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entire country been isolated from the northern continent during middle and late Tertiary times, would long since have become extinct.
The Australian Region.—There only remains for us now to consider the relation of the island-continent of Australia to Asia and South America, with both which countries it has a certain amount of zoological connection. Australia, including New Guinea (which has in recent times been united with it), differs from all the other continents by the extreme uniformity and lowly organisation of its mammalia which almost all belong to one of the lowest orders—the marsupials. Monkeys, carnivora, insectivora, and the great and almost ubiquitous class of hoofed-animals, are all alike wanting; the only mammals besides marsupials being a few species of a still lower type—the monotremes, and a few of the very smallest forms of rodents—the mice. The marsupials, however, are very numerous and varied, constituting 6 families and 33 genera, of which there are about 120 known species. None of these families is represented in any other continent; and this fact alone is sufficient to prove that Australia must have remained almost or quite isolated during the whole of the Tertiary period. In birds there is, as we might expect, less complete isolation; yet there are a number of very peculiar types. About 15 families are confined to the Australian region, among which are the paradise-birds, the honey-suckers, the lyre-birds, the brush-tongued lories, the moundmakers, and the cassowaries. Our knowledge of the former mammalian inhabitants of Australia is imperfect, as all yet discovered are from Post-Tertiary or very late Tertiary desposits. It is interesting to find, however, that all belong to the marsupial type, although several are quite unlike any living animals, and some are of enormous size, almost rivalling the mastodons and megatheriums of the northern continents. In the earliest Tertiary formation of Europe remains of marsupials have been found, but they all belong to the opossum type, which is unknown in Australia; and this supports the view that no communication existed between the Palaearctic and Australian regions even at this early period. Much farther back, however, in the Oolite and Trias formations, remains of a number of small mammalia have been found which are almost certainly marsupial, and bear a very close resemblance to the Myrmecobius, a small and very rare mammal still living in Australia. An animal of somewhat similar type has been discovered in rocks of the same age in North America; and we have, therefore, every reason to believe, that it was at or near this remote epoch when Australia, or some land which has been since in connection with it, received a stock of mammalian immigrants from the great northern contiment; since which time it has almost certainly remained completely isolated. The occurrence of the marsupial opossums in America has been thought by some writers to imply an early connection between that continent and Australia; but the fact that opossums existed in Europe in Eocene and Miocene times, and that no trace of them has been found in North or South America before the Post-Pliocene period, renders it almost certain that they entered America from Europe or North Asia in middle or late Tertiary times, and have flourished there in consequence of a less severe competition with highly-developed forms of life. The birds of Australia and South America only exhibit a few cases of very remote and general affinity, which are best explained by the preservation in each country of once wide-spread types, but is quite inconsistent with the theory of a direct union between the two countries during Tertiary times. Reptiles are even more destitute of proofs of any such connection than even mammalia or birds; but in amphibia, fresh-water fishes, and insects the case is different, all these classes furnishing examples of the same families or genera inhabiting the temperate parts of both continents. But the fact that such cases are confined to these three groups and to plants, is the strongest possible proof that they are not due to landconnection; for all these organisms may be transmitted across the ocean in various ways. Violent storms of wind, floating ice, drift-wood, and aquatic birds, are all known to be effective means for the distribution of these animals or their ova, and the seeds of plants. All of them too, it must be noted, are to a considerable degree patient of cold ; the reverse being the case with true reptiles and land-birds, which are essentially heatloving; so that the whole body of facts seems to point rather to an extension of the Antarctic lands and islands reducing the width of open sea, than to any former union, or even close approximation of the Australian and South American continents.
Summary and Conclusion.
Let us now briefly review the conclusions at which we have arrived. If we look back to remote Tertiary times, we shall probably find that all our great continents and oceans were then in existence, and even bore a general resemblance to the forms and outlines now so familiar to us. But in many details, and especially in their amount of communication with each other, we should observe important changes. The first thing we should notice would be a more complete separation of the northern and the southern continents. Now, there is only one completely detached southern land—Australia; but at that period Africa and South America were also vast islands or archipelagos, completely separated from their sister continents. Examining them more closely, we should observe that the great Euro-Asiatic continent had a considerable extension to the south-east, over what are now the shallow seas of Japan, China, and Java. In the south-west it would include Northern Africa, the Mediterranean then forming two inland seas; while to the west and north-west it would include the British Isles, and perhaps extend even to Iceland and Greenland. As a balance to these extensions, much of Northern Siberia and North-Western Asia may have been under water ; the peninsula of India would be an island with a considerable south-west extension over what are now the Laccadive and Maldive coral-reefs. The Himalayas would be a moderate range of hills; the great desert plateau of Central Asia a fertile plain; the greater part of the continent would enjoy a tropical or sub
tropical climate, while even the extreme north would support a luxuriant vegetation. This great continent . would abound in animal life, and would be especially remarkable for its mammalia, which would comprise ancestral forms of all our existing higher types, along with a number of those lower grades of organisation (such as lemurs and opossums) now found chiefly in the southern hemisphere, Connected with this continent by what is now Behring Straits and the Sea of Kamschatka, we should find North America, perhaps somewhat diminished in the east, but more extensive in the south and north, and abounding as now with great inland lakes which were situated to the west of the present lake district. This continent seems to have had a less tropical climate and vegetation than prevailed in the eastern hemisphere, but it supported an almost equally varied though very distinct fauna. Ancestral horses no larger than dogs; huge tapir-like and pig-like animals; strange forms allied to rhinoceroses; the Dinocerata—huge horned animals allied to elephants and to generalised Ungulata; and the Tillodontia, still more unlike anything now living, since they combined characters now found separated in the carnivora, the Ungulata, and the rodents. Ancestral Primates, allied to both the lemurs and the South American monkeys, also inhabited this continent. The great land masses of the northern hemisphere thus appear to have possessed between them all the higher types of animal life; and these seem to have been developed for a time in one continent and then to have been in part transferred by migration to the other, where alone they have sometimes maintained themselves.