Art. XLI.—On a Supposed Rib of the Kumi, or Ngarara.
[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 5th October, 1898.]
Among the bones found in the Earnscleugh Cave, in Central Otago, when it was cleared out for the Otago Museum Committee in 1874, was the ramus of a lower jaw of a pleurodont lizard,* which may, provisionally, be supposed to belong to the extinct kumi, or ngarara, of, the Maoris.† This bone, unfortunately, was not described, but, so far as I can remember, it was about the size of that of a tuatara. The dentition, however, was decidedly pleurodont, and the teeth, I think, were stronger than those of the Iguanidæ.
In a collection in the Canterbury Museum from the same cave—-received in exchange from the Otago Museum early in 1892—I find what appears to be a small vertebral rib, belonging to the left side, and which may possibly have belonged to the same animal. It may be the last cervical of a reptile, although it seems to be too robust and too flattened for the rib of a lizard. It more nearly resembles the first thoracic rib of a mammal, but it does not appear to have been attached to a costal cartilage, and the shape of the head and tuberosity is different. It is, indeed, unlike anything known to me.
It is much curved, robust, flattened distally, and with the inner edge of the flattened portion denticulate, as can be seen in the figure. There are seven denticulations, six of which are very distinct. There is a small but well-marked pointed tuberosity. The apex of the shaft is oblique to the axis, sharp, not flattened for the attachment of a cartilage or sternal rib. The length, measured along the curve, is about 14 mm.; and the breadth at the commencement of the denticulations is 2.75 mm.
[Footnote] * Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. vii., p. 139.
[Footnote] † Stack, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. vii., p. 295.