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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: August 2010
  • First published in: 1863

CHAPTER IV - POST-PLIOCENE PERIOD: BONES OF MAN AND EXTINCT MAMMALIA IN BELGIAN CAVERNS

Summary

HAVING hitherto considered those formations in which both the fossil shells and the mammalia are of living species, we may now turn our attention to those of older date, in which the shells being all recent, some of the accompanying mammalia are extinct, or belong to species not known to have lived within the times of history or tradition.

Discoveries of MM. Tournal and Christol in 1828, in the South of France.

In the Principles of Geology, when treating of the fossil remains found in alluvium, and the mud of caverns, I gave an account in 1832 of the investigations made by MM. Tournal and Christol in the South of France.

M. Tournal stated in his memoir, that in the cavern of Bize, in the department of the Aude, he had found human bones and teeth, together with fragments of rude pottery, in the same mud and breccia cemented by stalagmite in which land-shells of living species were embedded, and the bones of mammalia, some of extinct, others of recent species. The human bones were declared by his fellow-labourer, M. Marcel de Serres, to be in the same chemical condition as those of the accompanying quadrupeds.

Speaking of these fossils of the Bize cavern five years later, M. Tournal observed, that they could not be referred, as some suggested, to a ‘diluvial catastrophe,’ for they evidently had not been washed in suddenly by a transient flood, but must have been introduced gradually, together with the enveloping mud and pebbles, at successive periods.