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flora upon its sea-bottom.—Compt --rendu de la Soc. Imp. Geog. de Husse, 1859, p. 53.
Egg of Dinornis.—An egg of the dinornis was dug up, together with a man's skull, at Kaikoras peninsula, New Zealand, about two years ago. It measured 10 inches in length by 7 in diameter, was of a dull white colour, old, brittle, and thin. In shape it was like a blunt hen's egg, and there was a hole, evidently purposely made to extract the contents, at one end, about half an inch in diameter. This egg, which I saw myself, belongs to Mr Fyfe of Kaikoras. Another was broken to pieces by the spade. The human skull was old in appearance, about one-sixteenth of an inch in thickness, the teeth still remaining perfect in it.—Fred. A. Weld, Wellington, New Zealand.
Polyps.—Van Beneden states:—1. The scyphistomes (Hydra-tuba) do not produce germs, but a part of their substance is transformed into medusae. 2. The terminal segment, provided with the arm, is not detached on the form of scyphistomes (Hydra-tuba), endowed with the power of living elsewhere, but it becomes a medusa like the others, and the arms are absorbed on the spot in proportion as the medusa-form appears. 3. The pedicle of strobile shows a new crown of arms (brachial corona) before the first medusae are detached. 4. The terminal medusa, bearing the arms which are absorbed, and preserving the mouth of the mother-scyphistome, does not present the same phenomena of evolution as the other medusae, its sisters.—L'Institut, 9th Nov. 1859.
Remarks by Dr Daniel Wilson on a deformed fragmentary Skull, found in an ancient Quarry Cave at Jerusalem. Described by Aitken Mbios.—Dr Meigs, the able cataloguer of the Morton Collection of Crania, in the Cabinet of the Academy of Sciences of Philadelphia, embodies in an elaborate and careful thesis the results of an ingenious exhaustive process by which he has aimed at determining the race, by the form and characteristics, in a skull obtained under unusual circumstances. In 1857, Mr J. Judson Barclay presented to the Academy a human skull, in an imperfect condition, brought from a remarkable cave visited by him at Jerusalem, with the following results :—
Having received some information of the existence of a very extensive cave near the Damascus gate at Jerusalem (entirely unknown to Franks), Mr Barclay, in conjunction with his father and brother, resolved upon its exploration. Accordingly, having obtained permission to this effect, from the Nazir Effendi, they repaired to the cave, the mouth of which is situated directly below the city wall, and the houses on Bezetha. They found the wall at this spot about ten feet in thickness. Through a narrow, serpentine passage which traverses it, they gained an entrance into the cave. The length of the cavern they estimated at seven hundred and fifty feet, and the circumference upwards of three thousand feet. The roof is supported by numerous regular pillars hewn out of the solid limestone rock. The floor from the entrance to the termination forms an inclined plane, the descent of which is in some places very rapid. About a hundred feet from the entrance a very deep and precipitous pit was discovered, containing a human skeleton; supposed to be that of some unfortunate one who had fallen headlong down and broken his neck, or rather his skull, judging from the fracture which it exhibits. The bones, of almost giant proportions, gave evidence, from their decayed state, of having remained in that position for many years. The skull, unlike the rest of the skeleton, was in a remarkable state of preservation. Numerous crosses on the wall indicated that the devout pilgrim or crusader had been there; and a few Arabic and Hebrew inscriptions—too much effaced to be deciphered—proved that the'place was not unknown to the Jew and the Arab. The explorers found many intricate, meandering passages, leading to immense halls as white as the driven snow, and supported by colossal pillars of irregular shape : some of them placed there by the hand of nature, others of them evidently by the stonequarriers to prevent the tumbling in of the city. From their explorations the party concluded that this cavern and the Grotto of Jeremiah, two or three hundred yards distant, originally constituted one immense cave, which was formerly the great quarry of Jerusalem.
The cave appears, therefore, to be a very old one. An allusion to it under the name of the " Cotton Grotto " is made by Kadi Mejr-ed-din in an Arabic MS., entitled "The Sublime Companion to the History of JerusalemandHebron," and bearing date A. D. 1495. A gentleman who entered the cave subsequently to the visit of the Messrs Barclay, states, in the "Boston Traveller," that though its existence was long suspected, "nothing was positively known regarding it, as it has been kept carefully closed by the successive governors of Jerusalem. The mouth of the cavern was probably walled up as early as the times of the Crusades, to prevent its falling into the hands of a besieging army: earth was thrown up against this wall, so as effectually to conceal it from view, and it is only upon the closest scrutiny that the present entrance can be perceived."
The circumstances under which the skull was discovered afforded no clue to its ethnic classification ; nor does its condition furnish any very decisive guide to the era to which it should be referred. It is confidently believed by those who have familiarised themselves with the minute characteristic details of comparative craniography, that by these alone ethnical types can be determined. A skull now in the collection of the Academy of Sciences at Philadelphia, and figured in Dr Meigs' Catalogue of Human Crania, No. 1352, as ancient Phoenician, was sent by M. Fresnel, the celebrated archaeologist, to the late Dr Morton, without the slightest information as to where, or the circumstances under which, it was found. After careful study of its characteristics, Dr Morton pronounced it to be Phoenician. He afterwards learned from M. Fresnel that it was found in the sepulchral cave of Ben Djemma, in the Island of Malta, and probably belonged to an individual of that race, which, in the most remote times, had occupied the northern coast of Africa and the adjacent isles. It thus appears that Dr Morton, guided by osteologic characters alone, was enabled to announce the correct geographical locality of this skull, and perhaps also its true ethnic value ; though of this latter point Dr Meigs expresses some doubts, arising from the remarkable resemblance which this skull bears to that of a wandering Chingii of Transylvania, depicted in Blumenbach's Decades (Tab. xi.) In like manner, some time before his death, Dr Prichard sent to Prof. Retzius two human crania, requesting an opinion as to the race to which they belonged. He pronounced one of them to be Roman, and the other Celtic, and was informed by Prichard that ho was in all probability correct; for the two skulls had been dug up in an old battle-field at York, England, where the ancient British Celts had been vanquished by the Romans.
Encouraged by such examples of success, Dr Meigs proceeded to apply the teste which his experience in comparative craniology placed at his command. The skull, however, is peculiar, and, so far as his experience could guide him, unique. Among all the 1045 crania in the collection of the Academy, none presented a counterpart to it. Its most remarkable feature is that the occipital bone rises vertically from the posterior margin of the great foramen to meet the parietalia, which bend abruptly downward between their lateral protuberances. This striking peculiarity, therefore, gives to a skull brought from an ancient quarry-cave at Jerusalem some of the most typical characteristics of Peruvian crania. After minutely describing the appearance which the several bones present, Dr Meigs expresses his conviction that the head has been artificially deformed by pressure applied to the occipital region during youth; thus supplying an interesting illustration of the practice in the old world of the same custom of distorting the human head which was long regarded as peculiar to the American aborigines.
After marshalling all the probable ethnic claimants for this remarkable cranium, and assigning reasons for rejecting each, Dr Meigs shows that it unites some of the most characteristic elements of the Mongolian and Sclavonian head, while differing in some respects from, both; and be finally concludes that it may be referred—not as a positive and indisputable conclusion, but as an approximation to the truth—to the people and the region about Lake Baikal. Through the Sclaves and Burats of that region, the short-headed races of Eastern Europe graduate apparently into the Kalmucks and Mongols proper of Asia; and here probably is a remarkable example of an artificially modified cranium of that transitional people of Lake Baikal.— Canadian Journal, Nov. 1859.
Extract of a Letter f rom the late Mr James Motley, Engineer of the Julia Hermina Coal-mines of Borneo.
The letter from which the following is an extract was written shortly before the fearful massacre of Europeans at Kalangan, in Borneo, in which Mr Motley, his wife, and three children were murdered. Mr Motley superintended the working of the coal-fields in Labuan and Borneo, and was known to zoologists by the collections and notes which he forwarded to Mr Dillwyn of Swansea, and by the beautiful work which he published in conjunction with the latter gentleman—" Contributions to the Natural History of Labuan and the Adjacent Coasts of Borneo." One number only appeared in 1855, and unless Mr Dillwyn possesses materials for its continuation, we fear it will be the last. The paper alluded to he proposed to send to the care of Mr Thomson of Banchory, to be read at the Meeting of the British Association at Aberdeen; and the hints of a modern coal now forming in the China Sea and the Malay -Waters, to the extent he mentions, may incite them to investigate this very interesting subject.
"I have already promised to send to the Natuur Eundige Vereinigung at Batavia a description of the Measures passed through in the pit, with a suite of specimens, which I have preserved, of every stratum passed through. But this will have an interest purely local, and, I think, ought rather to go to Batavia than anywhere else. On the fossils, considered alone, I am not able to write; because, though I can read plainly enough generally the date of which they tell, I cannot name them without books, which I do not possess, and have here no access to; and I have therefore proposed to send them to be named to Professor Bleekrode of Dordt. But I have been long preparing a paper upon another subject, of more general geological interest, and embodying some new facts, and, I think, new ideas, on the progress and growth of new coal-formations, now preparing for future ages. Such a growth is certainly going on here on a large scale, and I suspect that nobody has ever had so good an opportunity of observing it as myself. In the first place, I have been for some years engaged in working in a coal-formation—that of Borneo—which, though immeasurably older than that which I believe to be gradually filling up the China Sea, is yet as much younger than the coal-formations of Europe (of which I have also some experience), and therefore may be reasonably expected to yield points of analogy with present formations which might escape the keenest observer of secondary strata only; and secondly, I have had, more or less perfectly, the opportunity of observing the growth of the modern deposits at many points all round this great basin—namely, the west coast of Borneo, almost from north to south, several points .on the east side of the Malay peninsula, and a great part of the east coast of Sumatra. I have here the opportunity—and it is a rare one—of seeing the cutting of our canal through some of these modern beds, never before disturbed by the hand of man; and I may add, that my knowledge of botany and natural history, though not very profound, is enough to give me the power of recording intelligibly inscriptions which the Great Author is now writing upon the new pages of the vast book of geology."
On the Genus Graptolithus. By James Hall.—The discovery of some remarkable forms of this genus during the progress of the Canada Geological Survey, has given an opportunity of extending our knowledge of these interesting fossil remains. Hitherto our observations on the Graptolites have been directed to simple linear stripes, or to ramose forms, which except in branching, or, rarely, in having foliate forms, differ little from the linear stripes. In a few species, as O. tenuis (Hall), and one or two other American species, there is an indication of more complicated structure; but up to the present time this has remained of doubtful significance. The question whether these animals in their living state were free or attached, is one which has been discussed without result; and it would seem to be only in very recent times that naturalists have abandoned altogether the opinion that these bodies belonged to the Cephalopoda.
In the year 1847 I published a small paper on the Graptolites from the rocks of the Hudson River group in New York. To the number there given, two species have since been added from the shales of the Clinton group. Other species, yet unpublished, have been obtained from the Hudson River group; and since the period of my publication in 1847, large accessions have been made to our knowledge of this family of fossils, and to the number of species then known. The most important publications upon this subject are, " Les Graptolites de Boh£me," par J. Barrande, 1850; "Synopsis of the Classification of British Rocks, and Descriptions of British Pakeozoic Fossils," by Rev. A. Sedgwick and Frederick M'Coy, 1851; "Grauwacken Formation in Sachsen, &c," by H. B. Geinitz, 1852.
The radix-like appendages, known in some of our American as well as in some European species, have been regarded as evidence that the animal in its living state was fixed; while Mr J. Barrande, admitting the force of these facts, asserts his belief that other species were free. It does not however appear probable that in a family of fossils so closely allied as are all the proper Graptolitidce, any such great diversity in mode of growth would exist.
Heretofore we have been compelled to content ourselves, for the most part, with describing fragments of a fossil body, without knowing the original form or condition of the animal when living. Under such circumstances, it is not surprising that various opinions have been entertained, depending in a great measure upon the state of preservation of the fossils examined. The diminution in the dimensions, or perhaps we should rather say in the development, of the cellules or serrations of the axis towards the base, has given rise to the opinion advanced by Barrande, that the extension of the axis by growth was in that direction, and that these smaller cells were really in a state of increase and development. In opposition to this argument, we could before have advanced the evidence furnished by G. bicornis, G. ramosus, G. sextans, G. furcatus, G. tenuis, and others, which show that the stripes could not have increased in that direction. It is true that none of the species figured by Barrande indicate insuperable objections to this view; though in the figures of G. serra (Brong.), as given by Geinitz, the improbability of such a mode of growth is clearly shown.
It is not a little remarkable that, with such additions to the number of species as have been made by Barrande, M'Coy, and Geinitz, so few ramose forms have been discovered; and none, so far as the writer is aware, approaching in the perfection of this character to ihe American species.
Maintaining as we do the above view of the subject, which is borne out by well-preserved specimens of several species, we cannot admit the proposed separation of the Graptolites into the genera Monog rapsus, Diplograpsiis, and Cladograpsus, for the reason that one and the same species, as shown in single individuals, may be monoprionidean or diprionidean, or both; and we shall see still farther objections to this division, as we progress, in the utter impossibility of distinguishing these characteristics under certain circumstances. We do not yet perceive sufficient reason to separate the branching forms from those supposed to be not branched, for it is not always possible to decide which have or have not been ramose among the fragments found. Moreover, there are such various modes of branching, that such forms as G. ramosus present but little analogy with such as G. gracilis.
Mr Geinitz introduces among the Oraptolitidec e the genus Ncreograpsus, to include Nereites, Myrianites, Nemertites, and Nemapodia. Admitting the first three of these to be organic remains, which the writer has elsewhere expressed his reasons for doubting, they are not