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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

to be plucked out, and the conjunctiva, the nose, and the ears to be tickled; to have pins thrust into the arms; to drink nauseous liquids; to breathe with delight ammonia or sulphurous acid?" Somnambulists oppose no resistance to tests like these, "Must we suppose that they exhibit heroism (and a very misplaced heroism) or anæsthesia?" It is objected that the phenomena of somnambulism are incompatible with the facts of science. But, if they are themselves facts, they can not be overthrown by a priori reasoning. Another objection has been made: that everything observed in hypnotism is inconstant, irregular, 'mobile, and that the phenomena vary with every observer and with each subject. The same is the case with other psychological phenomena, and the diversities may, in all cases, be perfectly explained by the prodigious complexity of the mind. "We ought to be really struck by the resemblances rather than the differences, for the latter are of small account relatively to what they might be."

 

Gradual Disappearance of the Larger Animals.—The species among the different classes of animals which exceed their congeners in size are now more than ever threatened with extermination. The progressive diminution in their numbers has been more rapid during the recent geological period because they have had man as their competitor; and the present age may be destined to witness their entire disappearance. In consequence of the new competition opposed by man, more formidable than any other that the large animals have had to meet, many species have already become extinct, and many of those which are still represented among living beings are daily diminishing in numbers. The animals comprising these species, being those which are hunted with profit, or those the destruction of which is important for human security, are for these reasons inevitably the most exposed to be driven from every region in which the privileged being has established his abode. In the struggle which they have to sustain against the new rivalry they labor under the two marked disadvantages, as compared with smaller animals, that they require a more abundant supply of food and that their reproduction is less frequent and more limited, so that the losses they endure are hardly repaired. The smaller species keep up their numbers, and even increase, in consequence of their extreme fertility, in spite of the most persistent efforts of man to exterminate them. The larger animals would be totally destroyed in a very short time if they had to suffer the same proportion of losses. It is hardly rash to assert that the whales, the cachalots, the Sirenidæ, the morses, certain species of seals and otaries, the great white bear of the Arctic coasts, and the other bears, the large carnivorous cats (lions, tigers, etc.), the gorillas, the great armadillo, the great ant-eater, the giraffes, the elan, the aurochs, the bison, the elephants, the hippopotamuses, the rhinoceroses, the great kangaroo, the elephantine turtles, the crocodiles, the birds of the ostrich group, the great penguin of the frozen sea, etc., are threatened with the fate that has within a few centuries befallen the enormous epiornis of Madagascar, the gigantic moas of New Zealand, and within less than two centuries the dodo and the giant bird of the Island of Mauritius, the two latter species representing the largest columbid and the tallest waterfowl that have ever existed. The great carnivora are already fast disappearing before the bullets of emulous lion and tiger hunters; the whales and other larger mammalia are becoming scarce. The largest of the deer, the elan, is less widely distributed than formerly; the largest of wild cattle, the aurochs, which formerly ranged over all Europe, is now found only in the forests of Lithuania and Moldavia; the bison no longer covers the prairies with boundless herds; the great armadillo is disappearing from South America, and the great kangaroo from Australia; and the numbers of the other animals we have named are gradually diminishing. It is time for science to be busy in completing the study of these animals before some of their species go to join the ranks of those which are represented only in fossils.—La Nature.

 

Mechanical Vibrations as a Remedy in Neuralgia.—M. Boudet de Paris and Dr. J. Mortimer-Granville have published observations upon the application of mechanical vi-