XXV.--On the Fossils of the Older Deposits in the Rhenish Provinces; preceded by a general Survey of the Fauna of the Pal ozoic Rocks, and followed by a Tabular List of the Organic Remains of the Devonian System in Europe

D'ARCHIAC, M. E. DE VERNEUIL
1842 Transactions of the Geological Society of London  
may perhaps be useful to make known the motives by which we have been guided. For several years the great questions of Biology raised by the study of fossils had called our attention to those deposits which were first formed on the surface of the globe, and we thought there might be found upon this same surface important materials for the history of life, -materials which had hitherto been too much neglected; we also thought that any general conclusions upon this subject would appear immature
more » ... d appear immature before subjecting those beings which were first developed to a more profound examination. Whilst the same idea had led Mr. Murchison to make the first great step in the zoological classification of the deposits beneath the carboniferous limestone by the establishment of the Silurian and in conjunction with Mr. Sedgwick of the Devonian systems, we were occupied in collecting the fossils which are found in the same beds in France, in Belgium, in the Eifel, and in various parts of Germany. One of us in particular, during several journeys through the Rhenish provinces, had collected numerous materials, having been actively seconded by the modest and learned geologists of these provinces, who, animated by the true love of science (a disposition more usual in Germany than in other countries), are always ready to help those who manifest the desire of forwarding its progress. We shall particularly mention M. Erbreich, Inspector of Mines at Siegen ; M. Schnur, Professor at Treves; M. Dannenberg, Mining Engineer at Dillenburg; Dr. Hasbach and M. Pongard of Daun ; and we are happy here to offer them our grateful thanks for the assistance we have received from them in connexion with this subject. Without their aid it would have been very difficult for us to have recognized the general laws of classification of these ancient rocks amid the disorder which reigns among them. This useful cooperation had then enabled us to amass a tolerably complete collection of facts relating to the fauna of these 2 R 2 at University of Colorado Boulder on December 17, 2016 http://trn.lyellcollection.org/ Downloaded from 304 Viscount (TARGHIAC and M. DE VERNEUIL deposits, and we had proposed to commence the description of them, when one of us was induced by Mr. Murchison to accompany him to the Rhenish provinces and there examine some of the fossiliferous beds, with the stratigraphical position of which Professor Sedgwick and himself had become familiar. These gentlemen had already surveyed the Fichtelgebirge, the Hartz, Westphalia, the Eifel, Belgium, &c. and, enabled by a long and careful examination of the Silurian and Cambrian deposits in England, to unravel the frequently tangled thread of the true succession of these ancient deposits, they had already compared and placed in the relative positions the greater part of the ancient deposits of Germany, and thus held, as it were, the key to the principal divisions which might be established among them. It was then, that they proposed to *us to unite our efforts with theirs, and to accompany the new classification of the Palaeozoic rocks of the Continent with the description of the fossils of these deposits ; a proposition which we could not but accept, and with the greater readiness, since the larger part of our fossils had been collected in the provinces of the right bank of the Rhine, precisely where these gentlemen had found the greatest mass of normal facts suitable to be used as the basis of other approximations. This concurrence of circumstances, already so much in our favour, added still more value to our palaeontological researches, inasmuch as the place assigned to our fossils in the series of beds was much more precise, and in relation with geological divisions deduced from other considerations. Such was the object we at first proposed to attain, but which'the more profound study of our subject has extended, even to a degree that we had not foreseen. Prof. Sedgwick and Mr. Murchison, in order to establish their classification iji Western Germany, had commenced from a foundation laid by them in the west of England, and it was by analogies which they discovered in the succession of the deposits in the Rhenish provinces, that they assigned to them, as well as to those of the Eifel and Belgium, the true places in the series. This proceeding, so rational on geological considerations, ought, we conceived, to be followed still more closely in the study of the fossils; and we devoted ourselves to a careful examination of every published work relating to this part of the science, at first in the country itself by^de Hupsch, Blumenbach, Schlotheim, Kloden, Goldfuss, Beyrich, Bronn, and Hermann von Meyer; then in the West, upon the Eifel, by Steininger; upon Belgium by Morren, Davreux, Dumont, and de Koninck ; upon the various parts of the British Isles by Martin, Fleming, Miller, Sowerby, Phillips, Murchison, Lonsdale, &e. In the East the works of Pusch, Zenke, and Sternberg, also of Count Minister upon the Fichtelgebirge and the environs of Elbersreuth, claimed our particular attention. It was no less necessary to consult those of Wahlenberg, Dalman, Hisinger, and Boek upon the ancient deposits of Scandinavia and its dependent islands; and further still"the writings of de Buch upon Silesia and at University of Colorado Boulder on December 17, 2016 http://trn.lyellcollection.org/ Downloaded from on the Fossils of the older Deposits in the Rhenish Provinces. 305 some parts of the north of Russia, while those of Eichwald, Pander, and Fischer upon various parts of that vast empire, were also to he carefully considered. Lastly, we could not omit the study of the valuable papers published on the older deposits of North America, either in the United States by MM. Green, Conrad, Troost, De Kay, &c, or in England by Dr. Bigsby and Mr. Stokes. If to this already considerable mass of published documents be now added the observations which one of us had collected in several parts of Europe, it will be seen that we were partly in possession of the elements of a general work on the palaeontology of the ancient formations. Once engaged in this course, we had only to complete our researches by a comparative examination of what had already been done, not only in Europe but also in North America, where the deposits of this age are developed upon a scale of much greater vastness; and lastly, we were to add to all this such positive information as is found in various scientific Transactions, or given by various travellers upon other parts of the globe. After having eliminated the frequent repetitions in the genera, and particularly of species, by comparison of the descriptions and figures given by authors, as well as by that of the numerous specimens which one of us has collected, we have obtained results from this first general sifting which we have thought it might be useful to make known on this occasion, at least in a summary manner. Surrounded by all these hitherto scattered and consequently ill appreciated riches, we have thought it requisite to pause, and take a retrospective glance in order to verify the course taken by science within ten years, and to expose rapidly its progress and its present condition before continuing our march* We had therefore a twofold reason for placing this summary at the head of our memoir, and making it form the first part. In the second we have described the greater portion of those fossils of the ancient deposits of the right bank of the Bhine which were still undescribed or imperfectly known, and to them we have added some species from the Eifel. We have endeavoured to be simple, clear and precise in our descriptions, but we have omitted nothing which was necessary either to characterize the species or to distinguish them from their cognate species. That which zoologically constitutes a species is not sufficiently defined to allow lis to limit our remarks to the enumeration of a few isolated characters; it is necessary to express all of them, because it is from the whole taken together that the species results; and this method is the more necessary for the fossils of the ancient beds, because they are rarely found complete in all parts. If it be observed that many authors have described and figured very incomplete organized remains, of which they neither knew the dimensions nor all the characters, the necessity of being more severe in labours of this sort will be felt, in order to avoid encumbering the science with a multitude of names which really recal to the mind nothing more than objects without form or interest.
doi:10.1144/transgslb.6.2.303 fatcat:xx7r3qppzrdfdofkgsygzxpzbq