Puslapio vaizdai

ELOTHERE, OR GIANT PIG, OF THE SOUTH DAKOTA LAKE. Drawn from a skeleton in the Princeton Museum.

VOL. LII.-90.

decree, while the Uintah Lake to the west of the Rockies was still drying, the great lakes along the eastern slopes of the Rockies began to form as a new burial ground upon a grand scale from Canada to the Gulf.

This newer cemetery of vast age was first made known to us, in 1847, by the discovery of part of the lower jaw of an animal akin to the attractive family group represented at noonday rest upon page 709. Thirty years of almost continuous exploration have brought us to the point where we can restore these beasts with some degree of confidence.

The Titanothere, although the reigning plutocrat of the South Dakota Lake, as we may call it, was no feral parvenu or upstart. He boasted a family tree branching back to a small tribe which lived in a modest way beside the Wasatch Lake some half million years before. These small but hardy ancestors had seen the Uintatheres swell in size, take on horns, and disappear. Apparently no record of this fact was preserved, for hardly had the Uintatheres gone to earth when the Titanothere family, unmindful of the fate attending horns and bulk, began to develop horns which sprouted like humps over the eyes, as may be seen in the little calf. For a while the males and females had humps of the same moderate size, but as the premium upon horns rose, the old bulls made great capital of them, fighting each other, and butting the females who would not return their courtship-a fact attested by broken ribs. Finally these horns attained a prodigious size in the bulls, branching off from the very end of the snout, unlike anything in existing nature. In the mean time this «Titan-beast,» as Leidy well named him, acquired a great hump upon his back nearly ten feet above the ground, while he stretched out to a length of fourteen feet, and expanded to a weight of two tons. He increased in number also, as one sees in the scores of his petrified bones. This prosperity was, however, fatal, for in the stratum above not a trace of this family remains. It is difficult to assign the cause of this sudden exit; it was certainly not lack of brains. Vast floods, extensive droughts, cold waves, epidemics, suggest themselves as possible causes, but change of flora seems the more probable. The Titanothere grindingtooth was not of a type which could adapt itself even to a slight change of vegetation, and this animal died out at the very climax of his greatness.

He made way for the interregnum of the swimming or aquatic rhinoceros (Metamynodon), which appears in numbers in the over

lying strata. It was when we undertook to place the muscles, hide, and features upon this strange beast in this painting that we discovered that he was probably a water-lover. The first suggestion came when we located the eyes, and recognized that they were placed very high upon the face, apparently to keep them out of water, as in the hippopotamus. Then the high nostrils opening upward, the recurved tusks adapted to the uprooting of plants along the river banks, the four-toed, spreading front feet, entirely unlike those of the modern rhinoceros, and effective in swimming, all seemed to confirm the aquatic theory. The forefathers of this brute also roamed or swam along the Bridger Lake, while his descendants went abroad, and the family passed its declining years in France not far from the site of Paris. We should remember, in this connection, that a journey to Europe in those days was not made across the Atlantic, but overland by, way of the Isthmus of Bering Strait, and thence across Asia.

As remarked at the beginning, this Metamynodon was not a bona-fide rhinoceros, but a side branch from the same stock. The thoroughbred rhinoceros was, however, abundant. In fact, after the Titanothere had been gathered to his fathers, you or I would not have felt nearly so strange in South Dakota as our Louisiana friend did along the Bridger Lake. Most of the queer archaic beasts had given up the struggle. We would have recognized the rhinoceroses immediately; also the tapirs, the llamas, or ancestral camels, fierce cats of the size of the puma, the dogs, and the monkeys. The little fourtoed horses would have perhaps puzzled us for a moment because of their small size, short heads and limbs, but several other quadrupeds would have made us feel that we had given too much attention to the classics, and that our own zoölogical education had somehow been deficient.

For instance, leaving the swimming rhinoceros at the lake border, and the true rhinoceros in the grasses and shrubbery of the lower meadows, and climbing up among the lower Black Hills, we might have seen a large herd of Hyracodons, or cursorial rhinoceroses, galloping by, frightened by a crouching ancestor of the saber-tooth tiger. As Scott has demonstrated, these light-limbed animals were horse-like to a surprising degree in the shoulders, haunches, and limbs. So we feel that we are not far from the truth in giving them the awkward gallop of the instantaneously photographed horse. They were, however, in no real sense horses,-ex

cept in this wonderful mimicry of habit, for the teeth prove them to be rhinoceroses, small, light, and swift-footed, in extreme contrast of structure with the swimming type.

Still farther up among the hills we startle a pair of animals (Protoceras) which are beautifully graceful, except in the head and snout. The buck (for they are very remotely related to the deer family) proudly displays a profusion of bony horns, a pair between the ears, a much smaller pair between the eyes, and two very prominent bony plates behind the nostrils, below which spring two sharp tusks, as in the musk-deer. The doe lacks the tusks and all the horns. This much is certain. Here is a favorable chance to take the reader into our confidence, and admit that the form of the snout, the shape of the ears, the coloring of the back and belly, the rings of dark hair about the neck and ankles, are in the highest degree uncertain. In this case they are all studied from the antelope. The rocks preserve only bones and teeth, the position of the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, the strength and position of the muscles. All else in such restoration is pure conjecture, in which we reason and depict only by analogy. So with our giant pig, or Elothere, which we might suddenly confront when returning after our mountain climb to the river and lake-level. His bristles, his great shaggy mane, the dewlaps swinging from the great bony knobs under his chin and jaws-all these are inferences from the remote kinship

of this beast to the pig family which one must also take with a mental reservation. There is no doubt that the Elothere was a pig of the first rank, and thoroughly cosmopolitan in his range. While the Titanotheres were extant he maintained the humble size of the tapir, but when these rivals and the swimming rhinoceroses passed away the reign of the giant hogs began. They acquired skulls nearly four feet long, armed with huge cheek bones and under jaw-plates, powerful upper limbs, and narrow, stilted feet, differing from those of the pig in the absence of dew-claws; the shoulders rose into a hump, but the chest was shallow and feeble. The open mouth displayed a row of pointed front teeth used in rooting and grubbing, as shown in the animal on the bank.

Thus we conclude a glimpse of two phases of ancient life in the Western lakes, two brief episodes out of hundreds in the long history of the great West.

All these monsters had their day, while the sun shone, the birds warbled, the insects hummed over thousands of miles of water and luxuriant sub-tropical bloom. Meanwhile the Western continent slowly rose, the Sierra shut off more and more of the sweet influences of the Pacific, and before the arrival of man this splendid assemblage of life was finally replaced by the hardy animals of the hills, the small and colorless denizens of the desert, and the ruminants of the plains. The complete restoration of the glories of that earlier era is the dream and ambition of the fossil-hunter. Henry Fairfield Osborn.


AS one who turns from waves upon the shore

To dream a distant ocean in the sky, Thine absent presence sways my spirit more Than all the human voices thronging nigh.

How visible, yet how removed, are these

Strong hands I touch, these kisses on my face, When sunset, smiling wistful through the trees, Again enslaves me to thy vanished grace!

My thoughts outrun the senses slow, to share
In some unfettered realm our old delight,

As if a vibrant chord had thrilled the air

And loosed wide wings a-quivering for flight.

I breathe thy hidden fragrance, feel thee near,
Disdainful of each barrier's control,

Till all my world becomes thy symbol, dear,
And parting but a gateway of the soul.

Martha Gilbert Dickinson.




HAD been mining for gold and silver in Arizona, and having had indifferent success, decided to take a run through the mining regions of Mexico. In Culiacan I met a California prospector named Joseph Beardsley. While we were in the State of Chiapa, Beardsley received a letter from an old mining partner in Nicaragua, stating that he had found a rich lode, and inviting Beardsley to join him. When Beardsley arrived at his friend's cabin he was just in time to bury him, he having been murdered by some Nicaraguans, presumedly for the gold in his possession. Beardsley, who was unable to find the lode, was virtually chased out of its vicinity. A letter giving me an account of this adventure stated that he was on his way to the States of Colombia. He went up the Magdalena River to the Andes, and from there wrote me that he had discovered a rich quartz ledge, and urged me to meet him at Bogota. I set out to join him; but at Colon I met some miners returning from that region, who told me that he had been drowned. That was the last I ever heard of him.

Instead of going to Colombia, where a paper dollar was worth only thirty cents and a silver dollar fifty cents, I took passage for Venezuela. At Porto Cabello the first man I met was the American consul, to whom I explained my plans, which included a prospecting tour in the district of Valencia, north of the Orinoco. He advised me strongly not to go into the interior of Venezuela, explaining that two men sent out by him to prospect were in jail, and he was having a hard time getting them out. This was in 1892.

Owing to the unsettled state of affairs in Venezuela, I departed for British Guiana, where life and property were secure. On arriving at Georgetown, the beautiful capital of the colony, with about sixty thousand inhabitants, I found a hundred California miners stranded and full of indignation. They had been lured to Guiana by a letter which had found wide circulation in the newspapers of the Pacific coast. A man who had served as cook in a California mining-camp had gone to Guiana, and had found a good position as

manager of a placer-mine on the Barima River. Elated by his good fortune, he wrote a glowing account of his prospects to his wife in California. She showed the letter to the editor of the local paper, who published it as an item of important mining news. This letter within a short time had the effect of starting groups of men from the coast mining-fields, some of them even from British Columbia. It was a time of depression in the mining industries of the Pacific coast, and a great many miners were out of employment. Though the writer of the letter had no intention of attracting others to his El Dorado, the Californians, who had assumed that it would be as easy to prospect for gold in Guiana as in California, regarded him as the author of their misadventure, and indulged freely in threats of vengeance. No harm came to him, however, because it is not a light matter to violate the laws in British Guiana. As these stranded miners had no money, they were unable to prospect, which requires a more or less expensive outfit; and they could not find employment in the diggings for the reason that white men are not employed on the placers, except as managers; and in fact nearly all the managers, like the laborers, are colored men. The Californians had great difficulty in getting away; some of them reached home as stowaways; a very few obtained situations. One of them was engaged for six months as manager of a placer-mine on the Potaro River, owned by a syndicate of colored men, which produced from three hundred to four hundred ounces of gold a month. He fell ill just as his time was up. When he recovered he invested his savings in an outfit, and started up the Cuyuni River, but found nothing. Another man secured a situation partly through the fact of his being a freemason.

When I discovered that the only way of obtaining employment on a placer was to own one, in the fall of 1894 I joined fortune with another miner, and started for the Barima River. We arranged to stay two or three months, and our provisions for that time cost two hundred and fifty dollars. Taking passage on a steamer, we entered the Barima through the Moro passage, and at Mount Everard were taken into a boat which, pro

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pelled by paddles, was carrying provisions and men to a placer-mine near Arakaka, the English government station eight or nine days up.

On the way up the river I noticed mud reefs crossing the Barima every few miles, and ranging in width from a few feet to forty. I prospected some of them, and found a few specks of fine gold, which miners called "eyes. I think these reefs indicate fissure veins. We passed by several placer-mines, but visited none until we came to the Waremba Syndicate, about four miles below Arakaka, and the same distance in from the river on the west bank. While prospecting inland we lost ourselves in one of the swamps which abound in that region. On our search for camp we crossed fully twenty times a creek running through the swamp, and finally came to a gigantic cypress-tree which served as a landmark. Each attempt that we made to get out of the swamp brought us back to the cypress-tree. Finally we succeeded in reaching higher ground, where we found an old line cut through the undergrowth in the manner of marking a miningclaim. By following this we succeeded in getting out. It is impossible to travel through the thick undergrowth of that region without a compass, and, as in this instance, even a compass proves to be almost useless.

At our camp near Arakaka we hewed a boat out of a tree, and paddled twenty-five miles up the stream to the first rapids. There


I was taken ill with dysentery, which was prevalent thereabouts, and was compelled to return to the hospital at Arakaka. While there I visited the Arakaka Development Company's mines, under the management of Mr. Owens, an American. This company was working both quartz- and placer-claims, which were very rich. The region is of volcanic formation. The quartz ledges are not so well defined as on the Cuyuni, but eventually, I think, the Barima will abound in quartz-mines. The ledges run invariably from northeast to southwest.

The Arakaka Development Company own sixty placer-claims, the operations in one of them being shown in the accompanying photograph. I may explain that placer-claims are located on watercourses, and are five hundred feet wide by fifteen hundred in length. The method of working them is simple. The ground is cleared of brush, and the first covering of clay is removed, until the goldbearing gravel is exposed. This is called

stripping a pit» on the creek. Then a sluice is put in, to which the water of the creek is confined. Men are stationed on each side of the sluice to shovel in the gravel. This is washed by the water, and the gold is caught by the quicksilver in the riffles at the bottom of the sluice. A «clean-up » occurs every night, and therefore the miners know just what they are making from day to day. A section of the sluice is moved forward as they advance up the creek.

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