Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/66

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is bound to fit herself to our notions; but I shall deal with the matter entirely from the point of view of history, and I shall place before you three kinds of evidence entirely based upon what we know of the forms of animal life which are contained in the series of stratified rock. I shall endeavor to show you that there is one kind of evidence which is neutral, which neither helps evolution nor is inconsistent with it. I shall then endeavor to show you that there is a second kind of evidence which indicates a strong probability in favor of evolution, but does not prove it; and, lastly, I shall endeavor to show that there is a third kind of evidence which, being as complete as any evidence which we can hope to obtain upon such a subject, and being wholly and entirely in favor of evolution, may be fairly called demonstrative evidence of its having occurred.


By Professor M. A. F. PRESTEL.

A SUDDEN and considerable fall of the barometer is of frequent occurrence; but to find a case identical with that of November 22, 1873, I had to search my journals for many years back. It is worthy of note that, in 1854, an equally sudden and considerable fall of the barometer took place here on the coast of the North Sea on precisely the same days as in 1873. According to observations made at Emden, the barometric column on November 21, 1873, at 6 a. m., was 762.3 millimetres, and it then fell steadily till 2 p. m. on the 22d, when it reached the minimum, 732.5 millimetres, and then it again began to rise. At 6 a. m. of November 21, 1854, the barometer stood 760.7 millimetres, and the mercurial column then steadily fell until 6 a. m., November 23d, when it was 734.7 millimetres; it then began to rise. The point to which I would call special attention is that, on the occasion of both of these great falls of the barometer, the position of the moon with respect to the earth was precisely the same. There was new moon at 3 a. m. of November 20, 1873, and at 8 a. m. of November 20, 1854; in 1873 the moon entered the southern lunistice at 3 a. m. on November 23d, and in 1854 at 6 a. m. of November 23d; in both years the moon's declination on November 23d was 27° south.

Still, the occurrence of storms and barometric minima over North-western Europe on November 22, 1873 and 1854, at the period of the lunistitia and of the new moon, might be merely accidental; but that it was not accidental is shown by sundry mutually corresponding phenomena in the atmosphere, which were observed during these two

  1. Translated from the German by J. Fitzgerald, A.M.