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Our more immediate purpose in noticing this book, has been to call the attention of our zoological readers to the chapters on animal motion and electricity in animals, on the harmony between the organ and the function, involving the acceptance of the development hypothesis, and finally the excellent and suggestive chapter on the variability of the skeleton.
After discussing the origin of heat, of mechanical work, and of electricity in the animal kingdom, in order to establish clearly that these forces are the same as those which are seen in the organic world, the author proceeds to study mechanical force, and more especially to follow it through all it applications to work of different kinds which it executes in an animal. Marey adopts the old comparison between an ordinary machine and the animal, the organs of the latter corresponding to the parts of the machine, and then he insists on the strict relations existing between the form of the organs and the character of their functions; he farther maintains that this correspondence is regulated by the ordinary laws of mechanics, “ so that when we see the muscular and bony structure of an animal, we may deduce from their form. all the characters of the functions which they possess.” He notices the fact that in the kangaroo, essentially a leaping animal, there is an enormous development of the muscles of leaping, the glutei, the triceps extensor cruris, and the gastrocnemial muscles. In birds the function of flight is exercised under very different conditions in different species; so also the pectoral muscles, which move the wings vary greatly in different birds. For example, birds which have a large surface of wing, as the eagle, gull, tern, &c., give strokes of only a slight extent; that depends on the great resistance which a wing of so large a surface meets with in the air. Those birds, however, which have small wings, as the guillemot and the pigeon, move them to a great extent. " If it be admitted that the first mentioned birds must make energetic but restricted movements, and that the second must move with less energy, but with greater amplitude of stroke, the conclusion arrived at must necessarily be that the first ought to have large and short pectoral muscles, while in the second, these muscles should be long and slender.” This is proved, says Marey, by a simple inspection of the sternum in different species ; " for this bone measures in some degree the length of the pectoral muscles which are lodged in its lateral cavities. Thus birds with long wings have a wide and short sternum ; the others have one which is long and slender." “We might multiply," says our author,"indefinitely, examples which prove the perfect harmony between the form of the muscles and the characters of their functions. Everywhere the transverse development of these organs is associated with strength, as in the triceps of the kangaroo, or the masseters of the lion ; everywhere also, the length of muscle is connected with the extent of movement, as in the examples which we have just cited.” Now, inquires Marey, is this harmony preëstablished, or rather is it formed under the influence of function in different creatures ? Just as we see muscles increase in volume by use, so we may observe them, under the influence of more extended movements, acquire a greater length. “Can we see a displacement of the tendinous attachments of the muscles to the skeleton, under the influence of changes in the force of muscular traction? This problem he proposes to settle by experiment, but before doing so he feels obliged to invoke the development theory, and to show that all through nature, and even in medical science, when an organism, as also an organ, is placed under new circumstances it must change in form, and that "function makes the organ.” His philosophy is a substratum of Lamarckianism, i. e., change in the environment ensuring change in the organ and in the organism; with a superstructure of Darwinism, or natural selection, acting after a change or variation has been induced. The application of these views is seen in chapter ix, Variability of the Skeleton, an essay of great interest from the point of view of the laws underlying the sciences of comparative anatomy and palæontology:
Professor Marey shows in this chapter how yielding in its nature is the bony system of the vertebrates during life; that pressure or tension, however slight, will produce the strangest changes of form; the bone, he goes so far to say, is “like soft wax which yields to all external forces," and we may say of the skeleton, that “its form is that which the soft parts with which it is surrounded permit it to assume.” He cites cases in surgery and medicine, as well as comparative anatomy, in proof of the proposition "that in the form of the bony structure, everything bears the trace of some external influence, and particularly of the function of the muscles. There is not a single depression or projection in the skeleton, the cause of which cannot be found in an external force, which has acted on the bony matter, either to indent it, or draw it forward."
The great variety of forms in the skeletons of different animals corresponds with the diversity of their muscular systems. Now if the muscles modify the bones, what brings about the various changes in form of the muscles? Marey attempts to demonstrate that the power to which the muscular system is subjected belongs to the nervous system. “The nature of the acts which the will commands the muscles to perform, modifies the muscles thenselves, in their volume and their form, so as to render them capable of performing these acts in the best possible manner.” The author, from facts in medicine and surgery, shows that it is movement or use which maintains the existence of the muscle; after paralysis or dislocation of bones rendering muscles useless, a muscle may wholly disappear, undergoing either fatty degeneration or fibrous transformation.
With these principles in view, and guided by them, our author then discusses with great originality, and chiefly by the experimental method, locomotion in general, that of man and the horse, and finally the flight of insects and of birds.
PEIRCE'S IDEALITY IN THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES. It is commonly said by pulpit orators and metaphysicians of the transcendental school, that physical science is lowering and materialistic, that it is concerned with facts alone, and physical, material laws, and that its study tends to deaden the finer sensibilities of the mind and to weaken the grasp of the intellect. How incorrect such a notion is, every thinking scientist realizes ; his mind, observant of facts in nature, is continually on the alert, endeavoring to ascertain the meaning of those facts; he is constantly rising from the seen to the unseen; from the actual to the ideal. The late Professor Peirce, whose life was devoted to the study of mathematics, to dry computations carried on year after year, in these posthumous lectures, tells us in impassioned, eloquent words, which every scientist should read, that facts organized into theory “ascend to the very throne of ideality.” And if the highest researches of the mathematician are especially transcendental, how much more ideal and transcendental, we would add, become the researches of the biologist, who is concerned with the elusive and subtle laws of life and the mental and spiritual forces of man. No wonder, for example, that the thinking world is profoundly moved by the ideas suggested by evolutionists, and by the study of the origin of things material, for these problems touch upon the deepest, most insoluble problems of man's nature.
The general student of geology and biology will also read this fascinating volume for the sake of the author's views regarding the nebular hypothesis and general cosmogony. Professor Peirce may be regarded as one of the founders of the nebular hypothesis in its modern form. In this book he guides us through the siccessive steps in nebular history—from chaos to nebula, from nebula to star, and from star to planet.
The author in beginning his exposition of the nebular hypothesis, regards the first chapter of Genesis, rightly interpreted, as "a profound cosmogony. It may not be the revelation of an actual fact, but it teaches where that revelation is to be found; that it is engraved on stone by the all-wise Author; that it is written in the sun, moon and planets; that it is inscribed on the sidereal universe, and that every star is an oracle of God.” Coming to the nebular theory, the author treats of nebulosity, of a nebula proper, a cluster, the Milky Way, the Magellanic cloud, of an annular nebula and a spiral nebula; then of the star, and finally the planet, comet and meteor. Geologists will be interested in this philosopher's views as to the cooling of the earth and the sun. After a discussion of Thompson's views upon the cooling of the earth, the author gives his reasons for not accepting his explanation of the process of solidification, with its corresponding limitation of the geological ages. Peirce believed that there was a permanent superficial solidification at an exceedingly early stage of the process, together with the formation of an interior solid nucleus. “These interior and exterior solid portions will be separated by a liquid stratum, which is ever decreasing in thickness, to supply the increasing solidity above and below it." Hence the larger portion of the earth's interior being liquid, the earth must have become solid in a vastly greater length of time than Thompson supposes, “and no physical obstacle can mathematically be interposed to embarrass the researches of geologists, to interfere with their ages of erosion, and to diminish the possibility of an increased duration of organic life."
1 Ideality in the Physical Sciences. By BENJAMIN Peirce. Boston, Little, Brown & Co., 1881, 12mo, pp. 211.
Turning then to the current view that the sun is not more than 20,000,000 years old, our author believed that by computation the age of the sun may have been twenty-five times greater than the estimates of some distinguished astronomers and physicists.
The concluding chapter on potentiality is replete with suggestions by a Christian philosopher for arguments for the existence of a Creator and the immortality of the soul; and the volume is well worth reading, not only for the invaluable exposition of the nebular hypothesis, but as a proof that the legitimate results of speculative evolutionary science tends to demonstrate the existence, outside of the material world, of a Creator and of a spiritual world, where the soul of man, “whose only life is action," freed of its physical scaffolding, however important in the beginning, may hereafter engage in ceaseless intellectual as well as spiritual activities,
New England Bird Life.?_-There has never been published anything like a complete exhibition of New England bird-life. Samuels' work, the first attempt at it, was very successful as a popular ornithology, but was hardly worthy of its success; while Minot's later volume, meant for a substitute, was incomplete, designedly omitting all the water-birds, and seemed to many wanting in precision and authority. The last work, just published (its title is given below), is by Mr. Winfrid A. Stearns, son of the late President of Amherst College. It should be welcomed as a concise, clear and careful summary of our knowledge of New England birds. In freshness, and individuality, and fullness it may seem wanting, though not in cccasional picturesqueness. As a digest and a manual it has no equal. How much of its value is due to its very able editor, does not appear. His interpolations, however, are too often personal rather than ornithological. The physical features of the volume are all satisfactory, except the numerous illustrations, all borrowed, and many of them too old for further use. The contents are: an introduction, with suitable information on structure, and on the preparation of specimens, and with very satisfactory presentation of faunal areas and of special bibliography; next, somewhat brief descriptions of the birds and of their lives, all systematically arranged; and finally, two indices. The copious references to particulars of evidence, are an admirable characteristic. The present part includes the songbirds only (technically, Oscines). A continuation and completion, in a second volume, is promised by the publishers. Our hopes, so often disappointed, of a good popular work on our water-birds, are again animated. Why cannot Mr. Stearns fulfill them, with additional credit to himself, and pleasure to the public?-H. D. M.
1 New England Bird Life, a Manual of New England Ornithology. By Win. FRID A. STEARNS, Revised and edited by Dr. ELLIOTT COUES. Published by Lee & Shepard of Boston, and Charles T. Dillingham of New York, Part 1. Oscines (1881): pp. 324, illustrated. $2.50. 2“ Ornithology and (ölogy of New England.” By Edward A. Samuels. (1867.) 3« Land-birds and Game-birds of New England. By H. D. Minot. (1876–77.)
BRONN'S CLASSES AND ORDERS OF THE ANIMAL KINGDOM, CRUSTACEA.—Geistaecker's great work on the Crustacea has reached the first three numbers of the second part, on the Malacostraca, and begins with the Isopods, treating of them in the same general manner as the Entomostraca and other lower Crustacea. Some ninety pages are devoted to an account of the organization of this group, the subject not being completed at the end of the third number. The eight closely crowded plates are well drawn. When this series is completed it will form a library in itself.
INDEX TO RILEY'S NINE REPORTS ON THE INSECTS OF Missouri. -The nine reports of Professor Riley on the injurious insects of Missouri, were perhaps the most valuable series of State entomological reports ever issued, consisting largely of original matter with most excellent illustrations; and as they have long been out of print, this index and supplement will be useful for reference, as all of the descriptions of new species are reproduced with notes and additions.
RECENT BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS.-On the Cynipodous galls of Florida. By William H. Ashmead. From the Monthly Proceedings Entomological Section Academy Natural Sciences Philadelphia, 1881. Paper No. 1, pp. IX-XIV; Paper No. 2, pp. XV–XX. From the author.
On the number of molts of butterflies, with some history of the moth Callosamia promethea. By William H. Edwards. From Psyche, Vol. 3, No. 81, pp. 159–161. From the author.
Annual Report of the Entomological Society of the Province of Ontario for the year 1880. Toronto, 1881, 8vo, pp. 89. From the society.
Note sur deux Sociétés d'horticulture aux Etats-Unis. Par M. V.-Ch. Joly. From Journal de la Soc. nation. d'Hortic., ze série, III, 1881, p. 261-271. From the author.
Department of the Interior, U. S. Entomological Commission. Bulletin No. 6. General Index and Supplement to the nine reports on the Insects of Missouri. Ву CHARLES V. Riley. Washington, March 24, 1881. 8vo, pp. 177.