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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

helps transpiration, and cleanses the surface. In verification of this we are reminded that after a shower the pointed leaves of the ash, willow, etc., have had the dust quite washed out, while rounded leaves like those of the oak are still dirty.

 

Timber Testing.—From the Report of the Division of Forestry for 1893 we learn that the scheme of testing timbers to determine their several qualities has found general favor in this country and in the Old World too. The calls for special investigations into the qualities of various kinds of timbers have been numerous, and beyond the financial ability of the division to attend to them all. A special demand exists for the tests of kinds that are still more or less unknown, they being now drawn upon to eke out the deficiency of supply of the better-known kinds. The collections of test material had reached, at the time of preparing the report, a total of two hundred and thirty-four trees. A series of tests and examinations of bled and unbled timber has been carried on in order to ascertain whether the practice of taking the resin from trees has any influence on its quality. The results seem to show that there is no determinable influence upon the mechanical properties of the timber. But the removal of the resin, if not carried on with care, affects the life of the tree and invites other destructive influences. The turpentine industry, like the lumber industry, is carried on on the "robbing system" of taking off in the most crude and rapacious manner what Nature has provided. It is time, Prof. Fernow maintains, to substitute a "management system," which shall utilize the remaining resources more exhaustively yet more carefully, by avoiding all unnecessary waste.

 

Madagascar Lemurs.—The great island of Madagascar, with a surface extent exceeding that of Italy, is, like Australia, a land by itself, with a fauna distinct from that of Africa. This fauna is particularly characterized by the presence of numerous lemurians or maki mammals, which are also called false monkeys, or fox-nosed monkeys, and which occupy a corresponding place with the monkeys of Africa. A few lemurians are found in Africa and Malaysia, but they appear to be isolated there, and like estrays among a fauna of different character. There still exists on this island a singular cat called the Cryptoproctus, which is plantigrade (solewalking), while all the other cats in the world, excepting Australia, are digitigrade (toe-walking). Such zoölogical peculiarities give this island as nearly a marked stamp of strangeness as that by which Australia is distinguished. To find a fauna comparable to this we have to go back to the ancient geological periods and question the fauna characterizing them. We find that animals similar to those living in Madagascar inhabited the forests of France in the Eocene and Miocene ages of the Tertiary. Vestiges of an animal but little different from the Cryptoproctus of Madagascar have been found in these formations, and the remains of tree-living lemurians allied to the makis of Madagascar have likewise been found in them. Thus Madagascar yet supports a Tertiary fauna, as Australia is still the home of a Cretaceous fauna. The investigation of the fossil fauna of the country becomes, in the light of these facts, a matter of much interest. It has hardly been begun as yet, but has yielded some remarkable specimens. Among them are the eggs and bones of the largest of all the birds known—the Epiornis, sixteen feet high a hippopotamus very different from those now living, and the skull of a great lemurian which has been described by Mr. Forsyth Major as Megaladapis madagascariensis. The lemurians now living in Madagascar are only of medium size or small. The largest of them is the short-tailed indri, which is but little more than three feet high when standing erect on its hind legs. The Meyaladapis was three times as large, or about the size of the orang-outang or the gorilla.

 

Mrs. Henmenway's Work for Science.—Mrs. Mary Tileston Hemenway, who died in Boston March 6th, seventy-two years of age, was equally famous for her benevolence and for her practical interest in promoting scientific work. Possessed of a fortune now valued at $15,000,000, she contributed half of the $200,000 that were raised to save the old South Church from destruction; projected an institute for the encouragement of the study of American history among young peo-