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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/334

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

probably due to the imperfection which characterizes even our most advanced attainments. For example, while the medical and sanitary sciences, by their progress, are diminishing the dangers which beset humanity, they have also been the means of preserving and permitting the perpetuation of the weaklings of the race, which, had natural selection exercised its unhindered sway, would have been crushed out of existence in the struggle for life.

It is, however, of the essence of true scientific knowledge, when perfected, that it enables us to predict, and if we ever rise to the possession of a true appreciation of the influences which have affected mankind in the past, we should endeavor to learn how to direct these influences in the future that they shall work for the progress of the race. With such a knowledge we shall be able to advance in that practical branch of anthropology, the science of education; and so to guide and foster the physical, intellectual, and moral growth of the individual that he will be enabled to exercise all his powers in the best possible directions. And, lastly, we shall make progress in that kindred department, sociology, the study of which does for the community what the science of education does for the individual. Is it a dream that the future has in store for us such an anthropological Utopia?—Reprinted from Nature.

 

SOME VEGETABLE MALFORMATIONS.
By Prof. BYRON D. HALSTED.

BY malformations are here understood those structures that are so unusual as to attract attention and so curious as to suggest that they are individual freaks to be explained by some peculiarity of surroundings or not at all. They may occur more frequently with some species of plants than with others, but are usually outside of the reign of the rules of inheritance, and therefore not governed by the ordinary laws of vegetative growth.

It is the purpose here first to treat of some of the more common and striking of these monstrosities, and then, if possible, to indicate how these extravagant forms may serve as keys to unlock some otherwise hidden secrets in vegetable morphology.

It is difficult to make any satisfactory classification of these monstrosities, and therefore instances will be given somewhat in the following order—namely, those of stems, of leaves, of flowers, and finally of fruits. One of the most frequent abnormities of the stem is that where, instead of the nearly cylindrical form, it becomes broad and ribbon-shaped. This type of malformation is confined to the less woody stems, as those of the asparagus. Fig. 1 shows such an instance, where the stem broadened out to nearly