Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/442

This page has been validated.

mate." Blood brotherhood is still extensively practiced among savages, and is common in central Africa; the essential part of the process consists of making an incision just sufficient to draw blood in the right wrist of each of the participants. A little of the blood is scraped off of each cut and smeared on the other's cut. It seems quite probable that a further study of this practice may reveal a prophylactic measure of great practical value.


A New Old Skull.—Prof. A. Nehring has recently described a new human skull of low type found near Santos, in Brazil, of which an account is given by A. C. Haddon in Nature. It was found in a breccia, the exact age of which is uncertain, associated with fish vertebræ, a few fragments of other human remains, and a portion of the lower jaw of a toothed whale. The forehead is low and retreating, the glabella and orbital ridges well developed. The frontal ridge is greatly constricted behind the orbital region, as in Pithecanthropus. The principal measurements given are: Maximum length, 183 mm.; maximum breadth, 135 mm.; minimum frontal, 88 mm.; maximum frontal, 92 mm.; frontal sagittal arc, 118 mm.; and the parietal arc, 134 mm. The face of this cranium was strongly prognathous, the whole dentition is strong, and all the teeth are perfectly sound. The dimensions of the premolars and the molars come very close to those of Spy No. 1 skull, any difference there may be being in the direction of the dentition of Spy No. 2. While the length and breadth of the new skull agree fairly closely with those of Pithecanthropus, the cranial height is considerably greater, and consequently also the cranial capacity.


Animal Intelligence.—Evidence of the almost human abilities of some of the higher apes is no new thing, but a new series of observations are called attention to in a recent Spectator. The account is taken from A. E. Brehm's book. From North Pole to Equator. "The baboons were on flat ground, crossing a valley, when the traveler's dogs, Arab greyhounds, accustomed to fight successfully with hyenas and other beasts of prey, rushed toward the baboons. Only the females took to flight; the males, on the contrary, turned to face the dogs, growled, beat the ground with their hands, opened their mouths wide and showed their glittering teeth, and looked at their adversaries so furiously and maliciously that the hounds, usually bold and battle-hardened, shrank back. By the time the dogs had been encouraged to renew their attack the whole herd had escaped to the rocks except a six-months-old monkey. The little monkey sat on a rock surrounded by the dogs, but was rescued by an old baboon, who stepped down from the cliff near, advanced toward the dogs, kept them in check by gestures and menacing sounds, picked up the baby monkey, and carried it to the cliff, where the dense crowd of monkeys shouting their battle cry were watching his heroism. The march of the baboons is not a mere expedition of the predatory members of the community. The whole nation trek together and make war on the cultivated ground in common. No wild animals have developed their powers of combined attack and defense in so creditable a manner as the baboons. Their motives—defense, not defiance—are irreproachable, and their methods deliberate, self-reliant, and effective, and Brehm justly remarks that there is probably no other male animal which runs into danger voluntarily to rescue a young one of its own species."


Individual Communion Cups.—A gratifying indication of the broadening influence which science is so slowly, but none the less surely, perhaps, exerting among the people at large is contained in the following paragraph clipped from a morning paper, Jersey City, N. J., April 5th: "Individual communion cups were used for the first time in the First Presbyterian Church on Emory Street, this morning. There were six hundred communicants present, each having a new cup. The cup used is glass, with a light gold rim, and is not costly. They were passed around on trays that held thirty-six glasses each. After using, the glasses were placed in the hymn-book racks and were collected by the sexton after the service. The Rev. Dr. Charles Herr, the pastor, said he thought the individual cups had come to stay." As we learn more and more of the means by which disease is propagated, it should be the endeavor of all to aid in the