Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/385

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





The Seventh International Zoological Congress, held at Boston on August 19-24, was probably a greater success than its promoters had ventured to hope. Although it may have seemed inappropriate to hold it anywhere but in, or close to, Agassiz's famous museum at Cambridge, all disappointment on this score was quickly forgotten upon reaching the magnificent new buildings of the Harvard Medical School. Rarely had zoologists been so splendidly housed; and never, perhaps, had they received more openhanded hospitality from the people among whom they had chosen to meet. The attendance at the congress was very large, including distinguished workers from Japan, Russia, Austria, etc., with large delegations from Germany, France and England. No single man can sum up the achievements represented by the assembly, but counting work instead of heads, it is possible that as much as one fourth of the total zoological strength of the world was represented. The papers and addresses, as at all such gatherings, were of all degrees of interest and importance; but it is certainly true that many noteworthy contributions were offered. Perhaps the greatest enthusiasm was aroused by Bateson's address on problems connected with heredity. The whole subject of genetics, as Bateson calls it, was very much to the front, and anything in reference to it was eagerly received. Tower, of Chicago, the author of the remarkable researches on the potato-beetle and its allies, was present; and Shull's account of his experiments with the "elementary species" of shepherd's purse was welcomed, though actually botanical. It is an interesting sign of the times that a paper dealing exclusively with plants should be considered appropriate at a zoological congress; an indication that biology is again coming to be studied in a broad way, and that one can not afford to ignore either animals or plants, when dealing primarily with the one or the other.

At the general meetings, held at Jordan Hall, it was a keen pleasure to see and hear such standard bearers of the science as Hertwig, Murray and Brooks, not to speak of Alexander Agassiz, the president of the congress. At the last general meeting the report of the committee on nomenclature was unanimously adopted, and thus some matters of importance, which had long been in dispute, were at length settled, so far as they can be by such means.

Several excursions were arranged for the members of the congress. One to the Arnold Arboretum gave the foreigners an opportunity of seeing a fine series of living American trees; while the geneticologists, if one may so call them, were glad to be conducted by Professor Sargent through his plantation containing species of thorns. Another party was conducted to the place where extensive experiments are being made in rearing the parasites of the gypsy moth, and all who saw this work came back with enthusiastic accounts of it. On another day the congress was entertained at Wellesley College; while on Saturday a visit was made to Harvard University, where President Eliot and Mr. Agassiz made brief speeches explaining the history and nature of Harvard University in general and the Museum of Comparative Zoology in particular.

At the termination of the Boston