« PreviousContinue »
- Dr. M. J. Roberts of New York, after drilling holes in bone to investigate the existence of diseased conditions, introduces a small incandescent lamp of half-candle power into the opening, and by this means illuminates the cavity.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. •.*Correspondents are requested to be as brief as possible. The writer's name is in all cases required as proof of good faith. The source of the Mississippi.
THE recent discussion, in your columns and elsewhere, of the sources of the Mississippi River, must have suggested to many of your readers the thought that this is an especially fitting time to supplement and complete the work of the early explorers and the government surveyors by a careful examination of the Itasca basin in the light of all previous explorations. There are certain elements in the region that are permanent, and certain others that are temporary and will soon undergo the changes which accompany the settlement and subjection of the wilderness. The Lake Itasca of Schoolcraft and Nicollet, in the main, survives to the present day. A few years more will see many of its features changed past recognition.
If such an exploration is worth the making, it should not be long delayed; and that it is well worth making, the interest of the public already enlisted in this discussion clearly proves. Further, the fact that a mere adventurer and charlatan has been able to lead astray and befog the press and the scientific bodies of almost the entire country, east and west, is no small proof that it is desirable to settle, once for all, the questions at issue.
We have taken this view of the case ever since Captain Glazier's friends first presented his claims for our consideration. The matter was fully investigated by the head of our editorial department, and we became satisfied that nothing short of a thorough exploration of the region in question would satisfy us as educational publishers or justify us in making any changes in our geographical publications. We believe that we, as publishers of geographies and atlases which are widely used and approved, owe this much of service to the public. We therefore some weeks ago arranged to dispatch a competent exploring party to Lake Itasca, fully equipped with instruments for the complete survey and delineation of the region which supplies the feeders of the lake.
The first letters from this expedition are at hand, and consist of a general statement of the character of the work accomplished. The detailed report we expect will be forwarded to us in the course of a week or two, when we shall be glad to place them at the service of your readers as soon as the proper maps can be drawn and engraved. The following extracts from a letter before us shows the nature of the work accomplished:
'Every stream flowing into Lake Itasca and Elk Lake was followed to its source and located. The area drained by each stream was found, as well as the volume of water discharged. The heights of land were located and elevations taken, as well as the elevation of the sources of all the streams flowing into both lakes."
We have also received by express specimens of the water from both lakes, and a number of small evergreen trees taken from Schoolcraft Island and from various points on the shores of Itasca.
Our instructions were that the exploration be
made so thorough as to satisfy every inquiry, and we believe that it has so been made.
IVISON, BLAKEMAN, TAYLOR & Co.
New York, Nov. 3.
On the figures illustrating zoological literature. In the course of some remarks on the figures illustrating zoological literature in Science for Oct. 29, Dr. R. W. Shufeldt justly pleads that proper credit be given to original authors of zoological illustrations; but in the course of his remarks he occupies considerable space in accusing me of carelessness in such matters, in the case of my Zoology' and 'First lessons in zoology.' I am charged with making a very shiftless acknowledgment of some of the authorities for the illustrations.' I am surprised at this reckless statement, as I intended to, and think I did, make full, proper, and circumstantial acknowledgment of the authorities and works from which most of the cuts were borrowed. Over two-thirds of a page of the preface is devoted to such acknowledgment, and a paragraph is given to the names of standard authors and their works. I regret to learn that two sketches drawn by Dr. Shufeldt himself were not credited. The mistake can easily be corrected in a second edition. I have prided myself on giving proper credit, on this and other occasions, to other naturalists and authors, and to those who have in other ways been of assistance.
Now, let us see if Dr. Shufeldt has been as careful, exact, and guarded as a critic should be. He lectures me for not, in my larger Zoology,' giving credit to the original artist as well as the author of the book who borrowed the figure. If Dr. Shufeldt had carefully looked through the larger Zeölogy,' he would have found that I had done so in the case of twenty figures (figs. 63, 75, 109, 141, 232, 279, 280, 284, 3866, 387, 394, 434, 437, 457, 460, 461, 491, 500, 515, 516). Now, is this fair, candid criticism? Do not Dr. Shufeldt's sweeping statements. like those of another critic of the First lessons,' mislead the reader? Is such carelessness just to the author of the book?
Again Dr. Shufeldt states that at least fourteen of the cuts from either Audubon or Wilson are accredited to Coues's 'Key.' This statement is based on an inspection of the first edition of the 'Zoology' in the third and later editions, thirteen of these figures are credited to Tenney's 'Zoology.' Our critic should refer to the latest edition of the work with which he finds fault. It has certainly, however, been my wish to credit the figures borrowed to the original artist. It is not alway easy to do so in copying from foreign works: in the case of Audubon and Wilson it could have been done, and may be in a later edition.
Coming to the 'First lessons in zoology,' Dr. Shufeldt charges me with ignoring the artists in a large number of figures. In the preface I say, "Of the 265 woodcuts, 111 have not appeared in the author's other books." Subtracting 111 from 265, leaves 154 figures. The sources of these are acknowledged in my two larger books; i.e., the Zoology,' and the 'Briefer zoology.' It seemed to me unnecessary to make the acknowledgment again in a smaller book designed for younger pupils. If this was an error, it was not from an intention to mislead. Leaving out the 154 figures previously acknowledged, then taking into account over 100 fully acknowledged, it would be easy for the critical reader to detect the eight figures
drawn by the author. Is Dr. Shufeldt's insinuation a manly one, that I would leave the students to "choose from among the most trustworthy and best of the unacknowledged ones these eight, and accredit the author with them" ?
The figures after Morse, Riley, Coues, Hornaday, Rymer Jones, Owen, 'and many others,' are among the 154 previously acknowledged in my other two earlier books.
To further illustrate Dr. Shufeldt's reckless manner of writing: he remarks that fig. 212, after Graber, "looks to my mind far more like the claw of a young lobster than the head of a cockatoo." The figure is a diagram sufficiently well drawn to answer the purpose intended.
One who did not have the book before him would naturally infer, from Dr. Shufeldt's statement, that the skeleton of the wild ass was the only mammalian skeleton figured, whereas there are illustrations of those of the cow, whale, cat, bat, and walrus, with sketches of the limbs and skulls of other forms.
There are other reckless charges of carelessness' which seem undeserved. The 'First lessons' was not hastily written. Spare time during a period of over two years was given to its preparation. The manuscript was read, revised, and reread; some chapters were read over several times; it was also read aloud to two children of fourteen and seventeen years, to make sure that it should be intelligible. The borrowed illustrations were chosen with care: they are necessarily uneven in character, where drawn by artists of unequal ability, and copied from authors of varying merit.
believe in searching, In closing let me say that sharp criticism of text and illustrations; it tends to greater care and accuracy: but let it be fair, manly, and ingenuous; and let the critic be at least as guarded and exact in his statements as the author A. S. PACKARD. with whom he finds fault.
Providence, Oct. 30.
The teaching of natural history.
Two works intended for 'beginners' in zoology have been criticised in recent numbers of Science, Packard's First lessons in zoology' and French's These 'Butterflies of the eastern United States.' criticisms have been in the line of the prevailing fashion, in that the one which begins with microscopic animals, and shows such parts as can be seen only by the aid of first-class objectives, manipu lated by first-class microscopists, is highly commended; while the other, which takes up animals that can be seen, and treats of parts and changes that can be observed by any student with the naked eye, is utterly condemned.
As a teacher of many years' experience with beginners in zoology, I hope you will let me be heard, though my remarks are not at all in the fashion.
The critic of French's work begins by saying, "The whole aim of the author seems to be to enable his reader to find out the name of a specimen in hand; and to this end his analytical key is fairly good, so far as the perfect insect goes, excepting, that as no tables are given for genera, families, etc., it would not help the student if species not included in the book were to turn up." The whole aim,' etc. Only 25 pages are devoted to the key, and the book To find out the name of a contains over 400. specimen.' This seems, in the eyes of the fashion
able critic, an unpardonable sin. What does any one want the name for? I can but think that there are a few good reasons for knowing the name quite early in the progress of acquaintanceship with an animal or plant: 1°, it will enable the worker to read what is already known about it, and thus know whether he has discovered any thing new; 2°, if he has found out something new, he can tell or write the news, and say what he is talking or writing about; 3°, information fastened to something, be it only a name, can be kept in mind or in a note-book. The key analyzes only the perfect insect.' What work, either with or without a key, would enable one to determine either animals or plants at all stages? How would Coues's 'Key' or Gray's 'Manual' stand this test? For genera, families, etc. The key does trace into the families, the genera, and the species; and all the families and genera are more or less fully characterized either in the key or in the body of the work. 'Species not included.' The book gives all the known species of the region who could give the unknown ones?
"Third, the whole I quote again from the critic. aim of the author appears to be to enable the user to answer the question, 'What is the name of my butterfly?'- for pedagogical purposes, not even a worthy, far less the best end." Of course, he had said all this before, but the whole' is represented by the fraction. The author does not make it a 'worthy' and best end,' but he does make it just what it is, a worthy and best beginning; and from this good beginning he goes on to tell of its different stages of growth through egg, larva, pupa, and perfect form; of its food; and of its seasonal changes; thus helping the pupil to become a true, original investigator by discovering new facts of growth and development.
A little later in the criticism, the book is said not to contain all that has been published about every species. The critic has twice said it didn't contain any thing but key. I know of no dozen works which together contain so many important facts as this one; and, on account of its size, the publisher probably had the author pay for the plates. I am thankful that he has been good enough to give this much for 'pedagogical purposes.'
The criticism is finally clinched by this remark, 'It is but the rehabilitation of the dry husks of a past generation.' If there are any dry husks in science, it is well illustrated by many of the late works for beginners in botany and zoology in which the classification and characterization of orders, families, etc., are given, from bacteria to a buttercup in the one, and to man in the other, - dry husks, 1°, because classification is ever changing; 2°, it is a classification of unknown things, and necessarily so, as nearly all students in schools live away from the sea, and have no chance to work with good microscopes, and more than half of classification pertains to marine and microscopic forms; 3°, such condensed classification as is possible in a 300-page book is so faulty as to be useless or worse. Take the other method for determining classification, i.e., by the use of a key. The pupil begins with something to classify, and as soon as he reaches the name of an order, family, etc., has an example to illustrate it. He knows what he is studying, and has determined by actual observaHe tion the arrangement and parts of its organs. has been changed from a book-worm to an original observer.
Listen to a prig who says he has worked himself into a naturalist by means of the plan advocated in most of the late books on botany and zoology. "How did you become so great a naturalist ?" 'Why, you see, when I was about twelve years old, I received a free ticket to a lecture on natural history by Professor, and, as it was free, I of course went, and there I heard how a beginner should start. At this time I did not know the name of any animal. I properly despised those who did. I did not know a cat from a dog. When bitten, I simply cried, and ran home. I did not ask, I did not care whether it was a mosquito, a bumblebee, or a rattlesnake that bit me, or by which end I was bitten. I went home from the lecture, and purchased a compound microscope, a dissecting microscope, a set of dissecting instruments, a set of injecting instruments, a microtome, and forty bottles of hardening, staining, and mounting fluids. On account of the discounts, I was able to purchase them for two hundred dollars. Then I went and gathered some Protomonas, amoebae, and other protozoans, and from these I worked out the whole problem of life. I was very careful to take but little notice of the external organs, since great harm always arises from looking at outside parts. The proper way is always to begin with the insides. After this good and proper beginning, I soon became a great naturalist." This is all nonsense. No naturalist ever began in this way. As well try to make a child learn all about the letters and syllables which form a word - its root, derivation, and history, and all its prefixes and suffixes - before allowing him to use it, as to try the same plan in zoology. Prof. L. Agassiz said that all the great naturalists he ever knew, both in Europe and America, began their work by making and naming collections. The critic will say again 'that science had changed within the last eventful quarter-century. Some things cannot be reversed, and this is one of them. Those who have recently had so much to say about teaching beginners are the ones who never have beginners to teach: they are university professors, with plenty of time at their command, scores of microscopes to work with, and, as students, only those who elect to take the subject because they have passed through all the necessary preliminary stages. A TEACHER.
For what purpose mosquitoes were created.
Your mention of Dr. Finlay's view that yellowfever may be propagated by mosquito bites reminds me of the following: In 1839, during a yellow-fever epidemic in Augusta, Ga., no case originated at Summerville, a neighboring suburb among the sand hills. There were then no mosquitoes at Summerville, which was approached by a rather circuitous route from Augusta. Some years after, a straight, broad road was built through swamps directly to the sand hills; cisterns were also built, and mosquitoes appeared and became an intolerable pest. During the yellow-fever epidemic of 1854 a number of cases originated at the sand hills, now abounding with mosquitoes. Mosquitoes often invade sections where they were previously unknown and make permanent settlement. Mr. Mimms of Aiken, S.C., told me that the first mosquito seen in that town came from the cars on the South Carolina railroad. They are abundant there now. Dr. I. P. Garrin satisfied the medical faculty and authorities of Augusta that the yellow-fever in 1839 reached the town in freight cars
on this railroad. Dr. Roe, late of Alabama, informed me that once when quarantined for yellowfever near Staten Island he collected a dozen or more varieties of mosquitoes from, the holds of as many vessels there in quarantine from yellow-fever ports. They had evidently taken passage from the infected ports. I do not remember a locality subject to malarial fever that is not infested with mosquitoes. HARRY HAMMOND.
Beech Island. S.C., Nov. 3.
A long skull.
I was much struck with the very long and narrow proportions of a skull in the collection of W. W. Adams of Mapleton, N. Y., and which was exhumed with others in Cayuga county. I had not time to make a thorough examination of it, but Mr. Adams has kindly sent me a photograph, and also an outline.
The photograph shows what to him was the most interesting feature, a circular hole, of a little over a quarter of an inch in diameter, in the anterior section, which he supposed to be made by a bullet, and which was doubtless the cause of death, from its general character. The proportions interested me more, and these the photograph does not clearly show. Impressed by the elongated character of the cranium, I sent to Mr. Adams for accurate measurements, and he gives the length as eight inches, and the width four and a half. The narrowest skull mentioned in Dr. Morton's Crania Americana' is that of a Cayuga chief, in which the longitudinal diameter was 7.8, and the parietal 5.1; the cephalic index being 65.4. In this Cayuga skull the cephalic index would be 5.625, if the measurements are exact, as I suppose they are.
I announced some time ago my discovery of the barb of a horn fish-hook, which supplemented the figure I furnished for Dr. Rau's 'Prehistoric fishing.' It gives me pleasure to say that Mr. J. L. Twining of Copenhagen, N. Y., has another of these rare articles, found near Watertown. It closely resembles Mr. Ledyard's specimen, but is more compressed. W. M. BEAUCHAMP.
the 'paxiuba,' or trumps, with which his devotees make their religious noises, for the sounds cannot be called music by any stretch of courtesy. During the night of his incineration, the spirit of Jurupary was able to reach heaven by the miraculous growth of the palm. Before morning, in order that the women should see no living relic of Jurupary, the men cut down the tree, and fashioned of it the first sacred pipes and other implements. The sound of them, when properly prepared, is his voice. When living on earth, he dressed in a monkey's skin: therefore the sacred mantle (to see which is death for any female) is made of monkey-skins (hence its name macacaraua'), and is the especial symbol of Jurupary. At first the women sounded the paxiuba and evoked the god; but one day he pursued a priestess and deprived her of the insignia of office, and ever since, death by poison in this world, and the nethermost hell in the other, has been the portion of the unfortunate woman, who, willingly or otherwise, set eyes on the insignia of the priesthood. All these events are inscribed at large on the stones of Arapapa, at Papuri.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1886.
THE RELIGION OF THE UAPÉ.
HENRI COUDREAU, whose geographical work in South America has won deserved tribute, gives an interesting account of the beliefs and observances of religion among the Uapé. We have already on various occasions referred to his notes on the manners and customs of this primitive Brazilian people. Only recently has any thing been definitely known of their mythology, a subject upon which they maintain a resolute silence to the whites. The orgies calleddabucuri' were known to have a religious significance, but beyond this little was understood of their spiritual character, if, indeed, such an adjective may be applied to them.
The Uapé religion differs, according to Coudreau, from that of any of the adjacent people. There are for them two deities, Tupan (from Tupá, 'thunder') and Jurupary. The former is good or inactive, universal, vague, representing, as much as may be, the general idea of deity; while Jurupary, active, terrible, the progenitor, is the particular god of the Uapé, as Yahveh was to the ancient Hebrews. Tupan created Jurupary, who is in some sort his minister of evil. There is, however, no antagonism between them. When Tupan visits the earth, and especially the Uapé country, Jurupary accompanies him as his guide. Once upon a time there was a virgin, but with no external attributes of her sex. The people were much troubled about her, and the shamans met at her lodge, smoked, and drank the sacred liquor of a fruit called ipadù. Then they left her. She drank much of that which remained, and thus conceived the deity. At the proper time the infant was released by the intervention of a fish. When born, the shamans put the uncanny babe into the forest, where he grew rapidly. Light issued from his body, and when he rubbed his fingers together, sounds like thunder startled everybody.
A feast was made, at which he appeared and ordered that all should fast, or he would kill the men and boys. Some children a little later ate of fallen fruit, notwithstanding the warning. Indignant at this, Jurupary killed and ate the children. The men came together, made a feast with a great quantity of fermented fruit-juice, made the god drunk, and threw him in the fire. From his ashes grew the palms from which are made
After this time the god revealed through the shamans his regulations for the solemn exercise of his religion in feasts and flagellations, fasts and dances. The sacred mantle is made of monkey skin or hair, mixed with the hair of young girls, woven with a particular fibre. It is without sleeves, and reaches to the waist. A truncateconical hood, with eye and mouth holes, serves as a mask. It is surmounted by a coronet of feathers, and diversely ornamented. The sacred garment is securely hidden in the shamanic repository. A profane or secular robe, sometimes called by the same name, consists of a tunic of fantastically colored bark surmounted by a casque attached at the neck. These are common, but of the other only one or two are in existence in any single community.
The paxiubas are six feet long, four inches in diameter, hollow, with a lateral aperture surrounded with leaves, which rustle when the instrument is blown through. They are painted black, and the sound they emit resembles the roaring of a bull. They are not held so important as the mantle, being kept in running water near the village, where the women must often see them. This is not spoken of, and the shamans ignore it if they chance to know it. But the sentence of death is formal on any woman who sees the
mantle. The shamans administer 'taya,' which infallibly kills the culprit, either directly or within a few weeks, or even months, a point under the control of the poisoner. Naturally the Uapé women regard Jurupary and his mantle with becoming terror, which centres about the celebrations called 'dabucuri,' at which the mantle is exhibited to the males of the community.
These occasions are prepared for by a fast of two or three days. There are six dabucuri in the year, each determined by the ripening of a certain fruit, of which an intoxicating drink is made. They come in January, February, March, May, July, and November. The ceremonies last three days, and people come from fifty miles around to attend.
miscuous intercourse between the sexes follows, with intervals of flagellation and inebriety, until exhaustion or daylight closes the performance for the time.
The time come, the adults paint themselves with black and red, and sing monotonous and dismal chants; and the shamans perform, for those desiring such service, the marriage rites, which seem to much resemble the civil rites of European marriage.
Later all the women are sent into the forest, and watched by a keeper. At the end of an hour, after the paxiuba has been sounded by men in festal attire, two or three shamans dressed as Jurupary, and covered with the sacred mantle, with thumbs and two toes on each foot hidden, the other fingers and toes fitted with long claws like the legendary god, appear in the feast-house, jumping on all fours, and striking with a stick, right and left, blows on the spectators, which are not returned. All this takes place in perfect silence, and terminates by the disappearance of the shamans. After sounding the paxiuba for a quarter of an hour, the women are recalled. All carry rods, with which the men and women whip each other. If a white man arrives, he may be admitted provided he will consent to receive a few blows, which he may afterward return with usury. After the flagellation, the women form concentric circles, and the men a large circle, each with the right hand on the shoulder of the one in front of him. Each dancer has a shrill flute, which he sounds, and moves up and down, right and left, by action of the lips. They move with measured step, at first slowly, afterward according to their state of excitement. The dancers drink the intoxicating beverage prepared for the occasion, and soon begin to jump, gesticulate, and act as if possessed by some frenzy; the shamans calling on Jurupary to present himself, which, through them, he excuses himself from doing on the ground that the women would become changed into, or would give birth to, serpents. The dress of the dancers is at first as usual; but, as the saturnalia progresses, it is gradually dropped as incommodious. Pro
These horrible orgies are supposed to have been directed and planned by Jurupary himself, and to represent the character of the heaven to which his faithful devotees will be translated after death. The fasts by which they are preceded are rigid and painful, well adapted to produce balluncinations and visions. Men who have adored the god will reach him after death; those who have not will lose themselves on the long and difficult way. Halfway is the abode of Bishiu, an inferior spirit, where are detained the souls of those women who have unintentionally gazed upon the sacred mantle, a sort of purgatory, or, according to others, they are turned into serpents or caimans. There is also an ill-defined inferno at the bottom of the earth, where the worst people bring up, after being lost on the way to heaven, Here they suffer frightfully, and are controlled by a sort of demon.
Although Coudreau rejects the idea of a civilized origin for these myths and practices, it must be allowed that there is a decided flavor of mediaeval Europe in the virgin mother of the god, the sacrifice of the god himself by men, the purgatory, hell, and heaven, and even in the fasts and flagellations. It is much what might be expected from the reception at a distant period of some ill-understood and misconceived notions of Christianity, befouled, modified, and mixed with native myth; especially if we suppose that the reception of the original attempt at instruction was separated from the present time, as it must have been, if there were such, by a long period of non-intercourse with missionaries or civilization. This seems to us the most natural explanation of an isolated development, such as these myths are represented to be; and as such it would form a most interesting chapter in the history of the evolution of religions.
ANOTHER FEATURE OF THE RECENT EARTHQUAKE.
SOME remarkable features of the recent earthquake on our southern seaboard were illustrated and described in Science of Sept. 24. Through the kindness of the Railroad gazette we are enabled to present a view of the effect of the same earthquake upon a section of railroad-track. The view is an exact reproduction of a photograph taken near Ten-Mile Hill, on the South Carolina railroad, after the earthquake of Aug. 31.
According to the statements of persons familiar