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the purposes of identification, which are now in the hands of Oswald Heer, of Zurich, the famous botanical paleontologist. On the 17th of August the party embarked, and for two whole days they sailed along the coast, and met with no obstacle from ice or other impediment.
Is it then likely that there remains nothing more for the explorer in these regions to reward him for his inquiry ? Surely we have in this account fresh evidence, if such were wanting, that the northern seas deserve attention. These seas are not so devoid of interest as the shrewd practical man might at first suppose.
presence of rare and profitable resources to be derived from the enormous abundance of animal life in the Arctic circle is a temptation which alone would justify further exploration. The trifling risk attending the present clumsy appliances of the whaler can be made less by a more intimate knowledge of the currents, and the causes that influence them in these high latitudes ought surely to induce the philanthropist to assist in their solution. The existence of animal life in such abundance warrants us in believing that man may live in some remote Arctic lands of whose existence we are still ignorant, and if in the course of time human beings have disappeared from these scenes of their former occupancy, it will
be of interest to all to learn from their remains how far they had gone along the road of human progress. The enormous deposits of wood accumulated upon the shores of Arctic lands have their evidence to render, which is of especial service to the students of nature; the direction of the streams is surely indicated by the species they represent; and the easterly coasts of all islands in certain directions being more encumbered by ice than the corresponding western shores of all those known, point to one description of facts, not without their meaning, which tell only a portion of the truth they reveal, so long as we are restricted in our knowledge of the whole of the Arctic cosmography
In the Spitzbergen seas we have passed to the eastward of the great iceberg system, since icebergs would be found drifting from the eastward if they were generated anywhere in that direction. There are therefore no ice-bound coasts to be encountered in this direction, no floating barriers exist whose frozen walls offer no portal for the Polar explorer. The flat ice that is found floating on the seas will surely admit of the steam ship, easily handled in the various narrow channels, as it breaks up for the
year; and modern appliances can easily be brought into requisition now, whose enormous power was not understood during
the long interval in which, owing to the causes which interfered with all the later Arctic expeditions, the question of Polar exploration has languished. Science has made enormous strides during this interval, and the food, clothing, ship's outfit and equipment, not to speak of the minor but still vastly important contributions to the comfort and even enjoyment of any similar enterprise to be entered upon at the present date, deprive Arctic exploration of most, if not all, of its former désagrémens.
The fossil plants belonging to the Miocene period of Spitzbergen have been ably treated by the distinguished naturalist, Oswald Heer, in the “ Kongliga Svenska Vetenskaps Academiens Handlingar” for 1869. The results fully prove that a warmer climate existed in Spitzbergen when these plants flourished. In his list of the Miocene flora he identifies three species of the family of Fungi.
1 in that of the Sea-weeds.
1 in that of the Polygoneæ.
It will be seen by this list of easily identified species, that the plants of a temperate region once existed there, and individuals of the same species are found in the districts named below in the following order:
25 are found in Greenland.
on the Mackenzie.
to the Baltic Flora.