Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 3 (1899).djvu/211

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In the Australian Bush and on the Coast of the Coral Sea, being the Experiences and Observations of a Naturalist in Australia, New Guinea, and the Moluccas. By Richard Semon.Macmillan & Co., Limited.

This is a very welcome translation of the itinerary and biological observations of a naturalist in—zoologically speaking—some of the most interesting regions of the world. Of the Malay Archipelago we have now a charming literature, which, we might say, was begun by Wallace, and has been continued since the publication of his well-known eastern travels. Of Australia we would fain know more. Its natural history early incited Bennett and Gould; Lumholtz has given us a good book; Saville Kent's recent work is well known; but the subject is far from exhausted. As Mr. Semon observes, Australia to the zoological explorer "will prove Eldorado, unequalled by anything else. For so singular are some aspects of the flora and fauna of Australia as to justify one in opposing the Australian region to all the rest of the world, and practical reasons only have prevented men of science from arranging their hand-books accordingly."

One great advance in the study of zoology is emphasized by the object-lesson of the modern travelling naturalist. The general mise-en-scène of tropical forests and coral seas is now familiar to the ordinary tourist and the most cursory reader; while the pure and simple collector holds a subordinate place in the estimation of naturalists, for men now travel across the globe to study the life-history of one animal form. Embryological studies in oviparous-mammals, and marsupials, and, above all, the developmental history of the "Australian lung-fish" (Ceratodus forsteri), which now inhabits but two small rivers of the east coast, were the main objects of Mr. Semon's visit to the Australian continent; and of Ceratodus in these pages we learn much, and more will be found in the author's strictly scientific