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selves as individuals, but of our remote descendants and the earth on which they are to live. It is obvious that a geologist is on safer ground if he confines his thoughts to the domain of geology; and there are some who may adopt the attitude that it is not fitting for him to digress from the pursuit of his strictly geological facts and theories. With that opinion I frankly disagree. It seems to me that there are times when the geologist should consider the relation of his own science not only to other sciences but to the affairs of his country and the world at large. I shall therefore venture to comment upon certain aspects of those relations which seem to me worth considering on such an occasion as this.
The old anthropocentric attitude of mind, which characterized even the more progressive nations up to very recent times and is still prevalent among humans in general, exaggerated the importance of man. All things were regarded as being intended for his use, benefit or punishment. The rain was sent to mature his crops; the forests covered the land in order that he might have wood; the fishes of the sea had been thoughtfully provided for his subsistence; and coal had been formed in the rocks to give him warmth and power. Within the last few decades this attitude has been supplanted to some extent by the evolutionary view, which had been incubated long before the time of Darwin, but was by his cogent marshalling of facts given great impetus in the world of philosophy. Even to-day this point of view is generally modified by a prejudice, which is understandably subtle in its appeal and extremely difficult to cast out. Many were disposed to accept the theory of evolution as applying to the ordinary plants and animals, but with reservations when it came to the genus Homo. Man was supposed somehow to be an exception, more or less exempt from those laws which had governed all organisms for hundreds of millions of years up to the time of his advent. It would be interesting to know how widely this view prevails to-day even among that minority of human kind who are considered well educated and philosophically minded. It is tacitly assumed in certain widely used text-books of
geology, which were current within a score of years.
Unquestionably we do differ from all other animals in that some of us have learned to do things in a high degree which other animals do only in very low degree or not at all. The faculty of invention, which can be traced as a mere rudiment in some of the other mammals, we have developed in wonderful measure. Communication of thought by sound and gesture a power possessed by many other mammals as well as birds-we have improved until we are able to communicate ideas accurately and in the finest shades of meaning by our vocal language. Many other animals remember their experiences and profit by such recollections, but it is the human species that has vastly increased the store of such remembered ideas and uses them as material for thought. Above all, man is the reasoning animal, fabricating new ideas out of present observations and the records of the memory. This is doubtless the greatest innovation presented to the world by the human species. Can we impartially estimate its value?
It has often been assumed that these wonderful powers of the mind are fast giving to the human race control over its environment to such an extent that henceforward many of the laws of evolution which have hitherto governed the careers of animals and plants will be abrogated or greatly modified, so far as concerns man. It has been supposed, in short, that we do or will effectively dominate other organisms and can readily adapt ourselves to those environmental factors, such as climate, which we cannot directly control.
In some measure this is true. We have lately become so accustomed to triumphing over the lower animals and circumventing the once impassable barriers of the oceans, the upper air, and the frozen polar regions, that it may be opportune to raise the question whether either domination or adaptation are destined to go as far as is commonly believed, and to what extent they are to last-for the geologist cannot regard anything as permanent. It is a truism among us that the only permanent thing in the universe is change.
In most parts of the world we have by this
time conquered wild beasts to such a degree that in the more civilized temperate zone countries we give no thought to them, although in some parts of India they are still a constant menace to the ordinary man. But at the other end of the biologic series are the much more numerous and more dangerous micro-organisms which assail us on every side. When all the circumstances are favorable we can now control insects, protozoans and bacteria, which are the carriers or causes of many of our most dreaded diseases. But it is a hard struggle to dominate such scourges as plague, typhus, cholera and yellow fever. They never sleep, and if, like Russia to-day, a nation finds itself temporarily unable to maintain the needed precautions, its boasted control soon vanishes.
We have learned to overcome the isolation of space on land and sea, to move about more rapidly than any other animal, to fly higher than any bird has ever gone, and to maintain summer heat in the coldest winters; but in order to do so and by virtue of this expansion of our activities, we are rapidly depleting the earth's storehouse of materials. We are assured by those who have most carefully studied the subject that the liquid energy of petroleum will not serve us adequately beyond this generation; copper for our wonderful electrical systems should last somewhat longer; and coal some centuries or even thousands of years. But what is ten thousand years in the life of a race? Other sources of energy are known and we may yet learn to use them profitably; but it is well to remember that the continuance of our type of civilization on anything like its present scale is absolutely contingent upon the success of such attempts. It is not merely a hope but a necessity, that should convince even the dullest mind of the need of incessant and extensive research with such objects in view.
We have organized manufacturing, trade and commerce to such an extent that millions of people may now be supported in towns and cities, and the average population per square mile multiplied far beyond what was possible only a few centuries ago. Through the application of science we have almost banished many diseases and have greatly reduced the usual death rate; and now we are
hopefully attempting to do away with war. Yet these achievements can hardly be said to have rid us of our problems, for a crop of new ones has sprung up-the problems of the feeble-minded, the degenerate, the insane-to mention only a few of the most obvious. For the old diseases, many of which have been partly conquered, we have a great complementary increase in cancer, pneumonia and various functional and nervous ailments, which are aggravated by the crowding, the stress, intensity and sedentary nature of modern industrial life.
No doubt most of us believe that the algebraic sum of these gains and losses is a real advance toward a better state of things. Perhaps to question the lasting quality of this advance may not be so presumptuous as we usually have supposed.
The entire history, not only of the human race, but of its predecessors from the earliest known times, has been marked by constantly increasing complexity of bodily structure, function and activity. This increase has not been steady, but pulsating. Evidently we are to-day witnessing an acceleration of the normal increase in the complexity of human relations and action. As our modern civilization becomes more and more specialized and diversified, our relations to our environment become more and more complex and our adjustments more delicate. One thousand years ago, who cared whether economic depression prevailed in countries across the sea; yet in our present highly specialized condition such matters have risen to paramount importance. In the complexity of modern life wide-spread hardship and loss are caused by the temporary shutting down of a great electric system or by the closing of the coal mines; while a general railroad strike quickly brings on a paralysis of activity that can not be endured for more than a brief time without actual disaster. Yet one hundred years ago not one of these problems existed. They would have been difficult even to imagine.
The impetus of development seems always to carry the process of specialization onward without hesitation until a stage is finally
reached where it is impossible to go farther. Eventually it would seem that our western civilization should reach a point when its continued dominance would depend upon the effective working of all parts of a machine, grown far more extraordinarily complex even than we know it to-day. It is under just such conditions that slight changes of environment -using that term in its broadest sense-may most readily bring about the stoppage of the entire mechanism. In the hand-operated printing press used by Benjamin Franklin less than two centuries ago there was almost nothing to get out of order. Compare it with the highly complicated modern printing press which might cease to function if a single small screw or gear should fall out of place.
Furthermore, there seems to be a general tendency for development to go too far-to exceed the average capacity of the race at that stage of its evolution. Human history itself is full of illustrations of this principle. Many an ancient king of unusual executive and organizing ability has easily maintained a great empire during his own life-time. After his death, his responsibilities passed on to men of lesser ability, and the empire soon crumbled into as many petty states as before. The Greek Empire of Alexander and the Mongol Empire of Kublai are familiar examples. The greatest empire of ancient times, that of the Romans, was expanded beyond the dimensions which apparently were suited to that stage of human progress. Without the ready communication afforded by the modern telegraph and the efficient transport service of the railroad and the steamship, the highly developed administrative and military system of the Romans was strained beyond the limit of safety. It functioned for a time while conditions were favorable, but it was unable to survive much hostile pressure. No doubt the solution of many of Rome's problems is embodied in the modern British Empire. Thanks to the progress of civilization in the last few hundred years, the British have been able to maintain control over a far wider expanse of territory than any ancient empire.
To-day we see something of the same ten
dency at work in our huge industrial organizations, generally built up during the lifetime of one man and in large measure as a result of his exceptional ability. That more of these do not fail after the death of their organizers is due probably to our better system of democratic selection of successors trained under the master himself, whereby the ablest men are apt to be chosen. Nevertheless, it often happens that no one of sufficiently large caliber is available, and hence the enterprise suffers to a greater or less degree and in some cases drifts into disaster. There is some reason to think that our industrial, political and commercial undertakings are even now reaching a point where they are growing so vast, so difficult to handle, and requiring so high an order of ability at various points that they are becoming ineffective largely because a sufficient number of men of first-rate ability can not always be supplied. It is entirely conceivable that as this process becomes even more pronounced, the whole structure will in time collapse of its own weight on account of this factor.
Even if our own particular civilization does in time collapse and pass into the stream of history, like the careers of Greece and Rome, there is no apparent reason why other civilizations should not be slowly developed in its stead. It is probably safe to infer that such later civilizations will be founded on somewhat different principles, enabling these successors of ours to avoid some of the most serious difficulties with which we are now struggling. Perhaps they will achieve better success in those moral and social affairs, which are too often overlooked in our modern order. But there is no reason to suppose, however, that they will not make other mistakes just as disastrous, or in general that they will be exempt from the inexorable natural law which has brought about the ultimate decline of every previous civilization, each in its turn.
other mammals. In that state it could perhaps maintain itself for a long period of time, even though relegated to the less favorable parts of the world.
Without transcending the path already laid out in previous geologic periods, we may logically imagine also, that in due course of time -probably to be measured in millions of years, an entirely new and more highly organized animal may spring from some ancestral stock now relatively obscure, and rise, at first slowly and then more rapidly, to even greater heights of achievement than anything which lies within the capacity of the human species.
We have briefly examined the sequence of physical events in the earth's history and have found but scant indication of a definite trend toward an objective point. In the history of man and other organisms we seem to see, on the other hand, an evolution from the lower to the higher-from the simpler to the more complex. To that extent there has been quite evidently a general upward curve. It seems probable, however, that the quantity of organic life has remained more or less the same since very early times. There has been the age-long tendency for each species to multiply until its possible habitat was fully stocked with individuals. As periods came and went new types appeared and extended their realms, like wave-circles on the still surface of a pond, but compensating extinctions of older types left room for them. One may picture even the organic world as a stream, unchanging in volume, though ever changing in composition; and its end is to us still as invisible as its beginning.
phere, founded and organized as such, is located in the metropolis of the Argentine Republic. An illustrated pamphlet of fifty pages describing the museum and briefly outlining its collections has been published 1. It is in a series of publications issued by the museum, and forms the basis of this communication.
Argentina is preeminently an agricultural country. More than half its cultivated area, 64,225,000 acres, is devoted to the growth of wheat, Indian corn, oats and flax (for seed). Its vineyards occupy 345,800 acres while 24,700,000 acres are in alfalfa. Cattle and other domestic animals number about 92,300,000 and in 1918 Argentina exported 1,479,618,000 pounds of meat.
The collections made to illustrate the agricultural resources of the country at the centennial exposition, held in Buenos Aires in 1910, were so extensive and valuable that a permanent museum was established in which to preserve them. The success which has attended the foundation and organization of the museum is due chiefly to the foresight of and untiring energy Sr. Carlos D. Girola, agricultural engineer, who has been its honorary director from its origin. He has built up, without guide or precedent, an institution of the greatest value in promoting the agricultural interests of his country. The museum now contains more than 30,000 specimens, covering the entire field of agriculture and is one of the most comprehensive of its type in the world.
The collections are classified in seven groups or divisions as follows:
1. Natural Products, such as woods, native medicinal and forage plants, minerals, soils, mineral waters, etc.
2. Agricultural Products, including everything produced on the farm such as wheat and other cereals, vegetables, narcotic and aromatic plants, fiber plants, etc. In this group the museum contains 6,000 specimens.
3. Products of Animal Origin, wool, hides, leather, etc.
4. Products of Agricultural Industry, flour, sugar, tannin, dried and canned fruits and vegetables, etc.
5. Products of Animal Industry, milk, butter, cheese, bees and bee products, poultry and
poultry products, silk culture, game, fish, diseases of animals, etc.
6. Agricultural Machinery, tools and appliances used in agriculture.
7. Rural Engineering, under which are placed all subjects relating to farm buildings, construction of granaries, etc.
In the organization of the museum provision is made for the holding of agricultural congresses or meetings for the purpose of discussing subjects relating to agriculture, and for the issuing of publications and making exchanges. Up to the present time the publications include twenty-five titles, most of which have been prepared by Sr. Girola. Among the subjects treated are: "Studies of Cotton," "Observations on samples of wheat from the Territory of Pampa," "The Cultivation of Wheat in Argentina," "Spineless Cactus," "Cultivation of Flax in Argentina," "Cultivation of Indian Corn in Argentina," "Notes on Argentine Fruit Culture," etc. For the most part these papers are based on the collections of the museum.
The supervision of this museum is under the directors of the Argentine Rural Society. The museum staff consists of the honorary director, curator, assistant curator and two caretakers. The museum building is located on the grounds of the Rural Society, in a very attractive section of Buenos Aires, overlooking Plaza Italia. It is 300 feet long by 90 feet wide and originally cost $100,000.00. The interior which is well lighted, consists of a main floor surrounded by a broad balcony.
The annual attendance at the museum, which is open to the public two days each week, exceeds 100,000 not including the 30,000 students which visit it from the schools of Buenos Aires. These figures demonstrate the interest which the museum has aroused and the need for such an institution.
The illustrations in the pamphlet before us include the museum building, its floor plan and twenty full page views of the interior, showing many of the exhibits and the manner in which they are installed. The collections have far outgrown their present accommodations, and plans have been prepared for additional building to take care of the agricultural machinery and other new material.
Besides the agricultural museum at Buenos Aires there are the Danish Agricultural Museum at Lyngby, near Copenhagen, established in 1888; the Agricultural Museum at Petrograd, about which little is known at the present time; the large and well-equipped museum at Berlin, and the attractively located and wonderfully interesting museum at Budapest. The buildings of this museum at Budapest, constructed at a cost of $480,000.00, are so designed as to illustrate the Renaissance and medieval periods of architecture of Hungary. Their interiors are superbly finished, and the collections, which may be said to include the agricultural features of museums of art, history and anthropology, natural history and commerce, are appropriately and beautifully installed in the many welllighted rooms into which the Renaissance and Gothic buildings are divided.
The museum at Buenos Aires should not be compared with those institutions which have been built and liberally supported by the state. Great riches are not indispensable. An agricultural museum properly located for meeting its purposes would, by well directed effort and with the friendly cooperation of those engaged in agricultural industries, quickly secure collections. With such collaboration an equipment may be acquired that will equal or possibly excel in practical importance that which money could buy.
Like Argentina in South America, Hungary in Europe is essentially an agricultural country, and it is interesting to note that in the one case the material and exhibits that formed the basis of its collections were assembled for an exposition commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the country's existence as a nationin the other instance the collections commemorated its thousandth anniversary, the National Millennial Exposition held at Budapest in 1904. Our hundredth anniversary, commemorated by the exposition held at Philadelphia in 1876, has passed. Argentina has outstripped us in its agricultural development by the establishment of a permanent agricultural museum. Without any reflection upon the progress and present status of agriculture in Hungary, which is most commendable, let us hasten to follow the example of our sister Republic in South America