Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/260

This page has been validated.
248
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

only so much of the anatomy of the lower animals as will serve to illustrate the variations which corresponding organs exhibit in the inferior vertebrates. The first chapter begins with a general survey of the structure of the human body. This is followed by a brief account of the classification of animals, in which the author, adopting the more modern views, names seven sub-kingdoms, illustrating each with the figure of some typical form. The characters, more or less common to all animals, man included, are next pointed out, when leave is taken of the invertebrates, and a consideration of the principal subdivisions of the group or sub-kingdom to which man belongs closes the chapter. The six succeeding chapters, or lessons, taking up in all 218 pages of the book, are upon the skeleton, wherein the various systems of bones are treated, each being described, first, as it is developed in man, and then as it appears in homologous parts of other vertebrates. The reasons given by the author for allotting so much space to this dry subject are: "1. The general resemblance borne by the skeleton to the external form. 2. The close connection between the arrangement of the skeleton and that of the nervous system, muscles, and vessels. 3. The relations borne by the skeleton of each animal to the actions it performs, i. e., to the mode of life and habits of the various animals. 4. The obvious utility of the skeleton in classification and the interpretation of affinity. 5. Parts of the skeleton or casts of such are all we possess of a vast number of animals formerly existing in the world, but now entirely extinct; a good knowledge of the skeleton must, therefore, be of great utility to those interested in patæontology." Lesson eight, occupying the next 64 pages, is on the muscles, which are dealt with in the same manner as the bones—that is, they are first described as they exist in man, the more important deviations from this type in other vertebrate animals being afterward pointed out. The same method is pursued in the four remaining lessons, which are on the nervous, circulatory, alimentary, and excretory systems, respectively.

The book closes with a tabulated summary, first, of the characters which distinguish man from the animals belonging to the four lower classes of the vertebrate subkingdom; and, second, of the characters which separate him from all other mammals. The volume is clearly printed, has a very full index, and, on the whole, seems well suited to the use of teachers and others who already know something of the subject. But for beginners we doubt its utility, as it is altogether too technical to be attractive to them, and too closely written to be readily grasped by minds unfamiliar with this class of subjects.

Antiquities of the Southern Indians, particularly of the georgia tribes. By Charles C. Jones, Jr. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1873.

This work is devoted to a consideration of the monuments, relics, and ancient customs of the aboriginal population formerly inhabiting that portion of the United States which is now comprised within the limits of Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. The antiquities of Georgia receive special attention, for with them the author is most familiar. But, as all the tribes occupying the territories indicated above had almost identical customs and arts, what applies to one section will apply to all, as the author well shows. We think, however, that he ought to have made an exception of the Natchez, who were sun-worshippers, and, in virtue of that higher grade of fetichistic religion, raised considerably above the neighboring tribes. But the author has no ambition to philosophize about the religious or cultural status of the extinct peoples whose memorials he has exhumed. He simply narrates what he has seen, citing here and there the notes of ancient and modern travellers to show the purpose of an artificial mound, or moat, or plateau, or the meaning of an outlandish ceremony, etc.

The first three or four chapters of the work give an account of the habitat, the physical characteristics, manners and customs, and arts of the Southern Indians, at the period when first they came in contact with men of European race, and particular attention is bestowed upon their costume, manufactures, ornaments, games, festivals, marital relations, forms of government, re-