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by Mr. J. A. G. Rehn on the brown grasshoppers (Acridiida) of Costa Rica, in the course of which number of new species are described. The collections examined included nearly three hundred specimens.
Ir may be remembered that the remains of James Smithson, the founder of the Smithsonian Institution, who died in 1829 and was buried in the English cemetery on the heights of San Benigno, Italy, were removed to Washington last year and formally handed over to the Regents of the institution. The body, upon its arrival in Washington in January, 1904, was placed temporarily in a room in the Smithsonian building containing the relics of Smithson. While resting there, the remains were examined by medical experts and found to be in a remarkable state of preservation. Meanwhile a small mortuary chapel was prepared for them on the immediate left of the north entrance of the Smithsonian building, and on March 6, 1905, the remains were brought to this chapel and, in the presence of the Regents, replaced in the original tomb,
FIG. 1.-Interior of Smithson Mortuary Chapel, Smithsonian Institution.
shown in the illustration, which has been reproduced from the Smithsonian Quarterly (vol. xlviii.), where they will rest until Congress makes adequate provision for their fitting interment.
IN La Nature of July 29 Prof. E. T. Hamy, the well known professor of anthropology at Paris, gives an account, illustrated by reproductions from photographs of the animal shortly after death, of a gigantic gorilla recently shot on the Sangha River, Congoland. It is said to have measured no less than 2 metres 30 cm. (7 feet 6 inches), and the height of the carcase in a sitting posture reached, as shown in the photograph, to the waist of a full-grown native. Prof. Hamy believes the specimen to indicate a new race, if not a new species, of gorilla.
FROM the report on the museums of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences for 1904 we learn that special attention is being devoted to improving the installation of the children's museum. As first arranged, this part of the exhibition series was found to overlap in a considerable degree the ordinary collection, and steps were accordingly taken to do away with this duplication. Elimination, both from the museum and the illustrative lectures, of material not likely to interest children has also been undertaken, with the result that the collection has been entirely re-modelled, and is now as suitable for its present purpose as it can be made.
THE chief feature of the July issue of the Emu is formed by the plates, one of which gives a full-sized figure, from a photograph, of the New Caledonian kagu (Rhinochaetus jubatus), to which allusion has been made previously in these columns; while others (also from photographs) are devoted to the illustration of the parasitic habits of Australian cuckoos, which appear to be very similar to those of our own species. Of these three plates, one represents a young bronze-cuckoo (Chalcococcyx) ousting a blue wren (Malurus) from its rightful nest, the second a young fan-tailed cuckoo (Cacomantis) in a brown tit's (Acanthiza) nest, while the third shows a young bronze-cuckoo in the nest of a brown tit.
IN the Zoologist for August the editor commences a series of articles on the factors conducive to extermination of species, dealing in this instance with natural as distinguished from human agencies. Unfortunately the article is marred by several serious mistakes. We are told, for instance, that "the opossum is the only nonAustralian mammal, the cuscuses of Celebes and Cœnolestes 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 occurrence 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 part of the association, both as regards membership and funds for permanent investment. It is also satisfactory to learn that the journal itself is becoming more and more widely appreciated, and consequently shows a conbulk. stant tendency increase in The museums directory, or list of the museums in the United Kingdom, is likewise proving larger than was anticipated, the volume just received continuing the list from London to Stalybridge inclusive, together with supplements. One of the difficulties which the editors experience is in getting local curators to send in the names and objects of the institutions under their charge. The attendance of delegates from foreign museums at the last two conferences is another satisfactory feature in connection with the progress of the association. connected Among features progress in regard to museum work, attention may be directed to the adoption by the Museum of the Federated Malay States of the card-system for the registration of specimens.
MUCH interesting information with regard to animals in menageries and the evolution of museums on the other side of the Atlantic is conveyed in a pleasant style in the course of an illustrated article by Mr. E. S. Hallock published in the August number of the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine. "The menagerie," writes the author, "developed along with the circus, but differed from the latter in being an animal-show pure and simple. . . . Some menageries were stationary, while others travelled The "dimefrom place to place in large vans."
exhibition" and the " curiosity-house were devoted more to the exhibition of and interesting animals, monstrosities, &c., and from these, by the elimination of thefreak" element, are derived the modern American scientific museums. Reference is made to the camel exhibited in London in 1650, the Indian rhinoceros (described by Dr. Parsons) in 1685, and to Wombwell's unrecognised gorilla. Less well known is the case of the first great ant-eater exhibited in the London "Zoo," which was purchased about 1850 from two sailors, by whom it had been brought from Rio, for 300l.; and also that of a full-grown mandrill captured on board a slaver, and exhibited in Bristol in 1828, and later on in London. The most interesting record in the article is, however, the reference to a pair of South African giraffes imported into America in 1836, the same year in which the London gardens received their first representatives (of the northern race) of the species. In stating that the London establishment received its first representative of the southern form in 1895 the author makes a pardonable error, the fact being that the true southern race never has, so far as we know, been exhibited alive in this country.
THE most generally interesting feature in the report of the Indian Museum, Calcutta, for 1903-4 is the reference to a suggestion made by the director of the natural history branch of the British Museum that all the Indian type specimens might be transferred to the institution under his charge. The suggestion-which Major Alcock refers to in his section of the report as most reasonable "was largely based on the fact that the climate of Calcutta renders types as objects of reference almost useless, and that the interests of science would accordingly be advanced by their transference to the chief natural history centre of the British Empire. By the terms of their trust the trustees found themselves, however, unable to hand over the " types" formerly belonging to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, while they were disinclined to accede to the request as regards other types" for fear of handicapping workers in India. Commenting upon this decision and its consequences, Major Alcock directs the attention of the Government of India to the administration of the museum, stating that the zoological staff is altogether inadequate. An imperial museum of natural history," he writes, such as the zoological section of the Indian Museum was designed to be, should be at once a complete and modern index of the fauna of the country, an object lesson in the more important general principles of zoology, an unfailing magazine of well-preserved material for research and distribution, and a centre where natural science is advanced by the discovery and publication of new facts. The facts that the Museum receives a grant for teaching-preparations from the local Government, and has decided that its 'types' must be kept on the spot for reference, indicate that this is the standard the Trustees wish realised. But grants of money and the possession of historic types are not enough; equally essential are well-qualified paid assistants and reliable machinery for collecting new material and replenishing old."
In the course of a note on the supply of water to leaves on a dead branch, printed as part ii. of vol. xi. of the Scientific. Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society, Prof. H. H. Dixon adduces evidence, based on experiment, to show that when a portion of a stem is killed by heat, the cells give off poisonous or plasmolysing substances; for some such reason it appears that leaves attached to dead branch wither much more rapidly than leaves on a living twig. In the first part of the same volume Mr. J. Adams discusses the effect of very low temperatures on moist seeds.
MR. D. HOOPER has a historical and explanatory note on the ancient eastern medicine known as lycium or rusot in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (vol. xxiii., part ii., No. 4). The identity of rusot with the Indian lycium of the ancients was first pointed out by Dr. J. F. Royle, who found out that it is an inspissated extract prepared from the wood and roots of several species of Berberis. Mr. Hooper's analyses of four specimens indicate an amount of berberine varying from 3 per cent. to nearly 8 per cent. The dried stem of Berberis aristata is officinal in India, and a tincture is often recommended in the treatment of fever.
IN the island of St. Vincent the Imperial Department of Agriculture for the West Indies controls an agricultural school and a land settlement scheme in addition to the botanic gardens. In the report for 1904-5 Mr. W. N. Sands, the agricultural superintendent, registers a distribution of nearly 30,000 plants, of which more than two-thirds were cacao, and, besides, smaller numbers of sisal bulblets, coffee, lime, and other economic plants. Many of these were distributed to allottees on the land settlement estates who cultivate cacao, canes, cassava, yams, and sweet potatoes. Mr. Sands, reviewing the progress of the cotton industry, has the satisfaction of recording that much of the sea-island cotton was the best produced under the auspices of the British Cotton Growing Association, and had realised seventeen pence per pound.
MR. W. E. COOKE, Government astronomer for Western Australia, has sent us a communication explaining a novel plan that he has adopted for giving more definiteness to the weather forecasts issued in that colony. Each forecast for a definite district is subdivided into specific items, to each of which a figure is attached, "I representing that the occurrence prognosticated has only the barest possibility of being successful, and so on, up to 5, which indicates that the prediction may be relied upon with almost absolute certainty. Each item of the forecast has therefore a "weight" attached to it; on the whole, Mr. Cooke states that the new method has proved a distinct success, and that while people find that whenever the figure 5 appears the forecast is fulfilled in 99 cases out of 100, they do not feel so disappointed in case of failure when the lower numbers are attached, or as when, under the usual method, equal weight is attached to the whole forecast.
OUR ASTRONOMICAL COLUMN. ASTRONOMICAL OCCURRENCES IN SEPTEMBER :Ceres in opposition to the Sun (Ceres mag. 7'4). 7h. 33m. to 8h. 37m. Moon occults
WE have received the report of the Falmouth Observatory for the year 1904, reprinted from the seventy-second annual report of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society. Sept. 4. This observatory has for many years done excellent work in connection with meteorology and magnetism, as well as by the collection of sea-temperature observations at various places off the coast of Falmouth. The station has for many years been adopted by the Meteorological Office as one of its first-class observatories, and hourly observations or means have been regularly published in the official reports of that office. With regard to magnetism, the Falmouth Observatory has become additionally important, in consequence of the recording magnets at Kew and Greenwich being somewhat affected by the electric trams in those neighbourhoods.
DR. ALBERTO AGGAZZOTTI, writing in the Atti dei Lincei, xiv., (1), 12, describes some experiments conducted in the physiological laboratory at Turin on the effects of rarefaction on the respiration of the orang-utan. The animal on which the observations were made was brought from Borneo by Count Mario Peracca, who handed it over to Prof. Angelo Mosso for the investigation. It is described as being of good disposition and intelligent; at first it resisted the attempts to place it in the receiver, and tried to destroy the apparatus, but when it realised what was being done, it not only offered no further resistance, but even helped the experimenter in attaching the Α pneumograph and other necessary apparatus to it. moderate rarefaction produced no injurious effects provided that the restoration of normal pressure was effected too rapidly; at 450 millimetres of pressure the animal became more tranquil, at 300 millimetres it fell asleep, while at 270 millimetres it became seriously ill and fell down insensible. The respiration altered in character between 450 millimetres and 470 millimetres with an increase of frequency and a decrease of intensity, while at 300 millimetres it became irregular and spasmodic. These changes fairly well agree with those observed in other animals, particularly man.
MR. C. MOSLEY has arranged an edition of White's "Selborne" for students, in which the whole of the letters are classified under subjects, giving the reader all that Gilbert White wrote on one topic under one head. As the subjects will be arranged alphabetically, the work will be one of reference as well as for reading consecutively. Mr. Elliot Stock is to publish the book during the coming
WE have received a copy of the first fasciculus of vol. XXXV. of the Mémoires de la Société de Physique et d'Histoire naturelle de Genève. This part of the transactions contains, with other interesting papers, president's report for 1904. Dr. Auguste WartmannPerrot successively passes in review the administrative events of the year, refers in eulogistic terms to the work of eminent members of the society deceased during the previous year, and recapitulates briefly the scientific subjects discussed in the meetings of the society during 1904. The biographical notices contained in the president's report include those of Charles Soret, renowned for his work in crystallography; of Albert Rilliet, the chemist; and of Wilhelm His, the anatomist. The scientific activity of the society is summarised concisely under subjects, and this part of the report will serve men of science as a full index of the work done by members of the Geneva Society during 1904. The president's statement is a useful account of a good year's work.
Ioh. 20m. Minimum of Algol (B Persei).
Moon in conjunction with Saturn (Saturn 1° 56' S.).
12h. 42m. to 14h. 11m. Transit of Jupiter's Sat. III. (Ganymede).
23h. Mercury at greatest elongation, 17° 54′ W.
10h. 35m. to 11h. 36m. Moon occults u Ceti (mag, 4'4).
9h. 54m. to 10h. 55m. (mag. 4'3).
Moon occults ƒ Tauri
Moon occults y Tauri
13h. 56m. to 14h. 37m. (mag. 4'6).
Moon occults 71 Tauri
15h. 13m. to 16h. 36m. (mag. 3'9).
Moon occults 01 Tauri
15h. 18m. to 16h. 31m. (mag. 3'6).
Moon occults 0 Tauri
20h. 24m. to 21h. Im.
Moon occults a Tauri
,, 20. ,, 21.
14h. Ceres 9' N. of 89 Aquarii (mag. 4'9).
Saturn. Major axis of ring 43" 30, Minor axis
14h. Moon in conjunction with Jupiter (Jupiter 4° 16' N.).
Minimum of Algol (8 Persei).
OBSERVATIONS OF PLANETS.-The results of a number of recent observations of Saturn and Jupiter are recorded by Mr. Denning in the Observatory for August. Using the 12-inch Calver reflector, some excellent observations of Saturn were obtained during the morning twilight in June and July. The region north of the multiple belt in the northern hemisphere was seen to be the brightest part of A the planet-not the equatorial zone, as previously. small white spot was detected on the N. edge of the great belt on July 6, and estimated to be central at 13h. 40m. A small white spot was seen in the N temperate zone on the following dates in the positions and at the times stated :
Observing the Great Red Spot on Jupiter on June 24 and July 6, Mr. Denning found it to be central at 15h. 43m. and 15h. 40m. respectively, the corresponding longitudes being 25°1 and 24°8. Comparing these longitudes with those published in the April Observatory, it is seen that during the period that Jupiter has been too near to the sun to be observable, the motion has conformed precisely with system ii. of the ephemerides based on a rotation period of gh. 55m. 40.638. An observation made by the Rev. T. E. R. Phillips confirms the above observation of July 6.
PROPER MOTIONS OF THE HYADES.-A discussion of the proper motions of the Hyades group is the raison d'êtr of No. 14 of the Publications of the Astronomical Laboratory at Groningen. The plates from which the proper motions were derived were obtained by Prof. Donner at Helsingfors and discussed by Profs. Kapteyn and W. de Sitter.
In the introduction to the volume Prof. Kapteyn gives a most interesting discussion of the results obtained by his method of determining proper motions, the method employed in the present case, in which a plate is exposed on a certain area and then packed away for a number of years, exposed again on the same area, and then developed and measured. One of the gravest objections to this method was the fear that the plates would deteriorate 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 was between four and five years, has had to be rejected. These plates were by Schleussner, on plate glass, and the method of preservation employed by Prof. Donner is explained.
As regards the length of exposure, Prof. Kapteyn states that, whilst it must be chosen in accordance with the particular work contemplated, it must be such as to give at least one hundred easily measured stars on each plate. Another objection raised against this method was that of accuracy as compared with the older method, but from a comparison of the probable errors now obtained with those obtained at Paris and Potsdam in the carte du ciel work, Prof. Kapteyn shows that the advantage is with the new method. He further concludes that to attain a given degree of accuracy the labour involved in the present method is at the very least seven times smaller than it would be by employing the older method.
The value for the proper motion of the Hyades group adopted by Prof. Donner is
In R.A. +0" 0900 +0'00624s.
VARIATIONS OF LATITUDE.-In Nos. 4040-4041 of the Astronomische Nachrichten Mr. Kimura, of the International Latitude Observatory at Mizusawa, gives the results of a series of latitude observations made by Mr. Nakano and himself during the year March 28, 1903, to March 31, 1904. Simultaneous observations of four groups were made each night, their principal aims being (1) to examine whether there exists any regular diurnal change of latitude of a measurable quantity; (2) to see how large are the systematic differences between the variation of latitude from this (four groups) series of observations and that from the two groups observations for the international service. The mean declinations and proper motions of the stars observed were taken from the international service work, and the value of the "aberration constant employed was 20"-512. Great care was taken during the reductions to eliminate accidental errors, and it was found that the personal equation between the two observers was practically negligible. The measures and their reductions are given in detail, and lead to the conclusion that "Any systematic diurnal change of latitude of a measurable quantity cannot exist at all." The subsequent parison of the results of these observations with those obtained for the international service shows that systematic differences exist between the four groups observations and the two groups observations made for the international service.
A PROPOSED NEW METHOD FOR DETERMINING THE SOLAR RADIATION. In No. 4037 of the Astronomische Nachrichten Prof. Ceraski proposes a new method whereby the absorption of our atmosphere might be eliminated from observations of the changes in the solar radiation. His proposition is that the light of the telescopic planets should be regularly observed photometrically. If the variation of the solar radiation is great enough, it should be shown in the amount of light reflected by the planets, and a long period of photometric observations of these, such as he proposes, would show the sympathetic variations, whilst, if suitable comparison stars were employed, the differential effect of the earth's atmosphere would not affect the results.
THE CAPE OBSERVATORY.-The opening paragraphs of Sir David Gill's report for the year 1904 deeply lament the loss sustained by the Cape Observatory, and science in general, by the death of Mr. Frank McClean, F.R.S., to whose generosity the observatory owes an important part of its equipment.
The new transit circle has been thoroughly examined and its observers trained during the past twelve months, and it is now ready for routine work. It was found that by using the Repsold-Struve apparatus, in which travelling wire actuated by clockwork is employed, the magnitude equation in right ascension observations might be almost, if not entirely, eliminated.
Preliminary trials of the new sidereal clock showed that the daily rate never varied more than 0.03s.; but even this is to be improved by a new arrangement by which the top and bottom of the pendulum will be kept at the same temperature. In order to preserve a more equable temperature inside the case, an enclosing chamber 8 feet square and 13 feet high has been erected about it.
Owing to an unfortunate accident, the driving worm and sector of the Victoria telescope were damaged, and have had to be sent to Sir Howard Grubb for repair. In consequence, the new objective prism has not yet been tested.
A number of observations were made with the transit and equatorial instruments during the year, and 185 plates (containing 117,073 stars) for the Astrographic Catalogue were measured. The total number of plates measured is now 760, containing more than 440,000 star images, corresponding to about 200,000 different stars.
RECENT ADVANCES IN THE CHEMISTRY OF ALBUMIN.'
UNTIL recently, one of the main objects in studying the proteids was to classify them into characteristic groups by the aid of certain reactions. This has now given place to problems of a different nature the investigation of the quantitative decomposition of the albumin molecule, the progressive degradation and study of the constituent parts, and the determination of the nature of what may be termed the stones of the molecular edifice;
finally, the arrangement of these materials in the con
struction of the albumin molecule.
constituents separating the of the still molecule is far The from complete. for this lies in the difficulty connected with their isolation, for they are particularly troublesome to purify. An important advance made when Emil Fischer discovered the ester method of separating the in amino-acids by distilling them a vacuum. The method bore immediate fruit in the discovery of phenylalanine and a-proline (pyrrolidinecarboxylic acid). Fischer has shown, moreover, that certain amino-acids, like alanine, phenyl-alanine, and serine (hydroxyaminopropionic acid) are invariable constituents of the albumin molecule, whilst hydroxy-a-proline, discovered by Fischer, is another widely distributed constituent. Ehrlich has found that the leucine from albumin, long considered a simple substance, is a mixture of at least two bodies. Hopkins and Cole have succeeded in separating tryptophane in a pure state, a substance which had long eluded the attempts of physiologists to isolate, and which they have pronounced to be skatolaminoacetic acid. Skraup has obtained from casein a whole series of new products belonging to the group of diamino- and hydroxyamino-acids--diaminoglutaric acid, diaminoadipic acid, hydroxyaminosebacic acid, and caseanic and caseinic acids of unknown structure. New substances are constantly being added to the list of what may be termed molecular fragments, which now amount to about twenty individuals.
There still remains the carbohydrate group of albumins. F. Müller has shown that glucosamine from mucine and egg-albumin forms an interesting link between the sugar group and the amino-acids. We are still ignorant of the part played by the carbohydrate in its connection with albumin. We cannot say whether it is a loose combination or a mechanical admixture.
The enormous number of products gives some indication of the complexity of the problem which the study 1 Abstract of an article by Emil Abderhalden contributed to "Medizinische Klinik," 1905, Nos. 1 and 2.
of albumin affords. Furthermore, before a synthesis can be successfully attempted, it is necessary to know whether these substances are primary or secondary products formed directly or indirectly by the action of the reagent, and here again the field is still untraversed.
Whilst great similarity exists among the constituent parts of the molecule, there is a wide difference in the proportions of each present. The protamines, which are obtained from the milt (testicles) of fishes, and represent some of the simplest proteids, contain a large proportion of diaminoacids and a small quantity of monoamino-acids; the kindred histones, on the other hand, contain a much smaller proportion of diamino-acids, but the whole group of monoamino-acids. Through a series of gradations we arrive finally at substances like the proteids of silk and elastin, which are exceptionally rich in monoamino-acids. A comparison of the composition of the individual albumins of food and of the living body leads to the conclusion that in digestion deep-seated changes must occur. Moreover, the view is steadily growing that the albumin molecule forms the basis of the two other important groups of food-stuffs, fats and carbohydrates. The decomposition which certain albumin fragments undergo promises to throw new light on the changes which occur in the organism and on the formation of pathological products.
Granted that the whole series of albumin products were known, their relative arrangement in the molecule would still remain to be discovered. Attempts have been made by using milder reagents to arrest the process of degradation at an earlier stage, and so obtain larger molecular fragments; but great practical difficulties attend the method. Nevertheless, by the labours of Fischer and Bergell a series of no less than four intermediate products between silk and its lowest degradation product have been isolated. First, sericoine; secondly, a substance containing tyrosine; thirdly, one free from tyrosine; and lastly, a compound which probably belongs to the dipeptides mentioned below. This study of partial degradation of the albumin molecule derives increased interest from the behaviour of food albumin in the intestine, which, as Fischer and Abderhalden have shown by their experiments on dogs, probably undergo neither slight nor yet complete decomposition, but partial hydrolysis. It will be an attractive problem to determine how far food albumin may be degraded and yet afford nutriment for the organism.
If the process of decomposition cannot furnish the necessary information about the structure of the albumin molecule, the reverse process of synthesis may effect the desired object. E. Fischer has with wonderful experimental ingenuity and skill successfully followed this path of research. The classical memoirs on the polypeptides have already been referred to in the pages of NATURE. By combining two molecules of amino-acids, the dipeptides, glycyl-glycine, alanyl-alanine, and leucyl-leucine have been obtained, as well as mixed dipeptides, e.g. glycyl-alanine, alanyl-glycine, &c. By uniting three and more molecules, tri- and tetra-peptides, &c., are formed. The longest chain of this character is pentaglycine, consisting of a group of five linked glycine molecules.
But, as we have seen, the degradation products of albumin are not all monoamino-acids, but include hydroxyand diamino-compounds, and peptides of these substances have also been prepared. These products show an mistakable likeness to the natural peptones. They give the usual reactions-the biuret reaction, precipitation by phosphotungstic acid, and hydrolysis by trypsin. A peculiar interest centres round the different behaviour of the peptides towards the pancreatic ferment. Whereas glycyl-l-tyrosine and glycyl-l-leucine are easily hydrolysed, glycyl-glycine and glycyl-alanine are unattacked by the ferment.
These experiments, as Fischer has pointed out, are not only useful in indicating the physiologically important compounds among the numerous synthetic materials obtained by him, but show, by the experience so gained, the possibility of discovering the different kinds of linking which exist among the amino-acids of the albumin molecule.
We may anticipate from these investigations some knowledge of the cause whereby different parts of the molecule resist or retard the action of the ferment. J. B. C.
ON THE ORIGIN OF EOLITHS.' FOR some time past the question of the existence of man in different countries during the Tertiary period, based upon flints bearing traces of intentional work, has of prehistorians occupied the lively attention numerous parts of the globe-in France, England, Germany, Russia, Egypt, India, &c. According to the eminent Belgian geologist, M. Rutot, who has placed himself at the head of this new movement, we must add to the Palæolithic and Neolithic periods a period more ancient still, which has received the name of Eolithic. This does not comprise any type of instrument chipped into an intentional form, but only natural forms utilised at once. These primitive and rough tools have received the name of eoliths. It is believed that they may be recognised by the presence of secondary work (retouches), that is to say, the removal of small flakes in apparently a systematic manner, in accordance with the needs of the case, or resulting from the wear of the flint by use.
An enormous quantity of eoliths are found in the Quaternary gravels mixed with instruments of determinate and classic forms. In the gravels of the north of France and of Belgium, M. Rutot has described several industries of this kind, the Reutelian, the Mafflian, the Mesvinian, &c. But such objects are equally met with in beds of far greater antiquity; the chipped stones of the Oligocene of Thenay, of the Miocene of Otta and Aurillac, of the Pliocene of England, &c., are eoliths; and here the question becomes far more grave, inasmuch as the adepts in the new theories rely on these facts to admit the existence of man or his immediate precursor during the Tertiary period.
For twenty years I have not ceased to combat these theories; first, because it appeared to me to be imprudent to admit the existence of Tertiary man in the absence of all direct, that is to say, in the absence of osteological evidence, and secondly, because I have always been convinced that the eoliths are due to natural causes. I had, indeed, had occasion to meet with them in all the ancient alluvia of torrential character in which flints were present. In Auvergne, and in the Velay, in the course of my explorations in connection with the geological map, I had found them at numerous points in the midst of Oligocene or Miocene beds occupying thousands of square kilometres in extent. I asked myself how experiments could be undertaken to solve the problem of the eoliths, when M. Laville, of the École des Mines, brought before M. Cartailhac, correspondent of the institute, Dr. Obermaier, and myself some experiments carried on daily, but unintentionally, in an industrial establishment.
There are in the Commune of Guerville, near Mantes, some works in which cement is made from a mixture of chalk and plastic clay. The chalk, as usual, contains blocks of flint which are rejected by the diggers. Trucks convey the chalk from the quarry to the neighbouring works, and deliver it with a certain quantity of clay into circular vats called délayeurs. These are about 5 metres in diameter and 1.40 metres in depth. The water which serves them arrives by pipes, and is discharged through lateral sieves, carrying with it the finest particles of the mixture of chalk and clay. The water is set in motion by a horizontal wheel, above the level of the water, but from its spokes are suspended harrows (herses) of castiron dipping into the water; the speed of rotation of the wheel is about 4 metres at its circumference.
The water is thus driven into a tumultuous movement, which carries away not only the particles of chalk and clay, but also a certain number of flints which have escaped the attention of the workmen, and have been thrown into the vats together with the chalk. These flints are therefore subjected to blows one against the other which during a period of twenty-nine hours must be extremely numerous. When the machinery is stopped, the flints remain at the bottom of the vat, where they are covered by a coating of chalk. They are taken out of the vats to be washed and placed in heaps, as they are useful for making concrete.
Now these bits of flint that while in the vats have 1 Translation of a paper by M. Marcellin Boule in the Compt a rendus of the Paris Academy of Sciences (June 26).