138) of the “Kupfer-schiefer” of Thuringia,
but other allied species have been detected in the
Middle Permian of Germany and the north of England.
This Reptile attained a length of from three to four
feet; and it has been generally referred to the group
of the Lizards (Lacertilia
), to which it is
most nearly allied in its general structure, at the
same time that it differs from all existing members
of this group in the fact that its numerous conical
and pointed teeth were implanted in distinct sockets
in the jaws—this being a Crocodilian character.
In other respects, however, Protorosaurus
closely to the living Monitors (Varanidoe
and the fact that the bodies of the vertebrae are
slightly cupped or hollowed out at the ends would lead
to the belief that the animal was aquatic in its habits.
At the same time, the structure of the hind-limbs
and their bony supports proves clearly that it must
have also possessed the power of progression upon
the land. Various other Reptilian bones have
been described from the Permian formation, of which
some are probably really referable to Labyrinthodonts,
whilst others are regarded by Professor Owen as referable
to the order of the “Theriodonts,” in
which the teeth are implanted in sockets, and resemble
those of carnivorous quadrupeds in consisting of three
groups in each jaw (namely, incisors, canines, and
molars). Lastly, in red sandstones of Permian
age in Dumfriesshire have been discovered the tracks
of what would appear to have been Chelonians
(Tortoises and Turtles); but it would not be safe to
accept this conclusion as certain upon the evidence
of footprints alone. The Chelichnus Duncani
however, described by Sir William Jardine in his magnificent
work on the ‘Ichnology of Annandale,’ bears
a great resemblance to the track of a Turtle.
[Footnote 20: Though commonly spelt as above,
it is probable that the name of this Lizard was really
intended to have been Proterosaurus—from
the Greek proteros, first; and saura,
lizard: and this spelling is followed by many
[Footnote 21: In an extremely able paper upon
the subject (Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc.,
vol. xxvi.), Mr Etheridge has shown that there are
good physical grounds for regarding the dolomitie conglomerate
of Bristol as of Triassic age, and as probably corresponding
in time with the Muschelkalk of the Continent.]
No remains of Birds or Quadrupeds have hitherto been
detected in deposits of Permian age.
The following works may be consulted by the student
with regard to the Permian formation and its fossils:—
(1) “On the Geological Relations and Internal
Structure of the
and the Lower Portions of the New Red
Sandstone Series, &c.”—’Trans.
Geol. Soc.,’ ser. 2, vol. iii.
(2) ‘The Geology of Russia in Europe.’