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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/565

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561
THE DAWN OF QUADRUPEDS

When in the later ages of the existence of this old lake its waters became filled with vegetation and it had acquired the characters of a marsh there came a disturbance in the earth's crust and the lake was again submerged, and on its bottom was formed the thick stratum of good coal which is now known to geologists as the "Ohio No. 6." This coal was formed over the graves of the earliest quadrupeds. Here through the vast stretches of geological time they lay in their coaly bed. After many, many eons of time the descendants of animals which had been their contemporaries came with tools fashioned with their fore feet to dig out the coal to keep their naked bodies warm. These were men and to these miners we owe a debt of gratitude for thus bringing to light these treasures of the earliest quadrupeds.

There was a man in the days when these coal mines were being worked who appreciated the opportunity of collecting the remains of these creatures and he deserves far more credit than the miners who delved in the ground for the coal. This was Dr. J. S. Newberry, whose name is to be ever associated with the first investigators into the history of the primitive quadrupeds of this continent. Through his knowledge of the geology of the region in which the mine was located he realized, as no other did, the importance of gathering these remains as rapidly as possible. The result was worthy of the exertion. The mines have now long since been deserted, the village of Linton has gone out of existence and even the spot where the mines were located is difficult to find, so Dr. Hussakof tells me. Newberry's collection of the early quadrupeds is now in the American Museum of Natural History of New York City, and it will stand as a monument to the zeal of one of the early investigators into the "Eotetrapoda" of North America. Newberry's collections have, for the most part been described by Cope, who has done more on the morphology of the extinct Amphibia than any other investigator in North America.

Dr. Newberry found the first recognized amphibian in the Linton deposits in 1856. The next year Dr. Wyman read a note on the specimen before the meeting of the American Association and the next year he published a description of the form under the name Raniceps lyelli. It was necessary to change the name Raniceps, so ten years later Dr. Wyman proposed in its stead the term Pelion and the form is still known as the Pelion lyelli Wyman. This is perhaps one of the most extraordinary of all of the Amphibia which have came from these deposits (Fig. 1). It was thought by Wyman, and later by Cope, that the form had the characters of the modern frogs and in its general appearance it certainly shows great resemblances to the modern frogs, especially in the shape of its head and the length of the hind leg, which Cope seems not to have observed. Among the other forms collected by Newberry is the form shown in Fig. 2. One half of the slab containing