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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/436

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

times known as synthetic geometry. Since metric relations are not considered in it, its theorems and problems are very general and comprehensive. As presented in von Standt's complete work, it is regarded by the author as an excellent aid to the exercise and development of the imagination; and the important graphical methods with which Professor Culmann has enriched the science of engineering in his work on graphical statistics, being based for the most part upon it, a knowledge of it has become important for students of that science. In the present work, the outgrowth of his lectures, Professor Reye has attempted to supply the want of a text-book which shall offer to the student the necessary material in a concise form.

Prof. Cyrus Thomas brings the qualification which a lifetime devoted to study of the subject develops, to the preparation of an Introduction to the Study of North American Archæology[1] He is known to all students in this branch as a careful, judicious investigator whose work in the field has been supplemented by valuable contributions to its literature. In this volume he presents a brief summary of the progress that has been made in the investigation of American antiquities—which has been recently great indeed, and well calls for a new synopsis. His chief object has been to present the data and arrange them so as to afford the student some means of bringing his facts and materials into harmony, and of utilizing them. He presents the theories that have been advanced, and mentions opposing views; regarding it, he says, as important to the progress of the student to know which of the questions that arise have been answered, and which hypotheses have been eliminated from the class of possibilities. The materials for the study and the methods are first explained. The relics of ancient men and the mounds are then described as under three divisions—the Arctic, the Atlantic, and the Pacific. Local as well as regional characteristics and differences are pointed out; as in the mounds as a whole, the special class of animal mounds, the pueblos, the cliff dwellings, and the Mexican and Central American monuments, the peculiar features of each are pointed out, and their territorial limits are defined. All these various kinds of works are ascribed to substantially the same people, who are supposed to have come down from somewhere in the north or northwest (the extreme northwest Pacific coast), although the different immigrations may perhaps have arrived by various routes. The people were the present Indians or their ancestors; the time of the immigration was not extremely remote; and the "mound-building habit" is shown to have persisted and been practiced till since the advent of the Europeans.

In entitling his book The Art of Taxidermy[2] the chief of the Department of Taxidermy in the American Museum of Natural History evidently intends to use the word art in the high sense of a fine art; for he speaks of the enormous strides toward perfection which it has made from the former "trade of most inartistically upholstering a skin"—stuffing it, we used to call it—and of its study having been taken up of late years by a number of men of genius and education. It is largely owing to the exertions of these men that the taxidermy of the present day is so far in advance of what it was a decade since. The proverb says that art is long, and accordingly Mr. Rowley takes for the motto of his book a sentence from Thoreau, that "into a perfect work time does not enter." To the possible objection that some of his methods seem to involve considerable time and expense, the author replies in substance that if the work is not worth this, it is hardly worth while to take it up at all. If it is a proper work, and one has the proper degree of energy and enthusiasm, let him give the specimen all the time it demands. In preparing his treatise, the author has aimed to eliminate all extraneous matter, and to give mainly the results of his own experience, coupled with that of other taxidermists with whom he has come in contact. He begins with instructions about collecting tools and materials, and casting, and treats further of the preparation of birds, of mammals, and of fish, reptiles, and crustaceans; the cleansing and mounting of skeletons, and


  1. Introduction to the Study of North American Archæology. By Prof. Cyrus Thomas. Cincinnati: The Robert Clarke Company. Pp. 301.
  2. The Art of Taxidermy. By John Rowley. New York: D. Appleton and Company. Pp. 2 44. Price, $2.