Notice of the remains of the dinornis and other birds, and of fossils and rock-specimens, recently collected by Walter Mantell esq. in the Middle island of New Zealand. From the Quarterly journ., Geol. soc. of London

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1850 - Birds - 686 pages
 

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Page 336 - Although bones of several species of Moa, especially of the largest kinds, have been collected from this locality in considerable numbers and in great perfection, yet as the bed is rapidly diminishing from the inroads of the sea, there is great reason to fear that it will be entirely washed away, without yielding to the palaeontologist all the desired information respecting the extinct animals whose relics it enshrines; for the natives and whalers are well aware of the interest attached to the bones...
Page 342 - Of the law which determines the extinction of races of highly organized beings, and whose effects through countless ages Palaeontology has in part revealed, we are as utterly ignorant as of that which governs the first appearance of the minutest living animalcule which the most powerful microscope enables us to descry : — both are veiled in inscrutable mystery, — the results only are within the scope of our finite comprehension. I have thus endeavoured to present a general idea of the facts and...
Page 341 - Mastodon giganteus dug up at Newburgh, observes, " Nothing is more remarkable than the large proportion of animal matter in the tusks, teeth, and bones of many of these extinct mammalia, amounting in some cases to 27 per cent. ; so that when all the earthy ingredients are removed by acids, the form remains as perfect as in a recent bone subjected to the same process. It would be rash to infer from such data that these quadrupeds were mired at periods more modern than the fossil elephants found imbedded...
Page 326 - The external form of this fragment conveys no idea of its nature ; but slices carefully prepared for the microscope, present, under a moderately magnifying power, a structure which shows that the bone belonged to a bird ; there is however no proof that it can be referred to the Dinornis. Mr. Tomes and Mr. Bowerbank, who have obliged me by examining the specimen, concur in this opinion. Insignificant as this...
Page 326 - Moeraki, a dark porphyritic rock with broken crystals of felspar appears ; it is traversed in every direction by veins of quartz and chalcedony, often very beautifully coloured. This rock continues to the end of the native Reserve at Waimataitai, where the tertiary blue clay again emerges, and forms the low cliffs of Katiki Bay. In the bight of this bay the bed of septaria previously described reappears ; the nodules in this locality contain a far larger amount of iron and less lime than those before...
Page 341 - Both these ossiferons deposits, though but of yesterday in geological history, are of immense antiquity in relation to the human inhabitants of the country. I believe that ages, ere the advent of the Maoris, New Zealand was densely peopled by the stupendous bipeds whose fossil remains are the sole indications of their former existence. That the...
Page 342 - ... land and water in the South Pacific Ocean, may have so circumscribed the geographical limits of the dinornis and palapteryx, as to produce conditions that tended to diminish their numbers preparatory to their final annihilation.
Page 324 - I had no opportunity of ascertaining the relative position of this formation, and the volcanic grit of Kakaunui : the latter on the coast is exposed to the height of eight or ten feet, and dips to the south at a considerable angle ; it contains a great variety of crystalline volcanic products, as hornblende, augite, garnets, &c.
Page 324 - Indurated sandstone with shells. 4. Blue clay with shells. 5. Volcanic grit, at Kakaunui Point. " Midway between the Bluff and Moeraki, the clay contains layers of septaria, varying from one to five feet and more in diameter. Hundreds of these nodules, which had been washed out of the undermined clay cliffs by the encroachment of the sea, were scattered along the beach, as represented in the sketch, fig. 5. Some were subglobular, Fig. 5. — Onekakara Bay, looking northwards. 1. Diluvial clay. 2....
Page 341 - Ireland, there can be but little doubt ; but ere Man began the work of destruction, it is not unphilosophical to assume that physical revolutions, inducing great changes in the relative distribution of the...

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