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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/645

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FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

a detailed account of his investigations—the whole to constitute a contribution to knowledge. In studying paleontology the student receives careful training in systematic classification. Candidates for honors must prepare theses of sufficient merit to warrant the publication of at least an abstract in some scientific journal. As aids, students have access to the library and museum of Union College, and to the State Library and Museum at Albany.

 

Antiquity of the Quichuas.—Dr. George A. Dorsey expresses his belief, in a paper on The Character and Antiquity of Peruvian Civilization, that the Quichuas came into Peru from the north, and that the time of their arrival must have been a great while ago, "perhaps several thousand years. The fact that they had thoroughly domesticated the llama as well as other smaller animals is in itself proof of great antiquity. The same holds true in regard to the high state of cultivation in which we find the cotton plant, several varieties of maize, and other cereals and food products. In the province of Huarochiri, Avila states that the origin of the great acequias and irrigating canals was only accounted for by a myth, their construction dating back to so remote a period that they were no longer ascribed to human agency."


MINOR PARAGRAPHS.

Through the co-operation of some private persons interested in the preservation of species and the Linnæan and other societies of New York, protection has been afforded to the terns on Great Gull Island, Long Island Sound. A sum of money was contributed to employ a gamekeeper, and the lighthouse keeper on Little Gull Island was authorized to act in that capacity. From three to four thousand birds were found on the island in 1886. They had been since diminishing year by year in numbers under the attacks of sportsmen and egg-hunters, till attention was called to the fact and a watch was placed over them. Under the care of the gamekeeper the numbers of the colony increased at least one half during 1894, and terns are now seen where they had not been observed for many years before.

Were Indians of the Sioux stock ever settled in the East? is asked by James Mooney, who finds evidences in languages that such tribes once lived in a particular territory in Virginia and the Carolinas. Traditions are cited in his paper on the subject, which are said to exist among some of the Sioux tribes, of a former residence on the Ohio, and of a migration prompted by the density of the population, which had become too numerous for the hunting grounds. The emigration was probably prehistoric, as the Sioux tribes were established in the West as early as three hundred and fifty years ago, and was caused, Mr. Mooney thinks, not by the disappearance of game—for the buffalo did not become extinct in the Ohio Valley till late in the last century—but by the pressure of hostile tribes from the north and south—Algonkins and Muskogees.

The encouraging fact is brought out in the reports of examinations published by the Regents of the University of the State of New York that a rapid and healthy increase is going on in the standard of proficiency of the candidates in all the grades. Even more significant than this is the evidence that desultory courses of study are giving way to longer and reasonably balanced courses. A very beneficent influence is exerted it is alleged by the new laws and regulations requiring candidates for admission to practice in law, medicine, and dentistry to submit evidence of a general preliminary education equivalent to a full high-school course.

From certain manuscripts left by Dalton, to which attention is called by Sir Henry Roscoe and Dr. A. Harden, it is made clear that his application of the atomic theory to chemistry was not the result of his own analysis of certain compounds of carbon, as has hitherto been supposed, but that his mind was saturated with Newton's notions on atoms, and he worked out the theory from physical conditions as to the constitution of gases. Somewhat later he quoted numerical results, not of his own, but of other chemists' analyses, in support of the theory, and seems to have worked out the law of chemical combination in multiple proportions as