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different form: and in Wales, a most diminutive breed may be found feeding near to others of a much larger variety. These variations prevail in the little island of Britain, and their pastures are only separated by a few mountains, which are traversed every day. Yet the differences between these sheep do not seem more prominent than the distinctions upon which Cuvier pronounces some of his fossil animals to have belonged to a different epoch from existing species. Farther, we have seen some extraordinary sheep in Syria; and we have observed others in Africa, whose horns might vie with those of English oxen. Suppose the latter to be crossed by a British breed, and then to die off, what would be the future kind of prevailing species? And how marvellous would a skeleton of the old African sheep appear to a novice, though it had been almost contemporary with the new mongrel breed !
Several species of dogs are known to have perished from our own land, and others to owe their preservation only to the fostering care of man: but which of the existing species would have been recognised by our ancestors five hundred years ago ? Or, supposing an old French geologist, ignorant of British zoology, to have found the bones of an English dray-horse, of a first-rate hunter, and of a little Shetland pony, lying together in a mountain cavern; what would have been his emotions ? Yet, what is our little island as a breeding-place compared with the world? In fact, if geologists are to mark their epochas by the change of mere species, and to determine its distinctions by a difference of size, shape, or horns, they rely upon grounds which we cannot allow to be sufficient.
To show that we are not exaggerating their statements, let us take a few specimens from an abstract of Cuvier's physiological researches concerning ancient fossils.
Two kinds of lepus are found in fissures of limestone rocks in cette: one of them "greatly resembles the common rabbit;" the other is “ one third less.”
Several species of canis have been discovered in the caves of Gaylenreuth, Bavaria; “one very closely resembles the Capehyæna;” another "is allied to the dog or wolf;" and a third «s is almost identical with the common fox.”
Fossil teeth of the equus are found in alluvial soils, with those of the elephant, rhinoceros, hyæna, mastodon, and tiger; but they “ are larger than teeth of the common horse."
Skulls of the bos have been met with in England, Scotland,
France, Germany, and America ; differing from the present species in “ being larger, and the direction of the horns rather different.” The fossil buffalo of Siberia is “ of great size, and appears to belong to a species not at present extant."
One of the fossil hippopotami mentioned by Cuvier, is so very nearly allied to the existing species, that “it is difficult to determine whether or no it is the same.” The other is “ much smaller.”
But as if to set at nought all the theories of modern speculators upon the relative antiquity of organic remains, whole carcasses of the rhinoceros and mammoth, with their flesh and skin, have been recently found in the wilds of Siberia. It is true that they have been preserved in ice; yet we hope that it is not thereby to be inferred that they have continued in this state for more than eight thousand years. Bones of the same animals are discovered in many parts of Europe,- including Great Britain,-- in conjunction with those of the animals above detailed, and of other species not now known. This proves to a demonstration, that all these creatures were alive at the same epoch with those whose flesh is now met with, and that none of them can have been long extinct.
Cuvier admits, that fossil roes and crocodiles of existing species have been found along with the palæotherium: and one such instance is sufficient to overthrow the whole theory of successive genera and species. From another quarter, we learn, “that bones of the mammoth have been taken from North-Cliff, in Yorkshire, along with regular layers of thirteen species of living British testacea. This settles the point of relative antiquity, and overturns the gorgeous structures of recent cosmology.
A few years ago, it was affirmed that there were no human skeletons in a fossil state--thus showing the posterior origin
Recent discoveries have destroyed this position, and have put a new difficulty in the way of geologists. In the caverns of France, human remains have been found along with those of extinct quadrupeds ;—which Dr. Buckland endeavours to explain" by the common practice of mankind, in all ages, to bury their dead in such convenient repositories.” Yet, we would ask, Is it indeed a custom to inter our relatives in the dens of wild beasts? These may have subsequently come to feed upon
the corpses; but such a hypothesis would prove too much for the geologist, (though the natural way of accounting for the
matter,) by implying that those beasts of prey were coeval with, or posterior to, the human family.
Naturalists must not find fault with our disagreeing from them on the subject of species, seeing that it is a point of variance amongst themselves. Cuvier enumerates three divisions of the human family; Lawrence and others maintain that there are five; some affirm these to be distinct species; others look upon them as mere varieties. But if, with Moses, we trace all these various kinds of human form to a single pair of ancestors, we may surely allow as great variations to have taken place in the brute creation. And there is far more difference between the skull of a Malay Negro and that of an Englishman, than between the fossil and existing skeletons of the animals above mentioned. So that, if Cuvier's distinguishing marks constitute an essential difference of species, the minor divisions of Natural History require to be remodelled.
We acknowledge those real distinctions which never merge together in a line of propagation; but inferior marks are constantly changing. The genera of dogs and sheep will always keep separate, by the impassable barrier of natural constitution: but a progeny of bull terriers may live in the same neighbourhood with the parent stocks; and how great the difference between a thorough bull-dog and a terrier! Supposing these to be preserved, and the mongrel breed to be wholly swept away by a local flood, and their remains to be deposited in a bed of alluvial soil; what would future geologists say, upon the discovery of so strange a species ? May we not argue on behalf of oxen, elephants, or tigers, in the same way as about the canine race? Besides, if climate, food, and occupation, have caused so great a distinction in the forms of men, we know not what changes they might produce on the inferior animals, or how rapidly those alterations might be effected. For our own part, a detail of Baron Cuvier and Dr. Buckland's researches conveys a very clear conviction that all quadrupeds yet discovered in a fossil state were contemporary with the descendants of Adam.
That many species have died off, and whole families become extinct, need create no surprise, when we consider that the influence of man has frequently united with that of floods, earthquakes, and volcanoes, to extirpate many animals from the earth. Wolves and beavers no longer inhabit our own country; the hippopotamus has perished from the Nile; and similar changes have doubtless occurred in other localities. A satisfactory
reason may be assigned for the lack of human remains, with those of birds, on the well-founded supposition that few of the fossil animals died a natural death, but were brought to a premature end by some sudden catastrophe, which was avoided by the rational inhabitants and the feathered tribes.
We have not yet particularly adverted to the diversity of species in testacea, upon which late geologists build the principal part of their systems. A wrong view of this subject was primarily taken, in order to substantiate a favourite hypothesis ; and it seems to have been heedlessly followed by succeeding physiologists. We know comparatively little of the smaller shell-fish, and therefore we cannot tell how much they may be affected by a change of water, place, or temperature. They may vary with as much readiness as some land-animals : if so, we should expect a greater alteration in their character, from their being subject to a greater number of important casualties. Mineral springs are incessantly pouring a large quantity of foreign matter into the bosom of the deep; and storms transport shells to other localities, or throw them in heaps upon the shore.
Yet, though ignorant of the amount of influence which may be produced upon testacea by the presence of mineral waters, the following statement would argue it to be of considerable importance. Mr. Lyell informs us, that in the etangs at the mouth of the Rhone, “fluviatile and marine shells often live together in brackish water; but the uncongenial nature of the fluid usually produces a dwarfish size, and sometimes gives rise to strange varieties in size and colour.” One fact of this kind is enough to take away all confidence in the distinction of epochs by a slight change in the appearance of fossil shells ; especially when we consider the minuteness of these changes, according to the confession of geologists—being such as the prolongation of
back-bone, prominences of the thorax, &c. Nor can we forget that the depths of ocean are still unknown; so that none can affirm of the supposed extinct species that they are absolutely lost. Late French writers incline to a contrary opinion; which, if proved in a single case, will destroy the speculations of modern cosmogony.
In order to exclude a supposition so fatal to their day-dreams, Dr. Pye Smith and others affirm, that the fossils were natives of the locality where their imbedded remains have been discovered. “ The fossils referred to (in slate) are arranged along the surfaces of deposit, in such positions and regularity, as show that the animals lived and died on the spot which has preserved their remains. An area of soft clay at the bottom of a primeval ocean was deposited, and received its living tenants with their shelly habitations." Without stopping to inquire where the clay came from, at that early period of the world's birth, according to Dr. Smith; we find Dr. Buckland giving a very different statement of the death of fossil fishes: “The greater number present no appearance of having perished by mechanical violence. They seem rather to have been destroyed by some noxious qualities imparted to the waters in which they moved, either by sudden changes of temperature, or an admixture of carbonic acid or sulphuretted hydrogen gas, or of bituminous or earthy matter in the form of mud.” That the latter of these opinions is probably correct, may be inferred from the fact of great quantities of fish being found dead immediately after an earthquake, and from numerous shells being thrown ashore by the vast wave which has usually followed such a convulsion of the ground. This view of the subject excludes the notion of a long period for the formation of strata containing such fossils, and rather argues that they were quickly deposited by the same cause which destroyed the neighbouring fishes. Dr. Smith, however, assumes a contrary hypothesis to be true; and upon this mere supposition, proceeds to calculate the number of centuries required for laying each of the strata! He has not, however, settled the matter with Dr. Buckland : and we first ask, which of the two is right?
A great delusion seems to exist in the mind of certain geologists respecting “equivalent strata.” The rocks of one country are said to correspond in age with those of another, when they agree in the order of materials of which they are composed, and in a similarity of organic remains. This doctrine is unsound. Rocks may be composed of similar particles at very different epochs : and the same tribes of animals may prevail in diverse seas or districts of territory at periods widely removed from each other. To say that any particular stratum in England was formed at the same time with a homogeneous one in America, is to build upon a foundation that has never been laid. Yet Mr. Lyell presumes upon this assumption to announce, that the Pyrenees arose between the deposition of our secondary and tertiary strata; and he informs us of similar occurrences, with as much sang froid as if he had been present during the elevation of all our mountainous districts. A spread of the human species has occurred