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has published two memoirs of great interest in the transactions of the American Philosophical Society, the second of which was issued in the present year. From this memoir and the previous one of De Sarzec and Heuzey I compile a few facts regarding the physical characters and habits of the earliest inhabitants of Chaldea, the Sumerians or Accadians. The information on these points is obtained largely from statues and picturecarvings on tablets of a dark limestone, found by De Sarzec at Tel-lo, and by Haynes at Nippur. The figures of animals of known species are so characteristic as to prove that the artists possessed a true eye for form. We may infer that their delineations of man are equally accurate, and that the conspicuous characters which they exhibit are trustworthy delineations. The general resemblance between the features depicted show that we have to do with an interesting and peculiar race.
In the numbers of the NATURALIST for January and February, 1893, Mrs. A. Bodington gave our readers a sketch of the Sumerian question. She followed the belief which had gained currency at one time, that these people were of Mongolian origin. Others have suggested that they were African. The drawings and statues described by Heuzey and Hilprecht show that these ideas were quite unfounded. I reproduce one of the latter from Hilprecht (Plate XVI, 1. c.), which is known as the stele of Ur-Inlil. Ur-Inlil was the high priest (or padesi) of Nippur, and he is represented as making an offering to some god on the upper half of the drawing. On the lower half a goat and a sheep are followed by two men, one of whom carries a vessel on his head, the other carries a stick (Plate XII). Another tablet from Nippur displays the same kind of men, and they are also represented on eleven tablets figured by De Sarzec and Heuzey from Tel-lo.
That these represent a race advanced in civilization is clear. They built temples and palaces on huge plateaus constructed of brick. They carved statues and vessels and made pottery. Especially they left records of their history on numerous cylinders and tablets of clay of which many have been preserved. They formed organized armies armed with spears, bows, and shields. What relation did these people bear to the people of Nineveh whose monuments were revealed to Europe by the labors of Rawlinson, thirty-five years ago? Heuzey declares them to have been older than the Assyrians, and this position is proven by Hilprecht, who believes their earliest king whose name is preserved in the records of Nippur, Enshagsagana, to have lived 4500 B. C. Many kings intervened between him and Sargon I with whom Assyrian history for a long time commenced. These people were predecessors of the Assyrians of Nineveh, and gave them their cuneiform characters, but they differed from them in customs, and to some extent in language. One marked difference of custom, was the fashion of shaving the hair from all parts of the head excepting the eyebrows. Everyone knows on the contrary that the Ninevites took great pride in their hair, and that both on the calvarium and face it was curled and arranged with great care. The figures also show that the Sumerians did not practice circumcision as most Semitic and some other races have done.
The shaving enables as to get a pretty good idea of the form of the head and face. The skull is oval, rather long and flat, and probably mesaticephalic. The jaws both upper and lower, are remarkably small, giving an extreme orthognathic type The nose is remarkably long, prominent and curved, with a good bridge. The eyes are large, horizontal, and not bridled. The cheek-bones are not large, and in the supposed gods, where the hair remains, and in a few other unshaved portraits, the beard is abundant, and the ends of the hair of the calvarium curled up. The figure of the body is robust, broad and rather short. The extensor muscles, i. e. gluteus, quadriceps, and gastrocnemius are well developed.
From the above it is evident that no thought of Mongolian (=turanian) or Ethiopian relationship can be admitted. After a study of some of the least characteristic heads broken from statues, M. Heuzey remarks, that “the evidence is not sufficient to demonstrate the existence of Turanians in Chaldea." These people are clearly of the great Indoeuropean subspecies of man (Homo sapiens caucasicus), so that the question reduces itself to one of the determination of their race position. Are they Aryans, or Semitics ? using these two terms as covering all the forms of the greater subspecies to which they belong. In the determination of these minor divisions of man, physical characters begin to fail us. We can only say that if the term Aryan is used for the western peoples generally, the Sumerians differ from them in the direction of the Semitics by their large oval eyes and hooked noses. On the other hand, the small and delicate jaws are not features of Semitic peoples. But the people of Persia or Iranians, hold very much this intermediate position between the two peoples. We scarcely know the shape of the jaws and chins of the Ninevites for they are never shaved. So far as the visible features go they resemble the Sumerians. It is on all grounds to be supposed that the people of Nippur and Tel-lo are the primitive Aryans of the Iranian or Persian race, and ancestors of the Ninevites.
In any case it is evident that we have in these most ancient of civilized people, a type of man as high as any that has since appeared from the point of view of physical evolution. The extreme orthognathism; the prominence of the nose; the reduction of the cheek bones, the full beard; and the well developed extensor muscles of the leg, prove this. Homo sapiens caucasicus had reached his full characters on the plains of the Euphrates 6400 years ago.
The relation of time and race of the oldest civilizations to the prehistoric peoples, is a problem which will doubtless be solved in time. Did the Neolithic people exist in Europe con. temporaneously with the Sumerians of Chaldea ? The only light that can be thrown on the question is as follows. The Sumerians were not stone people, but bronze people. They had no knowledge of iron. No search has been made for the remains of animals which were their contemporaries, but several species are clearly represented on their sculptures. The most common are the lion and the ox (Bos taurus, not the buffalo). There is a good drawing of a gazelle in the collection of the University of Pennsylvania. The goat and sheep represented on the accompanying Plate XII, are species now existing in Persia. The goat is near the Capra ægagrus of the mountains of East Persia, the ancestor of the domestic goat; and the sheep is apparently the wild sheep of the same region Ovis vignei. So from a paleontological point of view, the Sumerians were quite modern.
ON THE ROLE OF ACID IN THE DIGESTION OF .
By John C. HEMMETER, M. D.,
In the " Annales de l'Institut Pasteur," for 1890 and 1891, there are two papers by M. Felix le Dantec on “Researches on the intracellular digestion among the Protozoa,” which are detailed accounts of systematic experimentation concerning the occurrence of acid in the digestive vacuoles of Protozoa.
In 1889, E. Metchnikoff published a discussion of the reaction of plasmodia to ingested litmus, also in the “Annales de l'Inst. Pasteur."
Miss M. Greenwood and E. R. Saunders, in the “ Journal of Physiology," Vol. XVI, 5 and 6, 1891, have published an exhaustive account of the function of acid in Protozoan digestion, of which the following brief abstract is considered necessary before proceeding to the original part of this report.
It was found that while these protozoa ingest solid matter constantly and promiscuously, such matter has a determinate fate. If it is innutritious it is ejected after lying in contact with the animal's substance for a length of time which varies with many changing conditions. Nutritious matter, on the other hand, during enclosure in food vacuoles undergoes profound change, and this change is effected by something passed out of the protoplasm into the vacuole, acting in a fluid medium and by its presence making that medium deserving of the name “secretion.” In Actinospaerium, also, and in Amoeba proteus, digestion in like manner is effected, not by direct contact with the acting protoplasm but by some constituent of a fluid, the formation of which the presence of food alone is potent to bring about. These protozoa depend upon the solution of proteid for nourishment. Starch undergoes no digestive change, and the value of ingested fat globules is doubtful.
The following is a report on the role of acid in these digestive vacuoles. For method of observation, it may be briefly
* Phil. D. Etc. Baltimore, Md.
stated, that plasmodia and Vorticellidæ were watched for periods which varied from one to fifteen days; large plasmodia were isolated or preserved in concave slides. Even on plane slides the pressure of the cover slip was slight enough to allow of the emission of short pseudopodia in planes at right angles to the plane of extension of the slide and the animals, by means of pipettes, were transferred to fresh water daily.
In a synopsis of the work of Greenwood and Saunders, in a previous report bearing on this matter, in the Journ. of Physiol., the changes undergone by litmus, Congo red and alizarin sulphate, and the solution of the globoids of aleurone grains, which are composed of a delicate nitrogenous capsule enclosing pure calcium and magnesium phosphate, were described. It was emphasized that the outpouring of acid is unaccompanied by any digestive change on nutritive matter; ingesta may indeed be stored for many hours in vacuoles before they are dissolved, or digestion may follow rapidly on ingestion. But the formation of the digestive vacuole, whether immediate or delayed, is preceded by the development of acid reaction and followed by its diminution. Bearing in mind that litmus is changed from blue to red not only by free acid, but also by unsaturated compounds of acid with the products of digestion, i. e., acid salts. And that Congo red changes to blue in presence of free acid only. It is apparent that the diminution of acid in a digestive vacuole is at first due to a combination with the products of digestion, for at this stage any litmus accompanying ingesta is still red, while Congo red has reverted to that tint from blue. Here free acid is absent but acid salts are present. But later on the vacuoles and ingesta, reddened by litmus, become violet and blue so that finally acid and acid combinations are alike absent. That the acid is at one time free is indicated unmistakably by the striking development of violet colors in solids stained with Congo red. Now as the amount of acid present at any moment must be very small, and this being so, that the change in Congo red should be speedy and striking suggests that it is an inorganic acid but it is probable that to emphasize such an inference would be hasty.