Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 1.djvu/336

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XIV. Observations on some of the Strata in the Neighbourhood of London, and on the Fossil Remains contained in them.
By James Parkison, Esq.
Member of the Geological Society.

The study of fossil organized remains has hitherto been directed too exclusively to the consideration of the specimens themselves; and hence has been considered rather as an appendix to botany and zoology, than as (what it really is) a very important branch of geological inquiry.

From a comparison of fossil remains with those living or extant beings to which they bear the closest analogy, great resemblances and striking differences are at the same time perceivable. In some instances the generic characters materially differ, but in most they very closely correspond; whilst the specific characters are very rarely found to agree, except when the fossil appears to have existed at, comparatively, a late period. Of man, who constitutes a genus by himself, not a single decided remain has been found in a fossil state.

Chemical analysis has been called in to the aid of the naturalist, in order to account for the perfect state of preservation observable in remains organized with the most exquisite delicacy, and which there is every reason for supposing to have been readily decomposable in their recent state. From this investigation we learn the manner in which these memorials of the old world, so interesting and so frail have been preserved. Some have been impregnated