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that rock fissures had been opened could not —the conclusion was reached that such was be regarded as resting upon a valid basis. the lower construction of the beach and that
Observation has shown that in the salt no buried marsh was present. This naturally marsh lands of the coast the underlying led to the final conclusion that the six-inch portions of the sod are continually under- layer, rich in organic matter, was entirely going decay with the formation of large responsible for the production of inflammable quantities of sulphuretted hydrogen, with
gases which had been accumulated there until which there must also be associated cer- favorable conditions for their release were tain amounts of the light carburetted and
presented. possibly also of the phosphuretted hydrogen.
An explanation of the spontaneous combusPersonal experience has shown that such gases
tion of these gases is not difficult. The light are stored in the decaying turf in large quan
carburetted and the phosphuretted hydrogen tities, being often held in pockets, so that
are well known to ignite spontaneously wherwhen the turf is cut they may escape in such
ever produced in marsh lands, thus giving rise volume as to drive one away for the time.
to the well-known 'will-o'-the-wisp,' 'Jack-o'It is also known that any decaying vegetation
lantern' and the ignis fatuus, 'corpse candle,' will produce similar results, and two explana
etc., which are well known to the folk-lore of tions were, therefore, suggested as offering a
England. That sulphuretted hydrogen was solution of the problem: (1) that there was
also present has been abundantly shown, and an area of buried marsh such as is known to · since this would naturally be set on fire by the exist in places along the coast, and that its
at ito other gases, it is possible to reach a complete
other decay had given rise to combustible gases;
explanation of a phenomenon which must have (2) that the accumulations of organic debris
occurred at more or less frequent intervals in in the formation of the beach had been pro
the past, though escaping observation through ductive of the results observed.
lack of combination in those circumstances That one or both of these causes would
which would bring it under direct notice. offer an adequate explanation was adopted as
It would seem, however, that the possibility of a tentative hypothesis, and an examination of
such combustion on a rather large scale offers the beach was proceeded with. It was found a most reasonable explanation of many forest that the superficial layer to a depth of about fires, the origin of which it has hitherto been one inch, consisted of freshly washed sand
impossible to account for in a satisfactory with which there were mingled fragments of mi
D. P. PENHALLOW. marine plants and even fragments of land BOTANICAL LABORATORY, plants. Successive accumulations are thus
McGill UNIVERSITY, transferred from the superficial layer to that
November 17, 1905. below, which was found to be about six inches in thickness, and to consist of sand filled with
THE COLLAPSE OF EVOLUTION.' all sorts of organic debris, including marine TO THE EDITOR OF SCIENCE: One of your plants, fragments of wood and bones. More- correspondents, two months or so ago, sent you over, this laver was perfectly black, and when an outline of an argument against the docwashed it exhibited very small, carbonized trine of evolution delivered as an address by fragments of zostera and other marine plants. Rev. L. T. Townsend, professor emeritus in the fragments of wood with a distinct surface theological department of Boston University. charring, and bones of animals, the surface The paper may now be had as a separate.' of which was like ebony. Below this layer This pamphlet contains so much in the way of there was a deposit of beach pebbles mingled new and surprising information, that it is with sand, and as this formation continued Bible League. Credo Series, No. 2. National to the limits which it was possible to reach Magazine Co., Boston and American Bible League, with the implements at hand-about two feet 82 Bible House, N. Y.
with which to walk, yet these resemblances furnish no more evidence of organic connections and transmutations in the one case than in the other—that is no evidence at all.” But then what is to be expected of persons who employ “such terms as 'bathiosm, cosmic ether," "cosmic emotion,' 'germplasm," pangenesis, protoplasm,' 'growth force,' 'vital fuid' and the like. * * * It should be said, however, that not for five or ten years have these terms, once potent on the lips of scientists and philosophers, been employed seriously by any reputable writer on these subjects.”
After this warning, if any reader of SCIENCE is caught saying protoplasm,' it will be his own fault!
E. T. BREWSTER.
clearly one of the books which no [scientific] gentleman's library should be without.
The theory of evolution being now, as Professor Townsend informs us, “discredited and abandoned by the best scholarship of the world, it is high time that the ‘ American university professors' who still continue to deceive the people on this important question, should be called to account. “Were these professors clergymen, would it be discourteous to characterize such an exhibition as a piece of superb ignorance or insolence?” “We are a little behind the times on these questions in this country as compared with England, France and Germany, though ahead in almost everything else'; and the most thorough scholars, the world's ablest philosophers and scientists, with few exceptions, are not supporters, but assailants of evolution, so that American men of science will do well to heed this clarion call from Boston University. “If these facts as to the attitude of leading scientists, and if this revolution of opinion in Germany are known, and certainly they ought to be, then can the silence of our American evolutionists be looked upon as honest or manly?”
The trouble with us over here in the wilds of North America is that we have been making fine-spun distinction where there is no real unlikeness. “What essential or fundamental difference is there between Darwinism and any scheme of evolution that may be or can be proposed ?” Professor Townsend repudiates with scorn the suggestion that he confuses evolution and Darwinism. They are the same thing; and every naturalist who questions the all-sufficiency of selection becomes ipso facto an advocate of special creation. De Vries, among others, has his name called right out in meeting on the strength of that eminent scientific authority, the Literary Digest.
A muddle-headed chap the evolutionist-or the Darwinian-is at best: see how he gets fooled by the Tertiary horse! “While there is some resemblance between these four-toed animals and the modern horse, 'as there are some resemblances between a cow and a crow, a man and a mouse, each having a head with its eyes, nose and ears, and each having feet
A NEW MIOCENE ARTIODACTYL. Among several discoveries made in the Daimonelix beds (Loup Fork) of Sioux County, Nebraska, the most striking one of the season seems to be that of a new four-horned ancestral antelope, Syndyoceras cooki, the skull of which is herein figured and briefly described. The discovery was made by Mr.
Syndyoceras cooki, Barbour, 1905.
Harold G. Cook, a former Lincoln student and a member of the Morrill geological expedition of 1905.
The specimen, which gives promise of being complete, was found on the west bank of the Niobrara River in the bluffs bordering the extensive ranch of Mr. James Cook, Agate, with the Protoceratidæ, but it is doubtless entitled to a place in a new family.
Erwin HINCKLEY BARBOUR. THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA, LINCOLN,
October 1, 1905.
Nebr. The skeletal parts known at present are the skull and mandible; the vertebral series, complete as far as exposed, and articulated; the pelvis and sacrum and the hind limbs complete and likewise articulated; several ribs attached to the vertebræ above and to the sternum below, and a portion of one scapula. The fore limbs are not yet in evidence, but will doubtless be found either in the material collected or else in the quarry, which still showed numerous bones when work was suspended.
The most striking characteristic of the skull is the four prominent horns, of which the frontal pair rises upward and curves inward, while the maxillary pair curves in the opposite direction. The maxillary horns, uniting as they do at the base to form a common trunk, divide the anterior nares into two portions, the posterior of which may or may not have been functional. However this may have been, the margin of the opening seems to have been roughened as though for ligamentous attachment. The dentition is complete, though, consequent to age, the teeth are worn. The premaxillæ are edentulous. The upper canines, which are strong and defensive, curve noticeably outward. The lower canines have migrated and assumed an incisiform function, while the first premolars have in a like manner become caniniform. Dentition:
1. , C. 1, P., M. . Measurements of the skull: Length of skull, 12 inches (325 mm.); distance between the orbits across the frontals, 5 inches (128 mm.); height of anterior horn cores above plane of molars 6} inches (166 mm.); spread of same at summits 81 inches (210 mm.); height of posterior horn cores above plane of molars 73 inches (197 mm.); spread of same at widest point 10 inches (254 mm.); width of palate between molars 14 inches (32 mm.).
No attempt should be made at this juncture to fully define the genus. As to its affinities, Syndyoceras seems to be remotely related on the one hand to Protoceras of the Oligocene, and on the other hand to the modern antelopes. Syndyoceras may be placed for the present
NOTE ON THE FUNCTIONS OF THE FINS OF FISHES.
The exact determination of the function of each kind of fin in fishes does not appear to have been treated in a practical manner up to the present time, and these organs are in general regarded as of little importance for swimming. It occurred to me that a few experiments might elucidate the question. Unfortunately, I had and can have, at my disposal, only fishes with fins but little developed and in small number, so that the facts which I am going to set forth have only a relative bearing, and only naturalists having sufficient material at their disposal will be able to establish general rules.
I had in the aquarium of the state college three or four small specimens of Goodea atripennis (a cyprinodont) four or five centi. meters long, taken in a pond in the state of Guanajuato. One of these individuals attracted my attention by the entire absence of its dorsal fin; whether it had disappeared by accident or whether it had never existed was not evident. Since the creature swam exactly like those which were perfect, I thought of investigating the function of this fin and also of the others, both paired and single.
No. 1. Individual without dorsal fin. My preparator cut off the anal fin close to the body. No difference whatever was observed in the creature's movements. I conclude that, in Goodea at least, this organ exerts no influence in swimming or on the equilibrium.
No. 2. I took another fish and had the pectorals and the ventrals amputated, that is to say, the four members. At first the creature appeared somewhat astonished and hesitating; but at the end of an hour it finished by moving deliberately and swimming as usual. The pairs of fins appear, therefore, to have very little if any bearing on locomotion.
No. 3. A third Goodea served for the study of the caudal fin. That alone was cut off.
The fish remained at the bottom of the aqua- that the undulations of the odd fins (dorsal, rium and went slowly to take refuge under a anal and caudal) serve only to give more pretile which served as a shelter. It was then cision to the general movements of locomothree o'clock in the afternoon. The next day tion; and that, save in exceptional cases, the at the same hour I found it in a package of functions of the pairs of fins are almost inapJussieua plants which was floating on the preciable. I am happy to see my observations surface of the water.
accord with the ideas of a savant whose name In order to examine my fishes closely, I re- carries weight. moved the plants and observed that Nos. 1 When my fishes swim slowly or remain and 2 did not appear to be at all influenced motionless, the caudal fin executes very clean by the operation which they had undergone. helicoid movements (skulling). This fin apOnly No. 2, deprived of its pectoral and ven- pears, therefore, to be, not indispensable, but tral fins, seemed unable to move easily. No. extremely useful in swimming. Progression 3 moved the posterior portion of its body forward is due to the alternate flexions of quickly, and by uninterrupted lateral shakes the tail, that is to say, of the part of the body was able to turn, rise, fall and swim forward,. situated behind the anus, as everybody knows; but with much less rapidity and ease than the but, according to the observation made on others, which, with a stroke of the tail, darted No. 3, it is evident that the fin which terlike arrows without needing to strike the minates it lends it a very powerful aid, for liquid again in order to advance. The third both rapidity and uniformity of motion. With fish ended by learning to replace his caudal by regard to the function of the pectorals, I have the movements of the dorsal and anal, which remarked that when the fishes which possessed increased a little in size, doubtless from the them remained stationary they, nevertheless, exercise.
continued to move these fins rapidly, and that One more experiment remained to determine the latter appeared to be intended to produce the functions of the fins and of the air- currents in the water to renew the portions of bladder. All the fins except the caudal were this fluid which had already yielded their cut off of one fish. The creature thus mu- oxygen to the gills and remained charged with tilated at first appeared undecided, like No. carbonic anhydride. 3, and moved slowly at the bottom of the It is evident that these experiments on a aquarium; but the next day I saw him swim single species and on so small a number of rapidly and execute with agility all his usual fishes are insufficient to determine in a genevolutions. The only noticeable peculiarity eral manner the rôle of each kind of fin, and was that in order to keep himself in position I publish them only to instigate other more he caused his only fin to vibrate rapidly and varied studies, particularly by means of fishes constantly, and that these vibrations communi- provided with well-developed fins. With recated a trembling to the entire body. The gard to those vertebrates which possess only equilibrium was, therefore, still preserved, and the caudal, it is known that the shape of their the air-bladder did not cause the fish to turn body, especially of the posterior portion, perbelly upwards, although he maintained him- fectly explains direct progression. self at the bottom of the water, in the middle Before closing this article, I wish to call or at the surface, experiencing in consequence attention to a fact which perhaps has not yet a series of different pressures. My friend, been observed, or at least not published. The the learned Belgian professor, F. Plateau, so amputated dorsal fin and the two pectoral fins well known by his experiments on insects, and have grown out again to a great extent. It is who encouraged me to publish these studies, probable that the mutilated fishes continued writes to me that he teaches his pupils that mechanically to make use of the stump which locomotion in most fishes is effected by flexions remained to them, doubtless with a small fragof the entire caudal portion of the body, and ment of the fin, and that under that action the rest of the organ reproduced itself. What tation.—The necessary crudity of the apparawould seem to prove it is the fact that, as I tus and method described is evident, and must have said in speaking of No. 3, the dorsal fin render the results in the case of insects of any increased in size on account of the use he size not even approximate. An insect as large made of it to replace the amputated caudal fin. as Ectobia, or Apis mellifica, for example, or
A. Dugès. the larva of the western peach-tree borer, or GUANAJUATO, MEXICO,
that of the Mediterranean flour moth, eviApril, 1905.
dently displaces so much of the gaseous con
tents of a vial when introduced, as to render LABORATORY EXPERIMENTS WITH CS, TO DETER
absurd the proportions of gas to atmosphere MINE THE LEAST AMOUNT OF GAS AND THE as given. Even in insects smaller than these LEAST TIME REQUIRED TO KILL CERTAIN
there is undoubtedly an error due to displaceINSECT REPRESENTATIVES OF VARIOUS
ment, yet the writer believes that the method FAMILIES.
described here comes as near demonstrating While a sufficiently large series of insects facts in this connection as possible, particuhas not yet been worked upon to draw a defi- larly in the case of very small insects, and it nite conclusion upon the above point, the fol- has certainly brought out interesting results, lowing paper is submitted as showing some from which we may select what appears auinteresting results incident to this work. Ex- thentic. periments were begun in California a few A large number of homeopathic vials were years ago, and continued for a time in Minne- secured, of the same size (homeopathic 2 gram sota. Three hundred and eighty-six insects vial No. 1,657 with patent lip), also pieces of have been tested. Of this number some have flexible rubber piping of such a size as to fit not been included in the tables, where the tightly over these vials. Into one vial a drop record was not regarded as sufficiently com- of CS, was allowed to fall from a medicine plete.
dropper, and the mouth of this vial immeThe points which might be brought out by diately placed against the mouth of another an exhaustive series of observations in this empty vial, the rubber tubing referred to line are as follows: Least strength required serving to hold the two vials closely together, with a minimum expenditure of time to kill and preventing any egress of gas, or entrance (a) insects in general, (b) particular groups, or exit of atmosphere. safety to foliage being understood; effect of The average capacity of these vials was moisture upon results; effect of temperature 8.7 c.c., and it was upon this basis that our upon results; expense of material for effective calculations were made. The volume of gas use upon a known number of plants, trees, coming from one drop of CS, equaled 4.35 insect colonies or stored products, what per C.C., and, therefore, filled half a vial. cent., if any, succumbed after seeming recov- It is evident, therefore, that the union of ery; beginning effects of gas upon (a) insects the first two bottles, made immediately, before in general, (b) groups in particular; signifi- the gas had an opportunity of driving out any cance of occasional spasmodic movements of of the atmosphere, caused a mixture of one legs, wings, sometimes long after apparent part of gas to four of atmosphere; the second death; corroboration of laboratory results with change, one to eight; the third, one to sixteen; results from the field as far as possible; dif- the fourth, one to thirty-two, etc., or, interferent results with different brands of CS,; preting it with reference to the liquid volume corroboration with previous published state- of CS, to the atmosphere, we find that the ments.
union of the first two bottles equaled one part Method and Apparatus Described; Compu of liquid CS, to 1,494 parts of atmosphere, or * Abstract of paper read before the Association
in round numbers, 1,500 parts of atmosphere; of Economic Entomologists at Philadelphia at the second change, one part of liquid CS, to their last annual meeting.
2,988 parts of atmosphere, or in round num