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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/96

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

cocos, sweet, potatoes, cassava both bitter and sweet, and other ground food tubers are laid bare.

Of fruit, the mongoose has a partiality for bananas, the mango, and others, as well as for some of the tree vegetables, such as the delicious akee (Cupania edulis), and the avocado, or alligator pear. It will, likewise, when the irrigating canals are drained for cleansing, seize fish and make off with them. Not the least harm it has done has been the destruction of insectivorous birds and lizards, and the consequent increase of another nuisance, the tick. This is a subject which the Jamaica Government is bound to take up in the near future, and there will be found only one remedy—the introduction, propagation, and protection of insect-eating birds, for the question of adopting some plan for the wholesale destruction of the mongoose has thus far proved fruitless.

The mongoose breeds six times a year, and each time there are from five to ten young ones. The animal lives in the hollows of trees, dry walls, and other similar places. Its activity is wonderful, and it very seldom misses its quarry, which, when secured, the mongoose proceeds to mutilate in the groin, first of all drinking the warm blood, then devouring the liver and heart.

In Jamaica there was a very beautiful indigenous snake (Chilobothrus inornatus), a friend of the agriculturist, commonly called the yellow or banana snake, which grew to a length of six or seven feet. It is practically extinct, for during the last five or six years it has been nearly impossible to find a specimen. This bloodthirsty little animal has also nearly exterminated another ally of the cultivator, a certain ground lizard (Anolis corsalis), which is now very rarely seen.

In its general appearance, except in point of size, it being much larger, it may be stated that the mongoose very closely resembles the common gray squirrel of the northern United States, although the latter does not have feet and tail tipped with black.

 


 
Comparing the flint implements of palæolithic and neolithic age, Prof. T. McKenny Huse exhibited at the British Archæological Institute a series of flints to illustrate his view that in their earlier stages of manufacture the palæolithic and neolithic implements passed through the very same steps—that is, a block of flint was first rough dressed by both palæolithic and neolithic people into the same general form. The neolithic man merely proceeded further on the same lines, afterward finding out the way to grind the edge, and at last the whole implement. With few exceptions, the author said, neolithic flints were found on the surface or in artificial excavations; whereas, as a rule, palæolithic implements were found in deposits that seemed to be due to the sweeping down into hollows or river terraces of surface soils in or on which the implements and other stones lay.