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IV.—On the Literature and Nomenclature of British Fossil Crocodilia

  • Arthur Smith Woodward (a1)


Of all groups of fossil reptiles, there is perhaps none in greater need of critical revision than that comprising the Crocodilia. The remains of this order already discovered are so numerous, and the various descriptive accounts of them so scattered and disconnected,—so commonly has it been the custom to take advantage of each successive “find” for the manufacture of a new generic or specific name, however fragmentary the materials, and so frequently have species been imperfectly compared and characterized,—that a most intricate and perplexing synonymy has arisen, which it would require long-continued research by the profoundest of specialists to unravel. Moreover, cases are not unknown, in which type specimens have subsequently proved to be unfortunate restorations, and the occasional disregard of priority in nomenclature has also contributed to increase the confusion.



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page 497 note 1 Agassiz, L., “Rech. Poiss. Foss. Vieux Grèes Rouge,” p. 139, pi. 31, figs. 13, 14.

page 497 note 2 Huxley, T. H.On the Stagonolepis Robertsoni (Agassiz) of the Elgin Sandstones,” Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xv. (1859), pp. 440460, pi. xiv.

page 497 note 3 Huxley, T. H., “The Crocodilian Remains found in the Elgin Sandstones, etc.,” Mem. Geol. Survey, Mon. iii. (1877):see also the Professor's paper “On Stagonolepis Robertsoni, and on the Evolutionof the Crocodilia,” Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxxi. 1875, pp. 423438.

page 497 note 4 See memoirs on this genus by von Meyer, H. in the “Palæontographica,” vols. vii. x. and xiv. (18611865).

page 498 note 1 von Meyer, H., loc. cit.

page 498 note 2 Lydekker, R., “The Reptilia and Amphibia of the Maleri and Denwa Groups,” Palæontologia Indica, ser. iv. vol. i. pt. 5 (1885).

page 498 note 3 Cope, E. D., “On the Reptilia of the Triassic Formations of the Atlantic Region of the United States,” Proc. Amer. Phil. Soe. vol. xi. (1871), pp. 444446(reprinted in Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist., [4] vol. vi. pp. 498500).

page 498 note 4 Lydekker, R., loc. cit.

page 498 note 5 Chapman, William, “An Account of the Fossile Bones of an Allegator, found on the Sea-shore, near Whitby. in Yorkshire,” Phil. Trans., vol 50 pp. 688–9, pi. xxii. (b), and Wooller, , “A Description of the Fossil Skeleton of an Animal found in the Alum Eock near Whitby,”Ibid., pp. 786–790, pi. xxx. This specimen was presented to the Royal Society, and is now in the British Museum.

page 498 note 6 Rev. Buckland, W., “Geology and Mineralogy, etc.,” vol. ii. p. 35, pl. 25. An early figure of a skull from Whitby is also given by Charlesworth, E., in “Mag. Nat. Hist.,” n.s., vol. i. (1837), p. 532, fig. 65.

page 498 note 7 British Association Reports, 1841, pp. 7381

page 498 note 8 Charlesworth, E., British Association Reports, 1854, Trans. Sections, p. 80.

page 498 note 9 Owen, R., “Palæontology,” 2nd edit., p. 299, fig. 103 [1].

page 498 note 10 Tate, R. and Blake, J. F., “The Yorkshire Lias” (1876), p. 244, pi. i. figs. 1–3.

page 498 note 11 Seeley, H. G., “On the Cranial Characters of a large Teleosaur from the Whitby Lias,” Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc, vol. xxxvi. (1880), pp. 627634, pi. xxiv.

page 499 note 1 Op. cit., vol. iv. pp. 130139.

page 499 note 2 Unfortunately, in this extensive work, there are no particulars as to the date at which each successive part appeared; but as references on previous pages of the same volume (e.g., on p. 66) relate to papers published so recently as 1880, the following description of the Teleosaurs cannot have been printed before that or a later year.

page 499 note 3 Deslongchamps, E. E., “Notes Paléontologiques” (18631869), and “Le Jura Normand: Etudes Paléontologiques des Divers Niveaux Jurassiques de la Normandie,” Monographie iv. (18771878).

page 499 note 4 Young, and Bird, , “Geological Survey of the Yorkshire Coast,” 2nd edit., 1828, pl. xvi. fig. 1.

page 499 note 5 It may be noticed that this (British Museum) specimen is not described in Sir Richard Owen's letterpress, although the plate is cited at the commencement of the Section (vol. iv. p. 130).Measurements, however, are given by Deslongchamps, M. Eugène, “Le Jura Normand.” Mon. iv. p. 11.

page 499 note 6 To this species also, Deslongchamps, M. assigns Chapman and Wooller's original specimen, and the restored figure given in Owen's “Mon. Foss. Kept. London Clay,” pt. ii. (Mon. Pal. Soc, 1850), pl. xi. figs. 2, 2a.

page 499 note 7 Vide Deslongchamps, “Le Jura Normand;” Mon. iv. pp. 813, passim.

page 499 note 8 See works of Eugène Eudes Deslongchamps already cited: the descriptions of Pelagosaurus are largely based upon the studies of Deslongchamps, J. A. EudesMèmoires sur les Téléosauriens de l' Epoque Jurassique du Département du Calvados, Mém. i,” Mém. Soc. Linn. Normandie, vol. xiii. [Pelagosaurus typus is here described as Teleosaurus tunporalis, but the mistake was afterwards rectified ]

page 499 note 9 In 1877, Deslongchamps, Eugène (“Le Jura Normand,” Mon. iv. p. 8, note) announced a forthcoming paper on this subject, to be published in the Bull. Soc. Zool. France: the writer, however, has not been able to meet with it either in that journal, or in any of the Caen publications.

page 500 note 1 Winkler, T. C., “Étude sur le genre Mystriosaurus,Archives du Musée Teyler, vol. iv. fasc. i (1876).

page 500 note 2 On the assumption that the Whitby fossil described by Stukely at the beginning of the last century [Philosophical Transactions, 1719, pp. 963968 (No. 360), pl. i.] belongs to this genus; the original specimen, however, is now in the British Museum, and is certainly a Plesiosaur.

page 500 note 3 Owen, R., British Association Reports, 1841, p. 8.

page 500 note 4 Ibid. p. 81.

page 500 note 5 Sir Owen, R., Op. cit., vol. iii. p. 141, pl. xvii. (Crocodilia).

page 500 note 6 Prof. Phillips, John, op. cit. pp. 186189.

page 500 note 7 Ibid. pp. 194, 195.

page 500 note 8 Owen, R., British Association Eeports, 1841, p. 81.

page 500 note 9 Hulke, J. W., “Note on a Fragment of a Teleosaurian Snout from Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset,” Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxvii. (1871), p. 442, pl. xviii.This specimen was discovered by Mr. Mansel-Pleydell, , and presented by him to the British Museum.

page 501 note 1 Newton, E. T., “Notes on a Crocodilian Jaw from the Corallian Rocks of Weymouth,” Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxxiv. (1878), pp. 398400, pl. xvi.

page 501 note 2 Under this name Deslongchamps, M. (“Notes Paléont.” p. 230, pl. xvi. fig. 2) mentions a plaster cast of a skull and mandible from the Cornbrash near Oxford, received from the Bristol Institution, and labelled “Crocodilus Oxoniensis, Conybeare” and in describing his outline figures of the specimen, he further refers to it as “Steneosaurus Oxoniensis, De la Beche.” But Mr. Wilson, Edward, to whose kindness the writer is indebted for particulars of the Crocodilian fossils now in the Bristol Museum, is unable to discover any such label in the collection; and the present whereabouts of the original specimen seems to be unknown. The specific name is evidently MS. only.

page 501 note 3 Mansel-Pleydell, J. C., “Note on a Gavial Skull from the Cornbrash of Closworth,” Proc. Dorset Nat. Hist and Antiquarian Field Club, vol. i. (1877), pp. 2832, pl. i.A detailed descriptive paragraph is supplied by Hulke, J. W..

page 501 note 4 Sir Owen, Richard, “History of British Fossil Reptiles, vol. iii. pp. 144, 145, pl. 18, 19 (Crocodilia).

page 501 note 5 Phillips, J., “Geology of Oxford,” p. 388 (with woodcut of tooth).

page 501 note 6 See Deslongchamps, , “Notes Paléontologiques,” pp. 110, 111.

page 501 note 7 Seeley, H. G., “Index to Reptilia, etc., Woodwardian Museum,” 1869, p. 140.

page 502 note 1 Deslongchamps, E. E., “Notes Paléontologiques,” p. 319.

page 502 note 2 Op. cit. p. 353.

page 502 note 3 While describing the mandible of Metnorhynchus Moreli, Deslongchamps, M. writes as follows (op. cit. p. 329):—“Cette forme de mâchoire inférieure, toute différente de celle des autres animaux de la même famille, rapelle assez la même pièce appartenant à un animal d'une tout autre famille, c'est-à-dire des Sauroptérygiens; je veux dire celle quiest décrite par S. Rich. Owen, comme étant celle d'un Pliosaurus qui, d'ailleurs, s'écarte notablement de la forme habituelle du Pliosaurus grandis, et qu'il nomine Pliosaurus trochanterius. Il est hors de doute que la mâchoire décrite ici appartient an genre Métriorhynche; il serait en effet trop étrange que cette forme fût venue précisément se rencontrer dans toutes les assises ou se trouvent des Métriorhynches, et que je puisse rapporter des piéces en tout semblables par leura caractères particuliers de taille, de force et de brièvété ou d'allongement du museau, à chacune de mes espèces de Métriorhynches, aussi bien dans les couches calloyiennes qu'oxfordiennes et kimméridgiennes; et, en effet, je connais dès maintenant des mâehoires inférieures se rapportant parfaitement aux Met. superciliosus, Mureii, et hastifer.”

page 502 note 4 Owen, R., “Monograph of the Fossil Reptilia of the Kimmeridge Clay” (Mon. Pal. Soc, 1868), p. 7, pi. iii. figs. 3–5.

page 502 note 5 Deslongchamps, E. E., op. cit. p. 132.

page 502 note 6 Character mentioned by Sauvage, H. E. in Bull. Soc. Géol. France, [3] vii. (1879), p. 695. See also figures and descriptions of vertebræ by Deslongchamps, E. E. in Leunier's “Etudes géologiques et paléontologiques sur l' Embouchure de la Seine, etc.,” 1870, pp. 5052, pi. x.

page 502 note 7 Phillips, J., “Geology of Oxford,” pp. 380388, with woodcuts. The Kimmeridge specimens were previously noticed by Owen (Brit. Assoc. Reports, 1841, p. 82) under the name of Steneosaurus rostro-minor, Geoffr.

page 502 note 8 Referring to the Continental forms, Deslongchamps remarks (op. cit. p. 134):—“On les retrouve dans les diverses assises oxfordiennes, et leur maximum dé developpement semble avoir lieu dans les assises kimméridgiennes supérieures et portlandiennes.”

page 503 note 1 Sauvage, H. E., “Mémoire sur les Dinosauriens et les Crocodiliens des Terrains Jurassiques de Boulogne-sur-Mer,” Mém. Soc. Géol. France, [2] vol. x. mém. ii. (1874), p. 50.It should be noted that the statement in this Memoir, to the effect that Machimosaurus and Goniopholis are synonymous, was withdrawn in 1879, on the discovery of more complete remains of the former genus.

page 503 note 2 Phillips, J., op. cit. p. 332.

page 503 note 3 Quenstedt, A., “Der Jura,” 1858, p. 785, pl. 97, figs. 8–11.

page 503 note 4 Mason, J. Wood, “On Dakosaurus from the Kimmeridge Clay of Shotover Hill,” Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxv. (1869), pp. 218220 (with woodcuts).

page 503 note 5 Seeley, H. G., “Index to Keptilia, etc., Woodwardian Museum,” p. 109.

page 503 note 6 Hulke, J. W., “Notes on some Fossil Remains of a Gavial-like Saurian from Kimmeridge Bay, collected by J. C. Mansel, Esq., establishing its identity with Cuvier's Deuxième Gavial d'Houfleur, Téte à museau plus court (Steneosaurus rostrominor of Geoffroy St.-Hilaire) and with Quenstedt's Dakosaurus,” Quart. Journ.Geol. Soc., vol. xxv. (1869), pp. 390400, pls. xvii. xviii.

page 504 note 1 Hulke, J. W., “Note on a Crocodilian Skull from Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset,”ibid.. vol. xxvi. (1870), pp. 167–172, pl. ix. This identification was subsequently questioned by Sauvage, H. E. (“Sur le genre Dacosaurus, Quenstedt,” Bull. Soc. Géol. France [3], vol. i. 1873, pp. 380385), who endeavoured to prove the Mosasaurian character of the detached teeth met with in Continental deposits. Subsequent research, however, has failed to strengthen such an opinion.

page 504 note 2 Sir Owen, Richard. “On the Cranial and Vertebral Characters of the Crocodilian. Genus Plesiosuchus, Owen,” Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xl. (1884), pp. 153159. See also Owen, 's “Brit. Foss. Reptiles,” vol. iii. pp. 146151, (Crocodilia) pl. 20, figs. 1–4.

page 504 note 3 Presidential Address. 1884, Proc. Geol. Soc. pp. 4547.

page 504 note 4 Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. 1884.

page 504 note 5 Seeley, H. G., “Index to remains of Eeptilia, etc., Woodwardian Museum,” 1869, pp. 109, 92.

page 504 note 6 Can this be the same as certain Corallian teeth in the British Museum, bearing the MS. name of Ptiosaurus teretidens, Owen

page 504 note 7 Sauvage, H. E. and Liènard, F., “Mémoire sur le genre Machimosaurus,” Mém. Soc. Géol. France, [3] vol. i. mém. iv. (1879). Abstract by Sauvage, H. E. in Bull. Soc. Géol. France, [3] vol. vii. (1879), pp. 693697.

page 505 note 1 Owen, R., “Monograph of the Fossil Reptilia of the Wealden and Purbeck Formations,” Suppl. vi. (Mon. Pal. Soc. 1873).

page 505 note 2 Owen, R., “Mon. Foss. Rept. Weald, and Purb. Form.” Suppl. viii. (Mon. Pal. Soc, 1878, p. 10, pi. vi.

page 505 note 3 Owen, R., “Report on British Fossil Reptiles, Part II.” Brit. Assoc. Rep. 1841, p. 69.

page 505 note 4 Dollo, L., “Première Note sur les Crocodiliens de Bernissart,” Bull. Mus. Roy. Nat. Hist. Belgique. vol. ii. (1883), p. 334.

page 505 note 5 Hulke, J. W., “Note on two Skulls from the Wealden and Purbeck Formations, indicating a new Sub-group of Crocodilia,” Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxxiv. (1878), p. 381.

page 505 note 6 Dollo, L., loc. cit. p. 329.

page 505 note 7 Owen, R., Brit. Assoc. Reports, 1841, p. 69.

page 505 note 8 Hulke, J. W., paper already cited, Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxxiv. pp. 377381, pl. xv. It should be added, that Prof. Huxley previously described a portion of an indeterminable crocodilian skull from the Wealden of Brook, Isle of Wight, in his paper of 1875, Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxxi. p. 432, pl. xix. fig. 3: these later discoveries indicate its probable reference to Goniopholis.

page 505 note 9 Owen, R., “Monograph of the Fossil Reptilia of the Wealden and Purbeck Formations,” Suppl. viii. (Mon. Pal. Soc, 1878), p. 7, pl. v.

page 505 note 10 Dollo, L., note already quoted above.

page 506 note 1 Mantell, G. A., “Wonders of Geology,” 3rd edit. (1839), vol. i. pp. 387389, pl, i.

page 506 note 2 Owen, R., Brit. Assoc. Reports, 1841, p. 69.Further details are given in Owen, 's “Mon. Foss. Rept. Weald, and Purb. Form.,” Suppl. viii. (Mon. Pal. Soc, 1878), pp. 16, pls. i.–iv.; and Mr. Willett's Wealden skull, described by Mr. Hulke, , loc. cit., is regarded as probably belonging to this species.

page 506 note 3 Memoirs in Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. and Mon. Pal. Soc. already quoted.

page 506 note 4 Owen, R., “Mon. Foss. Rept, Weald, and Purb. Form.,” Suppl. ix. (Mon. Pal. Soc, 1879), p. 2, pi. i. fig. 1.

page 506 note 5 Op. cit. pi. 14 (Crocodilia).

page 506 note 6 Owen, R., “Mon. Foss. Rept. Weald, and Purb. Form.,” Suppl. ix. (Mon. Pal. Soc, 1879).See also Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxxv. pp. 149152, pl. ix.

page 506 note 7 Cope, E. D., “Synopsis of the Extinct Batrachia of. North America,” Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 1868, p. 214.

page 506 note 8 Dollo, L., loc. cit. p. 335.

page 507 note 1 Owen, R., Brit. Assoe. Reports, 1841, p. 67; and “Mon. Foss. Rept. Weald. etc.,” Suppl. viii., (Mon. Pal. Soc. 1878), p. 12, pl. iv. figs. 5–8.

page 507 note 2 Owen, R., “Monograph of the Fossil Reptilia of the Cretaceous Formations,“ (Mon. Pal. Soc, 1851), p. 45, pl. xv.

page 507 note 3 Seeley, H. G., “Index to Reptilia, etc., in Woodwardian Museum” (1869), p. xvi, and “On Cervical and Dorsal Vertebrae of Crocodilus cantabrigiensis (Seeley) from the Cambridge Upper Greensand,” Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxx. (1874), pp. 693695.

page 507 note 4 Seeley, H. G., “On Crocodilus icenicus (Seeley), a second and larger Species of Crocodile from the Cambridge Upper Greensand, contained in the Woodwardian Museum of the University of Cambridge,” loc. cit. vol. xxxii. (1876), pp. 437439.

page 508 note 1 Cuvier, G., “Ossemens Fossiles,” 2nd. edit. (1824), VOl. v. pt. ii. p. 165.,

page 508 note 2 Rev. Buckland, W., “Geol. and Min.” 2nd edit. (1837), vol. i. p. 251; vo p. 36, pi. 25', fig. 1.

page 508 note 3 Owen, R., “Monograph of the Fossil Reptilia of the London Clay,” Par (Mon. Pal. Soc, 1850).

page 508 note 4 Huxley, T. H., “On the Dermal Armour of Crocodilus Hastingsiæ,” Q Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xv. (1859), pp. 678680, pl. xxv.

page 508 note 5 On this curious method of solving the difficulty, see the remarks of DrVaillant, J, “Etude zoologique sur les Crocodiliens fossiles tertiaires de St.-Gérai Puy,” Biblioth. l'Ecole Mautes Etudes, vol. vi. pp. 10, 11. It may be added, this memoir contains valuable information respecting European Tertiary Croco described before its date of publication (1872).

page 508 note 6 Owen, R., “Mon. Foss. Rept. Lond. Clay,” pt. ii. p. 36. See also Dis “Geology of Sussex,” 1st edit. p. 207, p1. xv. figs. 1, 2 (2nd edit p. 253, p figs 1,2), in which Sir Owen, Richard names it “C. Spenceri, Buckland”.

page 508 note 7 Owen, R., op. cit. p. 46, pi. x. Also Dixon, F., op. cit. 1st edit. p. 208 edit. p. 253).

page 509 note 1 Owen, R., “On the Fossils obtained by the Marchioness of Hastings from the Freshwater Eocene Beds of the Hordle Cliffs,” Brit. Assoc. Rep. 1847, Trans. Sections, p. 65.

page 509 note 2 Owen, R., op. cit. pp. 3742, pis. vi.–ix.; xii. figs. 2, 5.

page 509 note 3 Huxley, T. H., paper already cited, in Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xv.

page 509 note 4 Searles Wood, V., “On the Discovery of an Alligator and of several new Mammalia in the Hordwell Cliff,” Charlesworth, 's “London Geological Journal,” 1846, p. 6, pls. 1, 6, 7.

page 509 note 5 It is interesting to notice that Prof. Cope has described a curious specimen of a South American Alligator, in which the lower “canine” on one side fits into a notch, while on the other the corresponding tooth is received in a pit (Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc. vol. xiv. 1869, p. 83).

page 509 note 6 Pictet, F. J., “Paléontologie Suisse.—Vertébrés de la Faune éocéne,” p. 89, pl. vii.

page 509 note 7 Gervais, P., “Zoologie et Paléontologie françhises,” 2nd edit. (1859), p. 443, pi. lix. fig. 2; pi. lvii. fig. 7.

page 509 note 8 Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxxi. pp. 423438, pi. xix.

page 510 note 1 Owen, R.On the Influence of the Advent of a higher Form of Life in modifying the Structure of an older and lower FormQuart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxxiv. 1878 pp. 421430; also “On the Association of Dwarf Crocodiles (Nannosuehm and Theriosuchus pusillus, e.g.) with the Diminutive Mammals of the Purheck Shales,” ibid.. vol. xxxv. (1879), pp. 148–155, pi. ix.

page 510 note 2 portion of lecture delivered on April 29th, 1958, reported in Ann. and mag. Nat. Hist. [3] vol, i. pp. 456463.

page 510 note 3 Seeley, H. G.On the Cranial Characters of a large Teleosaur from the Whitby LiusQuart.journ. Geol. Soc. Vol. xxxvi (1880), pp. 627634, pl. xxiv.

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