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gascar. They present frequent cases of classical hysterical at- In some instances these extend for a hundred generations, the tack and occasional epidemics of choreo-mania, affecting both children being carefully taught to repeat them accurately. The
A negress of the Soudan was lately a patient in the cele- length of a generation is estimated at about twenty years, so a brated clinic of Dr. Charcot, in Paris, and displayed the symp- maximum of two thousand years would be covered by these toms characteristic of neurosis. Civilization, so far from in- records. creasing this class of maladies, is one of the most efficient agents
The Aryan Question. in reducing them in number and severity.. When it is freed
This question, which, like Banquo's ghost, “will not down,' from certain elements not essential to it, especially religious ex
came prominently forward at the last meeting of the German citement and competitive anxieties, it acts decidedly as a preven
Anthropological Society, held during the first week of August in tive.
Dr. Von Luschan took the opportunity to make an onslaught
on Professor Penka's well-known hypothesis that Scandinavia The limited number of students who interest themselves in the
was the original home of the European race. The trouble is, native American languages will welcome the appearance of that at a time when we know a large part of Europe was well another of Mr. J. C. Pilling's most excellent bibliographies, this
peopled, Scandinavia was covered with a vast glacier; and no time the “ Bibliography of the Athapascan Languages," a work evidence that its soil was occupied during the “Old Stone Age” of 125 large octavo double-columned pages, every page testifying has yet been adduced. This should be enough to suppress to his unbounded industry and model accuracy. I lately showed Penka. one of his bibliographies to a distinguished professor of classical
The distinguished craniologist, Professor Kollmann of Basel, archæology, who assured me that in his own much more widely
declared on the strength of skull-forms that there must have cultivated field there is no bibliographical work done equal to
lived in Europe in neolithic times at least three, if not four, this of Mr. Pilling's.
"autochthonous" races, which gradually intermingled and, by The Count de Charencey, now probably the most accomplished
this blending of powers, gave rise to that superior intelligence Maya scholar in Europe, has published at Alençon a Maya trans
which laid the foundation of European culture and assured the lation by Father Ruz of Ripalda's “ Catechismo y Doctrina."
predominance of the white race of that continent in the later bisThis was well worth doing, but students of the language should tory of the world. Certain it is that neither he nor any other be warned that Father Ruz wrote a Maya of his own manufac
craniologist has been able to define either any European or any ture, having “improved ” the language so much that the natives
Aryan “type” of skull; and if the general theory of the cranial scarcely recognized it.
type is to be saved at all, it must be by some such ex post facto A most valuable addition to Mexican linguistics is a “ Ligero hypothesis as this. Estudio sobre la Lengua Mazateca,” by the Licentiate Francisco
The next meeting of the society will be held next August in
Ethnology of the Eskimos.
A clear and pleasant account of the Eskimos appears in recent ful studies in American linguistics, has issued an “Essai d'une
numbers of Das Ausland, from the pen of Fridhjof Nansen, the Grammaire et d'un Vocabulaire de la Langue Baniva,
celebrated explorer of Greenland. one of
From their close similarity wherever found, and from the slight the Arawack dialects of South America.
differences in their dialects, he believes them to have developed Through the kindness of Mr. Wilberforce Eames, librarian of the Lenox Library, I have been enabled to print in the Proceed
from some small and homogeneous stem in comparatively recent ings of the American Philosophical Society an abstract of a gram
times and to have spread along the coasts of the icy sea.
He exmar of the Rio Napo dialects, drawn from a manuscript of the
presses some doubt as to whether they occupied the southern
extremity of Greenland when it was first discovered by the last century now in that collection. These dialects belong to
Northmen. The point from which they spread he believes to the Betoya stock, of which we have had almost no grammatic
have been somewhere on the shores of Behring Sea or Behring material.
Straits. In this he differs from Dr. Rink, who places their The already rich literature of the Tupi has received a valuable
earliest assignable abode in the interior of Alaska, and still furaddition by the reprinting of Father Paulo Restivo's “ Arte de la Lengua Guarani,” at Stuttgart, under the competent care of Dr.
ther from Mr. Murdoch, who, with greater probability, would
locate it about Hudson Bay. Christian Frederic Seybold. It is particularly valuable for the
Nansen's description of the appearance, habits, and arts of the very full list of particles, with their use and meaning. Dr. Sey
East Coast Eskimos is both amusing and instructive. He found bold hopes in the future to bring out new editions of the exceedingly rare “Explicacion de el Catecismo en Lengua Guarani,” of
them, in spite of many nasty habits, attractive in character and
of good mental ability all the better, the less they had been Nicolas Yapaguay, and the “Katecismo Indico da Lingua Kariris," of Father Bernard de Nantes.
subjected to the influence of European instruction and religion.
One of their curious superstitions is that they will not touch their
hair, in the care of which they take great pride, with any object The Polynesian Society, whose headquarters are at Welling
made of iron, not even to trim it. This recalls similar objections
to that metal in the rites of ancient Rome and Egypt. Physically ton, New Zealand, commenced this year the publication of a
he describes them as a well-made race, quite of the average quarterly journal devoted to the ethnology, philology, history, and antiquities of Polynesia. The first two numbers contain a
European height, the young women sometimes good-looking.
The general tone of his article is highly favorable to the stock. collection of generally excellent articles, several of which are printed in the dialects of the islands, with translations. One of
NOTES AND NEWS. some length on the races and prehistoric occupation of the Philippines is a collation from a number of printed sources, not add- A MEETING was held recently at the State Capitol, Concord, ing new material to our knowledge of the subject. An article on N.H., upon the call of the Forestry Commission, to see what acthe inscriptions of Easter Island, by Dr. A. Carroll, designed to tion is desirable toward the preservation of the forests among the present translations of the insoribed slabs, is singularly unscien- mountains, and at the head-waters of the principal rivers. The tific and out of place. What is worse, he announces other trans- Appalachian Mountain Club was represented by delegates, promilations in prospect, which he professes to read through the nent citizens of New Hampshire were present, and much interest medium of ten different American languages ! This is enough, was manifested. The meeting formulated certain propositions or should be enough, to secure the non-publication of his paper indicating desirable laws to be secured from the incoming Legby any learned society.
islature. It is apparent, however, that public discussion is necesA number of lists of ancestors, native genealogies, are given. ary to find out what action is desirable and favorable, and to
arouse public sentiment sufficiently to bring about valuable results. The Boston Herald has started a fund to enable the Commis. sioners to prosecute this work. The Commissioners are all members of the Appalachian Mountain Club: Hon. Joseph B. Walker of Concord, Hon. G. Byron Chandler of Manchester, and Rev. J. B. Harrison of Franklin Falls. The Council of the Club has appropriated $25, and individual members have already subscribed to the Herald fund. The Council has appointed a committee, consisting of Rosewell B. Lawrence, 53 State Street, room 518, and Walter R. Davis, 121 Devonshire Street, Boston, to receive contributions from members, the contributions to be used at the discretion of the Council as an addition to the Herald fund, or to be expended by the Council itself in connection with the matter of the preservation of the forests.
- At the thirty-sixth annual meeting of the Association of Officers of Colleges in New England, held at Williams College, Nov. 3-5, 1892, it was voted that the following memorandum be furnished to all educational journals for publication, but with the declaration that this action of the association does not commit any college faculty to the recommendations made in the memorandum: The Association of Officers of Colleges in New England, impressed with the real unity of interest and the need of mutual sympathy and help throughout the different grades of public education, invites the attention of the public to the following changes which, without insisting upon details, it recommends for gradual adoption in the programme of New England gratamar schools. Art. 1. The introduction of elementary natural history into the earlier years of the programme as a substantial subject, to be taught by demonstrations and practical exercises rather than from books. 2. The introduction of elementary physics into the later years of the programme as a substantial subject, to be taught by the experimental or laboratory method, and to include exact weighing and measuring by the pupils themselves. 3. The introduction of elementary algebra at an age not later than twelve years. 4. The introduction of elementary plane geometry at an age not later than thirteen years. 5. The offering of opportunity to study French, or German, or Latin, or any two of tbese languages from and after the age of ten years. 6. The increase of attention in all class-room exercises in every study to the correct and facile use of the English language. In order to make room in the programme for these new subjects, the association recommends that the time allotted to arithmetic, geography, and English grammar be reduced to whatever extent may be necessary. The association makes these recommendations in the in. terest of the public school system as a whole; but most of them are offered more particularly in the interest of those children whose education is not to be continued beyond the grammar school.
– An interesting experiment in naturalization, namely, tbe transfer of living lobsters (Homarus vulgaris) from England to New Zealand, has just been crowned with success. Tbe fitting-up of steamers with refrigerating chambers for the carriage of frozen meat from New Zealand to the Mother Country, has enabled experiments to be carried out, with every prospect of success,
which were formerly considered almost impossible of fulfilment. Some years ago humble-bees were by this means successfully carried to the island colony, where they have increased amazingly, and from whence they have since been carried to Australia and Tasmania. Shipments of salmon ova are likewise now made almost without loss. The latest experiment, the carrying out of live lobsters, has also been successfully accomplished. This result is due to Mr. Purvis, chief engineer of the steamship “ Ionic,” who has taken great interest throughout in this work. An attempt was made last year by the same gentleman, at the nce of the Otago Acclimatization Society, who were aided in their efforts by Mr. John Ewing of London and Dr. Cunningham of the Plymouth Biological Station. The attempt, however, failed almost at the outset. Tanks were constructed on board the steamer, and stocked with lobsters, but within a few days after starting all the crustaceans died. The construction of the tanks was probably faulty. On the last outward trip of the steamer, Mr. Ewing obtained a
dozen tine specimens of lobsters, and handed them over to Mr. Purvis, who safely conveyed nine of them to their destination. These animals, four males and five females, were liberated on a rock-built mole at the entrance to Otago Harbor, where they are likely to thrive, and from whence they will no doubt spread widely. The coast-line, both north and south, is rocky, and is eminently suited for crustaceans. At present it is tenanted by a large crayfish (Palinurus), and it will be an interesting problem to see how the introduced animal will thrive. The crayfish is strongly armed defensively with a strong carapace and stout spiny prominences on its front, and on the anterior limbs. It is extremely common on the coast. But there are no crustaceans with the formidable chelæ of the lobster, and it will most probably be able to more than hold its own. This first shipment is certain to be followed by others, and it is almost safe to predict that in a few years frozen lobsters will form one of the articles of export from New Zealand.
The fifth andual meeting of the Geological Society of America will, by invitation of the Logan Club of the Canadian Geological Survey, and the Royal Society of Canada, be held in Ottawa, in the House of Commons building. The society will be called to order at 10 o'clock A.M., Wednesday, Dec. 29. An address of welcome will be given by his Excellency, the Governor-General of Canada, with a response by the president. The headquarters will be at the Russell House.
- The eleventh annual meeting of the American Society of Anatomists will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Dec. 27, 28, and 29; the Society of Morphologists will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, Dec. 27 and 28; and the Soci. ety of Physiologists will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 28; all at Princeton, N.J. The papers, so far as announced, are: C. Hart Merriam, The Death Valley Expedition; Reports upon Marine Biological Laboratories; John A. Rider, University of Pennsylvania, The Sea Isle Laboratory; E. A. Andrews, Johns Hopkins University, A Marine Station in Jamaica; D. Bashford Dean, Columbia College, The Marine Laboratories of Europe; C. 0. Whitman, University of Chicago, The Outlook for a Marine Observatory at Woods Holl; Endowment of the American Table at Naples, C. W. Stiles; Botanical Explorations in Florida, W. P. Wilson; The Summer Work of the U. S. Fish Commission Schooner “Grampus,” William Libbey, Jr. ; Expeditions of the American Museum of Natural History into New Mexico, Wyoming, and Dakota, J. L. Wortman; Annual Discussion, What were the Former Areas and Relations of the American Continent, as Determined by Faupal and Floral Distribution ? Introduction and Evidences from Past and Present Distribution of Mammals, W. B. Scott; Evidence from Past and Present Distribution of Reptiles, George Baur; Evidence from Distribution of Birds, J. A. Allen; Evidence from Distribution of Plants, N. L. Britton.
An International Meteorological Congress, to form one of the many scientific gatherings in Chicago next year while the World's Fair is in progress, is in contemplation; and an Advisory Council of the World's Congress Auxiliary, to arrange for the same,
bas been appointed. It includes the heads of the national weather bureaus, American and foreign, the chiefs of the State services in this country, and a few other men who have been conspicuously identified with weather science. Very appropriately, Professor Mark W. Harrington, chief of the Weather Bureau, has been designated as chairman of this council. The congress will sit during the week beginning Aug. 21, 1893; and the following classification of topics for discussion has been made: (a) Instruments and methods of observation; (b) theoretical meteorology, including cyclones and secondary storms; (c) climatology; (d) agricultural and hygienic meteorology; (e) marine meteorology; (f) government weather service, including weather telegraphy, predictions, verifications, special thunder-storm and other service; (g) terrestrial magnetism and atmospheric electricity, including magnetic storms, cosmic-magnetic fields, magnetic and electric instruments, lightning and aurora; (h) geologic climate, including the glacial age, quaternary changes in climate, and the testimony of flora and fauna; and (i) meteorologic literature.
To any contributor, on request in advance, one hundred copies of the issue containing his article will be sent without charge. More copies will be supplied at about cost, also if ordered in advance. Reprints are not supplied, as for obvious reasons we desire to circulate as many copies of Science as possible. Authors are, however, at perfect liberty to have their articles reprinted elsewhere. For illustrations, drawings in black and wbite suitable for photoengraving should be supplied by the contributor. Rejected manuscripts will be returned to the authors only when the requisite amount of postage accom. panies the manuscript. Whatever is intended for insertion must be authenticated by the name and address of the writer; not necessarily fr publication, but as a guaranty of good faith. We do not hold ourselves responsible for any view or opinions expressed in the communications of our correspondents.
Attention is called to the “Wants" column. It is invaluable to those who use it in soliciting information or seeking new positions. The name and address of applicants should be given in full, so that answers will go direct to them. The “Exchange " column is likewise open.
SKETCH OF THE FLORA OF DEATH VALLEY, CALI
BY FREDERICK VERNON COVILLE, WASHINGTON, D.C. SINCE Death Valley, as shown by the published records of the Weather Bureau,’ is the hottest and drvest area known in the United States, and probably in the world, and since the observations of the Death Valley Expedition showed that these extreme climatic conditions are reflected in its vegetable life, a description of this flora has an interest even greater than that incited by the average desert vegetation.
One not familiar with the Mohare and Colorado deserts must imagine broad stretches of treeless plains, out of which rise abrupt mountains, not covered with trees but exbibiting naked faces of rugged rocks with no covering of soil or lichens to conceal even their coloration. In the northern portion of the Mohave Desert region, in which Death Valley lies, the mountain ranges are closer together and the plain is cut up into narrow deep valleys trending in a general north and south direction. The deepest of these is Death Valley, its length about 175 miles, and its greatest breadtb from peak to peak about 20 miles. The lowest portion of the valley is a moist plain about 40 miles Jong by 2 to 6 miles broad, gleaming with salt and alkali.
this nd the mountain faces are sloping gravelly mesas, at some parts of the valley 6 miles broad, at other points entirely absent. The mountains themselves are abrupt and naked, the Funeral Mountains on the east rising 7,000 feet, the Panamints on the west almost 11,000. Upon the crest of the Panamint range is an evergreen forest of pines and junipers.
The salt-flat in the bottom of the valley is quite devoid of vegetation, not because the moisture in the soil is too scant, but because it is so saturated with salt and alkaline compounds that no plant can live upon it.
The mesa bears a growth of scattered shrubs pot sufficient, even at a distance, to conceal the ground between them. No larger plant is to be seen except at certain points where, along the line between the mesa and the salt-flat, the sub-soil is sufficiently moist to support the mesquite. This is a low, almost shrub-like, tree which commonly attains a height of 10 to 15 feet. This characteristic then, the absence of trees, may be taken as the most conspicuous feature of the Death Valley vegetation, as it is of the desert in general.
The mesas bear, besides the shrubs, a large number of berbaceois plants which, although in late summer and in winter dead and barely noticeable, in the spring months of a rainy year come to be in some places really conspicuous. One of the desert sunflowers (Encelia eriocephala) was at one point so abundant that it even made the mesa appear yellow, at a distance, orer an area many rods in extent. The general impression, however, of the traveller who is not a botanist is that the vegetation of the valley consists of clumps of mesquite set here and there along the edge of the salt flat, and a few scattered greasewood and creosote bushes on the mesa.
Not all parts of the mesa are, however, supplied with even so much plant life. At the mouth of Furnace Creek Cañon is a broad slope composed of mixed gravel, sand, and clay, a matrix capable, in some parts of the desert, of supporting a varied flora; but bere for hundreds of yards is seen no plant whatever except one of the smallest greasewoods (Atriplex hymenelytra), its individuals growing far apart and attaining the height of barely a foot.
In still other portions of the mesa occurred a phenomenon which, if it is here interpreted rightly, is tbe best index that we have of the intense heat of this region. The higher portions of the mesa are cut up by the dry channels of the streams that follow mountain cloudbursts. Between these channels, which are called sometimes arroyas but oftener washes, are broad blocks of the mesa, whose surface has lain undisturbed for undoubtedly many thousands of years. The surface of the soil is covered closely with a layer of small, flat, water-worn stones which have accumulated on the top of the ground by the gradual washing out of their original clayey matrix. The erosion of the soil has undoubtedly been brought about by the slow agency of direct rainfall. The upper surfaces of the stones have a dark brown, almost black, color, and the dull lustre of a hard-burned brick. The coloration of these stones is ascribed to binoxide of manganese, produced by oxidation due to intense light acting during long periods of times. These so-called sunburned areas in Death Valley bear no vegetation whatever. Even the two desert annuals, Chorizanthe rigida and Chænactis attenuata, which grow at other points in the hottest spots, are here wanting. The soil, a firm clayey one, is good, and the surface receives just as much rainfall as other parts of the valley. The phenomenon is explained by no hypothesis except that of intense heat, and a consideration of the evidence, in the absence of direct experiment, indicates that such a cause may be quite sufficient.
Experiments by Sachs upon active protoplasm have shown that when subjected to a temperature of 50° C. (122° F.) it ceases to carry on its functions, disintegration sets in, and death follows. But a plant may be situated in an atmosphere whose temperature is higher than this without itself attaining so great a beat; for two causes tend to reduce its temperature, the non-conductive nature of the tissues themselves, and the evaporation that characterizes transpiration. Yet even these sources of protection may be overridden by a still higher temperature. The well-known retention of vitality in the case of the spores of certain fungi after exposure to a temperature of even 212° F. does not indicate that a desert plant cap endure a similar degree, for the protoplasm of the fungus spore is not in a state of activity, but that of a germinating or growing plant is.
The Weather Bureau tables, in the bulletin cited above, show five records of a temperature of 122° F. This is the temperature of air sheltered from the effects of radiation. The temperature of air exposed to ordinary conditions of radiation must be somewhat higher than this, and the temperature of gravel pebbles on the surface of the ground still higher; but, according to the principles of molecular pbysics, the black stones that have been described should reach a degree of heat decidedly greater than either of the other bodies. It is confidently believed that a temperature of from 140° to 150° F. is frequently attained under these conditions, and in such a temperature a growing plant would undoubtedly perish from beat.
That the flora of the valley may be more readily considered, all the species observed there have been arranged in groups.
A review of these groups suggests some of the leading characteristics
1 In January, 1891, an expedition was sent out by the U. S. Department of Agriculture to explore the region of Death Valley, California, and to make a biological survey of it. About nine months were spent in the field, and the report, now nearly completed, will soon be publishod by the department. The general botanical features of the region, a full discussion of which will constitute a part of the final report, are here described by the botanist of the expedition.
· U. S. Department of Agriculture, Weather Bureau Bulletin No. 1, Notes on the Climate and Meteorology of Death Valley, California, by Mark W. Harrington, Washington, 1892.
3 Seo Annual Report of the Wheelor Survey for 1876, pp. 178, 179.
of the flora. The whole number of species is 136. The group of awake to make observations. From the time that darkness setpaludose plants contains 48 names, of which 2 are trees, 6 shrubs, tled until 3 o'clock in the morning (when I shortly fell asleep) 32 perennials. and 8 annuals. These plants are not representative the longest interval between his songs was twenty minutes, but of the true arid flora of the valley, for they have in most cases an during the greater portion of the night he had scarcely finished abundant supply of water. Comparatively few of these species one performance than another was begun. are confined to the desert, many of them occur in the bumid Several others of our birds may properly be termed “habitual” regions of intramontane California, several extend quite across night-singers. Here, about my home, I hear every night during the southern United States and Mexico, and a few are found the nesting season (unless it be storming) songs of the chipping throughout the subtropical region of the world. It is a general sparrow, the field sparrow, the indigo bird, and the goldenlaw, of which this part of the Death Valley flora is but a single crowned thrush, or oven bird; not merely once, but repeatedly. example, that aquatic and paludose plants do not follow those The night-song of the last-named bird is quite the same as that laws of distribution which govern a true terrestrial flora.
which John Burroughs says is the love-song; but I am puzzled The second group of plants constitutes the arid flora of the to know whether at night, in the darkness, the singer launches region. Of trees there are none, shrubs 20, perennials 18, and of from his high perch into the air, as is his habit during the waning annuals 50. Fourteen of the perennials are suffrutescent at base light of daytime. I have heard the night-song of the oven bird and carry on the functions of life throughout the year above so often and been so impressed with its exquisite though transient ground. Three of the remaining four are grasses, the stems of beauty, that I feel sure Burroughs was right when he suggested which also retain some vitality through the winter. One plant that Thoreau's “mysterious night-warbler was really no new only, Cucurbita palmata, is a true perennial, but it does not grow bird at all, but one he was otherwise familiar with; in short, was in the very arid parts of the valley, and comes almost in the cate- none other than the oven bird. Speaking of Burroughs, recalls gory of moist-soil plants. Functionally, therefore, the arid flora of an erroneous statement in one of his charming books (“* Birds Death Valley is made up of shrubs and annuals. The reason for and Poets,” p. 98). He says: “No bird can look our winters in this state of affairs is found in the extreme heat and dryness of the face and sing, as do many of the English birds.” Surely had the climate, these being the two, or we may almost say the only, he passed a winter south of the parallel of 40° in the United types of vegetation adapted to such conditions.
States he could hardly have made this assertion. Here about The geographic affinity of the arid flora of Death Valley is clear. Washington, and westward to beyond the Mississippi, the CaroA few species, such as Mentzelia reflexa and Oxystylis lutea, are lina wren sings the winter long; and the colder, more crisp, the known only in the immediate vicinity of the valley, but nearly all weather, if only the wind does not blow, the louder rings his powthe others are common to the desert region of south-eastern Cali- erful carol. So, also, does the tufted titmouse heed not the cold fornia, Arizona, and north-western Mexico. The topographic of winter, but bravely whistles his cheery tune of pé to, pé to, position of Death Valley, as the deepest basin (480 feet below sea
some would not call it a song, but it is loud and clear level) in this desert area, renders the valley capable of supporting enough, and surely is no mere call-note. The cardinal, too, sings a vegetation belonging characteristically to the southern portion more or less all winter, and so do the wbite-throated and tree of the region. Several southern species, so far as the present data sparrows, though there are periods, caused doubtless by meteoroshow, reach their northern limit in Death Valley.
logical conditions, to us intangible, but of which the birds take The adaptive modifications of the flora are practically the same note, when birds are little heard. as those of the general vegetation of the surrounding desert, and Among the many myths of popular bird-lore is that of the will be discussed in considerable detail in the report of the expe- mocking-birds' habit of mimicry, of wbich a bint was given in a dition,
previous paragraph. In making this statement I would empha
size the word habit, as distinguished from the term faculty; since NOCTURNAL SONGSTERS, AND OTHER BIRD-NOTES.
I would not for a moment deny this bird's ability (as a rule) to BY ROBERT RIDGWAY, M.S., CURATOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BIRDS,
mimic far better than any other. The point is, that mimicry is not so much a babit of the mocking-bird as most people suppose.
The reason for the popular error is very simple: The natural DR. GIBBS's interesting article on birds that sing in the night, song of the mocking-bird is so varied, and is characterized by such in Science for Dec. 2, reminds me tbat much may yet be written wonderful compass, rapidity of change, and brilliancy of execuon this subject. Some of our best songsters are unfortunately tion that persons not specially familiar with birds' notes naturnot represented in that portion of the country (Michigan) of ally suppose the medley to be in large part borrowed; and the which Dr. Gibbs writes; otherwise, his list of nigbt singers would listener is further confirmed in this belief by the more or less frenot only have been considerably longer, but would have included quent interpolation of what he recognizes as unquestionable imiat least two species, the mocking-bird and the yellow-breasted tations of the notes of other birds. Individual mocking-birds chat, that are every wbit as notable as the nightingale itself, differ greatly in the character and quality of their songs, some The night-singing babit of the mocking-bird is well known to all being inveterate mimics while others seldom if ever spoil their who are familiar with this “ master of song.” It is as much a own incomparable song by imitation. I recently possessed one characteristic of the bird as its powers of mimicry, for not all of the best songsters of this species it was ever my pleasure to mocking-birds mimic, of which, however, more presently.
hear. His song was wholly his own; almost infinitely varied, Next to the mocking- bird in this regard, though perhaps it wonderfully mellow and clear, bewildering in the rapidity of its would be better said equally with it, is the yellow-breasted chat, changes, and surpassingly brilliant in execution. Yet, with all a bird remarkable for the oddity of its song rather than for its mu- this, if any one of his notes suggested the pote of any other bird sical quality. Its notes are, however, loud and emphatic, and I am sure it was not intentional. therefore are sure to attract attention whenever heard at night- Not only do birds' songs differ materially according to the inditime. Its nocturnal song – in no respect that I can discover dif- vidual, but often each individual possesses a more or less extensive ferent from that which it sings by day — bas been familiar to me repertoire, the separate parts or tunes of which are so different from boyhood, first in southern Illinois, then in California and from one another that, heard without the singer being seen, they other far-western States, latterly in Maryland and Virginia. A might readily be attributed to different birds. This is particularly pair of chats live during summer close by my home (in a suburb true of the cardinal grosbeak; and I have not the slightest doubt of Washington), and few are the nights in May and June when some observers have received an unfavorable impression of this the male does not sing, at more or less frequent intervals, the bird's song from having first, or perhaps only, heard one of the whole night through. I once thought that moonlight nights less attractive tunes of an individual which half an hour later were particularly apt to excite birds to sing; but this particular might be singing a song totally different, and far finer. A pet chat kept no account of the almanac. His most brilliant per- cardinal, which I had for several years, sang six very distinct formance, or at least the occasion which most compelled my in- songs, besides minor variations. A remarkable peculiarity of this terest, was during a specially dark night, when I purposely kept bird (though one which I believe to be characteristic of the species)
U.S. NATIONAL MUSEUM.
was that one of these songs was almost invariably repeated until field, an enormous spider of the Lycosidæ species, which was 1} be himself became tired of it before he changed to another. inches long. She presented a very curious appearance, being
The difficulty of expressing a bird's notes by words is well covered with scores of tiny spiders from one end of her body to known, but the following attempt may give some idea of the dif- the other. When I touched her with a weed stem the young ferent songs of my cardinal:
spiders scampered off at a lively rate, only to return when left to I. Hoit, — whoit, whoit, whoit (eleven times); hoit, — whoit, whoit, themselves. The spinnarets and abdomen of the mother-spider whoit (eleven times).
were greatly distended. Suddenly, there was a copious flow of II. Wheù, wheù, when, wheù, wheù.
white liquid which the young greedily devoured. Examining III. Tcheu, tchew, tcheu, tcheu, tcher.
the fluid under my microscope, I was fully convinced that this IV. Bird'ie, bird' ie, bird'ie,- tcheu, tcher, tchew, tcher.
was veritable milk, and tbat this spider, at least, nursed her V. Bird'ie, — bird'ie, bird'ie, bird’ie, bird'ie, bird'ie.
young, instead of bringing them up on atmospheric moisture. I VI. Whoy'it, - whoy'it, whoy'et, whoy'et, chichichichichichi (a should be glad to know if any readers of Science have ever objingling trill, so long continued that it apparently ended only when served a similar occurrence.
JOHN W. SANBORN. the singer became “out of breath").
Naples, N.Y. The notes of many cardinal grosbeaks are clear and tender
Palæolithic Man: A Last Word. far sweeter than the mellowest notes of fife or flageolet.
One of my most welcome bird-guests last summer was a summer THE world was growing old apace, just as it is now, when tanager, whose favorite singing station was the summit of a tall Man first entered upon the scene here in the valley of the Delascrub pine-tree in a corner of my yard. All day long, from May
Over the hills and along every lowland water-course till August, no matter how hot the sun, he sang, robin-like, this forests grew, died, fell, and decayed, helping to make that deep song : Ter-whit'-ter-way, — BRING him HERE; ter-whit-ter-way, deposit of soil which pow covers the gravel and sand that agencies BRING him HERE (repeated incessantly, with very strong em. no longer active bad spread over the surface of the land. Just phasis and rising inflection on the “here'). Another male of the what was the outlook that presented itself when the first Man or same species, whose nest was in a neighboring pipe grove, an- Men looked about them, we can only conjecture. Mr. McGee swered thus: BRING-him-HERE, chip'-way, BRING-him-HERE, claims tbat the evidence favors the view that the soil had formed, BRING-him-HERE.
the forests were old, pines had succeeded oaks, and oaks sucThis beautiful tanager and the red-eyed virio are midsummer ceeded pines, and the elk, deer, and bear were the chief sources and midday songsters. Perhaps it is because they are representa- of food-supply to the wandering hunter that, reaching out from tives of tropical families that they do not mind the intense heat of bis native land, came, saw, and conquered the valley of the the dog-days, but sing cheerily, the former from the tip-top of Delaware. But is this true ? Has he or has any one so carefully some tree taller than those about it, his glowing red plumage studied the soil-making period that all doubt is dissipated and receiving, it may be, increased refulgence from tbe burning rays shown that the Indian of historic time can only trace his ancestry of the sun, the latter, of modest olive-green and whitish garb, as back to so recent a time as when the brute creation that still linhe busily gleans bis insect food among the shady leafage of the gers on our frontiers was its sole occupant ? If the reader, forest trees.
curious in such matters, will look into the literature of this subThe subject of midday songsters brings me again to John Bur- ject, he will find that the evidence bas been produced time and roughs, who, always charming and usually accurate in bis de- again to show that with the very commencement of this soilscriptions of bird-life, sometimes (like the rest of us) makes mis- making period, are so intimately associated abundant traces of takes. The bird involved is the grass finch, for which be prefers a tool-making creature – a man — and in such a manner assothe name vesper sparrow (since adopted by the American Orni- ciated, that the suggestion that all such objects of human origin thologists' Union), and all he says of it is true and eminently intrusive,” has no real weight. characteristic except the statement that “his song is most noticea- Sections of undisturbed soil, sand, and gravel are not difficult ble after sundown, when other birds are silent," - wbicb does not to make and when we find that as a result of a large series of accord with my own experience in midland Virginia, where, in such, we have a uniform result, we are bound, if reasonable men, extensive fields of a large farm, numbers were heard singing to accept such as the truth. Now this has been done, as I bare sweetly through the hottest part of the hottest day of a hot sum- said, and the fact obtained that relics of man of a very rude charmer, - the time being about 1 o'clock P.M., the date July 4, 1887, acter underlie those of a more elaborate one. In an earlier puband the temperature 103° in the shade!
lication I have ventured to call the former “ fossil implements" But the habits of birds do vary, and one day's observations, in and the later ones “ Indian relics;" although, of course, they the same locality, may quite contradict those of a previous occa- were all made, I believe, by the same people, but at different sion; therefore, only repeated observations, under varying cir- times. The apparent contradiction that rude and elaborate alike cumstances of time and place, can give us an approximately cor- are found on the disturbed surface has no bearing upon the quesrect knowledge of the habits of any species.
tion. What the plow or spade has displaced has no longer an
archæological significance, save as to its import as a tool or LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
weapon of a particular character. A stone axe is an axe wherever
and however found, but if it has been tossed about the fields or Correspondents are requested to be as brief as possible. The writer's name is in all cases required as proof of good faith.
washed by a freshet from its original resting place, what more On request in advance, one hundred copies of the number containing his can we say than that it is an axe? On the other hand, if in communication will be furnished free to any correspondent.
a section through the soil and underlying sand we find rude The editor will be glad to publish any queries consonant with the character of the journal.
argillite implements and the very rudest pottery, and above them,
wholly in the soil, axes, celts, pipes, and pottery of more artistic How are Young Spiders Fed ?
finish; find this not once, but always; then we have the right to, In my rambles for botanical specimens in the last three years, indeed cannot honestly do otherwise, assert that the deeper, many new and curious things have been thrust upon my atten- sand-encompassed objects antedate those which occur only in tion in the insect world, and these I have recorded for future the over-lying soil. This holds good in archæological research use. One fact in particular struck my attention, and I herewith in any part of the world, and is just as true as that in building a submit it to the readers of Science, partly to record the fact, and city to-day, we are building upon the ruins of an Indian village, partly to ask if any other readers of your excellent periodical or at least on ground where once the Indian passed and re-passed, have ever observed a similar fact.
even if he did not tarry long. We have been taught by the best works on spiders that the But can we go back a step farther? If we can do so elsewhere young of spiders derive their food mostly from the atmosphere. on the globe, I hold that it is warranted to do so here and for the The “Encyclopædia Britannica” confirms this view.
The geologists to effectively prevent this must On the 19th day of June, 1891, I discovered, in a ploughed show that the earth previously was uninhabitable; that the phy