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Specimens qf Human Bones, sent Aug. 1834*.
No. l. Supposed to be the remains of the humerus, consisting of the major part of the round head that plays in the‘ cup of the scapula. It was dug out from under a mass of clay at a depth of about 2 ft. 6 inches.
No. 2. May either be a. portion of the fibula, or of the ulna, ofa child, or woman : this I imagine may easily be decided by any anatomist. It must be of considerable antiquity, as the tube originally occupied by the marrow is completely filled with a hollow concretion or spur, externally solid, and taking the exact mould or form of the concave or inner figure of the walls of the bone. In the interior hollow of this concretion a great number of very fine and sharp-pointed crystals occur, with their points or vertices apparently pointing inwards to a common elongated centre or axis ; from which it would appear that the system of this concretion was either by the increase of the crystals in size, or by their gradual projection from the exterior inwards in aradiated manner, to fill up the cavity. This specimen was found, and I have no doubt was petrified, amongst sand and shingle.
No. 3. Portion of the above, supposed to have belonged to a fullgrown man.
No. 5. One of the metacarpal bones.
Nos. 46 and 47. Assimilate nearly with the 2nd and 12th dorsal vertebrae; but have belonged to different subjects. (P)
No. 15. Appears to be a molar nearly perfect, and the remains of another broken in its alveolus, with a portion of the jaw covering each, and to have belonged to some of the larger species of deer.
No. 17. Posterior extremity of a rib of a young camel, having the same peculiar concretion as No. 34. (See postscript.)
No. 22. A portion of the jaw ofa camel, containing one of the grinders.
No. 34. The remains of the blade bone of the shoulder of a young camel, remarkable for the peculiar cement or concretion filling its cancelli, originally the depositaries of marrow.
No. 18, (fig. 4.) Portion of the jaw of a pig, containing four grinders.
No. 26. Extremity of one of the ribs, and N0. 23, portion of the plastrom or breastplate of the Cuchwa, or mud tortoise of the Jamna.
No. 62. Portion of a rib of a buffalo, procured at a greater depth
* We have thought proper to insert this notice, in continuation of the preceding, as the specimens referred to are deposited in the Museum, and have been imagined by more than one person to be human. See the following note.
(about six feet) under the clay than any specimen in the collection. It was not procured in the clay, but imbedded in a layer of sand, which the clay had enclosed in its deposit.
[The remainder of Serjeant DEAN’s collection was presented early in the following year, reaching its destination in May last. The following is his description of its contents :]
17 pieces, No. 1. Teeth and fragments of bones of camels.
27 , No. 2. Ditto and ditto of ditto of bullocks and buffaloes.
II--—-, No. 3. Portions of bones of elephants.
10 , No. 4. Ditto of teeth of ditto and piece of tusk of hippopotamus, (now recognized to be such.)
5 pieces, No. 5. Portion of tufa formation, occupying the place of the marrow in the tusk of an elephant. These pieces are all that remain of a very large tusk taken out of the river at Adhzie, from beneath a plate of kankar .- the bony part of the tusk was fossilized, but not petrified, and from its appearance, the sepoys engaged in the work during the absence of the European non-commissioned oflicer, broke it up to try the experiment of its making pipe-clay or whiting for their belts, and on burning it, succeeded beyond their expectations. It is now too late to regret this great loss, but Iimagine it must have been a great curiosity, as it is described to have been at least eight inches in diameter.
4 pieces, No. 6, (fig. 16.) Portions of what I am told is the sting of the sting-ray petrified; also a perfect sting (fresh); and thejaw of a water rat, (fig.l5.)
29 pieces, No. 7. Teeth of deer of various species.
9 , No. 8. Portions of antlers of ditto and other remains of ditto.
16 pieces, No. 9. Pieces of human bones.
5 , No. 10. Broken jaws of alligators.
5 -—. No. 11. Teeth of garial.
21 , No. 12. Portions of the shell, &c. of the kachwa, or mud tortoise.
3 pieces, No. 13. Pieces of teeth of hippopotamus.
2 , No. 14. Portion of jaw and teeth of goat or deer.
16 ——-, No. 15. Petrified wood.
5 ——-, No. 16. Specimens of pipe kankar.
2 , No. 17 . Petrified perfect fish and shells.
I consider this fossil fish to be the greatest curiosity ever found in the Jamna. (See note.)
3 pieces, No. 18. Ribs, unknown.
[On the receipt of the first batch of specimens, acorrespondence ensued, to ascertain the precise position of the fossils, and their true geological age ; the opinions then upheld by their collector have been since more fully developed in his intelligent memoir published in the Journal for May. It will be as well, however, to insert here an extract from Mr. Dean's previous letter of the 16th August, 1834.]
In answer to your question, whether any specimens (fossil) have been found under the kankar strata of the general Duab alluvium P \/Vithout any hesitation, I answer, not one instance has occurred.
It may be questioned, how in the deep bonds of the Jamna, excavated for the purpose of removing the clay banks or shoals, which are so dangerous to the navigation : trees, pieces of boats, and some very few instances of bones have been discovered, at depths of from 2 to 10 feet from the upper surface of the clay, from which perhaps a crust of kankar, from one to four feet thick, has first been removed, in a perfect state of petrifaction. This circumstance, on a superficial examination, might be deemed conclusive of these specimens having been actually removed from a level lower than the kankar strata of the general Duab alluvium, and from under what would appear to be two regular and natural strata ; and that there was every probability of their occurring at the same level under neighbouring and other strata, having no connexion with the river ; but, Sir, I feel quite satisfied, that at two feet in or under any natural stratum of kankar placed at any level reached by the Jamna, no specimen of animal or vegetable deposit will be found; but I shall be enabled to prove in my observations on the obstructions of the river, that both these apparently natural strata of clay and kankar, are merely deposits, and which being removed, only leave the river, at this place, at a depth it has before attained ; but which, from circumstances I believe peculiar to the Jamna, and which I shall hereafter treat on, may, from the rapidity (comparative) of their formation, give an appearance of the work of ages, to deposits, which have been the Work of not more than 10 or 12 years.
I am aware, Sir, that I view this subject in a difierent light from that in which it has hitherto appeared to you. I feel convinced, however, that the researches of Indian geologists would be amply rewarded in examining the bed of the Jamna; but Ishould consider the discovery of fossil remains at a level corresponding with the deepest parts of the river in the sandy soil of the Duzib as the merest possible accident; and I shall be best understood when I say my firm conviction is, that such specimens of fossil animal or vegetable remains, as
are to be met with in the Janina, owe their existence to some peculiar quality of the water alone ; and I do not consider the fossils of the Jamna as at all connected with the natural kankar formation, although at any depth that the artificial or deposit kaukar formation is found, they may reasonably be looked for.
IV.—-Note on the preceding. By JAMES Pnmsnr, Secretary, 8;c.
More than a year has elapsed since Mr. DEAN presented us with a first selection from the fossil bones he had discovered while engaged in blasting the rocks and impediments to navigation in the Jamna, under Major Invms, and afterwards Captain SMITH, of the Engineers : a few months. prior to that, in November, 1833, we had been made acquainted with the fact of their occurrence by Captain Smrrn, to whose valuable sketches on the stratification of the Durib alluvium and notes on the position of the fossils, published in the Journal for December, 1833, I ventured to add a few remarks, suggesting the probability of their being subjacent to the kankar, and therefore of an age anterior to the deposition of the great bed of alluvium of the Sub-Himalayan plains, when all this part of the present continent was still buried under the expanse of waters.
This opinion has been combated by Serjeant DEAN in the preceding note, as well as in his memoir on the Duab strata, printed in page 273 of the present volume.
The evidence of an eye-witness must be deemed suflicient, and the theory of original deposit with the alluvium must be given up. Still the hypothesis advanced in its stead by Mr. DEAN, of the fossilizing powers of the Jamna, and the probability of all the present specimens having been mineralized in sitii, does not appear adequate to meet the difliculties of the case.
It is so far true, that the bones are found in various stages of transformation; some in a crumbling state, the interstices filled with the sand and kankar conglomerate of the river; some lined, in the cells of the bones, with calcareous spar, and chalky earth; while others are, as it may be termed, wholly fossilized, of a dark shining brown colour, ponderous, brittle, of a conchoidal fracture, and retaining little even of\ the bone-earth itself in their composition. The substance into which the bones are thus converted, is a hydrated oxide of iron. The animal matter of the bone is probably first replaced by it, and then the softer portions. The hard enamel of the teeth resists decomposition for a long time, and its whiteness, contrasting with the dark brown of the cavities and encasing jaw gives these fossils the exact appearance of half picked, dried or roasted bones. A fragment of the polished osseolite (for it deserves a
mineral appellation) yielded on rough analysis,
100 the specific gravity being 4'5.
Were the fossil ingredient every where carbonate of lime, some support might be gained for the theory of the modern conversion of the bones; but while no cause can be assigned for the ferruginous impregnation, nor less for the siliceous, (of which if instances are less frequent here, they are amply supplied from the analogous fossils of Jabalpur ;) we shall be justified in seeking and assigning an extraneous origin for the organic remains of the Jamna. Indeed the very specimens upon which the greatest reliance might be urged by the advocates of local formation, those in which the bone is seen entirely imbedded in the hard kankar, furnish adverse evidence; for the fragments imbedded are broken and rounded, and their substance or composition is entirely heterogeneous to the matrix itself.
When to these arguments is added the strong fact of some of the fossil animals being such as could not have existed in the dry soil of Upper India, the point is in my opinion decided. Mr. DEAN mentions several imbedded specimens, and one whole animal, (the elephant at Punch/r0urie*) as situated too high in the bank to be reached by the highest modern floods of the river; to these, therefore, he concedes the greatest antiquity, while of another he allows that the parts must have been washed into the situation in which they now lie, imbedded in the tufaceous conglomerate. Of the modern growth of this calcareous tufa there can be no question. The incrustations of roots and twigs (forming the pipe kankar of the specimens), and even of fragments of boats or sunken Weapons, lost in wrecks on these dangerous shoals, are convincing proofs of it ; but there is an essential ditfeiaence between this formation and the true kankar of the banks.
There are two animals in Mr. DsAN’s list,ithe camel and the human subject, which have kept up a suspense of judgment as to the nature of his fossil series, from their never having been discovered elsewhere : this difliculty is now removed by the sight of the specimens. Dr. Pmnson, and Dr. Evans, are decided, that none of the fragments
* See the description and note in page 271—3.