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brata. Three years after the publication of “The Origin of Species," the archæopteryx was discovered, its long jointed tail allying it to the reptiles, while in other respects it was a true bird. Another specimen showed that it possessed reptilian teeth, thereby fulfilling another prophecy made respecting this particular form. Soon after Huxley showed that the Dinosaurian reptiles, despite their huge size, were very birdlike in their structure. A few years afterwards Messrs. Marsh, Cope, Leidy, and others described a number of toothed birds from the Cretaceous beds of America.
The Hesperornis had teeth set in a groove, rudimentary wings, and a tail consisting of twelve joints, while the Ichthyornis had the teeth implanted in sockets, and the joints of the backbone were bi-concave, like those of a fish. Living with these reptile-like birds were a number of bird-like reptiles; the Pterodactyles and Pteranodons, which Professor Seeley believes should be classed with the birds.
In the Tertiary beds of America we have a wonderful series of horses, besides many other less perfect series, connecting animals now living with their Eocene predecessors. Even in our own Eocene beds Professor Owen, not then a friend of the Evolution theory, calls attention to animals belonging to one order having some of the characters of what are now distinct orders. We have in the American bed the Diceratherium, connecting the Perissodactyle (odd toed) ungulates with the Antiodactyle (even toed) ones, the Dinocerata uniting the ungulates and the proboscedians, and the Tillodontia combining the Carnivora, Ungulata, and Rodentia. Such facts might be multiplied tenfold, thus reducing the number of the "missing links."
While palæontology has thus been busy breaking down the barriers between the different classes and orders, embryology, morphology, and the kindred sciences have been adding fresh links in the chain of proofs establishing the truth of the theory of Evolution. Embryology shows us evolution going on under our eyes, all animals beginning alike as a simple cell, gradually evolving the complex structures which cha
racterise the future animal. The same elements produce in one case the fin of a fish, in another the wing of a bird, in another the paddle of a whale, in another the fore-limb of a quad. ruped, and in another the arm of a man. Professor Parker affirms that at a certain stage of their development the skull of a parrot and that of a crocodile are so much alike that the same diagram would serve to illustrate both.
The splint bones representing atrophied toes in the horse, and the three toes found in the allied genera rhinoceros and tapir, the upper incisor teeth found in the foetal calf, but not in the cow,
and the teeth found in the foetal whalebone whale, when viewed with the occurrence of teeth in allied species, point to a common ancestor in each case, even if we were unable to connect these animals with the fossil whales and ruminants which possessed these teeth throughout life. The old theory can give us no explanation of the facts collected from so many different sources; so far from explaining them, it gives up the atttempt in despair as beyond the knowledge of man. Special creation bears the same relation to evolution that ancient astronomy, with its cycles and epicycles, bore to the generalizations of Sir Isaac Newton. The cycles and epicycles required continual readjustment, as the life of the earth, according to the old theory, required readjustment at every page of its stony history. Newton's discoveries brought the solar system within the scope of general laws, as evolution brings the organic world within the scope of the law of continuity. The present organized beings are, in our opinion, as truly the offspring of the extinct forms as the present physical features of the earth are the results of past phyfeatures. Continuity being conceded in the inorganic world, continuity in the organic followed as a necessary consequence or to quote Professor Huxley, “ Darwin was the natural successor of Hutton and Lyell, and the Origin of Species was the natural sequence to the Principles of Geology.'"
Mr. I. E. GEORGE expressed his regret that the author of the Paper under discussion had not enlarged more fully on the geological facts bearing upon the subject. The author
had also failed to explain in what manner, in the absence of the Evolution theory, the different facts connected with the geographical and geological distribution of animals and plants were to be interpreted. The speaker pointed out that a study of fossil forms of life afforded some of the strongest arguments in favour of Evolution. Some animals which became extinct with the post-pliocene period have been frequently followed by closely allied forms now living in the same districts. South America, for instance, has furnished us with fossil mammals allied to the sloths and armadillos, but of different species to those now inhabiting that Continent. In Australia, also, extinct species of kangaroos have been discovered in the postpliocene rocks. Referring to the author's argument that some of the earliest known fossil fishes in the old red sandstone are of a high order, and that there was little evidence of lower orders of fishes having existed, the speaker thought that it offered no proof against the theory of Evolution. The ganoid types of fishes were protected by a thick coat of armour, which would aid their preservation, and he considered that of the various groups of fishes which existed in those early times, only the ganoids possessed skeletons of sufficient toughness to be handed down to us uninjured.
Mr. F. P. Marrat pointed out that the brachiopods are closely related to the syphunculoid worms. They might, perhaps, be a connecting link between molluscs and worms.
LIVERPOOL GEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION.
February 5th, 1883.
At the Ordinary Meeting, held this date, at the Free Library, Mr. HENRY BRAMALL, M. Inst. C.E., President, in the Chair, the following were elected Members :
Messrs. Frederick G. Clark; Henry Hall, H.M. Inspector of Mines; James E. A. Rogers, William Hewitt, B.Sc., and H. F. Tildsley.
Proposed as Members :— Messrs. David Davies Pritchard, 10, Lothair Road, Anfield ; Philip Owens, 66, Orient Street, Everton; H. E. Brown, 25, Bank Road, Bootle ; and William Wright, 41, Langham Street, Walton.
" The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the action of Worms ;" by Chas. Darwin,—Presented by Mrs. H. P. Shilston; “ Annual Report, 1882, of the Liverpool Amateur Photographic Association, ---Presented by the Association;" Abstract of Proceedings Liverpool Astronomical Society,- Presented by the Society.
The following Paper was read ,
“ THE CONTORTED BUNTER SANDSTONES OF
By ISAAC E. GEORGE. The Cheshire Peninsula has long been known to geologists as containing at least one member of the Triassic period in which footprints of the long-extinct Labyrinthodont have been favourably preserved. Beyond these, and other kindred
(Vol. III- Session 1882-88—No. 5)
impressions occasionally met with, the geological collector finds little in the red sandstone to divert his attention from the adjacent carboniferous rocks, which always hold out better hopes of fossils. Probably it is on this account that many interesting features in connection with our local red rocks have not received the attention which they merited ; so that many problems bearing on the structural geology of the Trias which might otherwise have been worked out have scarcely sug. gested themselves. The present Paper is an attempt to give some account of the facts bearing upon one of these problems, with an explanation of the probable mode of origin of the structures to which it has reference.
Under the guidance of Mr. Thomas Brennan, members of the Association have recently had an opportunity of examining a section at Wallasey in which the contorted structure is strikingly developed.* Other sections, much the same in general appearance, exist at Bidston and Thurstaston. The Sandstones in which they occur are always well jointed, and frequently traversed by faults. In this respect they re
. semble all those rocks which are the result of the consolidation of sheets of sediment, and which have been afterwards dislocated by the action of internal forces. Both of these structures have been closely studied; and their phenomena, as developed in the Bunter Sandstones, are readily separable from those associated with the contortions. But their frequent existence side by side with the latter is noteworthy, and may help us to draw an important inference when we come to consider the relative age of the contortions. There is still another appearance in connection with our local Sandstones, with which every visitor to Storeton Quarry is familiar. I refer to the iron-stains seen on exposed faces of the rock. More than one section shewing contortions has been passed by without examination, under the impression that the appearances were merely due to iron-stains; whereas the observation should have been followed by an appeal to the pocket magnifying-glass. Examined in this way the Wallasey Section re
* Vide “ Transactions,” Vol, II., page 84.