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beyond those of that celebrated naturalist in some points, and he has arrived at conclusions highly singular and very satisfactory; We have no doubt that, by pursuing the path which Cuvier and Buckland have traced out, we shall ultimately come to know almost every thing worth knowing respecting the physical condition of the antediluvian world. Nay, it is not at all improbable that we shall at some future period have a better idea of the social state of our antediluvian progenitors than we should have if the pillars of Seth, with a key to their inscriptions, were at this moment in the cells of the British Museum.
All are aware how perfect a picture of ancient life is preserved in the ruins of Pompeii, where a whole generation, young and old, surprised by a sudden catastrophe, and reduced to skeletons, remain as if fixed by a magician's wand in the various attitudes of private and busy life, in the midst of their implements of industry, or of their ancient most domestic ornaments. There are in the bowels of the earth thousands of concealed chambers, which furnish a similar picture of animal life, and tell us of the character and habits of races now extinct, which inhabited its surface before man was formed, or which contended with him for dominion after he was called into existence. Such is the cave in Yorkshire, examined by Mr. Buckland. The flood, which destroyed its inhabitants, had closed its natural entrance with a deep covering of soil, till it was laid open by artificial operations in 1821. Excepting in those parts where the percolating moisture had deposited stony concretions, its surface, unvisited by air or rain, remained exactly as it was on the day when the waters retired. As the phenomena of this cave formed the ground-work of all Mr. Buckland's speculations, we shall shortly describe it.
It is situated in the breast of a limestone rock, at Kirkdale, in the north-east part of Yorkshire, about 80 feet above the bed of a neighbouring rivulet, and far beyond the reach of modern floods. It is 245 feet long, from 2 to 6 feet wide, and from 2 to 7 feet high. Its bottom is covered to the depth of a foot with a stratum of soft loamy clay, whose surface is quite smooth and almost perfectly horizontal, as if deposited by water. Its roof and sides are partly coated with Stalactites, or stony concretions, formed by the superficial moisture filtering through the rock charged with calcareous matter ; and the same matter has in some parts extended itself from the sides over the upper surface of the earthy deposit at the bottom, like a crust of ice
over a muddy pool. These calcareous concretions, when they depend from the roof, are called Stalactites, and when they lie on the bottom, Stalagmites. The stratum of loam or mud is thickly interspersed with teeth and jawbones, and other bones of animals, in a state of great comminution, all mixed together, and some of them sticking through the Stalagmitic crust, like twigs through the ice of a pond. These bones lie thickest at the bottom of the muddy deposit ; they are generally well preserved, and in no degree mineralized. The animals to which they belong are the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, hyæna, tiger, bear, wolf, fox, weasel, ox, deer, rabbit, water-rat, mouse, and some birds—all, except perhaps the wolf and fox, thought to be of extinct species, but nearly allied in character to those now existing. In the neighbourhood of this cave was found another (at Kirby Moorside) with a similar deposit of mud 6 feet thick at the bottom, but without a single fossil bone. There are many caves in other parts of England, and in Germany, which present similar phenomena; but without attending to these in the mean time, we shall state the inferences deducible from the facts ascertained with regard to the Kirkdale cave, strengthened and confirmed as they are by a multitude of analogous facts.
1. That cave, which is far above modern floods, had its natural entrance shut till 1821, and as the organic remains belong to extinct species, they must have been deposited there under an order of things different from the present. 2. The fossil bones could not be those of animals which lodged in the cave, because it is too small to admit the oxen, horses, elephants, rhinoceroses, to which a part of them belong. 3. Neither could they be washed in by a flood, because scarcely one rolled stone or pebble is to be found mixed with them; and though they are in a state of extreme comminution, such as it would require long agitation to produce, they are not water-worn or deprived of their angles. 4. They must, therefore, have consisted of the bones of animals which lived and died in the neighbourhood, and which were carried into the cave by some other animals that inhabited it. 5. From the circumstances that only the teeth and hardest parts of the bones remain, the tenant of the cave must have been an animal that devoured bones. Now the existing hyæna has this quality. Bones are its favourite food, and it rejects only the teeth and such hard bones and portions of bones as are found remaining here. When we add, that the fossil relics of the
hyæna are not only found in the cave, but are in such abundance as to indicate the existence of 200 or 300 individuals of various ages, and that the dung of this animal, and of no other, is found among the loam, the proof is almost irresistible that this was an antediluvian hyæna's den, inhabited by a succession of these animals for many centuries. When we combine with the phenomena of the cave, what was previously known with regard to the multitude of fossil remains, some of them entire skeletons, belonging to the elephant, rhinoceros, bear, &c. found under the alluvial soil, over all England, France, Germany, Russia, and Siberia, it is equally incontestable that the remains of these animals, found in Kirkdale Cave, were not brought by the ocean from tropical climates, but belonged to individuals which had lived and died in the neighbourhood, as the same species then inhabited England generally, and all the north of Europe and Asia. The weaker creatures, such as the fox, deer, weasel, rabbit, we may suppose were seized and carried in alive; the large ruminant animals, whose bones are very numerous, were probably killed and dragged in piecemeal; and as for the strongerquadrupeds, such as the elephant, tiger, rhinoceros, the voracious tenant of the cave would content himself with carrying off portions of their carcasses when they died a natural death.
Mr. Buckland was so zealous as to make a visit to the celebrated caves in the Hartz Forest and Franconia, whose organic remains have attracted so much attention. The interior of these ancient repositories harmonized remarkably with the caves in England ; and a comparison of the whole led Mr. Buckland to detect a striking coincidence in an important point, which had been little or not at all attended to before. He observed in all the caves, without exception, one, and only one, horizontal bed of loam or mud in the bottom, sometimes with, sometimes without pebbles, serving as a matrix to the fossil bones where there were any, varying from one or two to twenty or thirty feet in thickness, and in almost all cases covered partly or wholly with that crust of Stalagmite which is every day increasing
The level surface of this deposit shews clearly that it has been formed by water. As it covers not merely the cavities of the bottom, but every ledge of flat surface on which it could lie, however elevated, the water must have filled the whole cavity ; and as there never is a second bed of loam above the Stalagmitic incrustations, it is plain that the waters had never visited the caves a second time—that, in short, there had most certainly been one great flood, and only one. We cannot enter much into details, but we think Professor Buckland has made out this important conclusion in a manner extremely satisfactory. Let us now,
under our eyes.
for the sake of simplicity, take the Kirkdale Cave, and consider particularly the matter that covers its bottom. Let us figure a low narrow chamber of an indefinite length in the limestone rock, and four or five feet wide. The rocky bottom of this cavity, where laid bare, is found in some places worn smooth, as if with the feet of beasts. At other parts it is covered with a Stalagmitic crust, proceeding from the sides, but only in small quantity, and containing no animal remains. Above this is found some other calcareous incrustations, enclosing teeth and fragments of bone. Above this again lies a stratum or deposit of mud, a foot thick, enveloping a multitude of teeth and small bones ; and this is covered by a newer crust of Stalagmite, resting on the surface of the mud, sometimes forming a floor from side to side, and which crust is daily increasing by new infiltrations. Nearly the same arrangement of parts is common to all the caves ; and it clearly refers to four chronological periods. 1. A period when the cave was unin. habited, but dry as at present, and when calcareous incrustations spread themselves over its bottom. The small quantity of this primitive Stalagmite shews that the period was short. 2. A period when the cave was inhabited by a succession of hyænas, whose bones and the bones of their prey were thickly strewed over the bottom, and a small part of them enveloped in the stony concretions still continuing to form. This period, as well as the former, was evidently antediluvian.
The quantity of the animal remains, and especially the number of hyænas which must have inhabited the cave, shew that the succession of these tenants must have run through a long period. It is worthy of remark, too, that the undermost bones, which had lain longest exposed, are most decayed; and it is curious, that while the under sides of some of these (as found in situ) retain their original roughness, the upper sides are smoothed as if from the paws or sides of an animal passing over, or reposing on them. 3. A period when a great inundation took place; and the waters, charged with the detritus of the land, deposited a sediment of mud upon the bones, which enclosed them like a matrix, the lowest part being most loaded with the animal remains, as might be expected. 4. A period since the waters
retired, and during which the upper crust of Stalagmite has been, and still continues to be, formed. From the quantity of this calcareous matter, we infer that the period since the retiring of the waters is longer than the 1st or 2nd periods. And as a second deluge, had one occurred, would assuredly have deposited a second stratum of mud above the upper Stalagmitic floor, the total absence of such a deposit seems to shew conclusively that no more than one deluge has occurred since the caves were formed. At a future era, from careful observations on the existing rate of increase of these concretions, and from other data, we shall perhaps be able to fix with considerable certainty the length of each period, and to determine a multitude of other problems of a most interesting kind. Neither man, nor any creature analogous to man, has yet been found in these antediluvian repositories. But when the lights of science have penetrated Chaldea and Assyria, the primeval seats of the human race, we shall perhaps find the ipsa corpora of the first race of mankind, embalmed in the bitumen of Mesopotamia, or the calcareous deposits of Mount Ararat. We shall then know the stature and form and some future Cuvier will even tell us the habits, characters, and whole animal economy-of those men who lived a thousand years, and had sons and daughters.
We have not space or time to follow our author into his other curious inquiries. He inclines to the opinion that the climate of the antediluvian world was different from that under which
But he holds, upon good grounds, that the sea and land occupied generally the same positions as at present. He has rendered the proofs of a universal deluge more distinct and satisfactory ; he has furnished us with some new data for calculating the duration of the relative eras, marked out by great physical changes; and he has decisively set aside the opinion to which Cuvier seems to have inclined, that the earth has been subjected to the action of a great inundation more than once since the consolidation of the newest rocky strata.
THE NEW MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT.
M'Donough. “ Well, Stephen,” said I to an old acquaintance, “ how are you to-day ?" "Considering existing circumstances,” replied