That these animals were widely distributed in former times is proved by their occurrence at the present day in palaeozoic fossiliferous strata both of the northern hemisphere and of Australia; and despite the fact that their remains have not been found in rocks of the Mesozoic or Kainozoic epochs, it was conceived to be possible that living specimens might be dredged from the sea-floor during the exploration of the ocean depths undertaken by the "Challenger" expedition.
The Kainozoic period opened with fresh earth movements, the most striking evidence of which are the volcanic outbreaks all round the Australian coasts.
Similar deposits, of approximately the same age, occur in Tasmania and New Zealand; and at about the same time there began the Kainozoic volcanic period of Australasia.
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