Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/148

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Only two or three steps of the man are distinct; then the confusion that appears to mark the struggle, and then the impression where a great body has fallen. After the struggle the great crane has waded about over the spot; its tracks winding in and out as if it had been avoiding with care the deep impressions made by the combatants, till at last, stumbling into one, it rises in startled fright. Farther to the north are many human tracks, all telling different stories of the track-makers." The question whether the foot-prints are really those of men is under discussion. Their size and the width of the straddle are against them. Professor Harkness suggests, however, that the sandal is not necessarily much larger than would be made to protect the side, as well as the heel and toe, of a foot twelve or thirteen inches long; and persons laboring in heavy mud would tend to make a wide straddle. The stride corresponds well with that of a man. Professor Joseph Le Conte, who also has examined the tracks, has expressed the opinion to the Academy that "no one who studies them can fail to observe their remarkable general resemblance to human tracks." He thought they might have been made by a human foot inclosed in a rawhide sandal much larger, externally, than the foot. He knew of no animal but a biped that could make such tracks; and this was possible for a man with sandals on to do. As a judicial mind, he desired to hold his final scientifically expressed opinion in reserve, awaiting further testimony. Several fossils have been found in the formation—tusks and teeth of elephants and horses, vegetable remains, and the freshwater shells anadonta and physa. It is difficult to determine the exact age of the strata, but they are generally agreed to be cither Quaternary or Pliocene.


The Infant Giant Jaw-Bone of Stramberg.—The Congress of Austrian Archæologists, recently in session at Salzburg, was the scene of an interesting discussion of the human jaw-bone, m which the proportions of a giant were found associated with the teeth of a child, which was dug out, at Stramberg, in Moravia, from under a formation containing bones of the reindeer, snow-owl, cave-bear, and other Arctic animals. Professor Schaffhausen maintained that the jaw was one of a child, of between eight and nine years old, in which the change of teeth was going on. The incisors had already changed, and an eye-tooth and the premolars were developing in the jaw, and would have appeared after the usual time. The incisors showed considerable use. The height and thickness of the jaw and the size of the teeth reached the dimensions of those of a full-grown man of our time, and even surpassed them in some respects. The forward part of the jaw retreated so much as to obliterate the chin. These marks, similar to those that are observed in a still higher degree in other diluvial jaws, show that we have to deal with a man of very low organization. Professor Schaffhausen rejected the idea that the development of the teeth had been prevented by a pathological cause. Virchow opposed both the view that the jaw was like that of an ape and the one that it was a child's. The case was a rare instance of heterotopy in a man of gigantic size. The jaw was submitted to a committee, who subjected it to a careful examination and comparison. No one's views were changed, but the committee reported that the proportions of the teeth considerably exceeded those of a child's teeth, and reached those that are attained only in a full-grown man; it discovered nothing ape-like in the chin, but found, on measuring it, that, instead of retreating as it appeared to do, its line was perpendicular to the upper surface of the incisors, taken as a horizon. By carefully cutting away the plaster that held the left larger incisor in the preparation, an extraordinarily thick and plump root, rounded below, and quite different in its proportions from the normal, was brought to view; and the committee advised that the preparation of the specimen made by Professor Virchow be revised, so that the jaw could be subjected to a more thorough examination.


A Lignified Snake.—Naturalists are indebted to Senhor Lopez Netto, Brazilian Minister to the United States, for introducing to their attention a specimen of a phenomenon which, although it had been regarded as possible, had never before been observed that of an animal turned into