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MISCELLANY.

and of the humpback for their young is very strong, but the sperm-whale gives no evidence of such fondness. Among sperm-whales there is strict subordination of every herd to its leader, but each right-whale appears to be independent. The male right is smaller than the female, but the reverse is the case for the sperm-whale. The males of the sperm-whale engage in furious conflicts with each other, and Captain Pease has often found clear evidence of these fights in the scarred bodies of captured whales. In the Nantucket Museum may be seen two specimens of the lower jaw damaged in conflict, one of them being bent laterally into one turn of a spiral. Captain Pease has often witnessed the attack of the sperm on the right and humpback whale. Fifty or more of them will join in the attack, leaping many feet out of the water and falling on their victim. Squid forms the principal food of the sperm-whale, and Captain Pease once saw the head of a squid, as large as a sugar hogshead, which had been chopped off by the closure of the sperm-whale's jaws.

The captain is positive that a trace of hair is to be found within the skin of the right-whale, and says that, if the fresh skin be scraped, the inner section will show a trace of hair. If this whale is the descendant of a land-mammal, we should expect to find just such a trace of hair. Then, too, there is a sperm-whale's tooth at Nantucket which has two fangs, and it is stated that the other teeth of the animal to which this belonged had likewise two fangs. The author suspects here a case of reversion. According to Captain Pease, right-whales attain adult size in three years, though he admits that they may grow very slowly for some years longer.

 

Cruelties of the Seal-Fishery.—The cruel and useless destruction of young seals, resulting from the way in which the seal-fisheries are at present conducted, has called out a vigorous protest from Mr. Frank Buckland, coupled with a recommendation that the governments concerned unite in a system of regulations that shall in future prevent the barbarities and wastefulness which, if continued, must soon put an end to an important industry. On the authority of Captain David Gray, commander of the screw-steamer Eclipse, of the Scottish sealing-fleet, we are told that operations begin about the 20th of March, or within a few days after the young are born. The harpooner chooses a place where a number of young seals are lying, knowing that soon the mothers will make their appearance. Of these, as many as 40,000 were killed last year, not to speak of those that were wounded and scared away. Thus tens of thousands of young seals are left motherless. "It is horrible," says Captain Gray, "to see the young ones trying to suck the carcasses of their mothers, their eyes starting out of the sockets, looking the very picture of famine. They crawl over and over them until quite red with blood, poking them with their noses, no doubt wondering why they are not getting their usual feed, uttering painful cries the while. The noise they make is something dreadful. If one could imagine himself surrounded by four or five hundred thousand human babies all crying at the pitch of their voices, he would have some idea of it. Their cry is very like an infant's. These motherless seals collect into lots of five or six, and crawl about the ice, their heads fast becoming the biggest part of their bodies, searching to find the nourishment they stand so much in want of. The females are very affectionate toward their young." Immense numbers of young seals are in this way starved to death; and, even if slaughtered on the spot, are comparatively worthless, as their bodies contain little or no oil, and their skins bring but a very low price. According to Mr. Buckland, if the commencement of the work were postponed for only three or four weeks, the young would then be old enough to take care of themselves, and, even if killed, which he strongly objects to, at this early period of their lives, their bodies would have a greatly increased value.

 

The Failure of Car-Axles.—The fracture of car-axles, and the frequent accidents arising therefrom, are due, it appears, in the majority of cases, to imperfect construction, which may be readily detected by applying the proper tests. As an example of the kind of work that manufacturers sometimes turn out to railway com-