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It is possible that here we have an opportunity to make some kind of an estimate as to the time required in developing species and varieties among the Unionidæ. It is well known that the Laramie strata of the northwest, belonging perhaps to the upper cretaceous or earlier Tertiary systems contain the remains of a large number of Unios which appear to be very closely related to existing Mississippi Valley forms, and are probably their progenitors. Some of these old fossils are so much like certain recent species that they might easily be taken for them by an expert, and nearly or quite all of them can be placed in existing groups.
Yet it is more than probable that the great variety of changes that have been produced in the Mississippi Valley forms which now inhabit the St. Lawrence drainage area have taken place since the Ice Age began to draw to a close, because it is almost certain that all fluviatile and lacustine life under the ice sheet was destroyed, and that any forms closely allied to those of the Mississippi Valley now found north of the Height of Land migrated there since. It is held by most glaciologists, I believe, that the Glacial Epoch reached down probably to within from 10,000 to 20,000 years of the present. This amount of time might probably be taken as the age of these peculiar forms of St. Lawrence Mississippi Naiades.
Unio radiatus, ochraceus, cariosus, heterodon, tappanianus, and Margaritana undulata, which are found in the Atlantic drainage south of the line of the ice cap, and which are all closely related to common Mississippi Valley forms are probably older, and may have been derived from some migration made from the western to the eastern drainage at a much earlier date. At any rate I believe that all the Uniones which belong properly in the Atlantic drainage system were derived at one time and another from Mississippi Valley species; that some peculiarity of environment common to this entire region has had a tendency to dwarf them, to simplify their forms and dull their colors.
Naturalists need not feel unkindly just now towards representative Dingley of Maine, who introduced a bill for the destruction of the seal herd of Behring Sea, which has passed the lower house of Congress. From the point of view of the lover of nature this bill appears to be an atrocity, but everything does not appear on the surface. The sole object is to destroy the commercial value of the herd, so as to put a stop to the slaughter by reckless Canadian poachers. A sufficient number will be preserved to serve as a basis of a new herd, whenever the British and Canadian Governments are ready to join hands with us in the effort to preserve it. The Dingley bill is really a plan for preserving the herd and not destroying it. The fact is that our neighbors across the border have been running up a bill of small accounts against themselves, which will in the aggregate prove burdensome to them some day if continued. It is poor policy for a weak party to make itself unpleasant, especially when the stronger party is desirous of friendly relations. Canadians and Americans are really one people, and we ought to combine not only to protect the seals, but to increase theirs numbers, and develop the industry which depends on them.
Some naturalists think it is quite the proper thing to protest that it is of absolutely no importance whether they receive credit for a discovery or not, and it is more than intimated in print from various quarters from time to time, that interest in such questions is quite inconsistent with the lofty aims of science. We must confess to having become somewhat weary of this alleged elevation of sentiment, for we find human nature to be in scientific investigators not so very different from that which is common to the rest of mankind. Under the circumstances these protestations savor of cant. The naturalist like other men must live. In order to live he must be known; hence necessity forbids that he hide his light if he have any, under a bushel. And in fact the majority of naturalists do not do so. They understand the value of honest advertising. The product of a laborer should be labelled, first for his own advantage, and second for the information of others, who know his personal equation. What we want is honest goods with honest labels, and for these no protestations of pseudomodesty, or depreciation on the part of unpractical idealists, is in place.
We are pleased to notice the excellent scientific work which is being done by the Field Museum of Chicago. The management has called
to its aid a number of able scientific men, and is publishing the result of their work in suitable style. The papers of Hay on the Vertebral Column of Amia, and the skeleton of Protostega, are important contributions to knowledge. We hope soon to gire an abstract of the illustrated
of Holmes on the Yucatan ruins. It seems that the Museum is not to be merely a show place, but is to be a center of original research, worthy of the great city in which it is sitnated. Perhaps a year ago we objected in rather caustic terms to the
proposed publication by the Filson Club of Louisville, Kentucky, of the life and bibliography of Rafinesque. We are at the time under the impression that the club was a scientific body, and we were then of the opinion, as we are now, that such a society might easily find better use for its money than the publication of such a work. The fact is, however, that the object of the society is the preservation of historic records, and not of the results of scientific research. Hence the publication in question was precisely within its scope, and Prof. Call, the author, conferred a benefit on us all in writing the book. The history is a very curious one, and will interest even the non-scientific reader. Manuscripts in the possession of the U. S. National Museum show that Rafinesque had a skillful pencil, and that the figures which accompany his printed works do him injustice.
President Cleveland deserves well of his fellow countrymen for various reasons, but he deserves least, of his scientific constituency. His latest appointment, that of the U. S. Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, was made in spite of different recommendations of the scientific men of the country, and for reasons which are to this class quite inscrutable. The new appointee was, as we are informed, retired from the navy on account of rheumatism. He has no scientific knowledge or experience of the habits of fishes or the conduct of fisheries, and would seem to be physically incapacitated from learning. Doubtless the President has told him as the old lady told her daughter who asked her if she might go in to swim ; father
I the fishes save from thoughtless cruel slaughter? yes, yes my son, save every one, but don't go near the water.
Geological Survey of New Jersey. - The Annual Report of the State Geologist for the year 1894 contains an account of the progress made in the study of the surface geology, by R. D. Salisbury; a report on the artesian wells in southern New Jersey, by L. Woolman, and a statement of the results of the surveys made with reference to ascertaining the forest area of the state, by C. C. Vermeule.
Mr. Salisbury makes an especial point of the influence that "stagnant ice” has had upon the deposition of the stratified drift of the valleys of the northern part of the state. In his description of Flat Brook Valley he remarks that “the form of topography characteristic of this valley, and of stagnant ice deposits in general, is the following: A broad and somewhat swampy flood plain in the axis of the valley is bordered on one or both sides by a strongly-marked kame belt a few rods in width. This kame belt is lowest near the axis of the valley. It rises in the opposite direction, and finally grades into a flat-topped terrace.” These terrace differ from normal river terraces primarily in the fact that the slopes which face the axis of the valley are not erosion slopes.
Mr. Woolman's report confirms the conclusions of former observations, that the principal water-bearing horizons are found in Cretaceous strata.
The forestry report includes a paper on the forest conditions of south Jersey, by John Gifford. The interest of this paper centers in the practical suggestions it contains as to the treatment of forest lands, both for their preservation, and for pecuniary return for money and labor spent in their care. The paragraphs on Forest Influences, and Forest Economics should, in the interest of the people, be quoted in every local paper of the State.
Nine page-plates are used for illustrations, and a geological map of the valley of the Passaic—topographic sheet 6 in envelope, accompanies the Report.
Annual Report, Vol. VI, Geological Survey of Canada.?This volume comprises the summary reports on the operations of the
1 Annual Report of the State Geologist of New Jersey for the year 1894. Trenton, N. J. 1895.
? Annual Report (new series) Geological Survey of Canada, Vol. VI., 1892-93. Ottawa, 1895 ; Dr. H. R. C. Selwyn, Director.
survey for the years 1892 and 93, by the Director; reports on the Geological investigations conducted in central Ontario and southwestern Nova Scotia by F. D. Addens and L. W. Bailey respectively; a contribution to the knowledge of the minerals of Canada, as shown by chemical analyses, by G. C. Hoffman; and a report on mineral statistics and mines, by E. D. Ingall and H. P. H. Brumell.
The Director's report includes much valuable information concerning the hitherto practically unexplored regions of the Labrador peninsula, and the western coast of Hudson's Bay.
Sketch maps of southern Keewatin, and of the south-western part of Nova Scotia accompany the reports on those regions, and a number of statistical diagrams show the progress of the mining indutries.
Elementary Physical Geography. A new text book of physical geography has been long needed, so that this work of Mr. Tarr's is well timed. The author divides the subject into three parts the Air, the Ocean, the Land, giving the physiographic side more prominence than is customary in works of this kind. The language is clear, the illustration apt, and the information up to date. Each chapter is supplemented by a list of reference books and an appendix contains descriptions of meteorological instruments, apparatus and methods of use, suggestions to teachers, and questions upon the text.
The text is usually well illustrated with diagrams and reproductions of photographs many of them new, while the addition of 29 plates and charts completes a most attractive volume. We can recommend it for use as the best text book for colleges before the public.
Guide Zoologique. -A reference book, published for use during the meeting of the International Congress of Zoology at Leyden in 1895. Brief accounts are given of the zoological courses offered in the various schools of Holland, also of the Zoological institutions, gardens, and societies. The fauna of the country is summarized by specialists, the history of the domestic animals revewed, and a short account of the fishing industry closes the zoological part of the volume. The final chapter is devoted to the climate of Holland.
The many maps and plates which are distributed through the book, its convenient size, and the clear, concise language of the text, combine to make an admirable guide book,
3 Elenientary Physical Geography. By R. S. Tarr. New York and London, 1895. Macmillan & Co.
• Guide Zoologique. Communications diverses sur les Pays Bas. Leyde, Septembre, 1895.