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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/491

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THE GREAT CEMETERY IN COLORADO.

are Hyracodon, and Aceratherium. It is remarkable that Prof. Cope has made out seven species of these fossil Rhinocerotidœ, which, until the recent discovery of the living hairy-eared rhinoceros (R. casiotis) at Chittagong, the northern extremity of the Bay of Bengal, was the precise number of the living species known. It amounts to a certainty, then, that our great Western Tertiary was much richer in species, and immensely richer in individuals of these enormous beasts, than is the whole living fauna of the entire world to-day. And what singular relationships did these Rhinocerotidœ hold in those Tertiary times! For there were other animals that held structural alliances with them. One of these the professor has named Basilius, the Miocene King. This the learned man doubtless did in respectful deference to a notable personage that had died some time before. It was in fact in the Eocene reign that this individual flourished. So the professor refers to him as Eobasileus;, while another savant, deep in the lore of those times, contends that it belongs to a different family. That its place is in the new order Dinocerata seems undisputed. What the true dynasty was is not for "the likes of us to say." Besides, we would shudder at any personal attempt to wade this paleontological marsh; and would frankly confess a lack of strength wherewithal to cope with a subject so grave as the one which has grown out of these exhumed remains. But, whatever ground there may be as to specific identity or distinction, on these words of Prof. Cope, in his diagnosis of the genus Eobasileus, there is full accord: It "indicates a remarkable combination of structure not before known to naturalists. The gigantic size of the typical species (E. cornutus) adds to its interest, and shows it to have been the monarch of the remarkable fauna disclosed by recent researches in Wyoming." The genus is "established on remains of five individuals of the average size of the Mastodon Ohioticus.... From the manner of the occurrence of the relics, this animal probably went in families, or herds," as do the existing elephants.

But it is time to return to his Miocene majesty. It was even with Eobasileus much as it has been with other ancient monarchs. He had a wicked way of lifting up his horn. Nay, he lifted them twain; for, owing to an ophthalmic difficulty which seems to have been constitutional—like some modern patriarch, who, when he wants to look upon his household with aspect of authority, doth push his spectacles high up on his head—so this king of the beasts! when he wished to feel,

"I am monarch of all I survey;

My right (who shall dare) to dispute?"—

that is, when he desired to look up and around, like a king, with brow austere—he tossed those spectacular horns on high, and backward. The fact was, his supremacy lay in his horns. And herein were some disadvantages. "Uneasy is the head that wears a crown." Each