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Account of an assemblage of Fossil Teeth and Bones of Elephant, Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Bear, Tiger, and Hyaena, and sixteen other animals; discovered in a cave at Kirkdale, Yorkshire, in the year 1821:
[title continues] with a comparative view of five similar caverns in various parts of England, and others on the Continent. First Edition, extracted from The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol. 112, pp.171-236 with general title-page to the volume, disbound, large quarto, very good copy, complete with 12 fine engraved plates (these with small and neat embossed unlinked library name and early inked stamp on verso), London, [The Royal Society], 1822. * William Buckland (1784 - 1856), English geologist, palaeontologist. "He wrote the first full account of a fossil dinosaur, which he named Megalosaurus. His work proving that Kirkdale Cave had been a prehistoric hyaena den, for which he was awarded the Copley Medal, was widely praised as an example of how detailed scientific analysis could be used to understand geohistory by reconstructing events from deep time. He was a pioneer in the use of fossilized feces, for which he coined the term coprolites, to reconstruct ancient ecosystems. Buckland was a proponent of the Gap Theory that interpreted the biblical account of Genesis as referring to two separate episodes of creation separated by a lengthy period; it emerged in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a way to reconcile the scriptural account with discoveries in geology that suggested the earth was very old. Early in his career he believed that he had found geologic evidence of the biblical flood, but later became convinced that the glaciation theory of Louis Agassiz provided a better explanation, and he played an important role in promoting that theory in Great Britain… From his investigations of fossil bones at Kirkdale Cave, in Yorkshire, he concluded that the cave had actually been inhabited by hyaenas in antediluvian times, and that the fossils were the remains of these hyaenas and the animals they had eaten, rather than being remains of animals that had perished in the Flood and then carried from the tropics by the surging waters, as he and others had at first thought. In 1822 he wrote: "It must already appear probable, from the facts above described, particularly from the comminuted state and apparently gnawed condition of the bones, that the cave in Kirkdale was, during a long succession of years, inhabited as a den of hyaenas, and that they dragged into its recesses the other animal bodies whose remains are found mixed indiscriminately with their own: this conjecture is rendered almost certain by the discovery I made, of many small balls of the solid calcareous excrement of an animal that had fed on bones... It was at first sight recognized by the keeper of the Menagerie at Exter Change, as resembling, in both form and appearance, the faeces of the spotted or cape hyaena, which he stated to be greedy of bones beyond all other beasts in his care." While criticized by some, Buckland's analysis of Kirkland Cave and other bone caves was widely seen as a model for how careful analysis could be used to reconstruct the Earth's past, and the Royal Society awarded Buckland the Copley Medal in 1822 for his paper on Kirkdale Cave. At the presentation the society's president, Humphry Davy, said: "by these inquiries, a distinct epoch has, as it were, been established in the history of the revolutions of our globe: a point fixed from which our researches may be pursued through the immensity of ages, and the records of animate nature, as it were, carried back to the time of the creation.""
      [Bookseller: Jeffrey Stern Antiquarian Bookseller]
Last Found On: 2012-12-27           Check availability:      UKBookworld    

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