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Luc was certainly right in his remark, that ' real and general advances will then only be made in the science of nature when the dread of prolixity shall be overcome.' Detail is the very essence of circumstantial evidence: and whoever is enamoured of the pursuit will read with delight the full and accurate descriptions of which it would be useless here to attempt an abridgment, and which all conspire to the support of the same position, attesting the action of an universal deluge at no very distant period of time. In perusing these details, the reader will be struck not only with the cautious and persevering spirit of investigation they display, but with the sagacity evinced in combining facts which reflect light on each other, and in eliciting conclusions from phenomena so combined, which, viewed in their scattered state and by ordinary observers, would convey no information whatever. The patience and candour also with which the most captious objections are examined is generally repaid by finding that the phenomenon out of which the objection arises, is not only reconcileable with the hypothesis, but that, upon a closer inspection, it is converted into an argument in its favour. Of this kind are the explanations given of the open fissures with their contents of two kinds, diluvian and post-diluvian, the puzzling circumstances of the Plymouth caves, and the several cases of human skeletons, which last turn out, upon careful examination, to be in every instance of post-diluvian origin. We must, however, in this place content ourselves with a bare summary of the conclusions to which, after a thorough sifting of the phenomena of bones, the professor ultimately arrives. He divides them into five classes, the last of which only is posterior to the deluge.
1. Those of carnivorous animals, that retired spontaneously to the caves to die during successive generations in the period immediately preceding the deluge, as in the case of the bears' bones in the caves of Germany.
2. The remains of animals that were dragged in as food by beasts of prey during the same period, as in the case of the various remains in the cave of Kirkdale.
3. The remains of animals that fell into and perished in the open fissures and caves connected with them in the period preceding the deluge, as in the case of the bones at Plymouth and Gibraltar.
4. The remains of animals that were washed in together with mud and pebbles at the deluge, as in the case of the entire skeleton of a rhinoceros at Wirksworth.
5. The remains of animals that have entered caverns, or fallen into open fissures since the period of the deluge, as in the case of the human bones in the open cave at Paviland, and the bones of dogs, deer, Sec. in the open fissure at Duncombe Park.
The advantage of personal inspection having proved so great in the English caves, our professor resolved to examine for himself the caves of Germany, which had been long known to contain the remains of extinct species of animals. Their animal contents had been accurately studied and described by Cuvier, and other naturalists; and most of them had been already visited by Mr. Buckland himself; but he was induced now to explore them with the additional view of discovering evidence of diluvial action, which had formed uo part of the object of former examinations. Accordingly in the summer of 1822, he completed this survey, and had the satisfaction of finding all his opinions confirmed by the evidence they afforded.
The result of his investigation, which is related in full detail in the volume before us, may be comprized in the following summary.
The present entrances to them were not their original openings, but are truncated portions of their lower branches laid open by diluvian denudation. The diluvium they contain is either loam, sand or pebbles, but more commonly a mixture of all three, through which the bones lie interspersed, and the whole mass has often been indurated into an osseous breccia, like that of Gibraltar. The loam has not been produced by the decay of the flesh or bones, or of the rock in which the cave exists, but it agrees, in chemical constitution, with that of the diluvial beds of the adjacent country. In the remarkable cave at Kiihloch, indeed, there is a vast accumulation of black animal earth with bones dispersed through it:
'The quantity of animal matter accumulated on the floor,' says Mr. Buckland,' is most surprizing, and the only thing of the kind I ever witnessed; and many hundred, I may say thousand, individuals must have contributed their remains to make up this appalling mass of the dust of death. It seems in a great measure to be derived from comminuted and pulverized bone; for the fleshy parts of animal bodies produce by their decomposition so small a quantity of permanent earthy residuum, that we must seek for the origin of this mass principally in decayed bones. The cave is so dry, that the black earth lies in the state of loose powder, and rises in dust under the feet: it also retains so large a proportion of its original animal matter, that it is occasionally used by the peasants as an enriching manure for the adjacent meadows.'—p. 138.
This cave contains no pebbles. Its size and proportions are nearly equal to those of a large church, and the professor calculates that it contained 5000 cubic feet of the black earth, equal to the remains of at least 2500 bears, a number which, in the course of 1000 years, may have been supplied by a mortality at the rate of two and a half per annum. For a solution of the unomuly we must refer to the section itself, accompanied by a plate; and we
K 3 would
would point it out as an example of that happy mode of explaining apparent difficulties, without any attempt at concealment or evasion, which characterizes all our author's statements. We now proceed to the rest of those general conclusions to which his recent examination has led.
The number of caves in which any bones at all are found is comparatively very small, but when they occur it is usually in enormous quantities. Every circumstance tends to evince that the mud, pebbles, &c. were washed in by the deluge upon the bones already existing in the caves: if, on the contrary, all the bones had been drifted in by the diluvian waters, they would be found dispersed in small quantities only, and in numerous caves: while, from the elevated situation of the caves, it is proved that the mud could not possibly have been introduced by land-floods or by rivers. Lastly, there is only one superficial crust of stalagmite in any of the caves, and no alternations of mud, pebbles, and bones, but simply one confused mass covered by a single crust of stalagmite.
* The facts I have enumerated in the above descriptions,' Mr. Buckland concludes,' go to establish a perfect analogy, as far as relates to the loam and pebbles and stalagmitic incrustations in the caves and fissures of Germany and England, and lead us to infer an identity in the time and manner in which these earthy deposits were introduced; and this identity is still further confirmed by the agreement in species of the animals whose remains we find enveloped by them, both in caves and fissures, as well as in the superficial deposits of similar loam and pebbles on the surface of the adjacent countries: viz. by the agreement of the animals of the English caves and fissures, not only with each other, but also with those of the diluvial gravel of England, and of the greater part of Europe; and in the case of the German caves, by the identity of their extinct bear with that found in the diluvial gravel of Upper Austria; and of the extinct hyaena with that of the gravel at Carnstadt, in the valley of the Necker; at Horden, near Herzberg, in the Hartz; at Eichstadt, in Bavaria; the Val d'Arno in Italy; and Lawford, in Warwickshire. To these may be added the extinct rhinoceros, elephant and hippopotamus, which are common to gravel beds as well as caves; and hence it follows, that the period at which the earth was inhabited by all the animals in question, was that immediately antecedent to the formation of those superficial and almost universal deposits of loam and gravel, which it seems impossible to account for, unless we ascribe them to a transient deluge, aSectinguniversally, simultaneously, and at no very distant period, the entire surface of our planet.'—p. 145.
We cannot however dismiss this branch of the subject, without adverting once more to the dissertation on the Kirkdale Cave. Some objections, it seems, had been taken against hyaenas eating one another and feasting upon bones, and some ridicule attempted
to to be thrown on the statement made, upon Dr. Wollaston's authority, that the balls of dung found in the cave were recognized as belonging to that animal by the keeper at Exeter 'Change. We shall see how the professor has answered these objections and verified his former statement; while the passage exhibits a fair specimen of that active spirit of inquiry, and that talent for perspicuous and accurate description which pervade the whole work.
'Since this paper was first published, I have had an opportunity of seeing a Cape hyaena at Oxford, in the travelling collection of Mr. Wombwell, the keeper of which confirmed, in every particular, the evidence given to Dr. VVollaston by the keeper at Exeter 'Change, I was enabled also to observe the animal's mode of proceeding in the destruction of bones. The shin bone of an ox being presented to this hyaena, he began to bite off with his molar teeth large fragments from its upper extremity, and swallowed them whole as fast as they were broken off. On his reaching the medullary cavity, the bone split into angular fragments, many of which he caught up greedily and swallowed entire; he went on cracking it till he had extracted all the marrow, licking out the lowest portion of it with his tongue: this done, he left untouched the lower condyle, which contains no marrow, and is very hard. The state and form of this residuary fragment are precisely like those of similar bones at Kirkdale; the marks of teeth on it are very few, as the bone usually gave off a splinter before the large conical teeth bad forced a hole through it; these few, however, entirely resemble the impressions we find on the bones at Kirkdale; the small splinters also, in form and size, and manner of fracture, are not distinguishable from the fossil ones. I preserve all the fragments and the gnawed portions of this bone for the sake of comparison by the side of those I have from the antediluvian den of Yorkshire; there is absolutely no difference between them, except in point of age. The animal left untouched the solid bones of the tarsus and carpus, and such parts of the cylindrical bones as we find untouched at Kirkdale, and devoured only the parts analogous to those which are there deficient. The keeper, pursuing this experiment to its final result, presented me the next morning with a large quantity of album graecum, dispersed in balls, that agree entirely in size, shape, and substance, with those that were found in the den at Kirkdale. I gave the animal successively three shin bones of a sheep: he snapped them asunder in a moment, dividing each in two parts only, which he swallowed entire, without the smallest mastication. On the keeper putting a spar of wood, two inches in diameter, into his den, he cracked it in pieces as if it had been touchwood, and in a minute the whole was reduced to splinters. The power of his jaws far exceeded any animal force of the kind 1 ever saw exerted, and reminded me of nothing so much as of a miner's crushing mill, or the scissars with which they cut off bars of iron and copper in the metal founderies.'—pp. 37, 38.
We too, it appears, were thought somewhat credulous in stating (what we had the best authority for doing) that an old hyaena in
K 4 Paris Paris had eaten up his own leg. This fact has also been verified by Professor Buckland. Not satisfied with receiving the information from the same quarter we did, (His Royal Highness the Prince of Denmark,) he wrote to his friend Mr. Underwood, resident in Paris, who not only confirms the fact, but states that the animal may still be seen in the Jardin des Plantes, walking on three legs.
To the specimen just produced we should be tempted to add another on the Oreston caves near Plymouth, as strikingly illustrative of that searching spirit of inquiry, that keen observation, and close inductive logic which mark all the author's reasonings upon difficult and entangled cases. It is one of the best examples the book affords. But the passage is too long for insertion: and we nave still much to say before we proceed to the consideration of the scriptural difficulties, which to many of our readers will appear to be the most important bearing of the whole question.
In our account indeed of the second class of evidences, those derived from diluvial beds of loam and gravel, we must be more brief. Among the animal remains contained in these deposits, the fossil elephant is by far the most generally dispersed. It is that species to which the term mammoth (animal of the earth) has been applied by the natives of Siberia, who imagined the bones to be those of some huge animal that was still living, like a mole, beneath the surface of the earth. How abundant this animal was in England is sufficiently apparent from the following extract.
'It was to be expected that the remains of elephant should be found in the diluvial gravel of Yorkshire, from the fact already established, that these animals inhabited the neighbourhood of Kirkdale, whilst its caverns were occupied by hyaenas; and accordingly, the teeth, tusks, and bones of elephants of prodigious size have been found in the diluvium at Robin Hood's bay near Whitby, at Scarborough, Bridlington, and several other places along the shore of Holderness. As we proceed southward, we continue to find them abundantly on the coast, and in the interior of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex. The largest deposit of them is at Walton near Warwick, where they lie at the water's edge, mixed with great numbers of the teeth, bones, and horns of elk, stag, ox, horse, and other diluvial animals. In the'valley of the Thames, they have been discovered at Sheppey, the Isle of Dogs, Lewisham, London, Brentford, Kew, Hurley Bottom, Wallingford, Dorchester, Abingdon and Oxford; also at Norwich, Canterbury, and Chartham, near Rochester. On the south coast of England, they occur at Lyme Regis and Charmouth, (from the latter place Mr. De La Beche has lately obtained a tusk nine feet eight inches in length,) also at Burton and Loders near Bridport, and near Yeovil in Somerset. At Whitchurch near Dorchester, they lie in gravel above the chalk, and are found in a similar position on Salisbury plain: in the valley of the Avon also, at Box, and