Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/392

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

sive and isolated continental area, or, that at least it had no connection with Europe.

In the United States particular attention has been given to working out the pedigree, in the fullest sense of the word, of the horse, and in doing this the American Museum of Natural History has been especially favored by the gift of a considerable sum of money for that purpose. Under the direction of Professor Osborn parties have been successful in Texas and northeastern Colorado in obtaining unusually complete specimens of early horses. In the former locality Mr. Gidley discovered the fossil remains of a small herd of Miocene horses of the genus Protohippus, while in Colorado Messrs. Matthew and Brown obtained very complete specimens of Anchitherium from the Upper Miocene associated with at least three species of horse-like animals that represent side branches of the equine tree. The disappearance of horses from North America is a very singular fact; they developed here, literally growing up with the country, and they ranged from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Alaska to Patagonia. It is even probable that they migrated to Asia at the time the Mammoth was making his way eastward, and yet they disappeared completely. It would seem that Dr. Jordan's three laws of distribution need the addition of another to explain the dying out of animals. It can not be said that a series of species that developed in a given region was not adapted to it, and the rapid increase of horses that run wild on the pampas of South America and the plains of the west shows that the modern horse was perfectly fitted to those regions.

One more important discovery during this year was the finding by Mr. Barnum Brown, while collecting for the U. S. National Museum in the Trias of Arizona, of plates of a huge labyrinthodont, at least as large as those European species restored by Waterhouse Hawkins in the likeness of gigantic frogs, for their tails were not then known. The specimens have been identified by Dr. Fraas as belonging to the genus Metopias, and he regards this of special importance as showing that the beds in Arizona correspond to the historic Keuper of Europe, that genus of amphibians being confined to that formation.


We regret to record the deaths of Mr. Clarence King, the eminent geologist; Sir William MacCormac, the British surgeon; Professor Aleksandr Aleksandrovic Kovalevskij, professor emeritus of zoology at the University of St. Petersburg, and Dr. Arthur König, associate professor of the physiology of the sense organs at the University of Berlin.

The newly elected presidents of the scientific societies, whose meetings are described above, are as follows: The American Chemical Society, President, Ira Remsen, Johns Hopkins University; American Society of Naturalists, Professor J. McKeen Cattell, Columbia University; American Morphological Society, Dr. H. C. Bumpus, American Museum of Natural History; American Physiological Society, Professor P. H. Chittenden, Yale University; Association of American Anatomists, Professor G. S. Huntington, Columbia University; American Psychological Association, Professor E. C. Sanford, Clark University; American Society of Bacteriologists, Professor H. W. Conn, Wesleyan University; The Society for Plant Morphology and Physiology, Professor M. V. Spalding, University of Michigan; The Geological Society of America, Mr. H. N. Winchell, Minnesota.