THE ANCIENT
LIFE-HISTORY
OF THE EARTH

A COMPREHENSIVE OUTLINE OF THE PRINCIPLES AND LEADING FACTS OF PALÆONTOLOGICAL SCIENCE

BY

H. ALLEYNE NICHOLSON

M.D., D.SC., M.A., PH. D. (GÖTT), F.R.S.E, F.L.S.

PROFESSOR OF NATURAL HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE.
The general objects or geological science—The older theories of catastrophistic and intermittent action—The more modern doctrines of continuous and uniform action—Bearing of these doctrines respectively on the origin or the existing terrestrial order—Elements or truth in Catastrophism—General truth of the doctrine of Continuity—Geological time.


PART I: PRINCIPLES OF PALÆONTOLOGY.

INTRODUCTION.
The general objects or geological science—The older theories of catastrophistic and intermittent action—The more modern doctrines of continuous and uniform action—Bearing of these doctrines respectively on the origin or the existing terrestrial order—Elements or truth in Catastrophism—General truth of the doctrine of Continuity—Geological time.

CHAPTER I.
Definition of Palæontology—Nature of Fossils—Different processes of fossilisation.

CHAPTER II.
Aqueous and igneous rocks—General characters of the sedimentary rocks—Mode or formation of the sedimentary rocks—Definition of the term "formation"—Chief divisions of the aqueous rocks—Mechanically-formed rocks, their characters and mode of origin—Chemically and organically formed rocks—Calcareous rocks—Chalk, its microscopic structure and mode of formation—Limestone, varieties, structure, and origin—Phosphate of lime—Concretions—Sulphate of lime—Silica and siliceous deposits of various kinds—Greensands—Red clays—Carbon and carbonaceous deposits.

CHAPTER III.
Chronological succession of the fossiliferous rocks—Tests or age of strata—Value of Palæontological evidence in stratigraphical Geology—General sequence of the great formations.

CHAPTER IV.
The breaks in the palæontological and geological record—Use of the term "contemporaneous" as applied to groups of strata—General sequence of strata and of life-forms interfered with by more or less extensive gaps—Unconformability—Phenomena implied by this—Causes of the imperfection of the palæontological record.

CHAPTER V.
Conclusions to be drawn from fossils—Age of rocks—Mode of origin of any fossiliferous bed—Fluviatile, lacustrine, and marine deposits—Conclusions as to climate—Proofs of elevation and subsidence of portions of the earth's crust derived from fossils.

CHAPTER VI.
The biological relations of fossils—Extinction of life-forms—Geological range of different species—Persistent types of life—Modern origin of existing animals and plants—Reference of fossil forms to the existing primary divisions of the animal kingdom—Departure of the older types of life from those now in existence—Resemblance of the fossils of a given formation to those of the formation next above and next below—Introduction of new life-forms.


PART II: HISTORICAL PALÆONTOLOGY.

CHAPTER VII.
The Laurentian and Huronian periods—General nature, divisions, and geographical distribution of the Laurentian deposits—Lower and Upper Laurentian—Reasons for believing that the Laurentian rocks are not azoic based upon their containing limestones, beds of oxide of iron, and graphite—The characters, chemical composition, and minute structure of Eozoön Canadense—Comparison of Eozoön with existing Foraminifera—Archœosphœrinœ—Huronian formation—Nature and distribution of Huronian deposits—Organic remains of the Huronian—Literature.

CHAPTER VIII.
The Cambrian period—General succession of Cambrian deposits in Wales—Lower Cambrian and Upper Cambrian—Cambrian deposits of the continent of Europe and North American—Life of the Cambrian period — Fucoids — Eophyton — Oldhamia — Sponges — Echinoderms — Annelides — Crustaceans — Structure of Trilobites—Brachiopods—Pteropods, Gasteropods, and Bivalves—Cephalopods—Literature.

CHAPTER IX.
The Lower Silurian period—The Silurian rocks generally—Limits of Lower and Upper Silurian—General succession, subdivisions, and characters of the Lower Silurian rocks of Wales—General succession, subdivisions, and characters of the Lower Silurian rocks of the North American continent—Life of the period — Fucoids — Protozoa — Graptolites — Structure of Graptolites — Corals — General structure of Corals — Crinoids — Cystideans — General characters of Cystideans — Annelides — Crustaceans — Polyzoa — Brachiopods — Bivalve and Univalve Molluscs—Chambered Cephalopods—General characters of the Cephalopoda—Conodonts.

CHAPTER X.
The Upper Silurian period—General succession of the Upper Silurian deposits of Wales—Upper Silurian deposits of North America—Life of the Upper Silurian — Plants — Protozoa — Graptolites — Corals — Crinoids — General structure of Crinoids — Star-fishes — Annelides — Crustaceans — Eurypterids — Polyzoa — Brachiopods — Structure of Brachiopods — Bivalves and Univalves — Pteropods — Cephalopods — Fishes — Silurian literature.

CHAPTER XI.
The Devonian period—Relations between the Old Red Sandstone and the marine Devonian deposits—The Old Red Sandstone of Scotland—The Devonian strata of Devonshire—Sequence and subdivisions of the Devonian deposits of North America—Life of the period — Plants — Protozoa — Corals — Crinoids — Pentremites — Annelides — Crustaceans — Insects — Polyzoa — Brachiopods — Bivalves — Univalves — Pteropods — Cephalopods — Fishes — General divisions of the Fishes—Palæontological evidence as to the independent existence of the Devonian system as a distinct formation—Literature.

CHAPTER XII.
The Carboniferous period—Relations of Carboniferous rocks to Devonian—The Carboniferous Limestone or Sub-Carboniferous series—The Millstone-grit and the Coal-measures—Life of the period—Structure and mode of formation of Coal—Plants of the Coal.

CHAPTER XIII.
Animal life of the Carboniferous period — Protozoa — Corals — Crinoids — Pentremites — Structure of Pentremites — Echinoids — Structure of Echinoidea — Annelides — Crustacea — Insects — Arachnids — Myriapods — Polyzoa — Brachiopods — Bivalves and Univalves — Cephalopods — Fishes — Labyrinthodont Amphibians—Literature.

CHAPTER XIV.
The Permian period — General succession, characters, and mode of formation of the Permian deposits — Life of the period — Plants — Protozoa — Corals — Echinoderms — Annelides — Crustaceans — Polyzoa — Brachiopods — Bivalves — Univalves — Pteropods — Cephalopods — Fishes — Amphibians — Reptiles — Literature.

CHAPTER XV.
The Triassic period—General characters and subdivisions of the Trias of the Continent of Europe and Britain—Trias of North America—Life of the period — Plants — Echinoderms — Crustaceans — Polyzoa — Brachiopods — Bivalves — Univalves — Cephalopods — Intermixture of Palæozoic with Mesozoic types of Molluscs — Fishes — Amphibians — Reptiles — Supposed footprints of Birds — Mammals — Literature.

CHAPTER XVI.
The Jurassic period—General sequence and subdivisions of the Jurassic deposits in Britain—Jurassic rocks of North America—Life of the period — Plants — Corals — Echinoderms — Crustaceans — Insects — Brachiopods — Bivalves — Univalves — Pteropods — Tetrabranchiate Cephalopods — Dibranchiate Cephalopods — Fishes — Reptiles — Birds — Mammals — Literature.

CHAPTER XVII.
The Cretaceous period—General succession and subdivisions of the Cretaceous rocks in Britain—Cretaceous rocks of North America—Life of the period — Plants — Protozoa — Corals — Echinoderms — Crustaceans — Polyzoa — Brachiopods — Bivalves — Univalves — Tetrabranchiate and Dibranchiate Cephalopods — Fishes — Reptiles — Birds — Literature.

CHAPTER XVIII.
The Eocene period—Relations between the Kainozoic and Mesozoic rocks in Europe and in North America—Classification of the Tertiary deposits—The sequence and subdivisions of the Eocene rocks of Britain and France—Eocene strata of the United States—Life of the period — Plants — Foraminifera — Corals — Echinoderms — Mollusca — Fishes — Reptiles — Birds — Mammals.

CHAPTER XIX.
The Miocene period—Miocene strata of Britain—Of France—Of Belgium—Of Austria—Of Switzerland—Of Germany—Of Greece—Of India—Of North America—Of the Arctic regions—Life of the period—Vegetation of the Miocene period — Foraminifera — Corals — Echinoderms — Articulates — Mollusca — Fishes — Amphibians — Reptiles — Mammals.

CHAPTER XX.
The Pliocene period—Pliocene deposits of Britain—Of Europe—Of North America—Life of the period—Climate of the period as indicated by the Invertebrate animals—The Pliocene Mammalia—Literature relating to the Tertiary deposits and their fossils.

CHAPTER XXI.
The Post-Pliocene period—Division of the Quaternary deposits into Post-Pliocene and Recent—Relations of the Post-Pliocene deposits of the northern hemisphere to the "Glacial period"—Pre-Glacial deposits—Glacial deposits—Arctic Mollusca in Glacial beds—Post-Glacial deposits—Nature and mode of formation of high-level and low-level gravels—Nature and mode of formation of cavern-deposits—Kent's Cavern-Post—Pliocene deposits of the southern hemisphere.

CHAPTER XXII.
Life of the Post-Pliocene period—Effect of the coming on and departure of the Glacial period upon the animals inhabiting the northern hemisphere—Birds of the Post-Pliocene—Mammalia of the Post-Pliocene—Climate of the Post-Glacial period as deduced from the Post-Glacial Mammals—Occurrence of the bones and implements of Man in Post-Pliocene deposits in association with the remains of extinct Mammalia—Literature relating to the Post-Pliocene period.

CHAPTER XXIII.
The succession of life upon the globe—Gradual and successive introduction of life-forms—What is meant by "lower" and "higher" groups of animals and plants—Succession in time of the great groups of animals in the main corresponding with their zoological order—Identical phenomena in the vegetable kingdom—Persistent types of life—High organisation of many early forms—Bearings of Palæontology on the general doctrine of Evolution.

APPENDIX.
Tabular view of the chief Divisions of the Animal Kingdom.

GLOSSARY.



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