this gentleman fed them at first with worms, slugs, and flies, and of the latter they seemed very fond; yet they did not thrive. One morning on entering the room in which their tank was placed, he discovered a sparrow which had got in through an open window, and which in its efforts to escape had fallen into the tank, when the larger tortoise quickly seized it by the leg and drew its head under the water until it was drowned. Two hours afterward nothing remained of the bird but the wing feathers, and cleanly-picked bones; all the rest of it having been devoured. After this the animals would not touch even flies for nearly a week; but then, on offering them a dead gold-fish about five inches long, they ate it eagerly, leaving nothing but the head and backbone. A week or ten days later, a live mouse was dropped into the tank, and, like the sparrow, this was soon seized by the larger tortoise—by the head instead of the legs—and pulled under the water until drowned. The head was then torn off, the skin turned inside out and rejected, and all the other parts devoured except the bones. This food appeared to agree with them perfectly, and they were afterward supplied with mice, on which they grew rapidly and kept in excellent condition.
Fielding Bradford Meek.—The American Journal of Science and Arts for March contains an obituary notice of Fielding Bradford Meek, whose death occurred on December 21st. From it we gather the following particulars relating to the life and labors of that distinguished paleontologist: He was born in Madison, Indiana, on December 10, 1817, and in early manhood chose a mercantile career. Here he was unsuccessful, and in 1848 he became an assistant in the United States Geological Survey of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. In 1852 he was assistant to Prof. Hall, at Albany, in the paleontological work of the State of New York. Here he remained until 1858, with the exception of three summers spent on geological surveys of Western States and Territories. In 1858 he went to Washington, and there remained till his death, except while in the field. The invertebrate paleontology of the Rocky Mountain region, as developed by Dr. Hayden's survey, was intrusted to Meek. He also helped to work up the invertebrate paleontology of Illinois, Ohio, California, and sundry Territories surveyed by other expeditions besides Hayden's. Thoroughness, scrupulous exactness, and nice powers of discrimination, are manifested in all his labors. "No one in America," says Dr. C. A. White, the author of the obituary notice from which we quote, "has done more than he to systematize and advance the science to which he devoted his life." His health was always precarious, and for several years before his death he was entirely deaf. He never married, and left no near relatives.
The Electrical Phenomena of the Torpedo.—Marey has lately been engaged in studying the electrical discharges of the torpedo, with the aid of a very delicate electrometer and an inscribing apparatus. His experiments show that, on exciting a nerve of the animal's electrical apparatus, a flow of electricity follows in about one eightieth of a second, lasting about one fortieth of a second. The voluntary discharge of the torpedo consists of successive flows of currents, varying, according to temperature, from twenty to one hundred and forty shocks per second; the direction of the currents being from the back to the belly. As the currents continue to flow for a longer time than the intervals between the times of their commencement, it happens that several currents flow simultaneously, and thus the intensity of the discharge is increased by accumulation. The phenomena correspond closely to those of muscular work.
The Appalachian-Mountain Club.—Prof. E. C. Pickering, President of the Appalachian-Mountain Club, in his annual address, congratulates the club on the large attendance of members at the ten meetings so far held, and the interest manifested in the labors of the club. The principal scientific work of the club for the past season was in the direction of topography—collecting all the available measurements from the works of Bond, Lock, Vose, and Hitchcock. A complete map of the White Mountains has been made by Mr. Henck. One of the greatest achievements of the club is the introduc-