Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/295

This page has been validated.

other physical measurements as naturally come up in a college laboratory. The student would be getting his instruction at the same time that he felt himself interested in aiding science, and both he and science would be gainers. The material so collected might hardly be of the highest accuracy, but it would certainly not be quite without scientific value. Any one, who will examine the nature of the material already on hand, will forcibly realize this fact.

It would be easy to multiply suggestions. Any chemist, who will carefully survey the field, will be surprised at the immense amount of obviously important work which has hitherto been left undone, and which should take precedence of nearly all the chemical investigations now most in fashion. The necessity of this work is based upon no wild speculations, but upon a foundation of the most severely practical ideas. No extraordinary difficulties hedge it about, no real impracticabilities stand in the way. Certain great laws ought to be discovered, and they can be discovered only by means of researches such as are here suggested. A few years of steady, earnest work upon the part of fifty scientific chemists would accomplish all the chief results which I have ventured to prophesy.



THE bear family (Ursidæ), though comprising a comparatively small number of species, is yet one of the most widespread of all the carnivora, being found all over the earth's surface, except in Africa and Australia. In the latter country, there is an animal somewhat resembling the bear in appearance, and having the tree-climbing habit, known popularly as the Australian bear. This animal is, however, not a bear, but belongs, with its cousins, the kangaroo, bandicoot, and opossum, to another family. Regarding the existence of the bear in Africa, there has long been some difference of opinion. Herodotus, Virgil, and other ancient writers, speak of Libyan bears. Pliny alludes to Numidian bears being exhibited by Ethiopian hunters in a Roman circus, 61 b. c. Latterly, Ehrenberg and Forskal both mention a black plantigrade animal, called by the natives karvai, which inhabits the mountains of Abyssinia. They hunted and saw it, but failed to capture a specimen. It is possible that the bear may yet be found in at least a portion of the vast unexplored area of that continent, but the opinion that it does not exist there is now generally held by naturalists, and it may reasonably be entertained, until controverted by the finding of a specimen.

The general characteristics of the bear are the rough, shaggy coat