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by Mr. J. A. G. Rehn on the brown grasshoppers The chief feature of the July issue of the Emu is (Acridiidæ) of Costa Rica, in the course of which a formed by the plates, one of which gives a full-sized number of new species are described. The collections figure, from a photograph, of the New Calendonian kagu examined included nearly three hundred specimens.
(Rhinochaetus jubatus), to which allusion has been made It may be remembered that the remains of James
previously in these columns; while others (also from photoSmithson, the founder of the Smithsonian Institution,
graphs) are devoted to the illustration of the parasitic who died in 1829 and was buried in the English cemetery
habits of Australian cuckoos, which appear to be very on the heights of San Benigno, Italy, were removed to
similar to those of our own species. Of these three plates, Washington last year and formally handed over to the
one represents a young bronze-cuckoo (Chalcococcyx) oustRegents of the institution. The body, upon its arrival in
ing a blue wren (Malurus) from its rightful nest, the Washington in January, 1904, was placed temporarily in a
second a young fan-tailed cuckoo (Cacomantis) in a brown room in the Smithsonian building containing the relics of
i tit's (Acanthiza) nest, while the third shows a young Smithson. While resting there, the remains were examined
bronze-cuckoo in the nest of a brown tit. by medical experts and found to be in a remarkable state s the Zoologist for August the editor commences a of preservation. Meanwhile a small mortuary chapel was
series of articles on the factors conducive to extermination prepared for them on the immediate left of the north entrance of the Smithsonian building, and on March 6,
of species, dealing in this instance with natural as dis
tinguished from human agencies. Unfortunately the 1905, the remains were brought to this chapel and, in
article is marred by several serious mistakes. We are told, the presence of the Regents, replaced in the original tomb,
for instance, that “the opossum” is the only nonAustralian mammal, the cuscuses of Celebes and Cænolestes of Brazil being ignored ; while in the same sentence we are informed that monotremes are confined to New Zealand ! Again, we are unaware what ground there is for the statement that fossil marsupials are known from Asia. Minor errors, such as nummulitids for nummulites, are also noticeable. In the same issue is a very interesting article by Mr. H. H. Patterson on the heronry at Reedham, Norfolk. In the case of a note on the occur. rence of the lesser horse-shoe bat in Shropshire, the editor might have pointed out that Noctilio is not the generic title for these bats.
The fourth volume of “ The Museums Journal ” (Dulau and Co.), edited by Mr. E. Howarth, covers the period from July 1, 1904, until June 30 of the present year, and contains the report of the council submitted at the Norwich Conference of 1904. Although now somewhat ancient
history, that report records continued progress on the Fig. 1.- Interior of Smithson Mortuary Chapel, Smithsonian Institution.
part of the association, both as regards membership and
funds for permanent investment. It is also satisfactory shown in the illustration, which has been reproduced from
to learn that the journal itself is becoming more and the Smithsonian Quarterly (vol. xlviii.), where they will rest
more widely appreciated, and consequently shows a con
stant tendency to increase in bulk. The museums until Congress makes adequate provision for their fitting
directory, or list of the museums in the United Kingdom, interment.
is likewise proving larger than was anticipated, the volume IN La Nature of July 29 Prof. E. T. Hamy, the well just received continuing the list from London to Staly. known professor of anthropology at Paris, gives an bridge inclusive, together with supplements. One of the account, illustrated by reproductions from photographs of | difficulties which the editors experience is in getting local the animal shortly after death, of a gigantic gorilla recently curators to send in the names and objects of the institushot on the Sangha River, Congoland. It is said to have tions under their charge. The attendance of delegates measured no less than 2 metres 30 cm. (7 feet 61 inches), from foreign museums at the last two conferences is and the height of the carcase in a sitting posture reached, another satisfactory feature in connection with the progress as shown in the photograph, to the waist of a full-grown of the association. Among features connected with native. Prof. Hamy believes the specimen to indicate a progress in regard to museum work, attention may be new race, if not a new species, of gorilla.
directed to the adoption by the Museum of the Federated
Malay States of the card-system for the registration of From the report on the museums of the Brooklyn
specimens. Institute of Arts and Sciences for 1904 we learn that special attention is being devoted to improving the in Much interesting information with regard to animals stallation of the children's museum. As first arranged, in menageries and the evolution of museums on the other this part of the exhibition series was found to overlap side of the Atlantic is conveyed in a pleasant style in the in a considerable degree the ordinary collection, and steps course of an illustrated article by Mr. E. S. Hallock pubwere accordingly taken to do away with this duplication. | lished in the August number of the Century Mustrated Elimination, both from the museum and the illustrative | Monthly Magazine. “The menagerie," writes the author, lectures, of material not likely to interest children has | “developed along with the circus, but differed from the also been undertaken, with the result that the collection latter in being an animal-show pure and simple. ... has been entirely re-modelled, and is now as suitable for Some menageries were stationary, while others travelled its present purpose as it can be made.
from place to place in large vans." The "dime
exhibition " and the "curiosity-house" were devoted more central idea, the intention being to throw back the to the exhibition of rare and interesting animals, evil influence emanating from the eye, by some countermonstrosities, &c., and from these, by the elimination of charm. This is usually done by stretching out the five the “ freak” element, are derived the modern American fingers of the right hand, and Dr. Westermarck shows scientific museums. Reference is made to the camel | how all these various designs can be traced to some exhibited in London in 1650, the Indian rhinoceros (de- elaboration of fives, originally representing the five fingers, scribed by Dr. Parsons) in 1685, and to Wombwell's un- | or of eyes, for if baneful energy can be transferred by recognised gorilla. Less well known is the case of the the eye, it can obviously also be thrown back by the eye. first great ant-eater exhibited in the London “ Zoo,” which Sixty-two illustrations of these counter-charms accompany was purchased about 1850 from two sailors, by whom it the article. had been brought from Rio, for 300l.; and also that of a full-grown mandrill captured on board a slaver, and
In the course of a note on the supply of water to leaves exhibited in Bristol in
on a dead branch, printed as part ii. of vol. xi. of the 1828, and later on in London. The most interesting record in the article is, however,
Scientific. Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society, Prof. the reference to a pair of South African giraffes imported
| H. H. Dixon adduces evidence, based on experiment, to into America in 1836, the same year in which the London
show that when a portion of a stem is killed by heat, the gardens received their first representatives (of the northern
cells give off poisonous or plasmolysing substances; for race) of the species. In stating that the London establish
some such reason it appears that leaves attached to a ment received its first representative of the southern form
dead branch wither much more rapidly than leaves on a in 1895 the author makes a pardonable error, the fact
living twig. In the first part of the same volume Mr. J. being that the true southern race never has, so far as we
Adams discusses the effect of very low temperatures on know, been exhibited alive in this country.
MR. D. HOOPER has a historical and explanatory note The most generally interesting feature in the report of
on the ancient eastern medicine known as lycium or the Indian Museum, Calcutta, for 1903-4 is the reference
rusot in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal to a suggestion made by the director of the natural history
(vol. Ixxiii., part ii., No. 4). The identity of rusot with branch of the British Museum that all the Indian type
the Indian lycium of the ancients was first pointed out specimens might be transferred to the institution under
by Dr. J. F. Royle, who found out that it is an inspissated his charge. The suggestion—which Major Alcock refers
extract prepared from the wood and roots of several species to in his section of the report as “ most reasonable"
of Berberis. Mr. Hooper's analyses of four specimens was largely based on the fact that the climate of Calcutta
indicate an amount of berberine varying from 3 per cent. renders" types" as objects of reference almost useless,
to nearly 8 per cent. The dried stem of Berberis aristata and that the interests of science would accordingly be
is officinal in India, and a tincture is often recommended advanced by their transference to the chief natural history
in the treatment of fever. centre of the British Empire. By the terms of their trust the trustees found themselves, however, unable to hand In the island of St. Vincent the Imperial Department over the “ types" formerly belonging to the Asiatic Society of Agriculture for the West Indies controls an agricultural of Bengal, while they were disinclined to accede to the | school and a land settlement scheme in addition to the request as regards other “ types " for fear of handicapping botanic gardens. In the report for 1904-5 Mr. W. N. workers in India. Commenting upon this decision and its Sands, the agricultural superintendent, registers a disconsequences, Major Alcock directs the attention of the tribution of nearly 30,000 plants, of which more than Government of India to the administration of the museum, two-thirds were cacao, and, besides, smaller numbers of stating that the zoological staff is altogether inadequate. sisal bulblets, coffee, lime, and other economic plants. ** An imperial museum of natural history," he writes, Many of these were distributed to allottees on the land ** such as the zoological section of the Indian Museum was settlement estates who cultivate cacao, canes, cassava, designed to be, should be at once a complete and modern yams, and sweet potatoes. Mr. Sands, reviewing the index of the fauna of the country, an object lesson in the progress of the cotton industry, has the satisfaction of more important general principles of zoology, an unfailing recording that much of the sea-island cotton was the best magazine of well-preserved material for research and dis- produced under the auspices of the British Cotton Growing tribution, and a centre where natural science is advanced Association, and had realised seventeen pence per pound. by the discovery and publication of new facts. The facts that the Museum receives a grant for teaching-preparations
MR. W. E. COOKE, Government astronomer for Western from the local Government, and has decided that its
Australia, has sent us a communication explaining a novel ' types' must be kept on the spot for reference, indicate
plan that he has adopted for giving more definiteness to that this is the standard the Trustees wish realised. But
the weather forecasts issued in that colony. Each foregrants of money and the possession of historic types'
cast for a definite district is subdivided into specific items, are not cnough; equally essential are well-qualified paid
to each of which a figure is attached, “1” representing assistants and reliable machinery for collecting new
that the occurrence prognosticated has only the barest material and replenishing old."
possibility of being successful, and so on, up to “ 5,”
which indicates that the prediction may be relied upon A VERY interesting paper is contributed on the magic
with almost absolute certainty. Each item of the forecast origin of Moorish designs to the Journal of the Anthropo
has therefore a “ weight" attached to it; on the whole, logical Institute (July-December, 1904) by Dr. Wester Mr. Cooke states that the new method has proved a dismarck. The magic consists entirely in the methods
tinct success, and that while people find that whenever the employed to ward off the evil eye, the fear of which is figure 5 appears the forecast is fulfilled in 99 cases so potent in countries bordering the Mediterranean. The out of 100, they do not feel so disappointed in case of designs consist of hands, crosses, eyes, rosettes, squares, failure when the lower numbers are attached, or as when, octagons, triangles, and innumerable conventional em under the usual method, equal weight is attached to the broidery patterns; but they are all grouped round one | whole forecast.
We have received the report of the Falmouth Observ
OUR ASTRONOMICAL COLUMN. atory for the year 1904, reprinted from the seventy-second
ASTRONOMICAL OCCURRENCES IN SEPTEMBER :annual report of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society.
Sept. 4. Ceres in opposition to the Sun (Ceres mag, 74). This observatory has for many years done excellent work
, ,, 7h. 33m. to 8h. 37m. Moon occults y Libre in connection with meteorology and magnetism, as well as
(mag. 4'1). by the collection of sea-temperature observations at various » 8. Toh. 2om. . Minimum of Algol (B Persei). places off the coast of Falmouth. The station has for
„II. 12h. Moon in conjunction with Saturn (Saturn
1° 56' S.). many years been adopted by the Meteorological Office as
12h. 42m. to 14h. lim. Transit of Jupiter's Sat. III. one of its first-class observatories, and hourly observations
(Ganymede). or means have been regularly published in the official re
23h. Mercury at greatest elongation, 17° 54' W. ports of that office. With regard to magnetism, the „15. Venus. Illuminated portion of disc = 0'787, 0. Falmouth Observatory has become additionally important,
Mars =0.851. in consequence of the recording magnets at Kew and
17. 10h. 35m. to tih. 36. Moon occults u Ceti (mag.
4.4). Greenwich being somewhat affected by the electric trams
„,18. gh. 54m. to noh. 55m. Moon occults | Tauri in those neighbourhoods.
,, 19. Ioh. 36m. to 10h. 59m. Moon occults q Tauri DR. ALBERTO AGGAZZOTTI, writing in the Atti dei Lincei,
(mag. 3'9). xiv., (1), 12, describes some experiments conducted in the , 19. 13h. 56m. to 14h. 37m. Moon occults 71 Tauri physiological laboratory at Turin on the effects of rare
(mag. 46). faction on the respiration of the orang-utan. The animal
„, 19. 156. izm. to 16h. 36m. Moon occults Q7 Tauri
(mag. 3'9). on which the observations were made was brought from
,, 19. 15h. 18m. to 16h. 31m. Moon occults 02 Tauri Borneo by Count Mario Peracca, who handed it over
(mag. 36). to Prof. Angelo Mosso for the investigation. It is de ,, 19. 20h. 24m. to 21h. Im. Moon occults a Tauri scribed as being of good disposition and intelligent ; at
(mag. l'1). first it resisted the attempts to place it in the receiver,
„, 20. 14h. Ceres 9' N. of 89 Aquarii (mag. 4'9).
„21. Saturn. Major axis of ring = 43":30, Minor axis and tried to destroy the apparatus, but when it realised
= 8":36. what was being done, it not only offered no further resist , 19. 14h. Moon in conjunction with Jupiter (Japiter ance, but even helped the experimenter in attaching the
4° 16' N.). pneumograph and other necessary apparatus to it. A „, 28. 12h. 3m. Minimum of Algol (8 Persei). moderate rarefaction produced no injurious effects pro OBSERVATIONS OF PLANETS.-The results of a number of vided that the restoration of normal pressure was not recent observations of Saturn and Jupiter are recorded by effected too rapidly; at 450 millimetres of pressure the
Mr. Denning in the Observatory for August. Using the animal became more tranquil, at 300 millimetres it fell
12-inch Calver reflector, some excellent observations of
Saturn were obtained during the morning twilight in June asleep, while at 270 millimetres it became seriously ill
and July. The region north of the multiple belt in the and fell down insensible. The respiration altered in
northern hemisphere was seen to be the brightest part of character between 450 millimetres and 470 millimetres with the planet-not the equatorial zone, as previously. . an increase of frequency and a decrease of intensity, while
small white spot was detected on the N. edge of the at 300 millimetres it became irregular and spasmodic.
great belt on July 6, and estimated to be central at
izh. 4om. These changes fairly well agree with those observed in
A small white spot was seen in the S.
temperate zone on the following dates in the positions and other animals, particularly man.
at the times stated :
Transit time Long. System II. MR. C. MOSLEY has arranged an edition of White's
h. m. “ Selborne" for students, in which the whole of the letters
July 13 ... ... 13 20 ... 72 7 are classified under subjects, giving the reader all that
... ... 15 35 ... 673
,, 21 . Gilbert White wrote on one topic under one head. As
69 5 the subjects will be arranged alphabetically, the work will
Observing the Great Red Spot on Jupiter on June 24 be one of reference as well as for reading consecutively.
and July 6, Mr. Denning found it to be central at Mr. Elliot Stock is to publish the book during the coming
15h. 43m. and 15h. 40m. respectively, the corresponding
longitudes being 25°.1 and 24o8. Comparing these longiseason.
tudes with those published in the April Observatory, it
is seen that during the period that Jupiter has been too We have received a copy of the first fasciculus of vol. | near to the sun to be observable, the motion has con. xxxv. of the Mémoires de la Société de Physique et formed precisely with system ii. of the ephemerides based d'Histoire naturelle de Genève. This part of the trans
on a rotation period of gh. 55m. 40.63s. An observation actions contains, with other interesting papers, the
made by the Rev. T. E. R. Phillips confirms the above president's report for 1904. Dr. Auguste Wartmann
observation of July 6. Perrot successively passes in review the administrative
PROPER MOTIONS OF THE HYADES.-A discussion of the events of the year, refers in eulogistic terms to the work
proper motions of the Hyades group is the raison d'être of eminent members of the society deceased during the
of No. 14 of the Publications of the Astronomical Labor.
atory at Groningen. The plates from which the proper previous year, and recapitulates briefly the scientific motions were derived were obtained by Prof. Donner at subjects discussed in the meetings of the society during
Helsingfors and discussed by Profs. Kapteyn and W. 1904. The biographical notices contained in the presi
de Sitter. dent's report include those of Charles Soret, renowned
h. In the introduction to the volume Prof. Kapteyn gives for his work in crystallography; of Albert Rilliet, the
Ta most interesting discussion of the results obtained by chemist; and of Wilhelm
his method of determining proper motions, the method His, the anatomist. The
employed in the present case, in which a plate is exposed scientific activity of the society is summarised concisely | on a certain area and then packed away for a number under subjects, and this part of the report will serve | of years, exposed again on the same area, and then demen of science as a full index of the work done by
veloped and measured. One of the gravest objections to members of the Geneva Society during 1904. The presi
this method was the fear that the plates would deteriorate dent's statement is a useful account of a good year's work.
during the interval between the two exposures, but Prof.
Kapteyn disposes of this objection by stating that not a
single plate of the present series, for which the interval The new transit circle has been thoroughly examined was between four and five years, has had to be rejected. and its observers trained during the past twelve months, These plates were by Schleussner, on plate glass, and the and it is now ready for routine work. It was found that method of preservation employed by Prof. Donner is ex by using the Repsold-Struve apparatus, in which a plained.
travelling wire actuated by clockwork is employed, the As regards the length of exposure, Prof. Kapteyn states magnitude equation in right ascension observations might that, whilst it must be chosen in accordance with the be almost, if not entirely, eliminated. particular work contemplated, it must be such as to give Preliminary trials of the new sidereal clock showed that at least one hundred easily measured stars on each plate. the daily rate never varied more than + 0.03s. ; but even Another objection raised against this method was that of this is to be improved by a new arrangement by which accuracy as compared with the older method, but from the top and bottom of the pendulum will be kept at the a comparison of the probable errors now obtained with same temperature. In order to preserve a more equable those obtained at Paris and Potsdam in the carte du ciel temperature inside the case, an enclosing chamber 8 feet work, Prof. Kapteyn shows that the advantage is with square and 13 feet high has been erected about it. the new method. He further concludes that to attain a l Owing to an unfortunate accident, the driving worm given degree of accuracy the labour involved in the present and sector of the Victoria telescope were damaged, and method is at the very least seven times smaller than it have had to be sent to Sir Howard Grubb for repair. would be by employing the older method.
In consequence, the new objective prism has not yet been The value for the proper motion of the Hyades group tested. adopted by Prof. Donner is
A number of observations were made with the transit In R.A. +0" 0900= +0'00624s.
and equatorial instruments during the year, and 185 plates ,, Decl. -0".0250
(containing 117,073 stars) for the Astrographic Catalogue
were measured. The total number of plates measured is Reduced to the system given in Publication No. 9, this
now 760, containing more than 440,000 star images, correbecomes
sponding to about 200,000 different stars. In R.A. +0":1107 = +0'007675.
In the astrophysical department 74 star-spectra were ,, Decl. -0".0259
photographed, and of these 30 have been measured, and which is equivalent to a total proper motion of
a number of radial velocities deduced. 0":1137 in position angle 103°-17. The general catalogue contains 395 stars, and of these
RECENT ADV'ANCES IN THE CHEMISTRY 42 are considered as very probably belonging to the group, 19 are given as “ probable,"
OF ALBUMIN.? and 16 are regarded as ** doubtful."
U NTIL recently, one of the main objects in studying the VARIATIONS OF LATITUDE.-In Nos. 4040-4041 of the
v proteids was to classify them into characteristic Astronomische Nachrichten Mr. Kimura, of the Inter
groups by the aid of certain reactions. This has now national Latitude Observatory at Mizusawa, gives the
given place to problems of a different nature the investiresults of a series of latitude observations made by Mr.
gation of the quantitative decomposition of the albumin Nakano and himself during the year March 28, 1903, to
molecule, the progressive degradation and study of the conMarch 31, 1904. Simultaneous observations of four groups
stituent parts, and the determination of the nature of were made each night, their principal aims being (1) to
what may be termed the stones of the molecular edifice; examine whether there exists any regular diurnal change
finally, the arrangement of these materials in the conof latitude of a measurable quantity ; (2) to see how large
struction of the albumin molecule. are the systematic differences between the variation of
The task of separating the constituents of the latitude from this (four groups) series of observations and
albumin molecule is still far from complete. The that from the two groups observations for the international
reason for this lies in the difficulty connected with service. The mean declinations and proper motions of their isolation, for they are particularly troublesome to the stars observed were taken from the international
| purify. An important advance was made when Emil service work, and the value of the “ aberration constant"
Fischer discovered the ester method of separating the employed was 20".512. Great care was taken during the
amino-acids by distilling them in a vacuum. The reductions to eliminate accidental errors, and it was found
method bore immediate fruit in the discovery of phenylthat the personal equation between the two observers was
alanine and a-proline (pyrrolidinecarboxylic acid). Fischer practically negligible. The measures and their reductions
has shown, moreover, that certain amino-acids, like alanine, are given in detail, and lead to the conclusion that “ Any
phenyl-alanine, and serine (hydroxyaminopropionic acid) systematic diurnal change of latitude of a measurable
are invariable constituents of the albumin molecule, whilst quantity cannot exist at all.” The subsequent com
hydroxy-a-proline, discovered by Fischer, is another widely parison of the results of these observations with those
distributed constituent. Ehrlich has found that the leucine obtained for the international service shows that no
from albumin, long considered a simple substance, is a systematic differences exist between the four groups
mixture of at least two bodies. Hopkins and Cole have observations and the two groups observations made for
succeeded in separating. tryptophane in a pure state, a the international service.
substance which had long eluded the attempts of physioA PROPOSED New METHOD FOR DETERMINING THE SOLAR
logists to isolate, and which they have pronounced to
be skatolaminoacetic acid. Skraup has obtained from RADIATION.-In No. 4037 of the Astronomische Nachrichten Prof. Ceraski proposes a new method whereby the absorp
casein a whole series of new products belonging to the
group of diamino- and hydroxyamino-acids--diaminotion of our atmosphere might be eliminated from obseryations of the changes in the solar radiation. His proposi
glutaric acid, diaminoadipic acid, hydroxyaminosebacic tion is that the light of the telescopic planets should be
acid, and caseanic and caseinic acids of unknown structure. regularly observed photometrically.
New substances are constantly being added to the list If the variation of the
of what may be termed molecular fragments, which now solar radiation is great enough, it should be shown in the
amount to about twenty individuals. amount of light reflected by the planets, and a long period of photometric observations of these, such as he proposes,
There still remains the carbohydrate group of albumins. would show the sympathetic variations, whilst, if suitable
F. Müller has shown that glucosamine from mucine and comparison stars were employed, the differential effect of
egg-albumin forms an interesting link between the sugar the earth's atmosphere would not affect the results.
group and the amino-acids. We are still ignorant of the
part played by the carbohydrate in its connection with The CAPE OBSERVATORY.—The opening paragraphs of albumin. We cannot say whether it is a loose combination Sir David Gill's report for the year 1904 deeply lament or a mechanical admixture. the loss sustained by the Cape Observatory, and science The enormous number of products gives some indicain general, by the death of Mr. Frank McClean, F.R.S., tion of the complexity of the problem which the study to whose generosity the observatory owes an important part of its equipment.
1 Abstract of an article by Emil Abderhalden contributed to "Medizinische
| Klinik," 1905, Nos. 1 and 2.
of albumin affords. Furthermore, before a synthesis ON THE ORIGIN OF EOLITHS.'
FOR some time past the question of the existence of ducts formed directly or indirectly by the action of the
1 man in different countries during the Tertiary period, reagent, and here again the field is still untraversed.
based upon flints bearing traces of intentional work, has
occupied Whilst great similarity exists among the constituent parts
the lively attention of “prehistorians” in
numerous parts of the of the molecule, there is a wide difference in the propor
globe--in France, England, tions of each present. The protamines, which are obtained
Germany, Russia, Egypt, India, &c. from the milt (testicles) of fishes, and represent some of
According to the eminent Belgian geologist, M. Rutot, the simplest proteids, contain a large proportion of diamino
who has placed himself at the head of this new moveacids and a small quantity of monoamino-acids; the
ment, we must add to the Palæolithic and Neolithic periods kindred histones, on the other hand, contain a much
a period more ancient still, which has received the name smaller proportion of diamino-acids, but the whole group
of Eolithic. This does not comprise any type of instru
ment chipped into an intentional form, but only natural of monoamino-acids. Through a series of gradations we arrive finally at substances like the proteids of silk and
forms utilised at once. These primitive and rough tools elastin, which are exceptionally rich in monoamino-acids.
have received the name of coliths. It is believed that A comparison of the composition of the individual
they may be recognised by the presence of secondary albumins of food and of the living body leads to the con
work (retouches), that is to say, the removal of small clusion that in digestion deep-seated changes must occur.
flakes in apparently a systematic manner, in accordance Moreover, the view is steadily growing that the albumin
with the needs of the case, or resulting from the wear molecule forms the basis of the two other important groups
of the flint by use.
An enormous quantity of eoliths are found in the of food-stuffs, fats and carbohydrates. The decomposition which certain albumin fragments undergo promises to
Quaternary gravels mixed with instruments of determinate throw new light on the changes which occur in the
| and classic forms. In the gravels of the north of France organism and on the formation of pathological products.
| and of Belgium, M. Rutot has described several industries Granted that the whole series of albumin products
of this kind, the Reutelian, the Mafflian, the Mesonian, were known, their relative arrangement in the molecule
&c. But such objects are equally met with in beds of would still remain to be discovered. Attempts have been
far greater antiquity; the chipped stones of the Oligocene made by using milder reagents to arrest the process of
of Thenay, of the Miocene of Otta and Aurillac, of the degradation at an earlier stage, and so obtain larger mole
Pliocene of England, &c., are eoliths; and here the cular fragments; but great practical difficulties attend the
question becomes far more grave, inasmuch as the adepts method. Nevertheless, by the labours of Fischer and
in the new theories rely on these facts to admit the Bergell a series of no less than four intermediate
existence of man or his immediate precursor during the products between silk and its lowest degradation product
Tertiary period. have been isolated. First, sericoine; secondly, a sub
For twenty years I have not ceased to combat these
theories ; first, because it appeared to me to be imprudent stance containing tyrosine; thirdly, one free from tyrosine; and lastly, a compound which probably belongs to the
to admit the existence of Tertiary man in the absence
of all direct, that is to say, in the absence of osteological dipeptides mentioned below. This study of partial degradation
evidence, and secondly, because I have always been conof the albumin molecule derives increased
vinced that the eoliths are due to natural causes. I had, interest from the behaviour of food albumin in the intestine, which, as Fischer and Abderhalden have shown by
indeed, had occasion to meet with them in all the ancient
alluvia of torrential character in which flints were present. their experiments on dogs, probably undergo neither slight nor yet complete decomposition, but partial hydrolysis.
In Auvergne, and in the Velay, in the course of my explorIt will be an attractive problem
ations in connection with the geological map, I had found to determine how far
them at numerous points in the midst of Oligocene or food albumin may be degraded and yet afford nutriment for the organism.
Miocene beds occupying thousands of square kilometres
in extent. I asked myself how experiments could be If the process of decomposition cannot furnish the necessary information about the structure of the albumin
undertaken to solve the problem of the eoliths, when M.
Laville, of the École des Mines, brought before y. molecule, the reverse process of synthesis may effect the desired object.
Cartailhac, correspondent of the institute, Dr. Obermaier, E. Fischer has with wonderful experimental ingenuity and skill successfully followed this path
and myself some experiments carried on daily, but un
intentionally, in an industrial establishment. of research. The classical memoirs on the polypeptides There are in the Commune of Guerville, near Mantes, have already been referred to in the pages of NATURE. By combining two molecules of amino-acids, the dipeptides,
some works in which cement is made from a mixture of
chalk and plastic clay. The chalk, as usual, contains glycyl-glycine, alanyl-alanine, and leucyl-leucine have been blocks of Aint which are rejected by the diggers. Trucks obtained, as well as mixed dipeptides, e.g. glycyl-alanine, convey the chalk from the quarry to the neighbouring alanyl-glycine, &c. By uniting three and more molecules, works, and deliver it with a certain quantity of clay into tri- and tetra-peptides, &c., are formed. The longest chain
circular vats called délayeurs. These are about 5 metres of this character is pentaglycine, consisting of a group of in diameter and 1.40 metres in depth. The water which five linked glycine molecules.
serves them arrives by pipes, and is discharged through But, as we have seen, the degradation products of
| lateral sieves, carrying with it the finest particles of the albumin are not all monoamino-acids, but include hydroxy mixture of chalk and clay. The water is set in motion and diamino-compounds, and peptides of these substances by a horizontal wheel, above the level of the water, but have also been prepared. These products show an un- from its spokes are suspended harrows (herses) of castmistakable likeness to the natural peptones. They give iron dipping into the water; the speed of rotation of the the usual reactions—the biuret reaction, precipitation by wheel is about 4 metres at its circumference. phosphotungstic acid, and hydrolysis by trypsin. A The water is thus driven into a tumultuous movement. peculiar interest centres round the different behaviour of which carries away not only the particles of chalk and the peptides towards the pancreatic ferment. Whereas
clay, but also a certain number of flints which have glycyl-l-tyrosine and glycyl-l-leucine are easily hydrolysed, escaped the attention of the workmen, and have been glycyl-glycine and glycyl-alanine are unattacked by the thrown into the vats together with the chalk. These ferment.
flints are therefore subjected to blows one against the These experiments, as Fischer has pointed out, are not other which during a period of twenty-nine hours must be only useful in indicating the physiologically important com extremely numerous. When the machinery is stopped, the pounds among the numerous synthetic materials obtained flints remain at the bottom of the vat, where they are by him, but show, by the experience so gained, the possi covered by a coating of chalk. They are taken out of the bility of discovering the different kinds of linking which vats to be washed and placed in heaps, as they are useful exist among the amino-acids of the albumin molecule.
for making concrete. We may anticipate from these investigations some know Now these bits of Aint that while in the vats have ledge of the cause whereby different parts of the molecule Translation of a paper by M. Marcellin Boule in the Congl 'red resist or retard the action of the ferment.
of J. B. C. I the Paris Academy of Sciences (June 26).