« PreviousContinue »
Mathematical Instrument Manufac urer to H.M. Government, Council of
India, Science and Art Department, Ad niralty, &c. Mathematical, Drawing, and Surveying Instruments
of every description,
Illustrated Price List Post Free.
Address :-GREAT TURNSTILE, HOLBORN, LONDON, W.C.
BOILING WATER OR MILK.
LIVING SPECIMENS FOR THE
BEST DRAPER'S INK (DICHROIC)
olvor globator, Spongilla fluviatilis, Conochilus volvox, Melicerta me 21 present Amoeba, Vorticella, Spirogyra, and other types (Animal
Vegetable) for Students. Specimen Tube, with Drawing and Description, e Shilling, Post Free.
T. E. BOLTON,
British Ornithologists' Union, contains-
ater mollusca, with remarks on the haunts and habits of the species; and other matters of general interest to th se w 10 delight in natural history. Reports of the Linnean, Zological, and Entomulgical Societies. Reviews of na ural history books. Occasi nal translation, from foreign zoological journals of important and interesting articles in variour branches of Zoology. There are occasional woodcuts.
SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, & CO., Stationers' Hall Court.
When this Ink is used writing
becomes a pleasure. INK
May be had from all Stationers.
In Jars, bd., 18., & 2s. each.
Street; and to be had of all Stationers.
The following is a list of the Portraits that have appeared in the above Series:-
SIR GEORGE B. AIRY.
J. LOUIS R. AGASSIZ.
JEAN BAPTISTE ANDRÉ DUMAS.
SIR RICHARD OWEN.
JAMES CLERK MAXWELL.
JAMES PRESCOTT JOULE.
SIR C. W. SIEMENS.
JOHN COUCH ADAMS.
JAMES JOSEPH SYLVESTER.
DMITRI IVANOWITSH MENDELEEFF.
THE PORTFOLIO MAY BE HAD SEPARATELY, PRICE 6s.
OFFICE OF “NATURE," 29 BEDFORD STREET, STRAND.
Fourth Edition, pp. 300, 5s. PROTOPLASM: Physical Life and Law.
By LIONEL BEALE, F.R.S. Facts and Arguments against Mechanical Views of Life as accepted by Huxley, Herbert Spencer, Strauss, Tyndall, and many others.
HARRISON & SONS, 59 Pall Mall.
THE VOLCANOES OF JAPAN
PART 1. FUJISAN.
NEWTON'S ELECTRIC LANTERNS,
Sungle. Double and Criple, as made for the RoyalInstitution of Great Britain.
the Royal Dublin Society, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, &c. NEWTON'S NEW PATENT TRIPLE ROTATING
ELECTRIC LANTERN. The Author of “ Optical Projection" says of this Lantern :-"The most complete. convenient, and powerful instrument for scientific demonstration with which I am acquainted."
The Author of "The Book of the Lantern" says :-"The most complete and perfect projection apparatus ever devised.'
ELECTRIC MICROSCOPES FOR PROJECTION.
OPTICAL LANTERNS AND SLIDES
of the Highest Quality for Oil and Limelight. Twelve New Sets of Agricultural Slides for Technical Education-In
Insects, Botany, Roots, Grasses, Manures, Live Stock, &c.
Projection, with Detailed List of slides, 4d.
Catalogue, 144 pages, 6d.
BY SPECIAL APPOINTMENT
FOR SALE: FINE COPIES.
1734, and Supplementa 1692-1734. in 32 Vols. NOVA ACTA I. An Illustrated, Priced, and Descriptive Catalogue of the Instru
DITORUM, 1735 to 1763. and Supplementa 1735-1743. In
6 Vols., 1693-1743 in 3 Vols. ments of Science which are used in teaching and demonstrating In all 51 Volumes, Small 4to, Call Gilt; some Volumes Stained, 22 S.
Volumes badly injured by damp. 45 55. every branch of Physical Science, as well as of the Instruments Sets of this important Work very seldom occur for Sale. It coctas > which are used in Original Research and in the applications of
Papers of the most Eminent Scientific Men of the Day, incladir:
James, and Daniel Bernuilli, Leibnitz, Euler, Hevelius, Huygbco Science to Technical Industries and Pursuits.
Hire, Descartes, Cassin, and many others, and includes many xp
papers of English Scientific Men. PRICE TO NON-CUSTOMERS, 2s. 60. POST FREE
ARCHIMEDIS OPERA, cum Eutocii Ascalonitae met
mentariis. Ex recensione Jos Torelli, cum nova v
tall Copy Folio, Calf Gilt, 1792. 18$.
ASTRONOMICAL REGISTER, Vols. I to 24 (186;
1886), in Numbers, 65 ros. NORTHUMBERLAND ROAD & 29 MOSLEY STREET
A complete Set of this important Work, wanting 4 Numbers of me
TURNER (w.). THE HERBAL OF WILLIAM TURNER, lately 0
sene, Corrected, and Enlarged with the Thirde Parte: also a Boce Address all communications “ Instrument Company
the Bath. A most Excellent and Perfecte Hom:sh Apothecarye, S
1561. Perfect Cpy, several hundred Engravings of Planes, folo Cambridge.”
Panelled Calf, Gilt Leaves, 630. Price List of Scientific Instruments, sent post free. | WILSON (0. S.). THE LARVÆ OF THE BRITISH LEPIDOPTIKA
AND THEIR FOOD-PLANTS, with Life-sized Figures, draw Illustrated Descriptive List sent on receipt of 18. 60. Coloured from Nature. 367 pp. and 40 Plates, Coloured mir
415 Species, with the Plants on which they feed, and 73 Colour The Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company,
Figures of Varieties. Imperial 8vo, Half Morocco, 1880, 25. St. Tibb's Row, Cambridge
HERRICH-SCHAEFFER (C. A w.). SYSTEMATISCHE BEARBEITEN
DER SCHMEITERLINGE VON EUROPA 626 Plates, Uns
Vols. 4to, New Half Calf, 1843-56, 645.
WILLIAM WESLEY & SON, TERN, used by late W. LANT CARPENTER, Esq., Prof. FORBES. New Triple constructed for B. J. MALDEN, Esq., this season. New Oxyhydro
28 Essex strEET, STRAND, LONDON. gen Microscope. Grand Results. Docwra Triple, Prize Medal. Highest Award. Supplied to the Royal Polytechnic Institution, Dr. H. GRATTAN GUINNESS, Madame ADELINA PATTI, &c. Patent Pamphagos Lantern
BOOKS AND PAPERS BY THE LATE Science Lecture Sets. Novelties Cheapest and Best. Elaborately Illus Prof. Sir RICHARD OWEN, F.R.S. trated Catalogue 300 pages, 19.; Postage, 5d. Smaller do., 6d. Pamphlets Free.-HUGHES, SPECIALIST, Brewster House, Mortimer Rood,
Lists on Application, Kingsland, N.
DULAU & CO., 37 Soho Square, London.
TO SCIENCE LECTURERS.
over in silence, as though they were utterly unknown to THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1892.
him. Mr. Dixon states that he is “equally cognizant of
the researches of Weissemann” (sic) and others, which, MR. C. DIXON ON BIRD-MIGRATION.
except that Dr. Weismann, we think, would deny his
having made any, we do not take upon ourselves to gainMigration of Birds: an Attempt to reduce Avian
say, though our older writers are utterly ignored, and we Season-Flight to Law. By Charles Dixon. (London :
have a shrewd suspicion that the anonymous author of Chapman and Hall, 1892.)
the “Disco urse on the Emigration of British Birds," pubMONG prevalent fallacies there are few more mis
| lished at Salisbury more than one hundred years ago, 1 chievous than that which holds a man to be an was, from actual observation, more familiar with the thority on a subject because he has written a book
main facts than Mr. Dixon is-all flourishes about out it. If the subject be one concerning which the
“avian fly-lines ” and “season-flight” notwithstandingientific hold divers opinions, or even hesitate to deliver
and therefore would have been more competent than he opinion at all, so much is to the good of such an - to bring our knowledge of Migration within the limits uthor, for he will be able to pose all the more securely of order or to reduce it to Law.”
the character of a savant-though after all that only Now this is exactly what in our opinion Mr. Dixon has gnifies a "knowing one." If the author can boast of not done. What the “ Law of Migration," of which we ome two, three, or even half-a-dozen works already pub- | read he re and on the title-page, may be it passes us to shed, the fallecy becomes almost insuperable, notwith- , dis cover. The phrase is full of sweetness, but its elucitanding that in zoological works of a popular nature, it dation, if we may say so, fails in light. So also is that S scarcely too hard to say that those who write the most about bringing our knowledge • within the limits of cnow the least. Nevertheless it remains the duty of the
order," though that may be here taken to mean a disserconscientious reviewer to be instant in season with his
tation within the limits of 300 pages or thereabouts protest against this general confounding of author with
containing something on the origin and descent of birds, authority. We have read several of Mr. Charles Dixon's ' a good deal about the precession of the equinoxes and the works, but hitherto we have been so fortunate that we have eccentricity of the earth's orbit, but still more about been able to keep in petto the judgment we have formed glacial epochs. Concerning the “Law of Migration” it of them. It is not given, however, even to reviewers to
is pointless. Let our author at once speak for himselt struggle against fate, and it has been ordained that we | in what seems to be a sort of summary of his faith, should have to criticize his recent volume, the title of though it is long and not reserved to the end of his which may be read above. To the first sentence of his i volume :preface—" There is no branch of Ornithology more popular than that which treats of the Migration of Birds”.
“We will now conclude by following in detail the migra
tion of some single species, say from its Post-Pliocene we offer no strong objection, and rejoice that there is
glacial initiation to the present day, in order clearly to one spot of ground, be it never so small, that we may demonstrate Why the habit [of migration] has been occupy in common; but (woe it is!) that here we must acquired, and How it is practised. part company, for the very next sentence contains a | “We will select the Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa staternent which we would willingly let pass as a harm
grisola) for the purpose. It is one of our best known
summer migrants, and one whose present geographical less exaggeration, were it not intensified by the words
distribution admirably illustrates the phenomenon of which follow-and" after that, the dark"!
Migration. When the Sub-Polar regions of the northern Mr. Dixon's acquaintance with the subject he has hemisphere last enjoyed a warm, almost semi-tropical selected is shown by the beginning of his second para climate--one of the mild periods of the Glacial Epochgraph—"Notwithstanding the immense popularity and
the Spotted Flycatcher inhabited in one unbroken area
the Arctic woodlands from the Atlantic to the Pacific. importance of Migration, strange as it may seem,
Probably it was a resident species becoming partially no work has hitherto been devoted expressly to its
nocturnal during the Polar night ; food was abundant ; discussion." He is therefore not aware of the essays of its conditions of life were easy, and it multiplied apace, Schlegeland of Marcel de Serres, which (whatever we may and became a dominant, firmly established species during now think of them) were in their time “crowned” by the
the thousands of years that it dwelt in this Sub-Polar scientific society that published them, and though he
habitat. So matters continued until the slow precession
of the equinoxes, in conjunction with increasing eccenstraightway proceeds to name the works of Professor
tricity of the earth's orbit, began to have a marked inPalmén and Herr Gätke, it is to complain of them that
fluence on the climate, and gradually the fair forests and they " have only dwelt upon a portion of the subject." the verdant plains were devastated by the ever-increasFar be it from us to say that Mr. Dixon has not read their ing cold. Age after age the Spotted Flycatcher was works, but really there is nothing to show that his know
driven slowly south ; summer after summer grew colder
and shorter, the periods of Polar darkness more severe. ledge of them is more than may be picked up from the
At last matters became so serious that the birds began to extracts which have been translated into English and leave their northern haunts in autumn, probably because publisbed in this country, or that he has read them their food became scarce as the various insects either to any purpose-that of Herr Gätke especially, because, retreated south or began to hibernate. Further and when further on (pp. 181-186) he comes to deal with it further southward these annual journeys had to be taken, more particularly, be regards it as if it were a mere
until the Flycatcher at last found its way during winter
into Africa, Persia, Arabia, India, China, and even the record of captures or reputed captures of birds in Heli
Philippines and the Moluccas. Summer after summer goland, speaking of it with contempt, and the original and the belt of breeding-ground became wider and wider, rather peculiar views on migration of its author are passed and vast numbers of individuals became separated from
the rest of the species by the lofty mountain ranges, the but who knows that it did ? To begin with, we end deserts, and other physical barriers, which would effectu what proof is there of the existence on the earth izë ally assist a forest or woodland haunting species. More
Muscicapa grisola “when the Sub-Polar regions and and more severe became the winters, longer and longer ; the glaciers descended lower and lower, exterminating
northern hemisphere last enjoyed a warm, almos: or driving before them all living things. At last the
tropical climate "? That its ancestors then lived at Spotted Flycatcher, or the form which then represented not doubt, but who can tell us what they wer: this species, came to be divided into two enormous What is meant by its “becoming partially does colonies-an African one and a Chinese one-the indi
during the Polar night”? If so its eyes must sinza viduals of each being completely isolated from each other,
undergone a considerable change, and that would ad summer and winter alike. During the ages that this state of things continued, the Flycatchers became
be unattended by a corresponding change in others segregated into two species, owing primarily to the i the bird's structure. But still it is a pleasing su absence of any intermarriage; the easiern race became that “its conditions were easy” in those mille smaller, the tail shorter, and the breast-streaks broader ; | and we hope Mr. Dixon may be right, though for et or the western race became larger, with a longer tail and
part we cannot help fearing that the struggle for era narrow breast-streaks. It is almost impossible to say
must have already begun. Certainly it set in at iz which form now most closely resembles the ancestral species ; but such are the present differences between
those terrible glaciers drove the poor bird besar the two races known to ornithologists respectively as with the effect- Mr. Dixon, we think, is to blame Muscicapa grisola (the Western and British form) and giving us the geographical details (wbich of courses Muscicupa griseisticta (the Eastern form). Such was
be known to him) of the process-of dividing these the state of things at the close of this Inter-Glacial
or the form which represented it, and may be prec Period. " Then came the gradual immigration north again, as
| (though this is not mentioned) to have by that t:: precession and lower eccentricity initiated a milder
rid of its owls' eyes, “into two enormous colonie climate. Age after age the journey in the spring became
African one and a Chinese one." These were so longer. Certain routes to and fro came to be recognized that inter-marriage between the individuals of the highways of passage ; and so imperceptibly did the portions was impossible, the remarkable consequent northern breeding grounds expand that the birds became
which was that “the Eastern race became smaller regular migrants, looking upon the movement north to higher and cooler latitudes each spring as an undertaking
the Western-a character distinctive indeed of the never to be missed. Warmer and warmer became the
races, the Pygmies excepted, now inhabiting the southern haunts, stimulating and widening migration lands--but with “the tail shorter ”-a contrats Aight to the cooler temperatures prevailing near the character, since the long tail of a Celestial is the edges of the retreating glaciers, where a suitable breeding important part of him. We are also told that climate could only be found. “Let us confine our attention solely to the birds that
almost impossible to say which form now most bred in the British Islands. In the Præ-Glacial ages
resembles the ancestral species," an unexpected comics this area formed part of Continental Europe ; a rich and
of ignorance (the “almost” is good) after so much fertile corner, abounding in insect life, full of haunts the mation, but one to which we see the necessity of te Flycatcher loved. After the banishment of its race However, what is the upshot of all this? And box 1 and the exile of its ancestors in Africa, the northern
“law” illustrated by it ? Setting aside the vagars journey at first did not extend further than the edges of the glaciers on the Mediterranean coasts of Europe. But
which we have just commented, it reads to us as as these disappeared, and a warmer climate began to
merely an amplification of suggestions that were ! prevail in higher latitudes, the annual summer flight was tively and cautiously submitted in these columes increased. Every century the northern breeding range than eighteen years ago (NATURE, vol. x. pp. 416 and had increased, creeping slowly across France ; higher and The partiality of birds for their old homes was thet. higher with the growing vegetation ; nearer and nearer to the haunts of old. During the slow, gradual elevation
(so far as we know) for the first time, pointed out a and submergence that isolated Albion from the rest of
possible factor in establishing migratory habit; 17 Europe during Post-Glacial time, the regular spring
another (and equally for the first time), the growings journey across the sea berame wider and wider ; but with gence of breeding and feeding areas through the the intense and inherited love of home in their tiny causes was briefly and clearly set forth by Mr. WH breasts, the individuals that were born and bred in this
Notwithstanding Mr. Dixon's assertions, he does district never failed to return each year. For 60,000 years or more has this species now crossed the sea, returning
to have advanced the question one bit, but he is every season, not only to our islands, but each pair of whelmed it in a flow of words with a great dea individuals, as long as they live, come back to the exact and apparently always will be, incapable of prout locality of their previous nests. This long journey, and elsewhere throughout this volume we are brave gradually growing longer and longer during thousands of face one of that school of biologists, the growth years, until it is now at least a thousand miles in length,
years, which may be called the Assertive F has grown to be a deeply-rooted custom sanctioned by the practice of ages of experience and need, and looked
respects it is a very nice one to join. You have a upon now as part of the Flycatcher's very existence !” to say what first comes into your head, (pp. 58 62).
goes well. Everybody that differs from you is a
some extent this school resembles that Dogs This, we think, is Mr. Dixon at his best, and we are which a few naturalists here and there still re anxious that our readers should so see him. He goes on inasmuch as the dissentient from either was to call it a “ thoroughly demonstrable instance,” which with the same contempt. The Dogmatists have shows what his idea of a demonstration is. We do not day, but if we look back upon their doings, we deny that all may have happened as he here prescribes, 1 that in most cases they had something to go upor
ot entirely assertion. They were very fond of facts, amply sufficient in every respect is to be found in the ndoubtedly preferred founding their dogmatism varying places of Earth's [sic] orbital eccentricity in comthem-indeed, nothing could be more distasteful bination with the precession of the equinoxes "—this to suppose each dogma had not a sound basis. statement being immediately followed by a passage, the ost cases the worst of which they can even now be application, or even the meaning, of which is not easy to :d is that the facts were often above their compre understand :in, or were understood in the wrong sense. But
“That these majestic phenomena are in any conceivmen would have scorned the grounding of their able way connected with the migratory movements of is upon imagination. They were perfectly aware i birds seems utterly impossible ; but in them the habit it had not then been so neatly put) that “Imagina has its root; and the simple season-flight of a Cuckoo or i the fire of Discovery: the best of servants though
a Nightingale to and fro between the shores of Africa and orst of masters." Now the Assertive school, of which
England is inseparably and directly connected with the
erratic movement of a planet in its orbit ; nay, with the s country Mr. Dixon, if he was not the joint-invent
constitution of a universe !" ay be looked upon as a chief leader, rests nearly all agination. It matters little whether there is reason
This note of admiration is our author's own : far be it d their assertions or not, and generally, we regret to
from us to impair its influence. here is none. Conjectures follow upon conjectures
Though we have confined our remarks to the earlier are put forward for the most part as if they were part of Mr. Dixon's book, we have already devoted a good is deductions from observation. It is not so many
deal of space to him. There is, however, another point s since some words, that seem very applicable here
on which we must say a few words. He has thrown out addressed to a scientific audience :
a direct challenge to NATURE, and we should be sorry ve have had enough of the untrained writer of not to meet it. That he believes in migration the whole 's, the jerry-builder of unfounded hypotheses whose
volume shows; but there is yet left in his mind a cranny cumber our field of work." I
| wherein lurks what we may perhaps call a “pious Dixon, with his long string of previous books, mav | opinion” in favour of torpidity—as a luxury in which r to being termed a writer of this kind; but he a lazy bird may occasionally indulge, even though that nly needs to be taught the meaning of the word bird may be one possessing powers of flight far beyond able" and its derivatives. When he has learned it the average. He is very severe on an anonymous ps he will use it in its fit sense. With him, at reviewer in these columns in that the “ Theory," we uise nt, it is in many cases to be rendered “possible,” Mr. Dixon's word, of Torpidity “was subjected by him in not a few impossible would be the true equiv- | to the bitterest ridicule and denounced as folly." There
Now according to all etymologists, and the harm- | upon he favours us (pp. 12, 13) with another version Irudges known as dictionary-makers, “probable” | (substantially, let us say at once, the same as the les something that can be proved. Any reader of
| original, but with fewer details) of the story told by the ge intellect will be able to calculate how seldom this Duke of Argyll in these pages (NATURE, vol. xv. pp. 527, py word is correctly used by Mr. Dixon. It has 528) to say nothing of some other observations, quite been a custom in certain fevers to affix an ice-cap irrelevant, as it seems to us, communicated by his Grace
patient's head whereby the burning brow is cooled, to him. But further than this, he cites as an additional ome temporary relief afforded ; but of late years, as witness in defence of the impeached “ Theory," Dr.
well all know, there has sprung up a small group Elliott Coues, who is said to give it “all the support of his iters to whom ice on the brain, instead of being a authority as an ornithologist of the highest eminence." ng remedy, is a direct incentive to acts and dicts Now we have a great respect for that gentleman, but his ring upon lunacy. On behalf of the Glacial Epoch, | vast reputation fails to hypnotize us, and such support ost-Pliocene Glacial Epoch, to be very particular, | as he gave has already been the subject of comment in ist protest against its being constantly paraded as these pages (NATURE, vol. xx. p. 2). He will hardly be eatest event in the history of the globe, to which comforted to learn that the supposition there made has momentous effects all others must give place. That been amply confirmed of late by Mr. Hartert, who informs luced considerable changes and especially in the us (Cat. B. Brit. Mus. vol. xvi. p. 481) that the British phical distribution of plants and animals none can | Museum contains five specimens of Chætura pelagica from but that it is accountable for all that Mr. Dixon Central America, beside the one before noticed from Mexico its charge is hardly likely, and is most decidedly --proving that its range is much about what might have robable,” since means of proof are wanting. But been expected. Thus all the argument based on Dr. ixon, with others of the Assertive school, is not con Coues's statement, that this species was “not known to in his statements, and is apt to forget on one page winter anywhere out of the United States, nor is it found
has written on a preceding one. For instance, anywhere in them at that season,” falls to the ground, as told (p. 33) that “ From the commencement of this we are sure that gentleman will readily admit. We Epoch, the Migration of birds, as we see it at the allow that it has been very naughty of naturalists if they time, was probably initiated”; and yet, only a few did prepare this pitfall for Mr. Dixon ; but that is not 'ther on, our author declares “ that we do not re our business, and we cannot imagine they did it intenren the occurrence of one Glacial Epoch to account tionally. It is not unlikely that the Chimney-Swift flew Migration of birds,” and (p. 34) that “such a cause out of shot, or too fast for them to bring it down, but * Association for the Advancement of Science. Edinburgh, 1892.
they bave at last succeeded in “grassing” their bird, [ the President of Section H (NATURE, vol. xlvi. p. 379). with a result so disastrous to the “ Theory." One chance