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pologists, to whom it will be of great service in methodizing tion. This same plate maps out the immense dista the vast and growing information with which they have whose natives have a myth of a deluge, the uphear to deal. This application of graphical method, it is true, | the earth, &c., but it cannot distinguish in North has difficulties which even the greatest skill cannot | South America, forinstance, between regions where dere altogether overcome, but Prof. Gerland may well be myths are old, and those where they were introduced content with his success in making evident at a glance Jesuits a few generations ago. Plate IV., mapping the characteristics of mankind, seen from many points regions liable to special diseases, as malarious lere of view. Their distribution over the earth, as thus made pestilence, cholera, yaws, &c., contains in a condena evident, inay often lead straight on into theories of form a vast coilection of knowledge, bearing on amer origin. The fifteen plates contain nearly fifty maps, each pological arguments as to the relation of race to parec suggesting a principle, or showing where there is room constitution, and thus opening into one of the ce for one.

problems of the history of man. Plate V. classes oz. z Plate I. represents on two planiglobes the classifi- varieties of human food, clothing, dwellings and ot cation of human races as to skin and hair. Prof. tions. Plate VI. and onward map out the distrid Gerland does not even combine these two characteristics of nations and tribes at different periods as knor: and points out in his introductory remarks that any history, Plate XIV. being devoted to the distributor attempt to map out man into defined physical races | languages over the world. is impossible, for such division does not exist in Anthropologists who keep this atlas at hand as a la nature. Anthropologists of course know this, but in their work will by practice find out its merits a care is not always taken to make it clear that race- defects. The representation of the geographical distra types are not so much complete realities as statistical tion of arts and customs has long been a feature of abstractions from partial realities, the various measurable Pitt-Rivers Museum, where so far as possible each ses characters of skull, limbs, complexion, hair-form, &c., co in- | illustrating development and transmission of cats bining and blending too intricately for absolute definition. | is accompanied by a small world-map coloured to s I was struck by meeting lately in a popular book with a the parts of the world it occupies. It is of ce confident mention of the four distinct Aryan race-types, impossible to Prof. Gerland to work in such dez and it occurred to me that it would bring the statement | involving as it would do hundreds of separate ca. down to its bearings to put one of Prof. Gerland's plani- | He has to indicate his distributions on a modes globes before the author, desiring him to define and map number of plates and mostly uses planiglobes, a out these varieties of mankind. Even in Gerland's jection which, after being neglected for generatia broad general distinctions of complexion and hair, an will, in its improved modern arrangement, CETTET anthropologist not thoroughly special on the anatomical come into more general favour. On these, by ingen side may find novelty and difficulty. The opinion that devices of tinted patches and streaks, combined all native Americans are similar as to race is here strongly | lines and dots, he succeeds in giving a more geza and probably with reason modified by the native Brazil survey of man and civilization than our students harees ians being separated on the complexion-map from other had in their hands before. EDWARD B. TYLE peoples of North and South America, and placed to match the Tartars and Chinese. What amount of evidence there is for placing the Berbers of North Africa under the same

OUR BOOK SHELF. map-colour seems not so clear, but it is to be noticed that the same tint includes several more or less distinct

Castorologia; or, The History and Traditions of the late grades in Broca's scale. An attempt is even made to

adian Beaver. By Horace Martin, F.Z.S. (Lonim

Stanford, 1892.) separate the friz-haired negroids into classes according to the arrangement of their corkscrew-tufts of hair on the

“ BEAVER” was once the most important fur in = skin. Plate III., in two maps, classifies man according to

world. In former days the pelt of this Rodent was

standard by which all barter in the Dominion of (182his religious beliefs and customs, and here the prevalence

| was regulated, and “beaver” passed as curreat **of special rites offers instructive generalizations. Thus the throughout the whole of North America. Even not American line which limits the smoking of tobacco as a quantity of beaver skins brought to England is conse religious ceremony, indicates the spread of this peculiar

able. Mr. Poland, in his “Fur-bearing Animals rite from some religious centre over an enormous area.

us that upwards of 63,000 beaver skins were sold

Hudson's Bay Company in 1891. But “ beaver No doubt it is rooted in nature, from the fact that its

formerly required a much larger supply than this, . narcotic ecstasy brought the priest into direct visionary 1743 it is said that 127,000 beaver-skins were imp contact with the spirit-world. But none the less, it proves into La Rochelle alone. Our “top” hats are now the religions of savage tribes, separated by great distances of silk, and beaver has become a fur of secona on the map, to be bound together by historical con

importance. nexion. Not less remarkable is the compactness of the

Besides the fur of the beaver many other pour

interest attached to this animal will be found dis districts of Eastern Asia and the opposite Continent of

| more or less completely in Mr. Martin's volume America, where masks are used, appirently originally before its fur was required for hats castoreum or with religious significance Here again it is evident that -a substance found in two large glands, situate we have to do not merely with independent growth from the

the base of the beaver's tail-was a much-valued human mind, but in some way with historical transmission.

in medicine, as spoken of by Hippocrates and

Even at the present time its use is by no mea It must be remembered in using these maps, that they bind doned, and the “crude article” is “ still sold at ou their author only to fact, and not to theoretical interpreta- ' stores” at prices varying "from eight to ten


old at our hos

ind.” But in past centuries castoreum was considered receive justice in a separate atlas. In this we heartily bvereign remedy for every kind of disease. Many agree, and trust that such an atlas will soon be forthusing details on this part of the subject are given by coining. • Martin, mostly extracted from the “ Castoroligia " The author's large following of readers will no doubt Johannes Francus, published in 1685. The wisdom of welcome the new corner, but we must express regret that lomon himself is attributed by this learned author to astronomical photographs are not more fully represented. : virtues of the beaver. To acquire it, it is only neces It would be interesting, for example, to reproduce a series y " to wear a hat of beaver's skin, to rub the head and | of photographs of typical nebulæ, all of which, we believe, ne with that animal's oil, and to take twice a year the | are now available. A plate showing the a lvantages of ight of a yold crown piece of castoreum."

photography in the delineation of stars would also add At the end of his volume Mr. Martin places a short to the interest of the atlas. count by Mr. C. V. Riley, the well-known American omologist, of Platypsillus castoris, a parasite on the iver, and one of the most remarkable among the many raordinary forms of parasitic insects. Mr. Riley cor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. tly refers this creature to the coleoptera, although other turalists, and, amongst others, its discoverer, Ritsema,

[The Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions ex• ve expressed different views on this point He omirs,

pressed by his correspondents. Neither can he undertake wever, to refer to the excellent account of Platypsillus

to return, or to correspond with the writers of, rejected

manuscripts intended for this or any other part of NATURE, storis, written by the late John Leconte, and published the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London

No notice is taken of anonymous communications.] 11872. Dr. Leconte has here shown that it is necessary

Vector Analysis. make a special fainily (Platy psillidæ) for the reception this curious parasite, but that it must be unquestion

I FANCIED that, in reply to the voluminous letters of Prof.

Willard Gibbs (Nature, xliii. 511 ; xliv. 79), I had said in a »ly referred to the coleoptera.

few words all that is requisite (ii, ind-ed anything be requisite) On account of these and other peculiarities the beaver

to show the necessary impotence, as well as the inevita'ble un. unquestionably an animal of great general interest, and wieldiness, of every systein ol (so-called) Vector Analysis which r. Martin has done well to devote a volume to what is does not recognize as its most importani fea ure the product (or dently his favourite theme. There is, we must allow, the quotient) of two vectors :-i.e. a Quaternion. tle, if anything, original in it, and the statements on A recent perusal of the first four pages of a memoir by Mr. ientific points cannot always be implicitly depended 0. Heaviside (Phil. Trans. 1892) :-for so far only could I on. But the author has brought together a large amount | go:- has dispelled the illusion. For he calls the correspondinformation on the subject, and his book is a popularly

ence just spoken of a “raiher one-sided discussion":-a truly rillen ” and “Tully illustrated, though we cannot quite

Delphic delivery :-cleared up, however, by what follows it. I gree to his claims to have produced an “exhaustive

particularly desired to read the memoir (which the Author had

kindly seni me) as I hoped to learn from it something new in onograph."

Electrodynamics. But, on the híth page, I met ihe check-taker 11 Atlas of Astronomy. By Sir Robert Stawell Ball,

as it were :--and found that I must pay before I could go

further. LL.D., F.R.S.

I found that I should not only have to unlearn Qua(London: George Philip and Son,

ternions (in whose dislavour much is said) but also to learn a 1892.)

new and most uncouth parody of notations long familiar to me; NEW book by Sir Robert Ball is always a matter of so I had to relinquish the attempt. In the last of the four pages terest, but the present one naturally lacks the usual of my progress, I had found that Mr. Heavisiile (though, as baracieristics. It is described as “a series of 72 plates above stated, he has a system of his own) is an admirer of Prof. Eith introduction and index.” In addition to monthly

Gibbs' system, to such an extent at least that he thinks “his ad general maps of the stars, the atlas reproduces

treatment of the linear vector operator specially deserving of

| norice." ctures of the sun, moon, planets, and comets, and

There I was content to leave the matter.

But Mr. Heaviside has just published (Electrician, 9/12/92) ontains diagrams illustrating their motions and dimen

an elaborate attack on Quaternions, of a kind wnich is calcu. ons. As the book is chiefly meant to be a companion | lated to do real injury to beginners. In answer to his remarks, e more general works, the introductory matter is pur- in which he con inues to point to me as the persistent advocate osely brief, but still it has several features of interest. of a system which all right-mi det physicists should avoid, I pecial attention may be drawn to the excellent de would simply refer him (and his readers, if there be such) to a cription of a simple graphical method of determining the brief Address which I gave a short time ag to the Pnysical -bit of a binary star.

Society of Edinburgh University (Phil. Mag. Jan. 1890). To the serious student who may possess a small tele One or two sentences, alone, I will quote here :ope the new atlas will be very useful. Here he may

“if we can find a language which secures, to an unparalleled arn how to determine the positions of sun spots, how

extent, compactness and elegance, and at the same time is find the places occupied by the various planets, and

transcendently expressive-bearing its full meaning on its face nat objects are most likely to be within reach of his

it is surely foolish, at least, not to make habitual uie of it."

“For Hamilton) the most complex trains of formulæ, of the strument. Those interested in selenography will derive

most artificial kind, had no secrets :-he was one of the very few uch assistance from the twelve plates showing the moon

who could afford to dispense with simplifications : yet, when he different phases, which have been specially drawn by had tried quaternions, he threw over all other methods in their r. E ger, each being accompanied by an index map. favour, devoting almost exclusively to their development the last ne can only wonder, however, that some of the recent twenty years of an exceedingly active life.” cellent photographs of the moon have not been pressed The main object, however, of my pre-ent letter, is to call o the service.

attention to a paper by Dr. Knoti, recenıly read before the The star maps, on the whole, are excellent, and our Royal Society of Edinburgh. Dr. Knott has actually had the ly complaint is of the excessive density of the Milky courage to read the pamphlets of Gibbs and Heaviside ; and, ay, which, in some parts of the maps, is almost sufficient

alter an arduous journey through these trackless jungles, has obliterate the names and numbers of the stars. The

emerged a more resolute supporter of Quateroioni than when

he entered. He has revealed the (from me at least) hitherto enthly maps will be particularly useful to those who

hidden mysteries of the Dyadic, and of Prof. Gibbs' strange just learning the constellations, a new feature being

symhols Pot, Lap, Max, New, &c. The first turns out to be only elt indicating the track of the planets.

the linear and vector function ; and the others are merely more Spectroscopic astronomy is entirely omitted, the author

or less distressing symptoms characteristic of imperfect digestion ng of opinion that this great branch of work can only or assimilation of p. And when, at my request, Dr. Koott translated into intelligible form the various terms of one of the appear to me to offer a promising field of work, and have al less formidable formula of Mr. Heaviside's memoir, I was regretted that at this observatory we have not the men surprized to find two old and very unpretending friends undertaking the investigation, and if Mr. Stromeyer's leiter masquerading in one person like a pantomime Blunderbore. no other effect than to bring the subject once more forex In one of his Avatars the monster contains, besides the enclos. | will have done good service, but I should like to point out ing brackets, no fewer than 24 letters, 12 suffixes, 3 points, and the second of the stars selected by him ought on no accor 5 signs! When he next appears he has still the brackets to be taken as a test of the feasibility of the method, since hold him together, but although he has now only 18 letters, he accurate discussion of the conditions shows that unless tha se makes up his full tale of 44 (or 46) symbols ; for he has 9 exceptionally remote system the velocity must be very -suffixes, 3 indices, 3 points, 5 signs, and 3 pairs of parentheses! | indeed. For instance, assuming Johnson's parallar, viz o's I used to know him as compounded of 14 separate marks only, the relative velocity of the components amounted last year: viz.:- V Dr+ 2500, Sor, :—but, unless I had required to only 0.6 miles per second. dissect him, I should never have put him in anything resembling In the northern hemisphere the most favourably sites his new guise.

binaries are 70 Ophiuchi, -Ursæ Majoris, and, if Peters com Dr. Knoit's paper is, throughout, interesting and instruc- represents the real motion of the pair, 61 Cygoi; while tri tive :--it is a complete exposure of the i retensions and defects southern hemisphere special attention ought to be directed of the (so-called) Vector Systems. “Wer diesen Schleier hebt a-Centauri and .Coronæ Australis. soll Wahrheit schauen !” I find it difficult to decide whether In Mr. Gore's Catalogue, referred to above, will be fords the impression its revelations have left on me is that of mere the materials for determining when to observe any known a amused disappointment, or of mingled astonishment and pity. most favourably in this re«pect, and for deducing its perz.

P. G. Tait. from the measures obtained, and it ought to be borne in max Edinburgh, 24/12/92.

before letting the subject sink back once more into oblie! that, other things being equal, this method is most liker

succeed in the case of the most distant systems, whert : Measurement of Distances of Binary Stars.

parallax is so small that the ordinary trigonometrical mes With reference to Mr. C. E. Stromeyer's letter on the above necessarily fails us, and that when the micrometer, the hea subject, which appeared on p. 199, it may be of interest to point / meler, and the stellar photograph break down, the spectroscom out that his plan of determining the distance of a binary star is

will sound the further depths with ever-increasing facility by no means a new one.

Dunsink Observatory, co. Dublin. ARTHUR A. RAMLET The method was, I think, first suggested by Mr. Fox Talbot December 30. at the Edinburgh meeting of the British Association in 1871 ; but the mere idea was sufficiently obvious as soon as the pos. -sibility of determining velocities by the spectroscope had been

December Meteors (Geminids). demonstrated by Dr. Huggins.

These meteors were moderately abundant on the nigd The first discussion of the geometrical conditions of the December 12, which appears to have been a very favourable : problem was given by Prof. C. Niven in the Monthly Notices, I in regard to weather. The chief radiant point was observe!" vol. xxxiv, No. 7, where he exhibits the relation connecting the normal position very close to a Geminorum, and there wa the parallax, the relative velocity, and the elements of the orbit strong contemporary shower from a centre ea-t of B Geminorat of a double star, and computes the value of the product (+V) ! At roh. tom. December 12, a fireball estimated to be tæe of the parallax and velocity for a small number of binary | as brilliant as Venus was observed by Mr. Booth at Leeds systems.

moved rather slowly from 150° +430 to 188° +41°, and dinila In a paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish into two pieces at the finish. Academy for May, 1886, I examined the same question from a Mr. Wm. Burrows, of Small Lane, Ormskirk, writes be slightly different point of view, being at the time unaware of i with reference to a meteorite which be observed to fall ata Prof. Niven's paper, and was led to similar results. An epitome hour on the same night. He says the time was 0.52 LP of this paper was published in your Astronomical Column, (December 13), and refers to the phenomenon as followvol. xxxiv. p. 206. Fiom the results obtained it appeared “Seeing the meteor was coming to the earth I crossed the me that, all things considered, y.Corona Australis and a-Centauri to where it appeared to be falling, and it fell about two yes were the most likely binaries to yield to this method of eliciting from me. When it struck the earth it made a noise like the secret of their parallax, while a-Geminorum, one of the stars report of a gun; it also went black instantly. While descend selected by Mr. Stromeyer, was shown to be most unfavourable it had a tail of fire about a foot long. It is 1 inch in dieser on accouni of the situation of its orbit.

one way, and 11 inch another, and one inch thick." In the Monthly Notices for March, 1890, I again drew atten Mr. Burrows sends drawings of the object, and it being 1 tion to the subject in view of the accuracy of the results ob. in his possession it is hoped the matter may be suitably in tained by the photographic method in the hands of Prof. gated. Should it prove a veritable meteorite one interesting Pickering and Prof. Vogel. In this paper I gave an extended cumstance in connection with it will be that its descent 300 list of binaries with the usual geometrical and dynamical place concurrently witb the shower of Geminids. elements, and in addition the two elements A and B on which It is significant that December 9-13 constitutes a well-ceme the relative velocity depends. I also gave the greatest value i äroliiic epoch, rendere i memorable ny the fail at Woli to which TV can attain in each case and the velocity to be expected | tage, Thwing, Yorkshire, on December 13, 1795, and by the in the case of those stars whose parallaxes had been de | others, such as that at Mässing, Bavaria, December 13, 180 termined.

Weston, Connecticut, U.S.A., December 14, 1807; 2t Wirbes Again in Mr. J. E. Gore's valuable catalogue of Binary Star Finland, December 13, 1813 ; at Ausson, France, Dere. Orbits, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy | 9, 1858 ; at Baudong, Java, December 1o, 1871, &c. for June, 1890, columns 18 and 19 are devoted to the constants Bristol, January 1.

W. F. DENNTA A and B computed from my formulæ (which I may say ought more properly to be called Prof. Niven's formulæ on account of the priority of his paper) for eighty-one different orbits.

The Earth's Age. The subject has also been discussed by Miss Clerke in “The As Dr. Wallace (Nature, p. 175) trusts" that on the System of the Stars,” pp. 199–201, where references to most of | consideration " I shall “ admit that" my “objection is in faue the original publications will be found.

it is evident that I have failed to make clear to him my argia I may perhaps add that the inverse problem of determining showing that his data do not warrant his conclusion. the elements of the orbit from spectroscopic observations alone | He overlooks the fact that a thickness of 177,200 has also been investigated by me in the Monthly Notices, vol. li. sedimentary rocks is, standing alone, a perfectly ! No. 5, where I have deduced the principal elements of the orbit quantity; to make it definite it must have a definite are of B.Auriga, a spectroscopic double which no telescope can As he mentions no area for it we are justified in assume divide.

he means the land area of the globe, whereas his catu I have been disappointed that astronomers engaged on spec. 1 is made as though area were not of the essence of the pro troscopic determinations of stellar velocities have not devoted in short, as if the formation of a pile of sediment 177.* more attention to observations of already known binaries, which thick, of no matter what area, were the problem.

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Sir A. Geikie's calculation and all other similar ones with much thicker than the average thickness of the denuded layer, ch I am acquainted, the thickness of the sedimentary rocks and the ratio of the area of denudation to the area of deposition, acitly assumed to be their thickness all over the land area of which I have estimated at 19 10 1, gives their proportionate globe.

thickness. If Mr. Hobson still mainiains that he is right, he Dr. Wallace's calculation leads to the absurd result that con- | can only prove it by adducing evidence that every component of ents are growing nineteen times as fast as materials are the series of sedimentary rocks has once covered ihe whole landduced to supply their growth.

surface of the globe ; not by assuming that it has done so, and Leaving the question of the conclusions to which Dr. Wal- characterizing the teaching of all geologists to the contrary as e's data logically lead, I may say that I am not responsible, absurd.

ALFRED R. WALLACE. do not hold him to be responsible, for the absurd theory to the thickness of sedimentary rocks on which they are

Ancient Ice Ages. n order to arrive at a scientifically accurate result, what we

MR. REade in his letter (Nature, p. 174) refers to the uire to know is the present actual thickness in every part of striations on the pebbles forming the conglomerates at Abberley world, plus all the thickness which has previously existed in,

and the Clent Hills. since been denuded away from, every area. The existing

Following the late Sir Andrew Ramsay, he considers the ckness in geologically explored areas can perhaps be ascer

deposits to be of glacial origin, but goes further than that disned within certain limits of error from gevlogical maps and

tinguished geologist in citing them as proof of a former ice moirs. For instance where the surface consists of Torridon age. ndstone overlying Arcbæan gneiss of igneous origin, the

It is but reasonable to suppose that glaciers existed in past ckness of sedinentary rock is that of the Torridon Sandstone | ages in places where the conditions-such as high altitude and ly, if we assume that the gneiss there is part of the metamor. abundant precipitation—were savourable. osed original crust of the earth, for the existence of which Before, however, the existence of a former glacial period can bsenbusch has recently argued.

be established, we must have evidence of contemporaneous It is easily deinonstrable, first, that in many places the deposits of undoubtedly glacial origin, and extending over wideisting thickness of each formation, where undenuded, is far | spread areas-say half a hemisphere.

J. LOMAS. om being the maximum thickness, and, secondly, from the University College, Liverpool, December 31. inning out in some directions, or merging, near the old shorene, into conglomerates, that some formations were never de. ysited over certain areas ; indeed, the very existence of a

Printing Mathematics. dimentary deposit necessarily implies that of land undergoing The use of the solidus in printing fractions has been advocated Dudation and not receiving deposit, although it may well be by authorities of such weight that it seems almost a heresy to Jubted whether the land area was always nineteen times the call it into question. Yet I venture to think that there is a ea receiving deposit.

good deal to be said against it. In such matters the course Reasoning from the deposits preserved as to those removed by | preferred by mathematical writers and their printers is apt to nudation, it is highly improbable that any considerable area take precedence over that which is most convenient for the great rer received either the complete series of deposits, or on the body of those who will read their work. It is tacitly assumed rerage anything like the maximum thickness of the deposits it by those who prefer this notation that the getting of mathemactually received. In addition to this, some formations usually tical formulæ into line with ordinary printing is an unmixed onsidered to be successive may be really contemporaneous, advantage. No doubt it is easier to set up the work in type

that the figures representing maximum thicknesses usually thus, but with the consequent rapidity and cheapness of printing ken in calculating the earth's age are probably far above the the advantage ends. Most people will agree that it is much uth for the purpose in question.

pleasanier to read a mathematical book in which the letterpress The immense labour involved in calculating the existing is well spaced, so that the formulæ stand out clearly from the ickness of sedimentary rocks in each area, and the thick: explanatory language, than one in'which the two run together ess which there is any reasonable ground for supposing to | in an unbroken stream: just as a book divided into paragraphs ave been at any time denuded from that area, as well as is more readable than one which is not. The old style is more e uncertainty of the results, has probably deterred geologists restful to the mind and eye, and one can more readily pick out om attempting the task, especially as large areas are very im. the salient features of the demonstration. erfectly known.

BERNARD HOBSON. Ano her aspect of the question seems to me more important. Tapion Elms, Sheffield, December 24.

In making any calculation mentally it is much easier to visualize fractions, more especially if complicated, as written in the

ordinary way than as written with the new-fashioned notation. The first part of Mr. Hobson's letter alone requires notice | The component parts of the mental picture are imagined as om me, as the latter part characterizes as absurd the views of spread over a plane instead of being arranged along a line, and ose eminent geologists who have estimated the total thickness can be thought of separately with less confusion. From a

the sedimentary rocks, and seems to assume that such similar point of view it will be admitted that it is inconvenient iters as the late Dr. Croll and Sir Andrew Ramsay overlooked to write mathematical expressions in one form and to print them every obvious considerations he sets forth.

in another. As regards myself, he reiterates the statement that when Then, again, I doubt whether the assumption that the solidus blogists bave estimated the total thickness of the sedimentary notation conduces to accuracy is justified. 'No doubt the printer ks at 177,200 feet, they mean that this amount of sediment makes fewer original errors ; bui whereas with the old notation

covered the whole land surface of she globe ; that, for his frequent glaring errors are more readily detected by the proofEmple, the coal measures, the lias, the chalk, the greensand, reader (or, if missed by him, by the ordinary reader), with the

London clay, &c., &c., were each deposited over the whole new notation the misplacement or omission of a solidus is, from the continents, since it is by adding together the thicknesses the simplicity of the error, likely to be overlooked. In general, hese and all other strata that the figure 177,200 feet (equal

no one will be the poorer if a little more trouble is taken with 53 miles) has been oblained.

the printing, and a little more paper is used for the book. 1r. Hobson concludes with what he seems to think is a The symbol / has advantages over its equivalent ; , and to ructio ad absurdum ;-"Dr. Wallace's calculation leads to the its restricted use, such as is made by Sir G. Stokes, one can urd result that continents are growing nineteen times as fast

hardly object ; it matters little how such expressions as a/b or materials are produced to supply their growth.”

dy/dx are printed. But it is the thin end of the wedge; and one Fut the apparent absurity arises from the absence of any

is under a debt of gratitude to Mr. Cassie for showing, in your nition of the "growth of continents," and also from sup

issue of November 3, to what it may lead. May it be a long time Lng that the growth of continents is the problem under dis before we have to learn to substitute for the harmless expression, ion. The question is, as to the growth in thickness, of sedi.

is its newest equivalent, 101 /21/11d +(\31! tary deposits such as those which form the geological series, cld + e) se deposits are each laid down on an area very much smaller I trust ihat no one will interpret the final note of exclamation asthe whole surface of the continent from the denudation of a factorial symbol.

M. J. JACKSON. ch they are formed. They are therefore necessarily very | D. I. Sind College, Karachi, November 23.


The Teaching of Botany.

Amen-t; but in later copies of the table the symbol. I do not think there is at present any book in English giving changed to that of Sirius. This, then, looks like. prac'ical instructions for experiments in Physiological Butany. change of cult depending upon the introduction of a There is, however, an excellent book of this kind in German, star-that is, a star indicating by its heliacal rising the Dr. W. Detmer's “ Das pranzen-physiologische Prakt.kum,"

Nile rise after the one first used had become useleg fr published by Gustav Fischer, Jena, 1888. This, no doubt, con

such a purpose. tains all that your correspondent “A. H.” (Nature, ante,

I have said that the Ramesseum month list is proba P. 151) requires, though it is perhaps somewhat more advanced than is necessary for school teaching. D. H. SCOTT.

the oldest one we have. It is considered by sotne Old Palace, Richmond, Surrey.

date only from Ramses II., and to indicate a fixed yes. such, however, is not Krall's opinion.' He writes:

"The latest investigations of Dümicben show that 1 THE ORIGIN OF THE YEAR.1

calendar of Medinet- Abu is only a copy of the origina. composed under Ramses II. about 120 years before...

“But the true original of the calendar of Medinet-Al THE i reformation of the Egyptian calendar, to be

does not even date from the time of Ramses II. Ite 1 gathered, as I suggested in my last article, from

known to every Egyptologist how little the time of the the decree of Tanis, is not, however, the point to which

Ramessids produced what was truly original, how mad reference is generally made in connection with the

just this time restricted itself to a reproduction of the decree. The attempt recorded by it to get rid of the

traditions of previous generations. In the calendar vague year is generally dwelt on.

Medinet-Abu we have (p. 48) not a fixed year institute Although the system of reckoning which was based on

under Ramses II., but the normal year of the old time the the vague year had advantages with which it has not been

vague year, as it was, to use Dschewbari's words quote sufficiently credited, undoubtedly it had its drawbacks.

above (p. 852), in the first year of its institution, the yeu The tetramenes, with their special symbolism of flood,

as it was before the Egyptians had made two unwelcott seed, and harvest time, had apparently all meant each in

observations : First, that the year of 365 days did on turn; however, the meanings of the signs were changed, the

correspond to the reality, but shifted by one day in focs “winter season” occurred in this way in the height of sum

years with regard to the seasons; secondly-which mer, the sowing time” when the whole land was inundated,

course took a much longer time- that the rising of Sus and there was no land to plant, and so on. Each festival,

ceased to coincide with the beginning of the Nile fred too, swept through the year. Still, it is quite certain that

“We are led to the same conclusion by a considen information was given by the priests each year in advance,

tion of the festivals given in the calendar of Medinet-Abu so that agriculture did not suffer ; for if this had not been

They are almost without exception the festivals who done, the system, instead of dying hard, as it did, would

we have found in our previous investigation of the have been abolished thousands of years before.

calendars of Esne and Edlu to be attacbed to the same Before I proceed to state shortly what happened with

days. We know already the Vaya festival of the 17th regard to the fixing of the year, it will be convenient here

and 18th Thoth, the festival of Hermes of the to: to state a suggestion that has occurred to me, on astro

Thoth, the great feast of Amen beginning on the Ice nomical grounds, with regard to the initial change of

Paophi, the Osiris festivals of the last decade of Chowk

and that of the coronation of Horuz on the ist Tibi. It is to be noted that in the old tables of the months, in

“ Festivals somehow differing from the ancient tradstead of Sirius leading the year, we have Texi with the two

tions, and general usage are unknown in the calendar a eathers of Amen. In later times this is changed to Sirius.

Medinet- Abu, and it is just such festivals which bale I believe it is generally acknowledged that the month

enabled us to trace fixed years in the calendars of Edfu tables at the Ramesseum is the oldest one we have ;

and Esne. there is a variant at Edfu. They both run as follows,

“We are as little justified in considering the myıb: and no doubt they had their origin when a ist Thoth

logico-astronomical representations and inscriptione ca coincided with an heliacal rising and Nile food.

the graves of the time of the Ramessids as founded on:

fixed year, as we can do this in the case of the MedinetEgyptian Tropical


Abu calendar. In this the astronomical element of the month.

calendar is quite overgrown by the mythological. Not

only was the daily and yearly course of the sun a mor. Thoth June-July Texi

important event for the Egyptian astronomer, but the July-Aug. Ptah (Ptah-res

priest also had in his sacred books many mythologice! 1 aneb-) Ptah (Menx)

records concerning the god Rä, which had to be take Athyr Aug.-Sep. Hathor

into account in these representations. The mytholngical Choiak Sep.-Oci. Paxt


ideas dated from the oldest periods of Egyptian history: Tybi Oct.-Vov.' Min

Set but

we shall, therefore, be obliged for their explanation ne Mechir Nov.-Dec. Jackal (rekh-ur) Hippopotamus to remain in the 13th or 141h century before Christ,

(rek hur)

but to ascend into previous centuries; I should idine Phamenoth Dec.- Jan. 1 (rekḥ Hippopotamus

about the middle of the fourth millennium before Christ. netches)

(rekh-netches) Pharmuthi Jan. -Feb. Rennuti


that is the time at which the true original of the Meatinet Pachon Feb.-Mar. xensu

Abu calendar was framed. Further we must in these

xensu Payni Mar.-Ap. Horus (xonti) Horus (Hor-xent

mythological and astronomical representations not over. yali)

look the fact that we cannot expect them to show Epiphi Ap.-May Apet


mathematical accuracy--that, on the contrary, is that is Mesori May-June. Horus (Hor.m Horus (Hor-ra-m- ; a consideration, we must proceed with the greatest xut)

caution. We know now how inexact were the representa

i tions and texts of tombs, especially where the Egyptian I am informed that Texi, in the above month-list, has

artist could suppose that no human eye would in-pect bi: some relation to Thoth. In the early monthlist the

work ; we also know how often representations stop short goddess is represented with the two feathers of Amen,

for want of room, and how much the contenta were and in this early stage I fancy we can recognize her as

mutilated for the sake of symmetry." 'Continued from p. 35.

"Op. cit. p. *&






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