Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London
You have accessArticle

XVI. On the fossil mammals of Australia.— Part I. Description of a mutilated skull of a large marsupial carnivore (Thylacoleo carnifex, Owen), from a calcareous conglomerate stratum, eighty miles S. W. of Melbourne, Victoria

    In a Report, No. X ., on the Geology of the Basin of the Condamine River, by the Rev. W. B. Clarke, to the Honourable the Colonial Secretary of Australia, dated 14th October, 1853, is the following passage:— “It is probable that Mr. Stutchbury, whose studies in palæontology fit him for the search, will be so fortunate as to find the remains of an animal indicated by Professor Owen, in the year 1842, of a carnivorous kind, for, as he says, ‘some destructive species of this kind must have coexisted, of larger dimensions than the extinct Dasyurus laniarius, the ancient destroyer of the now equally extinct Kangaroo, Macropus Titan, &c., whose remains were discovered in the bonecaves of Wellington Valley.’ There were some fragments in the immense heap of osseous matter accumulated by Mr. Turner, which appeared likely to belong to such a carnivorous giant, but they were too small and imperfect to deserve conjectural description. The discovery of what must have existed cannot be altogether incapable of demonstration, and, therefore, such a verification of Professor Owen’s anticipation is to be hoped for on m any grounds.”— p. 6. Now, although such verification has come to hand, I admit that the absolute terms in which the anticipation was expressed merit the mild rebuke implied by the italics in which those terms are emphasized in the quotation from the ‘Report’ by the accomplished geologist of Australia. Eighteen years of scientific experience have engendered a more cautious tone in referring to inductive probabilities.


    This text was harvested from a scanned image of the original document using optical character recognition (OCR) software. As such, it may contain errors. Please contact the Royal Society if you find an error you would like to see corrected. Mathematical notations produced through Infty OCR.