Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/688

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

then to get all stages in the growth of Ceratodus in a few weeks, and to try for the duck-moles again in December about the Snowy River in the extreme south of New South Wales. But it was not until the end of November that I got away. I could not succeed for a long time in rearing the larvae (tadpoles) of the Ceratodus after they were hatched. At last I succeeded, and have now I believe every stage preserved. I have now in my laboratory in Sydney some young living specimens reared from the eggs under my eyes.

Is it not extraordinary that Echidna has not learned to contain her egg in the uterus a little longer? The plan of laying it only to carry it in a pouch is an awkward habit that might be so easily reformed. The duck-mole has two eggs at a time. The papers here have copied from "Nature" a notice about my work, and mention an old paper by Geoffroy St.-Hilaire where Platypus (duck-mole) eggs are figured. These eggs, however, happen not to be duck-mole's eggs at all. St.-Hilaire obtained them from bushmen who found them in the Hawkesbury River. They were eggs of the common river-turtle, as is clear from the figures. The duck-mole's egg is one quarter of their size. ... I am at present in the northwestern district of New South Wales—up the Mclntyre River—collecting the embryos of marsupials (kangaroos, etc.). I have bought a light buggy, and move about from station to station in search of kangaroo-drives. The kangaroos have decreased in number, owing to the drought in the last few years, and the place I am in now is, I believe, almost the only one where it is still possible to get a thousand kangaroos into a "yard" in one day. "Yarding" has been generally superseded by shooting. A camp of kangaroo-shooters will travel about on a run for months, being paid so much a scalp. It is very slow work collecting embryos with these shooting-parties, and, besides this, the embryos are too delicate to be carried on horseback. Accordingly, I have tried hard to get to a yarding-drive where I could put up a table and do all the preserving in one place. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week the whole district is going to muster to drive kangaroos into a pit, and we hope to get five thousand. My plans after this are pretty well settled. I have made up my mind to stay out until another season is over. I go after "native cats" in March and April, opossums in April and May in the south of New South Wales. In June I shall get emu on the western downs of Queensland, two hundred miles west of Roma. In July and August I shall have a camp of one or two hundred blacks on the Burnett River. At the end of August and September I shall camp with some white shooters on the rivers near where I am now (the Dumeresq, Mclntyre, Mole, and Severn). In November I shall see you in London. I shall send you a description of some of the important features in the early growth of the young in the egg of the duck-mole and the Echidna when I get down to Sydney. I shall have no time to make sections until I have brought my material safely home to England.—Nineteenth Century.
 

THE PRIMITIVE GHOST AND HIS RELATIONS.
By JAMES G. FRAZER.

IN his "Roman Questions," that delightful storehouse of old-world lore, Plutarch asks, "When a man who has been falsely reported to have died abroad returns home alive, why is he not admitted by the door, but gets up on the tiles, and so lets himself down into the