Popular Science Monthly/Volume 48/March 1896/Minor Paragraphs


Among the singular native customs prevailing in the western division of British New Guinea, the official report mentions that of the woman making the proposal of marriage and sending for the man to visit her; while the sister-in-law of the bride is often given in marriage in exchange, without regard to her wishes. The skeletons of dead relatives are sometimes kept in the villages; the skulls of enemies are preserved as trophies; and occasionally the body of an enemy is cooked and partly eaten.

Besides the considerable collections of the minerals and fossils of the region in the University Museum and the Deseret Museum, the University of Utah enjoys the advantage, in the Deseret Museum, which has been placed in its building, of an extensive series of specimens illustrating the persons and habits of the cliff dwellers and other aboriginal tribes of the region. Besides numerous perfect and fragmentary specimens of desiccated remains, this collection comprises many examples of weapons, tools, and domestic workmanship of these early people, which as a whole afford a valuable record of this phase of American archæology. The specimens are arranged with special reference to the requirements of study and teaching.

The conclusion results from an archæological exploration of the James River and Potomac River Valleys by Mr. Gerard Fowke that the aboriginal remains between tidewater and the Alleghanies, from Pennsylvania to southwestern Virginia, pertain to the tribes who lived or hunted within the territory at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Nothing indicating a more ancient or another race was found; while the occurrence of objects which could have been obtained only from white traders fixes approximately the date of some burial places, and resemblances in various points necessitate the classification of others as not far removed in time or origin from these.

From a review of the results of a transcontinental series of gravity measurements by George R. Putnam, Mr. G. K. Gilbert concludes that they appear more harmonious when the method of reduction postulates isostasy (or hydrostatic equilibrium) than when it postulates high rigidity. Nearly all the local peculiarities of gravity admit of simple and rational explanation on the theory that the continent as a whole is approximately, and the interior plain is almost perfectly, isostatic. Most of the deviations from the normal arise from excess of matter and are associated with uplift. The Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, and the Wasatch Plateau, all appear to be of the nature of added loads, the whole mass above the neighboring plains being rigidly upheld. The Colorado Plateau Province seems to have an excess of matter, and the Desert Range Province may also be overloaded.