Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/93

This page has been validated.
83
ORGANIC REMAINS IN METEORIC STONES.

exceedingly fine clay, sometimes colored red by oxide of iron, sometimes chocolate by manganese oxide, and containing with Foraminifera occasionally large numbers of siliceous Radiolaria. These strata seem to accumulate with extreme slowness: this is inferred from the comparative abundance of whales' bones and fishes' teeth, and from the presence of minute spherical particles, supposed by Mr. Murray to be of cosmic origin—in fact, to be the dust of meteorites, which in the course of ages have fallen on the ocean. Such particles no doubt occur over the whole surface of the earth, but on land they soon oxidize, and in shallow water they are covered up by other deposits. Another interesting result of recent deep-sea explorations has been to show that the depths of the ocean are no mere barren solitudes, as was until recent years confidently believed, but, on the contrary, present us many remarkable forms of life. We have, however, as yet but thrown here and there a ray of light down into the ocean abysses:

"Nor can so short a time sufficient be,
To fathom the vast depths of Nature's sea,"

(Concluded in the December number.)

 

THE DISCOVERY OF ORGANIC REMAINS IN METEORIC STONES.
By FRANCIS BIRGHAM.

THE great problem, whether or not other celestial bodies besides our own planet are or in past ages have been inhabited by animate beings, must be a subject of the deepest interest to every thinking being. This question has for some time past been answered in the affirmative with great probability. The complete analogy of physical conditions which has been proved to exist in some other planets of our solar system, and which without doubt must also occur in innumerable planets of other solar systems, allowed the very probable deduction that not only on our own earth a higher organic process of evolution has taken place. Still, this conclusion by analogy had hitherto remained a simple, unproved hypothesis, although supported by good evidence.

But now at last it seems that we have obtained a direct answer to this question, and that we are able to see with our own eyes the veritable remains of animate beings from another celestial body.

It has been conclusively demonstrated that the meteoric stones which from time to time drop down on the earth have at no time formed a part of this planet, and it is now generally conceded that they are the remains of other celestial bodies—probably those of a destroyed planet.