But may it not be, that while the whales of the present hour are an advance in magnitude upon those of all previous geological periods.
Assuredly, we must conclude so, if we are to credit the accounts of such gentlemen as Pliny, and the ancient naturalists generally.
For Pliny tells us of Whales that embraced acres of living bulk, and Aldrovandus of others which measured eight hundred feet in length—Rope Walks and Thames Tunnels of Whales!
And Lacepede, the French naturalist, in his elaborate history of whales, in the very beginning of his work (page 3), sets down the Right Whale at one hundred metres, three hundred and twenty-eight feet.
And even in the days of Banks and Solander, Cooke's naturalists, we find a Danish member of the Academy of Sciences setting down certain Iceland Whales
"What was that?" she asked timidly. "I cannot imagine," replied the Scarecrow; "but we can go and see." Just then another groan reached their ears, and the sound seemed to come from behind them.