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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: September 2011
  • First published in: 1865

CHAPTER VIII - CAVE-MEN

Summary

THE principal species of mammalia, which have either become entirely distinct, or very much restricted in their geographical distribution, since the appearance of man in Europe, are—

The cave-bear (Units spelœus).

The cave-hyæna (Hyœna spelœa).

The cave-tiger (Felis spelœa).

The mammoth (Elephas primigenius).

The woolly-haired rhinoceros (Rhinoceros tichorinus).

The hippopotamus (Hippopotamus major).

The Irish elk (Megaceros hibernicus).

The musk ox (Ocibos moschatus).

The reindeer (Cervus tarandus).

The aurochs (Bison Europœus).

The urus (Bos primigenius).

The first seven of these appear to be entirely extinct, but as it is now evident that their disappearance was due to a gradual change of circumstances, rather than to any sudden cataclysm, or general destruction of life, it is also very improbable that their extinction was simultaneous; and, acting on this idea, M. Lartet has attempted to construct a palæontological chronology.

The remains of the cave-bear are abundant in Central Europe, and in the Southern parts of Russia. It is doubtful whether it has yet been discovered north of the Baltic or south of the Alps, but it appears to have crossed the Alps, and is recorded by Don Casciano de Prado as occurring in a cave near Segovia. No trace of it has, however, yet been found by Mr. Busk and Dr. Falconer, among the numerous remains from Gibraltar. The oldest specimen yet recorded appears to be that mentioned by Owen, as having been found in the pliocene deposits of Boston in Norfolk, associated with the remains of Trogontherium, Palœospalax, etc.

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