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observations, and are obtained by dividing by 10 the product obtained by multiplying the number of observations by 211—1 (n being the order of the eclipse) and by 1, 2, 3, or 4, according as the observation was recorded as fair, good, very good, or excellent. The mean result is 298,400 kilometres ; multiplying this result by 1'0003, the refractive index of air, 298,500 kilometres is obtained as the velocity of light in a vacuum. This, Cornu believes, is accurate to 51—0 of its value. It is a close approximation to the result of Foucault, 298,000 kilometres, and also corresponds -very closely to the value obtained from the solar parallax, which has recently been calculated by Leverrier, from observations upon Mars and Venus, to be 8”'86. Cornu believes that with stations separated from 20 to 30 kilometres, it would be possible by this method to obtain a value accurate to within a thousandth—see the “ Comptes Rendus,” lxxvi. p. 338.
ZOOLOGY AND COMPARATIVE ANATOMY.
Kingfisher-s and Fish. —- This subject, which is of some interest to I Naturalists, has a note upon it in the “ Scientific American” for Aug. 16. The writer, dating from California, says that “ Mr. Darwin, in his last book, states that the kingfisher always kills the fish before swallowing it. Dr. Charles C. Abbot states that the fish is swallowed without killing, and often while the bird is on the wing. “ So far as my'observation goes, when a fish is large, or about two and a half inches long, it is killed before being swallowed. I once saw a kingfisher light on a limb close to the surface of the water in a creek; and the bird, having an eye to the business on hand, did not see me (I was about fifteen feet off). It presently dived into the water, and returned to its perch with a fish in its bill, about the above stated length. The bird then began to beat the head of the fish against the limb on which it was standing; after a few beats it would stop to see if the fish was dead or not; this was done three times, when the head of the fish was bleeding, and the limb against which the head was beaten was stained with blood. The fish was dead, and it was then swallowed. Now the abovenamed gentlemen may both to a certain extent be correct. The kingfisher may swallow the small fish without killing them; in my mind there is no doubt that‘they do."
A new and large Amphipod has been captured by the Challenger expedition, and is described in a letter addressed to the Royal Society. The author of the description, Herr Von Willemoes-Suhm, says that, among the Amphipods known to us, thm'ma is its nearest relation. But there are so many points in which this genus differs from Phrom'ma, that it cannot form a member of the family Phrom'midze; and he therefore proposes to establish for it a new family, Tkaumopida, belonging to the tribe of Hyperima. The form of the head is totally different from that of Phram'ma; the antennas are not situated near the mouth, but at its front, and the enormous faceted eyes occupy its upper surface. The first two pairs of thoracic appendages are not, as in Phrom'ma, ambulatory legs, but maxilli
peds, so that only five pairs of legs are ambulatory in Thaumops. The thorax is composed of six segments, the first of which has, on its under side, the vulva. and one pair of maxillipeds ; and the second, representing two segments, bears two pairs of appendages, the larger maxilliped and the first pair of ambulatory legs. The abdomen consists of five segments, with three pairs of pedes spurii, the caudal appendages being attached to the fourth and fifth segments. The animal being beautifully transparent, the nervous system could be carefully worked out without dissecting it; the position of the nerves going out from the cephalic ganglion, as well as that of the five pairs of thoracic and the three pairs of abdominal ganglia, could be ascertained. The eyes, having at their borders very peculiar appendages, were examined, and a description is given, in the paper here abstracted, of the structure of the large crystalline bodies which are to be seen in them. Organs of hearing and touch have not been discovered. The mouth is covered with a pair of maxillae and a small labium. There is a recurved oesophageal passage leading into a large caecal stomach, and an intestinal tube departing from near the end of the oesophagus and running straight to the anus. The heart is an elongated tube extending from the second to the fifth segment. with probably three openings. Three pairs of transparent sac-like gills are attached at the base of the second, third, and fourth pairs of feet.
Experiments on Spontaneous Generation.—Oue of the best papers that have been published on this important subject is that of Mr. E. Bay Lankester, M.A., and W. C. C. Pode, M.B. It goes very fully into the subject, and is so far a very complete answer to the belief in the origin of organic life ab initio. It is to be found reprinted (from the “Proceedings of the Royal Society ”) in the “ Monthly Microscopical Journal ” for September.
Development of the Pig's Head—A most valuable and exhaustive paper on this subject is that by Mr. W. K. Parker, F.R.S., which was read lately before the Royal Society. It appears in a long abstract in “ The Proceedings of the Royal Society” (last number).
Pre-historic Houses in the Aleutian Islands—These latter islands are so interesting to the zoologist that anything recording the habits of their ancient inhabitants must be of value. Such, we think, is the following extract from a paper in the "Proceedings of the Californian Academy,’ which we have just received. After describing various preliminary operations, the author, Mr. W. H. Dell, goes on to observe “that the first thing noticed was a sort of wall of rough stones, evidently obtained from the neighbouring beach, with here and there a whale-rib, in a perpendicular position, which had probably assisted in supporting the roof. Further excavation for a couple of feet revealed a human skeleton in perfect pre~ servation. The body had been doubled up, so as to bring the knees up to the chin. It was lying on the right side, in a horizontal plane facing the south-east. Two others were afterwards discovered in an exactly similar position. They were about three feet from the surface, but not so far from the inner wall of the house; one was the skeleton of a woman. A few rough fiat stones were placed around and under them, but no articles of use or ornament were with the skeletons. It is a matter of record that the ancient Aleuts, when a person died in one of their houses, built up the body
in the compartment which had belonged to the person when living, and continued to occupy the remainder of the yourt as usual. The position in which these skeletons were found indicates that such was the manner in which they had been interred. It is still a common practice, among tribes of the Orarian stock, to tie up the body of a dead person in the mannerjust described. Further digging showed that a. great part of the mound was composed of materials foreign to the locality. These principally consisted ~ of bones of cetaceans, fur seal (Callorh-z'nus ursinus), sea lion (Eumetopias Steller'i), and sea birds, principally ducks and gulls or petrels. There were also large accumulations of the shells of edible molluscs, among the most conspicuous of which were the common mussel (Mytilus edulis), Saridomus squalidus, Desh., Tapes staminea, Conn, and Modz'ola modiolus, L. All the above are still living in these seas, most of which are still found in Gaptain’s Bay, and form a portion of the food of the existing native population. The sea lion and walrus are no longer found in Unalashka, and the fur seal but rarely.”
Ancient Greek Grania have been recently discovered, in a perfect state of preservation, at Athens. The first is that of a woman named Glykera, as we learn from the tombstone, which was found as it had been placed by affectionate survivors. In the tomb beside the skeleton were two small painted vases, and on the tombstone was sculptured a parting scene of no great artistic merit. The second is that of an old man. It was found May 17, 1871, in a tomb, lying from west to east, and containing, besides, about thirty vases, a silver fibula, two gold rings, a gold plate, and some articles of bronze, but no inscription from which we might gather any knowledge of its tenant. The vases are of what is called the earliest style, that is, the style which prevailed in Greece previous to the introduction of the human figure as a subject of decoration in vase painting. Supposing the transition from the earlier to the later style of painting to have taken place shortly after the death of this old man, and assuming his cranium to bee normal cranium of his nationality and time, it is interesting to see how what has always been' a remarkable feature in the earliest vases on which the human figure occurs-the smallness of the cranium—comes to be justified as a correct observation of nature. Of both crania,‘iudeed, though that of Glykera cannot be regarded as of an early date, Virchow (who gives elaborate measurements and descriptions of them in the “ Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologie,” Berlin, 1872, iv. p. 147) remarks that their capacity is much under the medium of modern civilised people, and rather resembles that of savage races. At the same time the form of both is very beautiful, the vaulting of the male head being particularly fine. In occipital development it is much inferior to that of Glykera. But in spite of this difference, the similarity between them is so great in the formation of the brow and face that there can be little doubt of both persons having been types of the same race.~See the “Academy,” May 15.
Costanti, a Curiously-tattooed Mara—It is much to be regretted that Costanti, after yielding so far as to go to Berlin for the purpose of being more closely examined by Virchow and Bastian, should have been overtaken at the last moment by an illness which he made the pretext of returning at once to Vienna. There is little doubt, says the “Academy,” but that
the real cause of his sudden departure was the dread of being subjected to a fresh examination as to the circumstances under which he was tattooed, a subject of which his previous accounts are in a high degree conflicting and unsatisfactory. Fortunately we have photographs of him as well as a detailed description in the “ Wiener Medicinische Wochenschrift,” 1872, N0. 2, and an engraving on a large scale in Hebra’s “Atlas der Hautkrankheiten.” From these it appears that the tattooing covers the entire body with the exception of the nose and such parts as the soles of the feet. The colours are mainly dark blue with an occasional touch of red, while the design, embracing figures of animals. flowers, weapons, and other objects with written characters in some places, particularly in the palm of the hand, is carefully carried out. The skin, instead of suffering in the process, is quite soft and delicate to the touch. Its feeling is unchanged, and. in point of sensitiveness to temperature it anything increased. According to his account, the instrument employed was a metal cylinder, pointed and split at the point like a pen, with a heavy metal handle. This cylinder being charged with coloured liquid was then placed against the skin, and resting on the left forefinger of the operator the point was driven with a steady movement under the skin. With three hours of this daily the whole work was completed in three months, and that it should have occupied so long aperiod is not to be wondered at when we consider the elaborate and truly artistic character of the design. All doubts as to the tattooing-having been done in Burmah are now at an end, through the assurance of Bastian that the letters which occur in it are Burmese. Costanti had called them Arabic. Though it is possible that he may have been subjected to the process as a proper punishment for a mercenary soldier captured in war, it is more likely that he had himself so carefully tattooed only for the ulterior object of gain.
Mr. Gwin Jefreys’ Errors in American Conchology are pointed out with some severity in a recent number of“ Silliman’s American Journal ” by Professor A.E.Verrill. He says that the special errors to which he wishes to call attention occur in the table of species, showing their geographical distribution. These relate both to the names and specific identity of certain shells, and to their geographical distribution; Although not agreeing with the author in regard to many of his remarks concerning the generic relations and names of species, he does not propose to discuss them here; for there seems to be no danger ofitheir general adoption, either in Europe or America. The following marine species (named as in Gould), which Mr. Jeffreys puts down as belonging to the region north of Cape Cod, actually belong properly to the region south of Cape Cod, extending in most cases to the Carolina coasts or beyond, while north of Cape Cod they are rare or local, viz. :—Cochlodesma Leanum, Mactra laterah's, Petricola pholadgformis, P. dactylus, Gouldia mactracea, Cytherea convexa, Venus mercenaria, V. notata, Gamma gemma, Liocardium Mortom', Area transom-ca, Modiola plicatula, Pecten irradians, Ostrea Virginiana, Anemia electrica (not of Linn.), Diaphana debilis, Cylichna oryza, Placobranchus catulus, Crepidulafomicata, C. plana, C. convexa, C. glauca, Iantln'na fragilis, Bittz'um Greenii, Odostomia bisuturalis, O. seminuda, T urbmtilla interrupta, Pleurotoma bicarinata, P. plicata, Nassa obsoleta, Biwcinum cincremn, Diacrz'a trispinosa, Loligo Peah'i.
The following, to which a. northern distribution is likewise given, are also found far south of Cape Cod, and many of them belong quite as much to the southern as to the northern division; and some of them are decidedly southern, extending even to the Gulf of Mexico :—Teredo navalis, T. megatara, T. chlorotica, Solenensis, Machaera costata, Pandora trilineata, Lyonsia hyah'na, Mach-a solidim'ma, Kellia planulata, Macoma fusca, Tellina temra, Astarte castrmea, A. quadrans, A. aulcata, Nucula proxima, Y oldia limatula, Mytilus edulis, Elysia chlorotica, Crucibulum etriatum, Littorina rudis, L. tenebrosa, L. palliata, Lunatia heros, L. triseriata, Nassa tn'vittata, Melampm bidentatus, Aleria myosotz's. Many others, not named in the above lists, are not limited by Cape God; but as they belong properly to the northern division, they are here omitted. The distribution indicated for our land and fresh-water shells is even more erroneous. It is sufficiently evident that Cape God is in no sense a proper boundary between the northern and southern fluviatile and terrestrial species ; but, disregarding this, there are no reasons whatever for most of the special indications that he gives.