Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/787

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animals are very much enraged, or when they are charging an assailant, this sound changes into a hoarse roar or terrific scream. The fourth sound betokens dissatisfaction or distress; it is repeated frequently when an elephant is separated from the herd, or is tired, hungry, or overloaded; it may be thus imitated: urmph, urmph.



Written, as the little sketch of "Audubon's Flower" was, where access to books was impossible, and upon the memory of a reading of twenty years ago, I fear that, in the closing part, I may have overstated. It is not meant that Audubon named the flower, except conceptionally, or mentally, but that he did name it so far as a truthful bit of art could do, subordinated to a scientific conscience.S. L.

Dr. Lawson Tait finds that, as a rule, the ear in women can perceive higher notes (i.e., sounds with a larger number of vibrations per second) than the ear in men. The highest limit of and ability for the human ear is somewhere between 41,000 and 42,000 vibrations per second. Very few of the persons experimented on by Dr. Tait had equal sensibility to acute sounds in both ears the right ear usually hearing a higher note than the left. The sense of direction of the sound in the human ear seems to be lost at a very much lower point than appreciation of the note. This, however, is not the case with cats.

On January 11th died Mr. Alfred Smee, aged about sixty years. He was elected Fellow of the London Royal Society at the early age of twenty-one. Among his published works were the following: "Elements of Electro-Metallurgy," "Elements of Electro-Biology," "Monogenesis of Physical Forces," "The Mind of Man," etc.

Karl Ernst von Baer, the eminent biologist, whose death occurred in November, was born in Esthonia, February 12, 1792. In 1819 he became Professor of Zoölogy in the Königsberg University. He was called to St. Petersburg in 1834, and was appointed librarian of the Academy. He led a scientific expedition to the northern shores of Russia in 1837. He wrote several works on zoölogy and botany, especially those of Northern Russia.

Wilhelm F. B. Hofmeister, Professor of Botany in the University of Tübingen, and author of several works on plant physiology and embryology, died on January 12th, at the age of fifty-two years.

The world of science has recently suffered another loss in the death of David Forbes, F.R.S., the geologist, at the early age of forty-eight years. He was a great traveler, and among his published papers may be named those on the "Relation of the Silurian and Metamorphic Rocks in the South of Norway," and on the "Geology of Bolivia and South Peru."

Blanca Peak, in Colorado, the elevation of which was determined last year by Hayden's survey, is probably the highest point within the limits of the United States. Its height is 14,464 feet above the level of the sea. There are in Colorado over fifty other peaks which rise more than 14,000 feet above sea-level.

Mr. Robert E. C. Stearns mentions, in the American Naturalist, two remarkable instances of vitality in snails. One snail, of the species Bulimus pallidior, lived for two years, two months, and sixteen days, without food, and at the end of that period appeared to be in pretty good health. Another, Helix Veatchii, lived without food from 1859 till 1865. Both of these species of snails are indigenous to nearly rainless regions.

There is a pretty constant increase in the decennial number of plural childbirths in the kingdom of Prussia. In the period between 1824 and 1834 this class of births amounted to 112 per 10,000 births, and the same proportion was repeated in the succeeding decennium. From 1844 to 1854 the proportion was 114 to 10,000; from 1854 to 1864, 123; from 1864 to 1874, 128. Of these plural births, the immense majority, nearly 99 per cent., were twins. Triplets were somewhat less than 1 per cent. In over 6,000,000 births there were only 79 cases of four at a birth, and one case of five at a birth.

The Atamasco Lily.—A new form of this favorite amaryllis, A. Atamasco, has been found in Florida by Mrs. Mary Treat. It is an earlier flower than the old form, and is larger and handsomer.

It was stated by Mr. Sidebotham, at a meeting of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, that aniline colors are now much used by artists both for paintings and water-color drawings. But, as nearly all of these colors fade under the action of light, no artist who wishes his work or fame to endure can afford to employ them.

Years distinguished by a maximum of sun-spots coincide very closely, according to Prof. Fritz, of Zürich, with years of extraordinary hail-fall, or unusual average height of the great rivers.