« EelmineJätka »
recently discovered, forming the genus Diceratherium. These had a pair of nasal horns placed side by side on the snout, not behind each other as in existing two-horned rhinoceroses, the rest of their skeleton resembling the hornless Aceratherium. They were of rather small size.
Next to these extinct rhinoceroses come the Brontotheridæ, an extraordinary family of large mammalia, some of which exceeded in bulk the largest living rhinoceros. They had four toes to the front and three to the hind feet, with a pair of large divergent horns on the front of the head, in both sexes. Professor Marsh and Dr. Leidy have described four genera, Brontotherium, Titanotherium, Megacerops, and Anisacodon, distinguished by peculiarities of dentition. Though most nearly allied to the rhinoceroses, they show some affinity for the gigantic Dinocerata of the Eocene to be noticed further on. Professor Cope has since described another genus, Symborodon, from the Miocene of Colorado, with no less than seven species, one nearly the size of an elephant. He thinks they had a short tapir-like proboscis. The species differ greatly in the form of the cranium and development of the horn-bearing processes.
We commence the Artiodactyla, or even-toed Ungulates, with the hog tribe. These are represented by species of peccaries, (Dicotyles) from the Pliocene of Nebraska and Oregon ; and by an allied form Thinohyus, very like Dicotyles, but having an additional premolar tooth and a much smaller brain-cavity. From the Miocene are three allied genera, Nanohyus, Leptochorus, and Perchorus. Professor Cope, however, thinks Leptochạrus may be Lemuroid, and allied to Menotherium. The Anthracotheridæ, a family which connects the Hippopotamidæ and Ruminants, and which occurs in the Miocene of Europe and India, are represented in America by the genus Hyopotamus from the Miocene of Dakota, and Elotherium from the Miocene of Oregon and the Eocene of Wyoming; the latter genus being sometimes classed with the preceding family, and lately placed by Professor Marsh, in the new order, Tillodontia. Professor Cope has since described three other genera from the Eocene of New
Mexico: Meniscotherium, having resemblances to Palæosyops, Hyopotamus, and the Limnotheridæ ; Phenacodus, the size of a hog, of doubtful position, but perhaps near Elotherium ; and Achænodon, as large as a cow, but more hog-like than the preceding. Another new genus from the Miocene of ColoradoPelonax—is said by Professor Cope to come between Elotherium and Hippopotamus.
The Camelidæ are very abundant, and form one of the most striking features of the ancient fauna of America. Procamelus, Homocamelus, and Megalomeryx, are extinct genera found in the Pliocene formation ; the first very closely allied to the Old World camel, the last smaller and more sheep-like. In the Miocene two other genera occur, Pebrotherium and Protomeryx, the former allied to both the camel and the llama.
Deer are represented by a single species of Cervus in the Pliocene, while two extinct genera, Leptomeryx and Merycodus, are found in the Miocene deposits, the latter indicating a transition between camels and deer. Two other genera, Hypisodus and Hypertragulus, of very small size, are said by Professor Cope to be allied to the Tragulidæ and to Leptomeryx.
The Bovidæ, or hollow-horned ruminants, are only represented in the Newer Pliocene by a single species of an extinct genus, Casoryx, said to be intermediate between antelopes and deer,
We now come to an exclusively American family, the Oreodontido, which consisted of small animals termed by Dr. Leidy, “ruminating hogs," and which had some general structural resemblances to deer and camels. They abounded in North America during the Pliocene, and especially during the Miocene epoch, no less than six genera and twenty species having been discovered. Merychus contains the Pliocene forms; while Oreodon, Eporeodon, Merychochorus, Leptauchenia, and Agriochorus are Miocene. The last genus extends back into the Eocene period, and shows affinity to the European Anoplotheridæ of the same epoch.
Proboscidea.--The Elephantidæ are only represented in America by one species of Mastodon and one of Elephas, in the Newer Pliocene deposits. In the Older Pliocene, Miocene,
and Upper Eocene, no remains of this order have been found; and in 1869, Dr. Leidy remarked on the small average size of the extinct North American mammalia, which were almost all smaller than their living analogues. Since then, however, wonderful discoveries have been made in deposits of Middle Eocene age in Wyoming and Colorado, of a group of huge animals not only rivalling the elephants in size, but of so remarkable and peculiar a structure as to require the formation of a new order of mammals-Dinocerata-for their reception.
This order consists of animals with generalised Ungulate and Proboscidean affinities. The lower jaw resembles that of the hippopotamus; they had five toes on the anterior feet and four on the posterior ; three pairs of horns, the first pair on the top of the head, large and perhaps palmated, the second pair above the eyes, while the third and smallest stood out sideways on the snout. They had enormous upper canines, of which the roots entered the middle horn cores, no upper incisors, and small molars. Professor Marsh believes that they had no trunk. The remains discovered indicate four genera, Dinoceras (3 sp.), Tinoceras (2 sp.), Vintatherium (1 sp.), and Eobasileus (2 sp.). Many other names have been given to fragments of these animals, and even those here given may not be all distinct.
Another new order, Tillodontia, recently established by Professor Marsh, is perhaps yet more remarkable in a zoological point of view, since it combines the characters of Carnivora, Ungulata, and Rodents. These animals have been formed into two families, Tillotheridæ and Stylinodontidæ; and three genera, Tillotherium, Anchippodus, and Stylinodontia. All are from the Eocene of Wyoming and New Jersey. Perhaps to these must be added Elotherium from the Miocene of Dakota, the other forms being all Eocene. They were mostly animals of small size, between that of the capybara and tapir. The skull resembled in form that of a bear; the molar teeth were of Ungulate type, and the incisors like those of a Rodent; but the skeleton was more that of the Ursidæ, the feet being plantigrade. Professor Cope has since described three new genera from the Eocene of New Mexico, Ectoganus, Calamodon, and Esthonyx, comprising
seven species allied to Tillotherium and Anchippodus, and having also relations, as Professor Cope believes, with the South American Toxodontidae.
Rodentia.—This order is represented in the Pliocene by a beaver, a porcupine, and an American mouse (Hesperomys), all extinct species of living genera, the Hystrix being an Old World type; and Professor Cope has recently described Panolax, a new genus of hares from the Pliocene of New Mexico. The Miocene deposits have furnished an extinct genus allied to the hares-Palæolagus; one of the squirrel family-Ischyromys ; a small extinct form of beaver-Palæocastor ; and an extinct mouse-Eumys. The Eocene strata of Wyoming have lately furnished two extinct forms of squirrel, Paramys and Sciuravus; and another of the Muridæ (or mouse family), Mysops.
Cetacea.--Numerous remains of dolphins and whales, belonging to no less than twelve genera, mostly extinct, have been found in the Miocene deposits of the Atlantic and Gulf States, from New Jersey to South Carolina and Louisiana; while seven genera of the extinct family, Zeuglodontidæ, have been found in Miocene and Eocene beds of the same districts. Some remains associated with these are doubtfully referred to the Seal family (Phocidæ) among the Carnivora.
Edentata.—Till quite recently no remains of this order have occurred in any North American deposits below the Post-Pliocene; but in 1874 Prof. Marsh described some remains allied to Megalonyx and Mylodon, from the Pliocene beds of California and Idaho, and forming a new genus, Morotherium. As these remains have only occurred to the west of the Rocky Mountains, and in Pliocene deposits whose exact age is not ascertained, they hardly affect the remarkable absence of this group from the whole of the exceedingly rich Tertiary deposits in all other parts of North America.
General Relations of the extinct Tertiary Mammalia of North America and Europe.-Having now given a sketch of the extinct Mammalia which inhabited Europe and North America during the Tertiary period, we are enabled by comparing them,
to ascertain their relations to each other, and to see how far they elucidate the problem of the birth-place and subsequent migrations of the several families and genera. We have already pointed out the remarkable features of the Quaternary (or PostPliocene) fauna of North America, and now proceed to discuss that of the various Tertiary periods, which is closely connected with the extinct fauna of Europe.
The Tertiary Mammalia of North America at present described belong to from eighty to one hundred genera, while those of Europe are nearly double that number; yet only eighteen genera are common to the two faunas, and of these eight are living and belong chiefly to the Pliocene period. Taking first, the genera which in America do not go back beyond the Pliocene period ften in number), we find that eight of them in Europe go back to the Upper Miocene. These are Felis, Pseudælurus, Hipparion, Cervus, Mastodon, Elephas (in India), Castor and Hystrix; while another, Canis, goes back to the Upper Eocene and the tenth, Equus, confined to the newer Pliocene or perhaps to the Post-Pliocene in America, extends back to the older Pliocene in Europe. Of the seven European genera which are confined to the Miocene period in America, three, Hyænodon, Anchitherium, and Lophiodon go back to the Eocene in Europe; three others, Machairodus, Rhinoceros, and Aceratherium, are also of Miocene age in Europe; Amphicyon goes back to the Lower Miocene of Europe. Lophiotherium belongs to the Eocene of both countries.
If we turn now to families instead of genera, we find that the same general rule prevails. Mustelidæ (weasels), Ursidæ (bears), true Equidæ (horses), and Bovidæ (oxeh &c.), go no further back in America than the Pliocene, while they all go back to the Miocene in Europe. Suidæ (swine) and Anoplotheridæ (extinct) are found in the American Miocene and in the European Eocene. Anchitheridæ (extinct) reach the Upper Eocene in America, while in Europe they range through Upper, Middle, and Lower Eocene. Cervidæ (deer) alone are Miocene in both countries. There remain two families in which America has the preeminence. Camelidæ (camels) were wonderfully developed in