Popular Science Monthly/Volume 37/June 1890/Literary Notices
Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries visited during the voyage round the World of H. M. S. Beagle, under the Command of Captain Fitz Roy, R.N. By Charles Darwin. A new edition, with Illustrations. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 551, with Maps. Price, $5.
There are only a few books that have the qualities of an originality and freshness that never wear out. Darwin's Naturalist's Voyage must be conceded a prominent place in the list. It has been a little more than fifty years since it was first published. That is a very long time in the life of a book of science and even of a book of travels. Either is likely to become antiquated and obsolete in that period. The book of science comes to be read largely as a curiosity, and to derive its chief interest as being a landmark from which the advance accomplished may be measured. The book of travels becomes a kind of history, and is valued for the illustrations it furnishes of the scenes and conditions that once prevailed. Mr. Darwin's Journal, in whichever aspect we regard it, seems as life-like, real, and sagacious as if it were the fresh record of the latest observer. The prediction made by the Quarterly Review on its first appearance, that "it must always occupy a distinguished place in the history of scientific investigation," is more than fulfilled. The work accomplished by Darwin on this voyage has been gone over, in its various parts, many times, with all the advantages of increased knowledge and approved appliances and methods of investigation; and it is surprising how little of it has to be rewritten. So far from any of its science seeming obsolete, we find all through the narrative observations which are in effect unconscious predictions, the product of the author's peculiar way of looking at things, of what has since been determined; and we are also constantly reminded that the later determinations are to the largest extent the outcome of Mr. Darwin's own subsequent work. The track of the voyage and its principal features are well known to all persons who are conversant with the scientific literature of the last half-century, for hardly any book has been more frequently referred to in that literature. The places visited were not as familiar then as they have since been made, and of the natural life of many of them hardly anything was known. So Mr. Darwin enjoyed the advantage of being one of the first visitors and often the first scientific observer. Much of the book is, therefore, the original record by a discoverer of his discovery. Of the manner in which that record has been composed, we need say no more than quote Mr. John Murray's remark in the Prefatory Notice to the present edition, that "the extraordinary minuteness and accuracy of Mr. Darwin's observations, combined with the charm and simplicity of his descriptions, have insured the popularity of this book with all classes of readers, and that popularity has even increased in recent years." Not only are Mr. Darwin's observations as a rule accurate and anticipatory of much that has since been established; they also comprehend nearly everything that should fall under the ken of a thorough-going investigator. Seeing all that the experienced traveler sees and a great deal more than most of this class think of looking for, he portrays the scenery with a few well-defined traces; studies the geology; looks after the animal and vegetable life, with an eye that discerns as much in a few hours of sojourn at a place as duller observers might hardly discover after months of study; peers with equal keenness into the habits and most trifling actions of the animate world; takes note of the human life, of society, of manners and customs, the conditions of civilization, and of the prospects for the future of the countries he visits; and interweaves the whole with pertinent yet undogmatic speculations as to the meaning of the various features that came under his eye such as mark all the man's work—most of which have been verified, or are in course of verification by investigations to which he gave the start and on lines of research which he himself marked out. Perhaps the point to which the present interest is attached is embodied in his observations on coral reefs, which have come under discussion again in consequence of the new results obtained by the Challenger Expedition. Some of his observations—in cases where the aspect is affected by the progress of human settlement—are in more or less striking contrast with what is to be seen now. One of the strongest contrasts, perhaps, is offered in the picture of New Zealand, where the natives at the time of his visit lacked the charming simplicity of the Tahitians, and the greater part of the English were "the very refuse of society." But in the more detailed fillings of even this picture we find foreshadowings of the higher civilization that has overtaken the Maoris, and the prosperity that has attended the English colony. The present edition of Mr. Darwin's narrative is illustrated by views not in the previous editions, most of which were made on the spot by Mr. R. T. Pritchett with the book by his side, and others are taken from engravings which Mr. Darwin himself had selected for their interest as illustrating his voyage.
North American Geology and Paleontology. For the Use of Amateurs, Students, and Scientists. By S. A. Miller. Cincinnati. Pp. 664.
This work includes a summary of the general principles of geology, with definitions of the principal formations represented in North America, and a manual of Palæozoic paleontology. The first chapter, on the "Definitions and Laws of Geology," concisely presents the principles of geological theory, including the agencies by which the structure and appearance of the superficial crust of the earth are affected; explanations of the more general terms used in geology, and remarks on the principles of nomenclature. For the systems, the generally accepted names are used. In choosing between the methods that have been followed in naming the groups, a preference is expressed for calling each group after the place in which the strata were first studied and described, because a name thus formed is sufficiently technical; it can not be used for any other purpose; and it indicates the typical locality of the exposure. On the other hand, names founded on the mineralogical or other special character of the exposure may prove inapplicable to the representative of the same group in some other situation. The systems, as they are known in North America, are then described in their order, beginning with the Laurentian, in the first ninety pages; and the typical localities and general extent of each are noticed. The rest of the volume is occupied with the paleontological manual; and this is introduced with an ample exposition of the rules of nomenclature. The list is classified, beginning with the plants, and passing through the animal orders to the batrachians, each sub-kingdom and class being introduced by a text describing its characteristics and its orders. The names of all the species, arranged in alphabetical order, are given under the genera to which they belong, with the authors of them, the dates of publication, and, frequently, references to two places of publication. The cases are marked when generic and specific names are not known to occur in the Palæozoic rocks of North America; of synonyms, names not described as required by the rules of nomenclature, preoccupied names, and names condemned for any other reason; and erroneous references of species to genera are pointed out and corrected. A large proportion of the genera are illustrated by engravings of typical species.
Fort Ancient. The Great Prehistoric Earthwork of Warren County, Ohio. Compiled from a Careful Survey, etc., by Warren K. Moorehead. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co. Pp. 129, with Plates and Map.
Fort Ancient is a very extensive and important "mound-builders'" earthwork, overlooking the Little Miami River and its failroad, a few miles above Cincinnati. It is described by the author as "the greatest of all prehistoric earthworks in the Mississippi basin." Mr. Moorehead conceived that a full account of so remarkable a structure was desirable, and prepared himself conscientiously to furnish it. The first step was to make a survey, and for this, with a corps of competent workers, he went over the entire structure many times, and carried on a work which, he trusts, will need no additional researches to complete. In this he was assisted by Mr. Gerard Fowke and Mr. Clinton Cowen. The main purposes of the writer have been to set before the public, in as brief and exact a manner as possible, the prominent features and wonders of the monument, and to insist upon its purchase and preservation by some historical or scientific association. The fort is situated upon a plateau standing close to the river-bank, at a height of 269 feet above low water, and about 900 feet above the level of the sea. The irregular contour of the work is 18,712 feet in length, but a diameter drawn from north to south is only 4,993 feet long. The structure consists of two large incisures, called the old and new forts, connected by a narrower passage-way which the author calls the isthmus. At the southern end of the isthmus, where it is narrowest, is the "great gateway," guarded by a mound on either side. Opposite it, at about one third of the length of the isthmus, is the "Crescent Gateway." The space between these gateways is called the "Middle Fort," and appears to have been the strongest part of the work. Numerous graves, skeletons, and remains of human work were found in and around the fortifications, and evidences of an ancient village site in the valley. The whole proves to the mind of the author that Fort Ancient was built for defense; that it was a rallying-point for a large population inhabiting a district of considerable extent, and was often the scene or the witness of fierce battles. It may have been used as a fortified village site, with people living within its walls all the time—not enough to command the inclosure, but enough to keep it in good repair. A high opinion is expressed of the ability of the constructors. They showed extraordinary patience, and "have left evidence of the possession of qualities seldom found among savages. They engineered the position of the walls with reference to the most secure places with admirable skill." With no tools, such as we use, and wicker baskets and skins as the only means of conveyance, by mere strength of hand and back, they accomplished a work before which we, even with our modern implements, would hesitate. The selection of the site, "the best for the purpose which the valley of the Ohio offers"; the skill with which the walls were carried around the entire inclosure; the care with which weak and exposed points have been strengthened; the lookout mounds; their skulls, etc., indicate for them a higher place in the scale of being than the majority of the tribes and remnants of tribes whom the white settlers of western Ohio found there. Mr. Moorehead believes they were Mandans.
Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1883-'84. By J. W. Powell, Director. Washington. Pp. liii + 564.
This handsome volume gives ample evidence as to the active prosecution of the work of the Bureau of Ethnology during the year that it covers. The director reports that the field-work of 1883-'84 embraced explorations of mounds in several States east of the Rocky Mountains; explorations of ruins in Arizona and New Mexico; further researches among the Zuñi, by Mr. Cushing; and studies of signs, languages, and myths in various localities. At the same time office-work in preparing for publication materials already gathered was being vigorously carried on. The first of the papers accompanying the director's report is on Burial Mounds of the Northern Sections of the United States, by Prof. Cyrus Thomas, and was noticed in this magazine in March of last year. There is a paper by Mr. Charles C. Royce, on the Cherokee Nation of Indians, being a narrative of their official relations with the colonial and Federal governments. This record gives attention in orderly sequence to the historical traditions of the Cherokees, to their early contacts with explorers and colonists, to successive treaties and cessions of territory, with the events leading thereto, and the ensuing results. Through the paper appear biographical notices, accounts of the trials and struggles due to deportation and conflict, and many interesting facts showing the persistent advance of this intelligent people in civilization, numbers, and prosperity. The paper is accompanied by two large folded maps showing the former and present boundaries of the territory occupied by the Cherokees, also by a map of the year 1597, being the earliest which shows their location. The Mountain Chant, a Navajo ceremony, is described by Dr. Washington Matthews. The essay is divided into a translation of the myth on which the ceremony is based, an account of the nine days' exercises, and the originals and translations of the songs and prayers used in the course of the ceremonial. Four colored plates representing pictures made on the ground with colored powders, and many cuts showing implements and actions employed during the course of the rites, illustrate the paper. An account of the arts and customs of the Seminole Indians of Florida, with illustrations, is contributed to the volume by the Rev. Clay MacCauley. Mrs. Tilly E. Stevenson describes The Religious Life of the Zuñi Child, which includes a ceremony, performed before the child is four years old, by which he is supposed to receive the sacred breath of supernatural beings. The colored masks worn by the boys, and the colored figures made on the ground in this ceremony, are represented on lithographic plates.
History of Egypt. By F. C. H. Wendel. New York: D. Appleton & Co. (History Primers.) Pp. 159. Price, 45 cents.
The author's purpose in preparing this little book has been to give a brief account of Egyptian history which would be as reliable as the present state of Egyptological science presents, and to create a deeper interest in the study of ancient Egypt. He rightly believes that this study is of the greatest value, and of an importance that is growing more manifest every day to the student of almost every branch; for in it probably lie, at least in a large part, the foundations of our science and art. The story is told in a careful, scholarly manner; bears the marks of a thorough study and preparation; and is brought up as nearly to the latest discovery as is practicable in a book which requires time to pass through the press. For sources of information the Egyptian monuments are almost wholly relied upon—thus securing the correctness that is derived from contemporary records. The vexed question of chronology is ingeniously solved, or rather cut, by adopting Eduard Meyer's plan of "approximate dates," or of giving the latest date that can be assigned to the era, and leaving it understood that it is impossible to determine how much earlier the event may have taken place. This date, for the accession of Menes, is about 3200 b. c. The book supplies a real want of a compact, popular history of this most ancient of nations, in the light of the latest researches. While we accept as valid the author's reason for not including the science, art, and literature, as well as the dynastic history—that the space contemplated by the plan did not admit of it—we hope that some one will do as good work for those features, and the popular life, too, of Egypt, as is done in this work for its politics and foreign relations. The material for illustrating them is abundant, and is lively, characteristic, human, and vastly fuller of interest than the long list of unpronounceable names of unknown kings, with their ascriptions of divine qualities to themselves, of which a chronicle of events must largely consist.
History and Pathology of Vaccination. By Edgar M. Crookshank, M. B. Philadelphia: P. Blakiston, Son & Co. 2 vols.
The story of the introduction of inoculation for the small-pox into England, and of its replacement by vaccination through the labors of Jenner, is fully told in these two fine volumes. It is a record which is extremely interesting and instructive to the lay reader, besides being historically valuable to the physician. The practitioner in England, where the work originated, will also find many of its facts and figures available for a practical purpose for which there is slight occasion in the United States, namely, for combating prejudice against vaccination. The first volume opens with a history of smallpox inoculation in various European and Asiatic countries and in England. Then follow the traditions, current among the dairy-maids in the last century, that persons who had taken the cow-pox from the animals were proof against the small-pox; and evidence is given to show that Benjamin Jesty, a farmer, purposely transferred the disease from a cow to his wife and his two children in 1774, thus anticipating Dr. Jenner in vaccination by over twenty years. A portrait of Jesty forms the frontispiece of the volume, and a small portrait of his wife is also given. An account of Jenner's life and his work in this field forms a large part of the volume, and contains extracts from many of his letters and essays on the subject. Successive chapters deal with various sources of vaccine lymph—namely, human small-pox, cattle-plague, sheep small-pox, goat-pox, cow-pox, and "grease" in horses. A brief account of the progress of vaccination jn England after the death of Jenner is also given. The volume is illustrated with many full-page colored plates. The second volume consists of reprints of selected essays, beginning with the first edition of Jenner's Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolæ Vaccinæ, published in 1798. It contains also essays by Pearson, Woodville, Loy, Bousquet, Ceely, and other physicians prominent in the early history of vaccination, and several others by Jenner. The author contributes to this volume a paper describing an Outbreak of Cow-pox near Cricklade (Wiltshire) in 1887.
The Psychology of Attention. By Th. Ribot. Authorized Translation. Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company. Pp. 121. Price, 75 cents.
This treatise is a clear and interesting study of the mechanism of the mental attitude that is necessary to any advance in skill or knowledge. It is founded upon the experiments and investigations of recent years, which have examined and defined the bodily manifestations accompanying the intellectual state. Heretofore many psychologists have been content to view attention from the subjective side only, and consequently have not given any comprehensible account of its genesis. M. Ribot uses the reverse method. He finds that there are two forms of attention: the primitive or natural, which he names spontaneous, exhibited by animals with only a few developed senses, and by man until training or force steps in; second, the artificial or voluntary, a cultivated product whose effects psychologists have dissected. Both forms are dependent upon emotional states, and the mechanism of each is motory, mainly in the form of inhibition or "arrested motion." The physical manifestations, the vaso-motor phenomena, the respiratory changes, the bodily expressions, and the cerebral effects, are the wheel-work of attention; and the patient investigation of these by Darwin, Riccardi, Galton, Maudsley, Preyer, and Féré, has made an explanation of its mechanism possible.
In considering the cerebral phenomena the old problem is encountered—whether mind acts first upon body, or body upon mind. This M. Ribot declines to discuss. Voluntary attention originated after the earliest period of savagery, when man realized the alternative of perishing or going to work. It differs from the spontaneous form in that the motive or influence producing the emotional state is supplied from without. Educators make use of fear, sympathy, and curiosity, to cultivate attention in the child; as it advances in growth, duty, emulation, and ambition are introduced; and, finally, voluntary attention is maintained by habit and organization A study of the internal mechanism shows that attention is accomplished by inhibition. In the normal state of consciousness, sensations, images, ideas come and go. Attention arrests this process and inhibits all but the chosen series. Energy is used to perpetuate this condition, and from this expenditure results the feeling of effort. The morbid cases of attention are treated under the heads Hypertrophy of Attention, Atrophy of Attention, and Congenital Infirmity. They prove that attention depends upon emotional excitation. Incidentally, M. Ribot gives some suggestive examples of what may depend upon full recognition of the physical nature of attention.
The Extermination of the American Bison. By William T. Hornaday. Washington: Government Printing-Office (Smithsonian Institution). Pp. 548, with Plates and Maps.
Mr. Tornaday is a naturalist and taxidermist by profession, and is superintendent of the National Zoölogical Park, thus combining qualifications which well fit him for making a book of this kind. He is, furthermore, a writer who knows how to interest the reader, and has composed an attractive as well as an instructive book. His purpose is to help the public fully to realize the folly of allowing all our most valuable and interesting American mammals to be wantonly destroyed, as the buffalo has been. The wild buffalo is practically gone forever; and it is doubtful whether the institution of preserves and the formation of herds, however intelligently they may be executed, will avail to save the species permanently, even in a captive state. In the first part of his work the author considers "the life-history of the bison," under the headings of Discovery of the Species, Geographical Distribution, Abundance, Character, Habits, Food, Mental Capacity and Disposition, Value to Mankind, and Economic Value to Western Cattle-Growers. The story of extermination is related in the second part. One of the most important chapters in the first part is that in which the value of the bison is estimated under domestication, in hybrids, and as a beast of burden. At present (May 1, 1889), "although the existence of a few widely scattered individuals enables us to say that the bison is not yet absolutely extinct in a wild state, there is no reason to hope that a single wild and unprotected individual will remain alive ten years hence. The nearer the species approaches to complete extermination, the more eagerly are the wretched fugitives pursued to the death wherever found." While the herds, which once ranged over nearly the whole of our country, formerly numbered hundreds of thousands of individuals, the few groups that are left count only dozens. An estimate made on the 1st of January, 1889, gave the whole number running wild—in all North America—as 635; and including those in captivity and those under Government protection in Yellowstone Park, the whole number of individuals of the species as 1,091; and these few are still hunted, and shot when found.
Handbook of Practical Botany. By E. Strasburger. Edited from the German by W. Hillhouse. Second edition, revised and enlarged. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 425. Price, $2.50.
This volume embodies a course of laboratory work laid out by a botanist whom the English editor calls "one of the greatest living masters of microscopical observation." The introduction tells how to use the microscope, and describes the instruments of different makers. The first subject for study is the structure of starch of different kinds. A list of the material wanted is given at the head of the chapter; the appearance which each kind of starch should present under the microscope is described, its behavior under various reagents is noted, and directions for drawing the grains are given. The following lessons are similar in character. Among the subjects for investigation are movements of protoplasm, epidermis and stomata, the structure of different kinds of stem, of cork, of the growing tip of stem and of root, the vegetative structure and the modes of reproduction of cryptogamous plants, and the structure of various seeds and fruits. The text is illustrated with 149 cuts. An appendix contains lists of plants and of reagents used in study, etc.
Handbook of Commercial Geography. By George G. Chisholm, Fellow of the Royal Geographical and Statistical Societies. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 515. Price, $5.
Commerce has undergone a change cf character in recent times the nature of which i3 indicated by the disappearance of the word "venture" from the commercial vocabulary. Cargoes of good3 are not now shipped to distant ports in blind ignorance of whether or not a sufficient demand exists at their destination for the commodities sent. The legend of the rash Yankee, who apparently tempted the financial fates by sending a lot of warming-pans to the West Indies, would be impossible at this day. Commerce has settled down to a more even course, it is carried on by more exact methods, and is directed more by knowledge and less by chance than at earlier times. But there remains much room for improvement in the knowledge which importers and exporters possess of the products and the needs of foreign countries. To supply information of this sort, and in such a form that it may have "intellectual interest," is the aim of the present volume. "In writing the work," says the author, "I have had three classes chiefly in view: first, teachers who may wish to impart additional zest to their lessons in geography from the point of view of commerce; secondly, pupils in the higher schools and colleges that are now devoting increased attention to commercial education; and, thirdly, those entering on commercial life, who take a sufficiently intelligent interest in their business to make their private studies bear on their daily pursuits." An introductory chapter embodies certain general facts relating to the production, distribution, and exchange of commodities, such as differences in soil and climate, in the price and efficiency of labor, in facilities for transportation and communication, in import and export regulations, in language and money. The world's articles of commerce are then taken up, under a number of classes, and the source of supply of each, and, in case of the more important commodities, other details, such as mode of production, history of the industry, uses of the article, quality of the product from different places, and statistics of production. Then the countries of the world are taken up in succession, the location and geographical character of each is stated, its general commercial advantages and disadvantages are pointed out, after which the important products of the several sections and towns of the country are named, statistics being given in numerous instances. About thirty maps are interspersed through this part of the volume, showing the products, density of population, railways, etc., of different countries. An appendix of fifty pages gives tables of statistics in regard to the imports and exports of the chief countries of the world, and related information. The volume has a full index, which is far from a matter of course in English treatises.
The Bermuda Islands. By Angelo Heilprin. Philadelphia: The Author, Academy of Natural Sciences. Pp. 231. Price, $3.50.
The material of this volume embraces geological, zoölogical, and botanical observations, and includes a few glimpses from the traveler's point of view. "My main object in visiting the islands," says the author, "was to satisfy my mind on certain points connected with the structure and physiognomy of coral reefs, to the study of which the Bermudas offer special advantages. I contemplated but little work in zoölogy, and that which was accomplished may be considered supplemental to the plan of work originally laid out." The first chapter, and to some extent the second, consist of "general impressions" of the islands and surrounding waters, and the inhabitants of both. The view herein given is less roseate but probably nearer correct than the descriptions of writers more dominated by poetic enthusiasm than by scientific accuracy. Prof. Heilprin next sketches the physical history and geology of the Bermuda Islands, and then takes up the coral-reef problem. He discusses the chief contributions that have been made to our knowledge of coral reefs, his own convictions being in favor of Darwin's subsidence theory. The following chapters deal with the zoölogy of the islands, consisting mainly of descriptions of the species collected. Prof. Heilprin states that "the Bermudian fauna is essentially a wind-drift and current-drift fauna, whose elements have been received in principal part from the United States and the West Indies," while certain mollusca and Crustacea are of a distinctively Pacific type. An appendix, consisting of notes on the recent literature of coral reefs, is added. The volume is illustrated with seventeen full-page photoengravings and lithographic plates.
Lectures on Russian Literature. By Ivan Panin. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 220. Price, $1.50.
The curious confession made in this volume that there is no originality in Russian literature, but that it acts as "a sieve for Western thought," or as "a wall against Asiatic barbarism," would seem to condemn it to the obscurity from which it has so lately emerged. The author believes, however, that the three virtues—intensity, moderation, and sincerity—which pre-eminently distinguish Russian poets and novelists, will not only rescue them from oblivion, but oblige Western writers finally to seek in them models of expression. He finds four phases of evolution in literature: First, the youthful period of joyous song; second, rebellion and lament; third, aggression and warfare; fourth, belief and inspiration. These are exemplified in Russia by Pushkin, the bard; Gogol, the protester; Turgenef, the warrior; and Tolstoi, the preacher. The Lectures are entertaining, and give the reader an insight into four typical Russian authors.
Lessons in the Structure, Life, and Growth of Plants. By Alphonso Wood. Revised and edited by Oliver R. Willis. New York: A. S. Barnes & Co. Pp. 220. Price, $1.
This text-book was written more than twenty years ago, and is now recast and revised to adapt it to new means and methods of study, and to the advanced state of the science. In its new form it is offered as a suitable introduction and companion to any of the manuals of the flora of North America. Part I is devoted to structural, Part II to physiological, and Part III to systematic botany, but it is not prescribed that the subjects shall be taken up in this order. The volume is clearly printed and copiously illustrated, and is provided with a combined index and glossary.
A paper of nearly three hundred quarto pages on The Geographical Distribution of Fossil Plants has been prepared by Lester F. Ward, to form a part of the report of the United States Geological Survey for 1886-'87. It is a continuation of the Sketch of Paleobotany which appeared in the Fifth Annual Report, and will be followed by a paper on Problems of Paleobotany, in which the author will discuss many subjects in this field that he has not yet treated. The present paper takes the form of a narrative of the publication of discoveries of plant fossils. The division of the earth first taken up is Europe, and here the great number of small beds that have been discovered and of monographs that have been written about them precludes much more than a mention of each one. The flora of the arctic regions has been so magnificently treated by Prof. Oswald Heer that Mr. Ward has deemed it superfluous to pick up what little collateral matter has been brought out by other authors. Nearly the same statement applies to India, on account of Feistmantel's labors; and to Canada, where Dawson has done thorough work. But, in treating the United States, Mr. Ward has felt in duty bound to make the geographical review as complete as the data in his possession would permit. Here more analysis of the separate finds is made than in the case of the European countries. This section is accompanied by a map of the United States, on which the chief localities in which fossil plants of various geological ages have been found are indicated by different colored circles. Numerous foot-notes on every page give exact bibliographical information concerning the works referred to in the text. The paper has a full index.
The second number of the Bulletin from the Laboratories of Natural History of the State University of Iowa contains papers on the Anatomy of the Gorgonidæ, by C. C. Nutting—well illustrated; and on the Native Fishes of Iowa, by Seth E. Meek.
The Report of the Council of the Canadian Institute depicts a year of progress during 1888-'89, and, according to the testimony of competent witnesses, shows that a wonderful amount of work was accomplished in proportion to the small sum of money which the society was able to command. Twenty-four ordinary meetings and thirty-six meetings of sections were held, at which seventy papers in all were read. The archæological report, by Mr. David Boyle, gives notices of several features of research and of the examination of a number of sites, and is accompanied by a paper on French relics from village sites of the Hurons, by Mr. A. F. Hunter, and a Bibliography of the Art and Archæology of the Dominion of Canada and Newfoundland, by Mr. A. F. Chamberlan.
The work of the Geological and Natural History Survey of Minnesota in 1888 was prosecuted by two parties, one of which, under Mr. Uly S. Grant, was occupied during a part of the season in making collections of rock samples in certain typical crystalline formations in typical localities, and afterward in the iron-ore beds; and the other, under Mr. Horace V. Winchell, spent the whole season on the iron-ore beds. The work added materially to the exact knowledge of the geology of the northeastern part of the State, and particularly to that of the nature and relations of the iron-ores. A general presentation of this knowledge, in a somewhat systematic manner, has been attempted in the report. The superintendent of the survey, Prof. N. H. Winchell, is about to enter on the preparation of a final report covering the northern part of the State.
Observations on Sexual Selection in Spiders of the Family Altidæ is a paper published in the "Occasional" Volume of the Natural History Society of Wisconsin, by George W. and Elizabeth G. Peckham. The investigation which it records is directed to the origin—in spiders—of color, and its relation to sexuality, concerning which two general theories are offered by Mr. Wallace: first, that natural selection modifies color in the female for purposes of protection; and, second, that color may be produced or intensified when there is a surplus of vital energy, as in male animals generally, and sometimes in the females, and more especially at the breeding season. Unusual facilities are offered for testing these theories by the Araneides on account of the great numbers of their species and the wide differences between the several groups in habits and in amount of ornamentation. The study of several genera shows that, in the sedentary groups of spiders, while many of the species are plainly colored, there are nearly as many that present the most beautiful tints; and some of the wandering and very active groups are, for the most part, clothed in somber hues. Again, no relation is shown between the color development of the females and their nesting habits. The former observation is contradictory to the supposition of a causal relation between vital activity and color development; the latter to that of the need of a protective coloring, while nesting, by the female. A further explanation of the sexual coloring is then sought, with the conclusion that some groups of spiders have reached a condition of close harmony with their environment; this harmony being brought about through the same modifications of color, form, and habit as are seen among insects, to the attainment of the common ends of capture of prey and protection from enemies.
In Remarks upon Extinct Mammals of the United States, Dr. R. W. Shufeldt publishes studies illustrated, of Tinoceros ingens; The Ancestry of the Horse; Ancient Whales and Coryphodons; Half-Apes and Lemurs; the Saber-Toothed Tigers, and Hairy Mammoths and Sea-Cows.