Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/391

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
383
THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

collections and to place in juxtaposition, or to include in one view through lack of division, very different classes of objects. It is hoped that the time may soon come when less money shall be spent on specimens for exhibition and more in research and publication. Beyond a certain point the mere exhibition of material can not be advantageously carried, for the confusion of mind created by a multitude of objects defeats the educational effect which a museum should exert.

The libraries of Chicago—the John Crerar, the Newberry and the Public Library—are looked upon as sustaining much the same relations to one another as do the museums, each having its own field, and one supplementing the other, while the friendly rivalry between them is resulting in the accumulation of a vast number of books and pamphlets. The combined entries of these three libraries now amount to 650,000, and at the present rate of growth, they will, in twenty-five years, reach a million, the present size of the library of Berlin, which ranks third among the great libraries of the world.

One quarter of the present volume is devoted to the University of Chicago, treating in detail its many peculiar and progressive features with special reference to its museums and laboratories. In the former the inclusion of paleontological collections with those illustrating the modern life of the globe is regarded as an excellent feature, and this is no doubt true to a great extent. Still such a union is much more feasible in a small than in a large museum and also much depends upon the point of view, upon whether it is desired to show the relations of all living things to one another, or the successive faunas and floras of the globe and the steps by which the existing order of plant and animal life has been reached.

In conclusion Dr. Meyer pays an eloquent tribute to Chicago, for which he predicts a great future as a center of science, literature and art.

IMPORTANT PALEONTOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES.

The origin of the proboscideans, the Mammoth, Mastodon and Dinotherium, has long remained an unsolved problem, and until recently no form was known below the lower Miocene. Señor Ameghino thought he had discovered the ancestor of the group in the Santa Cruz formation of Patagonia, but his views were not shared by others, and the late Professor Cope believed, with much to support the belief, that the founder of the family would be found in Asia.

During the summer of the present j year Dr. C. W. Andrews, of the British Museum, was engaged in collecting in the Fayûm, Egypt, obtaining numbers of vertebrates from deposits believed to be of Eocene or Oligocene age, most probably the former. Among the mammals represented was a small and primitive species of Mastodon, named Palæomastodon beadnelli, characterized by the simple structure of the last grinder and by the fact that no less than five teeth were in use at once on either side of the lower jaw. Other known species of Mastodon have but three teeth in use at any one time on either side of the lower jaw, so that this indicates an animal of a much more generalized type. More than this. Dr. Andrews obtained numerous specimens of another animal, named Meritherium, about the size of a large tapir, having large and tusk-like incisors and molars, whose structure suggests that of the teeth of the Dinotherium. This creature Dr. Andrews considers to be the long sought ancestor of the Mastodon type of proboscideans. The fauna of these Egyptian beds is quite different from that of deposits of corresponding age in Europe, and the few species so far discovered hint that a more complete knowledge will throw much needed light on many obscure questions in geographical distribution. The indications are that prior to the Miocene southern Africa was an exten-