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rowed from, or rather now divided amongst, very different orders of animals, was associated this long and slender and flexible neck, which must have resembled the body of a serpent.
Remains of at least sixteen species of plesiosaur, the largest twenty feet in length, but averaging twelve or fourteen feet, have been found in the same series of secondary strata of England in which the ichthyosaurs occur. Both genera make their first appearance in the lowest beds of lias, and seem to have become extinct during the formation of the chalk-deposits.
That accomplished scholar and naturalist, the Dean of Llandaff -to whom, in conjunction with Sir Henry De la Beche, the discovery of the plesiosaurus is due-has best interpreted the living habits of this most heteroclite of animal forms:
"That it was aquatic is evident from the form of its paddles; that it was marine is almost equally so, from the remains with which it is universally associated; that it may have occasionally visited the shore, the resemblance of its extremities to those of the turtle may lead us to conjecture , its motion, however, must have been very awkward on land; its long neck must have impeded its progress through the water; presenting a striking contrast to the organization which so admirably fits the ichthyosaurus to cut through the waves. May it not therefore be concluded (since, in addition to these circumstances, its respiration must have required frequent access of air), that it swam upon or near the surface, arching back its long neck like a swan, and occasionally darting it down at the fish which happened to float within its reach? It may, perhaps, have lurked in shoal water along the coast, concealed among the seaweed, and raising its nostrils to a level with the surface from a considerable depth, may have found a secure retreat from the assault of dangerous enemies; while the length and flexibility of its neck may have compensated for the want of strength in its jaws, and its incapacity for swift motion through the water, by the suddenness and agility of the attack which they enabled it to make on every animal fitted for its prey, which came within its reach.'
The Pliosaurus was in most respects a gigantic plesiosaur, but had an enormous head with long and strong jaws armed with large conical-pointed teeth, and requiring, therefore, for its support a neck as short and thick and strong as that of the grampus, which this ancient sea-dragon equalled or surpassed in size. Kimmeridge clay is the common depositary of its fossilised remains.
The Cetiosaurus, an aquatic dragon, but with toes free and armed with claws, as in the crocodiles, rivalled the modern whale in bulk, and was unquestionably the most gigantic, as, being provided with both teeth and claws, it was the most formidable of ancient reptiles. It co-existed with the true Enaliosauria or sea-dragons, and probably preyed upon the plesiosaur. Four
species of this genus, and six other genera, with their several species, of reptiles more or less allied to modern gavials and crocodiles, but with vertebræ demonstrating their more marine habits, have already been reconstructed from the abundance of petrified remains in the oolitic strata of England.
As examples of the ancient dragons of the land, our author selects the great herbivorous Iguanodon of Mantell, and its contemporary and probable foe, the almost equally huge carnivorous Megalosaurus of the Dean of Westminster. These monsters, whose fossil thigh-bones equal or surpass in size those of the mammoth or mastodon, had cavities for marrow in the interior of all the long-bones of the limbs, like those in existing terrestrial quadrupeds. Mr. Broderip's comment is brief and neat :
One of the most distinguishing characteristics of these great land-lizards is this possession of marrow-bones. The great bones of the extremities of the enaliosaurians and ancient crocodilians were solid throughout; and the comparative weight, so far from being inconvenient in the medium through which they generally had to make their way, performed the office of ballast to steady them in and on the water, and prevent them, when on the surface, from exposing too much of their bodies, and being what the sailors call crank. But in the enormous - and dragon-like forms now under consideration-those oviparous quadrupeds, in short, whose progression was to be performed on the land, and most probably in sandy or miry places and sloughs—a combination of lightness with strength was required, and the marrow-filled cylinder made the appropriate machinery complete.'--p. 357.
The peculiar structure of the teeth of the iguanodon adapting it to cut out its huge morsels from the tough Clathrariæ and other similar rigid plants which are found entombed with its remains,' is given in the words of Buckland and Owen. The not less remarkable modifications of the teeth of the megalosaurus—which combine mechanical contrivances analogous to those adopted in the construction of the knife, the sabre, and the saw, rendering them the most destructive and carnassial of natural weapons—are described in the classic language of the sixth * Bridgewater Treatise.' From the most authentic sources, not without evidence of shrewd original observation, the author has succeeded in producing a vivid picture of the typical examples of the dinosaurians,' or 'fearfully-great land-lizards, which once had dominion where Queen Victoria now reigns.'
But not the earth only or the waters of those primeval times brought forth abundantly their dragon-brood :-flocks also of unclean creatures of the reptilian classes with expanded wings steered aloft their flight, incumbent on the dank and dusky atmosphere of the same remote age. The genera Pterodactylus, Ornithopterus, and Rhamphosaurus, with their several species, of which about twenty are now known, represented the order Pterosauria, or ancient flying dragons. Every type of this order has long been blotted out of the book of living creatures. The pterodactyles seem to have been introduced into this planet with the ichthyosaur at the beginning of the oolitic period, and both dragons of the air and sea to have disappeared before the commencement of the tertiary epoch in geology. A little harmless insectivorous lizard, however, so far analogous to the pterodactyle as to be able to glide, by means of an expanded parachute, through the air in long flying leaps from branch to branch or from tree to tree, still exists in some of the islands of the Indian Archipelago. Linnæus gave it the name of Draco volans; but its structure presents an essentially distinct modification of the reptilian type from that of the pterosauria. In the modern Draco certain of the slender ribs are much elongated, and sustain, as on the whalebones of an umbrella, the membranes of the wings. In the pterodactyle the bones of the upper-arm and fore-arm, but more especially those of the finger answering to the fifth or little-finger,' are much elongated, and must have spread out a long and broad fold of skin like that which forms the wings of bats. The head of the pterodactyle was large-the jaws long and strong-armed with slender recurved sharp-pointed teeth—and in some of the species (Rhamphorhynchus)-sheathed at their extremities with horn : thus combining the characteristic armature of both birds and beasts. The neck-bones were proportionally robust to sustain and wield the doubly-armed head, and were not more than seven in number, as in mammals, but were constructed after the type of those of reptiles. The ribs, slender as in lizards, not flat and broad as in birds, were nevertheless connected to a broad sternum by bony sternal ribs,' as in birds, and supported likewise osseous supracostal processes, as in the feathered class. A greater number of vertebræ were anchylosed to form a 'sacrum'than in other reptiles, though not so many as in birds,-nor is the pelvis of the pterodactyle of such a construction as to have enabled it to walk on the hind-legs, as birds do. The hocked claws on the non-elongated fingers of the hand would not only have enabled this saurian to suspend itself when it wished to rest, but to drag itself prone on the earth, and there is much reason for concluding, with our author, that the pterodactyle shuffled along upon the ground, after the manner of a bat, and scuttled through the water when it had occasion to swim.' A brief sketch of the conflicting opinions to which the hetero.
clite organization of the pterosaurian gave rise, before the mastereye of Cuvier discerned its true relations, is prefixed to the chapter on Flying Dragons.' Collini (1784) considered it a fish, Blumenbach (1807) a bird, and Soemmering (1810) a mammal pregnant signs of the discrepant characters of structure which were associated together in the flying reptile of the secondary æra. Indeed, so anomalous are the combination and modification of parts in the skeleton of the pterodactyle, that there are still dissentients from the authority of Cuvier. Even M. Agassiz has deemed it an error to regard this extinct animal as a reptile of flight: he thinks rather that it must have lived in the water along with the ichthyosaur and plesiosaur, and groups them together into the family of palæosaurians.' But the experienced and indefatigable Von Meyer says,* in a recent description of one of the most extraordinary forms of the order pterososauria, that long.continued study of the very interesting structure of these animals had only the more convinced him of the accuracy of the views published by Cuvier so early as 1800.
The pterodactyles were flying saurians. The thin compact walls and large cavities of the bones, the connexion of the vertebral ribs with the sternum by means of osseous ribs, the processes of the chief ribs in order to confer greater firmness on the chest, the long sacrum, as well as the circumstance that in the posterior limbs the tibia is the longest bone, so strikingly recall the structure of birds, that it seems incomprehensible how anybody can doubt that they were flying animals. M. Von Meyer believes also, with Cuvier, that the pterodactyles were not clothed with feathers like birds, nor yet with hair like bats, but had a naked skin, which the author of the · Recreations' surmises to have been of lurid hue and shagreen-like texture, resembling in some degree the external tegument of a chamæleon or guana, except the smooth membrane of the wing. The average size of the pterodactyles seems to have been that of a crow or a raven, but indications of a species (Pter. giganteus) perhaps as large as an eagle, have lately been detected in the chalk-formations of Kent. MM. Van Breda and Von Meyer have recently disclosed a new feature in the organization of certain species of Pterodactyle (Pt. longicaudus, Pt. Münsteri, and Pt. Gæmmingi), viz., a long stiff tail, formed by the coalescence of many caudal vertebræ, and serving doubtless to increase the extent of the tegumentary parachute, and to give more precision and more rapid and extensive changes of direction to the flight.
We hope we have extracted and abridged enough to give a
Palæontographica, 4to. 1 heft, 1816,
fair notion of Mr. Broderip's volume. It has taught or agreeably reminded us of many zoological facts and some generalizations of much interest; and, being simply written, enlivened by the stores of a rich and varied erudition, and pervaded with gleams of gentle humour, the fit accompaniment of a pure benevolence of spirit, we feel assured that it will prove to old and young readers a source of real recreation.
Art. VI.-1. Reports of the Society for improving the Condition
of the Labouring Classes. 1845-1846. 2. First Report of the Constabulary Force Commissioners. 1839,
festering mischief, which afflicts and dishonours a large portion of our people, he is apt to be met by some erudite pundit of statistics, who replies, with pedantic joy = I will undertake to show the hollowness of your complaints—things are far better than they were; I will prove from this chronicle and that record how many in such a period died of cold, how many of starvation, how many of sweating-sickness, plague, or small-pox; I will prove, too, that the necessaries of life were dear, and the wages of labour low; compare, good sir, carefully A.D.
with A.D. 1847, and acknowledge yourself to be refuted.'
We need not pause to test these assertions, because we maintain that, were they all true and correct, there is a higher standard to which our practice should now be conformed. It would be but a meagre satisfaction to a hungry pauper, to hear the value of his own small fare illustrated by a banquet after the manner of the ancients;' and, while devouring his allotted morsel of wheaten bread in his foul garret or cellar, to be assured, on the authority of Juvenal, that the Sabines rejoiced in acorns—and, from references to the Venerable Bede, that his dwelling-place is better than the pigsties of the Saxons. We must test these things, not by our ancestors, but by ourselves. The blessings of civilization, whether physical or moral, or intimately blended the one with the other, should penetrate to the very base of our national system, and buoy up each class, in its proportion and degree, to a higher level.
In these days, though the ignorance of the people is largely discussed, and the necessity of extended education pretty generally admitted, it seems to be a prevalent dream that a few more schools, well-trained teachers, and an appropriate system, are to prove sufficient safeguards for the morals of the nation. Doubtless they are good, nay indispensable; but there are other things needful. The outside and the inside of the school are now in direct antagonism.