Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

with several striæ, but no radii, very like, if not the same with the concha nigra Rondeletii.

I have also seen in this quarry some shell-fish half open, and filled with the matter of the bed in which they lie, and petrified with it. Others being in heaps together, I have found some of them broken, some bruised, and the edges of one fish thrust into the sides of another, some with the one shell thrust half way over the other, &c. and so petrified in the bed together. Others in the same bed have been so close, that the matter of the bed could not insinuate itself into them. Some of these that are thus found are quite empty, others are filled with crystalline Auors ; others I have seen half full of the bluish clay of the bed, and half full of the said crystallisations, which proceeded from nothing but subterraneous heat and effluvia.

Among the fish in this quarry, I have seen several large horse-muscles, such as breed in fresh-water rivers and ponds, which are exactly like the concha longa Rondeletii, but are thicker and fuller than they commonly are; which largeness proceeds from the fertility and fatness of the bed where they breed ; and in an old pond beyond Broughton Hall, there are some of the largest sort of this shell-fish that ever I saw; as if this soil agreed better to the breeding of this sort of fish than any

other. As some thrive in a rich clayey soil, so other sorts of shell, fish love a stony gravelly soil, others a chalky soil, others a rocky soil, others a lime-stone or salt soil ; others, again, love an oozy soil, a sort of a confused mixture of all the foregoing, as part of the country about Frodingham, Brumbee, Ashbee, Botsworth, &c. In the fields and stones of which towns is one particular sort of fish, which I know not what genus or species to compare to, bending somewhat like a ram's horn, and exactly creased on the outside like one, with an operculum or lid on it, which the fish opened and shut as it had occasion. The bed whereon the said shell-fish bred is not above a foot thick, in which, but for the most part in the superficies, are millions of the said fish sticking half in the stone and half out, which having a most durable shell, that part which sticks out of the stone is not consumed, as in the shell-fish of Broughton, but remains whole and entire. Yet I have seen whole lumps of them, that by some great weight fallen upon them have been shattered in pieces, and so petrified in the bed as they lay.

In the parish of Broughton also, in the loose earth above the blue quarry, and elsewhere, I have found, in a whitish

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

stone, the echini galeati puncticulati Lluydii, the turbinites major Lluydii, the coclites lævis vulgatior Lluydii, in blue stone, the concha altera longa Rondeletii, exactly agreeing to the draught and size of it in Gesner de Piscibus. I have found also multitudes of belemnites, great and small, perforated and flat at the root, by which they grew in the antediluvian sea, to some of which were found sticking little shell-fish.

From all this it sufficiently appears, that there was a time when the water overflowed this country.

And hence it happens that we find shells and shell-fish, and the bones of other fishes and quadrupeds, and fruits, &c. petrified and lodged in stone, rocks, mountains, quarries, and pits ; for it was then the proper place for them to breed in, and upon, and to be found in at this time. And as all countries were thus raised out of the bottom of the sea and lakes, so that part of the country about Broughton appears manifestly to have been the bottom of some fresh-water lake, because those are fresh-water shell-fish that are found there, and the bed on which they breed was a fine blue clay, which is the colour of the stone to this day. Which bed, by the power of the subterraneous steams and effluvia, was turned by degrees into stone with all the fishes therein. I have also a hard stone, part of the same blue quarry,

with little bits of wood-coal in it, and whole leaves of vaccinia, or whortle-berries, such as grow on heath; and Mr. Llwyd and the Miscel. Cur. in Germany, have given several large accounts of whole leaves and plants found in stones and rocks, and deep in the bowels of the earth, some folded, some plain, some imperfect, all of which is very easily solvable, by their being in that general hurry and confusion seized upon, and embodied in lumps of clay and other matter, while others were caught and intercepted in rolling beds of earth, as they tumbled down from rising hills and mountains, and so were lodged deep in chasms of the ground, and petrified.

Observations on the Fossils of Reculver Cliff By

Mr. Stephen Gray. — [1700–1.] I was extremely satisfied with the account which Mr. De la Pryme gave of his observations on the shells in the quarries near Broughton. To the many instances the earth exhibits of the great and violent mutations she has suffered, be pleased to take a remarkable one of those I have observed in Kent. About half a mile from Reculver, towards Herm, there appears in the cliff a stratum of shells in a greenish sand: they seem to be firm, and some of them are entire ; but when you attempt to take them from their beds, they crumble to powder between your fingers: the shells are of the white conchites. But what is most remarkable is, that in the lower part of the stratum, where the shells lie thickest, there are scattered up and down portions of trunks, roots, and branches of trees. The wood is become as black as coal, and so rotten, that large pieces of it are easily broken with the fingers. I know not at what depth these may lie, the surface of the stratum not appearing above two feet from the beach, but I judge it from the superficies or top of the cliff about twelve feet. The stump of one tree standing upright was broken off about a foot from the ground.

Letter from Dr. WALLIS to Dr. Tyson, concerning Man's

feeding on Flesh. - [1700–1.] GASSENDUS in one of his epistles states, as his opinion, that it is not originally natural for man to feed on flesh; though by long usage, at least ever since the flood, we have been accustomed to it, and it is now become familiar to us; but rather on plants, roots, fruits, grain, &c. God says to Adam, “I have given you every herb bearing seed, and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for meat ;” but without any intimation of his feeding on the flesh of animals. But, without disputing it as a point in divinity, whether men before the flood did or might feed on flesh, supposing it to be wholesome nourishment, the Doctor considers it, with Gassendus, as a question in natural philosophy, whether it be proper food for man.

The consideration insisted on by Gassendus is from the structure of the teeth, being mostly either incisores or molarés; not such as, in carnivorous animals, are proper to tear flesh, except only four, which are called canini; as if nature had rather furnished our teeth for cutting herbs, roots, &c. and for bruising grain, nuts, and other hard fruits, than for tearing flesh, as carnivorous animals do with their claws and sharp teeth. And even when we feed on flesh it is not without a preparative coction, by boiling, roasting, baking, &c. And even so we forbid it to persons in a fever, or other like distempers, as of too hard digestion. And children, before their palates are vitiated by custom, are more fond of fruits than of flesh-meat. And their breeding worms is wont to be imputed to their too early feeding on flesh.

1. This ingenious conjecture of Gassendus presently suggested to the Doctor another speculation, which seems not less considerable, viz. There is in swine, sheep, oxen, and in most quadrupeds that feed on herbs or plants, a long colon, with a cæcum at the upper end of it, or somewhat equivalent, which conveys the food by a long and large progress from the stomach downwards, in order to a slower passage and longer stay in the intestines ; but in dogs of several kinds, and

probably in foxes, wolves, and divers other animals which are carnivorous, such colon is wanting; and, instead of it, is a more short and slender gut, and a quicker passage through the intestines.

What the Doctor would propose hereupon is, to consider whether it generally holds, or how far, that animals which are not carnivorous have such a colon, or somewhat equivalent, and that those which are carnivorous have it not. For if so, it seems to be a great indication that nature, which may be reasonably presumed to adapt the intestines to the different sorts of aliments that are to pass through them, accordingly informs us to what animals flesh is proper aliment, and to what it is not; and that from thence we may judge more solidly than from the structure of the teeth only, whether or not Aesh was designed as proper food for man.

Now it is well known, that in man, and probably in the ape, monkey, baboon, &c. such colon is very remarkable. It is true, that the cæcum in man is very small, and seems to be of little or no use: but in a fætus it is in proportion much larger than in adults; and it is possible that our customary change of diet, as we grow up, from what originally would be more natural, may occasion its shrinking into this contracted posture.

On an Insect commonly called the Death-Watch. By the

Rev. Mr. WILLIAM DERHAM.[1701.] 6. Of these death-watches, or insects which make a noise like the beats of a watch, I have observed two sorts. This year I caught many of them; two of which, a male and female, I kept alive in a little box about three weeks; and could make one of them beat whenever I pleased, by imitating his beatingAt last one died, and the other gnawed

way out through the side of the box.

The other death-watch is in appearance quite different from the last: it beats only about seven or eight strokes at a time, and quicker ; but this will beat some hours together without

its way

intermission, and his strokes are slower, and like the beats of a watch. I have several years observed these two sorts of beating, but took it to be made by one and the same animal.

The insect which makes this long beating is a small greyish animal, much resembling a louse, when looked on with the naked eye; for which reason I call it pediculus pulsatorius. It is very nimble in running to seek its shelter when disturbed. It is very common in all parts of the house in the summer months. They are extremely shy of beating when disturbed; but will answer you when you beat, if you do not disturb them. I cannot tell whether they beat in any

other thing, but I have heard their noise only in or near paper:

Concerning their noise, I am somewhat in doubt, whether it be made by beating their heads or rather snouts against the paper; or whether it be not made after some such manner as grashoppers and crickets make their noise, I rather incline to the former opinion. But my reason for doubting is, because I have observed the animal's body give a sudden jerk at every stroke, but I could scarcely perceive any part of it touch the paper. It is possible it might beat the paper, and I not perceive it, as its body is small, and near the paper when it beats, and its motion in beating is sudden and swift : for which reasons also it is hard to perceive the insect to beat without a very quick eye; and therefore I made use of a convex-glass, which by magnifying gave me much better opportunity of observing its

Concerning Spiders, their Way of killing their Prey, spinning 32

their Webs, &c. By M. LEUWENHOEK. [1701.) ABOUT the latter end of February, I caught a black spider, and viewing it with my microscopes, I observed that his body and legs were covered with a great number of hairs, that stood as thick as the bristles on a hog's back. Though hairy, yet the legs were so clear, that I could easily perceive the circulation of the blood in several veins which were not a hair's breadth distance from each other; and afterwards I saw other fine blood vessels, that were not the tenth part of a hair's breadth distant from each other.

I have often seen a spider hanging down from a branch of a tree by a thread of his own making, and holding fast by one of his hind-legs, which has three particular claws, two of which are at the very end, and each claw is armed with several teeth like-saws, which towards the joining with the foot grow narrower and closer together, and where the thread

« ForrigeFortsett »