opposite to the Kolyma, which stretches as a continuation • of the continent of America, it will be of use if you can survey and describe the circumstances of that land.'

The history of Commodore Billings's expedition may be told in few words. He sailed with two light vessels out of the Kolyma, on the 24th of June, 1787. He met with much ice, and on the 20th of July, without having reached so far eastward as the island Sabedei, he relinquished the farther prosecution of the attempt by sea; at the very season, in fact, which was the most proper that could have been chosen for his outset from the Kolyma.* In this short attempt, Commodore Billings did not even get sight of the north land; but an approach to it was to be inferred from the soundings. The snow and ice were at this time rapidly dissolving, so as to cause currents to set for several days continuance in one direction; and during that time, the water on the surface of the sea was so fresh as to be used for cooking, and sometimes for drinking

Afterwards, Commodore Billings, with the consent of the Tschuktzki people, made a progress by land along a part of the Tschuktzki coast. Most unaccountably, he chose for his point of outset for this journey, the bay of Saint Lawrence, which is on the south side of Bering's Strait. He landed in the month of August with a party consisting of twelve persons, and travelled northward, keeping near the coast as far as to a bay called Klutchenie, which is at the extreme part of the Asiatic coast seen in Captain Cook's voyage. By this time, winter had set in, and the sea was frozen over. The

• His lieutenant (the present Admiral Saretcheff) proposed and offered to proceed north-eastward in a light boat; but his offer was not accepted.

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season proved a severe one; the cold was extreme, and the whole party had already been so much fatigued and harassed with their journey from the bay of St. Lawrence, that they were unable to pursue the coast farther northward. They afterwards, in their route westward towards the Kolyma, crossed a river, which, according to information from the Tschuktzki people, discharged itself into the sea seventy versts more north than the bay of Klutchenie.

In all this uncertainty respecting the north-east termination of Asia, the particular most worthy notice is, that the Tschuktzki people themselves do not appear, from


of the accounts which have been published, to know the extent of their country to the north, or to be able to give any satisfactory information concerning it, though it is known that some of their nation have travelled from the continent to islands in the Icy sea.

The charts of the present century, which have assumed to give a limitation to Asia, differ a degree in the latitude of their northernmost cape.

It does not in the smallest degree detract from the merit or fame of the first discoverers, to question their having navigated round the north-east of Asia.

Whether they sailed round a promontory, or crossed an isthmus, they are equally entitled to the honour of having first discovered for their countrymen the sea east of Kamtschatka. The most probable chance of completing the discovery, or of arriving at any certainty concerning a north-eastern boundary of Asia, is doubtless that which was recommended by the Russian admiralty to Commodore Billings; i. e. to trace the coast in sledges when the sea is frozen.

The principal argument, and it is not a weak one, against


the probability of Asia and America being joined, is, that northern land in the Icy sea has repeatedly been supposed, and reported, to be an extension of the American continent; and it does not appear in any of the accounts to have been reported, or supposed, to join the Tschuktzki country. In Captain KRÚSENSTERN's memoir on the lands in the Icy sea, it is related, that very lately was explored an extent of 250 versts of coast of a northern land, which has been named the New Siberia. At the easternmost part which was seen of this land, the coast was observed to take a direction to the northwest. This direction of the coast might keep at a distance the supposition that it joined the Tschuktzki land : nevertheless, the coast may, and is supposed by the Russian discoverer, M. HEDERSTROOM, to turn afterwards to the east; for he gives it as his opinion that the New Siberia is a prolongation of America.

The Tschuktzki people would not explore farther north than afforded a prospect of reward for their pains. This, it

has led them to some of the islands in the Icy sea ; but no marks are noticed of their having been to the New Siberia.

The times for making expeditions of discovery in the Icy sea has generally been predetermined; but it would be more conducive to success to watch for favourable seasons. The state of the surface of the sea, when frozen, has also been found subject to much variation, depending upon the strength of the wind when the sea begins to be frozen. If in a calm, the surface will be smooth; if in boisterous weather, it will be rugged and bad for travelling.

is seen,


III. Additional facts respecting the fossil remains of an animal,

on the subject of which two papers have been printed in the Philosophical Transactions, showing that the bones of the sternum resemble those of the ornithorhynchus paradoxus. By Sir EVERARD Home, Bart. V. P. R. S.

Read January 22, 1818. My first account of the fossil bones of this most extraordinary animal attracted the notice of geologists, and collectors of extraneous fossils, and led Mr. Johnston of Bristol, and the Revd. Mr. BUCKLAND of Oxford, to assist me with the materials in their possession, to make a farther progress in the description of its skeleton. An account of these specimens formed the substance of


paper. Since that time I have frequently communicated with these gentlemen, also with the Rev. Peter HAWKER of Woodchester rectory, Minchinhampton, and Dr. CARPENTER of Lyme; and have received from them many specimens I had not seen before, some of which it was difficult to determine to what part of the skeleton they belonged: but that being ascertained, and a similarity discovered to bones of the ornithorhynchus paradoxus, that circumstance alone made them, in my opinion, of sufficient importance to become the subject of a third communication to this Society.

There is also another reason for bringing forward these facts, and for doing so without any unnecessary delay; for, as my former papers were the means by which I acquired them, their being made known to the public, may lead those


gentlemen who have opportunities of examining the cliffs in which the bones are found, to renew their labours, and assist in making out all the essential parts of the skeleton.

In the description I am to give of the bones received, I shall begin with one, a part of which is shown lying on the scapula in Mr. Bullock's specimen, engraved in the first Paper; it was then taken for the portion of a rib accidentally brought there, but it is now found to have been nearly in its natural situation. It bears a resemblance to the clavicular bone in birds. In the annexed engraving (Pl. II. Fig. 1.) it is shown in its relative situation to the other bones.

The bones of which the sternum is composed, are the next to be taken notice of: this part of the skeleton was first pointed out by my friend Mr. BUCKLAND, who had visited every collection in which bones of this animal were known to be preserved; he met with several specimens in which two flat bones were united together, and their union covered by a bone not unlike the upper bone of the sternum in quadrupeds, which made him believe that all the three formed part of the sternum. These different specimens, at his request, were sent to London for my inspection, and Mr. BUCKLAND's suggestion proves to be right.

This discovery of the sternum destroys the analogy between this animal and the cartilaginous fishes, which, while the materials were more scanty, I had been led to suspect, in consequence of the bones of the pectoral fin of the squalus having a greater degree of correspondence to the pectoral fin or paddle of the fossil animal, than any other bones I have examined.

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