Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/149

This page has been validated.
141
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

refuse to approach ground where they have stood. For this reason a traveling menagerie was recently refused permission to encamp on a village green, although the people would have been glad to see the show, but because the presence of the camels would interfere with the customary use of the place for a market, by engendering difficulties when the next attempt should be made to drive horses upon it. Yet, at a performance of two bears in London, one of the horses of a four-in-hand almost touched one of them, without himself or any of the team showing any nervousness over the matter. The hatred of cattle for dogs is supposed to have been inherited from the days when their calves were constantly killed by wolves or wild dogs. But "why the horse not only does not share this antipathy, but, on the contrary, loves a dog, it is difficult to explain." The dislike of the cat family for dogs likewise probably dates from the time when the wild dogs hunted and destroyed their whelps. "There is much probability in this conjecture, for it is the dog, and not the wolf, which the tiger so intensely dislikes, and it is only the packs of wild dogs, not wolves, which would venture to kill a cub. Leopards, which naturally live in branches of trees, simply look on dogs as a favorite article of food; and the puma of the pampas, which inhabits a country where the wild dog is unknown, is also a great dog-killer. The dogs, on their part, seem quite aware of the difference of view on the part of the various cats; they will mob a tiger and hunt all tiger-cats. But they all seem to fear the leopard, and by nature to fear the puma, though in North America they can be trained to hunt it. It was recently noticed that a large dog, which found its way to a point opposite the outdoor cages of the lion-house at the Zoo, crept underneath a seat as soon as the puma caught sight of it, and exhibited signs of the utmost nervousness and fear." The antipathies of most animals find a climax "in the common and intense horror of the poisonous snake."


MINOR PARAGRAPHS.

The Municipal Administration Committee of the Reform Club of the City of New York has secured Mr. Robert C. Brooks as its secretary, who has established his office at the University Settlement House, 26 Delancey Street; has begun the collection of a working library, which is rapidly growing; and has practically completed a bibliography of Municipal-Administration, of twenty-five hundred manuscript pages, comprising a subject index and another list, arranged alphabetically and containing nine thousand entries referring to thirty four hundred articles in American, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish publications, with the names of twelve hundred writers. It has more recently begun the issue of a quarterly magazine called Municipal Affairs, the first number of which contains the bibliography. It is working earnestly to enlist those who are willing to aid in propaganda work—chiefly by holding meetings, at which questions of municipal polity are discussed by competent speakers.

The importance is insisted upon by Thomas A. Williams, in a paper on the Grasses and Forage Plants of the Dakotas, of making every effort to preserve the native grasses. They are naturally adapted to the conditions that prevail in the region, and it is very improbable that introduced forms can be had to take their places satisfactorily for many years to come. Climatal evidences are abundant to prove that some of the native forms will flourish under conditions that would kill the common cultivated ones; and the prolonged dry weather of the later summer, which would be destructive to cultivated species, simply cures these native ones on the ground, so that cattle can forage on them in winter as if they were hay. The importance of these grasses is illustrated by the immense shipments from the Dakotas of stock which have had no other feed than that growing naturally on the prairies. Many of the most valuable of these grasses are much benefited by judicious irrigation, even though it be only slight.

An expedition is fitting out by the American Museum of Natural History, with the aid of Mr. Morris K. Jesup, for the systematic study of the peoples inhabiting the coasts of the North Pacific Ocean between the Amoor River in Asia and the Columbia River in America. The exploration is to be