File:Image from page 22 of "Water reptiles of the past and present" (1914) (14772630252).jpg

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Identifier: waterreptilesofp1914will Title: Water reptiles of the past and present Year: 1914 (1910s) Authors: Williston, Samuel Wendell, 1851-1918 Subjects: Aquatic reptiles Publisher: Chicago, Ill., The University of Chicago Press Contributing Library: Boston Public Library Digitizing Sponsor: Boston Public Library


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Text Appearing Before Image: e picture of extinctanimals as they appeared in life—approximately accurate, neverabsolutely so. The flesh and other soft parts of an animal arenever petrified, though it is a common belief that they may be.Petrified men and women are still occasionally shown in cheapmuseums, but they are always frauds. Many times has the writerbeen called upon to express an opinion as to the nature of seme con-cretion which the discoverer was sure was a petrified snake, turtle, INTRODUCTION II or even some part of the human body, because of fancied resem-blances in shape and size. Not too emphatically can it be saidthat anything dug.from the earth having the shape of a living ani-mal and alleged to be petrified is either an accidental resemblanceor a deliberate humbug—if we except such extraordinary casts asthose of Pompeii. The Cardiff Giant and the Muldoon are stillfresh in the memory of some of us. There have been a few instanceswhere flesh has been preserved in the North, frozen for thousands

Text Appearing After Image: Fig. 2.—Removing a specimen of fish in a block from the chalk of western Kansas of years, but frozen fossils are very different from petrified fossils.Flesh decays before it possibly can be petrified, and only rarelyis the residue of flesh, tendons, and skin, that is, the carbon andmineral matters, preserved. One may sometimes restore extinct animals as in life, knowingfully the shape and structure of the skeleton, and still be far fromthe real truth. All elephants.of the present time have a bare ornearly bare skin. If all that we knew of the extinct mammothwere derived from the skeleton we should never have suspected 12 WATER REPTILES OF THE PAST AND PRESENT that the creature was clothed during life with long and abundanthair, such as has been found with the frozen bodies in Siberia.Nor should we suspect that the dromedary and Bactrian camels oftoday have large masses of fat on their backs, if we knew only theirskeletons. It must therefore be remembered that all restorationsof exti


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