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observations on account of the interest attaching to them ; not as evidence to show that the majority of shooting stars never pass out of the earth's atmosphere. Such evidence is not required—the fact being mathematically demonstrable.
THE LARGEST BLOOD DISCS KNOWN-SINGULAR
CAPTURE OF A CANADIAN REPTILE, MENO-
A WEEK or two since we received by post from Canada two glass slides containing numerous blood discs of large size, which at once reminded us of those of the Lepidosiren, but on comparison were found much bigger. A few days later came the following interesting letter from a Canadian subscriber, who has not favoured us with his name, but to whom we beg to express our thanks. The Venobranchus of which he speaks belongs to an interesting group, the Ampibia, possessing permanent gills, and comprehending the Proteus, Siren, etc.
The letter runs as follows:
“I take the liberty of sending you two slips of glass, upon which you will find specimens of the blood discs of Menobranchus lateralis, one of the salamander family, inhabiting Lake
BLOOD Disos.-1. Jenobranchus lateralis. 2. Siren. 3. Man.
Ontario. It is remarkable for being furnished with both lungs and gills, so as to be able to live either on land or in the water. It is seen occasionally ashore, but usually prefers the water. It much resembles a similar animal found in the Lake of Mexico (A.xolotlus pisciformis), but differs from that species in the number of its toes, of which it has four on each foot, and in having no toe-nails. There is a good likeness of this reptile in the “Encyclopædia Britannica," vol. xix., 8th edition; but it is in reality considerably darker than the picture. They are not often seen here. I have known only five or six taken alive in thirty years. The specimen of which I send you the blood discs was taken by a water-snake, which brought it ashore, and had it half swallowed, when in his turn the snake was captured by a spectator. When I saw them the snake (about four feet long) had disgorged his prey, which was covered with blood and dust, and apparently dead. On being placed in a vessel of water, the lizard immediately revived, and then appeared to be furnished with three branchial tufts on each side of his head, which were dusky on the upper side, but the fine filaments with which they were thickly tufted were of a dark red colour. They pulsated with a vigorous stroke about fifty times each minute, but would occasionally cease awhile when theanimal was disturbed. Every minute or two he raised his head above the water, and opening a pretty wide mouth, took a gulp of air, which he afterwards expelled from the gills when under water. He was about thirteen and a half inches long and two broad, and was the largest I have seen of this kind.
“ The morning after his capture it became apparent that the wounds inflicted by the snake would soon cause his death. The branchial motion had wholly ceased, and the reptile made a respiration of air only occasionally. When he appeared dead I made a small opening in his breast, and got some of his blood, which I hope that you will be pleased to have an opportunity of examining. The blood discs are of a very great size, so as to be visible to the naked eye. I have a slide of the discs of the Siren mounted by Topping, and sent to me as the largest known. They are not, however, half the size of those which I send you, measuring on the long diameter 1 ts, and on the short diameter nearly as much, while the discs of the Menobranchus measure txt, and the respective areas are in the proportion of 12 to 25. These measurements refer to the largest discs; those of a medium size measure *; X.
“The Siren is not a native of Canada, but of South Carolina, twelve degrees of latitude south of this place.
“A CANADIAN SUBSCRIBER. "CANADA, 26th August, 1867.”
MAN AND THE PLEISTOCENE MAMMALS OF
(Read at the Congrès Paléoethnologique.)
BY W. BOYD DAWKINS, M.A., F.R.S., MEMB. CORRESP.
The remains of man have been found in various parts of Great Britain, associated with the remains of many of the postglacial group of mammals, both in bone caverns and in river deposits. The implements found in the latter are precisely of the same character as those from the banks of the Somme, while, on the other hand, those in the caverns are smaller, and approach nearer to those found in the cave of Moustier than to any others. We will first examine the mammals proved to have coexisted with man during the time that ancient gravel and loam beds were being swept down by rivers that now flow at a lower level. * So far back as the year 1715,+ a spear-head of flint was discovered, along with the remains of a mammoth, in the gravel of the Thames, near Gray's Inn Lane, in London, and is preserved in the British Museum. No particular notice was taken of this discovery until the year 1860. At the end of the last century, implements of a similar kind were found at Hoxne, in Suffolk, and from that time down to the present numerous traces of man have been found in the same layer, along with the remains of mammoth, deer, and horse. Until, however, the discoveries of M. Boucher de Perthes called the attention of English savants to the existence of man in the post-glacial epoch, no notice was taken of the earliest known implements that man left behind him in the gravel. In the year 1861,9 Mr. Wyatt found, along with the remains of man, in the gravels of Bedford, the cave bear, bison, stag, reindeer, Elephas antiquus, hippopotamus major, and tichorhine rhinoceros. Among the fluviatile shells was a fresh-water mussel, extinct now in Britain, Unio Batavus, but which still lives in the Oise. The remains found by Dr. Blackmore at Salisbury, and described by Mr. Evans in his paper on flint implements in 1864,|| were not derived from the same bed as the implements, but from one of a different character occurring at a lower level. They cannot, therefore, be cited as proving the coexistence of man with the extinct mammalia in Wiltshire.
The French title of this paper was, “Sur les Mammifères Pleistocènes Trourés avec L'Homme dans la Grande-Bretagne." † “ Archæologia,” 1860-2.
I “ Archæologia." 1800. § “Quart. Geol. Journ.," vols. xix. IX. | Quart. Geol. Journ.," vol. xx.
These three localities are the only places in Britain where implements of man have been found associated with the extinct mammalia in post-glacial river deposits.
We come now to the evidence afforded by the caverns, which proves how essentially man formed one of the group of mammals existing in post-glacial times. In 1832, the Rev. Mr. McEnery began his excavation of Kent's Hole, near Torquay,"Devonshire, and discovered numerous flakes of flint and spear-heads of the small flattened type found in the cave of Moustier. There were also roughly-chipped thin oval fragments of flints, of the type commonly called sling-stones. They were underneath the stalagmite, and associated with the remains of the following animals :--the cave lion, the sabretoothed lion, the cave hyæna, wolf, fox, ermine, badger, cave bear, brown bear, otter, urus, Irish elk, stag, reindeer, mammoth, wild boar, Hippopotamus major, Rhinoceros tichorhinus, tailless hare, water-rat, Arvicota pratensis, Arvicota agrestis, hare, and rabbit. The occurrence of the great sabre-toothed lion in this deposit is so remarkable, that Dr. Falconer could not bring himself to believe that this Pliocene animal had really been found in the cavern, and he supposed it to have been mixed up, by some accident, with the remains from Kent's Hole, in Mr. McEnery's collection. That, however, the three canines
which the determination of this mammal has been made were actually found in Kent's Hole, is proved by McEnery's manuscript, as well as by the condition of their matrix. He describes them, with other animals, from a portion of the cavern that he calls the Wolf's Passage, found underneath the stalagmite, with thousands of teeth of hyæna, horse, and rodents. Unfortunately, the account of the exploration of this cavern was not published until 1859,* and consequently the idea of the presence of the works of man with the remains of Pleistocene mammals, under circumstances which would prove that he lived in Pleistocene times, was not brought home to the minds of English savants until nearly thirty years after the discovery. In 1810,+ however, Mr. Goodwin Austin put on record that he had obtained from the same cavern the works of man from undisturbed earth under stalagmite, mingled with the remains of extinct mammals. Public attention was not directed to the occurrence of flint implements in caverns until 1858, when the Royal Society, stimulated by the fruits of the labours of M. Boucher de Perthes, undertook the exploration of the cave of Brixham, also near Torquay, Devonshire, Dr. Falconer, F.R.S., and Mr. Prestwich, F.R.S., being on the exploration committee. Their labours resulted in the discovery of flint flakes associated with the remains of the following animals, which have been determined by Mr. Busk :-cave lion, cave hyæna, fox, wolf, cave bear, brown bear, Ursus priscus, stag, roe-deer, reindeer, mammoth, horse, woolly rhinoceros, tailless hare, and teeth of arvicola. Mr. Busk has lately proved that the Ursus priscus of Goldfuss, quoted by Schmerling, from the caverns of Liege, is identical with the grizzly bear of the Rocky Mountains (Ursus ferox); so that we have another mammal to be added to the American
* “Cavern Researches," by the Rev. J. MacEnery, edit. E. Vivian, 8ro, 1859, p. 32 :—" To enumerate the amount of fossils coilected from this spot (Wolf's Passage) would be to give the inventory of half my collection, comprising all the genera and their species, including cultridens (Vachairodus). The jaws of the elk, horse, and hyæna were taken out whole. The teeth of the two last were gathered in thousands, and in the midst of all were myriads of Rodentia."
† “ Trans. Geol. Soc.,” Ser. II., vol. vi., p. 433.
of animals that lived in France, Germany, and Britain with man.
Dr. Falconer and Col. Word, about the year 1858,* explored the caverns of Gower, in South Wales. They discovered vast quantities of flint flakes associated with the remains of the cave lion, cave hyena, fox, badger, cave bear, brown bear, grizzly bear, bison, Irish elk, stag, reindeer (Cervus Guettardi and Cervus Bucklandi), Rhinoceros tichorinus and Rh. leptorhinus of Owen (Rh. hemitcechus, Falc.). The association of these two latter animals in the same undisturbed earth proves that they cannot be considered as characteristic of two different geological epochs. In the year 1859,+ I, together with Mr. Williamson, had the good fortune to explore a cavern at Wootrey, a village near Wells, in Somersetshire, that afforded, among vast stores of the remains of mammals, abundant traces of the presence of man.
The cave opened on a ravine side; and at the time we began our excavations it was completely blocked up with earth. Lying on the floor, in the large chamber at the entrance, which was about eight feet high, about thirty feet wide, and very well lighted, were the remains of the fires and the feast of some ancient tribe. Among the calcined bones was one of rhinoceros, which, from its dark, carbonized character, must have been burnt while containing gelatine. In three distinct groups we found the implements that had been left behind, consisting of flint flakes, lanceheads of the type found at Moustier, sling-stones, and various fragments of fint that had been used for cutting. The presence of several flint cores proves that the manufacture of flakes had been carried on in the cave. There were also two arrow-heads found, without barbs; the one of chert, and the other of bone; the two lower angles of the latter being bevelled off. Unfortunately, both these were lost before they were engraved. There was also an implement of pyramidal
* “Quart. Geol. Journ.," 1860, vol. xvi., p. 489. + “Quart. Geol. Journ.,” 1862, vol. xviii. p. 115 ; 1863, vol xix., p. 261.