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water, that these remains are met with; they are found also in fissures of rocks, through which water has never penetrated since the bones have remained in them. To account for these instances, it has been conjectured that the bones have been the relics of the repasts of some carnivorous animals, to which the fissure has served as a retreat; the well-known cave at Kirkdale, being readily quoted as the den of a hyena. On this supposition, the difficulty is by no means diminished : either the constitution of the Kirkdale hyena must have been so entirely different from that of Africa, as to enable it to exist in a climate totally dissimilar, in which case its bones should have presented marks of a different organization, none of which are perceptible; or the climate of the north of England must have been so much warmer than it is at the present day, as to allow of the hyena existing in it with the same ease as it now does in the south of Africa. The attempt to explain away the difficulties, attendant on either of these suppositions, may be left to their respective advocates, whose ingenuity and zeal have been already amply proved.
To a third theory on the subject, which has been recently advocated with uncommon industry by Mr. John Ranking', we shall advert with somewhat more detail, as the work* dedicated to its illustration contains much discursive matter, of peculiar interest to the student of the history, topography, and manners of the East, during the middle ages. It will, however, be seen that we regard the geological yiews maintained by him as equally open to objections with those just alluded to, and as no less surrounded with difficulties, some of which appear to be insuperable.
Martini, Bayer, and other writers, historians rather than geologists, had advanced and supported an opinion which natu rally connected itself with the course of their previous studies, that the tropical and southern animals, the bones of which have so repeatedly occurred in the northern regions of Europe and Asia, had formed part of the conquering armies of the Romans and Mongols, or had been the relics of the combats between wild beasts, in which the former people especially delighted. The same views were entertained by our illustrious countryman, Gamden, who regarded the bones of elephants discovered in Britain as belonging to those brought hither by the Emperor Claudius. On these hints Mr. Ranking has entered upon a
* Historical Researches on the Wars and SpoHs of the Mongols and Romans, in which elephants and wild beasts were employed orslnin. And the remarkable local agreement of history with the remains of such animals found in Europe and Siberia; containing Life of Genghis Khan, &c. A-c. &c. Ry Juhn "Rai.king, resident upwards of twenty years in Hindoostah and Russia. 4lQ. p. 510. Wirh a map and ten plates. '.-s J#
f very extensive series of historical researches, and has collected together, from every accessible quarter, the testimonies of historians in support of the employment of elephants in war, and of their exhibition, together with other animals brought from distant regions, for the amusement of the people under the dominion of the Roman empire. By furnishing also a complete list of the places at which the remains of these exotic animals have been found, he endeavours to show the probability, in almost every case, of their being the relics of those elephants which accompanied the armies, or of the wild beasts which perished in the sanguinary combats of the amphitheatre. Elephants were first introduced into Italy by Pyrrhus; they were subsequently employed in greater numbers by Hannibal; and Mr. Ranking traces the route pursued by the latter, for the purpose of showing that, at about twenty places, in and near the line of his march from the south of France into Italy, the bones of these immense animals have been found imbedded in the earth. These living masses were afterwards introduced into the composition of those armies, which reduced, under the dominion of Rome, nearly the whole of Europe, to the conqu st of the western parts of which, especially, the terror inspired by their unusual appearance must, in the first instance, have materially contributed. It is, indeed, said by Polyspnus, though no allusion whatever is made to the circumstance by Caesar himself, that the hardy Britons, while defending the passage of the T ames against the conqueror of Gaul, were thrown into disorder only by the advance of an armed and turreted elephant. In England, they were afterwards made use of in large numbers, under the emperors Claudius and Severus; they also accompanied the armies which subdued Switzerland, France, and Germany, having been previously employed in Spain by Hannibal, and in Greece immediately after the conquests of Alexander in the East.
As the Roman empire extended itself eastwards, and included Egypt within the scope of its vast dominions, the facilities of acquiring elephants for the purposes of war or exhibition were, of course, considerably increased. Other exotic animals were also more readily obtained; and the numerical amount of the supply became at length almost incredible. The brains of six hundred ostriches are said to have been served up to the monster Heliogabalus in one dish. Five hundred bears were killed in one day, in a combat with as many other wild animals from Africa. No less than one hundred lions were on one occasion slain by the hand of Commodus in the amphitheatre; and it is related, as a proof of the prudence and moderation of Hadrian, that it was only on his birth-day that a thousand wild beasts were annually slain in the shows. It would' lie disgusting fo dwell on the numerous, and apparently exhaustless, authenticated instances of these wanton atrocities. Sanguinary as man essentially is, in the Romans the organ of destructiveness must have been developed to the fullest extent. Bloodshed would seem to have been their sole occupation and delight. While resting from the slaughter of their fellow-men, it was their recreation to witness the wholesale destruction of other animals. Wars and sports indeed! The titles mayappear captivating, but are they not altogether delusive!' When applied to the history of Rome, can they have any other meaning than licensed murder and wanton barbarity I
It was not, however, merely at Rome that these spectacles of butchery were exhibited. There, indeed, they shone in their fullest splendour; but all the large cities of the empire were partakeis in the savage gratification. Every where throughout the West, where Roman garrisons were stationed, amphitheatres were erected, and animals were exhibited to be slaughtered, either by the excited fury of their fellows, or by the hands of equally brutal men. Italy still abounds with the remains of these amphitheatres, which are also stated to be extremely numerous in England. Taking these as the point of departure, Mr. Ranking shows that almost every collection of the bones of quadrupeds, hitherto discovered, has been in the neighbourhood of these establishments, of which he gives a very complete list, illustrated by an enumeration of the fossil relics found in their vicinity. For so extensive a collection of facts he is entitled to our thanks; but while we are convinced that by his industrious inquiries he has furnished proofs amply sufficient to satisfy even the most sceptical, that animals were slaughtered by the Romans, in number ten, nay, a hundredfold, exceeding the skeletons hitherto found, we cannot by any means concur with him in referring the latter to the origin for which he so ingeniously contends.
To every theory which contemplates the fossil bones of quadrupeds as the remains of animals co existent with man, the forcible objection presents itself, that these skeletons are neve' accompanied by those of the human race. There exists no authentic account of any portion of a human skeleton having yet been found in a fossil state, a circumstance which strongly favours the probability that man had not been created at the period when those catastrophes occurred which involved the destruction of so many other animals. It is a known fact, that human bones are not more perishable than those of horses, since, on the field of battle, and in the half promiscuous graves occasionally resorted to in its vicinity, they are found commingled together at times very distant from those at which they fell. But the bones of the horse have repeatedly been disco
OritntaX Herald, Vol. 10. *B
vered in a fossil state: ought we not. then, equally to meet with those of man, if he existed at the same time with the horse I We know that the vestiges of a wound from an arrow, or a spear, have been said to be visible on one of the bones of the elk, so repeatedly found in the peat-bogs of Ireland, and that this has been recently adduced as a proof of the activity of man during the existence of that animal at least. But even if we grant the fact, and admit the justice of the inference, it alters not in the least our general argument. The elk of Ireland does not fairly fall under the denomination of fossil, so generally applied to it; the causes which have engulphed it having evidently originated in the rapid growth of vegetable matter, which is still actively proceeding in all such situations. That animal is never found deeply imbedded in the soil, and therefore cannot be regarded as similarly situated with the elephant, whose bones are discovered beneath one hundred, or one hundred and fifty feet of marl.
The existence of undoubted human skeletons in a limestone rock, on the coast of Guadaloupe, may perhaps be objected to us; but various circumstances are conclusive against the claim of these bones to any thing like the antiquity of fossil remains, of the characters of which they are moreover destitute. Into these circumstances, our limits forbid us from entering, but the following extract from the paper in which Mr. Koenig first made the fact known to the Royal Society, will show that, in the opinion of that gentleman, which hi:s tiuce received the decided sanction of M. Cuvier and all the leading geologists, no parallel can be in tituted between these skeletons and the fossil remains of mammiferous quadrupeds.
All the circumstances under which the known deposit'ons of bones occur, both in allnvi il beds, and in t c caver: s ai.d fissiues < f fieri/, limestone, tend to prove thai the animal*, to wh ch they I elon^ed, mei their fate in the very places where they now lie Luried. Hence it may I e considered as an axiom, that man and other animals, whose bon s arc not found intermixed with them, did not co-exist in time and place.—Phil. Tram, art 1, 1814.
Another objection might be raised, from the existence of bones of the Asiatic elephant in North America, a continent in which neither the testimony of historians, nor the evidence supplied by any vestiges now remaining, affords the slightest ground for the sus, icion of the conquerors of the old world having ever gained a foo:ing. By them, then, we should urge, the elephants whose remains have been discovered could never have been introduced into the New World. This has also struck Mr. Ranking as a weak point in the position he has taken up, and as he expresses a hope of being able, at a future period, to throw some light on the subject, we refrain for the present from pressing it. We also abstain from urging a consideration of the utmost weight, deducible from the discovery of the fossil remains of no less than twelve genera of mammiferous quadrupeds alone, which are now universally regarded as extinct. It is true that with»the zoology of several extensive districts we are still but very imperfectly acquainted ; and it is just possible that some of these animals may still be found to exist on the surface of the globe. While a doubt remains on the subject, the advantage of that doubt we are willing to concede.
Other objections suggest themselves, on the perusal of the catalogue of the animals exhibited at Rome.Although the greater number of those contained in the list supplied by Mr. Ranking, are now found in the fossil state, there are several, as the cameleopard, the ostrich, &c., no remains of which have yet occurred in any part of Europe; and it is particularly provoking, that among t' ese lost animals, should be included that one which is the most interesting of the whole. If the skeleton of the onyx so common at Rome as to be used for drawing carriages, could be recovered, it would materially assist us in verifying the existence, or explaining the true nature of the much talked of, but probably fabulous, unicorn; to which it ap ears to have approached more nearly than any ether animal. We fear, however, that little elucidation of the subject can be anticipated from this source. Crocodiles also are enumerated in the list of animals exhibited at Rome, but the fossils of this genus could not possibly have been co-existent with the mammiferous quadrupeds, whose relics are now discovered. Without entering into any particular description of the different strata, it will be sufficient to state that no bones of the latter class of animals have at any period been found, except in formations of more recent origin than chalk, while, on the contrary, the remains of crocodiles are invariably found imbedded in formations more ancient than the chalk itself. The crocodiles must, therefore, have been deposited in their present position at a time far anterior to that at which the other animals were engulphed.
In thus attempting to show the untenable nature of the position, that the fossil bones now discovered are referrible to animals which have been brought together by the hand of man, we have combated no new theory. With the partiality of any living author for the hypothetical progeny of his own brain, we have not interfered. Mr. Ranking does not claim the merit of a new discovery; he barely claims, what we are willing to allow him to an extent far beyond that which he assumes for himself, the merit of furnishing data sufficiently extensive and authentic fo the elucidation of the question. His industry and resea.ch are entitled to our best thanks, which we are most ready to tender to all who support their reasonings by facts, which, without an energetic stimulus of some kind, would still remain buried in obscurity. While from those who zealously exert