoid apophysis being 


very projecting and more forward, the lower angle of the jaw 
being more forward^ and the dentary part shorter in proportion. 
It is not necessary here to enter into a detailed description of 
these six bones, nor of their variations, and those of the jaw 
in the different subgenera. 

But the teeth cannot be passed over without notice. They 
are not in alveoli, like those of the crocodiles, and those which 
should replace them are not produced in their cavities. The 
gelatinous nuts of the teeth adhere to the internal face of the 
dentary bone, without having any osseous partitions between 
them, and sometimes without being protected on the internal 
side by a lamina of this bone. Their bases are therefore 
separated from the cavity of the mouth only by the gum. 
This basis is not divided into roots ; but when the tooth has 
arrived to its full growth, the same phenomenon occurs as in 
the fish. The gelatinous nut becomes ossified. It unites 
intimately, on one side, to the boneof the jaw, contracting, on 
the other, a close adherence with the tooth which it has ex- 
uded. The tooth then appears as a prominence, an apo- 
physis, in fact, of the jaw, only that it is covered with enamel; 
but its base is naked and purely osseous, and around this base 
are seen striae, and little pores, through which the vessels have 
penetrated, or are still penetrating, into its interior cavity, and 
which also mark the place where the rupture will be made 
when this tooth shall yield its place. 

The new teeth spring, not in the cavity of the old, and pass- 
ing through them, as in the crocodiles, but near the internal face 
of their basis, or, in certain species, in the thickness of the 
bone, above or below this basis, according to the jaw. In 
this last case a cavity is formed in the bone, which lodges, 
for a certain time, the pulpy nut and the cap which springs 
above it. This cavity opens by degrees to the internal face 
of the dentary bone. In the other way the pulpy nut is 
simply developed under the gum ; but in proportion as the 
dentary cap grows, it often forms for itself a notch in the base 


of the nearest tooth in place, where it is partly enclosed. The 
new tooth is then certainly in the old, but not entirely en- 
veloped by it. 

In whichever way the new tooth comes, the time arrives when 
its growth completely displaces the old one. It produces on its 
ossified base, a sort of necrosis, or dry gangrene, which breaks 
its adherence to the jaw, and makes it fall. This is not a 
spontaneous rupture like that of the old antlers of stags, which 
fall before the new ones have pushed forth. The agency of the 
new tooth always goes for something. There can, therefore, 
be no difficulty in distinguishing the teeth of lizards from those 
of crocodiles, nor even in distinguishing, to a certain degree, 
the teeth of one genus of lizards from those of another. 

In the monitors there is no internal alveolar edge, and the 
new teeth grow in the thick part of the gum, between the bases 
of the teeth in place, or at the internal face of their bases. They 
are easily discovered by detaching the gum. These teeth are 
conical. In the majority of species they are moreover pointed, 
compressed laterally, and a little hooked. The aquatic monitor 
of Egypt, and one or two other African species, have only the 
hinder teeth in straight obtuse cones, or even entirely rounded 
and blunted at the top. The species with trenchant teeth have 
the edge very finely crenulated, but the crenulations are some- 
times visible only with a convex lens. These teeth are not 
very numerous, not more than a dozen or fifteen on each side, 
and none in the palate. Neither have the teguixin, ameiva, 
draccena, and others of this subgenus peculiar to America, any 
teeth in the palate. Many others also want these palatine 

The subgenera which have these teeth are the lizards proper, 
the iguanas, the polychrus, the anolis, and many skinks. There 
are other variations respecting the form of the teeth in lizards, 
into which it is impossible, in a sketch of this kind, to enter 

We have already seen that the hyo'id bone is sim{)le in the 


crocodiles. In different tortoises it varies in formation. In 
the lizards it presents some analogies with that of birds, but its 
composition is more complex. To enter, however, into all its 
variations in this great family is not necessary here. It will be 
sufficient to observe, that it has, in general, a simple body^ and 
two pair of cornua, and sometimes even a third. From the 
body in front is a process like a thin stem, which is more or 
less prolonged in a cartilage^ which penetrates into the tongue. 
The anterior cornua are variously folded, and the posterior 
variously directed, according to the species. Those of the third 
pair are not very often found, and when they do exist may be 
considered rather as posterior processes of the body of the 
bone, than particular cornua. 

We must now give some attention to the vertebrae and ribs 
of the lizards, as they are of such importance in the determi- 
nation of the fossil remains of this immense family. 

The atlas of the monitor is a ring composed of three pieces ; 
two upper ones emarginated, in front and back for the nerves, 
and united to each other at the dorsal part, and one lower 

The piece of the axis analogous to the odontoi's penetrates 
into the ring of the atlas, and fills nearly half its breadth, 
leaving, however, in front, a concavity for the condyle of the 
head. A triangular piece, underneath, on the junction of the 
atlas, the odontoid, and the axis, forms a sort of pointed crotchet 
directed backwards. 

The axis is compressed, and its annular part above is formed 
like a sharp longitudinal crest. Its anterior articulary facets 
are turned outwards, the posterior downwards. The body is 
terminated in a transverse convexity, of the form of a kidney. 
At each of its lateral faces is a small crest, not projecting much, 
with a small point towards the third part of its front. Under- 
neath, is a crest, under the lower part of the bone, which 
widens behind. 

The succeeding five vertebrae resemble the axis, but have no 


odontoid process ; their anterior face has a concavity propor- 
tioned to the convexity of the preceding vertebrae, with some 
other small variations. 

The dorsal, after the second, have always a square dorsal 
crest, an anterior face concave, and a posterior convex, both 
kidney- formed, and horizontal articular apophyses, the lower 
facing downwards, the anterior one upwards. On each side, 
under the anterior, the whole transverse apophysis consists in a 
tubercle oval-formed, and vertically directed to support the rib. 

Of these vertebrae there are twenty-two, and no lumbar, 
though there are twenty-seven pairs of ribs, including the five 
cervical, but the first and last are very small. The total ab- 
sence of lumbar vertebrae seems to be a general rule in this 
family. There are but two sacral vertebrae in the monitor. 
The caudal vertebrae after the eighth are very numerous, being 
sixty-six, eighty, and upwards. They are easily recognized by 
their spinous and transverse apophyses being long and narrow, 
and their articulary apophyses almost vertical. 

The differences which characterize the vertebrae of the various 
subgenera consist chiefly in the respective length and bulk of 
their bodies, and the respective length and breadth of their 

The ribs of lizards are slender and round, and the anterior 
ones alone have the costal head a little bulky and compressed. 

A remark worthy of being made here is, that a great number 
of the caudal vertebrae of the lizards proper are divided verti- 
cally, in the middle, into two portions, which are separated very 
easily, even more easily than any two distinct vertebrae at the 
place of their articulation, because this articulation is compli- 
cated, formed by many apophyses, and strengthened by liga- 
ments, while in the other case a separation is prevented only 
by the periosteum and the surrounding tendons. This is, pro- 
bably, the cause that the tails of lizards are so easily broken. 
The tail will grow again after it has been broken, but neither 
its skeleton nor teguments continue of the same quality. The 


scales of the skin are generally small, without crests, and with- 
out spines, though they possessed them in the former tail ; and 
internally, instead of the numerous vertebrae, with all their 
apparatus of apophyses and ligaments, there is nothing but a 
long cartilaginous cord, all of a piece, and exhibiting only 
numerous annular wrinkles of no great projection. 

The sternum of lizards forms with the shoulder a sort of cui- 
rass for the protection of the heart and large vessels. It is more 
complicated than in the crocodiles, and on a different plan from 
that of the tortoises. It consists essentially in a long, narrow, 
depressed bone, which gives out in front two branches directed 
on each side, and between which its point sometimes passes, 
and proceeds more in front under the neck. This bone, from 
its hinder part, penetrates into a cartilaginous lamina, of a 
rhomboidal form, which has two sides in front, and two behind, 
and often exhibits traces of a longitudinal division into two 

Its anterior sides are continued with the edges of the anterior 
part of the bone, but departing a little to the right and left. 
They are sometimes ossified, particularly their edge, which 
has a groove, supporting, like a mortise, the sternal edge of 
the clavicular bone. The hinder sides of the rhomboidal car- 
tilage serve for the insertion of the false ribs. Hitherto there 
is little difference between the conformation of this sternum 
and that of the crocodiles, except in the anterior branches of 
the oblong bone, which give it the figure of a T, of an arrow, 
or a cross, according to the species. 

A more considerable difference, however, consists in the 
development of the coracoi'd bone, and in the constant pre- 
sence of a clavicle of greater or less size. The coracoid fur- 
nishes nearly one half of the glenoid foss. But its principal 
peculiarity is giving out one or two apophyses to support a 
large cartilaginous arch, which passes over the narrow bone in 
front of the sternum, and crosses with that of the coracoid on 
the other side. This singular crossing, which is found even 


down to the lowest of the batracian reptiles, is generally the 
cartilage of the right side, passing over that of the left. 

There is always a small hole for the vessels pierced in the 
neck of the bone, between its apophyses and the glenoid facet. 

The cartilaginous semi-circle just mentioned, acquires hard- 
ness and consistence with age, but not so much as the other 
bones. It is hardened by the accumulation of small calcare- 
ous grains, like the bones of chondropterygian fishes. 

The omoplate forms the other portion of the glenoid facet. 
In the midst, or at about one-third of its length, the osseous part 
suddenly terminates, and is continued by a cartilaginous por- 
tion. This frequently becomes hardened, and then the omo- 
plate is divided constantly into two bones. 

The clavicle rests on one side against the slender bone of the 
sternum, or its lateral branch, and often it touches the opposite 
clavicle. On the other side it rests against the anterior edge 
of the omoplate, either on its osseous or its cartilaginous por- 
tion, which often puts forth a tubercle, or little crest, to re- 
ceive it. Sometimes an apophysis proceeds from the osseous 
omoplate which sustains the body of the clavicle, and has 
some slight resemblance to an acromion, which, however, is 
better represented by the tubercle of the cartilaginous part. 

This is the general structure of these parts in all lizards. 
The differences in the various sub-genera are of small im- 

The pelvis of the lizards is composed of three bones, which, 
as in viviparous quadrupeds, concur to the formation of the 
cotyloid cavity. The ilium takes the upper part ; the pubis 
and ischium unite each to its opposite in the lower middle line, 
but the pubis does not join the ischium, and the two ovalary 
foramina are separated only by a ligament. There is a fora- 
men in the neck of the pubis, of tolerable size, and a pointed 
process from its anterior edge, which curves below and ex- 

The humerus has great analogies of form with that of the 


birds, but is easily distinguished from it by not being hollow, 
or pierced with holes for the admission of air. 

The cubitus is compressed, and trenchant on its radial edge. 
Its olecranon projects but little. 

The radius is slender ; the femur much resembles that of the 
crocodile. The rotula is very small, and often scarcely visible. 

The leg is always composed of two bones, of which the tibia 
is the most bulky, and the peroneum or fibula is flatted and 
widened in the lower part, and united to the tarsus by a narrow 

The carpus is composed of nine bones, like that of tortoises, 
and its composition will also bear a comparison with that of the 
simise. The tarsus has but four bones, like that of the crocodile. 

The first four metatarsians are slender, and nearly straight. 
There are two phalanges to the thumb, three to the second 
toe, four to the third, and five to the fourth. The latter is the 
longest toe, and gives the peculiarly elongated and unequal 
form characteristic of this family. The unguical phalanges 
of all the toes are trenchant, hooked, and pointed. 

In the cameleon, the toes are grouped in an inverse manner. 
The thumb and first toe are together, and directed inwards ; 
the three others are together^ and directed outwards. Aristotle 
has remarked this singular conformation. 

Having thus prepared ourselves for the investigation, we 
now proceed to the remains of 

Fossil Saurians. 

The Saurians, indeed, constitute in the ^' Animal Kingdom " 
an entire order of the class reptiha, and include the crocodiles 
and gavials. The rest of the order consists of the lizards which 
we have been now describing, and which, in the Regne animal, 
are divided into different families. But it is more convenient 
to consider their fossil remains under this general title ; and we 
have, therefore, adopted M. Cuvier's arrangement in the 


** Ossemens Fossiles" here, as well as in the greater part of 
this compilation. 

The first we shall treat of are the Monitors, which are 
found in the pyritous schists of Thuringia and other countries 
of Germany. 

In almost all the parts of Thuringia and Voigtland, and in 
the bordering portions of Hesse, as far even as into Franconia 
and Bavaria, a bed of marly and bituminous schist predomi- 
nates, which M. Werner regards as the lowest of what he 
names the first formation of the secondary limestone, and 
which is found for the most part strown with grains of cop- 
pery pyrites, containing silver. It is worked in many places 
for these two metals, though it does not produce them in any- 
thing like abundance. It is of no great depth, rarely more 
than two feet, and sometimes not above an inch or two in 
thickness. It rests upon a red sandstone, which contains pit- 
coal in divers places. Above the coppery slate are calcareous 
strata, belonging to what geologists term the Alpine limestone, 
containing the most ancient shells and zoophytes, such as 
belemnites, &c. Above this is gypsum, accompanied with 
mineral salt, which, in its turn, is surmounted by sandstone, 
which is covered by a second sort of gypsum without salt, and 
over it is another limestone analogous to that of Jura. In 
some strata of the latter are those famous caverns, containing 
the bones of bears, and other carnivora, mentioned in the 
earlier part of this account of fossil remains. Thus we find 
that this formation of bituminous schist is among the most 
ancient of those which contain the debris of organized bodies. 

It is from these slates that an immense number of fossil fish 
have been derived, which has rendered the districts of Mans- 
field, of Eisleben, of Ilraenau, and other places of Thuringia 
and Voigtland, so celebrated among the describers and collec- 
tors of petrifactions. The general opinion is, that these fish 
belonged to the fresh water, an opinion further corroborated 
by the remains of oviparous quadrupeds of which we are about 


to speak, and which, though not crocodiles, as was at first 
supposed, were animals whose genus invariably frequents 
marshes and the banks of rivers. Thus, again, we find pro- 
ductions of the fresh water covered by immense marine pro- 
ductions of the most ancient date ; an added proof, if any more 
were wanting, that the sea has repeatedly covered and again 
left dry the continents of our part of the globe, during an 
astounding series of innumerable ages. 

From the remains in question, and their representations, 
sufficient ground has been afforded to determine the genera, 
and to characterize, to a certain point, even the species which 
they exhibit. 

Four specimens, found in these strata and engraved in 
difierent works, not necessary to mention here, enabled the 
Baron to determine that they had belonged to animals of the 
same species, judging from the resemblance of size and con- 
formation in all the common parts, particularly the spine, the 
tail, and part of the limbs. They may be all employed to 
reconstruct a complete individual, by attaching to the common 
trunk the isolated parts in each specimen. In one are the 
head, the fore- feet, and almost the entire of the tail. The 
latter is also found in another, with one hind and two com- 
plete fore extremities, and a good part of the trunk. The 
ribs, almost the entire tail, the two hinder extremities very 
complete, and many parts of the fore ones, were engraved in 
a treatise of the celebrated Count Swedenborg ; and in the 
last specimen from which an engraving was taken, is an im- 
pression of a portion of the pelvis. These different parts are 
more than sufficient to throw light upon the nature of the 

The form of its head, its teeth all sharp, the size of the 
vertebrae of the tail, sufficiently prove that it was an oviparous 
quadruped, without the assistance of the hinder limbs, which 
confirm it still more. 

The head is not without some resemblance to that of a 


crocodile, though not to that of the subgenus gavial, for its 
muzzle is very short. But its teeth prove that it could not 
have belonged to the genus at all. Were it a crocodile, it 
would have at least fifteen teeth in each side in the lower jaw, 
and seventeen or eighteen in the upper, which would continue 
as far as under the middle of the orbit. It has but eleven, 
which conclude under the anterior angle of the orbit. This is 
the character of one of those numerous species which have 
been confounded together by Linnseus, under the name of 
lacerta monitor. 

Every other character confirms this. The hind-feet, which 
are in admirable preservation in the impression of Sweden- 
borg, have five very unequal toes, of which the fourth is the 
longest; and the respective numbers of their articulations, 
beginning with the thumb, and reckoning the bones of the 
metacarpus, will stand thus : 3, 4, 5, 6, 4. The same pro- 
portions and the same number of articulations were in another 

This number, and this proportion of the toes, and this 
number of the articulations of each toe, are exactly the same 
as in the monitors, the common lizards, and the iguanas, but by 
no means the same as in the crocodiles, which have only four 
toes on the hind-feet, little differing in length, and whose arti- 
culations will stand thus : 3, 4, 5, 4. The opinion of Sweden- 
borg, that this animal was an ape, or a seal, needs no refutation 
in the present state of geology and comparative anatomy. 

In the fore-feet are to be distinguished four toes, nearly 
equal. The crocodiles have five toes, but their little toe is 
sensibly less in proportion. 

The length of this animal appears to have been about 
three feet, which is the usual size, pretty nearly, of the moni- 
tors of the most common species. 

The comparison holds good in the bones of the thighs, 
arms, legs, and fore-arms. The vertebrae of the tail, with 
the high and narrow spinous apophyses, are also exceedingly 


like those of the monitors. In fact, the Baron observed but 
one or two specific differences. The first was, that the spinous 
apophyses of the dorsal vertebrae are much more raised than 
in the existing monitors, whose skeletons he examined, being 
almost equal to those of the tail ; the other, that the leg was 
a little longer in proportion to the thigh and foot. But these 
differences can in nowise aflfect the just and rigorous determi- 
nation of the genus. 

We have now to speak of the great and most celebrated 
fossil Saurian, discovered in the quarries of Maestricht, and 
which has given rise to many controversies, having been 
sometimes taken for a crocodile, sometimes for a saurian of 
some other genus, and even sometimes for one of the cetacea, 
or of the fish. 

It would appear that its bones have as yet been discovered 
only in a confined district, in the hills, by which the western 
side of the valley of the Meuse is bounded, in the environs of 
Maestricht, and principally in that on which Fort St. Pierre 
stands, and which forms a sort of cape between the Meuse 
and the Jaar. 

The formation in which they were found is a soft, crumbly, 
calcareous stone, many parts of which are easily reduced to 
powder. Other portions are sufficiently hard for the purposes 
of building ; and the quarries are now very much extended. 
Those of Fort St. Pierre are above twenty-five feet in height. 
The massive limestone above them has been found to be two 
hundred and eleven feet, and two hundred and thirteen feet 
has been dug down without any other stone being found. All 
is of the same character, with the exception of about sixteen 
feet of vegetable mould, which covers the summit of the hill. 

This massive limestone is then at least four hundred and 
forty-nine feet in thickness. Lumps of silex have been found 
in many parts of it. What proves that it belongs to the 
chalky formation is, that the stone changes by degrees into a 
true chalk, as one retraces a few leagues the valley of the 


Mense. It contains the same fossils as are found in the chalk 
of the environs of Paris, such as teeth of squali, gryphites, 
echinites, belemnites, and ammonites. These shells are found 
with the bones in the lower parts of the mass, which are 
also the most crumbly. The upper parts are harder, and 
also contain more madrepores, many of which are changed 
into silex. 

The multiplied productions of the sea with which this stone 
is filled are generally in good preservation, although seldom 
petrified : most of them have lost only a part of their animal 
substance. The most voluminous of all these objects, and 
which, by their most extraordinary form, must have chiefly 
attracted the attention both of the workmen and the curious, 
are assuredly the bones of the animal which we have now to 
notice. The quarries excavated under Fort St. Pierre fur- 
nished the greater number of these interesting objects ; but 
they have also been found in all the other hills of the chain 
we have mentioned. 

These remains appear to have excited no attention before 
the year 1776, when an officer named Drouin began to make 
a collection of them, which afterwards passed to the museum 
at Haarlem. He was followed by Hoffman, a surgeon of the 
garrison, and afterwards by Peter Camper, who transferred 
some of his specimens to the British Museum. 

It was the opinion of Peter Camper, that these were the 
bones of some cetaceous animal, which opinion was followed 
by M. Van Marum, who described the specimens in the 
Haarlem Museum. 

M. Faujas St. Fond, in his ** Natural History of the Moun- 
tain of St. Pierre," will have it that the bones in question 
belonged to a crocodile. 

M. Adrien Camper, however, son of the illustrious anato- 
mist just mentioned, was convinced, on examination of the 
pieces left by his father, that they neither belonged to a cetaceous 
animal, nor a fish, nor a crocodile, but to a peculiar genus of 


Saurian reptiles^ exhibiting some relations to the monitors, 
and some to the iguanas. To this opinion M. Cuvier accedes, 
— first refuting the arguments opposed to himself and M. 
Adrien Camper. We must follow him a little in his reason- 
ings here, as they are absolutely necessary to the understand- 
ing of the osteological peculiarities of the animal in question, 

Peter Camper's arguments in favour of these remains being 
cetaceous are briefly these. All the objects which accompany 
the bones of Maestricht are marine, and not fluviatile. The 
bones are polished, and not rough. The lower jaw has exter- 
nally many foramina for the issue of the nerves, like that of 
the dolphins and cachalots. The root of the teeth is solid, and 
not hollow. There are teeth in the palate, which are seen in 
many fishes, but not in the crocodile. The vertebrae have no 
suture which separates their annular part from their body, as 
there always is in the crocodile. There are certain differ- 
ences between the fossil ribs and phalanges, and those of the 

These reasons, except the first, which is of no great value, 
prove most assuredly in a demonstrative manner that the ani- 
mal was no crocodile, but none of them prove it to belong to 
the cetacea rather than to the reptiles. Many reptiles, and 
notoriously the monitors and iguanas, have smooth bones, 
numerous foramina in the lower jaw, the root of the teeth 
osseous and solid, and vertebrae without suture. 

Moreover, the presence of teeth in the palate would of itself 
prove that this animal was neither cetaceous, nor a crocodile, 
for neither one nor the other have teeth in the palate ; but 
Camper, in common with all of his day, confounded the 
cetacea and fishes together, many of which last have certainly 
this character. The genus Hyperoodon, of M. de Lacepede, 
cannot be opposed to this opinion, for the Baron has clearly 
proved that the supposed teeth in the palate of this animal 
are nothing but cartilaginous or corneous points, adhering to 
the skin of the palate, as in the echidna, and not teeth im- 



planted in the palatine bones. Accordingly, it was with the 
echidna that M. de Lacepede compared his hyperoodon. 

Contrary to the opinion of M. St. Fond, this animal has 
nothing in its dentition which is peculiar to the crocodile. 
All that it has in common with it in this respect, it has in com- 
mon with an infinitude of fishes and reptiles. On the con- 
trary, it has many characters which the crocodile has not, and 
which, of themselves, would be sufficient to distinguish it, were 
there not a crowd of others. 

We have already, in treating of the osteology of the croco- 
dile, observed that, in this animal, the tooth in place always 
remains hollow — that it is never fixed to the bone of the jaw, 
but always remains merely emboxed there — that the succeeding 
tooth springs in the same alveolus, and that it often penetrates 
into the hollow of the tooth in place, and causes it to start and 
fall out. 

The animal of Maestricht, on the contrary, had the teeth 
hollow only while growing, like all other animals. They were 
filled at last, for the most of them have been found entirely 
solid. They ended by being fixed to the jaw by means of a 
truly osseous and fibrous body, quite different from their pro- 
per substance, though intimately united to it. The tooth of 
succession grew in a peculiar alveolus, formed at the same 
time as itself It pierced sometimes at the side, sometimes 
through the osseous body, which supported the tooth in place. 
As it increased in size, it finally detached this body from the 
jaw, with which it was intimately connected by vessels and by 
nerves. That body then fell by a sort of necrosis, like the 
antlers of a stag, and brought with it the tooth which it car- 
ried. By little and little the tooth of succession, and its body, 
improperly called its osseous root, occupied the place which 
the old tooth had quitted. 

The dentition of osseous fishes, that of monitors and many 
other Saurian and OphMian reptiles, is exactly of the same 
character as this. In fact, this cellulous and osseous part, which 


unites itself to the maxillary bone, is simply the nut of the 
tooth, which, instead of remaining pulpy as in quadrupeds, 
until it is destroyed, ossifies, and makes one body with its 
alveolus. The tooth has no true root, but it adheres strongly 
to this nut which has secreted it, and is still retained there by 
the remainder of the capsule, which furnished the enamel, and 
which, also ossifying and uniting itself to the maxillary bone 
and to the nut, become osseous, enchases or sets the tooth 
with new force. It is easy to conceive that this nut, identified 
with the maxillary bone, must suffer the same changes as it — 
that the alveolus of the succeeding tooth must penetrate its 
solidity — that compression must detach it, either by breaking 
it, or obliterating the vessels by which it is nourished — and 
that, in fact, as was said before, it must be exposed to revolu- 
tions analogous to those of the antlers of the stag. 

The cetacea exhibit nothing of this, neither do the croco- 
diles. The teeth of the cetacea, it is true, fill with age, and 
become solid ; but far from adhering to the alveolus by an in- 
termediate osseous piece, they are only feebly retained there 
by the fibrous substance of the gum, when they are once filled 
with the substance of the ivory, and their pulpy nut is ob- 

The only hesitation, then, that can remain respecting the 
place of this animal is between the osseous fishes, and the 
iguanas and monitors. An examination of the jaws will put 
an end to this doubt, and confirm the exclusion of the cetacea 
and of the crocodiles. 

The lower jaw, from a specimen in the French Museum, 
exhibits fourteen teeth on each side, all conformed, as we have 
just described, after the fashion of the monitors. But the 
monitors have only eleven or twelve. The crocodiles have 
fifteen, but very unequal ; these are all equal, or nearly so. 
In the iguanas the number is more considerable. 

There are in this jaw ten or twelve large and tolerably regu- 
lar foramina. There are five or six in the iguanas, six or 

X 2 



seven in the monitors. The crocodiles have an infinite num- 
ber of them, small and irregular. A dolphin would have but 
two or three towards the end. 

There is a coronoid apophysis, raised, obtuse, whose ante- 
rior edge is widened as in the monitors. No crocodile has 
anything of the kind. That of the dolphin is much smaller 
and farther back. In the iguana it is more pointed. 

The articulary facet is concave, and very near the posterior 
end of the jaw, as in all the Saurians, but it is lower than the 
dentary edge, as in the monitors. In the crocodiles and the 
iguanas it is higher, or, at least, upon a level. The dolphins 
have it convex, and placed altogether at the end. 

The apophysis for the muscle, which is analogous to the 
digastric, is short, as in the iguana. The crocodile has it 
longer, and the monitor still more so. In fine, the composi- 
tion of this jaw shows greater relations with the monitor, than 
with any other existing saurian, and entirely excludes the 
cetacea ; these last having, like all the mammifera, each side 
of the lower jaw of one piece. 

With respect to the further composition of this jaw, there 
is no great oval foramen at its external face 5 the coronoid 
apophysis is a bone apart, analogous to that which, after 
M. Cuvier, we have called supplementary. The articulary 
bone makes by itself the hinder apophysis, and pushes out 
the angular bone very forward. The sub-angular is united 
squarely with the dentary, and there is a small opening in the 

In all these respects, the animal of which we speak ap- 
proaches most to the monitor. It approaches it even more 
than it does the iguana, as well in the lower jaw, as in the 
structure of the teeth, their figure, and insertion. Though, in 
this respect, there is something particular. 

In the monitor, as in the iguana, the teeth simply adhere to 
the internal face of the two jaws, without the maxillary bones 
being raised to envelope them in their alveoli. But here the 


pediments or osseous nuts which support the teeth adhere in 
hollows or true alveoli, formed in the thickness of the edge of 
the jaw. 

The upper jaw of the fossil head has eleven teeth, but the 
intermaxillary bone was wanting in the specimen ; and if, as 
might be supposed, it had three teeth, as in the monitors, that 
would make the number above and below equal. The river 
monitor of Egypt has fourteen above, but only twelve below. 

In the fossil animal, all the teeth are pyramidal, and a little 
hooked. Their external face is plane, and distinguished, by 
two sharp crests, from their internal face, which is round, or 
rather a demicone. 

Some of the monitors have the teeth conical, others com- 
pressed and trenchant. The lacerta teguixin, the ameiva, the 
iguanas, and other subgenera, have them with a denticu- 
lated edge. There are only some fine denticulations, and 
nearly microscopic, in the monitors with trenchant teeth. In 
the fossil the crest is entire, and without notches. 

In all the characters now stated there is a greater approxi- 
mation in the fossil to the monitors, than to the other saurians. 
But in the pterygoidean bones there is a character which re- 
moves it from them to approach it to the lizards proper, and 
the iguanas. This is the teeth by which these bones are 

The crocodiles, monitors, teguixin, dracaena of M. Lacepede, 
ameiva, dragons, stelliones, cordyles, agames, basilisks, geckos, 
cameleons, many skinks, and the chalcides, all have the palate 
deprived of teeth. The iguanas, the anolis, the common 
lizards, the marbr^s {polychrus),B.h(\ a certain number of skinks, 
alone among the saurians, partake with many serpents, batra- 
cians, and fish, of this singular character. 

But the iguanas and other saurians have these teeth in the 
pterygoidean bones only; the serpents in the palatine, as well as 
pterygoidean bones. The frogs, hylcs, and salamanders have 
them in the vomerian bones, the first on a transverse^ the 


others on a longitudinal line. Many fishes have them also on 
a longitudinal line ; and this, probably, helped to cause the 
mistake of Camper about this fossil reptile ; but the compa- 
rison of the bones which have these teeth, will prove that they 
belong to reptilia, and not pisces. 

The pterygoid bone in the monitor and iguana is not united 
to its consimilar as in the crocodile, nor widened into a large 
triangular plate. It is a bone with four branches : one pro- 
ceeds forward, and unites^ itself to the anterior palatine ; the 
second goes sideways to join the transverse bone, which unites 
itself to the upper maxillary ; the third rests by a facet pro- 
vided with a cartilage, on an apophysis of the basis of the 
cranium ; the fourth goes back, and gives an attachment to the 
muscles, but is not articulated to any bone. On the edge of 
the anterior branch is implanted the series of teeth which cha- 
racterizes the iguanas. The anolis have this bone wider in all 
its parts, and the lower branch shorter. The monitors, on the 
contrary, have all parts of the bone more slender, and have 
no teeth there. 

There is a great resemblance to the iguanas in the pterygoid 
bones of the fossil. The posterior apophysis of the right ptery- 
goid, though seen from a mutilated specimen, being broken at 
the end, still appeared to be equally long in proportion as that 
of the iguana. The four apophyses of the other were very dis- 
tinct. The principal specific difference was, that the internal 
one was longer in proportion than in the monitor and iguana. 
But there did not appear the slightest relation of form with 
the palatine bone of fishes, and still less with their pterygoidean 

This bone, in the fossil, appeared to have had eight teeth, 
which grew, were fixed, and replaced like those of the jaws, 
though considerably smaller. 

From a large fragment preserved at Haarlem, M. Cuvier ob- 
serves that the upper jaw was elongated and not much raised, 
and that its edges along the external aperture of the nostrils 


were entire over a long space, nearly like the monitors and the 
horned iguana, which would induce a conjecture that these 
nostrils were large, and the bones of the nose not much ex- 
tended, a circumstance which absolutely excludes the croco- 
diles and the teguixin. 

The principal foramen for the issue of the suborbital nerve 
is nearer the edge of the nostrils than in any known species. 

AVhatever doubts, says M. Cuvier, may subsist respecting 
these scattered pieces, they do not in the slightest degree 
affect the determination of the place of this animal. The head 
fixes that irrevocably between the monitors and the iguanas. 
But the size of the animal was enormous, in comparison of all 
the known species of these two sub-genera. None of these, 
perhaps, has the head longer than five inches, while the fossil 
head approaches to four feet. 

In zoology, when the head, and particularly the teeth and 
jaws, are given, almost all the rest may be concluded as far as 
the essential characters are concerned. Thus, there was 
Httle difficulty, in this case, of recognizing and classing the 

All these vertebrae, like those of the living crocodiles, the 
monitors, the iguanas, and, in general, most of the Saurian 
and Ophidian reptiles, have their body concave^ in front and 
convex behind, which distinguishes them remarkably from 
those of the cetacea, which have it nearly plane, and still more 
from that of fishes, where it is hollowed on both sides into a 
concave cone. 

The anterior vertebrae have the concavity and convexity 
much more strongly marked than the others. 

Of these vertebrae there are five sorts established on the 
number of the apophyses. The first have an upper spinous 
apophysis, long and compressed; a lower, terminated by a 
concavity; four articulary, the hinder ones of which are 
shorter, and face outwards; and two transverse apophyses, 
bulky and short. These are the last vertebrae of the neck, and 


the first of the back. Their body is more long than broad, 
and more broad than high. The faces are of a transverse 
oval form^ or kidney-shaped. Others are minus of the lower 
apophysis, but in all the rest resemble the preceding. These 
are the middle dorsal. Some follow which have no articular 
apophyses : these are the last dorsal, the lumbar, and the first 
caudal. Their peculiar place is recognized by their transverse 
apophyses, which are elongated and flattened more and more. 
The articulary faces of their body are nearly triangular in the 
first caudal. Those which follow have, beside their upper spinous 
apophysis and the two transverse, two little facets at their 
lower face, to support the chevron-formed bone. The articular 
faces of their bodies are pentagonal. Then come some more 
which do not differ from the preceding, but by the want of 
transverse apophyses. They form a large portion of the tail, 
and the faces of their body are ellipses, at first transverse, and 
then more and more compressed at the sides. The chevron- 
formed bone is not articulated, but soldered, and forms a body 
with them. 

Finally, come the last vertebrae of the tail, which have no 
apophyses whatever. In proportion as they approach the end 
of the tail the bodies of the vertebrae are shortened, and almost 
from its commencement they have less length than breadth 
and elevation. The length ends by being one half less than 
the height. 

This series of vertebrae gives rise to many important remarks. 
The first is relative to the chevron-formed or rafter bone, and 
the position of its articulation. Its length, and that of the 
spinous apophysis opposed to it, prove that the tail was very 
much raised vertically. The absence of transverse apophyses 
on a great portion of the length of the tail, proves at the same 
time that it was very much flatted at the sides. The animal 
was therefore aquatic, and swam after the manner of the cro- 
codiles, causing the oar of its tail to act right and left, and 
not up and down like the cetacea. The monitors have the 


tail more round, and the transverse apophyses prevail much 
farther in it. 

In the crocodiles, iguanas, &c., and, in general, in all the 
saurians, except the monitors, and even in the cetacea, and in 
all quadrupeds with large tails, the chevron-formed bone is 
articulated under the juncture, and is common to the two ver- 
tebrae. The monitors alone have, under the body of their 
vertebrae, two facets to receive it, like the fossil animal ; only, 
the body of their vertebrae being more elongated, these facets 
are at the hinder third part. In the fossil, where the vertebrae 
are very short from front to rear, the facets are almost in the 
middle. But there is no reptile known in which this bone is 
soldered and makes body with the vertebrae, as in this one. It 
is a character belonging to fish, and must have greatly aug- 
mented the solidity of the tail. 

Another character which distinguishes the fossil from the 
monitors and all the saurians, is the prompt cessation of the 
articular apophyses of the vertebrae, which are wanting from 
the middle of the back, while in the majority of animals they 
predominate as far as very near the end of the tail. The dol- 
phins exhibit this character, which, united to the shortness of 
the bodies of the vertebrae, may have contributed to the mis- 
take of Camper above mentioned. 

The first dorsal vertebrae have their transverse apophyses 
short, and terminated by an oblong, gibbous facet, the direc- 
tion of which is oblique in relation to the axis of the vertebra. 
This facet, which supports the rib, is single; consequently, the 
rib is attached to it by a single head. This is a character of 
the monitors and most of the saurians, the crocodiles alone 
excepted, in which it does not take place ; for in the neck 
there are two tubercles on each side for each rib. In the 
back the transverse apophyses are long, depressed, and trenchant, 
and the anterior ones have two facets for each rib, one at the 
anterior edge, the other at the extremity. The last three ribs 
are the only ones which have but a single head. This, again, 
puts the crocodile completely out of question. 


A part of these anterior vertebrae, which have one tubercle 
or lower spinous apophysis, doubtless belonged to the neck ; 
but as the two tubercles, which, in the crocodile, bear the little 
false rib on each side, are not found in any of them, it proves 
that the animal was not a crocodile, and that it had more 
liberty of turning its head aside. The lower spinous apophyses 
do certainly exist in the crocodiles, but they also exist in other 
saurian s and in many serpents 5 nay, some are found in the 
ruminantia and solipedes. In the cetacea there is not the 
slightest appearance of these tubercles, which would be utterly 
incompatible with their cervical conformation. This lower 
apophysis in most genera of saurians is compressed, and at the 
posterior edge of the bone. It is round in the crocodiles, and 
at the anterior edge. In the fossil it is also round, but trun- 
cated, and at the middle of the vertebra. 

It would appear, from some other drawings of remains, that 
the extraordinary breadth of the axis was a distinguishing fea- 
ture in this animal from all other reptiles. The number of 
vertebrae in this animal is thus given by M. Cuvier: — 

The atlas ; the axis ; eleven vertebrae with the lower apo- 
physis, the articular and transverse apophyses ; five, without 
the lower apophysis ; eighteen, without articular apophyses, in 
which number the sacral are perhaps comprised ; twenty of the 
tail ; twenty-six more with the two lower facets ; forty-four 
without transverse apophyses, and seven without any apophyses : 
in all, one hundred and thirty-three. 

This is more than double the number of the vertebrae of the 
crocodile, but accords very well with the number in the moni- 
tors, which is from a hundred and seventeen to a hundred and 

The great number of vertebrae in the base of the tail, not 
bearing the chevron-formed bone, M. Cuvier considers as a 
distinctive, and indeed a generic, character of this animal. 

As the jaw measured three feet nine inches, the entire ani- 
mal is calculated to have been upwards of four-and-twenty feet 


in length. The head approached one-sixth of the total length. 
This proportion resembles that in the crocodile, but is very 
different from that of the monitors. But again, the tail being 
ten feet, is but nearly one-half of the total length, while in the 
crocodile it exceeds the length of the body by one-seventh. Its 
shortness is owing to the shortness of the body of the vertebrae. 
But it must have been very robust, and the breadth of its 
extremity must have made it a very powerful oar, and enabled 
the animal to contend with the most agitated waters. There 
is no doubt, then, from the nature of all the other debris found 
with its remains, in the same quarries, that it was a marine 

On the articulation of the ribs, either to each other or the 
sternum, the Baron hazards no opinion, in consequence of the 
imperfection of their remains. All, however, which have been 
discovered were round, as in the lizards, not flat, as in the cro- 

The bones of the extremities which have been collected are 
small in number, and nothing very definite is concluded con- 
cerning them. The bones of the hands and feet, as far as 
known, seemed to have belonged to a contracted sort of fins, 
not unlike those of the dolphin or the plesiosaurus. 

It seems, upon the whole, quite certain that this great ani- 
mal of Maestricht must have formed an intermediate link 
between the tribe of saurians without palatine teeth, the moni- 
tors, &c. and those which have palatine, or rather pterygoidean 
teeth, as the common lizards, iguanas, &c. but that it had no 
relation to the crocodiles, except in some partial characters, 
and in those general bonds of connexion which re-unite the 
immense family of oviparous quadrupeds. 

It may doubtless appear strange to some naturalists to see 
an animal exceed so much in dimensions those genera to which 
it approaches most in the natural order, and to find its debris 
with marine productions, while no saurian of the present day 
appears to live in the salt-water. But these singularities are 


nothing in comparison of a multitude of others presented to 
our consideration by the numerous monuments of the natural 
history of the ancient world. We have already seen a tapir of 
the size of the elephant, and in the megalonyx a sloth as large 
as the rhinoceros. Why, then, should we be surprised to find 
in the animal of Maestricht a lizard as large as a crocodile? 
We shall presently meet with more of equal and even of greater 

But the reflection which strikes us here as of the greatest 
importance is on the admirable constancy of those zoological 
laws, which are never falsified in any class or in any family. 
^* When occupied with the teeth and jaws," says the Baron, 
" previously to the examination of limbs or vertebrae, a single 
tooth has been sufficient to put me in possession of all the 
generic characters. The genus once determined by it, all the 
rest of the skeleton, in some measure, was arranged of itself, 
without trouble or hesitation on my part. I cannot too much 
insist upon these general laws, the basis and principle of the 
methods which in this science, as in all others, have an interest 
far superior to that of all particular discoveries, however 

The animal which we have now described has been called by 
Mr. Conybeare the mosasaurus. 

The remains of another large saurian were discovered by M. 
de Soemmering in the environs of Manheim, which M. Cuvier 
considers as a new subgenus, intermediate between the moni- 
tors and crocodiles, and to which he has given the name of 

The remains of this remarkable animal were discovered in a 
district called Meulenhardt, at ten feet deep, and a few paces 
from the remains of the crocodilus priscus, which we formerly 
noticed. They were enveloped in a marly bed, softer than that 
in which the crocodile was incrusted. They were not so well 
preserved as the latter, and it was with difficulty that certain 
parts could be sufficiently disengaged for the recognition of the 

/ . -^'Z Jolf oY ^ead and Tanr. 




^^^^^ ^ 


characters. M. de Soemmering, in the '♦ Memoirs of Munich," 
has given a very exact description, and a fine lithographic 
engraving of these remains. 

The bones were almost calcined. Near them was seen a flat 
ammonite, four inches broad, a fragment of a bluish shell, and 
a great quantity of small scales, which M. Soemmering believed 
to have belonged to some fishes, or perhaps to the animal 
itself, if it be true that it was a monitor, or some other lizard 
with small scales. 

The teeth have preserved their enamel, which is hard, brown, 
and shining. The head was compressed, and its two sides 
brought so near as almost to touch, and to render it impos- 
sible to see the disposition of the palatine bones, or whether 
there were teeth in the pterygoidean. Neither was it easy to 
distinguish the bones of the face, nor the sutures which sepa- 
rated them. All that could be perceived was, that the orbit 
was large, and that the muzzle could not have been much pro- 
longed. This would render the whole configuration of the 
head pretty similar to that of the monitors. The form of the 
teeth appeared pretty well to confirm this result. They are a 
little compressed, trenchant in front and behind, pointed, a 
little hooked, and their edge exhibits a fine and close denticu- 
lation, altogether similar to what is observable in the land 
monitor of Egypt and in many Indian species of this genus 
when their teeth were not much worn. It was also seen in the 
fossil teeth of the crocodile of Argenton. 

Fourteen or fifteen of these teeth were on the left side above, 
but some were wanting in front. A fragment was found which 
might have belonged to the anterior end of the muzzle, and 
which still contained three teeth. The last teeth were smaller 
than the others, and came even under the orbit, as in the cro- 
codiles, and teguixin. On the right side but seven teeth 
remained. The hinder had fallen. Nor were they better pre- 
served in the lower jaw, which had only five on each side, but 
in different positions. 


The jugal bone appeared to have been prolonged behind and 
under the orbits more than in the common monitors, where it 
finishes in a point. This prolongation in the fossil is such, that 
it might lead to a belief that it rejoined the temporal bone 
behind, and by it the back part of the head, as in the crocodiles 
and many saurians different from the monitors. A particular 
character in this head, which is very remarkable, is a circle or 
ring of osseous laminae, which occupies the internal part of the 
left orbit, and is evidently composed, as Mr. Conybeare has 
remarked, of osseous scales which invested the sclerotica of the 
eye of the animal, like that in birds, tortoises, a great number 
of reptiles, especially the monitors, and which we shall see still 
more strongly marked in the enormous eyes of the ichthyo- 
saurus. In fine, without entering into further details, it is 
sufficient to repeat that M. Cuvier considers this animal as 
constituting a new subgenus of the saurian order. It might 
have been from twelve to thirteen feet in length, and is not 
deserving of the name of lacerta gigantea given it by M. Soem- 
mering, the last-mentioned lizard, and the one we are about to 
describe, far surpassing it. 

This is the megalosaurus, discovered at Stonesfield, near 
Oxford, by our respected countryman. Dr. Buckland, whose 
eminent services to geological science are not less appre- 
ciated abroad than at home. The remains were discovered 
in a stratum of calcareous slate, which in some parts be- 
comes sandy, and which the Doctor names the Stones- 
field slate. This stone is situated a little below the middle 
region of oolitic strata, and above the lias which contains 
the ichthyosaurus. This formation, which is never above six 
feet in thickness, is very much extended in this country. It is 
a formation equally regular and ancient, and there is no possi- 
bility that the fossil bones which it contains could have got 
there through any cleft or any other accidental aperture. 

The pieces collected there consist of the fragment of a jaw, 
containing a tooth developed, and many germs ; a femur, a 

M-&. ^... k. 

5S=--5?^ S== 


^V^ / / // / 



series of five vertebrae, a large flat bone which appeared to be 
a coracoid, and some other bones less determinable, a part of 
which appear to have been rolled and worn by rubbing. Un- 
fortunately, they were not found together, nor, with the excep- 
tion of the vertebrae, even by two and two, or three and three, 
so as to render it probable that they proceeded from the same 
individual ; and, in fact, it is only from their zoological rela- 
tions, and their existence in the same locality, that it can be 
concluded that they came from one species. It must be added 
that these zoological relations are by no means very unequi- 

The teeth much resemble those of the animal last described, 
being compressed, sharp, and hooked backwards, with two 
edges finely denticulated. Their anterior edge is not so thick, 
and the denticulations there seem to have been worn more 
quickly. It appears that they sprung from alveoli well cleared, 
and that the germs which should replace them pierced the jaw 
at the internal side of the teeth in place, and in distinct alveoh. 
These teeth had no adherence to the jaw, which would approxi- 
mate them to those of the crocodile, but the external edge of 
the jaw rises nearly an inch higher than the internal, and thus 
forms a sort of parapet for the teeth on the external side. This 
is a character of the monitor. 

The external face has some rugose foramina for the issue of 
the threads of the lower maxillary nerve. The portion pre- 
served of this jaw exhibits no curve in its length, which seems 
to indicate that the muzzle was straight and elongated. 

The most remarkable of these bones was that supposed to 
be a coracoid. It is flat ; a little concave at one face, a little 
convex at the other. More slender towards its arched edge, 
and especially at its thickest apophysis. One of its edges is, 
as we said, in an arc a little curved. The opposite edge is 
strongly emarginated in its middle. On one side the bone is 
terminated in a point, and on the other it is, as it were, trun- 


cated, and divided into two apophyses by a narrow emargina- 
tion. This bone, M. Cuvier thinks, is probably a coracoid of 
a saurian. Dr. Buckland was inclined to think it an iliuni. 

Another flat bone, widened on one side, and slender towards 
its edge, seems to have been an ischion. 

The femur, like the teeth, exhibits a sort of mixture of the 
characters of the monitor and the crocodile. It is arched in 
two directions, being, at first, concave in front, and then be- 
hind. Its articular head, directed forwards, has behind it a 
compressed and rather salient trochanter. It thickens towards 
the bottom, and is terminated there by two unequal articular 
condyles. Within a little of the third of its height, it has, on 
its two faces, a swelling like the one which is seen on the in- 
ternal face in the crocodile. The femur of a monitor would 
be less arched. The medullary cavity of this is wide and filled 
with spath. 

Three long bones were taken from the same slate quarries, 
the first of which Dr. Buckland regards as a metatarsian, but 
M. Cuvier thinks that it more resembles a humerus, but one 
very different from that of reptiles in general. Another may 
be either a radius or a fibula. The third. Dr. Buckland 
thinks, is probably a clavicle. If so, from its proportions, it 
must have belonged to an animal fifty-five feet and upwards 
in length. But it is very difficult to decide respecting these 

The vertebrae that remain resemble those of no living croco- 
diles, monitors, or other lizards ; and they can only be com- 
pared to the first of the Honfleur fossil crocodiles, or some 
other fossil species of that genus. They are a third more in 
length than in breadth. The annular part is united to them by 
a very marked articulation, which approximates them more to 
the crocodiles than the monitors. It is raised and hollowed 
into a cavity as in the Honfleur species. Their body is a little 
narrowed in the middle, but less so than in the crocodile of 


Honfleur. Its two faces are plane. The spinous apophysis is 
but little raised, and is cut squarely. The transverse apophyses, 
long and depressed, rise a little obliquely. 

Although these diflferent bones should not all come from the 
same animal, it is not less certain that the most of them can- 
not come from any known animal, and on the demonstrations 
given by the femur and the teeth, and even on the characters 
derived from the femur alone, it may be affirmed that there are 
in the Stonesfield slate the remains of a very large reptile, allied 
to the geosaurus already described, and approximating in many 
points to the crocodiles and monitors. If the coracoid bone 
we described be referred to it, we cannot hesitate to pronounce 
it a lizard. It appears, assuredly, to have exceeded in size the 
largest crocodiles known, and approached the size of a small 
whale. From the trenchant form of the teeth, its disposition 
was excessively voracious. All that accompanies its reinains 
in these quarries in which it was buried, announces that it was 
a marine animal — immense numbers of nautili, ammonites, 
trigoniae, belemnites, some teeth of squah and other fishes, and 
one or two species of crabs. Among these innumerable marine 
fossils, however, have been found some long bones, which 
appear to have come from birds of the order of grallae, and 
even two fragments of jaw which we formerly noticed, which 
appeared to belong to didelphis. Dr. Buckland even adds 
that the elytrae of more than one species of coleopterous insect 
were found there. 

Judging from the femur, the dimensions of the animal to 
which it belonged must have been, had it the proportions of the 
crocodile, more than thirty feet in length ; allowing it those of 
the monitor, about forty-five. But from some of the other 
bones, were they properly determined, a much greater length 
might be calculated for this animal, even up to seventy feet. 

Mr. Mantell, of Lewes, also discovered some remains of 
megalosaurus, in the forest of Tilgate. Their dimensions were 
enormous. One fragment of a femur was twenty-two inches 




in circumference ; which caused Mr. Mantell to conclude that 
its length must have been fifty-four. Teeth were found, alto- 
gether of the same form as those found by Dr. Buckland, and 
unquestionably belonging to the same species. Some frag- 
ments of bones of the metacarpus and metatarsus were so 
thick, that M. Cuvier says that at first sight he might have 
taken them for those of a large hippopotamus. 

With these bones of megalosaurus, Mr. Mantell found many 
others, such as those of crocodile, tortoise, plesiosaurus, ceta- 
cea, and birds, and he also collected some of which it is not 
possible to assign the genus. The most singular of these were 
certain teeth, respecting which it is not determined whether 
they come from a fish or reptile. M. Cuvier says, that it is 
not impossible but that they may have belonged to a saurian, 
and if so, to one still more extraordinary than any of which 
we have had hitherto any knowledge. 

What gives them their singular character is that their point 
and shaft are worn transversely, like those of the herbivorous 
quadrupeds. The first of these teeth which was presented to 
M. Cuvier he decidedly thought to be the tooth of a mammife- 
rous animal in a state of detrition. It seemed especially to 
resemble the cheek-tooth of a rhinoceros, which, were it the 
case, would go far to overturn the now received ideas of the 
relations of bones and strata. But having subsequently received 
a series of entire teeth, and of some more or less worn, the 
Baron was convinced, on inspection, that his first notion had 
been erroneous. 

The largest of these teeth has a root a little curved, which 
grows slender towards its deep extremity. The crown is pris- 
matic, and broader at its external face. This face alone is 
covered with enamel, or, at least, it has an enamel more thick 
and hard than the rest of the circumference, just as it is in the 
incisor teeth of rodentia. It widens at first proceeding from 
the root, and then its edges approximate to form the trenchant 
point which terminates the tooth. The two edges which, from 


the wide part, proceed to unite in this point, are strongly ser- 
rated. The external and enamelled face of the tooth has two 
longitudinal ridges, very obtuse and not projecting, which 
divide it into three parts also longitudinal and very slightly 

In the business of mastication, this tooth at first is worn in 
the point, and gradually all the part whose edges are denticu- 
lated disappears by detrition. A truncation at the same time 
is produced on the tooth, which grows broader and broader, 
but which is always oblique, because the external and ena- 
melled face is less worn than the rest. It is only when all the 
denticulated part is removed that one might be tempted to take 
these teeth for those of herbivorous mammalia, worn as far as 
the root, for there are no lineaments of enamel on the crown, 
and even the want of them would oblige us to suppose these 
teeth to be incisors, were we to attribute them to mammalia. 
But this would be a supposition exceedingly difficult to admit, 
for there are no incisors of mammalia which in the slightest 
degree resemble the teeth in question. 

Some of these teeth are smaller than the others, and the 
smallest have usually on their external face but one obtuse 
longitudinal ridge, but on the sides many smaller and sharper 
ridges are observable which form striae there. Some are also 
found with a simple trenchant edge, without denticulations, 
slightly convex at their two faces, and terminated by an obtuse 
point, and which tolerably resemble the canines or lateral incisors 
of tapirs, or other animals with short canines. These differ- 
ences are probably attributable to the different positions of the 
teeth in the mouth of the animal. These teeth do not afford 
the only indications of the existence of gigantic species of 
saurians, equal, or nearly so, to the megalosaurus, the animal 
of Maestricht, and the crocodiles, in those remote ages. 

Among the bones collected at Honfleur, in the possession of 
M. Cuvier, are vertebrae of several sorts, which he could not 
refer to any of the species hitherto described, and which may 

Y 2 


serve as bases for the future re-erection of additional monu- 
ments of the ancient world. 

Some very large ones, from Havre and Honfleur, have a 
cylindrical body, nearly as long as wide, marked on each side 
with a small fosset, with plane, circular faces, a medullary 
canal very narrow^ and an annular part not articulated. The 
spinous process is high and straight. The transverse processes, 
at the level of the medullary canal, are gross, cylindrical, and 
vertically dilated at the end ; and, w^hat is very remarkable, the 
posterior articular processes are small, pointed, approximating, 
and go into two small fossets, between the anterior processes, 
and in front of the base of the spinous. 

These would appear to belong to a species of saurian, much 
resembling the plesiosaurus, yet to be described. Their only 
differences from the vertebrae of this last genus relate to a 
greater proportional breadth of body, and that the little fossets, 
or dimples, are hollowed at the sides of the bone, instead of 
underneath. Some from Newcastle were smaller, but their 
proportions of body were the same, and the little fossets only 
were wanting. Some large bones of the extremities were found 
along with the vertebrae now described, which appeared to have 
belonged to the same species, whatever it was. 

In the environs of Luneville the remains of a saurian have 
been discovered, in many respects approximating to the croco- 
diles. This species, as new to geology as to zoology, was 
found by M. Gaillardeau, a physician of that city, in certain 
quarries in the neighbourhood, used for the purposes of build- 
ing. The stone composing them is compact, in horizontal 
strata of moderate thickness, separated by thin strata formed of 
debris of shells, or entire shells accumulated together. Tere- 
bratulae and mytulites are especially in great abundance there. 
This formation, in which many other fossil remains were found, 
belongs to the inferior strata of the order of Jura, or to those 
above what is called Alpine limestone. 

Here were found bones which manifestly had appertained 


to a saurian. They consisted of a vertebra, one side of the 
lower jaw, some ribs, and some bones of the shoulder, and 
pelvis. They preserved no gelatine, and did not become black 
in the fire. 

The vertebra resembled a caudal of some species of croco- 
dile, in which both faces are plane or slightly concave. The 
body alone was preserved. 

The jaw has some characters of crocodiles, and others of 
lizards. It is more long and slender than that of the common 
crocodile. The alveoli of the teeth are well separated ; they 
are ranged on a single line. Twenty-seven were observed in 
the fragment of which we speak, though it was mutilated at 
the front. The teeth appeared to have been alternately more 
bulky and slender, and to have been hollowed internally. 

All this agrees with the crocodile, but the composition of the 
jaw was different. The coronoid process, which is short and 
obtuse, appertams to the supplementary bone, which, instead 
of being small and crescented as in the crocodile, proceeds 
forward between the dentary and opercular bones, and along 
the internal edges of the teeth over a length of more than 
twenty-eight alveoli. The opercular is also carried very for- 
ward ; and, instead of a simple foramen intercepted between it 
and the angular, and independent of the grand opening behind 
the opercular and angular which is observed in the crocodile, 
there is only a single very long aperture, which predominates 
from this posterior point of the opercular as far as the articula- 
tion, and which has the complementary and subangular bone 
above, and the angular below. At the external face, the sub- 
angular exhibits a sharp longitudinal ridge. The articulation 
resembles that of the crocodile, but the post-articular apophysis 
seems to have been a little shorter in proportion. 

From these two pieces alone, it may be pronounced, without 
hesitation, that they proceed from an unknown reptile ; very 
probably from some genus intermediate between the croco- 
diles and saurians, like those already described. Some other 


bones were found serving to confirm this result, and indicate 
an animal not unlike the plesiosaurus or ichthyosaurus. 

It was not merely in size that the class of reptiles stood pre- 
eminent in those ancient days. They were also distinguished 
by forms more varied and singular than any which we now 
behold existing. We are about to examine a genus, the ^^ero- 
dadylus, or wing-toed reptile,which had the power of flying, not 
by means of its ribs, like the draco volansy nor by a wing without 
distinct fingers, like that of birds, nor by a wing in which the 
thumb alone is free, like that of bats, but by a wing sustained 
principally on one very elongated toe, while the others pre- 
served their usual shortness and their claws. At the same 
time, these flying reptiles (almost a contradiction in terms) had 
a long neck and the beak of a bird, which must have given 
them a most remarkable and anomalous aspect. There were 
two species. 

The first is termed by M. Cuvier, Pterodactylus longirostris, 
from the length of the muzzle. The first knowledge of it was 
owing to M. CoUini, Director of the Museum of the Elector 
Palatine at Manheim. The skeleton was found in one of those 
marly, foliated, grey, and sometimes yellowish rocks of Aich- 
stedt, which abound in dendrites and animal petrifactions. 
The skeleton was wonderfully entire. 

M. Blumenbach thought it was a bird of the order palmi- 
pedes ; but, as M. Cuvier observes, a bird would have larger 
ribs, and each provided with a recurrent apophysis. Its meta- 
tarsus would have formed but a single bone, and would 
not have been composed of as many bones as there are toes. 
Its wing would have had but three divisions after the fore-arm, 
and not five like the pterodactylus. Its pelvis would have had 
quite a different extent, and its osseous tail a totally different 
form ; it would be widened, not narrow and conical. There 
would have been no teeth in the beak, for anything of that 
kind in birds appertains to the corneous envelope, not to the 
bony skeleton. The vertebrae of the neck woulrl have been 

■^ // /v/ //■/// v/. / //■////A/-/'.j'/y.j\ //w//, /'A////^//f/'. 


more numerous. No bird has less than nine. The palmi- 
pedes, in particular, have from twelve to twenty-three, and in 
this animal there are but six or seven. The vertebrae of the 
back, on the other hand, would have been less numerous. 
Here there are more than twenty. In birds they are from 
seven to ten, or at most eleven. 

The teeth present the reptile character without any equivo- 
cation. They are all simple, conical, and nearly alike among 
themselves, as in the crocodiles, as in monitors, and other 
lizards. The dolphins alone, among the mammifera, show 
anything like this ; but that genus is out of the question 

M. de Soemmering considered this animal as belonging to 
the class Mammalia, and would range it in the neighbourhood 
of the bats. He rested his opinion much on the variation of 
numbers in the teeth of the bats. But it is certain that the 
bats have never more than two forms of cheek teeth, neither 
of which are at all applicable to the dentition of the ptero- 

In the side of the head which was preserved, there were 
nineteen teeth below and eleven above, sixty in all : but some 
had probably been lost from the upper jaw. What completes 
the proof that these are reptile teeth is, that in the jaws, along 
their bases, there are foramina, from which the teeth to replace 
them must have issued. Similar are to be seen in the safe- 
guards, and especially .in the dragon (dracona of M. de 

The lower jaw is equally that of a reptile, having no salient 
condyloid apophysis, nor coronoid prominence. The pango- 
lins alone show some relations with this jaw ; but they have 
no teeth. In the bats there is not the least approximation. 

It is the same with the enormous elongation of the muzzle. 
The vespertilionidae have all short muzzles. The roussettes, 
indeed, have it a little longer, but not beyond the proportions 
of a dog or fox. 


No mammiferous animal has the cranium so small in pro- 
portion to the muzzle as this fossil reptile. 

The length of the neck is proportioned to that of the head, 
muzzle included. There are five vertebrae, large and pris- 
matic, like those of long-necked birds, and a smaller one at 
each extremity ; perhaps there may have been two towards the 
head, so that the total number would have been seven, as in 
mammifera and crocodiles, or eight, as in tortoises. 

What is most astonishing is, that this long head and neck 
are supported on so small a body. Birds alone exhibit simi- 
lar proportions, which, doubtless, added to the length of the 
great toe, determined some naturalists to refer this animal to 
that class from which it is removed by so many other cha- 

The neck is so much recurved behind that the occiput 
touches the pelvis in the specimen. There are nineteen or 
twenty dorsal and lumbar vertebrae. M. Oken admits twenty- 
two, including the sacral. 

It is difficult to say how many of these vertebrae supported 
ribs, but there remain at least a dozen in their places on the 
right side. The bodies and the spinous apophyses of the 
vertebrae are visible, but the left side of the annular part is 
removed from almost all of them, so that the medullary canal 
is to be seen. The anterior spinous apophyses are a little the 
longest. The posterior are short and cut square. Neither 
birds nor bats have any so formed. 

There are transverse apophyses, at least to the first seven 
vertebrae, to which apophyses the ribs are attached. Beyond 
the ninth, says M. Oken, there are no more, and the rib is 
attached immediately to the vertebra. 

All the ribs are singularly slender and filiform, which en- 
tirely excludes this animal from the birds, where the ribs are 
broad, and each provided with an oblique and recurrent apo- 
physis very peculiar. 

The tail is very short and very slender, and but twelve or 


thirteen vertebrae are reckoned in it. The faculty which the 
animal, without doubt, possessed of flying, and the difficulty 
under which it laboured of creeping or walking, by reason of 
the disproportioned length of the head and neck, are probably 
the reasons why a long tail was not necessary for it. 

Though the shoulders and sternum were not very well pre- 
served, M. Cuvier could ascertain in them all the true charac- 
ters of the reptile. The same may be said of the bones of the 
carpus and metacarpus. 

There are, at first, three small toes, one with two phalanges, 
and one with three. The last phalanx in both is unguical, 
compressed, hooked, and pointed. The third has three pha- 
langes ; and as it was mutilated, it probably had a fourth, which 
was unguical. These numbers are exactly those of the first 
three toes in crocodiles and lizards. 

Finally, comes the toe, enormously elongated into a thin 
stem, which eminently characterizes the animal. It has four 
articulations without a claw. The fourth toe of lizards 
would have five articulations with a claw. In the crocodiles 
there are four and no claw, but not this extraordinary 

The crocodiles and lizards have a fifth toe besides, which 
in the hzards has four articulations, and in the crocodile but 
three without a claw. It appears that, in the fossil animal, 
there remains but a vestige of the fifth toe very obscure. The 
great toe is probably the fourth, for it is the fourth which is 
longest in the lizards. The three others precede it in the in- 
verse order of the number of their articulations. 

To complete the resemblance, the penultimate phalanx is 
the longest. That which precedes it in the third toe is the 
shortest, absolutely the same as in the lizards. 

The form of the unguical phalanges is also the same, that of 
a semi-crescent, compressed, trenchant, and pointed. 

It is scarcely possible to doubt that this long toe served to 
support a membrane over the entire length of the fore-leg, 


which constituted for the animal a wing, much more powerful 
than that of the dragon ; and, at least, equal in force to that 
of the bat. The animal could fly as long as the vigour of its 
muscles permitted, and would then use its three short toes, 
armed with hooked claws, to suspend itself to trees. 

It is unnecessary to pursue this investigation farther. We 
find an animal which, in its osteology from the teeth to the 
end of the claws, presents us with all the classic characters of 
the saurians. We cannot doubt, therefore, that it had the same 
characters in its teguments and soft parts ; that it had their 
scales, circulation, organs of generation, &c. But, at the 
same time, it was an animal provided with the means of flying, 
and one which, in a stationary position, would make but little 
use of its anterior extremities, if, indeed, it did not keep them 
folded up as birds do their wings. It could yet employ its little 
fore-toes to suspend itself to the branches of trees, but its tran- 
quil position would be ordinarily on its hind feet like birds. 
Like them, too, it would keep its neck straightened and curved 
back, to prevent its enormous head from destroying its 

After these data, the figure of this animal, as it was when 
living, might be drawn. But it would be one of the most ex- 
traordinary kind, and to those who had never examined into 
the subject, would appear to be a monster, the product of a 
distempered imagination, rather than, by any possibility, the 
work of nature. Something approaching to it, or analogous, 
has been seen in the fantastic paintings of the Chinese. There 
is an engraving in the German Journal, entitled Naturforscher, 
taken from a Chinese book of ^* Natural History," and which 
represents a bat, with the beak of a hawk, and the long tail 
of a pheasant ; but this would be no representation of the 
animal of which we have been treating. 

The second species is called by M. Cuvier, Pterodadylus 
brevirostris, from having a shorter muzzle than the last. This, 
too, was discovered in the same strata as the last. The stone 


in which it was, presented also the remains of a very small 
fish, and some small asteriae. Like all those schists it is of a 
greyish red. The bones are distinguished by a browner tint. 
Their cavities are filled with a whitish spath. 

The individual is one third smaller in the trunk than the 
preceding, and its head and neck much less elongated in pro- 
portion. Its head is by no means so well preserved, and, seen 
in an isolated state, it might more readily be taken for that of 
a bird than a reptile. 

There are no teeth marked in the figures of it. But M. de 
Soemmering says, that there were some small ones in the two 
jaws, some of which resembled the front teeth of the bats, 
others, their molars, and that, on the opposite stone, there 
were eight pointed ones in the lower jaw, and in the upper 
five. M. Oken does not mention the teeth, but thinks that 
he could distinguish a tympanic bone. 

There were seven vertebrae in the neck, to the last three or 
four of which M. de Soemmering has marked spinous apo- 
physes. There are ten or eleven vertebrae between the cervical 
and the sacral, all provided with spinous apophyses, not much 
raised, cut square, and which all appear to have carried ribs. 
These last are slender and simple, as in the other species. 

The tail is also short, slender, and pointed, but it is not 
easy to reckon the vertebrae. It would seem that the last 
are divided into two parts. The pelvis is exactly that of a 
lizard. The arm is the same as in the large species. 

The three small unguiculated toes show distinctly the same 
number of phalanges as in the large species, and in the lizards. 
The long toe has the same proportion as in the large species, 
and is composed in the same manner of four articulations, the 
last of which has no claw. The hind feet were composed each 
of four toes, with a metatarsus with four bones, like the large 

These details, and more that we have omitted through fear 
of tediousness, prove that in this district, at the epoch when 


these strata were formed, and when crocodiles, monocuh, and 
so many other beings existed there, which are now found only 
in the torrid zone, there were two species of saurians which 
could fly by means of a membrane sustained by a single one 
of the toes of the anterior extremity — which suspended them- 
selves, and, perhaps, crept by means of the three other toes 
of this extremity — which sat upright on their hind-feet only, 
and whose large head was cleft by an enormous mouth, armed 
with small pointed teeth, proper for seizing insects, and other 
small animals. 

Of all the wonderful beings that the researches into fossil 
osteology has brought to light, these are incontestably the most 
extraordinary, and the most entirely different from any beheld 
in existing nature. 

In the same strata some more bones were found, which 
might have belonged to some large species of this genus. Two 
of them appeared to be the second and third phalanges of the 
great toe of the pterodactylus. The second, which had but 
eighteen lines in length in the preceding species, was more 
than seven inches long in this. 

Fossil Batracian Reptiles. 

The animals analogous to the frog, the toad, the salamander, — 
these naked reptiles subject to metamorphoses, which consti- 
tute a small family so isolated in the Animal Kingdom by 
its whole organization, did yet exist in those lands destroyed 
by the revolutions of the globe, and, though differing in species, 
were subjected to the same laws of co-existence and conforma- 
tion of organs. They must, however, have been rather few in 
number, if we may judge by the small quantity of debris which 
remain of them, and the small number of places in which they 
have been discovered. Even where they have been found, 
there is a portion of doubt or obscurity thrown around them. 
As this is the case, it is not necessary here to follow the 


Baron in his admirable and most interesting account of the 
osteology of the living species. Nothing, indeed, can be in 
itself more curious and important, but it is not necessary, as 
such researches were in former instances, to elucidate our ac- 
count in the way of comparison. The details of the living 
batracians will be given in their proper place in the present 
work ; and we shall now proceed at once to what can be said 
respecting their fossil remains. 

We shall first speak of the pretended fossil man of the quar- 
ries of CEningen, described by Scheuchzer, which other natu- 
ralists considered a silurus, but which, in reality, is nothing 
but an aquatic salamander of gigantic size, and unknown 

It was natural that those who attributed all petrifactions to 
the deluge, should be astonished at never encountering amongst 
so many remains of animals of all classes, any human bones 
that could at all be distinguished. 

Scheuchzer, who supported this theory, with more detail and 
continuity than any other writer, was accordingly more inte- 
rested in discovering some remains of our species. He, there- 
fore, received, with a sort of transport, a schistous rock from 
CEningen, which appeared to present to him the impression of 
a skeleton of a man. He described this specimen, in brief, in 
'' The Philosophical Transactions for 1726," (vol. xxxiv. p. 38). 
He then made it the subject of a particular dissertation, en- 
titled *' Homo Diluvii testis,^' He reproduced it in his " Sacred 
Physics," assuring us, *^that it is indubitable, and that it con- 
tains a moiety, or nearly so, of the skeleton of a man — that 
the substance even of the bones, nay more, of the flesh, and 
of parts still softer than the flesh, are there incorporated in the 
stone. In a word, that it is one of the rarest relics which we 
possess of that cursed race which was overwhelmed by the 

It required all the blindness which the spirit of system can 
produce, for such a man as Scheuchzer, who was a physician. 


and must have seen human skeletons, to deceive himself so 
grossly — for this fancy, which he reproduced so pertinaciously, 
and which has so often been repeated on his authority, does 
not rest on a particle of foundation, nor will bear the slightest 

John Gesner, again, quotes this specimen for an anthropolite 
in his treatise of Petrifactions, printed at Leyden, in 1758. It 
appears, however, that this naturalist, having become proprietor 
of a similar piece, was afterwards the first to raise doubts on 
the species which he had furnished, and to conjecture that it 
might be nothing but the silurus glanis of Linneus, an opinion 
which naturalists , then adopted with a confidence equal to that 
which they had accorded to Scheuchzer. 

This last specimen was not engraved, no more than another 
which was said to be in the Convent of the Augustine friars at 
CEningen. But another more complete one than Scheuchzer's 
was discovered, which belonged to Dr. Ammann, of Zurich, and 
has since passed to the British Museum. An engraving of it 
was published by M. Karg, in the Memoirs of the Society of 

The simple comparison of the first of these specimens with 
the skeleton of a man, ought to have been at once sufficient to 
disabuse any one of the notion that it was an anthropolite. 

The proportions of the parts present of themselves the most 
sensible differences. The size of the head is nearly that of a 
man of middle size, but the length of the sixteen vertebrae is 
some inches more considerable than it ought to be ; and we 
find, accordingly, that each vertebra, taken separately, is longer 
in proportion to its breadth than in man. 

The other differences derived from the form of the parts are 
not less striking. The roundness of the head, which must have 
been the principal cause of illusion, presents, however, a very 
remote relation with that of man. What is become of all the 
upper part, all that there should be of forehead ? And if it be 
supposed that the front has been removed, then the total 


roundness can only be the effect of chance, and will prove 

How have the orbits become so large ? Let us suppose that 
the head has been compressed from front to back, or that there 
is nothing of it but a vertical section ; on either supposition 
this size of the orbits is equally inexplicable. The deeper such 
a section was sunk, the smaller the orbits would become. 

The interval of the orbits is furnished with entire bones, dis- 
tinguished by a longitudinal suture. There is nothing analo- 
gous to this structure in man. Why are not the bones or 
cavity of the nose to be seen, and if there are remains of the 
posterior part only, how was this suture formed there ? 

How does it happen that in a head, whether compressed or 
cut, no trace of teeth should remain ? We know that the 
teeth are the parts which are always best preserved in the 
fossils. Scheuchzer supposes that the bones placed at the two 
sides of the first vertebra are the remains of the lower jaw. 
But, in fact, there is no resemblance, and the total want of 
teeth is decisive. 

These reasons, and many more, caused naturalists to seek 
for some other type for this fossil, beside man. But instead of 
having recourse to direct comparison, they began to argue on 
the subject. The quarries of (Eningen, they averred, abounded 
with remains of fresh water fishes, which all appeared to be 
fish peculiar to Europe. Among these fish, therefore, they 
reasoned, among fresh-water fish, and among the fish of Eu- 
rope, we must find our animal. Now what species is suffi- 
ciently large to have furnished this skeleton ? It was then 
remembered that the silurus glanis often attains a very large 
size, and that its head, externally, presents a rounded contour. 
This was deemed sufficient to solve the problem without any 
further trouble of examination or comparison. 

It was singular enough that M. Karg should have adopted 
this opinion, after having observed, and caused to be drawn, 
the specimen of Dr. Ammann, the resemblance of which to a 


salamander is so striking ; and yet, he says, that he does not 
doubt but that the fossil is a silurus, and that the head and 
fins are distinguishable in the clearest manner. His editor, 
M. Jaeger, has taken a very simple method of refuting this 
opinion. At the side of the fossil, he has given a drawing of 
the skeleton of a silurus glanis. M. Cuvier has done the 
same, and placed the figure of that fish beside the fossil skele- 
tons of Scheuchzer and Dr. Ammann. 

On the first glance of the eye it may be remarked, that, with 
an equal size of head, the silurus would not be more than two 
thirds of the length of the fossil skeleton of M. Ammann — 
which, nevertheless, is not complete ; and that, within the same 
space, where the spine of the silurus contains fifteen vertebrae, 
that of the two fossil skeletons show but five or six. There is 
no relation of form between the yet shorter vertebrae of the 
rest of the spine of the silurus, and the vertebrae of greater 
length than breadth in the fossils. The entire, too, of the 
spine in the silurus consists of seventy vertebrae, while there 
are but thirty or thirty- two in the much longer spine of the 

The fossils present no vestige of the long spinous apophyses 
of the tail of the silurus. It is by mere chance that in the 
fossil there are bones of the extremity opposite to the place 
where the ventral fins of the silurus are attached. But the 
correspondence is illusory ; for, in the fossil, it is the anterior 
extremity, and in the silurus, the posterior. The posterior 
extremity of the fossil is very far behind, and opposite to the 
very point where it is attached, the tail of the silurus is about 
to terminate. The two extremities of the fossil present solid, 
cylindrical bones, like those of the legs of quadrupeds and rep- 
tiles, and not articulated or spiny radii like those of the fins of 
fishes. The silurus exhibits nothing like the little ribs spread 
on the two sides of the spine in the individual of M. Ammann. 
Finally, if the head be compared, which, probably, has alto- 
gether given rise to the supposition here combated, no resem- 


blance will be found either in the general contours, or in the 
details. The contour of the silurus is much less rounded, and 
yet this is owing to the lower jaw^ while in the fossil the lateral 
branches appear to appertain entirely to the zygomatic arch. 
The parts placed behind the orbit have not nearly the breadth 
which they would have in the silurus. 

This rounded figure of the head for a long time struck 
M. Cuvier as bearing a singular resemblance to the head of a 
frog, or salamander ; and he had no sooner seen the figure of 
Dr. Ammann'*s specimen, than he observed, in the vestiges of the 
hind feet and of the tail, strong confirmation in favour of the 
last mentioned genus. This would be rendered very obvious 
by placing the skeleton of a salamander beside the fossil, with- 
out suffering one's self to be prejudiced by the difference of size. 
Everything would then be explained in the clearest manner. 

The rounded form of the head, the size of the orbits, the 
suture in the middle of their interval, the lateral angle for the 
articulation of the lower jaw, the length of the vertebrae in rela- 
tion to their breadth, the little ribs attached to their two sides, 
the remains of anterior extremities very sensible in the fossils, 
those of the posterior extremities still more so in one of them 
(that of Dr. Ammann) , in which are seen the femora, a part of 
the tibiae, and some fragments of the pelvis 3 all, in short, 
strongly demonstrate for the family of the salamanders to the 
exclusion of all others. 

M. Cuvier, in the first edition of the '^ Ossemens Fossiles," 
says, '* I am even persuaded, that if one could have the dis- 
posal of these fossils, and examine them Avith a little more 
minuteness of detail, still more numerous proofs would be 
found in the articular faces of the vertebrae, in those of the 
jaw, in the vestiges of the very small teeth, and even in the 
parts of the labyrinth of the ear ; and I invited the proprie- 
tors, or the keepers of these fine specimens, to proceed to this 

He had, subsequently, the advantage of making this exami- 



nation himself. Being at Harlem in 1811, he was permitted 
by M. Van Marum, Director of the Teylerian Museum, to 
dig into the stone which contains the pretended anthropolite of 
Scheuchzer, in order to discover the bones which still might 
lie concealed there. The operation was performed in his pre- 
sence, and in that of M. Van den Ende, Inspector-general of 
Studies. These gentlemen placed before them a drawing of 
the skeleton of the salamander, and it was not without plea- 
sure, that in proportion as the chisel removed portions of the 
stone, they beheld bones appear which fully confirmed their 

First of all, around the rotund part, on right and left, they 
found a double range of small teeth, which proved that the 
rotund appearance was produced by the jaws, and not by the 
cranium. They then discovered little ribs at the end of each 
of the transverse apophyses, as in the specimen of Dr. Am- 
mann, and as in the salamanders. They were assured that 
these ribs were very short, and could by no means embrace 
the trunk. They proved that the head was articulated on the 
first vertebra by a double condyle, as in all batracian reptiles. 

Passing, then, to the anterior extremities, which had only 
been indicated by a small face of the left shoulder, they dis- 
covered them both. On each side was found an omoplate, 
very much dilated at its spinal edge, the contour of which is 
semicircular. It is altogether like that of the aquatic sala- 
mander. But it appears that the clavicle and coracoid were 
last. Near the omoplates are two humeri double the length of 
the omoplates, a little widened in the top and bottom, with a 
furrow for the separation of the condyles, absolutely again the 
same as in the aquatic salamanders. 

At the end of the humerus are some bones of the fore-arm, 
one half shorter^ and one a little thicker than the other. 
Finally, come the bones of the toes, incomplete on the right 
side, but complete, though a little in disorder, on the left. 
They exhibit exactly the same number of parts as in the 


aquatic salamanders, namely, four toes, with one metacarpian 
and two phalanges for each, except the third, which has three 

Some years after, the Baron, being in this metropolis, had 
an opportunity of personally examining the specimen of Dr. 
Ammann, in our Museum. 

The omoplates and humerus are the same as in that of 
Scheuchzer, but the fore-arms and hands are wanting. The 
thighs and legs are to be seen opposite the nineteenth ver- 
tebra. In the living aquatic salamanders the position of the 
pelvis varies much ; but in one species, triton cristatus, the 
Baron has seen it suspended at the eighteenth vertebra, 
which accords with the position of the posterior extremities in 
this fossil. 

The bones of the legs are one half shorter than the femora, 
and the tibia is very broad. Some remains of the pelvis and 
of the toes are visible. 

Behind the pelvis are still sixteen vertebrae, and by the size 
of their transverse processes, one may judge that there were 
many more to come after them in the entire tail. 

In the head of this specimen, in the British Museum, are . 
some teeth. Its form is exactly the same as that of the speci- 
men at Harlem, and broader in proportion than in our living 
salamanders. The great species of the Allegany Mountains 
approaches it most in this character, and also resembles it in 
the breadth of the pterygoid bones, and the prominence of its 
occiput behind the lateral processes which bear the lower jaw. 

There are two bones placed on each side of the occiput, and 
which are found in both specimens. M. Cuvier at first ima- 
gined that they announced a considerable and permanent 
branchial apparatus, and was, therefore, inclined to refer these 
animals to the genus Proteus. But his present opinion, 
founded on a more extended study of the hyoid bone, and its 
pieces in the aquatic salamander, is, that the two bones in 
question are the two pieces of the posterior cornet. The 

Z 2 


first is yet, in part, concealed under the cranium. The second 
is very entire, and exactly of the same form as in our living 
aquatic salamanders. Thus, there can be no doubt but that the 
pretended anthropolite of CEningen was an aquatic salamander, 
of a size gigantic in its genus. 

We shall conclude this account by saying a few words re- 
specting those celebrated quarries where the above described 
fossil was found^ and an immense number of others of various 

The Rhine, after having formed the lake of Constance, and 
narrowing near the town of the same name, widens again 
to form the lake called Zellersee, and does not resume the 
ordinary width of its bed until it approaches the little town of 

On the right bank, a little above Stein, is the village of 
CEningen, formerly belonging to the Bishop of Constance, and 
at present, like the rest of the bishopric, to the Grand Duke 
of Baden. 

The quarry, which abounds in impressions of fish, &c., is 
three-quarters of a league from this, on the southern declivity 
of a mountain termed Schiener-berg, and at least five hundred 
feet above the level of the lake. A small stream runs along its 
eastern side. The elevated part of the mountain is of a soft 
micaceous sandstone, and rolled blocks of red and green granite 
are found in the fields. 

The quarry is extended over about two hundred and seventy 
feet in length, and is about thirty deep, but its bottom is often 
full of water. Beneath the vegetable soil is found, at first, a 
friable bluish marl, two feet in thickness, which is employed 
in making tiles and bricks, for want of better clay. Under 
this marl are many feet of a primitive schistus, yellowish 
grey, soft, with very thin laminae, and filled with vegetable 
impressions. Then comes a second bluish marl, like Uie first, 
about half a foot in thickness, and without organized bodies. 
All the succeeding strata are calcareous, and when they are 


disturbed, give out an odour more or less strong of petroleum. 
They are distinguished into several beds. The first is named 
by the workmen^ the gross bed, or sulphureous stone. It is 
from two to six feet thick, and does not divide into foliations. 
The second is called white slate. It is four inches thick, very 
argillaceous and soft, and divides into very slender laminae. 
Plants, insects, and the first fishes are to be seen there. 
Another schistus follows it, called small pieces, two feet thick, 
divisible into thin leaves, composed, in a great measure, of the 
debris of vegetables_, and containing many bivalve shells, ex- 
cessively small, round, and pearly. 

The next bank is named thick pieces. It is a foliated lime- 
stone, two feet thick, and exhibiting scarcely any traces of 
vegetable debris. Then come two beds, scarcely two inches 
high, named by the workmen black plates, which appear tinc- 
tured by vegetable debris. 

The first white plate follows them. Flagstones for apart- 
m.ents are made of this ; some large fishes are visible in it, 
and fine dendrites. It is three inches high, and divisible into 
thick leaves or slabs. 

At last comes the fishy plate, so named from the immense 
quantity of fish which it contains, with small limnese. It is a 
white limestone of a fine grain, with slender leaves, and of mo- 
derate hardness. 

Under it is what is called the little skin, very thin, and of a 
blackish grey. Then comes the third black plate, two inches 
and a half high, which is followed by the knotted or Indian 
stone. This is a grey, coarse-grained schistus, dotted and 
radiated with white and yellow, and filled with fishes and other 
animal and vegetable impressions. It is in much estimation, 
and its thickness is about four inches. 

The mussel-stone is a blackish, micaceous limestone, full of 
debris of vegetables, of small limnese, and of fragments of 
mussels still pearly. It is about a foot in thickness. 

The dill strecken is a calcareous schistus, a little micaceous, 


with. thick foliations, of a whitish grey, ten inches thick, and 
without fossils. 

The little white skin is a soft calcareous schistus, with slen- 
der leaves, and about an inch thick. 

The small mussel stone is a coarse-grained calcareous 
schist, dry and yellowish. It contains an innumerable quan- 
tity of small limnese, and various other shells of the fresh water, 
or their nodules, and vegetable impressions. 

The gross or thick plate is a grey schistus with thick leaves, 
about half a foot thick, and contains only some vegetable 

The white plate (No. 2,) is a calcareous schist, with 
coarse grains, very rich in petrifactions and impressions of 
every kind ; and all that exists separately in the other strata 
is found assembled here. 

The last bank is a grey or reddish schist with thin leaves, 
containing innumerable limnese, and very fine impressions of 
leaves of various colours. It reposes on a bluish coarse sand- 
stone, which forms, in general, the banks of the Rhine in this 
country, and where some veins of pit-coal are found, and 
sometimes numerous mussels, which we are assured belong to 
the fresh water. 

At about a quarter of a league above the quarry of CEningen, 
on the same side and nearer to the lake, is another quarry 
belonging to the village of Wangen, where similar petrifactions 
were found, and as it would apj>ear, in analogous strata. 

M. Karg, who has described the quarries of QEningen, pro- 
ceeding on the supposition that all the animals of these strata 
are the same as in the neighbouring waters, has endeavoured 
to prove that the strata must have been recently formed in a 
pond, which became empty in consequence of some accident 
happening to its dykes. This hypothesis doubtless hindered 
him from giving us more information regarding their relative 
position to the neighbouring strata, and thus affording a crite- 
rion by which to judge of their antiquity. But his opinion is 

'JJr/f/r/i /?/ '/.c A:/i/Jnm:/{7/'.'/'ii/,l . a^m 2 .( U /fj/zTrfrram-) 


not that of the profoundest geologists. M. de Humboldt and 
M. de Reuss agree to regard the schists of OEningen as belong- 
ing to an ancient and regular formation : the last considers 
them as belonging to his third calcareous formation. M. Bro- 
gniart regards them as subordinate to the molasse of Switzer- 
land, and as contemporaneous and, perhaps, posterior to the 
gypsum of Paris. What is certain is, that they constitute a 
formation of the fresh water, which contains animals utterly 
unknown at present. 

The Ichthyosaurus and Plesiosaurus. 

We are at length arrived at beings which, of all the reptiles, 
and perhaps of all the fossil animals whose remains have been 
found, bear the least resemblance to any of the living inhabit- 
ants of our present world; which exhibit combinations of struc- 
ture well calculated to astonish the naturalist; and which would 
doubtless appear incredible to any one who either had not the 
opportunity of observing them himself, or was not fully satisfied 
of the authenticity of those authorities on which the relation of 
their existence rested. In the first genus we behold the muzzle 
of a dolphin, the teeth of a crocodile, the head and sternum of 
a lizard, the paddles of the cetacea, but four in number, and 
the vertebrae of a fish. In the other, with the same cetaceous 
paddles, we find the head of a lizard, and a long neck resembling 
the body of a serpent. 

Such are the astonishing characters which the ichthyosaurus 
and plesiosaurus present to our inspection, after having been 
buried for so many myriads of years under enormous masses of 
stone and marble. It is to the most ancient secondary strata 
that they belong. They are found only in those strata of marly 
stone, or of greyish marble filled with pyrites and ammonites, 
or in the oolitic beds ; all formations of the same order as the 
chain of Jura. It is in England that their remains are most 
peculiarly abundant 5 and we are proud to add, that it is to the 


zealous assiduity of our scientific countrymen that the discovery, 
description, and determination of them are principally owing. 
They have spared no pains in the collection of remains, or in 
putting them together as well as the state of the fragments 
would permit. This is a tribute to their merit which the Baron 
Cuvier himself, with all the characteristic liberality of genius, 
most willingly pays, and we have made but little alteration in 
his language in repeating it. 

We shall soon see, notwithstanding the anomalies of struc- 
ture in these extraordinary animals, that they approximate 
more to the lizards than to any other genus. We shall begin 
with the 


It is to Sir Everard Home that the scientific world owes its 
first knowledge of a characteristic specimen of this singular 
genus. He published, in the Philosophical Transactions of 
1814, a description of a very well preserved head, and some 
other bones, deposited in Bullock's Egyptian Museum, in Pall- 
Mali. They came from the coast of Dorset, between Lyme and 
Charmouth. They were taken from a rock twenty or thirty 
feet above the level of the sea. 

Sir Everard quickly observed that the shoulder exhibited 
some relations with that of the crocodile ; but the position of 
the nostrils, the circle of osseous pieces, surrounding the 
sclerotic tunic of the eye, appeared to him, as also did the ver- 
tebrae, to present some approximations to the class of fishes. 
On this account, M. Koenig, of the British Museum, conceived 
for it the name of ichthyosaurus, literally fish-lizard. 

Two years after, in the Transactions for 1816, Sir Everard 
added many details to his first description. Mr. Johnson, a 
native of Bristol, who for many years had been in the habit of 
collecting fossils from the cliffs of Lyme, procured for him some 
specimens from which he deduced the form of the articulation 
of the ribs, the shoulder-blade and the entire anterior fin, which 


he then compared to that of sharks, and was more and more 
inclined to conclude that it was a fish. 

But^ after two years more, some pieces were collected by 
different individuals, and the attention of Sir Everard was 
drawn to them by Dr. Buckland. These acquainted him with 
the nature of the sternum, the clavicle, and the coracoid bone, 
as well as with the relations of these parts to those of the orni- 
thorhynchus, which bear no indistinct resemblance to the same 
parts in the lizard tribe. Sir Everard then abandoned the 
notion of the ichthyosaurus having been a fish. In the same 
article he states the probable existence of more than one spe- 

In 1819, some magnificent specimens — and, among others, 
an entire skeleton, discovered by Mr. de Labeche, and Colonel 
Birch, of Lyme — enabled Sir Everard to perfect his description, 
and particularly to convince himself that the ichthyosaurus 
had four feet. But a head, in which the nostrils were closed 
up, led him into an error, and made him think, wrongly, that 
what he had hitherto taken for these apertures was simply the 
effect of accident. In the Transactions of the same year, the 
author, in consequence of the resemblance of the concave faces 
of the fossil vertebrae with those of the proteus, the siren, and 
the axolotl, proposed for his animal the name o( proteosaurus. 

Lastly, in 1820, the indefatigable researches of Colonel Birch 
furnished Sir Everard with materials, from which he determined 
the composition of the vertebrae, and the mode in which the 
annular part is articulated with the body, and likewise the sin- 
gular structure of the fins. 

This series of articles and notices renders it impossible to 
avoid acknowledging that the entire honour of having com- 
pletely acquainted naturalists with this extraordinary genus is 
owing to Sir Everard Home. Messrs. Conybeare and Labeche, 
however, must come in for their share of acknowledgment, hav- 
ing added many interesting particulars and extensive details to 
what this scientific anatomist had already advanced upon the 


In a memoir inserted, in 1821, in the Transactions of the 
Geological Society, they published their grand discovery of a 
new genus of the same tribe, but more approaching to the 
common lizards, which they named plesiosaurus. They have 
there described the composition of the lower jaw of the ichthyo- 
saurus, that of the muzzle, and a considerable part of that of 
the posterior and inferior faces of the cranium. They showed 
that the ring of osseous pieces in the sclerotic is a character of 
lizard, and not of fish, and entered into new details on the ver- 
tebrae and articulation of the ribs. 

A second memoir, by the same gentlemen, in the Geological 
Transactions for 1823, while it extended the description of the 
plesiosaurus, served to determine the notions concerning the 
teeth of the ichthyosaurus, clearly expressed the characters of 
its species, re-established the truth relative to the position of 
its nostrils, and marked the relations and differences of struc- 
ture between its head and that of the lizards. 

With materials so abundant, and given with so much care 
and accuracy, it was possible to compose an osteological de- 
scription of the ichthyosaurus at least as complete as that of 
any lost animal. But M. Cuvier came to the task with addi- 
tional advantages. Many drawings were sent to him by dif- 
ferent lovers of science. From Mr. Cumberland, of Bristol, 
he received a sketch of an entire skeleton, four feet ten inches 
in length, found in 1818, near the sea, at Watchet, in Somer- 
setshire, and belonging to Mr. Morgan, of Bristol : that of a 
head, and teeth of several species, from the collection of Mr. 
Johnson, of Bristol : that of many pieces, and among others^ 
of an eye, found at Weston, near Bath, and preserved by Mr. 
P. Hawker. He also had the good fortune to acquire certain 
valuable pieces which supplied him with the means of furnishing 
some additional characters to those which had been recognized 
by his predecessors. It remained for him to show the forms 
of the frontal and its accessory bones, the foramen of the parietal, 
like that of lizards, and the sphenoid also much more like that 


of lizards than it had appeared in the remains previously ana- 

The ichthyosaurus is, as we have said, peculiarly abundant 
in its remains in England. Its debris are deposited from the 
new red sandstone up to the green sand, which is immediately 
under the chalk. Thus it belongs to almost every epocha of 
the secondary strata, which continental geologists call the for- 
mation of Jura. Fragments of it, in fact, are found in a marl, 
associated with green sand, at Bensington, and in the calcareous 
sandstone under the oolite at Shotover Hill — all places in Bed- 
fordshire. There are some also under the oolite at Kimmeridge, 
in Dorsetshire. 

But it is especially in the lias, a bluish, grey, marly, and 
pyritous marble, that its sepulchre is most usually found. This 
has furnished innumerable remains of it in the counties of 
Dorset, Somerset, Gloucester, and Leicester, and principally 
in the valley of Avon, in Somersetshire between Bath and 
Bristol, and on the coast of Dorsetshire, where the cliffs be- 
tween Lyme and Charmouth have been inexhaustible deposits 
of it. The ichthyosauri appear to be as abundant there as the 
remains of ancient mammifera are in the gypsum of Paris, and 
their bones are generally surrounded by quantities of small 

In the same formation, further to the North, many remains 
of ichthyosaurus are to be found, and M. Cuvier has received 
many specimens from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 

The bones of the ichthyosaurus are much more rare on the 
continent of Europe. Some vertebrae, however, were evidently 
to be distinguished among the groups of crocodiles' bones from 
Honfleur. From the coast of Calvados M. Cuvier received 
some fragments ; and even from the interior of France not a 
few very strongly characterized ; from Condat, in Agenois, and 
from Reugny, near Corbigny, in the department of the Nievre. 
These last were manifestly in the oolite, but the gangue of most 
of the rest was very similar to the lias. 


There was even one very celebrated fragment, the history of 
which proves with what levity of judgment naturalists, other- 
wise of ability, have attributed to the human species fossil or 
petrified bones. 

Scheuchzer, walking one day in the environs of Altorf, a 
town and university in the territory of Nuremberg, with his 
friend Langhans, went to make researches at the foot of the 
Gibet. Langhans, who had penetrated into the inclosure, 
found among the stones a piece of ash-coloured marble^ which 
contained eight dorsal vertebrae, tinted black and of a brilliant 
appearance. Seized, says Scheuchzer, with a panic terror, 
Langhans threw this stone over the wall, and Scheuchzer hav- 
ing taken it up^ kept two vertebrae, which he considered to be 
human, and caused to be engraved in his Piscium Querelce, 
He also tells this story to Bayer, on the occasion of two 
similar vertebrae, probably from the same place, which he had 
caused to be represented in his Oryctographia JVorica, pi. vi. 
fig. 32, and Bayer had Scheuchzer*s letter printed in the sup- 
plements to this Oryctography, which contain the sequel of his 
description of his collections. 

These vertebrae, copied by Dargenville in his Oryctoloyie, 
and quoted by Walch and many other describers of petrifac- 
tions, have, until within a comparatively short time, passed, 
without contradiction, for human bones. 

The slightest knowledge of osteology, however, or rather the 
mere view of a human skeleton, would be sufficient to show that 
these vertebrae could never have proceeded from man. They 
might have been taken for those of crocodiles or fish. But 
since the bones of the ichthyosaurus have been made known, 
there can be no hesitation in referring them to that genus. M. 
Cuvier has seen similar ones, from the same place, in the col- 
lection of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. 

Lastly, there was a skeleton nearly entire, and many debris 
of ichthyosaurus found at Boll, in Wirtemberg, the same place 
where crocodiles and other fossils belonging to the secondary 


formation have been found in great abundance. They are in 
a calcareous schistus analogous to that of Solenhoffen ; and 
M. George Frederic Jaeger, director of the Royal Museum of 
Stuttgard, has figured and described them in an especial dis- 
sertation. This able naturalist has even recognized many spe- 
cimens taken from the same place during a number of years, 
and scattered through various collections, where nobody took 
the trouble of attempting their determination. 

The pieces which M. Cuvier has employed in his description 
of the ichthyosaurus he has figured, and thus describes : — 

A skeleton about three feet and a-half in length. There are 
wanting to the spine only some vertebrae of the end of the tail, 
which have even left their impression. But there remains very 
little of the ribs. The head is crushed, but tolerably complete, 
as are also the two anterior extremities and the left posterior. 
There are but few fragments of the pelvis. The omoplates, 
clavicles, and anterior part of the sternum, have disappeared. 

Another skeleton, from a larger individual, with the teeth 
less narrow. The tail and a part of the loins are wanting, like- 
wise the sternum, the omoplates, and the clavicles ; but the 
rest of the anterior extremities are complete, various bones of 
the head in a good state, many ribs in their entire length, a 
considerable remnant of the pelvis, and a posterior extremity 
almost entire. The Baron had also numerous isolated verte- 
brae, or joined together in series of eight, ten, or more. 

For the description of the head his materials were also very 
complete. He had a head to which nothing was wanting but 
the anterior end of the muzzle and a part of the occipital and 
basilary region. The teeth are the same as in the preceding 
skeleton. This head was described by SirEverard Home, in 
the Philosophical Transactions for 1819, pi. xiii. But M. 
Cuvier^disengaged it better from the stone which covered it, 
and discovered some new peculiarities, especially the nostrils 
and the foramen of the parietal. A head whose muzzle was 
still more truncated, but which was valuable from possessing 
the entire basilary and palatine region, also belonged to the 


Baron. There is but a small number of teeth preserved, 
which are narrow and straight. 

Another head, truncated from the front as far as the parietal, 
and which preserves no teeth ; but the temporal region is very 
entire, and it also has the hyoid bone. 

Two other heads, flattened vertically, but nearly entire. The 
teeth are the same as in the first and second skeleton. These 
heads furnished very satisfactory details concerning the sutures 
and foramina, and confirmed everything respecting the liyoid 

An enormous lower jaw, which, though very much truncated 
at both ends, was yet nearly two feet in length. This was a 
sufficient indication of the size to which the genus might arrive. 
Finally, there were also some isolated bones, especially of the 
occiput, which proved of no small utility in illustration of this 
important part. 

Nothing was wanting for the shoulder and the entire anterior 
extremity. There was a fragment of a very large individual, 
where, with many vertebrae and ribs, were found the sternum, 
the clavicles, the coraco'ids, an omoplate, two humeri, and two 
fore-arms. From an individual of smaller size, came the ster- 
num in its proper place, the clavicles, the coraco'ids, an omo- 
plate, a humerus, a fore-arm, and a bone of the carpus. 

The same bones in another specimen, with the fin almost 

A more complete piece for all these parts from rather a small 
individual. The left fin was entire, and attached to its shoul- 
der, which was also complete, as was the sternum and the 
coracoi'd of the opposite shoulder. 

The Baron declares that he was not so fortunate in regard to 
the posterior extremity. The pelvis was mutilated in his two 
skeletons, and he did not meet with one separately. His opi- 
nion was that these parts were more weak, less adherent, and 
more easily detached after death. 

We must now enter on a description of the ichthyosaurus, 
beginning with the teeth. 


The teeth of all the ichthyosauri are conical, and their crown 
is enamelled, and striated longitudinally as in the crocodiles. 
It is more or less sharp, more or less swelled, more or less 
compressed, according to the species. The root is more 
bulky, not enamelled, but it is striated like the crown. 

These teeth remain a long time hollow internally. They 
are not enchased in alveoli as deep and close as those of the 
crocodile, nor are they naked on the internal side like those of 
the lizards. But it appears that they are simply ranged in a 
deep furrow of the maxillary bone, the bottom of which alone 
is hollowed with fosses corresponding to each tooth. 

Their mode of replacement is analogous to that of the cro- 
codile, with this difference, that in the crocodile whose teeth 
are always hollow, the new tooth penetrates into the interior of 
the old ; while in the ichthyosaurus, the root being ossified, the 
new tooth penetrates only into the cavity formed by the caries, 
a cavity which augments in proportion as the new tooth in- 
creases in size, and which, finally, causing the root to disap- 
pear, determines the fall of the crown of the old tooth. 

This crown of the tooth preserves still in its anterior a 
cavity, usually filled with spath, long after the root is ossified. 
The new root begins to ossify even before the old tooth has 
fallen . 

The number of teeth is considerable. Mr. Conybeare does 
not reckon less than thirty on each side in each jaw. Sir 
Everard Home has pointed out forty-five on each side in 
each jaw, in the individual figured in the ^' Philosophical 
Transactions of 1820." 

Messrs. Conybeare and De Labeche have found sufficient 
differences between these teeth, to deduce from them the cha- 
racters of four distinct species. 

The Ichthyosaurus communis, whose teeth have a conical 
crown, moderately sharp, slightly hooked, and deeply striated. 
This species is, in general, large, and to it the most gigantic 
individuals belonged. 


The /. plati/odon, in which this crown is compressed, and 
presents on each side a trenchant ridge. The individuals of 
this species vary in length from five to fifteen feet. 

The /. tenuirostris has the teeth more nairow, and the 
muzzle longer and more slender. 

Lastly, the /. intermedins has the teeth more sharp, and 
less profoundly striated than those of /. communis, less narrow 
than in tenuirostris. 

The last two species do not attain to more than half the 
size to which /. communis may arrive. 

As these species do not differ in the rest of their conforma- 
tion but by slight variations in the proportions of the bones, 
but not in the composition of the parts, we shall first give a 
generic description of the head as if it belonged but to one 
species, noticing the differences after. 

The elongated and pointed muzzle of the ichthyosaurus is 
formed principally by two bones, furnished with teeth, and 
which, in all its anterior moiety, are united to each other, 
above and below, by a suture, but are separated in the upper 
moiety by two other bones, which advance between them in a 
point. ^ 

On each side of this same upper half is seen a narrow bone, 
in which the series of the teeth is continued, and which is 
prolonged behind as far as under the anterior angle of the 

There are no nostrils at the point of the muzzle ; their aper- 
tures are two oblong holes, in the summit of the intermaxil- 
laries ; from their anterior edge they form an emargination in 
the upper edge of the intermaxillaries. 

The upper and internal edge of the nostrils is made by the 
nasal bone, which widens to arrive there, forming a notched 
suture with the base of the intermaxillary. 

To the upper edge, that is, nearest the orbit, two bones con- 
cur, or, at least, approach, which from their lower part also 
concur to the formation of the circle of the orbit ; and even 


the upper one extends over a good part of the superciliary 
arcade. This appeared to M. Cuvier to be the anterior 
frontal. The other, which is smaller, he thought might be 
the lachrymal, but could discern no lachrymal foramen. 

The two nasals re-ascend between the anterior frontals as 
far as the principal frontals, to which they are articulated by a 
notched suture, which varies in direction according to the 

The principal frontals are placed, as usual, on the middle 
of the interval of the orbits, but it does not appear that they 
came as far as their upper edge. 

The posterior frontals proceed along the superciliary arch, 
and the external edge of the principal frontals, to join the 
anterior. They also form all this posterior edge of the orbit in 
descending to join the jugal bone. This last is slender. It is 
placed obliquely on the maxillary to form all the lower edge of 
the orbit, and remounts a little behind to join the posterior 
frontal, with which it closes the frame of the orbit. But this 
ascending part is not considerable, so that the emargination 
exhibited by the zygoma underneath, in the lizards, is less in 
the ichthyosaurus^ 

A broad bone behind the orbit is peculiar to the ichthyo- 
saurus, and distinguishes it from the lizards. This bone arti 
cuiates with the posterior edge of the posterior frontal, and of 
the jugal, and proceeds from its other extremity to take part 
in the articular face which bears the lower jaw. The bone 
which joins the rest of this articular face is placed more 
within than the preceding, and suspended to the mastoid and 
the lateral occipital. These two bones, M. Cuvier thinks, are 
the temporal and tympanic. 

The temporal, in its form, much resembles that of the 
lizards, only that it is articulated by a higher line to the pos- 
terior frontal and the jugal bones. But its peculiar character 
is its descending like that of the crocodile, as far as the articu- 
lation ; but, though articulating with the posterior frontal, it 

2 A 


does not leave, as in the crocodile, a second temporal foss 
behind the orbit. 

The temporal of the sea-turtle has much analogy with this, 
both in form and connexions. But in that animal, the mastoid 
and posterior frontal unite to the parietal above the temporal, 
to form a vault at the temple, while here, on the contrary, a 
great vacancy remains, as in the lizards. There is one, also, 
of variable dimensions in the crocodiles. 

The mastoid is articulated on one part to the posterior 
frontal and temporal, and, on the other, to the posterior lateral 
apophysis of the parietal. 

In the lizards, in which it is very small, it is articulated only 
to the parietal and temporal bones, because the last is inter- 
posed between it and the anterior frontal. In the crocodiles it 
is articulated only to the anterior frontal and parietal, because 
the tympanic is interposed between it and the temporal. But 
in all those genera it contributes to bear the tympanic bone, 
and it does the same in the ichthyosaurus. 

The parietal bone of the ichthyosaurus perfectly resembles 
that of an iguana. The temporal crests approach it like the 
two branches of an x. Behind it bifurcates into two apophyses, 
each elevated by a crest, which proceed to the mastoid bones, 
and attach themselves there to form by their union the poste- 
rior angle of the temporal foss. On the suture of its junction 
with the principal frontals, it is emarginated by a large fora- 
men, which, in certain species, is prolonged into a fissure, 
over almost its entire length. 

The upper occipital is very like that of an iguana, in the 
general form, in the large emargination which it has in the 
lower part for the occipital foramen, in the small one, which is 
sometimes in the top, for the ligament which united it to the 
parietal, and in the rough faces which it presents to the lateral 
occipitals, and to the ossa petrosa. Its external face only is of 
a more equal convexity. There are two foramina for the 
vessels, differently situated according to the species. 


The lower occipital is very thick, and terminated behind by 
a very gross tubercle, which serves nearly alone for the articu- 
lation with the atlas, for the lateral occipitals scarcely have 
any sensible share in this. Its inferior face is convex, not 
concave as in the lizards, nor has it the lateral apophyses 
which theirs possesses, so that it takes no part in the parietes 
of the external ear, or of the cavity. This is a marked rela- 
tion with the tortoises. 

Another still more sensible relation is the division of the 
lateral occipitals. These bones, articulating with the upper 
and lower occipitals, have, externally and above them, a void, 
and present conjointly with the upper occipital an indented 
edge, announcing a suture, which cannot be filled but by an 
external occipital analogous to that of the tortoise, and which 
occupies the space which the os petrosum leaves behind it. 

The sphenoid is as thick as the lower occipital. A trans- 
verse crest of its upper face distinguishes the cerebral region 
from that in which the pituitary gland reposes. The last is 
pierced at the bottom by a canal which goes obliquely back, 
and goes out at the lower face of the bone by one or two 
holes, according to the species. In front, the sphenoid gives 
out a very long point, to support, as in the lizards, the vertical 
and membranous partition between the orbits. Laterally, it 
presents on each side a truncated apophysis, to touch the ptery- 
goid bone, and a little further back, a rough face for its j unc- 
ture with the os petrosum. In all these relations it resembles 
exactly the sphenoid of a lizard. The os petrosum is articulated, 
relatively to the sphenoid, in such a manner that the pterygoid 
•must proceed nearly parallel to the external face of the former, 
and that if they do not actually touch, as in the tortoises, at 
least very little space must be left between them. The exter- 
nal face of the petrosum is simple, and a little convex, like that 
of the lower occipital, and has not the crest, which, in the 
iguana, protects the concavity, at the bottom of which is the 
fenestra ovalis — an additional reason for believing that the 

2 A 2 


external ear was more simple in the ichthyosaurus than in the 

At the internal face of the petrosum is a deep cavity which 
concealed the vestibulum, and which was closed on the side of 
the cranium by the upper and external occipitals. In its 
parietes some remains of semi-circular canals were visible. 

From the mutilation of the lateral occipital and the os 
petrosum in the Baron's specimens, he was unable precisely to 
judge whether there had been two fenestrse, or only one. 

He inclines, however, to the latter opinion ; and also thinks 
that the auricular osselet was reduced to a simple platine, cor- 
responding to that of the stapes, as it is in the salamander, the 
siren, and the pro tens. 

The pterygoids form two bands, long, broad and flat, sepa- 
rated behind by the entire breadth of the sphenoid, and ap- 
proaching each other in front, a little under the anterior edge 
of the orbit. They sharpen there into a long point, which is 
inserted between the palatines, to which it is united by a very 
oblique suture. They grow wide, laterally towards their mid- 
dle, probably to give an attachment to the transverse bone, 
which would appear to join the external posterior extremity 
of the palatine, and the external edge of which should, in that 
case, unite, as usual, to the jugal. The posterior extremity of 
the pterygoids is terminated by a slight enlargement, some- 
what in a concave arch behind. Neither they nor the pala- 
tines appear to have had any teeth. 

Such is the general composition of the head of the ichthyo- 
saurus — a muzzle formed almost entirely by the intermaxil- 
laries ; the maxillaries thrown to the sides of its base, the 
nasals to the upper face of this same base, the nostrils pierced 
between the nasals, the intermaxillaries, and the anterior 
frontals ; the frontal, the parietal, the occipital, the ossa 
petrosa, the sphenoid, the pterygoids, pretty nearly the same 
as in the lizards, especially as in the iguanas. 

But in the region of the ear and temple are some characters 





of greater peculiarity, namely, an orbit surrounded by the ante- 
rior frontal, the posterior, and the jugal — the temporal united 
to the tympanic bone, placed at its internal face to furnish 
the articulation of the lower jaw; the region of the cranium 
where the concavities for the auricular chamber should be, 
smooth, and even a little convex, and probably no other auricu- 
lar osselet than the platina of the stapes. The osteology of the 
head of any existing animal could scarcely be better known. 

The most striking character in this head is the enormous 
size of the eye, and the circle of osseous pieces which strengthen 
the sclerotic in front. These pieces form a character common 
to birds, tortoises, and lizards, to the exclusion of crocodiles 
and fish. In fact, in the crocodiles, the sclerotic is simply 
cartilaginous. In the fish it is often osseous, either in the 
whole or in part, but never furnished in front with a ring of 
osseous pieces, as in the birds. This simple character alone 
is sufficient to approximate this animal to the lizards. 

The total form of the head, and that of many bones, taken 
separately, announced, as well as the teeth, specific differences 
in the ichthyosaurus, but the limits of which are not so easy 
to determine. 

In the head, for instance, which the Baron refers to /. 
communis, are seen at the root of the nose between the orbits, 
two angular prominences in front, and between which there is 
an angular concavity behind. The parietal is more long than 
broad, and pierced with two oblong holes, one in front, and 
the other behind, and its temporal crests unite in a single line. 

In another and a smaller head, the parietal is nearly alike, 
but pierced with only a single hole. Nevertheless, as the 
teeth are similar, this can only be an accidental difference. 

In another head, on the contrary, the parietal is of equal 
breadth and length, and altogether flatted behind. There is 
but a single round hole in front. There are no teeth in this 
head ; but from the resemblance of the parietal and the sphe- 
noid to those of a little skeleton which the Baron had already 


referred to /. tenuirostris, he is inclined to refer this head to 
the same species. 

In a fourth head the parietal was flat and short, but the 
round hole in front is continued by a fissure which is widened 
behind into a second hole. The Baron refers this to /. inter- 

Lastly, in the hinder portion of a head, as large as the first- 
mentioned, the parietal is equally elongated, and without a 
hole. This M. Cuvier refers to /. platyodon. 

There are other differences observable in the sphenoid, but 
it is needless to insist upon them here. 

The lower jaw of the ichthyosaurus, equally elongated and 
pointed at the muzzle, is formed of two branches, which ap- 
proach each other without curving much, and which are sym- 
physized on a little more than half of their length. Each 
branch is composed of six bones, as in all the lizards and cro- 
codiles, but somewhat differently disposed than in either of these 

Neither at the external nor internal face of the jaw are 
observable the two large holes which are seen in the cro- 

The dentary bone forms its external face from the point as 
far as under the middle of the orbit. 

The opercular occupies the lower edge and the internal face 
of the jaw almost on an equal space, penetrating into the sym- 
physis almost to its point. 

The angular and subangular share the external face at the 
posterior part. 

To the sub-angular belongs the coronoid apophysis, contrary 
to the arrangement in the lizards, and conformably to what is 
seen in the crocodiles. This coronoid apophysis is small, and 
very obtuse. 

The complementary bone is very small, and thrown to the 
external face of the jaw, as in the crocodile. 

The articular is not considerable, and its greatest extent is 
at the external face, as in the crocodile. 


M. Cuvier has seen in three individuals the two anterior 
horns of the hyoid bone, otherwise the styloid bones, in their 
place, large, prismatic, and as osseous as any of the other bones. 
He has even observed between them an osseous disk of greater 
breadth than length, emarginated behind, which he suspected 
to be the body of the hyoid. Having seen nothing to announce 
the existence of bronchial arches, he considers that this animal 
respired the elastic air, and had neither gills like a fish, nor 
any bronchial apparatus like the siren or the axolotl. He 
could, however, discover nothing which appeared a remain of 
larynx, or windpipe. 

The number of vertebrae in the ichthyosaurus is consider- 
able. Mr. Conybeare rates it at between eighty and ninety. 
M. Cuvier possesses an individual which could not have had 
less than ninety-five. In the fine specimen of Sir Everard 
Home, the vertebrae amount to seventy- two, at least. 

As much as the ichthyosaurus resembles the lizards in the 
forms of its osseous head, so much does it differ from them in 
the conformation of its vertebrae, and in this respect decidedly 
approaches the fishes and cetacea, as Sir Everard has well 

It has not the atlas and axis differently formed, but all the 
vertebrae are nearly alike, as in fish. Their bodies are shaped 
like the pieces of a draught-board ; that is, the diameter is 
greater than the axis, sometimes even double or treble. Both 
faces of their bodies are concave, just as in fishes. 

The annular portion is attached to them on one part and 
the other, by a face somewhat rough, which takes the whole 
length of each side of the medullary canal. The adherence 
must have been weak, for in most cases this annular portion is 
gone. It was raised above in a compressed spinous apophysis, 
which, in the commencement of the spine, is pretty nearly the 
height of the body. These apophyses, placed obliquely, and 
almost as broad as the bodies, formed, on this part of the spine, 
almost a continuous crest. That of one vertebra rests its base 


behind, on that of the vertebra which follows, and for this pur- 
pose each of these apophyses has an horizontal prominence in 
front which passes under that which precedes it. This arrange- 
ment holds the place of articular apophyses. 

The annular parts grow narrower towards the tail; their 
spinous apophyses diminish in all directions, and also their 
articular laminae. 

There are no true transverse apophyses, but in a certain num- 
ber of these vertebrae, the body has on each side two tubercles, 
nearer its posterior than its anterior edge. The most elevated is 
contiguous to the annular part, and convex. It is the only 
vestige of transverse apophysis which is visible. It serves for 
the articulation of the tubercle of the rib. The other is a little 
lower and slightly concave. It receives the head of the rib. 
According to the observation of Mr. Conybeare, verified by M. 
Cuvier, this disposition of the lateral tubercles continues, from 
the first, as far as the seventeenth or eighteenth. Afterwards, 
the upper tubercle ceases to be contiguous to the annular part, 
and approaches, by degrees, to the lower one. It has been 
found still convex, though very much lowered, as far as the 
thirty-fourth vertebra. 

These tubercles have been found distinct as far as the forty- 
third vertebra, and very near the pelvis. They are then small, 
and both concave. But here specific and even individual 
variety must be taken into consideration ; for Mr. Conybeare 
found them reduced to a single one at the fortieth vertebra in 
one of his specimens. 

After the pelvis, the caudal vertebrse have, on each side, but 
a single small and concave tubercle, nearly approached to the 
suture of the annular part. They narrow, by degrees, to the 
end of the tail, which terminates in a point. 

In entire individuals we may be assured that the tail is shorter 
than the trunk by almost one-fourth of the length of the trunk, 
and that the head is nearly one-fourth of the total length. These 
proportions are taken on individuals of small dimensions. 


The forms of the vertebrae, hke those of the head, announce 
different species. 

In individuals of the middle or small size, the length of the 
body from front to back, in the vertebrae of the trunk, is nearly 
one-half of its transverse diameter, but there are many much 

Mr. Conybeare has represented some, the length of which 
does not make one-third, and scarcely a fourth, of the trans- 
verse diameter. Their absolute size also differs much. One, 
in the Baron's possession, was five inches and a-half in trans- 
verse diameter. Comparing them with those of an individual 
four feet long, they indicate one of at least six-and-twenty. 

The ribs of the ichthyosaurus are very slender, for so large 
an animal, not compressed, but rather triangular. Almost all 
of them are bifurcated in the top, and attached to their verte- 
brae by a head and a tuberosity, which is rather a second pedicle 
or stem, than a second head. These existed, as in the lizards, 
without exception, to all the vertebrae, from the head to the 
pelvis, for the costal tubercles to the vertebrae are visible the 
whole length of the trunk. 

It is possible that the cervical and lumbar ribs were short, 
but those of the greatest part of the trunk were large enough 
to take in nearly its semicircumference. Their mode of union 
underneath, whether to the sternum, to each other, or their 
correspondents, has not been ascertained. 

The shoulder and sternum of the ichthyosaurus are arranged, 
in all essential points, like those of the lizards. The osseous 
sternum is composed of an odd stem, which in front has a 
lateral cross-piece, like a large T, and which, consequently, 
essentially resembles its analogue in the monitor and the orni- 
thorhyncus. To the branches of this T are attached, by a 
suture, two clavicles, arched and tolerably strong. 

Behind this T, and partly above its odd stem, is the line of 
meeting of the two great coracoids, cut a little fan-like, very 


broad at the middle line, and a little narrowed towards their 
external part, where they proceed to unite to the omoplates. 

The omoplate is also a little dilated, like a fan, towards the 
place where it unites to the coracoid. It grows narrow, and 
curves to re-ascend towards the back, and it has at its anterior 
edge a prominence to support the extremity of the clavicle. 

In the foss, which the omoplate and coracoid form by their 
union, is articulated a humerus, gross and short, swelled and 
rounded at its upper head, a little more slender in the middle, 
and, finally, flatted and dilated to support the bones of the 
fore-arm. These two bones are broad, flat, and united toge- 
ther, and with those which follow, so as to enter truly into the 
composition of the fin, or paddle. Thus, many anatomists 
have failed to recognize them, and have believed that the fore- 
arm was wanting in the ichthyosauri. This is not so, but it 
actually appears to form the first rank of the carpus. 

The second rank, or the first of the true carpus, is formed of 
three bones, and is succeeded by two of four each, all flat, 
angular, and joined in a sort of pavement-like arrangement. 
Something like this is observable in the salamanders, and still 
more in the dolphins, but less complicated. 

The rest of the paddle is formed by series of osselets, or little 
bones, which may be compared to the phalanges of the dol- 
phin, but are still more numerous and crowded. Five or six 
of these series predominate for the entire length of the paddle, 
only becoming a little unequal towards the end to form the 
point ; and a sixth or seventh of rounder and smaller osselets, 
prevails along a part of the anterior edge. 

In the complete paddles twenty of these little bones may be 
distinctly reckoned in each series ; and some still smaller and 
in disorder remain towards the extremity. 

All these bones are flat, and their angles are adjusted quite 
like a pavement, so that they must have formed, as in the 
cetacea, a paddle whose parts had very little motion one over 
the other, and presented no external visible division. 


Neither the researches of M. Cuvier nor those of his prede- 
cessors have been so fortunate respecting the pelvis and pos- 
terior extremity, as respecting those just described. It would 
appear, as we said before, that, in general, the hinder limb must 
have been feebler, and less strongly attached than the anterior, 
since it is so frequently wanting altogether, or sadly mutilated. 

Two bones of the pelvis, but a little mutilated, were found in 
one of M. Cuvier's skeletons. One bone was slender, growing 
flat in front : the other more gross, triangular below, and a little 
more compressed at top. Articulated together by their two 
extremities, they intercept a hole of an elongated and elliptical 
form. M. Cuvier suspects then to be the pubis and - ischion. 
Their posterior extremity is truncated and rough, and it con- 
curred to the formation of the cotyloid foss, probably with one 
of the bones of the ilia, which is lost, but the remains of which 
seem to have been found in another skeleton. 

The femur is smaller and shorter than the humerus, but 
resembles it a little in form, being in the same manner trian- 
gular above and compressed below. 

On its inferior edge it supports the two bones, the tibia and 
fibula, which, like those of the fore-arm, are flatted and 
almost confounded with the rest of the paddle. 

After them comes a rank of three bones, then one of five, 
and five ranges of bones which grow more and more narrow in 
proportion as they approach the point of the paddle. The 
number of these little bones is not exactly determined, but it 
does not appear to be less than in the anterior paddle, and the 
arrangement is the same. 

Thus we possess the skeleton of the ichthyosaurus in all its 
parts, and, if we except the form of the scales, and the shades 
of the colours, nothing is wanting to the complete representa- 
tion of the animal. 

It was a reptile with moderate tail, and a long pointed muz- 
zle, armed with sharp teeth. Two eyes, of enormous bulk, 
must have given to its head an aspect altogether extraordinary. 


and facilitated its vision daring the night, It had, probably, 
no external ear, and the skin passed over the tympanic bone, 
as in the cameleon, the salamander, or the pipa, without even 
becoming any thinner. 

It respired the air directly, and not through the watery 
medium, like fishes, and was therefore often obliged to rise to 
the surface to inhale it. Still, its short, flat, and undivided 
limbs could permit it only to swim, and there is no appearance 
that it could have crawled on the shore, even as well as the 
seals. Had it the misfortune to be wrecked there, it must 
have remained immovable, like the whales and the dolphins. 
It existed in a sea where the mollusca, which have left am- 
monites behind them, inhabited, and which, according to 
all appearances, were species of sepia or pulps, which con- 
tained in their interior (like the nautilus spirula of the 
present day) those spiral and singularly chambered shells. 
Terebratulse, and various species of oysters, alsa abounded 
in this sea, and many kinds of crocodiles frequented its^ 
shores, if even they did not inhabit it conjointly with the 

We may assign with precision, at least in the species with 
slender muzzle (/. tenuirostris)^ the proportions of the parts. 
In a total length of three feet and a-half, the head and tail 
each take up a foot^ and there remain a foot and a-half for the 
trunk, at the two extremities of which are the fins, for one can 
scarcely say that there has been a neck. The anterior fin, or 
paddle, was seven inches and a half long, with a breadth of 
nearly three inches. The hinder paddle was a little less both 
in breadth and length. 

The head of /. communis^ possessed by the Baron, must 
have been at least two feet and a-half in length : therefore, it 
announces an individual nine feet long, or thereabouts. A 
skeleton, discovered on the coast of Dorsetshire by Miss Mary 
Anning, has, however, been referred to this species, though only 
five feet long. In fact, the size may vary very considerably in 








I': /''('/.. //^^/'<. 


reptiles, without the teeth affording us any indication of the 

There are, however, ichthyosauri of much larger size, espe- 
cially in the species platyodon, being twenty feet and upwards. 
A cranium in possession of Mr. Johnson, of Bristol, measured 
in breadth, behind, two feet six, and its longitudinal diameter 
was fourteen inches. M. Cuvier has vertebrae six inches in 
diameter, which he refers to individuals of at least one-and- 
twenty feet in length. One found near Bath, in the oolite, 
measured nearly seven inches, and many portions of fins from 
Newcastle announced individuals of very large size. 

On the whole, the ichthyosaurus did not fall far short, in 
size, of the masasaurus of Maestricht, already described, whose 
length has been calculated at five-and-twenty feet. 

M. Gotthelf de Fischer has described, under the name of 
tooth of ichthyosaurus, a conical tooth, found on the banks of 
the Occa, nineteen inches long, and seven broad at its base, hol- 
lowed with a conical cavity about seven inches in depth. This, 
indeed, would indicate a reptile of most enormous dimensions, 
but M. Cuvier thinks, with great probability, that it is only the 
tusk of an elephant. 

The Plesiosaurus. 

This genus is also entirely English, and altogether due to the 
sagacity of Mr. Conybeare. Some vertebrae mixed with those 
of the crocodile and the ichthyosaurus in the lias of the neigh- 
bourhood of Bristol, appeared to him to differ from those of 
both these genera. A considerable portion of a skeleton, in the 
collection of Colonel Birch, confirmed him in his notions con- 
cerning the species from which these debris proceeded. He 
added, to complete them, some bones of the extremities found 
with these vertebrae, and thus was enabled to publish, in 1821, 
the characters of the new animal, in a memoir, conjointly with 


Mr. de Lab^che, which was inserted in the fifth volume, first 
series, of the Geological Society. 

Still the head was wanting; but having continued his 
researches with Mr. de Lab^che, and profiting by the acquisi- 
tions of Colonel Birch, Mr. Conybeare in the following year 
was enabled to describe a tolerably entire head, though a little 
crushed, and a large under jaw, which he considered referable 
to this species. He also added many other bones. (See Geol. 
Trans, vol. i. second series.) 

Lastly, in 1824, in the month of January, a skeleton, almost 
entire, was found, by the before-named Miss Anning, at Lyme 
Regis. This confirmed or rectified the conjectures which Mr. 
Conybeare had formed on the parts which he had examined. 
But he also learned from it a particularity altogether new, and of 
which he had not entertained the slightest suspicion. This was, 
that the neck of this animal had been of a most disproportionate 
length, and composed of many more vertebrae than are seen 
even in the birds, which have the most, and particularly those in 
the swan, which, in this respect, surpasses every other animal. 

This astonishing specimen was purchased by the Duke of 
Buckingham, and placed at the disposal of the Geological 

Of all the inhabitants of the ancient world, this animal is, 
perhaps, the most anomalous, and the most deserving the name 
of monster, if we could, indeed, dare to characterize any of the 
specific productions of Nature by such an appellation. The 
name Plesiosaurus^ given by Mr. Conybeare, means akin or 
approximating to lizards, because he conceived that it more 
resembled this genus than the ichthyosaurus. 

After these notices of Mr. Conybeare, the Baron examined 
anew many vertebrae, and some other bones from Honfleur, 
to which he had before turned his attention, and which he had 
proposed to describe as belonging to an unknown saurian reptile. 
These, he was now convinced, were debris of the plesiosaurus. 
Hence there is no doubt but that this animal existed also on 


the French side of the channel, and was accompanied, as in 
England, by the ichthyosaurus and crocodiles of various kinds. 
Even from the interior of France, from the neighbourhood of 
Auxonne, in the department of the Cote d'Or, M. Cuvier pro- 
cured similar relics. There are some also found in the interior 
of this country, at a great distance from Lyme, forM. Brogniart 
obtained some fragments at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 

The magnificent specimen from Lyme is composed of many 
stones, which fit well to each other. The only doubt that 
can possibly be attached to them relates to the narrowest part 
near the base of the neck. But even if this neck did not 
belong to the same individual, it is not less extraordinary by 
its excessive elongation, and most assuredly belongs to the 
same species. 

The animal lies on its belly, and its length in the state in 
which it is seen is nine feet six inches, from the end of the 
muzzle to the extremity of the tail. 

The head is in advance a little before the rest, with six ver- 
tebrae, in a continued series. Then come four vertebrae, a httle 
displaced ; but the series is again renewed, and exhibits eigh- 
teen vertebrae in their natural order. There are seen twelve, 
more or less deranged, some of which may, perhaps, belong to 
the back. The following six are nearly in their places, and 
conceal the humero-sternal apparatus under them. Then 
come two crosswise, and then three considerably detached from 
their natural position. The rest of the vertebrae of the back, 
as far as the pelvis, eleven in number, is tolerably continuous, 
but altogether out of the direction of the spine, and thrown on 
the left side, which permits us to see the arrangement of the 
abdominal ribs. The pelvis is also, in a great measure, dis- 

Behind the pelvis, twenty-five vertebrae can be counted, 
forming the tail, pretty nearly in line, except the sixth and 
seventh, and still furnished, in a great measure, with their little 
chevron -formed bones. 


The remains of the four limbs are tolerably entire. The 
anterior on the right side, and the posterior on the left, scarcely 
want anything to complete their description. 

These vertebrae, by which the plesiosaurus was first distin- 
guished, are easily recognized by two small oval fossets, which 
they all have at their lower face, and by the faces of their 
bodies, which are very little, if at all, concave, and the middle 
part of which is even a little convex. 

In general, also, and only excepting a part of the cervical 
vertebrae, their transverse diameter is greater than their axis, 
though the difference is less than in the ichthyosaurus. Their 
annular part is articulated with their body by a suture, and is 
easily detached from it. It has, in almost all, a spinous apo- 
physis rather elevated, and articular apophyses, of which the 
posterior are higher than the anterior, and rest their facets 
almost horizontally on the anterior ones of the succeeding 

According to the first observation of Mr. Conybeare, it ap- 
peared to him that at least forty-six of these vertebrae consti- 
tuted a part of the neck and back ; but it was afterwards 
found that the number so doing was much greater. 

The anterior vertebrae are a little longer than the others. 
The only lateral inequality which they show on each side, are 
two fossae of no great depth, very near each other, placed very 
low, and which give insertion to the two tubercles of a small 
cervical rib. 

Between these fossae, and at the lower face, are two small 
fossets or dimples. These two small holes characterize all 
the vertebrae of the plesiosaurus, and the cervical as well as 
the others. In proportion as we proceed to the vertebrae far- 
ther back, these fossets are seen to approach to, and be con- 
founded with each other. The portion of the vertebra where 
they are hollowed, becomes a little salient, assumes a figure 
vertically more oblong, and remounts by degrees, so as to be- 
long, in part, to the annular portion of the vertebra, and not 
merely to the body. 


The lateral prominence thus changes by little and little into 
a true transverse apophysis. 

In the vertebrae which follow, this apophysis is tolerably 
large, obliquely directed towards the top, and belongs entirely 
to the annular part, so that when this part has fallen no trace 
of apophysis remains in the body of the vertebra. 

The vertebrae of the tail are distinguished, as usual, by the 
small facets which they have underneath, for the chevron 

These bones in the plesiosaurus, as in the crocodile, are 
articulated under the juncture of the two vertebrae, so that 
there are two facets for each of their branches, and each verte- 
bra has itself four facets, two at its anterior edge, and two at 
its posterior. 

These caudal vertebrae have also two transverse apophyses, 
which, as in the young crocodiles, are attached by a suture ; 
the impression of which remains visible on the body of the 
vertebrae, below the suture which unites the annular part to it. 

The more we proceed in the examination of the tail, the 
more we find these apophyses diminish in length and thick- 
ness, and the marks left by their sutures diminish in pro- 
portion . 

These forms of the vertebrae of the plesiosaurus, however 
peculiar, and notwithstanding the length of their axes, incon- 
testably resemble those of crocodiles, and especially of certain 
fossil crocodiles, such as those of Caen, and the second found 
at Honfleur, much more than those of the ichthyosauri, or 
even of lizards. Mr. Conybeare was, therefore, perfectly 
justified in considering the plesiosaurus as approaching the 
crocodiles in many points, at the same time that, in its linea- 
ments, it shows a relation to the ichthyosaurus. 

Without the surprising discovery of the skeleton which we 
have mentioned, it would have been impossible to determine 
the number of vertebrae which this animal possessed in each 
of the portions of its spine. 

2 B 


Mr. Conybeare, after his first researches, had calculated 
that there might have been, in the neck and back, a total of 
forty-six, and even this much surpasses the number in all 
known saurians, and even in the ichthyosaurus. 

The skeleton of Lyme exhibits in their places, thirty-five 
evidently cervical, and supporting only small ribs articulated 
by two tubercles, and terminating in a hatchet-form, like those 
of the crocodile, in the same part. Then come six, whose 
little ribs are elongated, and assume by degrees the form of 
the dorsal ribs. The dorsal and lumbar vertebrai are a little 
in disorder, so that it is impossible to say if their number be 
complete or not. One-and-twenty have been counted. 

Then come twenty-three caudal vertebrae, and three appear 
wanting towards the end, which would make them twenty-six. 
This makes eighty-eight vertebrae in all, and Mr. Conybeare 
adding two sacral vertebrae, makes ninety. 

In front of this series of vertebrae, is, in this skeleton, a 
head, so small, that taking it as unity, the neck is five times 
its length, the trunk four times, and the tail three times. 
Thus the head does not make a thirteenth of the whole 
length. On examining, too, the state of this trunk, and the 
length which the vertebrae belonging to it ought to occupy, if 
they were in line, there is reason to believe that the shoulder 
and pelvis have been more approximated than in nature, and 
the ribs a little mixed up, so that the trunk must have been 
rather longer than it appears. 

It is, however, quite certain that, in the living state, the 
plesiosaurus must have exhibited the true neck of a serpent 
attached to a trunk whose proportions differed little from 
those of a common quadruped. The tail from its shortness 
has little analogy with that of reptiles, and the form of this 
animal must have been the more extraordinary, inasmuch as 
its extremities, like those of the ichthyosaurus, were true fins 
or paddles similar to those of the cetacea. 

In the back, or in most part of it, the ribs have but one 


head, or at least the number of those which have any besides 
a tubercle, must have been very small. This head of the rib 
articulates with the extremity of the transverse apophysis, 
which is sometimes concave, sometimes convex, though it is 
not possible to assign the place of the vertebrae which have 
these separate conformations. In the groups examined by the 
Baron, near the vertebrae in which the end of the transverse 
apophysis is convex, ribs were found whose heads were con- 
cave, and vice versa. 

These ribs, in the greatest part of the back, appear to have 
been composed, each of two parts, a vertebral and a ventral, 
and it is judged, from the skeleton of Lyme, that the ventral 
part of one rib was united to that of the opposite rib, by an 
intermediate cross-piece. So that each pair of ribs (the 
sternal, if any excepted) surrounded the abdomen by a com- 
plete cincture, and this cincture was composed of five piece?. 
The cameleons, the marbres, and the anolis, have also the 
belly surrounded by complete circles, which would lead us to 
conjecture that the lungs of the plesiosaurus, like those of these 
three subgenera, were very much extended, and, perhaps, 
like them, unless the scales were very thick, it changed the 
colour of its skin according to the greater or less force of its 

Mr. Conybeare, in his restored figure of the plesiosaurus, 
makes the simple ribs, not terminated in the hatchet-form, to 
commence at the thirty-seventh vertebra. He marks seven on 
each side which go on increasing in size, but have no ventral 
part. Then he gives fourteen with this ventral part — then 
three which want it — and further back he places four lumbar 
vertebrae without ribs. 

The humero-sternal apparatus was, in a great measure, re- 
established by Mr. Conybeare, at the time he wrote his first 
notice of this animal. 

What is most remarkable here, is the coraco'id bone, which 
is more dilated into a fan-like form than in any other saurian, 

2 B 2 


SO that its dimension, from front to rear, is nearly triple the 
transverse measurement. Its anterior edge does not appear to 
have had the emarginations, which are remarked in most of 
the saurians, and it also wants the hole which is usually seen 
in the disk. 

The omoplate, in the designs of Mr. Conybeare, is long, 
narrow, elevated by a not very salient crest, and divided 
transversely into two parts. In front, from one omoplate to 
another, is a transverse crest, in the form of a crescent, whose 
convexity, directed hindvvards, would unite to the anterior 
extremities of the two coracoid bones. This Mr. Conybeare 
calls the sternum, and gives it no longitudinal apophysis, so 
that the two coracoids would unite through almost the totality 
of their internal edge. In the skeleton of Lyme these parts are 
concealed, by vertebrae and portions of the ribs, and probably 
their osteology is not yet completely made out. 

This skeleton reveals the pelvis much better. It appears 
that its ventral part, composed of the pubes and ischia, some- 
what resembled that of the land-tortoises, that is to say, the 
ossa pubis joined each other, and the ossa ischia joined each 
other by a symphysis, and the posterior extremity of the first 
joined the anterior extremity of the second, so as to make, on 
the total, a suture in the form of a cross, and to leave on each 
side a round hole analogous to the oval foramen in man, and 
the majority of the mammifera. 

In the greater number of reptiles this union of one pair of 
bones with another does not take place, and the two ovalary 
foramina unite in the skeleton in one large common aperture. 

The pubis appears to have been larger, and especially more 
broad towards the cotyloid cavity, than the ischion. This last 
is wide and fan-shaped. 

The ilia, of which only one remains, and is displaced, were 
narrow, and not voluminous. 

The extremities of the plesiosaurus are more elongated than 
those of the ichthyosaurus, and the hands and feet constitute 


more pointed fins. The humerus and femur are at first cylin- 
drical, terminated above by a convex head, without neck or 
tuberosities, flatted and widened below. Nevertheless, the 
humerus is distinguished from the femur, because it is more 
flatted towards the bottom, and its external edge forms a more 
concave curve. 

The bones of the fore-arm and those of the leg are short 
and broad, and almost alike in both limbs. One of the two 
thickest of these bones is narrowed in the middle ; the other 
is flatted, and its external edge presents the arch of a circle. 
In the leg this flat bone represents the fibula, and is there 
a little emarginated at this external edge. In the fore-arm it 
represents the radius. 

We then find some flat and round bones, which represent 
the carpus and tarsus. 

To the carpus there are but four bones in the first rank, one 
of which, a little outwards, is the os pisciforme. There are 
three in the second. To the tarsus, it appears that there were 
in all but six, the two largest of which, probably, represent the 
astragalus, and the calcaneum of the lizards. 

All the rest of the fin or paddle is formed by the metatar- 
sians and the phalanges, very obviously disposed in five longi- 
tudinal series which represent the five toes ; but the phalanges, 
as in the fin of whales, are in much greater number than 

There are, at least, seven in the second and third of the 
fore-toes, which are the longest; and, at least, ten upon the 
third toe of the hinder extremity. The absolute numbers of 
all are, however, difficult to state, because some small phalanx 
may be lost, especially on the lateral toes. The shortest ap- 
pears to have been the thumb, which does not seem to have 
had more than four or five articulations, comprising the meta- 
carpian or metatarsian. 

All these little bones are united by synchondrosis, as in the 
cetacea, rather than by articulations, admitting freedom of 


motion. They are all a little flatted, truncated, and dilated at 
the ends, and ^narrowed in the middle. The last terminate 
in an obtuse point. 

In this individual, which furnished the skeleton of Lyme, the 
anterior limb, taken from the head of the humerus to the end 
of the longest toe, was nearly twenty-three inches long. The 
hinder limb was two feet. Thus they exceeded, a little, one- 
sixth of the total length. 

These forms and proportions were confirmed by a less com- 
plete skeleton, discovered at Lyme, by Captain Waring. 

The head is that part of the plesiosaurus which is least 

The muzzle of moderate length, the form of the parietal, 
the disposition of the bones which surround the orbit, and 
the temporal foss, exhibit analogies with the iguana. But the 
teeth adhere in distinct alveoli, as in the crocodile, and Mr. 
Conybeare thinks that the nostril is near the anterior edge of 
the orbit, as in the ichthyosaurus. 

In a fragment of muzzle presented to M. Cuvier, by Dr. 
Buckland, there is no trace of nasal aperture. It would ap- 
pear, therefore, that in these two genera of reptiles, the ichthyo- 
saurus and plesiosaurus, as in the cetacea, to which they ap- 
proximate in so many other respects, the nostrils were situated 
towards the summit of the head. 

The teeth of the plesiosaurus are slender, pointed, arched a 
little, and longitudinally channelled. They are unequal. The 
anterior below, and the posterior above, are longer and thicke^ 
than the others. It is not easy to determine the number of 
the upper teeth, in consequence of the state of the materials, 
but in entire dentary bones of the lower jaw, on each side, 
twenty-seven alveoli were distinctly visible. The first six on 
each side are the largest, and in this part, which makes nearly 
the third of the length of the bone, the jaw is somewhat 
swelled out. These dentary bones were far larger than those 
of the Lyme skeleton, and are referred, by M. Cuvier, to an 


animal of, at least, thirty feet in length. Many other bones 
have been found announcing a gigantic size in plesiosaurus, 
but M. Cuvier thinks it probable that they belonged to a dif- 
ferent species from the Lyme skeleton. 

In fact, there are several species of plesiosaurus as well as 
of ichythosaurus. Mr. Conybeare has characterized one by 
the vertebrae found in the argilla of Kimmeridge. They are 
much shorter from front to back, than those of the common 
plesiosaurus, and as flat as draught-pieces, or as the vertebrae 
of the ichthyosaurus, although their faces are not so concave. 
They are recognized by their sutures, their facets, and, parti- 
cularly, by the two small holes of their lower face. 

Mr. Conybeare has named the species which furnished the 
skeleton of Lyme, plesiosaurus dolichodeirus, or long-necked 
plesiosaurus, and that whose vertebrae came from Kimmeridge, 
plesiosaurus recentior. 

But other species appear to have existed. M. Cuvier re- 
ceived a cervical vertebra which was found at Boulogne, and 
apparently in the oolite. It is distinguished by a blunt longi- 
tudinal crest in its lower face between the two small holes, and 
certainly must have come from a different species from the 
two former. It is provisionally named by M. Cuvier, plesio- 
saurus carinatus. 

Some other cervical vertebrae from Honfleur were in the 
Baron's possession, longer in proportion, and flatter under- 
neath, than their correspondents of Lyme. But the difference 
is not much to be rested on. 

But the Baron considers certain vertebrae of the tail, which 
he received from Auxois, as belonging to a distinct species. 
Their body is not cylindrical, but pentagonal. 

He comes to a similar conclusion relative to a vertebra from 
the coast of Calvados. It is triangular, like some of those of 
-the animal of Maestricht, that is, flat and broad below, growing 
more slender towards the top, and presenting on the sides of 
Us lower face, its transverse apophysis. 


The species to which these two kinds of vertebrae may be 
referred^ the Baron names plesiosaurus pentagonus, and tri- 
yonus. These appellations, however, he has left open to 

We have seen that the head of the plesiosaurus was remark- 
ably small, being less than a thirteenth of the entire body. 
In the ichthyosaurus the head is one-fourth. Supposing these 
animals, therefore, to have come in contact, a thing by no 
means improbable, as they inhabited the same waters, and 
from their conformation and analogies were evidently fierce 
and rapacious reptiles, the ichthyosaurus must have been an 
overmatch for its antagonist, unless the long and flexible neck 
of the latter gave it some advantages on the score of activity. 
The plesiosaurus in its movements, and even, in some degree, 
in its figure, must have resembled the chelonian reptiles, or 
sea-turtles. Supposing the turtle to be stripped of its shelly 
armour, the resemblance would be tolerably exact. There can 
be no controversy respecting the plesiosaurus having been an 
aquatic animal, from the nature of its paddles, and that it was 
marine is equally to be concluded in consequence of the debris 
by which its remains are invariably accompanied. It is pro- 
bable that, hke the turtle, to whose extremities there is a strong 
analogy in the plesiosaurus, it may have occasionally visited 
the coast. Still its mode of loco-motion on terra firmd must 
have been exceedingly awkward. Neither was it by any means 
so well fitted for swimming as the ichthyosaurus. Its long neck 
must have presented a considerable impediment to its progress 
through the watery element. It is the conjecture of Mr. Cony- 
beare, that as it breathed the elastic air, and had frequent need 
of respiration, it generally swam upon or near the surface of 
the water, arching back its long neck like the swan, and plunging 
it downwards at the fishes that passed within its reach. He 
also thinks that it may have lurked in shallow water near the 
coast, concealing itself among the weeds Thus raising its 
nostrils to the surface, like the cayman, it might have found a 







secure shelter from its enemies, and a place of ambush from 
which to dart upon its prey. By the suddenness and quickness 
of its attack, it must have proved a formidable foe to all less 
powerful animals, and more especially to those of the finny 

Since the above historical details of plesiosauri successively 
found at Lyme Regis was written, a still finer specimen of this 
fossil has been found there, which is now (and very properly 
so) in the British Museum. A description and figure of it is, 
we understand, likely to be presented to the Geological Society 
by Mr. Conybeare or Dr. Buckland. We shall not, therefore, 
attempt to anticipate the observations of these gentlemen by 
any minute or lengthened account. We may, however, be 
permitted to state that this plesiosaurus is eleven feet long, — 
the series of the vertebrae is complete, except ten or twelve at 
the lower part of its enormously elongated neck, — the lower 
jaw appears to have slipped from its proper position, thereby, 
however, exposing to view the interior of the mouth ; the 
sternum, bones of the pelvis, and ribs are in good order ; the 
head is extremely small, not exceeding perhaps three inches 
in width, but the neck is as long as the body and tail together. 

This very perfect and highly interesting specimen of the 
remains of an ichthyosaurus was discovered in February, 
1829, by Miss Anning ; nor can we suffer the present oppor- 
tunity to pass by without bearing testimony to the arduous and 
zealous" exertions of this female fossilist in her laborious and 
sometimes dangerous pursuit. It is to her almost exclusively 
that our scientific countrymen, whose names have been al- 
ready mentioned, owe the materials on which their labours and 
their fame are grounded, nor, we are persuaded, will they be 
unwilling to admit that they are indebted for some portion of 
their merited reputation to the labours of Mary Anning. 

We shall terminate this long account of fossil reptiles with 
the notice of one discovered by Gideon Mantell, Esq. in the 
sandstone of Tilgate. That gentleman has named this reptile. 


which seems to have been herbivorous, the iguanodon^ and 
has given, in the Philosophical Transactions for 1825, a most 
interesting article on its teeth and bones. The sandstone of 
Tilgate is a part of the iron-sand formation, which forms a 
chain of hills stretching through Sussex in a west-north-west 
direction from Hastings to Horsham. In various parts of its 
course, but especially round Tilgate, it contains a quantity of 
organic remains of various kinds. Mr. Mantell thus enume- 
rates those which he considers to be characteristic of Tilgate 
Forest. (See Geol. Trans. 1826, vol. ii. part 1, second series, 
p. 134.) 

Stems of vegetables allied to the genus Cycas, and, perhaps, 

Leaves of a species of fern. 
Plates and bones of turtles. 

Teeth and bones of crocodiles, and other saurian animals, 
of an enormous magnitude. 
Bones of birds. 
Teeth and scales of fishes. 

Teeth of an unknown herbivorous reptile (the iguanodon), 
differing from any hitherto discovered, either in a recent or 
fossil state. Teeth of an animal of the lacertian tribe, resem- 
bling those found at Stonesfield, near Oxford, and figured by 

So great is the difference between the teeth of the crocodile, 
the megalosaurus, and plesiosaurus, and so much do they differ 
from those of the other lizard tribes, that it is scarcely possible 
to commit an error in their identification. But some other 
teeth were discovered in the summer of 1822, in the sandstone 
of Tilgate, which, with an obvious indication of herbivorous 
characters, exhibited other peculiarities of so remarkable a 
kind, as to arrest the attention of the most superficial observer, 
and announce something of a very novel and interesting de* 

Mr. Mantell made a comparison of these teeth with those 


of existing lizards in the Museum of the Royal College of Sur- 
geons. The result of this comparison proved most satisfactory. 
He found in the iguana teeth decidedly analogous to the fossil, 
in conformation and structure. He has figured one of these 
teeth of iguanodon, the largest and most perfect specimen 
which he could find. The surface of the tooth is worn down 
obliquely by piastication. The edges are serrated. The fang 
is broken, and the hollow filled with sandstone. There is a 
cavity or depression in the base of the fang, occasioned by the 
absorption produced by the pressure of a secondary tooth. 

Like the teeth of the existing iguanas, the crown of the fossil 
tooth is acuminated. The edges are strongly dentated. The 
outer surface presents ridges, while the inner one is smooth 
and convex. These teeth,' like most others, appear to have 
been hollow in the young animal, and to have assumed solidity 
with advancing age. 

From the character of the fossil remains, which more imme- 
diately surrounded those relics of the iguanodon, it is concluded 
that if this animal was amphibious, it was a native of the fresh 
water, and not of the ocean. Calculating on the proportions 
of the living animal, and supposing the same relative dimensions 
in the fossil, as to the teeth, the individual which possessed the 
tooth we have been describing must have been upwards of sixty 
feet in length. A similar deduction has been made by Dr. 
Buckland respecting the size of the iguanodon, from a femur 
and other bones in the possession of Mr. Mantell. 

It would appear, from the researches of Mr. Mantell, that the 
iguanodon bore on its head a remarkable horny appendage, - 
as large, and similarly formed, as the smaller horn of the 
rhinoceros. What he discovered of this is, externally, dark 
brown. Some parts of the surface are smooth, and others 
furrowed, as if for the passage of vessels. Its structure is 
osseous, and there is no internal cavity. But it does not appear 
to have been joined to the skull by a bony process, like some 
horns of mammiferous animals. The horned Species are by 


far the most abundant among the existing iguanas. The 
cornuta of St. Domingo is like the common species in magni- 
tude, colours, and general forms ; but upon the front of the 
head, between the eyes and nostrils, are found four large and 
scaly tubercles. Behind them rises an osseous and conical 
horn, which is enveloped by a single scale. The fossil horn of 
which we have been speaking was, beyond all question, a de- 
pendency of this description. There were even found upon 
its surface impressions of the tegument by which, in all pro- 
bability, it was connected with the cranium. 

We shall now close this description of the reptile inhabitants 
of the ancient world, by a quotation from a book to which the 
author of this imperfect sketch of fossil remains has been most 
deeply indebted, and to which he will always be both ready 
and proud to acknowledge the extent of his obligations. The 
Baron Cuvier thus expresses himself in the conclusion of his 
immortal work on the '' Ossemens Fossiles :" — 

" It will be impossible in future not to recognize as an esta- 
blished truth, the multitude, the magnitude, and the surprising 
variety of the reptiles which inhabited the seas, or which covered 
the surface of the globe, at that ancient epocha in which the 
strata were deposited, commonly designated by the too restricted 
appellation of the formation of Jura. Also, that they inhabited 
immense tracts of territory, where not only man had no exist- 
ence, but where, if there were any of the mammiferous tribes, 
they were so very rare, that not above a fragment or two can be 
cited as authentic. 

*' This variety, this magnitude, and this number, are still 
further announced, independently of the undetermined pieces 
of which I have spoken in the article on the megalosaurus, by 
many of those collected by Mr. Conybeare, and which, at first, 
he imagined to belong to the plesiosaurus, but which do not 
find their representations in the skeleton of Lyme. 

" In his second memoir, for example, pi. XXL, is seen 
a portion of a lower jaw, and a bone which appears to me to 


be one of the bones of the ilia. Also, two other bones, which 
I imagine to have come from different pelves. 

" Time will, in all probability, lead to the complete resto- 
ration of these beings, whose existence is already conjectured 
from the remains in question ; and judging from the zeal and 
ardour with which such researches are now prosecuted in every 
quarter, we may conclude that the era of their resuscitation is 
at no very remote distance. 

'• I have no doubt, but that in proportion as the discoveries 
already commenced shall be completed, new discoveries will 
be multiplied, and that, perhaps, in a few years, I shall be 
obliged to confess, that the work which I this day terminate, 
and to which I have dedicated so much labour, will appear 
but a superficial view, a first and hasty glance cast over the 
immense creations of ancient ages." 

From this last conclusion of our illustrious author, given as 
it is with all the modesty of true greatness, we must be per- 
mitted utterly to dissent. At all events, whatever opinion he 
may himself entertain upon the subject — that of the scientific 
world must ever remain unaltered. As long as a profound 
acquaintance with all the relations of organized beings — an un- 
rivalled acuteness of discrimination and comparison — a sober 
soundness of deduction, united with an expansive and philo- 
sophical genius — a union as rare as it is admirable ; — as long, 
in fine, as the most patient and laborious research — the 
greatest candour, and the most luminous eloquence shall be 
entitled to the reverential consideration of mankind — so long 
will the " Ossemens Fossiles " remain an imperishable monu- 
ment to the memory of Cuvier. 


The remains of Fossil Fish are found in the strata anterior to 
the chalk, in that substance, and in strata which are more 
recent. These remains consist of bones, of spines, and scales. 
Sometimes they are converted into a substance either calca- 
reous, siliceous, or pyritous ; but for the most part they have 
not changed their nature. 

These fossil remains have belonged to distinct genera, some 
of whichare new. Our limits will not permit us to enter very 
largely into their enumeration. 

It is not necessary, nor perhaps altogether possible, to ex- 
plain how these different species of fossils have been formed, 
in localities of different degrees of antiquity, from the oldest 
zootic strata, to those which are being formed daily under our 
actual inspection ; but it is not difficult to conceive why the 
fish have left a greater quantity of those buried remains than 
any other class of vertebrated animals. It is sufficient for this 
purpose, to recollect that the fish, constantly living in the 
water, and often in the muddy bottom, can, when they die, be 
deposited without coming in contact with the air, and, in con- 
sequence of their form, which is most frequently extremely 
flatted, in such a position as is very favourable to their con- 
servation. Their carcasses, carried along by the currents, are 
deposited in some still water, where the liquid element easily 
abandons the calcareous molecules which it held in suspension, 
and which then envelope either the skeleton or the entire fish. 
Accordingly it is well known that, on the coasts of Iceland, 
genuine ichthyolites are formed every day in a sort of bluish 
mud, which hardens by exposure to the air. After this, it is 
not astonishing to find fossil fish in every species of strata, at 
whatever depth, or at whatever height, compact or loose, fresh- 
water or marine ; but it is more especially in the schistose and 
calcareous fossil depositions, that they are observed in the 
greatest abundance, disposed, as it were, like plants in an her- 


bal, and accumulated in the greatest quantity ; as we find them, 
for example, in the strata of Monte Bolca or Vestena Nuova. 

The traces which the fishes have left of their existence in the 
bosom of the earth are very different in their nature. Rarely 
enough do these consist of actual pieces of their skeleton ; 
that is to say, the true fossils of this class are rare in nature. 
For the most part they are nothing but impressions : the bones, 
after having existed in the midst of the substance which has 
enveloped them, becoming by degrees, in the long end, decom- 
posed, have concluded by disappearing more or less com- 
pletely. At other times, their impressions may have been 
filled, so to speak, too late, and the fish appears in relief, or 
very much compressed ; but nothing is seen but its external 
form, or that of its scales, — nothing of the skeleton, properly 
so called. 

It is rare to find fish in an isolated state, and especially so 
in the coarse limestone ; where, nevertheless, the frequent pre- 
sence of the calcareous osselets of the ear, proves that some 
existed there when the waters of the sea washed the strata 
where such remains are found. We may also conclude, that 
as in the strata where there is no crystallization or petrifaction, 
as at Grignon, no skeletons of fish are to be found, and yet 
calcareous osselets are found, proving the existence of these 
animals there formerly. Petrifaction has been necessary for 
the preservation of the skeletons which the petrified strata 

Such fish as die naturally must become the food of other 
fish, or of Crustacea ; so that we should not be surprised at not 
finding them very often in the fossil state, in places where we 
are assured that they must have existed in abundance. They 
are more usually to be found, as we have seen, in great num- 
bers, in one and the same locality, where they were evidently 
destroyed by a volcanic eruption, or some other sudden and 
violent catastrophe. At Monte Bolca, for instance, there can 
be no sort of doubt that the revolution was sudden, and that 


the fish must have been covered some instants after their 
death, by the deposition in which they are found. One of 
those fossil fish, to be seen in the galleries of the Paris Museum, 
and which is supposed to be a blochius, had not time before its 
death to let go another fish, which it was in the act of swal- 

In some climates, when a fish, and particularly one furnished 
with an air-bladder, dies in summer, it remains at the bottom 
of the water for three or four days ; then rises to the surface, 
even before it begins to be offensive, and does not sink to rise 
no more, but when the parts which constituted it are disunited 
by putrefaction. Most assuredly if some days had passed 
between the death of the blochius just mentioned, and its 
involvement in the crystallization where it was found, it would 
have mounted to the surface of the water, and would have 
been separated from the fish which it swallowed, when it was 
surprised by the catastrophe which destroyed it. 

If we had not this example evidently proving the rapidity of 
this catastrophe, we might mention other fishes found in the 
same place, in the bodies of which were seen the skeletons of 
those which they had swallowed. This would prove that they 
had died suddenly, after having satisfied their appetite. 

It is not, therefore, astonishing to find so few fossil fish in 
the shelly strata which have been formed in the bottom of the 
sea and without catastrophe ; and those which are found there 
must have been covered, shortly after their death, by a stratum 
of sand, which concealed them, and hindered them from rising 
to the surface. 

The remains of fish differ in so remarkable a manner, ac- 
cording to their localities, that a person well exercised in this 
sort of investigation can determine, from the nature of the 
trace, the place from which an ichthyolite has come. The 
same observation nearly holds good respecting the substance 
into which they may have been converted. Thus the bones of 
fishes are calcareous, siliceous, or pyritous, invariably accord- 


ing to each kind of locality. But, as we said before, their 
remains, however altered as to form, or, to speak more cor- 
rectly, however removed from the consistence of bones pro- 
perly so called, have suffered little change in the nature of 
their composition. 

In a zoological point of view, we may say, that a certain 
number of these fossil remains have belonged to distinct and 
new genera ; but the majority evidently appertain to all the 
divisions of the existing ichthyological series. It would appear, 
however, that the remains of abdominal fishes are generally 
more abundant than the rest. 

Before we speak of the genera and species to be met with in 
the fossil state, we shall notice the principal localities which 
have presented them. 

The first which we shall remark are the ichthyolites of 
Glaris. The only place in which they are found is about five 
or six miles to the south-east of Glaris, in the bottom of a small 
valley, called the Sernft, nearly three-quarters of a mile above 
the village of Lengi, in a part of the mountains which border 
this valley, and which has received the name of Plattenberg. 
The substance which contains them is a black or blackish 
schistose fissile rock, containing mica in distinct spangles, and 
limestone, which presents itself in small beds, parallel to the 

These traces of fish are only parts, more or less complete, 
of the skeleton. These schists, however, sometimes present 
the impression of fishes, in scales, fins, and other external 
forms. Such remains are rare, and are never found, as it 
would appear, accompanied by shells. 

The rock containing the fossil fish forms one or many banks 
in a nodulose steatite, in which the valley of Sernft is hol- 
lowed. This rock is thought to appertain to the transition 
strata of German geologists. 

Mount Pilate is situated in the canton of Lucerne, a little to 
the centre of Switzerland : it commences to the west of the 

2 C 


lake of Lucerne, and extends from north to south almost into 
the canton of Berne. On the most elevated point of the moun- 
tain, and somewhat below it, a considerable quantity of 
ichthyolites are found in the slate rocks, which detach easily by 
foliation. In almost all of them a fish may be found. The 
projecting part is reduced to dust, but the impression is left. 
A great quantity of teeth are also found here. It appears that 
Mount Pilate is not at all of the same nature as the strata of 
Glaris, as to geological structure. 

It is especially in the county of Mansfeld, in Thuringia, 
Voigtland, and the Palatinate, that the most remarkable 
depots of a species of ichthyolite are found inclosed in the 
metalliferous slate. The places where they are more particu- 
larly found are : — In the territory of Hesse, Riegelsdorf, 
Thaliter, &c, ; in the Mansfeld county, Rothembourg on 
the Saale ; in Thuringia, Eisleben, Sondershausen, Sangers- 
hausen, Kamsdorf, Bottendorf, Saalfeld, Ilmenau, &c. ; near 
Magdebourg, Alvensleben ; in the Palatinate, Munster-Appel, 
and the environs of Kreuznach. They are also found in 
France, near Autun, in the department of the Haute-Saone, 
three leagues from that city, in a mountain called La Muse. 

It appears that the substance of their flesh has penetrated 
the stone, which replaces it, and has modified the latter. 

In some cases, the impression of the fish scarcely occupies 
any thickness. It is represented by scales, fins, and the head, 
all flatted. The stones, containing these fish, are divided into 
two parts, so that this image is found on each of the two 

These fishes, which may have been about three feet in 
length, are for the most part on the back, or in violent and 
bent positions, and the head is usually disfigured. The sub- 
stance in which they are found, according to the agreement of 
all mineralogists, is a coppery, marly, bituminous schist, 
sprinkled with argentiferous pyrites, and sometimes with mer- 
cury in the state of cinnabar. These schists must be very 


ancient^ since above them are found strata containing ammo- 
nites, belemnites, and entrochites. 

In the secondary strata, ichthyolites are found. They exist at 
Grammont, four leagues from Beaune in France, in a hard, 
grey calcareous stone, which appears to form a part of the 
ancient limestone, containing gryphites and belemnites. 

Fortis has found fossil fish in a fissile calcareous stone, 
partly forming the high mountain of Pietra Roya, a portion of 
Mount Mat^s, in Italy. They are couched flatly, in reUef, 
and their ridges are converted into silex. On cutting the 
stone, the fish, instead of being divided more or less equally 
between the two parts, remains attached altogether to one of 
them. Unluckily, Fortis has not described these fishes. 

At Stabia, in Italy, on the borders of the sea, in a place 
called the Tower of Orlando, to the west of Castellamare, are 
found fossil fish, in a limestone coarsely fissile, fetid, and of 
a grey, bordering on bluish, which has very great relations with 
that of the Apennines. 

In the chalk in the neighbourhood of Paris, of Beauvais, 
of Mount St. Pierre, of Maestricht, of Perigeux, and of 
Gravesend in this country, the remains of fossil fish are found ; 
and it is probable that they exist in many other places where 
the same strata prevail ; but these remains are so badly pre- 
served, that it is difficult to recognize to what genera they may 
have belonged. 

In the coquillaceous coarse limestone, or, as we call it, 
crag-limestone, remains of fossil fish have been found in the 
quarries of Nanterre, in those of St. Denys near Paris, and in 
almost all the strata of the crag-limestone. But these remains 
are in the same predicament as the last-mentioned. 

In Pappenheim, Solenhoffen, Aichsted, Ruppin, and even 
Anspach, ichthyolites are found. The most remarkable of 
the quarries of this locality is one which we have mentioned 
before, situated between Aichsted and Solenhoffen. The 
remains are usually impressions, or reliefs, of the skeleton, 

2 C 2 


sometimes with a small part of the scaly portion, or of the trunk. 
The stone in which they are imbedded is calcareous, tolerably 
hard, of a whitish yellow, and evidently fissile. Authors are 
not agreed on the degree of its antiquity. These fishes are 
found with Crustacea; and among others, with a species of 
limula, and with asteriae. 

The most celebrated of the localities of ichthyolites is that of 
Monte Bolca, or Vestena Nuova, on the confines of the Vero- 
nese and Vicentine territories. The mountain of Vestena 
Nuova is volcanic, and raised more than a thousand feet above 
the limestone quarry. The part containing the fish is rather 
hard, and backed against high calcareous mountains, with 
coquillaceous strata ; but these are evidently more ancient. 

The mountain is composed of two kinds of stone. One is 
but a very hardened marl, forming thick strata, and not con- 
taining, as would appear, any organic remains. The second is 
a fissile fetid marl, which divides in foliations. The fossils 
do not appear to be found except in a stratum of two feet in 
depth ; and M. de Blainville is of opinion, that they all apper- 
tain to species at present existing in the Mediterranean, 

These ichthyolites consist of skeletons, sometimes in a per- 
fect state of preservation, placed, w^ithout having undergone 
any violent disturbance, generally on the side. Bones them- 
selves are to be found there, a little friable. Sometimes there 
is only a hollowed impression. Scales are rarely seen, but a 
coloured trace is often observable, indicating the form of the 
fish. Most of them appear to have been caught, or rather 
deposited in a perfect state of integrity in the stone, while it 
was forming ; but some are found which appear to have been 
more or less destroyed previously to their engagement. The 
geological affinities of this rock do not appear to be very clearly 
known, and in all probability it owes its existence to the 
volcano in its neighbourhood. 

Other organized bodies are very rarely found with these fish. 
Shells are extremely scarce, and but one species of large 


lobster has been found there, and a crab related to C. Mannas, 
Linn., of which M. Desmarest has spoken in his work on fossil 

Ichthyolites are found in the Vicentine territory, about a 
hundred paces from the town of Schio, in gross spherical 
nodules, a little compressed, contained in the great calcareous 
strata, composed of a greyish stone, mixed with argilla, and 
quartzose sand. At Monteviale, a league and a half distant 
from the road to Vicenza, some are also found in a brown, 
bituminous, argillo-calcareous schist, attaching to a coal-mine, 
which is worked between heaps of madrepores above and below. 
Similar fossil fish are also found at Salzeo, twenty miles to the 
north of Vicenza, at the foot of that part of the Alps which 
unites itself to the Tyrol, in a fissile, black, pyritous, and fragile 
schist, eight feet in thickness, under a bluish, foliated schist, 
hard, or slaty, at the summit of a volcanic mountain. 

At Tolmezzo, a small borough of Frioul, are some very 
small species of fossil fish, in a fissile stone, like that of 
Vestena Nuova. M. Faujas, who mentions these, has fa- 
voured us with no details which could lead to an appreciation 
of the genera to which they belong. 

A stone, containing a fossil fish, was taken from a quarry 
which is on the declivity of a mountain, six hundred feet above 
the level of the sea, and at the distance of two miles from it 
at Antibes. ^* 

In Dalmatia, fossil fish have been found, with marine 
[)lants, corallines, and mussels, in a whitish fissile marble, 
which the inhabitants use for covering their houses, in the gulf 
of Jukowa, island of Lesina, near a small hamlet called 
Verbager. They have also been found in the island of Cerigo, 
in a stone analogous to that of Vestena Nuova. 

In Asia, ichthyolites have been found in Mount Libanus, 
near Gibel, in a calcareous stone, somewhat argillaceous, 
usually white, but occasionally brown. These ichthyolites are 
tolerably numerous, and have many relations with those of 


Pappenheim. They are, like those, skeletons almost complete, 
couched flatly, and very seldom with scales. 

Le Brun, in his Voyages, tells us, that petrified fishes are 
found in a mountain of Syria, at some leagues from Tripoli. 
They are, very probably, the same as those of Mount Libanus. 

The islands of Malta and Sicily contain a considerable 
quantity of the fossil teeth of fishes, and especially those of 
squali. Impressions of fish are found at Melliti, near Syra- 
cuse, in the Val di Noto. 

Shaw, in his Voyage to Barbary, tells us that, in different 
parts of the coast there, fossil fish are found, but he gives us 
no details concerning their locality. Barrere, also, in his 
•' Observations on the Origin and Formation of Figured Stones," 
tells us that, on the coast of Oran, certain limestones are to 
be found, exactly expressing the figures of fishes. 

The ichthyolites of Iceland are in the midst of a sort of 
marl, or hardened mud, of a bluish colour, usually forming 
narrow and elongated masses. They are found in the bay of 
Patriksfiord, where, it is said, this sort of fossils is every day 
being produced. The entire skeleton, and often the greatest 
part of the scales, are found in the centre of a kind of nodule, 
which remains floating, or, at least, not adherent to the main 
body of the muddy substratum. 

The lias at Lyme c/^n tains various remains of fish, and espe- 
cially of what appears to have been defensive radii, as in the 
balistes and palates. 

We insert figures of two of these fish from the " Geological 
Transactions." The one has been named by Dr. Leach, Depe- 
dium politum, from having rectangular scales, with a projec- 
tion on one side, which fits into a groove in the opposite 
scales. The other fish has not been named. 

We have now to speak of ichthyolites of fresh-water for- 
mation. At Aix, in Provence, three-quarters of a league from 
the town, is a plaster quarry thus composed : — 1st. a stratum, 
many feet in thickness, of a schistose, or argillaceous marl, 





in thin leaves ; 2ndly, a white calcareous stone, tolerably 
compact, and containing argilla ; 3rdly, another calcareous 
stone, pretty hard, also containing argilla 5 4thly, a schistose 
marl, very thick, and highly coloured, containing crystals of 
gypsum ; 5thly, at fifty-six feet in depth, a fissile stone, mixed 
with limestone, argilla, and a little bitumen, which contains 
fossil fish, and below this is the gypseous stone. 

The remains of fishes belonging to this locality most usually 
consist in portions more or less considerable of skeletons, re- 
gularly disposed in a flat position, pretty nearly like those of 
Vestena Nuova. 

Fossil fish are also found in the plaster quarries in the 
neighbourhood of Paris, at Montmartre, Mount Valerien, &c., 
in the fissile marl interposed betvveen the beds of stone and 
plaster, or in the latter. They are seldom well preserved, and 
exhibit decided traces of alteration previous to their depo- 
sition. They are usually portions of the skeleton, like those 
of Aix. 

In Italy, at Scapezzano, three miles from Sinigaglia, in the 
marches of Ancona and of Monte Alto, very small fossil fish 
are found, in an argilla, a little calcareous, bluish, of no great 
hardness, of an uniform grain, and somewhat fissile. These 
fishes lie in skeletons, often exhibit scales, and even evident 
traces of soft parts. 

At the promontory of Forcara are found, without order, 
and, as it were, moulded in an hardened argilla, mixed here 
and there with true porous lava, fossil fish of different dimen- 
sions. Passeri tells us that, about two miles from Pezzaro, in 
an argilla similar to the preceding, they are also to be found. 
M. Brocchi also informs us that some of them exist in the 
Monte Volterrano, which M. Leman believes to be ichthyolites 
of fresh-water formation. Faujas also mentions fossil fish 
found at Alessano, at the very extremity of Italy, opposite 
Corfu, and which are small, and moulded, as it were, in a very 
white calcareous sort of clay or mud. 

In a multitude of other places ichthyolites have been found. 


In the Vivarrais, at a league from Privas, a department of the 
Ardeche, on one side of a mountain, are found impressions of 
skeletons, and skeletons themselves, of fossil fish of a single 
species, in a marly, fissile, greyish earth, so light that it will 
float in water, and situated below more than two hundred feet 
of different kinds of lavas, which are surmounted by vast ba- 
saltic causeways. Fossil fish are known which come from the 
environs of Cadiz, and which are contained in a fissile marl, 
extremely light, a little partaking of steatite. They have even 
been found in China, according to the testimony of Lebrun ; 
in Bohemia; in Nottingham, and other parts of England, in 
certain quarries. They have also been found at Saarbruck, in 
the upper part of the formation of pit-coal, and also in the 
coal-mines of this country. 

At Elve, near Villefranche, a department of the Aveyron, 
ichthyolites have been found in a limestone containing many 
fossil shells. The geological affinities of this rock are not 
known. It is a hard, marly, bituminous limestone, by no 
means schistose, but very fetid. The place where the fish is 
found is bluish, and forms a sort of globule surrounded with 

M. C. Prevost found the head of a fish, in a fossil state, 
near Villers-sur-Mer, in Normandy, in a bluish marly lime- 
stone, which, in its geological position, corresponds to the 
upper lias of our geologists, and to the middle layers of the 
limestone of Jura of the French. It is this formation, as we 
have before had much occasion to notice, which yields such 
immense quantities of remains of ichthyosaurus. Near 
Caen, also, in a stratum of the same character, M. de Magne- 
ville found an ichthyolite apparently of the same species as 
one found in aur lias by M. de la B^che, and called by him 

We are very far indeed from having given a complete enu- 
meration of the different localities in which ichthyolites have 
been found. To do so would be impossible within the limits 
to which we are of necessity confined. Imperfect, however, 


as our sketch has been, it is sufficient to convey to the reader 
an idea of the immensity and the extension of the remains 
of this class of vertebrated animals. We must now give a 
notice of the principal genera and species to which these 
remains have been supposed to belong, craving indulgence also 
for the imperfection of our attempts in this way, which must 
be attributed as well to the actual state of the subject as to 
our own limited opportunities of observation. The great work 
on fish, on which Baron Cuvier has been so long employed, 
will, doubtless, when given to the world, shed much additional 
light on the fossil as well as the living genera and species of 
this most important division of the animal kingdom. 

In the locality of Glaris the remains found are referred by 
M. de Blainville to the following genera : — 

1. Anenchelum. Si^ecies^ a. Glarisianum. De Blainville. 
This was, for a long time, referred to the eel kind ; but M. de 
Blainville having examined the remains, which consisted of a 
part of the head and a large portion of the posterior extre- 
mity, did not hesitate to pronounce that this fish had a caudal 
fin, quite distinct from the anal and dorsal ; and, moreover, 
that the latter, much longer than the two former, had much 
more expanded radii, and, consequently, much less numerous 
than in the eel. The vertebrae, also, are much narrower, much 
longer, and consequently less numerous in a given space. 
M. de Blainville makes, therefore, a distinct genus of this fish, 
under the name above cited. 

2. PALiEORHYNCUM, another genus provisionally formed 
by M. de Blainville. The species is P. Glarisianum, This 
was taken to be the Thornbacky but, as it would seem, erro- 
neously. The remains represent the muzzle very much elon- 
gated and pointed. 

3. Herring. ClupcBa. The impression of this was figured 
by Scheuchzer, in his Querelce Piscium. It indicates a fish 
whose body was narrow and elongated. The caudal fin is 
bifurcated, and the dorsal is situated between the pelvian and 


anal fins, the latter of which is pretty long, and has from ten 
to twelve radii. M. de Blainville has named this species 
C. Scheuchzeri. At first he took it for a carp, but finally 
referred it to Clupaea. 

Another species attached by the same author to this genus 
is that named by him C. elongata. This was a fine ichthyolite 
from the same locality, and figured by Knorr. The impres- 
sion offers nothing but mere traces of the pectoral fins. The 
pelvian seem thrown very far back under the abdomen, which 
is very long. The dorsal fin, on the contrary, appears to have 
been considerably in front of the pelvian, and therefore not at 
all opposite to the anal. The tail is terminated by a fin deeply 
bifurcated, and each bifurcation is rather pointed. The head, 
though disfigured, appears to have been elongated, and the 
body very evidently so. The number of vertebrae is forty, and 
the ribs are slender and very numerous. This ichthyolite has 
much of the pike form, though M. de Blainville refers it to the 

A third species is C. megaptera, De Blainville. The body 
is much shorter in proportion than the preceding. The ver- 
tebrae are very numerous, and diminish gradually in length 
from head to tail. The abdominal cavity is pretty large. The 
head is much disfigured, and unsatisfactory in its indications. 
The pectoral fins, very long, and probably narrow, are attached 
very low. The pelvian are rather small, and situated a little 
behind the moiety of the trunk. The dorsal has eight or nine 
radii ; the first of which, very short, and the second longer, are 
simple, while the following five have, at their extremity, a sort 
of divided ray. The anal fin is very far back, rather low, and 
formed of eight or ten gradually diminishing radii. The tail 
is deeply notched, and terminated by a fin of eighteen radii. 

4. Zeus. To this genus are referred Zeus Regleysianus, 
De Blain. An impression evidently formed by the skeleton of 
a spinous and probably a thoracic fish. It is with doubt, 
however, that M. de Blainville speaks of the genus of this 


ichthyolite, as the head is entirely wanting. There remain of 
the spinal column twenty crowded vertebrae, with strong 
spinous apophyses. The tail has about fifteen : the abdo- 
minal cavity is small : the pelvian fins have seven or eight 
radii. The upper fin is single, occupies almost the entire of 
the back, and is composed of twenty spinous rays. The anal 
fin occupies nearly the entire space between the anus and the 
caudal fin. It has three large spinous rays, and about twelve 
more smaller. The caudal fin is incomplete. 

Z, platessa, De Blain. Another ichthyolite, in the collec- 
tion of M. Brogniart, and probably appertaining to this genus. 
It is a skeleton indicating an oval, elongated fish, somewhat 
like pleuronectes platessa. The head would appear, though 
very mutilated, to have been pointed. The vertebral column 
is composed of twenty-two articulations. The terminal fin is 
deeply bifurcated : the dorsal has but one spinous ray remain- 
ing : there is no trace of the anal. Though referred to Glaris, 
the locality from which this fossil came is unknown. 

Zeus spinosus, De Blain. Another ichthyolite, in posses- 
sion of M. Brogniart, and apparently of a dilfferent species. 
The head is almost entirely effaced. The vertebrae seem to 
have been about twenty. The tail is deeply bifurcated, and 
has about eight radii in each lobe. There are no traces of 
pectoral fins. A long spinous ray, in nearly the middle of the 
belly, may have belonged to a pelvian. The dorsal fin seems 
to have been divided into two portions : the anal fin is extended 
to within a small distance of the tail. The determination of 
this species is hable to doubt ; and the locaUty of the fossil, 
though arranged with those of Glaris, is not known. It is, how- 
ever, certain, with respect to the eight species now enumerated, 
that the formation in which all have been found is marine. 

Nothing of any certainty is determined respecting the ich- 
thyolites of Mount Pilate ; still M. de Blainville does not think 
that they have any relation with those of Glaris, because the 
disposition of the fossil remains seems very different ; because 


a great quantity of teeth have been found separate, which is 
not the case at Glaris ; and because Mount Pilate differs entirely 
from the other locality in geological structure. 

The species of fishes in the nnetalliferous schists of Mans- 
feld, Thuringia, &c., are not numerous, though the ichthyolites 
are so abundant. They are referred to the following genera : — 

1. Pal^oniscum. Species, P. Freieslebense. De Blain. 
M. de Blainville thinks that this impression, from Eisleben 
and Mansfeld, should form a distinct genus, probably ap- 
proximating to the sturgeons. This fish has the form of a 
small dolphin in the anterior part of the body and head. It 
is evidently abdominal. The pelvian fins are very near the 
anus. There is but a single dorsal fin, very large, intermediate 
to the central and anal, and raised on a sort of pedicle, like 
that of the sturgeon's. The tail is short, but very broad, and 
terminated by a very large fin, the upper lobe of which, longer 
than the lower, appears to have been furnished with scales. 
The radii of all these fins are very numerous, fine, and not 
divided, as is the case with the sturgeons. 

2. Pal^othrissum. Under this generic name, M. de 
Blainville includes several species of fish found in great 
abundance in these schists, and hitherto found nowhere else. 
The essential characters are — abdominal, malacopterygian, or 
soft finned ; a single upper fin situated before the anal, and 
between it and the pelvian fins ; bifurcated tail, the upper lobe 
of which is usually much longer than the lower, and covered 
with scales in all its upper half. 

P. macrocephalutn, De Blain. This species is evidently 
abdominal ; has but a single dorsal fin, intermediate to the 
ventral and anal. Tail bifurcated, and the two lobes nearly 
equal. The head is very thick. 

P. magnum, De Blain. This ichthyolite is eighteen inches 
long ; in other respects it differs little from the preceding. 

P. incequilohum, De Blain. A small species ; the remains 
of which, more or less complete, indicate a fish about six 


inches long. The lobe of the tail is very sharp. A fossil of 
the black schists of Autun. 

P. parvum, De Blain. Many relations with P. magnum^ 
but the head is much less thick, 

3. Herring (^Clupcea), C, Lametheriit De Blain. The 
deep bifurcation of the tail of this ichthyolite determined 
M. de Blainville to refer it to clupsea. The pectoral members 
are terminated by a iin of eighteen rays. The pelvian are 
extremely small, and have but five ; the dorsal has about 
fifteen, and the anal ten or twelve. 

4. Pike {Esox). E, Eislebensis. Another species, also 
abdominal. The lower fins are disposed as in the preceding, 
but it is much larger, being sometimes twenty-seven, and 
never less than eighteen inches long. The dorsal fin, more- 
over, is exactly opposed to the anal, which constitutes it a 

5. Stromateus. aS*. major, De Blain. In Hesse, a fossil 
fish has been found, exhibiting much analogy with Zeus or 
Chcetodon. It is referred by M. de Blainville to this genus, 

S. gibbosus is the rhombus minor of Scheuchzer, and dis- 
tinguished by M. de Blainville from the preceding. The form 
is greatly elevated and compressed ; there are traces of a very 
large head, an operculum very marked and open, but no traces 
of pectoral fins. The caudal fin is deeply bifurcated. 

S. hexagonus. A fine impression, figured by Knorr. The 
dorsal line is convex as well as the ventral. The head is 

Many other remains are found in the same localities as the 
preceding, but nothing determinate has been concluded con- 
cerning them. 

Among the ichthyolites of the compact limestone come the 
following species : — 

In France, Elops macropterus, De Blainville. At Gram- 
mont, four leagues from Beaune in Burgundy, was found an 
ichthyolite, thus named by M. de Blainville, It projects from 


the surface of the stone. It was a squamous, and probably an 
abdominal fish. The body is fusiform and thick : the head 
moderate and well proportioned; the jaws are armed with very 
fine teeth ; the eyes are large and placed high ; the pectoral 
members are remarkable for their length and scythe-like form. 
This fossil has great affinities with some species of salmon, 
especially with those called Elopa by Bloch. 

Esox incognitus, De Blain. A specimen in the French Mu- 
seum, from the same limestone, but the locality is unknown ; 
clearly a fish, abdominal, and pretty long. From the disposi- 
tion of the dorsal and anal fins, this ichthyolite may be regarded 
as belonging to the pike genus ; still M. de Blainville puts this 
in the form of a query. 

In the chalk formation, near Brussels, among the remains of 
fossil fish, there is but one species about which any approaches 
to certainty have been made. M. de Blainville thinks it may 
belong to pleuronectes, and that it approximates to pleuronectes 
maximus (the turbot.) But even this seems questionable. 

In the crag-limestone, below the gypsum, in the quarries of 
Nanterre, has been found. 

Labrus Julis 9 An impression or relief, with some remains 
of skeleton. It indicates a fish evidently normal, fusiform, 
exhibiting but a single dorsal fin, which commences immediately 
from the nape, and extends to the posterior third of the body. 
It appears to have thirty and odd radii. The number of ver- 
tebrae is from twenty-four to twenty-six. The head is pretty 
large ; the orbits moderate ; the opercle large, and greatly 
cleft. There are traces of but one member, which M. de Blain- 
ville thinks the pelvian. As its position is pretty forward, the 
fish may be sub-thoracic. 

The catalogue of Davila speaks of fossil fish found in the 
quarries of St. Denis. But the author gives neither descrip- 
tion nor figure on which to found any specific characters. 

Ichthyolites, from Pappenheim and Solenhoffen, are referred 
by M. de Blainville to the following genera : — 


Herring (ClupcBo), Sp. C. sprattiformisy De Blain. This 
is the most common species, and evidently belonging to this 
genus. The impression indicates a small abdominal fish, from 
four to five inches long. The head is moderate, the eyes large, 
the opercle very much cleft ; the radii of the pectoral fins, ten 
in number, are very fine. The pelvian fins are attached about 
the middle of the length of the body, have fourteen or fifteen 
radii, and at their base a sort of long scale, as in certain her- 
rings. The dorsal fin is single, and opposed to the pelvian ; it 
is small, and has ten or a dozen radii. The anal fin, equally 
small, and having nearly ten radii, is in the middle of the 
space which separates the ventrals from the caudal. The tail 
is terminated by a fin with very fine radii, and deeply bifur- 

C dubia, De Blain. Pretty evidently belonging to the same 
genus, but a little larger than the preceding. 

C. Knorrii, De Blain. A wonderfully perfect impression. 
The principal difference between it and the foregoing is in the 
more backward position of the dorsal fin ; which, instead of 
corresponding with the pelvian fins, occupies the space between 
them and the anal. 

C. elongata, De Blain. Distinguished from the preceding 
species by a more elongated form. The dorsal fin appears to 
be exactly opposed to the anal. 

C. Davilei, De Blain. The remains of this fish indicate a 
form rather short and thick. The head, moderate, has no 
scales. The pieces of the opercle are very large, and so is its 
aperture. The branchiostegous rays are rather slender, and 
from seven to nine in number. The vertebrae are very short, 
and consequently numerous. M. de Blainville counted sixty- 
four. The abdominal cavity is long, and formed by a great 
number of tolerably fine ribs. The pectoral fins are pretty 
large, and placed very low. The pelvian or ventral are in the 
middle of the abdomen, and have nine rays. The dorsal fin is 
large, arched towards the back, commencing much before the 


ventral, and extending nearly ta the anal. It has twenty-five 
rays, all soft. The anal fin is also very much raised, and has 
but seven rays. The pedicle of the tail, which seems thick 
and short, is terminated by a very ample and deeply bifurcated 
fin. All the anterior part of the body is covered with scales, 
which are large and rounded. 

Pike (^Esox). Sp. E. acutirostrisy De Blain. A fine im- 
pression, regarded as belonging to the same locality, and 
figured by Knorr : general form that of sturgeon, but it is more 
probably a species of pike. The body is fusiform ; the head, 
moderate, is prolonged in front into a pointed muzzle, which 
has some resemblance to that of the sea or gar. pike (Esox 
Bellone), though much less slender. The opercular cleft appears 
to have been moderate. The pectoral fins are rather small, as 
well as the ventral, which are triangular, and situated towards 
the middle of the total length. The anal fin, at the middle of 
the space which separates the ventral fins from the caudal, is 
exactly opposite to the dorsal, which is single, and of the 
same form. Finally, the tail, tolerably long, is terminated by 
a moderate fin, rather deeply bifurcated, the lobes of which 
are equal. 

In the little which is seen of the skeleton, the vertebrae are 
rather numerous, and the apophyses short and weak. The 
skin was also covered with scales, pretty large, and rounded ; 
and, according to the remarkable observation of Knorr, a sub- 
stance is visible in some places, which, he thinks, proceeds 
from the flesh ; and which, like dried isinglass, detaches, and 
falls of itself. 

Another impression, represented by Knorr, exhibits, still 
better, the form of the body of a pike, inasmuch as it appears 
considerably more elongated and cylindrical; unfortunately, 
it is not complete. 

Knorr himself regards these two relics of fish as having 
belonged to Esox Bellone. 

Stromat^eus. Must we regard, says M. de Blainville, as 


belonging to this locality, a fine impression of a fish of the 
genus Stromatseus, which is figured by Knorr, but without any 
designation of country ? The nature of the stone, which appears 
of a yellowish grey, and especially the black dendrites, by 
which the impression is bordered, and the ferrugineous colour 
of the impression itself, lead this gentleman to the conclusion, 
that the specimen in question belongs to the locality of Pap- 
penheim. But the resemblance of this fish with that of the 
metalliferous schists already mentioned, casts some doubt on 
this conjecture. However, be all this as it may, it is quite certain 
that the fish of which we write belongs to the genus Stroma- 
tseus. This is -proved by the position and form of the dorsal 
and anal fins, which appear altogether similar, and exactly 
opposed to each other ; and by the character of the caudal fin, 
which is very large, and deeply bifurcated. The general form of 
the body is almost hexagonal. This fish has some relations with 
Chcetodon rhomhoides ; and it is difficult to conceive how 
Knorr could have unhesitatingly decided that it was a plaice. 
M. de Blainville refers it to the S. Hexagonus, which we have 
already mentioned in our account of the ichthyolites of the me- 
talliferous schists. 

PoECiLiA. Sp. P. duhia. Under this name, M. de Blain- 
ville designates an impression which he observed in the cabinet 
of M. Dree. It is on a hard, calcareous, fine-grained stone, 
without any other organic remain. The colour is reddish, and 
it is said to come from Anspach. This impression is merely 
external ; that is to say, there is no trace of the skeleton, but 
merely rnarks of a lozenge form, which indicate the insertion of 
the scales, and all the fins are visible. This impression indi- 
cates a fish short, and tolerably thick. The head is defaced. 
The mouth is without teeth, and very much cleft, as is also in 
all probability the opercle or gill-covers ; the pectoral mem- 
bers are moderate, and have about ten rays ; the ventral, about 
ten or eleven ; the dorsal, rather incomplete, exhibits only six 
rays, and is nearly opposed to the ventral fins ; the anal is 

2 D 


hardly visible ; the caudal is large, probably bifurcated, but 

The shortness of the body has caused M. de Blainville to 
approximate this fossil to the genus Pcecilia of Bloch. The 
position of the dorsal fin is not the same, and approaches 
more to that of the same member in the carps. M. de Blain- 
ville queries, after all, whether it may not be of the fresh 
water ? 

We shall now speak of the ichthyolites of the basin of the 
Mediterranean, beginning with those of Monte Bolca, or Ves- 
tena Nuova, in the Veronese. 

We may premise, that the principal work which has ever 
appeared on the subject of these ichthyolites was published by 
a society of S^avans of Verona, of which Count Gazzola was 
one of the most distinguished members. Unhappily, the 
scientific execution of it was confided to Dr. Seraphin Volta, 
brother of the celebrated natural philosopher, who, besides 
having no collection at his disposal, seems to have been very 
imperfectly acquainted with this class of animals. In this 
work are to be found the description of the locality, and of the 
nature of the stone, and a determination, but a very faulty 
one for the most part, of the species and their analogues. The 
figures, however, are extremely good. 

The species of fish hitherto recognized in this locality are 
extremely numerous, though doubtless all that exist there are 
very far from being yet enumerated, and the number will 
greatly augment in proportion as they are better studied. We 
shall consider them in their genera and species, as we have 
done the others. 

Squalus. Sp. S. innominatus, De Blain. ; >S. carcharias, 
Lacepede and Volta. This is rather an incomplete impres- 
sion, in which no trace of teeth is visible, nor of dorsal fin, nor 
even the termination of the tail, so that it is not easy to 
pronounce a judgment upon it. Still the form of the head, 
the muzzle not much prolonged, the form of the pectoral 


fins, which are veiy pointed and arched, that of the fins 
which appear to be ventral, and perhaps the entire assemblage 
of the parts, all led M. de Blainville to the belief that this 
fossil belonged to Squalus, and to that species which he calls 
innominatus, which has been confounded with carcharias, 
and which is found in all the seas of warm climates, as well as 
in the Mediterranean. 

Sq. glaums. This is after a much better preserved impres- 
sion than the last, and in all probability the species is fossil at 
Vestena Nuova. The teeth are visible, triangular, pointed, 
scarcely denticulated, but notched or curved on the posterior 
edge ; the form of the muzzle, pectoral fins, and tail, approxi- 
mate this fossil to the Squalus glaucus, or some neighbouring 
species, both inhabitants of the Mediterranean. 

Sq» catulus ? Volta. This impression is complete enough 
to decide that it represents a species of the genus Squalus. 

Raia. Sp. Trygonobatus vulgaris? The body is evidently 
round or oval; the pectoral fins are united anteriorly, and 
there is no prolongation of the muzzle ; the pelvian or ventral 
fins are entire ; the tail is very long and very slender, and fur- 
nished with a denticulated point, or sting ; the teeth are very 
small and graniform ; — so that it is not possible to doubt that 
it is a sort of pastinaca, or trygonobatus. It is a mistake, 
however, to regard it as analogous to the Sephen ray of For- 
skael, which is totally different. The impression is very perfect, 
and exists in the French Museum, 

Trygonobatus crassicaudatus, De Blain. The general form 
of the body, the disposition of the pectoral fins in front, the 
absence of all cephalic prolongation, the integrity of the ven- 
tral fins, all -denote a fish of this subgenus. The tail, which 
appears truncated, is remarkable for its great appearance of 
strength, and its breadth at the base ; towards its posterior 
extremity there is an indication of a sting. This fish was most 
likely a native of the Mediterranean. 

Narkobatus giganteus, De Blain, This impression, though 



considerably defaced, yet very evidently represents a torpedo. 
This is easy to perceive from the general form of the body, and 
especially from that of the tail, the fins of which exactly cor- 
respond with those of this subgenus ; but it is remarkable for 
its very large size^ infinitely superior to that of all known 
existing species, and perhaps for its oval and elongated form, 
if that appearance be not the result of its peculiar position. 
Volta also regards it as the analogue of the torpedo of the 

Balistes. Balistes duhius^ De Blain. The general sub- 
lozenge form of this impression, the forward mouth, two or 
three very strong stings at the upper angle for the first dorsal 
fin, and one equally sharp projection at the lower, and the 
position of the second dorsal fin very far back and opposed to 
the anal, are characters which have determined M. de Blain- 
ville to refer this species to Balistes, and not to Osfracion; still 
less to the Ostracion turritus of Bloch, which is a native of the 
Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. 

An impression which M. Volta regards as analogous to Cy- 
clopterus lumpus evidently appertains to the same species ; 
but this species, as the epithet dubius indicates, has not been 
determined by M. de Blainville, though he decidedly assigns 
it to the genus Balistes, and to the habitat of the Mediter- 

Tetraodon. Tetraodon Honckenii. This is an impression 
of a bulky fish, swelled out vertically; the vertebral column 
exists in its entire length, but there are scarcely any traces of 
fins. It is about two inches and a half long, to one broad ; 
the body is oval, the muzzle tolerably elongated, the lower jaw 
is the longest, without any trace of teeth, and the body is 
covered with small prickles. Many individuals have been 
found ; one of which, by far the largest, was in the brown or 
ash-coloured stone of Vestena Nuova. M. Volta at first re- 
garded it as analogous to the Tetraodon ociUatus of the Medi- 
terranean ; but, afterwards, without giving his reasons, he 


thought proper to refer it to the above named species, which 
exists in the seas of Japan. 

Tetraodon hispidus. An impression of the same nature as 
the preceding, but still smaller, more orbicular, with the head 
less pointed, and the forehead more plane. The figure and 
position of the pectoral fins, and the number of rays of the 
tail (ten), induced M. Volta to regard this ichthyolite as the 
Tetraodon hispidus of the Mediterranean ; but it is a query if 
it differ much from the preceding. 

DiODON. Diodon reticulatus? Volta, in the work which 
we have mentioned, gives the description and characters of a 
true Diodon reticulatus^ under this head ; but it is very doubt- 
ful, to say no more, that the fossil which he refers to it, and of 
which but a single specimen has been found, appertains in 
reality to this species. 

Pal^obalistum. It appears indubitable, according to M. 
de Blainville, that an impression figured in the same work, 
very imperfectly terminated, by no means represents the dio- 
don orbiculatus, as M. Volta will have it ; nor, in fact, a diodon 
at all. The form of the tail, and especially some thick teeth 
which remain near the mouth, though a little in disorder, 
clearly prove the contrary. It is much more like a species of 
Balistes, as was the opinion of M. Faujas. M. de Blainville 
thinks it should form a small distinct genus, in consequence of 
the form of the teeth ; he names it, provisionally, Palccohalis- 
turn, and the species P. orhiculatum. 

Centriscus. C. longirostrisf De Blain. This is certainly 
a species of this genus, very much approximating to the veli^ 
taris of Pallas, but differing in the greater proportional length 
of the muzzle, which equals one half of the body, and is also 
much more slender. The first sting of the first dorsal fin, is 
also considerably longer. 

C. aculeatus, De Blain. M. Volta, not having found ia 
authors, and especially in Bloch, who was evidently his guide,, 
any figure which resembled this ichthyolite, has thought proper, 


after long reasoning, to make it a lost species of the genus 
Uranoscopus. This allocation, however, is totally wrong; 
it is only sufficient to compare the figure which he has given 
with that of the Centriscus scolopax, to see the close affinity 
between the two species ; it should, however, perhaps, be sepa- 
rated from the latter in consequence of the form of the head, 
supposing that it was entire, and especially because the large 
sting of the first dorsal is much longer and more forward, 
without a trace of any other, and the ventral fins are also 
nearer to the head. 

Sygnathus. S, typhis. Respecting this impression, about 
a foot in length, in which no traces of fins (except the caudal, 
which has all the characters of the genus) are to be found, no 
doubt can possibly exist ; it is evidently a species of Sygna- 
thus, and most probably the one above-named, which is found 
in very great abundance in the Mediterranean. The anterior 
part of the head, terminated by a long point, formed by the 
vomer, proves that this fish must have undergone a consider- 
able alteration before it was engaged in the stone. 

S. breviculus. Evidently a species of Sygnathus. The 
muzzle is greatly elongated, the mouth very small, the lower 
jaw longer than the upper, and the body polygonous and cata- 
phracted ; no trace of fins is to be seen except that of the tail, 
and an indication of very small pectoral fins. This fossil has 
been considered identical with the Pegasus volans ; but the 
body of the latter is much more elongated, and the form of the 
muzzle totally different. 

M. Volta has referred to Pegasus volans another fossil impres- 
sion, which, as far as it can be made out, bears no sort of resem- 
blance to that fish. So little is this the case, that it must be 
concluded that this author never saw the fish to which he has 
compared the fossil, nor even a figure of it. The specimen, 
however, is far too much mutilated to permit any determina- 
tion of its genus or species. His Pegasus lesiniformis is not 
exactly in the same predicament, because the impression is 


more perfect. It is still, however, more than probable that it 
is no Pegasus ; nor is there any genus in which it can be 
placed without difficulty. 

LoPHius. Loph. piscatoriusy var. There can be no doubt 
of the identity of this ichthyolite with the frog-fish ; but as it is 
extremely small, it may perhaps be the variety called ganelli 
by M. Risso, which is always smaller than the common Loph. 
piscatorius, and which is very common in the Mediterranean. 

FisTULARiA. F, Bolcensis. This impression is very common 
at Vestena Nuova, may be about half a foot in length, and 
seems really to belong to this genus. A very small vertical 
mouth is visible, at the end of a very long and very broad 
muzzle ; the pectoral fins are scarcely to be distinguished, and 
the ventral not at all ; but at the extremity of the body, above, 
there exists a single dorsal fin, very low and very short, 
opposed to an anal, of the same form. M. Volta supposes 
that this fossil is analogous to the Fistularia chinensis ; but it 
is evident, even in the state in which it is seen, that there are 
numerous differences, in the proportion of the muzzle, in the 
total absence of stings in front of the dorsal fin, in the separa- 
tion of the dorsal and anal fins, and in the general form. 

F. dubia, De Blain. A species very probably of the same 
genus, but far too incomplete to give any assurance of its 
identity. It is represented in the Veronese work, under the 
name of Fistularia petunha; the head, however, proportion- 
ally larger than in the preceding species, seems to forbid this 

Esox. E. longirostris, De Blain. An incomplete fossil, 
referred by Volta to E. Bellone, but its identity with which is 
more than doubtful. Its muzzle is proportionally longer, and 
seems widened towards the extremity, which is certainly not 
the case with Bellone. , 

-E. syphrcena, A very fine impression, about a foot in length, 
and, to all appearance, perfectly analogous with the Sphyreena 


of the Mediterranean. The form of the head, of the muzzle, 
and of the lower jaw, the size of the eyes, and the place of the 
fins which exist, are all exactly similar in both. 

The impression, which M. Volta refers to Esox vulpes^ has 
assuredly no relation to that fish. It appears to approximate 
more to certain species of clupcea, or rather, perhaps, to salmo 

E. falcatus. A very incomplete impression, extremely con- 
fused, and exhibiting scarcely any portion of the skeleton. It 
indicates, however, a cylindrical and very elongated fish. The 
head is very short, and the jaws more particularly so. The 
latter are equal, and armed, according to M. Volta, with 
robust and granulous teeth. The branchiostegous rays seem 
about six in number, and are very robust ; the pectoral fins are 
very small. Beyond the middle of the body, a ventral fin of 
eight rays is visible ; and two or three inches beyond that an 
anal of seventeen, but not very distinct, to which a single 
dorsal is opposed, consisting of nineteen rays. Finally, after 
a caudal pedicle, which is pretty long, comes a terminal fin, 
very large, and deeply bifurcated. In the most ancient, as 
well as in the most recent authors, nothing is described or 
figured resembling this fossil. 

The impression given by M. Volta, as an analogue of the 
Esox luciuSj or common pike, is so singularly defaced, that it 
is astonishing how any person could venture to decide in a 
case of so much difficulty, and on such scanty materials. 
Nothing remains, in the least degree, to be recognized, but a 
portion of the lower jaw, which has some resemblance to that 
of a pike, and has been erroneously represented as the upper 
jaw. It is impossible to tell to what genus of fishes this 
impression most approximates. 

Esox macropterus, De Blain. M. de Blainville regards, as 
belonging to this genus, a very fine ichthyolite, preserved in 
the French Museum, and which may be about twenty inches 


long, and three or four broad, which indicates a very elongated 
fish. The body is attenuated at both extremities ; the head, 
which is small, is terminated by a mouth, not much cleft, with 
thick labial bones, but no trace of teeth ; the tail is rather 
pointed ; the pedicle is long and narrow, and supports a bi- 
furcated fin, remarkable for its smallness, and having thirty-six 
rays. The number of vertebrae is extremely considerable, being 
upwards of seventy-five, thirty-four of which are caudal ; they 
are, consequently, very short. The abdominal cavity is very 
large, and the ribs are very fine ; the branchiostegous rays, of 
which there are ten at least, are very fine ; the pectoral fins are 
remarkable for their length and narrowness, and especially for 
the thickness of their first ray, which borders them through their 
entire length : the others, on the contrary, seem very slender ; 
the ventral, situated a little beyond one-half of the body, are 
very small, but five or six rays have been counted in them. 
There is but a single dorsal fin, placed very low, a little more 
raised in front, with about twenty rays, and which exactly 
corresponds to the anal, the form of which is absolutely the 

LoRiCARiA. M. de Blainville denies the existence of a fish 
of this genus among the fossils of Monte Bolca, though 
M.Volta is desirous of referring to it a tolerably well-pre- 
served and well-figured impression. It appears evident to 
M. de Blainville, that it rather comes from a fish with gross 
head and depressed body, or from some jugular fish, than 
from loricaria. It may be the same as gobius Smyrnensis, 

The same is pretty nearly the case with the genus Silurus, 
though the author of the Veronese Ichthyolithology admits 
four species. His Silurus Bagre cannot belong to this genus, 
because the impression referred to it, besides being totally 
different in its general aspect, presents no indication of the 
first dorsal fin, which is so long, nor of the barbie. His 
Silurus cataphractus has no character of this species, and it 


may even be doubted if it be a silurus at all, though something 
like barbies are to be distinguished on each side of the mouth. 

The impression under which the name of Silurus cattus is 
put is so incomplete, that it is impossible to determine any- 
thing concerning it, except that it is a fish, and may perhaps 
be exocetus exiliens. 

As for the Silurus ascita in the Ichthyolithology, the im- 
pression is sufficiently complete to prove that it was an abdomi- 
nal fish ; but the general form, or fades, has evidently but 
little relation with this species of Silurus. 

Herring (^Clupcea). C. murcBnoides, De Blain. This im- 
pression is entirely in profile. The muzzle, which is trun- 
cated, belonged to a regular fish, a little compressed in its 
form. It has been referred by Volta to Salmo murcena, but 
there is nothing whatsoever about it that can characterise a 
salmon ; but, on the contrary, the size of the opercle, the 
great bifurcation of the tail, and the shortness of the body, 
appear to indicate a species of herring. 

C. cyprinoides, De Blain. A fine impression of a fish, 
with the head rather small. The aperture of the opercle, or 
gill-cover, seems to have been very large ; the pectoral fins are 
placed immediately after ; theventrals are exactly opposed to 
the dorsal, which is single, narrow, rather high, arched like a 
scythe ; but its first ray is by no means very long, which is a 
very distinct character of Salmo cyprinoides, to which this 
fossil has erroneously been referred. The caudal fin is 
remarkable for its size, its deep bifurcation, and the sharp 
form of its lobes. 

C. evolans, De Blain. Though, on the first view, this im- 
pression bears some resemblance to an exocoetus, or flying-fish, 
in consequence of the extent of its pectoral fins, this notion 
will not bear the test of close examination. The pectoral fins are 
far from being so large as those of exoccetus ; the same is true of 
the ventral. The head also appears to have been too thick ; 


and the caudal fin especially does not present the very singular 
character of that genus, in having the lower side longer than 
the upper. 

ExoccETUs, JExocootus exiliens. This impression may, 
perhaps, belong to a species of the flying fish ; nevertheless, 
the pectoral fins are very small, and the head very thick. 
Probably, after all, it does not differ much from the last. 

MuGiL. M, brevis, De Blain. ; Polynemus quinquinarius, 
Ichth. Ver. This impression, about six inches long, which 
was unique at the time in which Volta wrote, has evidently 
belonged to a spinous fish, with two separated dorsal fins. 
It very probably approximated to mugil, and consequently to 
Polynemus ; but nothing is less certain than that it is a species 
of this last genus. The portions of what M. Volta considers as 
analogous to the fine kinds of separated rays of the dorsal fin, 
would seem to be placed under a vertical line through the 
eyes, whereas, in the quinquinarius ^ they are much further 
back. The head, moreover, of the fossil is very stout. 

Trigla. Triyla Cyra. An impression is referred by 
M. Volta to this fish, which is very abundant in the Mediter- 
ranean, but the impression does not appear sufficiently com- 
plete to establish this identity ; indeed, the smallness of the 
pectoral fins, and the total absence of any indication of de- 
composed rays, would lead us to the belief that it was not a 
trigla, but rather, perhaps, a true abdominal fish. 

Scomber. Scomber pelamis, Volta. An impression, ten 
inches long, complete enough to identify it with the genus in 
question, but not sufficiently so to determine the species. 

iS. altalunga, Volta. The great length of the pectoral 
fins seems to justify this analogy. 

S. thynnus, A fine impression, twenty-eight inches long, 
pretty well preserved as to the general form, though the head 
has no character that can be recognized. There is, however, 
much of the tunny in the general appearance. This fossil is 


very common at Vestena Nuova ; as we find also that the 
tunny is very common in the Mediterranean. 

S. cordyla, Icht. Ver. An impression sufficiently well 
preserved to exhibit many relations with Scomber cordyla, from 
which, however, it differs in having the first dorsal fin and the 
body more elongated. 

S. trachurus, Icht. Ver. An incomplete impression, which 
M. de Blainville is more inclined to refer to the Scomber 
pneumatophorus of De Laroche. 

S. Kleiniif Icht. Ver. This impression is sufficiently well 
preserved to warrant the conclusion that it belonged to a species 
of the subgenus trachurus^ but that it is the scomber of Klein 
is somewhat doubtful. 

S. ignobilis, Icht. Ver. In the general form of this ich- 
thyolite, which is tolerably entire, nothing very analogous with 
the species of this genus is to be found. In fact, the belly is 
very convex ; the head very small ; the ventral fins extremely 
large, and also the first dorsal, which is evidently much more 
raised than the other. M. Volta was induced to regard it as 
the analogue of the species above named, only by the existence 
of a little point between the two dorsal fins. 

S. speciosus, Icht. Ver. It is very probable that this fine 
impression belonged to a species of this genus, but not quite 
so certain that it belonged to that just named. Forskael tells 
us expressly that Scomber speciosus has no teeth, while there 
are small ones to be seen in the fossil. But the number of 
rays in the two dorsal fins appear to be alike ; and the scales, 
moreover, seem to have been pretty large in this fossil. The 
impression referred by M. Volta to S, glaucus is more likely 
to have belonged to this species. 

S. pelagicuSf Icht. Ver. Though this fossil has evidently 
belonged to a species of the genus of Scomber, with an elon- 
gated body, and which, probably, had but a single dorsal fin, 
we cannot by any means be certain that it belonged to Scomber 


S. chloris. This, again, is a species of Scomber, which 
may, perhaps, have some relations with chloris, as the body- 
is short, and very much raised ; as there are three spinous rays 
in front of the anal fin, and as the dorsal fins seem united ; 
but the lower jaw is indubitably shorter than the upper, exactly 
the reverse of what takes place in the true chloris, which, 
moreover, belongs to the African seas. 

Scomber orcynus. The general form and assemblage of the 
parts indicate a Scomber, and very probably the Scomber 
orcynus of Rondelet, inasmuch as there is a single dorsal fin 
rather short, but elevated ; an anal almost correspondent to it, 
and eight spinous rays both above and below. This species is 
found in the Mediterranean, and Linnaeus has confounded it 
with the tunny. 

We may observe, in general, that the number of species of 
this genus. Scomber, is much more considerable in the Medi- 
terranean than was believed at the time when the Veronese 
Ichthyolithology was published. This we find from the works 
of MM. Risso and Rafinesque, who have discovered species 
there very much approaching to many hitherto supposed to 
exist only in the Red Sea or the Indian Ocean. So much is 
this the case, that there is scarcely any reason to doubt that 
all the fossil species of Monte Bolca, which are very numerous, 
are to be found in the Mediterranean. 

Perca (Perch). P. formosa, Linn. P. Americana, Icht, 
Ver. This fossil skeleton, in which no traces of ventral fins 
are visible, has certainly some relation with the general forms 
of the perch, in the size of the head and mouth. There is 
but a single dorsal fin, situated in the middle of the back, as 
in Perca formosa. But the anal fin is much longer and nearer 
to the tail ; and this, with other differences, takes away all cer- 
tainty respecting the species, and even respecting the genus. 

SciiENA. Of this genus the impression referred to Scicena 
jaculatrix, by the author of the Veronese Ichthyolithology, has 
no relation whatever to that species, and is, moreover, ex- 


tremely imperfect. His aS". Plumieri, which is well preserved, 
has more analogy with the genus Scisena. The head is very 
small ; the teeth appear strong ; the gape of the mouth is not 
large ; the jaws are equal ; the body is moderately elongated ; 
and the vertebrae are from twenty-four to twenty-five in number, 
twelve only of which are thoracic. The back, which is a little 
convex, has two dorsal fins nearly equal, the first of which has 
seven stings or spines, and the last nearly as many ramified 
rays. The anal fin, which is smaller, has a single spinous ray. 
The pectorals appear large, and the caudal is scarcely semi- 
lunar. M. de Blainville, however, does not regard the specific 
identity as proved. 

LuTJANUs. L. Lutjan, Icht. Ver. M. de Blainville is in- 
clined to regard this as the same as Scomber cordyla, above 
cited, for the following reasons : — ^The impression represents a 
form attenuated at both extremities. The vertebral column is 
composed of twenty-four or twenty- five large vertebrae, and 
terminated by a large and deeply bifurcated caudal fin. There 
is no sting to the fins. The fish, however, appears to have 
been covered with pretty large scales, and to have had the teeth 
tolerably strong. 

L. ephippium, Icht. Ver. This ichthyolite is yet better 
preserved than the preceding. It represents a fish much 
shorter, more raised, almost convex, and whose mouth is armed 
with very strong teeth, the anterior two of which are the longest. 
The head is very long ; the vertebral column consists of twenty- 
four or twenty-five vertebrae, six of which, at most, are abdo- 
minal.* The dorsal fin, very long, is scarcely excavated at the 
place which separates the spinous part from that which is not 
so. The anal is large, with two or three spinous rays ; the 
caudal is large and rounded. The analogy between this fossil 
and the species to which it is above referred seems pretty pro- 

HoLOCENTRUS. H. calcaHfer, Icht. Ver. This is a species 
which has great affinity with the preceding, and in which all 


the fins are disposed absolutely in the same manner. The 
head, however, if it has been well represented, is much smaller, 
and the jaws appear to be without teeth. The analogy with 
Holocentrus calcarifer is more than doubtful. As to the Holo- 
centrus lanceolatus of Volta, the impression is too incomplete 
to afford any ground for decision ; it may, however, belong to 
this genus. It is also more than probable that his Holocentrus 
maculatus belongs to it also ; but, again, this specimen is too 
imperfect to allow of a positive determination. 

H. macrocephalus, De Blain. There are certainly some 
relations between this fine and well preserved impression and 
the Holocentrus sogho^ which exists in the rivers of North 
America ; but it is equally evident that it should form a distinct 
species, in consequence of the thickness of its head, the con- 
vexity of the forehead, and even from the nearly bifurcated 
form of the tail. 

Scorptena. The impression referred to Scorpcena scrofu, 
Icht. Ver., is altogether too much defaced for any cautious 
naturalist to pronounce a positive judgment on its identity. 

Spar us. S. vulgaris, De Blain. ; S. dentex, Icht. Ver. ; 
and S. sargus, ibid. ; and S. macrophthalmus, ibid. Three 
impressions, equally well preserved, which M. de Blainville 
unhesitatingly refers to one and the same species. The head 
is large, partly covered with scales ; the opercle equally large ; 
the mouth is furnished with hooked teeth, pretty sharp. The 
body is very much raised, almost in the proportion of one to 
two. The vertebral column is nearly straight, and composed 
of twenty-four vertebrae, with strong spinous apophyses, nine 
of which are abdominal. It is terminated by a very large and 
somewhat semilunar caudal fin. The pectoral fins are small, 
and attached pretty high ; the ventral are nearly sub-abdo- 
minal ; the dorsal is single, commences immediately behind 
the nape, and is formed of seventeen rays, nine of which are 
spinous : the anal has nine rays, the first two or three of which 
are spinous. Though the disposition of the teeth is pretty 


nearly the same as in Sparus dentex, the proportions of the 
parts will not permit us to regard this fossil as the analogue of 
that species. 

There are other fossil species attributed to Sparus in the 
Veronese work, but they are either identical with some of the 
foregoing, or established on materials too insufficient to afford 
a safe foundation. 

Labrus. An impression referred, in the above-mentioned 
work, to L. merula, Linn., is so completely defaced, that though 
it does somewhat indicate the form of Labrus, it is impossible 
to give any assurance concerning it ; it may, perhaps, be 
Labrus ciliaris. 

L. turduSf Icht. Ver. A very fine impression, indicating a 
fish of this family, of a tolerably elongated form, a character 
sufficiently applicable to this species. The head is remarkable 
for its length, and especially for the protraction of the muzzle, 
which presents no trace of teeth. The scales were very large, 
and there were some on the gill-covers : the caudal fin is very 
thick. Notwithstanding these differences, which, perhaps, are 
attributable to the greater or less degree of preservation, there 
does not appear to be much doubt concerning the identity of 
this species. 

L. punctatus. Very probably another species of this genus, 
remarkable for the bulk and shortness of the body. The head 
is very gross, but entirely decomposed ; the dorsal fin is single, 
and commences at the nape ; it is composed of seven spinous 
rays, and fourteen or fifteen others not spinous ; the middle 
ones of which, being very long, cause the fin to attain to nearly 
one-half of the caudal. The anal is pretty nearly of the same 
form as the last part of the dorsal, and appears to have but a 
single spinous ray; the caudal fin is large and entire; the 
number of vertebrae is from twenty-three to twenty-four. 

Though this fossil is most likely to belong to the genus, yet 
it presents no trace of the ray of the ventral fins extended into 
a long filament, which is a character of L. punctatus. 


L. redifronSf De Blain. ; L. ciliaris^ Icht. Ver. ; and Sparus 
BolcanuSy ibid. These two ichthyolites must be approximated 
to the foregoing species, for it is probable that they belong to 
one and the same, though Volta has placed them in two sepa- 
rate genera. The form of the body, and even the proportions 
of the parts, are almost alike in both to the last ; but it would 
seem that the dorsal fin commences still nearer to the nape in 
these specimens, and that the number of spinous rays is more 
considerable, since there are at least ten to be reckoned. It 
also appears that there are two in front of the anal ; the 
head, in particular, has a different form, for its front, almost 
straight and declined, is terminated by a very small mouth. 
This species is as yet unknown in the living state. L. bifas- 
ciatus and L, malapteruSj of the Veronese Ichthyolithology, 
cannot, from the very incomplete state of the specimens, be 
possibly determined. 

Ch^todon. It is of this genus, beyond all doubt, that the 
greatest number of species, remarkable for their fine preser- 
vation, are to be found in the locality on which we are now 

Ch. pinnatiformis, De Blain. ; Ch» pinnatus, Volta. — 
This ichthyolite, which is frequently found at Monte Bolca in 
the best possible state of preservation, has certainly many 
relations with the C. pinnatus of Linnaeus ; but still it appears 
to differ from it very sensibly in the following particulars : — 
the point of the greatest breadth or elevation is considerably in 
front of one half the body, at the articulation of the ventral 
fins, while in pinnatus it is in the middle, and towards the 
anus ; the upper jaw is shorter than the lower in the one, and 
the reverse in the other ; the form of the dorsal and anal fins 
is different ; in the fossil they are directed much more vertically, 
and, moreover, the size of their rays decreases much quicker, 
so that the latter half forms a very narrow fin. 

C. subvespertilio, De Blain. ; C. vespertilio, Volta. — 
Though this fossil skeleton is in a still finer state of preser- 

2 E 


vation than the last, and especially more resembles the living 
species to which it has been compared, some differences are, 
nevertheless, observable ; thus the body is less elevated, pro- 
portionably ; the dorsal and anal fms are larger, and instead of 
being concave at their posterior edge, they are very convex ; 
the ventral fins too, admitting them to be entire, which is very 
probable, are much shorter, since they do not reach to the 
anus ; whereas, in C. Vespertilio, they proceed considerably 
beyond it. The figure is excellent, 

C. substriatus, De Blain. ; C. striatus, Icht. Ver. ; and 
C aspeTf ibid. M. de Blainville regards these two incomplete 
fossils, as belonging to one and the same species, and as pre- 
senting characters distinguishable from C. striatus. Without 
speaking of the proportional height which is visibly less, the 
form of the head, and especially that of the muzzle, are 
totally different. 

C. subarcuatus, De Blain. ; C. arcuatus, Volta. A skele- 
ton, as complete as if it proceeded from the hands of a good 
preparer, coming from a species evidently approximating to 
C. arcuatus, but distinguishable from it by a very sufficient 
number of characters : thus, the front-head is formed by a 
curve line, but perfectly even ; whereas, in arcifca^its, there is 
a very sensible boss over the eyes. Although the dorsal and 
anal fins are very much alike, yet they both present the very 
singular character of being, as it were, divided into two, pretty 
nearly towards the middle : still, the last ray of each part is not 
much more prolonged than the others, though it is so in 
arcuatus ; and the longest ray of the anal is the last of its first 
part, while in arcuatus it is the first. Finally, the pectoral 
and ventral fins are much longer in the arcuatus than in the 

C. ArguSf Icht. Ver. The identity of this species with the 
fine ichthyolite, figured by Volta, is much more difficult to 
deny than the preceding, if we except the little difference of 
the body being at least as much elevated in front of the pedicle 



of the tail, as behind the gill-covers, while the contrary evi- 
dently takes place in the fossil. The upper jaw, too, is much 
shorter in the latter than in the former, which may be acci- 
dental. There is also a slight difference in the form of the first 
dorsal fin ; but, as to the rest, the resemblance is perfect. 

C. rhombus J De Blain. ; C. mesoleucus? Volta. This 
fossil skeleton is equally well preserved, to enable us to decide 
that the species from which it proceeded was not the analogue 
of mesoleucus. In fact, it has not the prolonged muzzle ; and 
the gill-covers, which are perfectly preserved, present no traces 
of spinous radii. 

C. nigricans J Volta. The case is the same with the species ; 
though there may be some approximation, the form of the 
dorsal fin is entirely different. 

C. canescens, Volta. Nor can this approximation of 
Volta''s be admitted. The first two rays which follow the 
spines are infinitely more elongated in the living than in the 
fossil species, and the form of the anal fin presents very 
notable differences. 

C. saxatilis, Volta. Here there is more analogy than in the 
majority of the foregoing. Perhaps, indeed, the identity is 
perfect : the living species is found in Egypt. 

C, chirurgus, Icht. Ver. There is, perhaps, still more pro- 
bability that this is the analogue of the living species. The 
fossil, however, is more orbicular, that is, proportionally more 
raised. Its dorsal fin is not so long, nor placed so low ; it has 
fewer spinous rays ; and the anal fin, also a little different in 
form, appears evidently situated further back. There is no 
trace of the curved sting or spine in the fossil. 

C. ignotus, De Blain. ; C. macrolepidotus, Icht. Ver. 
There is the utmost evidence that this approximation by Volta 
is totally wrong. There is scarcely anything in common be- 
tween the fossil and the living animal. In fact, the latter has 
ten dorsal spines, the fourth of which is longer than the body ; 
while, in the fossil, the rays of the dorsal fin, as well as those 

2 E 2 


of the anal, proceed, gradually diminishing, from the first to 
the last. 

C. lineatus, Icht. Ver. The general form of this fossil fish 
indicates a species very much approximating to lineatus; but, 
as the head is entirely wanting, it would be too much to pro- 
nounce decisively on its identity. 

C. canus, Icht. Ver. A small species, pretty like the pre- 
ceding, that is, considerably elongated ; but it differs a little 
in the form of the fins, and especially in that of the anal. 

C. triostegusj Volta. There is really some analogy between 
this fossil and the living species, in the general form of the 
body, and especially in the declivity of the front-head. But 
the anal fin is strikingly longer in the living animal ; and pro- 
bably there is some difference in the proportion of the spinous 
rays of the dorsal : the body is also more elevated. 

C. rostratus, Icht. Ver. A specimen far too much dete- 
riorated to attempt any approximation between it and living 

C. orbis, Icht. Ver. Very imperfect ; but there is quite 
enough to prove the non-affinity to orbis. 

C. subaureusy De Blain. ; C. aureus, Volta. There is, 
without doubt, some approximation in this fossil skeleton, 
which is well preserved, and the figure of which is very good, 
to the C. aureus ; but the differences are still more apparent, 
and prove that the fossil belonged to a distinct species. The 
head of the latter is much larger, and has a totally different 
form ; the dorsal fin commences much less in front, and the 
first radii are the longest, as is also the case with the anal; 
neither do they reach to the tail, whereas they pass it consider- 
ably in aureus. The form, too, of these fins is not the same. 
The Zeus gallus of Volta indubitably belongs to the same 
species as this fossil. 

C. papilio, Volta. This species, which Volta has not found 
to approximate to any hving species, is effectively distinct 
from all hitherto known. The body is very much raised, and 


nearly of a lozenge form ; the anterior half of the dorsal fin, 
which is almost square, is remarkable for its great height ; the 
dorsal fin is preceded by four small spines, and terminated in 
contact with the caudal fin ; the anal, though equally pro- 
longed, is much less raised, though a little more behind than 
in front. Four or five vertical bands are to be seen on this 
ichthyolite, of a deeper colour than the rest. 

C. velifery De Blain. Kurfus velifer, Volta. This is one 
of the most common and best preserved ichthyolites of Vestena 
Nuova ; all the characters of Chaetodon are easily recognized 
in it. But this species differs from all that are known, in the 
magnitude of the first half of the dorsal fin, which is triangular, 
and which commences immediately above the nape, and espe- 
cially in the magnitude of the ventral fins ; the anal fin, though 
tolerably long, is very low, and yet proceeds decreasingly from 
the first ray to the last : the pedicle of the tail is very narrow. 

Zeus. The Zeus triurus, and the Z. vomer of Volta are 
indubitably one and the same species, and M. de Blain ville 
thinks that they should form a distinct species of Chcetodon 
rather than of Zeus, The most remarkable characters consist 
in the convexity of the ventral line^ much more considerable 
than that of the back ; in the dorsal fin, which has but a small 
part more elevated in front ; and finally, in the anal, which is 
very long and very low through its entire extent. 

Zeus plafessa, De Blain. In this genus must be placed 
the rather incomplete fossil figured by M. Volta under the 
name of Coryphcena apoda^ to which it is quite evident that it 
cannot belong. Its general contour is that of a chaetodon, or 
of a Zeus : the dorsal fin commences a little behind the nape ; 
the first part is more elevated, and has six or seven tolerably 
long and simple rays, and the fin is afterwards continued very 
low, as far as the pedicle of the tail, which is very narrow ; the 
anal fin has nearly the same form as the second part of the 
dorsal, and there are neither pectoral nor ventral fins ; this, 
however, must be attributed to the changes which the ichthy- 


olite has undergone ; and we may remark here, that in ichthy- 
olites generally, the traces of the ventral fins are rarely to be 

Z. rhomheus, De Blain. This is the Scomber rhombeus of 
Volta, which in reality belongs to this group. It is a fish re- 
markable for its breadth, which is almost equal to its length, 
owing to the great projection of the belly, which considerably 
exceeds that of the back ; the dorsal fin appears to have been 
divided into two parts, the anterior of which is somewhat high, 
and formed of a great number of simple rays ; and the poste- 
rior, much lower, is equally composed of very small rays, pro- 
ducing a fan-like form ; the anal fin, much longer than this 
second part, in consequence of the great curve of the belly, 
has in other respects the same form and composition ; the pec- 
torals are very short ; the ventral fins are composed each of a 
single ray, almost cylindrical, and much longer than the body. 

MoNOPTERUs. Monopterus gigas, Volta. This genus is 
established on rather a defaced ichthyolite, about a foot long 
and one half broad : the head is high, rather short, and has a 
truncated appearance ; the back is extremely gibbous, and 
covered with some traces of small scales ; there is no indica- 
tion of eyes, of gill-covers, or even of pectoral or ventral fins, 
but solely a dorsal fin, pretty far back, rounded, of moderate 
size, and apparently formed of rays entirely soft; the anal is 
formed in the same way, but differs in being notched a httle 
behind, the first rays being much longer than the others ; the 
caudal, at the end of a pretty long and conical pedicle, is 
remarkable for its length, the narrowness of its lobes, and the 
depth of its emargination. 

Pleuronectes. Pleuronectes platessa, Volta. Pleuronedes 
quadratulus, lb. Both belong to one species : the fossil skele- 
ton in the first figure is far from complete, especially in the 
anterior part, where the summit of the head is wanting. The 
second is much better, and to a certain extent the quadratulus 
of Belon may be recognized in it. 


CoTTus. Under the name of Cottus bicornis, Volta has 
established a new species in this genus, on an ichthyoUte in 
such a state^ that it would have been much better to have said 
nothing about it. 

GoBius. G. Smyrnensis of Volta, is exactly in the same 
predicament as the last. 

G, barbatus and G. Veronensis, Volta, are two ichthyolites 
in a skeleton state, nearly perfect, indicating very probably a 
species of this genus, and very probably the same ; the general 
form of the body, head, and caudal fin of Gobius are to be 
recognized, but it is very difficult to pronounce upon the 

Blochius. B. longirostris^ Volta. One of the most singu- 
lar fishes of this locality, and found, as it would appear, in great 
abundance. It is remarkable for its great length, sometimes 
attaining to nearly three feet; for its slenderness, and its 
general form, which approximates to ammodytes, with this 
essential difference, that it appears to have small ventral fins 
under the throat ; its head is terminated by a very long and 
pointed muzzle, and there is no trace of teeth. Volta makes 
a genus of it. 

Callionymus. Call. Vestencs, Volta. This fossil appears 
evidently to belong to a different species from all the rest in 
this locality. The body is narrow and elongated, and terminated 
by a caudal fin, with a pretty deep bifurcation : this character 
is never found in the genus to which it has been referred. 
There is but one dorsal fin, pretty long, and opposed to the 
anal, which is of the same form and parallel with it ; there are 
scarcely any traces of pectoral or ventral fins in the figure, but 
on the ichthyoUte they may be observed, but very small. It 
is difficult to determine the genus of this fossil, but assuredly 
it does not belong to Callionymus. 

Gadus. Gadus merluccius, Volta. This may be a Gadus, 
but it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the species. 

Blennius. B. cuneiformisy De Blain. B, ocellaris, Volta. 


This ichthyolite, which is not perfect, represents an extremely 
singular fish, having somewhat of the form of B. ocellaris, as 
to the thickness of the head, but in other respects there is 
hardly any approximation : in fact, the body is much shorter, 
and altogether cuneiform ; the head is much more thick ; the 
first dorsal fin, too, is infinitely higher, and commences sooner. 
There appears but little doubt that this is a new species, whose 
analogue is yet unknown. 

Ammodytes. a. tobianus, Icht. Ver. This fossil, very 
much defaced, indicates an elongated fish, but one infinitely 
less so than the Ammodytes tobianus, 

Ophidium. Ophidium barbatum, Volta. An anguilliform 
fish, with the head very small ; the back is furnished, in its 
entire extent from the nape, with a fin with very numerous 
rays, augmenting from front to rear ; the anal is of the same 
form, commencing towards one half of the animal, and uniting 
at the extremity of the body to the dorsal, and there assuming 
a rounded form, which is quite different from what takes place 
in O. barbatum. The whole body is spotted with brown. 

MuR^NA. MurcBna conger, Volt. This fossil very probably 
represents a species of this genus, but it is utterly impossible to 
determine what that species may be. 

MuR.ENOPHis and Synbranchus. Three ichthjolites repre- 
sented under the names MurcBuophis, Murcena ccpca, and Syn- 
branchus immaculatus, appear to belong to one and the same 
species of anguilliform fish, very much elongated, and without 
any trace of fin ; but this is nearly all that can be said about it. 

It is easy to see, after this brief view of the ichthyolites of 
Vestena Nuova, which we have given from M. de Blainville, 
that the majority of the analogues admitted by Volta are more 
than doubtful, and that the number of species is much less 
considerable than what he has calculated them to be. He has 
reckoned a hundred and five, whereas, at most, there are not 
above ninety-four : seven he attributes to the fresh-water, while. 


in fact, there does not appear to be a single one which belonged 
to that element. His allotment of the species to the different 
quarters of the globe seems to be equally destitute of proof, 
for, in the great majority of his analogical references^ he is 
decidedly erroneous. 

We must now dismiss with great rapidity the ichthyolites of 
the remaining localities, respecting the great majority of which 
nothing certain has been determined. Nothing positive, for 
instance, as to species or genera, is known respecting those of 
the Vicentine, or of Friuli. At Murazzo Struziano, however, 
a very complete impression was found of a fish evidently abdo- 
minal, which M. de Blainviile refers to Clupsea, and has named 
Clupcea dentese ; it exhibited thirty-six or thirty-eight ver- 
tebrae; the head is rather small, and the mouth is armed with 
very strong teeth in both jaws. 

Two species of Clup^a, from Mount Libanus, have been 
named and described by M. de Blainviile. The first is C. 
brevissimus ; rather short in proportion to its breadth; the ver- 
tebral column, concave towards the back, is composed of thirty- 
one or thirty-two vertebrae, nearly equal, rather small, and with 
weak spinous apophyses ; the mouth is large, and very much 
cleft; the lower jaw a little the longest, and no trace of teeth ; 
the gill-covers and the eyes are large ; there are at least eight 
branchiostegous rays, pretty broad; the pectoral fins have 
twelve or fifteen, and the ventral, somewhat in front of the 
middle of the body, are small, and composed of six or seven 
rays at most ; the dorsal fin, pretty nearly approached to the 
head, is low, composed of sixteen rays, gradually diminishing, 
and sustained by weak apophyses ; the abdominal cavity is 
moderate, and the anal fin, which commences a little before 
the conclusion of the dorsal, is weak, very low, and also long ; 
the caudal is moderate in size and furcated. 

The other species is C. Bernardi. It is more elongated 
than the preceding ; the vertebrae are thirty-six ; the ribs are 
from twenty-two to twenty-four, and very slender ; the tail is 


longer than the abdomen ; there is no trace of pectoral fins, 
and the ventral are very small ; the dorsal fin is very low, and 
the anal commences considerably beyond the end of the dorsal, 
leaving a large abdominal cavity ; the caudal is like that of the 
preceding species. 

From Mellili, near Syracuse, M. de Blainville has seen the 
impression of a fish, which he is inclined to refer to the genus 
Cyprinus. To the same he is also inclined to attribute a 
species discovered at Scapezzano, a locality which we have 
already pointed out. Near Aix, in Provence, the following 
species appear to have been discovered : Mugil cephalus^ Perca 
minuta, De Blain.; Cyprinus squamosseus, De Blain. These 
are all ascertained by M. de Blainville, and are fresh-water 
fish; but Darlac has cited others, such as Mullus barbatus, 
Coryphcsna hippurus, Anarrhycas lupus, many species of 
Gadus, and Trigla cataphrada, which M. de Blainville sup- 
poses to be the same with his Cyprinus squamosseus. 

In the celebrated plaster quarries of Montmartre, &c., are 
enumerated the following; — Sparus? Perca? (it is not decided 
to which of these the impression, which is very imperfect, is 
referable;) Amia ignota, De Blain.; Mugil, Lacepede; Poeci- 
lia Lancetherii, De Blain.; Anormurus macrolepidotus, De 
Blain. ; Salmo, Cuvier ; Perca, De Blain. ; Cyprinodon, Cuv. ; 
Cyprinus minutuSyDe Blain.; and Cyprinus squamosseus? De 

Among the ichthyolites of CEningen, the following species 
are reckoned ; — Esox lucius^ Knorr ; Cyjjrinus jeses, Scheuz. ; 
Capita? Scheuz.; Cyprinus bipunctatus, and many others 
which are not clearly ascertained. 

We shall terminate this account of fossil fish with a brief 
notice of such remains of this class as are to be found scat- 
tered in almost all countries, in strata of various kinds, and 
which consist, for the most part, of vertebrae and teeth. 

In almost all the ancient works on oryctology, the name of 
ichthyospondyles fs given to the vertebrae of different species of 


fish which are found in the bosom of the earth. All the books 
which treat of petrifactions contain a greater or less number 
of these, figured more frequently than described : the best 
works on this subject are those of Scilla, Knorr, and Walch. 

These fossils have been met with in all zootic strata, as it 
would seem, from the most ancient to the most modern ; they 
are found in the schists, the compact limestone, the chalk, the 
shell-limestone, the gypsum, the diluvial, and the alluvial for- 
mations : some are found which have even evidently been 

The vertebrae thus found have been preserved as far as 
regards the form; the substance, probably, has been pretty 
frequently converted into that of the stone which contains 
them. No author, we apprehend, has as yet attempted to 
refer these vertebrae to known or unknown species : the task, 
though, perhaps, not impossible, especially if Ave had a great 
number of specimens at our disposal, would yet be no very 
easy enterprise ; for these vertebrae are never accompanied by 
their apophyses^ they are for the most part insulated speci- 
mens, and there is so strong an inter-resemblance in the ver- 
tebrae of a great number of living fish, that it is with some 
difficulty that they can be distinguished. All that can be said, 
at present, respecting the vertebrae in question, is that they 
seem to have belonged to large species, and that sometimes 
under this name have been confounded the coccygian vertebrae 
of cetacea, which are, however, easily enough to be recognized 
by the absence of those deep and regularly disposed holes 
which are remarkable at the surface of the true vertebrae of 

The fossil teeth of fish are the parts most frequently to be 
found in the bosom of the earth, because they are much less 
subject to decay and alteration ; accordingly, we find them in 
great abundance in all collections. 

In old works, very frequently, we find these fossil teeth 
spoken of under the generic name of ichthyodontes, and they 


are justly divided into two groups, — the glossopetrw or lamio- 
dontes, that is, teeth more or less flatted, which have belonged 
to the family of Squali, &c. ; and bufonites, batrachites, &c., 
meaning teeth more or less rounded, and which are still very 
generally regarded as having proceeded from some species of 
Sparus, or Anarrychas. The denomination of glossopetrce, or 
petrified tongues, seems to have been derived from an erro- 
neous notion, formerly entertained concerning the form of the 
tongue of the serpent ; and especially from another ludicrous 
prejudice, that the apostle Paul, in passing by Malta, had 
destroyed all the serpents of that island, and that the fossil 
teeth of Squali, foUnd there in such abundance, were the 
petrified tongues of those reptiles. 

These fossils often preserve their native composition in the 
bosom of the earth, ,and very often pretty nearly their natural 
colour ; some are, however, changed in this last particular, 
being coloured of a blackish blue, or of an ochreous red, 
according to the character of the strata in which they have 
been buried : the colour thus proves an indication of the lo- 
cality. Many of them have been altered in their chemical 
composition ; some are mentioned, from the locality of Sienna 
and Placenza, which are converted into turquoises. The 
places in which they are most frequently found, are the islands 
of Malta and Sicily, which appear to be almost sown with 
them in certain parts. They are equally common in Calabria, 
in Tuscany, in the territories of Sienna and Placenza, and very 
probably in all the sub-apennine hills ; also, in the neighbour- 
hood of Brussels, in the mountain of St. Pierre, near Maes- 
tricht, in the environs of Montpellier, those of Paris, of Lon- 
don, in the Isle of Wight, &c., they are in great abundance. 

The nature of the strata in which the numerous tribe of 
Squali, which are in various collections, have been found, does 
not appear to have been sufficiently studied ; there are none 
which seem very certainly to have proceeded from the schis- 
tose or transition strata, nor even from the compact limestone; 


it is in the chalk, and the shell or crag limestone, (calcaire 
grassier, of the French,) that some begin to appear; and, as 
we proceed upwards, they increase in greater and greater pro- 

Though a very great number of these fossil teeth are found 
and of very different forms, yet we must not suppose that they 
proceed from an equally great number of species; in fact, a 
very moderate study of the teeth of Squali is sufficient to prove 
that, in the same species, there are sometimes not two on the 
same side exactly similar, and yet their differences are so 
marked, and so constant in their recurrence, that the Squali 
are easily characterized by the consideration of this part of 
their organization alone. 

The fossil teeth seen by M. de Blainville, either in their 
natural state or figured, are by him referred to the following 
species : — 

1. Squalus cornubicus. To this animal are referred a great 
number of teeth from Sicily, Brussels and its environs, and the 
neighbourhood of Montpellier, &c. All the fossil teeth named 
by oryctographers suhulatij cuspidati suhulati, ophioglossce, 
glottid(B, ophiodont(JB, &c., and by Lluid, ornithoglosscB recur- 
virostres, must certainly belong to this species. They are, in 
general, slender, narrow, elongated, and pointed, with entire 
edges, somewhat trenchant, flat within, and a little convex 
without. This kind of fossil teeth appears to be by far the 
most common, since they are found in all parts of the earth, 
and at all depths ; accordingly we find this species of shark 
very common in all our European seas. 

2. Squalus ferox. Teeth, more or less broad, sometimes 
rather elongated, altogether straight, or but little curved back- 
wards, and which, without denticulations on their edges, are 
accompanied at their base by a very evident point on each side, 
belong to this large species of shark, which exists in the Medi- 
terranean. They are found at Boutonnet, near Montpellier, 
and in different parts of England. 


3. Squalus tricuspidens. We may very probably distinguish 
from the preceding, and regard as belonging to a species of 
Squalus not yet known, certain teeth with three points^ but 
which are straight and very high^ or very slender. They come 
from the neighbourhood of Brussels, and are figured by 

4. Squalus vacca, columbinus, or grineus. A kind of teeth 
are found in Sicily, with a very broad basis, almost straight, 
and the trenchant edge of which presents a point, not much 
raised, not denticulated, compressed, a little curved behind, 
and accompanied with five or six very strong points decreasing 
backwards, and three or four much smaller ones in front. 
They belong, indubitably, to the species called by the Sicilians 
Squalus vacca. 

The other species of Squali, to which the fossil teeth are 
referred, are Sq. pristodontus, Sq. lamia, Sq. auriculatuSy De 
Blain., Q.nd pristobatys dubius? 

There are also found pretty frequently, in the bosom of the 
earth, in localities, and, as it would seem, in strata of different 
kinds, the teeth of aetohates^ or raia aquila, separated or 
united, in greater or less numbers. 

These teeth are sorts of parallelopipeds, of forms a little dif- 
ferent — sometimes entirely straight, sometimes curved in a 
chevron form, or thus \S\^\ one of the faces of which is smooth, 
and more or less hard and varnished, and the other, which was 
adherent to the skin of the mouth in the living animal, is tra- 
versed by lines, parallel and perpendicular to the length of the 
dentary bone. 

It is also to these sorts of teeth, to which the name mylio- 
dontes may be given, that certain little lozenges or cubes 
belong, whose structure is the same, but which are much 

All these pieces, united in greater or less quantity, form a 
broad plate, usually elongated from front to back, and which 
is adherent to the skin of the palate and of the place of the 


tongue. Sir Hans Sloane, in a paper in the Philosophical 
Transactions^ was the first who compared these fossils with the 
palatine teeth of Rata aquila. 

The chevron -formed teeth are found, in a fossil state, in the 
marly strata of Placenza, and sometimes in calcareous rocks, 
as in the mountain of Antelaus in the department of the Piave, 
where there is a great quantity of them incorporated in the 
stone, either isolated, or sometimes united three or four toge- 
ther. These fossil teeth are considered, by M. de Blainville, 
as probably having belonged to a ray, approximating to the 
Narinari of Marcgrave. 

The spines, which arm the tails of some of this genus, have 
also been found in different localities, and in sufficient abun- 
dance, in this country. 

Under the name of bufonites, or batrachites, we find figured, 
in the works of some oryctologists, a great number of fossil 
bodies, more or less rounded and shining, which are evidently 
portions of the teeth, or dentary palates of fishes. The above 
names were given, because it was imagined, for some reason 
not easily conceived, that they were engendered in the heads 
of toads or frogs. The substance, which most usually contains 
them, seems to be the compact limestone ; which would lead 
us to conclude that they belong to tolerably ancient formations. 
The species from which they come are very far indeed from 
being determined. 

Many other parts of fishes have been found in different places 
and at different depths, but the examination of them is not 
likely ever to lead to any important results, either geological 
or zoological. 


The remains of invertebrated animals are so excessively nume- 
rous in species — we should say, perhaps, innumerable — that it 
cannot be expected that we should enter into minute details 
concerning them^ or pretend to present our readers with any 
thing like a complete enumeration of them. We must content 
ourselves, therefore, with some general observations on the most 
interesting points of the subject^ and a notice of the localities, 
&c. of the most remarkable genera, and such as are of most fre- 
quent occurrence. 

We cannot commence this department of our labours more 
appropriately, than by some remarks on the nature, circum- 
stances, and varieties of petrifactions in general. 

It has been asserted that the petrifaction of organized bodies 
was a mechanical operation, in which the stony matter replaced, 
molecule by molecule, the substance of those bodies. But 
this supposition is far from being clearly demonstrated. Some 
bodies, in passing to this state, have preserved both their ex- 
ternal and internal forms : others have preserved the first only; 
and there are more, such as certain of the fungiform polyparia, 
in which the part approaching to the edge has preserved its 
original contexture ; while that which is found towards the 
middle is only a confused petrifaction, or crystallization, in 
which no organization can be discovered. 

Some ancient authors, who have written on oryctography, 
would consent to class among petrifactions those only whose 
analogues were already known : the remainder of such produc- 
tions was considered as nothing but figured stones — the work 
of simple chance. At the present day, however, there are none 
who devote their attention to this very interesting department 
of natural history who entertain the slightest doubt that the 
bodies, which are found in the strata of the globe, have belonged 


to beings once endued with life, and whose remains have been 
buried, some, after their natural death, by slow depositions — 
others, by sudden revolutions. But there is one point which, 
assuredly, we shall never be able to ascertain, and that is, the 
period of time which was requisite for the deposition and petri- 
faction of each stratum. Certain substances can be preserved 
in the earth, and pass into a petrified state ; but all are not 
alike capable of a similar conservation. Flesh, the bills of birds, 
claws, horns, soft fruits, or other soft substances, do not appear 
to have been ever found in the fossil state. Teeth and horns 
are sometimes petrified ; but, for the most part, they are found 
preserved — a portion of the gelatinous substance even re- 
maining in the latter, Avhich are also not unfrequently pene- 
trated by mineral productions. 

Specimens, which have been found in the coarse limestone, 
as well as in the superior marine sandstone, and which have 
been considered as ribs of manati, are changed into a very 
hard and sonorous calcareous stone, although the strata in 
which they existed are not petrified. 

It is remarkable enough, that, in many localities, such as 
Nice, Gibraltar, Cette, Aix, and Corsica, the fossil bones are 
imbedded in a stony stratum, the colour of which, in all those 
places, is a brownish red. 

Amber, and the different organic bodies which it contains, 
are preserved, but never in a state of petrifaction. Wood and 
ligneous cones are very often changed into silex, and have 
sometimes altogether disappeared in the petrified strata, leaving 
nothing but their external mould or impression. 

In general, that body which is found in the completest state 
of preservation, is the calcareous covering, or shell, of the 
mollusca. It is often found to be penetrated by different 
mineral substances ; and our knowledge of certain shells is 
owing to their having been penetrated by a chalcedonious 
matter, which has kept them in a state of preservation. 

The study of fossil organized bodies has taught us, that, after 

2 F 


the crystallizations took place, which are observed in granite, 
porphyry, and other primitive substances, which contain no 
vestiges of bodies that once were animated, the waters covered 
these crystallizations ; if, indeed, they had not already been 
formed in their bosom, as every thing leads us to beUeve ; for 
we pass from these last, without any sensible interval, to strata 
which contain organized bodies, which most assuredly have 
existed in the waters. 

We are informed, indeed, by some scientific men, that above 
certain strata, containing the remains of organized bodies, crys- 
tallizations have been found similar to those of the granite ; 
but circumstances of this kind, which may be referable to vol- 
canic action, are so rare, and the places where they have been 
remarked, of such confined extent, in comparison to all the 
surface of the globe whence nothing of the sort has been found, 
that no satisfactory inference can be drawn for the establish- 
ment of any general principle respecting such phenomena. 

Our observations can never enable us to ascertain whether 
or not the primitive substances which we behold have been 
preceded by one, or many other worlds of greater antiquity, 
which may be covered by them ; but, admitting that they have 
been preceded only by other substances similar to themselves, 
we see that life originally commenced with aquatic animals, of 
species and genera very different, for the most part, from those 
which exist at the present day. 

In the most ancient strata are found trilobites, orthoceratites, 
ammonites, belemnites, encrinites, terebratulites, and many 
other genera, the greater portion of which no longer exist in 
the living state. Of those, too, which still exist, some, such 
as the encrini, which at present, in our actual seas, are of the 
rarest occurrence, were once so common, that their debris, con- 
nected by a calcareous cement, constitute, of themselves alone, 
strata of very considerable extent. 

If any doubts can be raised relative to the crystallization of 
primitive substances in the waters, scarcely any can exist 


respecting that in which organic remains are found, and which 
evidently appears to have been operated in that liquid medium. 
On this hypothesis, if it do not deserve a better name, it is 
probable that the waters, which contain the elements of those 
crystallizations, contain little or nothing of them any longer at 
the present day, since we do not find that genuine petrifactions 
are formed now, as formerly. Nevertheless it appears, as we 
shall show hereafter, that certain crystallizations, which have 
taken place after a preceding one had engaged the bodies which 
we find in a fossil state, must have been operated subsequently 
to the retreat of the waters. 

We may believe that certain strata, such as those of the 
phyllades and of the chalk, have been deposited in fluids which 
had the property of destroying or dissolving certain calcareous 
substances which existed in these strata, but where no further 
traces of them are to be found at the present day. 

If we have nothing but analogy to lead us to such a conclusion 
respecting the phyllades, it is not so with the chalk, which 
exhibits phenomena, conferring a character of certitude upon 
our inferences to this effect. 

In the strata of phyllades, we find, in general, only trilobites, 
and other turbinated bodies, such as ammonites, and the shell 
of which exists no longer ; but these strata must have contained 
a much greater number of marine bodies which have been 
destroyed. What leads us to this belief is, that, in the time 
when those trilobites existed, there also existed a very great 
number of other marine animals. The proof of this is to be 
found in many localities ; and, among others, at Dudley in this 
country, and Chimay in the Netherlands. 

Since, then, it is clear that, at the period when the trilobites 
existed at Dudley and Chimay, there also existed, in the same 
places, a great quantity of marine animals, why should we not 
extend the same conclusion to the formations of phyllades and 
transition limestone, and believe that, with the trilobites of these 
latter strata, there existed an equal quantity which have disap- 

2 F 2 


peared ? This conjecture is corroborated by the almost positive 
certainty that a great number have been dissolved in the supe- 
rior chalk without leaving any traces behind. Moreover, the 
trilobites, and other turbinated bodies, which are found in the 
aforesaid depositions, lived on animals, and probably on testa- 
ceous animals — the traces of which would be found, had they 
not been dissolved or destroyed in the course of the time in 
which the schistose phyllades were being formed. 

It is probable that the absence or presence of organic bodies 
in the strata of the phyllades, has occasioned certain of these 
depositions to be ranked among primitive substances, and others 
to be considered as intermediate ; for the superposition of the 
primitive rocks can no longer be a guide in this case, since the 
example of the granite of Christiana, which rests on a stratuni 
with orthoceratites ; but the organic remains being already very 
rare in certain strata of phyllades, may it not be possible that 
they are still more rare, or have disappeared altogether, in those 
which are ranged with primitive substances ? 

Certain families of mollusca, such as oysters and gryphites^ 
in passing to the fossil state, have preserved their shelly covering 
in all localities and all strata. Others, such as those of the 
volutse, cypraeae, crassatellse, and others, have disappeared in 
almost all the places where crystallization or petrifaction has 
taken place. The terebratulites are preserved almost every 
where ; still, in certain ancient strata, such as those of Vologne 
Coblentz, Tenior, in the Alleghany Mountains, and in Virginia, 
they have disappeared, leaving only their internal and external 

The polyparies, the serpulse, and, in general, all such shells 
as adhere to certain bodies, are better preserved than the others. 

The solid parts of the stellerideae, echinodae, and encrini, in 
passing to the fossil state, are changed into calcareous spath, 
which breaks into rhomboidal laminae ; and it is always easy to 
ascertain if these bodies are fossil, by the spathic state in which 
they are found. The testa of these animals is very often pre- 


sei^ved in the chalk, where so many other bodies have disap- 
peared ; but in some places, as in the Alleghany Mountains 
and some parts of this country, the stems of encrini have dis- 
appeared, and have left nothing but their impression. 

It must be admitted that the testa of some shell-animals 
may, in certain strata, be changed into an irregular crystalli- 
zation. Were it not so, we might believe that the bodies which 
have the most exact form of shells, both univalvus and bivalvus^ 
which are found in the environs of Caen and Bayeux, in an 
oolitic bed, lower than the chalk, and which are often disen- 
gaged from their crust, were not genuine shells. It appears 
that tha testa of those which these moulds represent, after having 
disappeared, must have been replaced by a crystallization which 
assumed precisely all its forms. It is quite certain that, on 
breaking them, instead of any fibrous testaceous substance, we 
find that those bodies are composed of nothing but crystals. 
The different species of pleurotomaria, the ammonites, the 
modiolar cypricardise, the testa of which is very thick, and some 
other shells of the same strata above mentioned, are in this pre- 

The belemnites do not seem ever to disappear in this way, 
and they are met with even in the chalk, and in localities where 
all soluble shells have disappeared. On breaking them, they 
are always found composed of a sort of crystallization, con- 
sisting of needles, or sharp lines, radiating from the centre to 
the circumference ; but, as they have never been found except 
in the fossil state, we cannot be assured that they were not 
organized in this manner, previously to having passed into that 
state ; and we cannot form the same supposition for them as 
for the radiated echinodoemes and encrini. What, however, 
appears very certain is, that, before they passed into the fossil 
state, they were of a solid and calcareous matter ; since some 
are found which were pierced and inhabited by {)holades, and 
to others serpulse are found adherent. 


In disappearing from other strata, as well as the chalk, the 
testaceous covering of the mollusca has left the mould of its 
forms, both internal and external. This mould is so exact, that 
it represents, in all its parts, the lines, the striae, or the slightest 
asperities, which belonged to the original production. Such of 
these moulds, as derive their origin from the animal kingdom, 
have been called helm i nth olites, entomolites, ichthyolites, 
amphibiolites, ornitholites, zoolites ; such as are derived from 
the vegetable kingdom are named phytolites. 

The external moulds being entire, and often without the 
slightest fracture, the testae on which they have been found 
cannot possibly have left them in any other way than by solu- 
tion, after the soft matter, in which they were imbedded, had 
undergone a crystallization or petrifaction, which thus preserved 
all the communicated forms. 

In certain strata, such as that of the Mount St. Pierre of 
Maestricht, for example, we find that some external moulds of 
univalve shells are filled, only through one-half of their length, 
with a substance similar to that of the stratum, as if this sub- 
stance had not been in sufficient quantity to fill the entire 
mould. We cannot, however, be certified that this was the 
case, since we see that, in these external moulds, there remain 
very well-formed portions of the internal mould. It seems 
more reasonable to attribute the cause of this singular fact to 
a partial solution of the latter, after the formation of these im- 

Although we are unacquainted, at the present day, with any 
agent capable of producing a similar dissolution, without also 
attacking the calcareous mould which surrounds these bodies, 
still we cannot attribute their disappearance to any other cause 
than the action of the waters, and other fluids, which are con- 
tinually traversing the earth, from its surface to its profoundest 

If the waters have the power of dissolving the calcareous 


substance which is no longer found in the mould of the testse 
of mollusca, they must have carried it into places at a greater 
depth, or, perhaps, they may have formed new crystallizations*. 

We are informed that, in the environs of Amberg, a very 
considerable quantity of the alveoli of belemnites was found ; 
while the exterior envelope of those fossils was extremely rare, 
and scarcely ever was found in an entire state. 

M. de Ranee, from whom the substance of our observations 
on this subject is borrowed, not having seen those alveoli, 
does not venture to pronounce on their nature and origin. He 
thinks, however, that the alveoli have been preserved, only 
because they were seized by a petrifaction, which filled the 
cavity of the belemnites at the same time that it enveloped their 
bodies, and formed, in all probability, the stratum in which 
they are found. If they alone exist at present^ it must be 
because the shells, which contained these alveoli, have been 
dissolved subsequently to the petrifaction. Still, even supposing 
this to be the case, we ought to find the mould of their external 

In certain localities, as at Montmartre, are found, in the 
marly strata, models or moulds, in marble, of marine shells and 
of Crustacea, without any appearance of an external mould 
having existed of a different nature from the model. In breaking 
the marl, these models become detached from the rest of the 
mass, and represent exactly the external forms of the shells 
and Crustacea. They are covered with a yellowish sort of 

* It may be as well to explain here the sense in which the word mould 
is used by naturalists. The external mould is the vacancy left by the 
testaceous covering of the fossil body which has disappeared in the 
localities where petrifaction has taken place. The internal mould is the 
name given to the paste or substance of the stratum which is moulded 
and petrified in univalve or bivalve shells. The word model might, per- 
haps, be used with more propriety to designate whatever has filled these 
shells before their dissolution ; though, strictly speaking, it is a model 
not of the animal, but of the place which it occupied. 


stucco, or plastering, which appears to be the cause of their 
thus detaching themselves from the mass. 

If we do not admit that the shells and other bodies become 
changed into marl, it is very difficult to explain the formation 
of these models — both the internal and external mould being 
the same substance. Had there been a disappearance of the 
testa of the shells, as in the other localities, it would be neces- 
sary to suppose that a petrifaction had seized the bodies ; that 
afterwards the marl was moulded ; and, finally, the mould 
itself was changed into marl. But it must be confessed that 
these transmutations are not very easy to be comprehended ; 
and, perhaps, without straining at any better explanation, we 
may be contented to conjecture that all the calcareous sub- 
stances contained in the stratum have been converted into 

When the hipponyces are found in a stratum, where there 
has been a disappearance such as we have been speaking of, 
they present a very singular phenomenon. Their upper shell, 
which is composed of a substance analogous to that of the 
cyprsese volutae, and other soluble shells, has disappeared, 
leaving only its mould ; while the under, which is of a foliated 
texture, like that of oysters, remains untouched, with the ex- 
ception of that part where the adductor muscle is found. This 
organ, which is displaced, or at all events extended, in propor- 
tion to the growth of the animal, has furnished, on the side of 
the under shell or support, the same soluble matter which it 
furnished to the extremity by which it was attached to the 
upper, or shell proper 5 so that, when this last, and its thick 
support, were in circumstances proper for their dissolution, the 
shell, and the place of the support where the muscle was 
attached, have alone disappeared, and the rest of the support 
has remained untouched. 

The lirostrites (Lamarck), as well as the spherulites, exhibit, 
in like manner, very singular facts in their petrifaction. Their 
testa, or at least that of the lower valve of the first, the 


contexture of which is analogous to that of the oyster, is pre- 
served. An internal mould, petrified and free, is found in this 
valve, but does not fill it altogether. A pretty large empty 
space is /ound on one side ; and this space must necessarily 
have been occupied by a body, or by a soluble portion of the 
shell, which has disappeared after the petrifaction of the mould. 

The internal moulds of the spherulites, or of shells analogous 
to them, are still more singular, in that, independently of two 
considerable depressions which come forward in this mould, 
there are two large holes which traverse it from one part to the 
other. Some of these moulds are, as it were, foliated. It 
would seem that the interval between each foliation must have 
been filled by solid and soluble bodies, which have disappeared 
since the petrifaction of the mould. Nothing that is known in 
the living state can assist us in conceiving what may have been 
the organization of animals which have left similar moulds 
behind them. 

Neither do we know if the petrifaction which has seized these 
bodies has been rapid. — We might suppose it to have been so, 
on considering the moulds just mentioned — ^which might lead 
us to believe that certain soft parts of the animals may have 
been destroyed by it, or before it took place ; and that others, 
such as more solid muscles, capable of resistance, have disap- 
peared since : but it is very difficult to form satisfactory con- 
jectures on this point. It appears certain, however, that in 
some cases, relative to these moulds, the soft matter was insi- 
nuated into, and petrified in, very narrow vacancies ; and that, 
what surrounded them having disappeared, there remained very 
slender laminae. 

The baculites have not been observed hitherto, except in 
strata analogous to the chalk, or near that substance, and 
where the testa has disappeared. Frequently the interior 
moulds of their numerous partitions do not adhere one to 
the other ; so that some portions of this singular shell, com- 
posed sometimes of more than thirty of these moulds, which 


hold together by their parts dove-tailed, seem to be articulated^ 
They are never invested with crystals, like the ammonites, of 
strata more ancient than the chalk. In the paste, or substance 
of the stratum which fills the last of their partitions, there are 
found a prodigious quantity of little shells, or debris of poly- 
paries and other marine bodies. The same is the case with 
the other partitions when the mould is not perfect; which would 
lead us to believe that, in this instance, the testa has been 
destroyed on one of its sides. But, with respect to the moulds 
which are perfect in their circumference, and which may be 
supposed to have been formed in complete shells, that of each 
partition is composed of very fine paste, without any mixture 
of organic remains — the marginal siphon having been too nar- 
row to admit them to pass. 

These remarks are equally applicable to the ammonites, 
which are often found with their testa, though still more fre- 
quently without it. In the first instance, it often happens that 
the last compartment is filled with the paste formed by the 
stratum in which they have been deposited ; and that the other 
compartments are filled with a fine paste, or merely invested 
with crystals. In this case, we see that the fluid in which this 
stratum has been found contained two distinct substances — 
namely, the opaque matter of the stratum, and that which, 
being filtrated through the testa, or through the siphon, has 
formed the crystals, and furnished the crystallization which has 
hardened the stratum. It may be supposed that the animals 
which inhabited these shells were able to live in the waters 
which held in solution the substance of the crystals ; for, when 
they were abandoned, this did not fall, or remain at the bottom 
of the sea, but after having been filled with the water which 
surrounded them ; and it is difficult to believe that this water 
was expelled by any other which could have deposited the 
crystals in question. 

Certain ammonites having been filled by quartzose sand, their 
internal mould is formed of sandstone, and what remained of the 


testa has been changed into silex. That of certain shells, found 
in the green sand of Blackdown, are in like manner changed 
into this substance. Shells are often observed which have been 
seized by the silex, or internal moulds, wherever formed of it ; 
but it may be remarked, that the testa is but rarely changed 
into this substance. 

We may believe that the matter which forms the siphon of 
the ammonites is not exactly the same as that of the rest of 
the shell ; for it has sometimes resisted, while the other parts 
have been dissolved. 

In certain localities, both in France and England, in the 
strata of the lower chalk, ammonites are found, the testa of 
which, in the last turbination, after having been filled with the 
matter which composes the stratum, seems to have disappeared 
— while that of the partitions, the siphon, and all that was in- 
ternal, have been preserved ; so that, in those particular parts, 
these shells are seen with their testa, such as they were when 
abandoned by the mollusca which formed them. There is 
reason to believe that the waters in which these shells, as well 
as the baculites, existed, and with which they were filled, did 
not contain substances proper for the formation of crystals — 
as in the more ancient depositions of Nevers, Caen, and others. 
Doubtless, the absence of these substances is the cause why the 
chalk strata are not found petrified, like the last mentioned. 

Respecting the ammonites whose testa has disappeared, there 
remains only the internal mould ; and the mould of the exterior, 
in concave, and very generally all the turbinations, have been 
soldered together after the disappearance of the testa. It was 
also after this disappearance that the vermicularia, which were 
attached to the testa, and which did not disappear with it, be- 
came, as they are at the present day, adherent on the internal 
mould. The proof that they did not become attached on the 
mould already formed, is found in many specimens of the in- 
ternal moulds of ammonites ; in which the folded edges of the 
last partition are soldered, without any intermediate substance. 


and form a whole, with the mould of the whorl, or turbination, 
which serves them as a support ; although, before the petrifac- 
tion, there existed in this place a double thickness of the testa 
— namely, that of the interior of the last whorl, and that of the 
exterior of the preceding one. 

The great and small oysters, which constitute the stratum by 
which the environs of Paris are covered, have been preserved 
untouched, with the balance, serpulse, and flustree, with which 
they are often charged, while shells of another genera, found 
along with them, have only left their mould ; as may be 
remarked at Montmartre, Pontenai-aux-Roses, and other 

We have seen that the belemnites never disappear : it is not 
so, however, with their partitions, which appear to be of a sub- 
stance different from that of the shell. They are preserved in 
some strata more ancient than the chalk ; but as yet, we believe, 
no example has been found of their preservation in this last. 
When they are preserved, they are found either totally filled 
with crystallizations, or with a paste which has a tendency to 
separate between each partition ; or, in fine, some partitions 
alone are crystallized, and others filled with a fine petrified 
paste. In no case, however, has the substance with which 
they are filled any relation with the contexture of the singular 
shell on which they depend ; and what fills the alveolus does 
not entirely resemble the substance of the stratum, except when 
it has been filled after the partitions had been destroyed, either 
in consequence of their fragility or solubility. 

It is very remarkable that, in the chalky mountain of St. 
Pierre, near Maestricht, the claws of Crustacea are commonly 
found not referable to any other genus than that of pagurus, 
and yet the shells, in which those crustaceous animals must 
have lodged, are not to be found ; while, on the other hand, 
in the strata of the Placenza, where there has been no petri- 
faction, and nothing has disappeared, univalve shells are often 
observed, covered with a polyparium ; the presence of which, 


as well as the form of their aperture, proves evidently that they 
have been inhabited by paguri — and yet these last are not 
found. But, perhaps, it may be that, if any are found, their 
fragility does not permit them to be gathered, for they are never 
seen in collections. 

It may be asked, if the oolites, which are met with in strata 
presenting ammonites, were already formed when the shells 
existed, or if they were formed at the same time in which the 
petrifaction of the stratum took place. The state in which 
these shells are found, as well as the belemnites, may assist us 
in the resolution of this question. 

Ammonites are found, whose partitions, especially the more 
recent, are filled with oolites ; but whether the testa of these 
shells were in a perfectly entire state, does not appear to be 
clearly ascertained. Considering its fragility, we may suspect 
that this was not the case ; since that of some of them, which 
is filled, and which is six inches in diameter, is not much 
thicker than a sheet of paper. But in those species, whose 
testa is thicker, and which are well preserved, oolites are seen 
only in the last compartment, which is always open, and the 
others are filled with crystals. From all that has been observed, 
we may conclude that the oolites formed a part of the deposi- 
tion in which they are seen, before the shells were filled ; and, 
if it can be imagined that they were formed contemporaneously 
with the petrifaction, we may beheve that the fluids, which 
deposited the crystals, did not contain the elements of the 
oolites, or that it lost them by filtration through the testa, or in 
passing through the siphon. It is the same with the alveolus 
of the belemnites, which is filled with oolites when the partitions 
have been destroyed, but in which they are never found when 
the latter are entire. 

There are oolites which differ very considerably one from 
another. In some localities, as in the environs of Caen and 
Bayeaux, they are round or ovoid ; their surface is shining ; 
their colour ferruginous, and their strata concentric. A little 


point, of a clearer colour, appears to serve them as a centre^ 
and in some of them two such points are distinguishable. In 
some localities of the same countries, they are smaller than 
the last, flatted, and some, which are of a larger size, exhibit 
varieties of flatted forms. These oolites, in general of regular 
forms, are met with in strata which, from the preservation of 
the fossils which they contain, appear to have been tranquil, 
and seem to differ essentially from those of other places, — ^for 
example, of Nevers and Auxerres. These last are found in 
white beds, of which they constitute the major part. They 
are accompanied by debris of shells, of polyparia, and other 
marine bodies. It appears that these depositions have been 
exposed to considerable convulsions, for there remain only of 
certain univalve shells, extremely thick, some very short and 
mutilated portions. These we may recognize by their spathic 
and shining brilliancy, and by their form, the remains of the 
stems of Encrinites, some flatted fragments, and some which 
appear to be debris of bivalve shells, though they have not the 
contexture of the latter. Others, which are rounded, are 
filled with crystals in their centre. The surplus of the mass 
is composed of oolites of different sizes, from the bulk of a 
poppy seed to that of a small pea. Some of the larger ones 
seem to be formed by an agglomeration of the smaller. The 
whole is cemented by a white and transparent crystallization. 

These oolites are white, and appear to have been formed by 
the bruised matter of shells, and other marine bodies, muti- 
lated debris of which are found along with them. Considering 
the state of disorder in which they are found, we may be justi- 
fied in attributing to them a different origin from that of the 
others which we first mentioned. 

What we remark in certain marbles which contain marine 
bodies, would lead us to the conclusion that they had under- 
gone petrifaction at several successive times. The first petri- 
faction which probably took place in the waters would have 
formed the ordinary coloured stratum, which surrounds them 


in all their parts. From some cause, with which we are not 
acquainted, longitudinal fissures have taken place in this 
stratum in all directions, breaking the shells and other marine 
bodies thus fixed, and leaving a certain interval between the 
broken parts. A second petrifaction or spathic infiltration of 
a white colour, supervened to fill exactly not only all the 
fissures, but also the concave mould of the shells which had 
disappeared, as may be remarked in certain black marbles. 

A third sort of petrifaction seems to have taken place in the 
breccie. — For, in the debris of which they are composed are 
found fragments which appear to have been divided and then 
rejoined by a spathic crystallization which has no analogy with 
that which unites together all these fragments. Certain 
marbles seem to have broken twice in the same places, since 
the same clift is found filled with two parallel infiltrations, one 
of which is white and the other yellow. 

M. de France mentions an orthoceratite in his possession, 
found in the stratum of brown marble of Valognes. This 
fossil is traversed, in different directions, by sinuous veins of 
calcareous spath from half a line to two lines in breadth ; and, 
what is singularly remarkable is, that one of these veins tra- 
verses in their diameter some partitions, whose separated parts 
do not correspond one before the other as before the separa- 
tion. This fact seems to prove that the marine body, filled 
with paste, must have been cleft after its petrifaction, and that 
the calcareous spath then succeeded, and was crystallized in 
the cleft. Still one can scarcely conceive, according to what is 
seen to take place in our own days, how two clefts could have 
taken place within half a line distant from each other. There 
is nothing analogous to a fact of this kind, except the clefts 
produced by humidity in a chalky stone, or dried potters' 
earth. How, again, is it possible to explain certain spathic 
veins nearly parallel, and sometimes very closely approximated 
to each, which are found to traverse some of those shelly frag- 
ments, and which, without destroying them, cut most exactly 


all the shells and other marine bodies of which these 
marbles are composed ? Simple desiccation could never have 
produced an effect like this, or divided into such small parts 
shells or polyparia, as we witness in the specimens alluded to. 
These shells themselves are even sometimes cleft, and filled 
with spath, while the paste or stratum surrounding them is 
not so. — Facts like these have perhaps not been sufficiently 
studied, and assuredly they merit every degree of attention. 

It appears that it is more rare to find in the strata anterior 
to the chalk localities in which marine bodies, which have dis- 
appeared, have left their place empty, than in the strata poste- 
rior to that substance. 

M. de France, without disputing the reasons which have 
determined geologists to give to the strata posterior to the pri- 
mitive rocks, the names of intermediate or transition, secondary 
and tertiary, thinks that he is justified in making three dif- 
ferent divisions of those in which organic fossil bodies are 
found ;^-namely, the strata anterior to the chalk, those of the 
chalk itself, and those posterior to the formation of that sub- 

According to this arrangement of M. de France, we find 
that the strata anterior to the chalk contain forty-seven genera 
of polyparia, seven of echinodse, five genera of Crustacea, one 
genus of annelides, three of scapulae, one of cephalopodes 
monothalami, one of cirrhipedes, forty-four genera of bivalve 
shells, one of phyllidise, fifteen of univalve shells, ten genera 
of partitioned shells, three genera of marine bodies little 
known, three genera of reptiles, eleven genera of fish, and 
twelve of vegetables. 

In the strata anterior to the chalk, univalve and bivalve 
shells are found in a proportion, the difference of which is not 
very remarkable. In the lower strata of the chalk, univalve 
shells are still to be found ; but this is not the case in the upper 
chalk. There we scarcely ever find any univalve unilocular 
shells, such as cerites, volutse, and other soluble shells ; a^d 


the marine bodies met with there belong to families which 
resist dissolution in the localities where the others have dis- 

It is extremely probable that, in the upper chalk, univalve 
shells did exist, as well as in the preceding strata ; and that 
they have disappeared, leaving no trace behind, because this 
substance has not assumed a consistence, or crystallization, 
capable of preserving the forms of the shells, or other marine 
bodies which it contained, and which have been dissolved. 
This we cannot avoid believing, when we find, as before in- 
stanced, the supports or bases of the hipponyces in the chalk, 
without uniting the shells which they sustained ; and when we 
see that the oysters, the lower valves of the cranise, those 
of dianchora, the spirorbes, and other adherent shells, which 
are found in the chalk remote from all other bodies, bear the 
traces of polyparia, and other testaceous marine bodies on 
which they have adhered ; and yet we do not find any of 
those said bodies in the same formation. 

In one specimen of the chalky substance of Mount St. 
Pierre, in the possession of M. de France, and which was 
sufficiently solid to preserve the external and internal mould 
of a species of large cerithium, on which some oysters had 
adhered, the testa of the univalve shell has disappeared, while 
that of the oysters has remained untouched. 

Similar examples are found in the green sand in this coun- 
try, which is under the chalk. The oysters are perfectly well- 
preserved, and the stratum is of such a consistence, that the 
form of the univalve shells, on which the oysters adhered, is 
preserved also, but the testa has disappeared. 

In some localities the chalk acquired so much consistence, 
previously to the dissolution of the shells and other marine 
bodies which it contained, that their forms are still to be found, 
and may be seen with the helemnites macronatus, and other 
bodies which essentially characterize this substance, a prodi- 
gious quantity of pectunculi, of bacuhtes, of gervillia3, of am- 

2 G 


monites, and other shells which are never seen in the upper 
chalk of the environs of Paris. But it may be remarked that 
the bivalve shells are there in a much greater proportion than 
the others. 

The silex, which is found in the chalk, has seized upon shells 
and other marine productions, and the echinodse, in particular, 
are often filled with it ; but it is very remarkable that it has 
only seized on bodies belonging to the class of those which 
are usually preserved. 

Some authors tell us that the silex found in shells has 
been formed by the animal matter which they contained ; but 
it is easy to be convinced that it could not have had such an 
origin in the echinodse which are filled with it, and the exterior 
of which is covered with oysters, with cranise, and with other 
bodies, which could not have lived there but after the death of 
the animal on whose testa they are found. If these examples 
are not deemed sufficient, many others may be adduced, which 
prove that the siliceous moulds have been formed in the 
ananchites after the interior of the testa had been invested 
by crystals of calcareous spath. 

The siliceous moulds of galerites, and other echinodse, which 
are found at the surface of the earth without testa, have very 
probably been covered by silex while they remained in the chalk 
strata from which they have been derived. The testa was 
probably destroyed when the strata were washed and carried 
off by the rains, and the shells thus exposed to the injuries of 
the weather and accidental shocks ; for, in the chalk strata, no 
siliceous moulds are found without being accompanied by the 
testa in which they were formed. 

By rubbing with a brush a piece of the chalk found at 
Meudon, in France, after having moistened it, it appears 
sonorous when it is dried ; and it is observed to be traversed in 
all directions by veins, like the marbles of which we have 
already spoken ; but no shells in it appear to have been traversed 
by those veins, as we have seen to be the case in the marbles. 


The state in which they are found would prove, on the con- 
trary^ that those veins have not broken or traversed them. 

The chalk contains nineteen genera of polyparia, two of 
stellerides, or rather debris, which may belong to four genera 
estabHshed in this family, eight genera of echinodse^ two of 
Crustacea, one of annelides, three of serpulse, twenty-five of 
bivalve shells ; the genus 'planospirites, little known ; twelve 
genera of partitioned, or comparted shells, two of lish, two 
of reptiles, one of vegetables, and (which is remarkable for the 
smallness of the number) four genera of univalve shells. 

It would seem that the chalk strata have not been placed in 
circumstances proper for the production of marbles, for it does 
not appear that any have been recognized in them. 

Silex is found abundantly in the chalk, and in the more 
recent strata, but it is more rare in the ancient strata. The 
wood which is found in the latter is not so generally siliceous 
as that which is found in more recent depositions. It is very 
rarely met with in a calcareous state. 

Some varieties of that species of silex called petrosilex mo- 
larisy (vulgo, millstones,) contain shells, while others do not ; 
but there is reason to believe that all those, which are in cir- 
cumstances analogous to those of this silex which contains 
the shells, did formerly contain some, which have disappeared. 
Some of the shelly strata, posterior to the chalk, as that of 
Grignon, in France, are not petrified, and their compactness is 
comparatively trifling. In others, as at Dane, a department 
of the Marne and Loire, and at Saillencourt, a department of 
the Seine and Oise, the shells, polyparia, and the debris of 
other marine bodies, are deposited lightly one over the other, 
and connected by their point of contact with a crystallization 
almost imperceptible, so that the mass is porous and incapable 
of retaining the waters. At Sainteny, a department of La 
Manche, a similar stratum exhibits all the marine fossil bodies, 
and their debris, invested with a slight brownish-coloured crust. 
In the strata of coarse, or, as we term it, crag-limestone, in 

2 G 2 


the environs of Paris, as at Grignon and Chaumont, depart- 
ment of the Oise, the univalve shells are filled to the top with 
shelly sand. This sand is frequently found loose, without any 
adherence to the shell ; but in certain shells it is found petri- 
fied in those turbinations of the spire which are most remote 
from the aperture, although it is not so in this last part. 

In the Bahama Islands, in our own days, a stratum similar 
to that of Dane has been found. The debris of bivalve shells 
belonging to that part of the world have been found in speci- 
mens of this stratum, with colours. There is an aggregation 
of the bodies which compose it, but no petrifaction. 

Certain fragments, which probably come from the Mediter- 
ranean, are composed of a very hard and cavernose limestone, 
which impastes the valves of the little moulds or modioles of 
the vermicularia, or serpulse, the interior of which has re- 
mained empty, and invests in hke manner the debris of the 
same testacea. On the exterior of these fragments are poly- 
paria of different genera, serpulse, with some portions of coral, 
and the lower valves of craniae. Other pieces, which are found 
in the sea, on the coasts of the department of Calvados, are 
composed of grains of quartzose sand, of shells, of moulds, 
with their red colour above and mother-of-pearl inside, of 
debris of balanse, of asterise, and other polyparia. As the 
debris of marine bodies which are contained in these pieces, 
and especially in the first, do not appear to differ in any thing 
from those which are not fossil, we may believe that these 
petrifactions are not so ancient as those which are found in the 
strata of the earth. With respect to the polyparia found in 
the second, they are strangers to our climate, and have been 
detached from the cliffs on the sea-coast, and depend on the 
stratum with polyparia in the neighbourhood of Caen, so that 
even if it were well proved that those petrifactions are recent, 
it is yet clear that they are composed of the debris of beings 
which have existed at very remote periods. It is remarkable 
that the first fragments, which we have just mentioned, are not 


pierced by shells or perforating animals like the ancient lime- 
stones found in the Mediterranean. 

In some localities there are beds of the coarse limestone 
which are composed only of miliolites, and other very small 
marine bodies^ either entire or in debris, without any other 
mixture, and always without any adherence. A stratum of 
this kind is found at Beyne, near Grignon. The strata ante- 
rior to the chalk exhibit nothing analogous, either in the 
smallness of the marine bodies or in the want of cohesion 
between them. Where these last were found, the species 
were not equally numerous, nor do they appear in general to 
have been so small. 

It may be remarked, in general, that in the strata anterior 
to the chalk, bivalve shells are to be found with their two 
valves very often united, or the internal mould of these two 
valves, which proves that they were so at the moment of petri- 
faction. This is not the case in the other strata, and especially 
in that of the coarse limestone, where it is very rare to find 
bivalve shells entire, and there is, perhaps, no exception to 
this but in the stratum of the Placentine territory. 

It has been remarked that organic bodies, found in the fossil 
state, differed from those now existing in proportion to the 
antiquity of the strata in which they were discovered. This 
remark is fully confirmed by a summary view of the living and 
fossil genera, and the peculiar circumstances in which the 
latter are placed. We find, that out of five hundred and two 
genera of polyparia, stellerides, echinodae, annelides, serpulse, 
cirrhipedes, and shells, eighty-nine genera are not found in 
the fossil state ; two hundred present themselves both in the 
living and fossil states, and one hundred and fifteen in the 
fossil only. On uniting these two last numbers, and observing 
in what particular strata they are met, we find one hundred 
and thirty-four genera in the most ancient strata, seventy-five 
in the chalk, and two hundred and three in the strata posterior 
to that substance. If we examine in what strata are to be met 


the genera which are found in the hving state, and also in the 
fossil, we shall ascertain that the most ancient contain sixty^ 
five, those of the chalk forty-two, and the most recent, one 
hundred and seventy-two. A different proportion obtains re- 
specting the bodies which are found in the fossil state alone ; 
the most ancient strata contain sixty-three genera, the chalk 
contains one-and-thirty, and the most recent strata thirty only. 

It Pias been said, that ammonites were found in the London 
clay, but this report does not seem to rest on very sufficient 

M. de Humboldt, in his work on the Independence of 
Formations, has stated, that among the fossil shells the uni- 
valves predominate, as they do at this day, in the living state, 
under the tropics. The following is the result presented by a 
tabular view of them : — The number of the genera of uni- 
valves exceeds that of bivalves by eleven for those of the 
living state only ; twenty-four for those found equally in the 
living and the fossil state, and five for those in the fossil state 
exclusively. It is less by sixteen for those found in the strata 
anterior to the chalk, and by nine in twenty-five for those found 
in that substance : but it becomes greater again in those found 
in the most recent strata, for there the genera of bivalves rise 
only to fifty, while the univalves amount to eighty-nine. 

With respect to species, the number of univalves in the 
living state exceeds that of bivalves by eight hundred and fifty- 
eight ; and in the fossil state, the number of univalves exceeds 
that of bivalves by four hundred and thirty- three. 

It was supposed that there had been remarked, at Orglandes 
and Hauteville, in the department of the Manche, a bed of 
coarse or crag-limestone, analogous to that of Grignon, and 
situated under a stratum of chalk foundation. But this could 
not have taken place without some catastrophe, which dis- 
placed the strata, or, perhaps, the beds of chalk formation 
having left empty spaces between each other, into which the 
composition of the lower stratum might have introduced itself. 


Were it otherwise, we should be obhged to withdraw our as- 
sent from the fine observation of the Baron, on the ever- 
increasing analogy which subsists between the beings which 
exist at the present day, and those which are to be met with 
in the strata, in proportion as they are more recent. 

The falunieres * of Orglandes and Hauteville contain a 
great number of genera, which are found at present in the 
living state, and which have no analogy with the fossils of the 
chalk, nor with those which are more ancient. If the last, 
which contain ammonites and belemnites, was more recent 
than the falunieres, how could it happen that the shells of 
these genera are never to be met with in the falunieres, since 
it is only in the chalk that they have disappeared ? There 
appears, on the contrary, every reason to conclude, that the 
debris of beings contained in the falunieres are of an epoch 
more recent than the chalk. 

We know not what would happen if some genera of animals 
existing at the present day became extinct — but we may well 
imagine that that would be a very remarkable era for fish and 
insects, in which they ceased to be devoured by sharks and 

* In the province of Touraine, in France, they give the name of falun 
to a loose sandy stratum, composed principally of the debris of shells, 
which, in consequence of its nature and easy disaggregation, is employed 
as marie or manure. It is considered by the French geologists to belong 
to the formation of the lower layers of the coarse limestone, or that with 
cerithia, of the neighbourhood of Paris. Falunieres, accordingly, is the 
name given to strata composed of shells and other marine bodies, broken 
in part, and in which there is Uttle cohesion, such as those of Touraine, 
which are of very great extent ; those of Hauteville, above-mentioned, 
of Grignon, in the department of the Seine and Oise, of Courtagnon, de- 
partment of the Marne, and some other localities. These falunieres 
depend, as we said before, on the coarse marine limestone formation, and 
not on more ancient strata. Some of them, such as those of Touraine, 
which are composed only of debris, the angles of which are worn down, 
appear to have been exposed on some shore to the action of the waves. 
But, in all the others, the most fragile things are often preserved entire, 
and the angles of the broken bodies are very sharp. This seems to prove 
that the last- mentioned strata were placed in different circumstances from 
those of Touraine. 


swallows. Now, as we are certain that a very great number 
of genera found in the fossil state exist no longer, we may 
conjecture that, after their disappearance, some changes must 
have taken place in the situation of the beings then existing — 
the nature of such changes we cannot appreciate, but we ob- 
serve that the number of genera has augmented in the coarse 

It is stated that in this stratum, at Grignon, more genera 
and species are found than could be found on any of the 
French coasts. This M. de France believes to be the case, in 
consequence of the temperate character of the actual climate 
of France. But he does not hesitate to believe, that between 
the tropics, where the seas contain a much greater quantity of 
mollusca, the coasts or bottom of those seas abound as much 
in debris of testaceous marine bodies as the stratum of Gri- 
gnon, and that it cannot be doubted that this stratum was 
formed under a climate analogous to that of the tropics. The 
nautili, and many other fossil genera of this locality, not found 
living except in the hot climate, establish the certainty of this 

There does not appear to be any remarkable difference be- 
tween the fossils of Europe and those of America. At the 
mouth of the Alleghany river, and on the banks of the Mo- 
hauk river, near Utica, in the state of New York, are found 
trilobites, encrinites, terebratulites, and other shells, which 
must have come from very ancient strata, and in which the testa 
has disappeared. A specimen of sandstone from the summit of 
the Alleghany mountains was found filled with internal moulds 
of debris of the stems of encrinites. Beyond the rivers of Ge- 
nesee, in proceeding to the falls of Niagara, the internal sili- 
ceous moulds of shells are found, both univalve and bivalve, 
which may be suspected to belong to the coarse or crag-lime- 
stone. Specimens have been seen from Virginia, which ap- 
peared evidently to have been derived from a bed of this last- 
mentioned formation. They contained petunculi, arcae, mac- 


trse, selenes, bound together with a coarse and quartzose sand. 
These shells can scarcely be said to differ in any respect from 
those of the same species which came from the same forma- 
tion in our own parts of the world. 

In North Carolina are found naticse, large pernae (perna 
maxillata), venericardise, pectines, and other shells, which 
have many relations with similar species which have been met 
with in the Placentine. These shells are free, filled with a 
yellow quartzose sand, and seem to depend on the coarse 
limestone, or on other formations less ancient than the chalk. 
But M. de France states, that he has never seen any fossil 
from America which exhibits any relations to the strata of the 
last-mentioned formation. 

In the coarse limestone, which is certainly a marine deposi- 
tion, shells are to be found, whose genera are no longer in 
existence, except in the fresh water : — such are the ampullarise, 
the melaniae, and the cyclostomata. These genera, too, with 
the exception of the last, are found, at the present day, only 
in chmates warmer than our own. Indeed, respecting the 
subject of climate, in relation to fossils, every thing is calculated 
to excite astonishment, and nothing admits of explanation. 
The case is very nearly the same, in relation to the genera 
which formerly inhabited the sea, and which are no longer 
found except in fresh waters, unless we admit a difference in 
the degree of saltness in the former. This, indeed, must be 
more considerable at present, than it was before the number of 
ages, since the sea occupied our continents, had elapsed ; — 
during which, the rivers and streams have been, and still are, 
incessantly supplying it with saline particles, which it receives 
to return no more. But, if we admit that the sea, having been 
less saline, might have allowed of the existence of certain 
genera in its waters, in former days, but which can exist there 
no longer, we must also admit that such genera as live there 
in the present day, and which lived there at the era in which 
the coarse limestone was formed, have been enabled to support 


a higher degree of saUness. Now, the fact is, that one suppo- 
sition is no more easy to be conceived than the other. 

On the whole, however, it must be observed, that it is not 
the presence of very precise characters which enables us to 
distinguish marine and fresh water shells. What usually fixes 
the judgment respecting the last, is the recognized identity of 
certain genera, or species, which have never been met with in 
the living state but in the fresh water, and which have never 
been found as fossils in marine formations. 

As to fossil remains in general, they have a greater or a less 
analogy with what is now existing ; and this analogy is more or 
less easy of verification. 

In plants, for instance, we easily distinguish the fossil wood, 
the family of monocotyledon trees from that of dicotyledons ; 
but it is not so with the genera. This difficulty, however, may 
proceed from the contexture of woods, in the living state, not 
having been sufficiently studied. 

The study of fossil stems, leaves, and fruits, has led to the 
recognition of many genera, which have been distinguished by 
M. Adolphe Brogniart. But there are many vegetable debris 
which, as yet, no botanist has been able to refer to any thing 
analogous m the existing state of the vegetable kingdom. 

We have already amply seen that the long labours of the 
most illustrious comparative anatomist of the day have made 
known a wonderful number of species of cetacea, of reptiles, 
of birds, and of mammalia, many genera of which have disap- 
peared from the surface of the globe, and, perhaps, have never 
been known in the living state to man ; but of his remains, as 
we formerly remarked, nothing has been found, nor yet of those 
of the quadruma ; and, hitherto, it has only been in strata more 
re^nt than those of .the coarse limestone that any fossil remains 
of the mammifera have been discovered. 

We have also seen, with respect to fishes, that, being in a 
great measure composed of soft organs, which have been de- 
stroyed before petrifaction could have seized them, they have 


left most frequently only their skeleton, scales, or impression. 
Their remains may sometimes conduct to the knowledge of the 
genus, but rarely, if ever, to that of the species. 

The case is different with the testa of aquatic or terrestrial 
animals, which has often been preserved untouched in the sands 
or in the rocks, or which has not disappeared from the last 
without leaving the trace of its internal and external forms. 

This preservation permits us to recognize the genera and 
species, and to appreciate the degree of analogy which they 
may possess with what is found at present in an existing state. 

But, in general, it is difficult to pass decided judgments in 
this respect : to do so, it would be necessary to determine what 
it is which constitutes the species, and to fix the line of demar- 
cation between that and the variety, if any do exist. 

Observation has demonstrated, in reference to the testa of 
animals which are provided with one, that very sensible differ- 
ences exist — 1st, between individuals of the same species, taken 
in the same locality ; and, 2dly, between the same species, taken 
in different localities, either in the living or in the fossil state. 

These differences consist in the size, in the absence, presence, 
or number of ribs, of tubercles, or of striae ; or rather, in some 
localities, these characters are hardly visible, while, in others, 
they are sometimes very strongly marked. 

There are sensible individual differences between the cardia 
rustica, taken on different coasts, such as those of Rochelle, 
of Cherbourg, of Normandy, and of Dunkirk. It is the 
same with the fossils; and a species in the possession ofM. de 
France (pleurotoma dentata), taken in ten different localities, 
varies in its forms according to all the localities. Specimens 
from the Placentine, for instance, are in general much longer 
and less bulky than those of the environs of Paris. 

Among the shells, in the living state, many species being 
distinguished only by their colours, and this character being 
wanting in the fossils, these last should exhibit, and do in fact 
exhibit, much fewer species in certain genera. 


We can clearly recognize the identity of some fossil species 
with the living : in other cases, we only find an analogy ; and 
there are some in which the relations are much more remote. 
These three different states, or circumstances, are well expressed 
by M. de France, in the terms identical, analogous^ subana- 

With the exception of a trochus, and two or three species of 
terebratulites, which are derived from strata anterior to the 
chalk, and which have some analogy with species now existing, 
— and, again, of one species of the last-mentioned genus, found 
in the chalk, and which appears to be identical with terebratula 
vitretty it is only in the strata more recent than the chalk that 
identity or analogy can be observed. 

It is very remarkable that the greatest number of identical 
or analogous species are found in the strata of the Placentine, 
and of Italy generally — for, to two hundred and forty there are 
one hundred and sixty in this predicament ; and of these, one 
hundred and thirty-nine have been marked as identical by M. 
Brocchi. It is possible that this distinguished naturalist may 
have a little overrated the number, or not placed the strictest 
bounds between identity and analogy. 

The upper marine sandstone formation, of the neighbourhood 
of Paris, appears to contain a less number of marine fossil 
bodies than that of the coarse limestone ; although some species 
are found in the first which are not to be met with in the other. 
Some, from both formations, appear to be identical. But the 
most part, very nearly the whole, present nothing more than 
analogy; for out of fifty species from the upper sandstone, 
M. de France found but three which perfectly resemble those 
of the coarse limestone. In the latter, some species are larger 
and others smaller than in the former ; which is the case with 
other different species in the sandstone. In fine, some species, 
which are very common in the coarse limestone, are very rarely 
found in the upper marine sandstone. 

The bulbiform fusus, which is found at Grignon, appears to 


be also found in the stratum of upper sandstone of the environs 
of La Chapelle and Louvres, in the department of the Seine 
and Oise ; but it is so much modified in the latter, that it has 
been classed in the genus pyrula, before it was discovered that 
this modification arose from the influence of a stratum, not the 
same with that of Grignon. This pyrula was not found in the 
last place, no more than the fusus in the other. This error 
had crept into the system of Invertebrated Animals, by M. La- 
marck ; but it was before the strata in question had been dis- 
tinguished by the researches of MM. Cuvier and Brogniart. 
This species is also found in England, in Hampshire, but with 
additional variations of form. 

Taking the environs of Paris, as it were, for a centre, we 
find, according to the remark of M. de France, that the genera 
and species of the coarse limestone have a tendency to analogy 
with those of Italy, as we proceed through Anjou, Touraine, 
and the environs of Bourdeaux; and in the same manner we 
find a growing analogy to certain EngHsh fossils in those of 
the department of the Oise. 

A multitude of genera, found in the fossil state in Europe, 
are not only no longer existing, in the living state, in our seas 
and waters in general, but, for the most part, are found to 
inhabit at present only the equatorial regions. 

The number of genera found in the fossil state, is superior 
to that of the living genera, in the polyparia, the echinodae, 
the annelides, the tubicolae, the bivalve, and comparted shells* 
It is inferior in the serpulse, the cirrhipedes, the pteropodes, 
the phyllidi, the univalve shells, and the heteropodes. 

The number of the genera of fossil Crustacea, being scarcely 
more than a third of those now existing, we may believe that 
the latter have increased since the revolutions which have 
buried the remains of those now found in the fossil state. 

Notwithstanding the greater number of some families of 
marine organic bodies found in the fossil state, we may believe 
that that of these bodies, now existing in the living state, is 


greater than it has been at any other era, if we consider that 
our era, geologically speaking, is one single period, while the 
fossil remains are the product of many successive ages. 

The ammonites being met with in Europe, in America, in 
India, and, according to M. Lamarck, in all countries, exhibit 
a genus which has been able to exist under all climates, if 
climates were distributed over the earth in the same manner 
formerly as they are at present ; or, on the contrary supposi- 
tion, the universality of this genus would lead us to believe 
that, throughout the whole earth, the temperature was the same, 
or that it has undergone a series of successive alterations. 

The nautili and spirulge, being, among existing genera, those 
which have most affinity with the ammonites, and living only 
in climates the temperature of which is very elevated, we may 
believe that in which the ammonites lived was similar. If the 
presence of the ammonites, in the polar regions, could make us 
believe that in them the temperature was elevated to the degree 
in which it is at present in the equatorial regions — as we see 
no reason why the temperature of the latter might not have 
been augmented, as it is now, in a relative proportion to the 
entire quantity of heat over the globe — it will follow, by a ne- 
cessary consequence, that the intertropical parts of the world 
must have been uninhabitable. 

If such was the case in the first age of the world, and that 
subsequently the globe became cooler, life must then have 
commenced in the polar regions ; and if the globe became 
more and more refrigerated with the progress of time, those 
regions must have been the first to become deserted. With 
this theory many facts accord ; and it has the additional advan- 
tage of coinciding with the doctrine of those learned theologians 
who have fixed the site of the garden of Eden exactly at the 
north pole. 

Certain it is, that the presence, in the northern countries, of 
the remains of animals and vegetables which, in consequence 
of the cold, could not exist there now, lends some foundation 


to this hypothesis. Still, however, a conjecture of this kind 
requires the support of a much greater number of facts before 
it can receive the full assent of any cautious philosopher. 

There are certain genera, such as oysters, mussels, &c., 
which are discovered in a fossil state in all countries, like the 
ammonites. But we cannot pretend to deduce from this fact 
the same consequences as from the universality of the ammo- 
nites, inasmuch as oysters and mussels are found, in the living 
state, in all the climates of the earth. 

Identical species, in localities different or much remote from 
each other, are rare among the fossil shells — especially if, by 
identical, we understand exactly similar. M. de France has 
met with but one genuine example of such identity, which is 
presented by 'the bulinius terebellatus, which is found at Gri- 
gnon, altogether similar to that which has been collected from 
the strata of the Placentine. It is with other species as with the 
auricula ringens, which is found in the strata posterior to the 
chalk in this country, and in the environs of Paris, in Touraine, 
in the neighbourhood of Bourdeaux, and in Italy ; but in each 
of its localities, this species is rather analogous than identical. 
However, if we only take into consideration the general modi- 
fication of all the species taken in different localities, we may 
be justified in regarding them as identical ; and none of the 
species, found in the strata posterior to the chalk, are to be 
found below the coarse limestone. 

Above all the strata, whether marine or of fresh- water forma- 
tion, which appear to have been deposited in waters more or 
less tranquil, another is found which presents itself in the 
neighbourhood of Paris, in the basins of the Seine, the Marne, 
the Oise, and the Loire, and doubtless of many other rivers ; 
and in which are found the debris of all the other strata, mixed 
up with the bones of terrestrial mammiferous animals and 

This stratum, which shows itself immediately under the ordi- 
nary soil, and even sometimes at its very surface, is not petri- 


fied. It exhibits, however, in the plain of Grenelle, some sili- 
ceous agglomerations, which are found at a tolerable depth. 
Its thickness varies, and probably in proportion to the more or 
less elevated situation of the stratum on which it reposes. It 
commences on the road to Orleans, near the Grand Montrouge, 
by some inches of thickness, and proceeds, increasing, to above 
eighteen feet of depth, in the plain of Grenelle, near Vaugirard. 
Afterwards, it extends, ascending towards the north of the 
other side of the basin, as far as the forest of St. Germain. 

All that is observed from this forest, as far as Montrouge, 
proves that the waters have filled this space ; and they could 
not fill it without doing the same to very extensive distances, 
to east and west in the basin, the lowest parts of which are oc- 
cupied by the Seine. Neither can it be doubted that the same 
is true of the basins of the Marne and Oise, since they are 
caused by a similar stratum. 

It is extremely probable that these basins were formed when 
they were filled with water by the event, whatever it was, which 
deposited the stratum there, as it is equally probable that they 
were more deep and extensive, since there is a stratum depo- 
sited, the thickness of which, in some places, is more than 
eighteen feet ; unless we may suppose that, in the commence- 
ment of the irruption, the waters had carried off some portions 
of the strata over which they had flowed, and that those were 
replaced by the bodies, carried on by the torrent, when it dimi- 
nished in intensity. This supposition assumes some degree of 
probability, when we find that all these bodies are foreign to 
the place in which they are deposited ; and that, near the bridge 
of Sevres, are seen prodigious blocks of pudding-stones, of 
nearly thirty-six cubic feet, and which have been torn from 
strata indubitably very remote, since nothing similar is known 
in the environs of Paris. Almost the whole of the bodies thus 
deposited are either quartzose or siliceous ; the calcareous 
fragments have been bruised. Some fossil shells and lime- 
stones have been found there, dependent on the formation of 


coarse shelly limestone, and which are foreign to the strata of 
the environs of Paris ; but they are worn and mutilated. Frag- 
ments of siliceous wood are also found there, and many bodies 
carried away from the chalk strata. 

The waters which swept off the enormous masses of rock 
in this valley, and which deposited rolled flints as far as the 
elevation of Montrouge and that of the forest of St. Germain, 
must have been considerably elevated above those places to 
have been capable of making such deposition upon them. 

We cannot doubt but that a violent current, which admits 
neither of appreciation nor comparison, deposited this stratum. 
Regarding the direction of this current, some doubts indeed 
may be raised, but there is every reason to believe that it 
proceeded in the direction of the actual course of the Seine. 
The volume of water was so considerable, that the declivity of 
the soil which causes that river to flow in the direction which 
it at present takes, might not perhaps be sufficient to establish 
this conjecture ; but the pieces of red granite which have been 
found at Issy and the Bois de Boulogne, which are also found 
in the basins of the Oise and Marne, and which are thought 
to have been detached from those of Burgundy, countenance 
the opinion that the torrent came from that side rather than 
from the side of Normandy, where no similar granite is to be 

The rounded flints, which we find on the shores of the sea, 
have been forced to take this form by the periodical return of 
the flux and reflux, which rolls them for a considerable time in 
the same place. But this is not the case with stones of the 
stratum of which we have been speaking, which have been 
worn and rounded by rolling together in the direction of the 
torrent, and constantly removing to a greater distance from the 
place where they were first seized by the inundation. 

The sand with which the bottom of the Seine is spread at 
the present day is composed, like that of the plain of Grenelle, 
of small fragments of granite or of quartz, which have remained 

2 H 


angular in consequence of their hardness, and of rounded 
debris of calcareous substances^ which render it probable that 
this sand also is a dependence of the stratum carried into the 
basin by the torrent. It is very likely that this sand always 
descends more and more, for fresh supplies of it may be drawn, 
in those places where it appeared to have been exhausted. 

It is indubitable that when the water was above the elevation 
of Montrouge that it covered a very considerable extent of 
soil, both to the right and left of the course of the Seine, and 
especially in the valleys where those streams and rivers flowed 
which are received by the Seine. But the total absence of 
any deposition of rolled fragments beyond the limit of Mont- 
rouge seems a convincing proof that the torrent did not pass 
that limit, and that the waters spread through the valleys 
pretty nearly in a tranquil state. It is, doubtless, to those 
tranquil waters, which deposited the most tenuous par- 
ticles of the earths, and other bodies, carried down by the 
torrent, and which they held in suspension, that are to be 
attributed the considerable strata of argillaceous earth which 
cover the environs of Sceaux, of Bagneux, of Arcueil, of 
Chatenay, and probably of all the places where the tranquillity 
of those waters permitted a similar deposition. 

Had the waters of the torrent been so elevated as to cover 
all the heights in the neighbourhood of Paris, a current must 
have been established above them, which would have trans- 
ported the rolled flints beyond Montrouge, and even into the 
valley of the river of Bievre, on that side. It would have 
carried off the entire of the marine depositions of fine and 
quartzose sand which cover the summits of the little hills of 
the neighbourhood, and of which they are even sometimes 
composed ; neither would it have permitted the deposition of 
fine substances composing the argillaceous earth. We may 
believe, however, that they were high enough to have formed, 
in retiring, the ravines which are seen in those depositions of 


From observations on the tract to the south of Fontenai- 
aux-Roses^ we may believe that a great part of certain steep 
and rugged hills have been carried away by waters, the 
current of which was not above them. The bottom of the 
valley is covered with a thick stratum of argillaceous earth. 
Ascending these to the fountain of the mills, on each side of 
the way, you may see the oyster bed, which follows the move- 
ment of the stratum, and which was already in a state of in- 
clination when those animals existed in this place. On pro- 
ceeding to the summit of the hill, the quartzose sand is found 
under the superficial soil, disposed in horizontal strata, which 
could not have had this disposition if the valley had not been 
filled with them, at least in part, when the deposition took 

As to the disappearance of these sands, whose origin must 
be attributed to the waters which covered those places when 
the valley in which the Seine flows was filled, it may be like- 
wise referred to the same waters which deposited the sands, 
and which, on return, must have carried them away in 

The deposition of tenuous substances, which compose the 
argillaceous earth, appears to be one of the last in the neigh- 
bourhood of Paris ; and it would seem that, from the period of 
its deposition, this substance has not been in circumstances 
favourable to crystallization ; at all events, it has not been 
found in that state in any part of those environs. All its strata 
seem to be owing to some torrent, whose waters, though 
troubled, were turned aside, and became comparatively tran- 
quil. It is yet to be desired, that, by ulterior observations on 
the position of the strata of rolled flints found in so great a 
number of places, we may ascertain if all the depositions of 
argillaceous earth have been furnished by torrents which have 
deposited rolled flints. 

The marine sandstone being found at the summit of all the 
heights of the environs of Paris, we may be assured that the 

2 H 2 


waters of the sea have covered all those heights. These waters 
could not be there without having extended to very consider- 
able distances, as well in France as in other countries. They 
must also have retired either slowly, or with rapidity. If they 
retired slowly, all the parts, which are dry at present, must 
have been shores in succession. Everywhere we should find 
the traces of cliffs and escarpments, such as we now find on 
the shores of the sea — and everywhere we should find flints 
rounded by the waves. But nothing of the kind is to be seen. 
There is every reason to believe that the retreat of the waters 
was rapid, and this is the general opinion. In the last case, 
when the level of the waters had come to that at the bottom 
of the sea, and even before they must have furrowed it in 
retiring, and gaining, on different sides, the lower grounds, 
they must have found, in various directions, the long valleys, 
at the bottom of which the streams and rivers flow at the pre- 
sent day, and the principal of which are covered with rolled 

The bottom of that sea, which once covered the tracts of 
land now inhabited, may have been unequal, like that which 
the sea leaves at the present day. But the correspondence of 
the strata on each side of the basins leads to the belief that 
they have, in general, been formed by the breaking up of the 
latter ; and the bodies which they contain, and which are 
foreign to the places in which they are found, prove clearly 
that the strata of more elevated countries must have been 
broken up to furnish them. 

Before we quite dismiss this subject of petrifactions in ge- 
neral, it may not be unamusing to our readers briefly to notice 
certain speculations, which have been put forth, relative to 
the process of petrifaction itself, or the change of an organized 
body into stony matter. 

This subject was meditated very long and profoundly by the 
ancient naturalists, and even by theologians, because it is 
connected with the history of the creation of the world, and 


consequently with the traditions which constitute the basis 
of our modern rehgious creeds. A crowd of authors have 
dilated upon it with a spirit of rivalship in absurdity never to be 
sufficiently admired. Some, as we have observed before, 
would have it, that these fossils were mere sports of na- 
ture, the result of the corruption of stones ; others, of a 
loftier vein, attributed their production to the stars, and, more 
especially, to the rays of the moon, which were in the habit 
of eating the stones, — an odd species of banquet enough for 
such a subject, and which reminds us of Nat. Lee's project, — 

** To fatten padlocks with Antarctic food." 
These and such like errors were for a long time accredited, 
and propagated even down to the middle of the last century, 
at which time, also, some explications of the formation and 
depositions of fossils were presented to the world, scarcely less 
remarkable for singularity than the foregoing, and equally false. 
Voltaire, for instance, who, with all his genius, was exceed- 
ingly superficial in scientific subjects, has speculated on this 
as erroneously as he has done on many others. But such 
reveries were speedily dissipated by the sudden light thrown 
upon the natural sciences towards the close of the eighteenth 
century. Patient and judicious observation has evinced, that 
the buried or petrified remains of organized beings are the 
result of a series of revolutions of the globe, more or less 
numerous. Some of them were, to all appearance, general, or 
nearly so, since the marine debris have been deposited as far as 
an elevation of more than 7200 perpendicular feet above the 
natural elevation of the sea ; others were partial, such as those 
from which originated the fossils which we attributed to the 
fresh water ; others, we find, resulted from the eruptions of 
volcanos, the lava of which had caused considerable spaces of 
soil where organized bodies, animal or vegetable, were found. 

A question has been raised on this subject, involving some 
degree of interest. It is this : — " Are new fossils still being 
found in our present days ?" Voltaire cites the example of a 


certain M. le Royer de la Sauvagere, who, assisted by his 
vassals and his neighbours, had twice witnessed, in the space 
of four-and-twenty years, a part of the soil of the environs of 
his estate of Desplaces, in Touraine, metamorphosed into a 
bed of tender stone. The shells seen there were at first so 
small, that they could not be discerned without the assistance 
of a microscope ; but afterwards they increased with the stone, 
so as to assume, by invisible degrees, ten lines in thickness. 
If, however, we set aside this observation, and pay attention 
to those of more practised naturalists than M. le Royer de la 
Sauvagere, we may say that the present formation of petrifac- 
tions, at least in the interior of the earth, is not established on 
any positive fact, and that simple reason does not warrant the 
affirmative of this part of the question. In the bosom of the 
waters, however, such an operation may take place ; for it ap- 
pears, that the immersion of bodies in a fluid, dissolving the 
matter which petrifies, is a necessary condition to the petri- 

A great number of petrifactions being siliceous, the fluid in 
which they have been found must have had the property of 
dissolving the silex. Now, we are acquainted with no fluid, at 
present in abundance in nature, which possesses this property. 
The same may be said of solvents of carbonates, fluates, or 
phosphates, which are also equally unknown *. 

Two facts only seem to prove the possibility of the recent 
formation of fossils. The first is, that many travellers, who 
have examined the coasts of New Holland, have seen, in dif- 
ferent parts, some very curious and singular petrifactions. 
Riche, in the bay which the French call De I'Esp^rance, hav- 
ing penetrated into a valley sunk between downs of sand, found 
it covered with calcareous trunks of trees, broken towards the 
root, and the stumps of which, standing upright, were not 

* We have merely heard of certain hot waters containing potash in 
solution, which had the property of dissolving silex, and which deposited 
stalactites of chalcedony. 


more than a foot in height. On a level with the soil might jbe 
distinguished the knots, the ligneous layers, and all the other 
durable accidents of vegetation. Some stems were more than 
a foot in diameter. Lesueur, P^ron, and Bailly, found similar 
petrifactions in the Island of Decres, in that of Josephine, 
and on some points of the lands of Leuwin, of Edels, of En- 
dracht, and of White. They were leaves, fruits, branches, 
and roots of vegetables ; bones of quadrupeds, and even their 
excrements. They have endeavoured to explain this forma- 
tion by saying, that the very line calcareous and siliceous 
sand, which borders the coasts of this new continent, is raised 
by the wind, deposits itself on bodies, and becomes incrusted 
there, and subsequently assumes so much solidity, that if the 
branches of this sort of lithophytes be broken while the in- 
crustation is recent, the ligneous tissue may be observed en- 
gaged in a solid case^ and without any remarkable alteration. 
But, in proportion as the calcareous envelope increases, the 
wood becomes disorganized, and changes by invisible degrees 
into an arid and blackish detritus. Then, the interior of the 
tube is as yet empty, and preserves a diameter pretty nearly 
equal to that of the branch which served it for a mould. — 
Finally, this tube finishes by becoming obstructed^ and filled 
with quartzose and all calcareous particles. Some years 
elapse, and all is converted into a mass of sandstone. At 
this last period, the arborescent form alone indicates the an- 
cient state of vegetation. 

In certain parts of New Holland there exist elevated downs 
formed of very fine sand, susceptible of a solidification more 
or less rapid — at the reverse of these mobile hills grow various 
species of arbustae, and even large trees, such as Banksia and 
Eucalyptus. In such a position, all the sand which the rains, 
winds, and storms precipitate from the summit of the downs, 
deposits itself at the foot of these trees : it rises insensibly 
along their stem, reaches their first branches, and concludes, 
in the long run, by burying them under its ever-increasing 


jnasses — the vegetable tissue becomes altered in the trunks and 
branches ; the substance of the hgneous layers, being much 
more solid than that which fills their intervals, is decomposed 
much more slowly than the latter. From this proceed those 
concentric circles which give to those extraordinary incrusta- 
tions the appearance of genuine petrifactions. But, however, 
on examining them carefully, it is easy to see that those pre- 
tended petrified trees are nothing but masses of a sandstone, 
more or less hard^ which preserved only the form of the vege- 
tables which have served them for moulds. 

Such are the observations of MM. Peron and Lesueur. In 
adopting the views of those naturalists, then, we cannot con- 
sider these trees as true petrifactions. We find in them, 
however, a mode of incrustation altogether singular, and to 
which we know of nothing analogous except what is remarked 
on the roots of trees, which penetrate into a sandy and ferru- 
ginous soil. An example of this is seen in the roots of oaks, 
in the environs of the Sablonniere, of the marsh or pool of 
Auteuil, in the Bois de Boulogne, near Paris. These roots 
are changed into hollow tubes, which are tolerably thick, and 
it is observed that the oxide of iron serves as a cement to unite 
the quartzose particles. 

The second fact in favour of recent petrifactions is to be 
found in the Biblioth^que Universelle for July, 1818. Mr. 
Mackenzie describes there a petrified tree, which was observed 
near Pennycuilk, ten miles from Edinburgh. The trunk 
alone exists, which springs vertically from the ground some 
feet. It is almost four feet in diameter from its base ; its roots 
sink into the earth in different directions ; and, in a word, it 
appears to have grown in the place in which it was found. Its 
substance is now a genuine sandstone, and what remains of 
the bark is in the state of pit-coal, as is often the case with 
fossilized wood. 

In this fact there is an analogy with the one first cited, in 
the circumstance of the substance of the tree itself being 



changed into sandstone : as to the root, the means of explain- 
ing this transformation are entirely wanting. 

Thus, having no examples, under our inspection, of the 
mode in which true petrifaction is effected, we are obliged to 
form hypotheses respecting its formation. In a field, there- 
fore, of this kind, where imagination is allowed unbounded 
latitude, we need not wonder that system after system has been 
built up, and pulled down, with unparalleled industry and 

The hypothesis most usually admitted consists in supposing 
that the stony matter is substituted for the animal or vegetable 
in proportion as the latter is decomposed, and (according to 
the opinion of a celebrated mineralogist, M. Haiiy) because 
the substitution takes place successively, and, as it were, 
molecule by molecule, the stony parts arranging themselves in 
the places left void by the retreat of the ligneous or animal 
parts, and, moulding themselves in the same cavities, take the 
impression of the vegetable or animal organization, and copy 
its forms exactly. According to the same writer, in the pe- 
trified wood, the organization is destroyed, and the appearance 
of it alone remains. 

M. Patrin, allowing the ingenuity and plausibility of this 
theory, states certain facts, which, according to him, render 
its admission impossible. Among others, he instances the 
trunks of trees converted into silex, which are found in the 
midst of mobile sands ; and he is astonished that the fluid 
which held the stony matter, which has taken the place of the 
molecules of the wood, has not agglutinated and converted into 
quartzose sandstone, the sand of which touched this petrified 
wood — this consequence appearing to him to be inevitable. 
He denies that the organization is destroyed, because the 
fibres of the petrified wood, scarcely discernible by the mi- 
croscope, have completely preserved the form and situation 
which they had in the most perfect state of the wood, and that, 
moreover, the colours have not changed. Now, continues this 


author, if the stony molecules had taken the place of the lig- 
neous molecules, all the petrified mass would be of an uniform 
colour, since the same stony matter would have successively 
filled all the places left empty by the retirement of the ligneous 

To this observation we may answer, that it is easy to conceive 
that each fibre of the wood has had its parts replaced succes- 
sively, in such a manner that its general form and direction 
have been in nowise altered ; and that the number of fibres of 
a piece of petrified wood may be found equal to that of the 
fibres of a piece of living wood of the same volume. As to the 
colours, it appears to us that the observation respecting them 
is more just ; nevertheless, there are many specimens of petrified 
Avoods, all of which have the same tint. 

M. Patrin also refuses to admit the preliminary decomposi- 
tion of the petrified wood ; and, on this subject, he instances 
many specimens of petrified woods which contain holes made 
by worms, and even the worms themselves, and their eggs, 
changed into agate. From this he concludes that, if the fluid, 
charged with siliceous matter, had deposited this matter, it 
would also have filled the vacant spaces which we have just 
mentioned. To this, again, may be plausibly opposed, that 
the siliceous matter may have been deposited by an affinity 
near the molecules of wood, without being deposited elsewhere ; 
and thus the vacancies would have been preserved. 

According to M. Patrin, the decomposition took place sud- 
denly ; for, from the moment in which substances so soft as 
worms had experienced putrefaction, they would have been so 
much deformed that not the least distinguishable appearance 
of them would have remained. 

To this, once more, we may reply, that the fluid, which dis- 
solved the siliceous matter, might have possessed a conserva- 
tive property for the worms; and that, also, the change of the 
latter into silex may have been more prompt than that of the 
wood. Moreover, it would be desirable that the existence of 


these worms were fully authenticated by zoologists ; for, with 
the assistance of fancy^ or preconceived theory, foreign bodies 
might very easily be taken for them, though, certainly, there 
would be nothing very extraordinary in the fact of their exist- 

The entire system of M. Patrin is briefly this : — He thinks 
that petrifaction is a genuine transmutation of the parts them- 
selves — of the organized body — into siliceous matter : so that 
a body was by so much the less susceptible of petrifaction, in 
proportion as it was more decomposed at the period in which 
it was buried. The petrifaction took place in an almost sudden 
manner. It must be regarded as a chemical operation, and a 
combination of gaseous fluids with the constituent principles 
of organized bodies : an operation which very rapidly changes 
the latter into stony substances, without touching, in any way, 
the arrangement of their molecules ; so that neither the forms 
nor the colours are at all altered by this modification. 

We may form a just idea of petrifaction by comparing it to 
congelation — with this difference, that ordinary congelation 
takes place by the simple abstraction of caloric, whereas petri- 
faction is a coagulation occasioned by the introduction of a 
foreign fluid. With respect to the weight which petrified 
bodies acquire, there is nothing in that in opposition to this 
theory ; for we know how much density the most subtile gaseous 
fluids may acquire when they come to be solidified ; — such as 
oxygen, for example, when combined with metallic substances. 
A striking instance of this may be observed in vitreous tin, 
which is an oxide of tin without mixture of any other matter; 
and there is only wanting 3 to 4-100 to make its specific weight 
equal to that of the pure metal, although the oxygen alone 
makes more than 21-100 of the mass. It is, therefore, suscep- 
tible of condensation to the degree of acquiring a much greater 
weight than that of any stone; and it is infinitely probable that 
it is the oxygen which plays the principal part in the pheno- 
menon of petrifaction, by its combination with the phosphoric 


principle which is developed in all organized bodies. It is well 
known that the most celebrated chemists have regarded earthy 
substances as oxides ; and every thing leads us to believe that 
this conjecture is highly probable. 

Small rock crystals, with two points, were found by Demeste 
between the fibres of the heart of a petrified tree j which fibres 
were ligneous and combustible^ while those of the circumference 
were entirely petrified. According to Patrin, it would appear 
that these were owing to the elementary principles of the wood, 
which were disengaged, under a gaseous form, by the eflPect of 
putrefaction, and which, finding themselves free in these inter- 
stices, had formed there crystals by the effect of the same 
chemical combinations which had converted into silex the lig- 
neous parts which were not altered. 

It is probable that, among these principles of the wood, and 
of all organized bodies in general, we should reckon as essential 
a phosphoric principle — as their phosphorescence, at the time 
of decomposition, more than seems to prove. Now, it appears 
certain that phosphorus is equally a constituent principle of 
quartz, according to the observations of Dolomieu. 

It is easy to perceive that, of the two hypotheses we have now 
explained, that of Patrin is by no means the most simple. He 
also employs it to refute the explanation, given by M. Haiiy, of 
the formation of a nucleus of pure silex, which often takes 
place in the interior of shells and of fossil echini, according to 
this philosopher, by the intromission of a liquid, charged with 
stony molecules, into the cavity of these shells, and ursini. 
With Patrin, the theory of the gases suffices for all this, and is 
contradicted by no fact in nature. He says, that we may well 
suppose that a gaseous fluid penetrates the entire mass of a 
substance so porous as chalk ; and as this fluid cannot produce 
the matter of silex but by its combination with the fluids con- 
tained in organized bodies, it converts into silex only the sub- 
stance itself of the molluscous animal contained in the shell. 
When the interior part of this body, which is the most exposed 



to the operations of external agents, is altered by putrefaction, 
or otherwise destroyed, it is only the remaining part which 
forms the siliceous nodule found towards the point of the shell. 
When the animal is totally decomposed, the shell remains 
empty, or has been filled only by the chalk itself, when the 
latter was of a pasty consistence. The testae of echini, and the 
scales of shells, are most frequently found in their natural state, 
or have been converted only into calcareous spath (as the belem- 
nites, for instance) ; because these bodies contain too little ani- 
mal matter, and it is too much screened by the calcareous 
earth of which they are composed, to allow of the siliceous 
petrifaction. But they may be easily changed into calcareous 
spath by a water charged with carbonic acid, which operates 
insensibly the crystallization of their molecules. 

Without pretending to decide at all between the different 
hypotheses now laid before the reader, we may, without adopt- 
ing, be permitted to say, that the least complicated is prefer- 
able to all others, — that which does not admit, a priori, ima- 
ginary phenomena of which no clear idea can be formed, but 
presents marked relations with all that is already well known 
concerning the laws of crystallization. 

We shall take the liberty of indulging in a few more general 
observations, connected with the invertebrated fossils, before 
we proceed to any notice of their principal families, as we are 
anxious to collect as much interesting matter as we can, and 
to weary our readers as little as possible by more specific 

The fossils, as may have already been seen, which are in- 
comparably more multiplied than all the rest, are shells, and 
other marine productions. They form of themselves a con- 
siderable portion of the calcareous matter of which the most 
recent strata are composed, which caused Buffon, and other 
writers, to imagine that all calcareous substances were derived 
from the debris of marine bodies. But this hypothesis is com- 
pletely destroyed by observation : for, independently of the 


primitive limestone rocks, which are evidently anterior to all 
species of organization, whether animal or vegetable, and the 
existence of which we may suppose to have been contempora- 
neous with the formation of the terrestrial globe itself, we 
observe that the most ancient secondary calcareous strata 
contain extremely few vestiges of calcareous bodies, whose 
existence had scarcely commenced when these early strata 
were formed. 

From this point, that is, from the transition strata, the num- 
ber of marine bodies gradually increases, in an immense pro- 
portion to the antiquity of the strata which contain them. We 
have already noticed the diversity of species, which, on the 
contrary, is in a direct proportion with the antiquity of the 
strata. The older the strata, the more diiTerent the species 
from any now existing ; and even where there is an approxi- 
mation of form between them, there is generally an immense 
superiority of size on the side of the fossils. 

It would appear that the first living beings which were 
found in the ocean were some small shell-animals, — such, at 
least, are the only animals which have left any certain traces 
of their existence in the most ancient secondary strata. 

On the assumption that this globe was originally submersed 
in water, we may suppose that when the surface of the ocean 
was sufficiently lowered to permit the light to arrive at the 
summit of the mountains, some zoophytes were formed there 
with solid body and fixed habitation, and that these multiplied 
progressively, as well as the shells, in proportion as the solar 
rays could exercise their vivifying action on more extended 
spaces in the bottom of the seas. 

After the retreat of the sea from above the continents of the 
globe, and before the valleys were completely formed, the 
rain waters must have collected in numbers of places, and 
formed vast lakes, the depositions of which gave rise to those 
strata, little remarked before our own times, and to which the 
name of fresh-water formations has been given, because the 


fossils which they contain are very similar to the bodies with 
which we are acquainted in a Hving state in collections of 
fresh water. This leads us to the presumption that they have 
existed in a fluid of the same nature. 

It has been said, and frequently repeated, that the majority 
of the fossils have their living analogues, but that they are 
either in the deepest abysses of the ocean, or in very remote 
seas. But the strictest and most extensive observation esta- 
blishes a multitude of differences between the fossil bodies and 
those which have been regarded as their living analogues. 

We shall now proceed to the notice of a few of the principal 
families and genera to which invertebrated fossil remains 
belong. We must content ourselves with very brief observa- 
tions on this part of our subject ; for to treat it at large, or enter 
at all into specific details, would occupy a space totally incon- 
sistent with our limits. There are many admirable works, 
which those who are disposed to study this subject minutely 
may have recourse to with the greatest advantage. Among 
them, for the fossils of our own island, the Messrs. Sowerby's 
work on '' Mineral Conchology" stands pre-eminent. 

The Ammonites are a genus of shells of the class of univalves, 
the characters of which are a discoid spiral^ with contiguous 
turbinations all apparent, and the internal parietes articulated 
by sinuous sutures ; they have also transverse partitions, lobated 
through their centre, and pierced by a marginal tube. 

The fossil shells, which compose this genus, derive their name 
from their resemblance to rams' horns, the symbol of Jupiter 
Ammon. They are the cornua Ammonis of oryctologists. 
They exhibit very great relations with the nautili; but they 
differ from them essentially by having all the turbinations of 
their spires visible, while in the nautili they are concealed in 
the last one. They also differ by having their partitions always 
more sinuous, and their tube or siphon always placed under 
the keel of the back. 

The ammonites are regarded as pelagian shells, that is, as 


having lived in the ancient sea ; because^ hitherto, no hving 
analogues have been recognized of them, and they are only 
found in mountains of tolerably ancient formation. They are 
to be seen of a monstrous bulk, nearly six feet in diameter : 
sometimes they are accumulated to such a degree as to form 
entire rocks. The oryctologists have engraved many species, 
but their works are, in general, so little methodical, that great 
difficulty is experienced in studying them. Fossil ammonites are 
sometimes to be met with, under their testaceous form^ without 
any stony concretion in their interior. Their structure is then 
very visible; and it was on species of this kind that Bruguieres 
established the genus, which^ before his time^ had been but 
simply indicated. 

Lamarck has separated from the ammonites the species 
which were not articulated, to form a new genus^ under the 
name of Planulites. 

The ammonites have at all times formed a very striking ob- 
ject of human contemplation, whether we consider their bulk, 
their abundance, or the places in which they have been found. 
In India they constitute, or rather their moulds, an object of 
veneration to the people, under the name of Salagraman, 
because it is believed that one of their gods is concealed therein. 

Bruguieres, in the Encyclopedie M^thodique, mentions twen- 
ty-two species of ammonites, most part of which have been 
figured by Bourguet and Langius ; but this number might 
easily be tripled with the species found in France alone. The 
chain of secondary mountains^ which extend from Langres as 
far as the environs of Autun, that one near which the town of 
Caen is built, and many others, contain such immense quan- 
tities, that the roads are paved with them. It is usually in very 
argillaceous schists, in very calcareous and ferruginous ar- 
gillse, and in the lower chalk, that they are to be met. They 
are also found frequently in calcareous rocks, and are often 
adherent thereon by one of their sides ; a fact which is not 
explained in a very satisfactory manner. Some of them are 



occasionally pyritous, or have been so, and have become iron 
ore. Some have the surface smooth — others are marked with 
striae, or ribs — others with tubercles, &c. 

The animals, which produced the fossil shells of the genus 
Nautilus, were contemporaneous with the ammonites in the 
earlier ages of the world ; but they have been enabled to resist 
the causes which proved destructive to the latter, the most 
recent debris of which are found only in the lower chalk. But 
the debris of the nautili are to be met with, even up to the era 
in which the most ancient strata of that substance were depo- 
sited, in the crag-limestone of later origin, and also, in the 
living state, in the equatorial regions. The early species were, 
however, incomparably more numerous than the present, since 
iscarcely two are known in the living state, while, perhaps, 
more than thirty have been recognized in the fossil. This 
genus is of the very small number of those which are found in 
the ancient as well as the most recent formations ; and if no- 
thing of it has been found in the strata of the upper chalk, it is 
probably owing to the soluble nature of those shells which 
have disappeared in that formation. 

The species of this genus are rather difficult to determine; 
because, the testa having disappeared in so many instances, 
there only remains the internal mould, which does not pre- 
sent all the characters of the shell. Those found in our 
own country are described and figured by Messrs. Sowerby, 
with their usual accuracy — one of which, the N. zigzag, is 
a very singular shell, and has not precisely either the characters 
of the nautili or those of the ammonites. It might constitute, 
says M. de France, a genus approximating to the latter, because 
the tube, or siphunculus, appears to be marginal ; but Mr. 
Sowerby places it nearest the inside. Denys de Montfort 
makes a peculiar genus of it, under the name of aganide ; but 
in his figure he places the siphunculus in the centre. 

M. de France considers that varieties of this same shell have 

2 I 


been regarded as ammonites by Mr. Sowerby, under the names 
of A. sphcericus and A, striatus. 

A very considerable number of species of fossil nautili, found 
in England, and described and figured in the work of Messrs. 
Sowerby, have been met with in the strata anterior to the 
chalk, or in the most ancient strata of that substance. One 
of these, the N. imperialis, from the Highgate clay, we have 
figured. The coarse shell-limestone of the environs of Paris con- 
tains some pearly specimens ; some of which have been referred 
by M. Lamarck to Nautilus pompilius, which is found, in the 
living state, in the great Indian ocean. M. de France has other 
specimens in his possession, which he thinks may belong to 
Nautilus umbilicatus, found at present in the same habitat. 

At Haudan, in the department of the Seine and Oise, 
and at Dax, are the remains of a large species, {Nautilus 
Deshayesii, De France,) which is very remarkable, because, 
independently of its siphunculus being very near the last 
whorl, and formed by kinds of funnels which enter one into 
the other, each of its septae presents on either side a conical 
depression, which ends in the direction of the siphunculus 
against the interior paries of the sides of the shell, but which 
does not communicate with the chamber which precedes. 

It is probably something similar to this which is found in 
certain nautili above the siphunculus, near the last whorl, 
which has given rise to the belief, that some species had two 
siphunculi ; and on this character Denys de Montfort esta- 
blished the genus Bisiphite. But an examination of those shells 
which appeared to have two siphunculi seems to have proved 
that this was a mistake. 

Nautili have been found in the