Air-breathers of the Coal Period: Descriptive Account of the Remains of Land Animals Found in the Coal Formation of Nova Scotia

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Dawson btothers, 1863 - Paleontology - 81 pages
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Page 47 - ... reptiles. On the other hand, it would equally accord with such facts that the first-born of lacertians should lean toward a lower type, by which they may have been preceded. My present impression is, that they may constitute a separate family or order, to which I would give the name of MICROSAURIA, and which may be regarded as allied, on the one hand, to certain of the humbler lizards, as the Gecko or Agama, and, on the other, to the tailed batrachians.
Page 56 - A small part of the external surface of the dentary bone shows a longitudinally wrinkled and striate or fibrous character. The outer bony wall, broken away from the hinder half of the dentary, shows a large cavity, now occupied by a fine greyish matrix, with a smooth surface, the bony wall of which cavity has been thin and compact. We have here the mark of incomplete ossification, like that in the skeleton of Archegosaurus. The crushed fore part of the right dentary bone, with remains of a few teeth,...
Page 7 - ... which must have been armed with strong and apparently blunt claws, and appear as if either the surface had been somewhat firm, or as if the body of the animal had been partly water-borne. In one place only is there a distinct mark of the whole foot, as if the animal had exerted an unusual pressure in turning or stopping suddenly. One pair of feet, the fore feet I presume, appear to have had four claws ; the other pair may have had three or four, and it is to be observed that the outer toe, as...
Page 77 - Mollusks. This at once excludes the supposition that they can all have been derived from each other, within the limits of the coal period; No transmutationist can have the hardihood to assert the convertibility, by any direct method, of a snail into a millipede, or of a millipede into a reptile. The plan of structure in these creatures is not only different but contrasted in its most essential features. It would be far more natural to suppose that these animals sprang from aquatic species of their...
Page 79 - ... any in which even fishes are known to exist ; so that if we adopt any hypothesis of derivation, it would probably be necessary to have recourse to that which supposes at particular periods a sudden and as yet unaccountable transmutation of one form into another; a view which, in its remoteness from anything included under ordinary natural laws, does not materially differ from that currently received idea of creative intervention, with which, in so far as our coal reptiles can inform us, we are...
Page 20 - I have been able to refer only to the published plates, and to add to these from parts of two additional individuals still in my own collection. In form, Dendrerpeton Acadianum was probably lizard-like ; with a broad flat head, short stout limbs and an elongated tail ; and having its skin, and more particularly that of the belly, protected by small bony plates closely overlapping each other. It may have attained the length of two feet. The form of the head is not unlike that of Baphetes, but longer...
Page 71 - In the coal measures of Nova Scotia, therefore, while marine conditions are absent, there are ample evidences of fresh-water or brackish-water conditions, and of land surfaces, suitable for the air-breathing animals of the period. Nor do I believe that the coal measures of Nova Scotia were exceptional in this respect. It is true that in Great Britain evidences of marine life do occur in the coal measures; but not, so far as I am aware, in circumstances which justify the inference that the coal is...
Page 79 - ... new organs. The foot of the batrachian, bears perhaps as close a relation to the fin of the fish as the screw of one steamship to the paddle wheel of another, or as the latter to a carriage wheel; and can be just as rationally supposed to be not a new instrument but the old one changed. Again, our reptiles of the coal do not constitute a continuous series, nor is it possible that they can all, except at widely different times, have originated from the same source.
Page 5 - It has often happened to geologists, as to other explorers of new regions, that footprints on the sand have guided them to the inhabitants of unknown lands. The first trace ever observed of reptiles in the carboniferous system, consisted of a series of small • It appears that five species of Carboniferous reptiles hare been recognised on the continent of Europe, three in Great Britain, and four in the United States.
Page 19 - J. Wyman of Cambridge, who recognised their reptilian character, and prepared descriptive notes of the principal bones, which appeared to have belonged to two species. He also observed among the fragments an object of different character, apparently a shell, which was recognised by Dr Gould of Boston, and subsequently by Mr Deshayes, as probably a land-snail, and has since been named Pupa vetusta. The specimens were subsequently taken to London and re-examined by...

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