« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
A sudden fluctuation in the weight of the hog through some committee representing all bomight upset all his calculations and the final tanical interests, there may be an organized answer be obtained only in time to hand in his attempt to raise the general standard of rethesis at the twelfth hour. After graduation search work in botany at least. But why stop there remains, of course, the investigation of here? Is it not time that botanists recognize the size, shape, consistency, etc., of the bread in a tangible way their obligation to the public used in ham sandwich-making, whether rolls at large, and that we see to it that our proare permissible or not, the origin and history fession takes a worthy part in the world work of the use of mustard, until at last, after years of the future? Perhaps it has in the past. of labor, the most complete, the most exhaus- If so, it behooves us more than ever to stand tive and the most learned monograph on the firmly for our rights and the recognition due ham sandwich is given to the world, and the In spite of the shudder that may pass author is hailed as one of its leading scientists. over some of you present I venture to suggest He may then devote himself to the monograph- that a committee of the Botanical Society of ing of other sandwiches, finally becoming the America on publicity might not be out of place. world's authority on this group, having speci- Other sciences which apparently need it less, mens sent for identification from every rail- have not hesitated to adopt such modern methroad station in every sandwich island and con- ods. There might also be added a committee tinent of the civilized world.
on botanical raw materials, with sub-commitAbsurd as the foregoing may seem, you all tees on economic or applied phases of certain know that actual examples of so-called research special topics, or, if it seemed best, a general work might be cited which would be not a whit development committee which would deal with more sensible. A serious examination of the botanical ideals and ideas in a way calculated countless papers published in any one of the to crystallize the more essential activities of sciences will reveal an appalling number of the science and make more tangible the benetrivial, inconclusive, unscientific effusions, at fits and achievements resulting from a fundathe most mere petty records of hypotheses and mental knowledge of plants. Surely the need haphazard observations, which far from being for something of this kind is quite as great contributions to knowledge, are but a means of as the object of committees already in existdisclosing the ignorance of their authors of the ence. Perhaps too much attention can not be first principles of science.
paid to the details of the multitudinous ramiThat such work should be bolstered up by the fications which sprang from the parent trunk, claim that possibly it might be turned to some but we cannot afford, either for our individual practical application, is calculated to bring all or professional good, to neglect the subject as research, good or bad, into disrepute. I do a whole. No time could be more propitious for not believe that any member of a board of accenting the place which botany holds. It trustees or a prospective philanthropist is may have been a
chemical war » which the fooled by the attempt to justify herbaria or world has suffered. I for one am perfectly libraries or laboratories solely on the grounds willing to let it go at that. But should we not of definite, practical usefulness to mankind in do something definite towards making it a general. If botanical research is not of botanical peace upon which we are about to enough importance to sustain itself regardless enter?
GEORGE T. MOORE of any incidental benefit that
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN arise
may through it, the greater portion of it would better be dispensed with in order that the time
SAMUEL WENDELL WILLISTON and effort and money now wasted be turned to SAMUEL WENDELL WILLISTON, our distinsomething capable of standing on its merits. guished senior colleague in vertebrate paleon
It is to be hoped that either through the per- 1 Based on the author's article in The Journal petuation of the Research Council, or better,
incil, or better, of Geology, November-December, 1918.
tology, passed away August 30, 1918, honored and beloved by all who knew him. Our admiration for his character and achievements is enhanced through a perusal of his personal recollections of his career, which reveal long struggles towards scientific attainment, lofty ideals of exploration and research, and an unfaltering determination.
Like all men of science who have risen to distinction, Williston was self-made, the impulses all coming from within; yet he was instinctively alert to seize every chance to learn and to expand his horizon. We can not imagine a life story more helpful than his to the youth predisposed to science who has both to discover his own talent and to explore every avenue of opportunity which presents itself.
Williston was born in Roxbury, now a part of Boston, July 10, 1852. He writes:
The Williston family has been traced back to about 1650 in Massachusetts; they were about the usual run of common people, no one famous or even noted, whether for good or evil. . . . Some of them served in the War of the Revolution, and many were fishermen.
His father was born in Maine, and he remarks of this branch of the family:
They knew little of schools. My father, if he ever went to school, did not take kindly to study, for he never learned to read or write.
It was a great pity, too, for my father was a man of far more than ordinary ability as a mechanic-he was noted always for his skill. ... Of all his children I resemble him the most, both physically and mentally.
His mother was from England, having come with her parents to New Jersey about 1812. She had a fair common-school education, and the effects of her early English training and her accent remained through life.
The intellectual and social environment of Roxbury probably never would have produced a geologist or a paleontologist, and while the next step in Williston's life was hard, yet it was propitious, as the events proved :
2 See “Recollections,” an unpublished autobiog. raphy, written May, 1916, copyrighted by Mrs. S. W. Williston.
In the spring of 1857 my parents decided to emigrate to Kansas. A colony had left the year before for Manhattan, and the letters that came back had infected many with the desire to go West. ... The abolitionists were urging eastern people to colonize the territory in order to help John Brown preserve it to the “Free States." ... The trip was long and tedious, by rail to St. Louis, then a small place, and thence by steamboat up the Missouri River to Leavenworth. There was no Kansas City then. We reached Leavenworth about the twentieth of May. Here we remained a few days in a very small hotel, while my father bought a yoke of oxen and a wagon and such provisions and household things as were indispensable, and we started on the slow and tedious drive of 115 miles to Manhattan through a country but very sparsely settled. For the most part we children rode in the covered wagon while my father and cousin walked and drove the oxen.
The first building erected in the new town was the stone school-house, to which books were supplied by the Emigrant Aid Society. At the age of seven young Williston made his first collection of fossil shells, from deposits since determined as belonging to the Lower Permian. Following school, he entered the State Agricultural College in 1366. At the age of fifteen he came under the rare infuence of Professor Benjamin F. Mudge, who loaned him a copy of Lyell's “ Antiquity of Man.” Mudge conducted all the courses in natural history, and through his splendid character and example exerted a great influence on young Williston. It was quite by accident, however, that seven
years later Williston was included in Professor Mudge's party to northwestern Kansas (Smoky Hill Valley Cretaceous) where Professor Mudge, already famous through his discovery in 1872 of a specimen of Ichthyornis, was collecting.
Vertebrate paleontology had become his first love, but he had leanings towards human anatomy and medicine and entomology, first as an avocation and then as a vocation. He was afforded no independent opportunities for paleontological research and publication by Professor Marsh, by whom he was invited to come to New Haven in February, 1876. In the summer seasons of 1876 and 1877 he col
lected with Professor Mudge in the Cretaceous it will be recalled, was at once an anatomist, a chalk of Kansas. In 1877 he was sent by physician, a paleontologist and a microscopist Professor Marsh to the Morrison, Canyon City of distinction. He soon began to publish and Como quarries to cooperate with Pro- studies on the Cretaceous reptiles of Kansas. fessors Lakes and Mudge and Mr. Reed in Henceforth Kansas plesiosaurs and turtles, taking out the types of Atlantosaurus, Diplo- mosasaurs and pterodactyls, were the subjects docus and other sauropods. In Professor of a long list of papers mostly in the Kansas Marsh's laboratory Williston worked on the University Quarterly, from 1890 to 1899, with dinosaurs. In the field in 1878 he helped to occasional articles on Kansas fossil mammals collect the “ Jurassic Mammals” and some (Platygonus, Aceratherium, Teleoceras fosof the smaller dinosaurs. For nine years siger). Meanwhile he made many explora(1876–85) he worked in Professor Marsh's lab- tions of the Cretaceous of Kansas for fossil oratory, where he became closely associated reptiles. At Kansas University Williston also with Marsh's other assistants, especially kept up his two avocations of anatomy and Harger and Baur.
dipterology; he served as professor of anatomy While acting as assistant in paleontology and dean of the medical school. He also conhe studied medicine at Yale, received the tinued to publish many papers on recent degree of M.D. in 1880, continued his post-diptera. He accomplished a great work on graduate studies, and received the degree of this group and became the leading dipterol. Ph.D. at Yale in 1885. He then became ogist of the United States. His studies culdemonstrator of anatomy (1885–86) and pro- minated in the preparation of his “Manual fessor of anatomy (1886–90) at Yale and of North American Diptera," a book which is practised medicine in New Haven, where he indispensable to a beginner in dipterology and was health officer in 1888–90. In 1886 he pub- a very great convenience to advanced workers. lished some criticisms of Koken's work on Ornithocheirus hilsensis which give us some
PALEONTOLOGIC WORK IN KANSAS hint of his abiding interest in Kansas fossil
Williston's paleontologic contributions on reptiles, an interest which was soon to bring
the Cretaceous fauna of Kansas began in great results.
1879 with a short paper entitled “Are Birds The turning-point in his scientific career,
Derived from Dinosaurs," and included fiftyfrom anatomy and medicine to paleontology,
three communications, chiefly to the Kansas came at the age of thirty-eight, when he
Academy of Science, the Kansas University returned to the University of Kansas as pro
Quarterly, and the University Geological Sur. fessor of geology. Kansas was the scene of his
vey of Kansas; also three volumes on the first inspiration in paleontology, and here his
Cretaceous Fishes" in cooperation with Alfossil studies and vigorous health marked the
ban Stewart; and “Paleontology (Upper Crehappiest period of his life. He taught both
taceous)," Part I., Volume IV., of the Univertebrate and invertebrate paleontology, anat
versity Geological Survey, which was chiefly omy, and medicine, and several of his stu
prepared by Williston with the assistance of dents have achieved distinction in these fields.3
his students Adams, Case and McClung, and With respect to the breadth of his studies and
is a thorough review of the geology and of his influence at this time, his life was com
marine fauna of the Cretaceous seas, containparable only to that of Joseph Leidy, who,
ing the first clear distinctions and restorations 3 Among these paleontologic students, who have
of the great Kansas mosasaurs, Clidastes, since become known for their researches, were: E. C. Case, C. E. McClung, Roy L. Moodie, Herman 4 These notes on Williston's work on fossil repDouthitt, Alban Stewart, Elmer S. Riggs, Barnum tiles and amphibians have been prepared in colBrown, M. G. Mehl, E. B. Branson and E. H. laboration with Professor W. K. Gregory of the Sellards.
American Museum of Natural History.
Platecarpus and Tylosaurus. This work be- WORK ON PRIMITIVE AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES came the standard for all subsequent re- In 1902, at the age of fifty, Williston was searches of Osborn, Wieland and others on the called to the University of Chicago as head Cretaceous fauna. It contains
of the new department of vertebrate paleonmirable restorations of mosasaurs and other
tology, a chair which he occupied with great fossils which may be compared with those of distinction and with continued influence for Dollo from the Maestrichtian of Belgium.
the remaining sixteen years of his life. He The second part, Volume VI. of the Uni
now began to concentrate his attention more versity Geological Survey, covering the Car- exclusively on vertebrate paleontology. Durboniferous and Cretaceous, published in 1900,
ing the first six years he continued his studies included the Cretaceous fishes alluded to and publications on the Cretaceous reptiles; above, and the Carboniferous invertebrates by then he began to turn towards the study of Joshua W. Beede.
far more difficult and obscure problems, Williston concluded his studies of the Cre- namely, the relatively primitive amphibian taceous fauna during the early years of his and reptilian life of the Permian, where in professorship in Chicago, beginning in 1902.
several groups he marked the beginnings of Thus his work on the Kansas Cretaceous
the higher forms which he had previously fauna, following the very disjointed contribu
studied, as well as the adaptive radiation of tions of Leidy, Marsh and Cope based on in- the lower forms to a great variety of habits ferior material, marks the turning-point in
and habitats. this field to the new order of description and
In 1911 he published from the University generalization based upon complete material, of Chicago Press his volume, “ American Perincluding even the skin impressions of several mian Vertebrates," which comprises a series great mosasaurs. In his observations on the of monographic studies on some of the genera mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, pterodactyles and ma- already noted. This work contains many new rine turtles, and the birds with teeth, Odon- and original plates. His principal publicatornithes, he placed the osteology of these tion in 1914 was the book on Water Reptiles several animals on a much more secure basis, of the Past and Present," in which his lifeadding a number of new generic types, such work on these animals was admirably comas a short-necked plesiosaur, Dolichorhynchops bined with the results obtained by other workosborni.
Williston had shown a bent for the harHis first contribution to the phylogeny and monious study of form and function, of strucclassification of the Reptilia as a whole ap- ture and habit, of environment and adaptapeared in 1905 and was followed by his im- tion, which he applied with skill and origiportant discussion of this subject entitled nality to the interpretation of the highly di“ The Phylogeny and Classification of Rep- versified forms of aquatic life. He followed tiles," Journal of Geology, August, 1917. In Eberhard Fraas of Stuttgart in making a this article, which expresses his mature opin- special study of aquatic adaptations in the ions, he departed from his previous conser- vertebrates; consequently his book on the water vative attitude towards classification and pro- reptiles constitutes one of the most important posed to add two subclasses of reptiles, the contributions which we have on this subject. Anapsida and the Parapsida, to the subclasses In 1917 he began a general work on the previously proposed by Osborn, namely, the "Reptiles of the World, Recent and Fossil," Synapsida and the Diapsida, making a four
upon which he was actively engaged up to his
last illness; also the publication of his papers fold grand division of the Reptilia. Doubtless it was Williston's intention to fortify this
on Edaphosaurus, on the atlas-axis complex system of classification in his forthcoming
of reptiles, and, equally important, his brief general work on the Reptilia.
6 See footnote, p. 276.
paper on the “Phylogeny and Classification leontologic problems, characteristically sober, of Reptiles," previously mentioned. During moderate and well considered, lighted up in the last two years of his life he was also pre- their expression with his genial, half-humorparing a paper on new Permian reptiles. It ous manner. He was ready to confess and is a matter of the deepest regret to all of appraise defects or faults on his own side, but Williston's colleagues in paleontology that he quick to resent exaggerated accusations and did not live to complete his great comparative criticisms from the other side. work on the Reptilia, which would have His friends and colleagues met him last at summed up all his researches and observations the Pittsburgh meeting of the Paleontological and the facts stored in his mind which have Society of America, December 30, 1917, and never found their way into print.
enjoyed a few of his short and characteristicA few of the more general features of Wil- ally enthusiastic communications and disliston's life-work and character are as follows: cussions. With Dr. Holland, myself and He strove arduously through forty years of many other warm friends he stayed the old investigation to discover new material in the year out and saw the new year in at the field and to widen our basis of facts in several society smoker. He returned home quite distinct lines of investigation; he preferred to suddenly, and this was the last occasion on discover new facts rather than to reinterpret which we were privileged to enjoy his genial older ones or to adjust the interrelations of presence, his humorous narratives, and his facts; in general, his material was notably of inspiring influence in paleontology. his own finding. Nevertheless, especially in
HENRY FAIRFIELD OSBORN his late years, he labored very successfully to THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, classify and synthetize his material, and with February 21, 1919 it that which had been treated by other workers. Here his genial personal character and
SCIENTIFIC EVENTS admirable relations with his colleagues shone
THE BRITISH MINISTRY OF HEALTH BILL forth; he was singularly appreciative of the work of other men and ready to adopt what- The text of the Ministry of Health Bill, ever he believed to be solid and enduring in presented to the House of Commons on Febprevious attempts at classification. Thus Wil- ruary 17, has since been published. Accordliston's work stands in contrast with that of ing to Nature the bill differs little from the Cope and Marsh, whose personal differences of measure originally presented to the last Paropinion led to the setting up of two entirely liament. That it does differ to some extent, distinct systems of classification as well as
however, particularly in bearing signs of of nomenclature, irrespective both of priority having been worked at and polished, is worthy and of merit. Williston's keen, broad knowl- of mention. The new bill carries the stamp edge of human anatomy, of the muscles as of finality, and suggests that most of the State well as of the bones, doubtless aided his pene- Departments performing health functionstrating insight into the habits of the extinct
the Local Government Board, the Board of animals, and while generally conservative and Education, and the Insurance Commissioners cautious, his phylogenetic studies and sug
especially-have arrived at arrangements more gestions were of high value. His views on or less agreeable to all parties. The position taxonomic standardse and on college and high
as between the two first-named, for example, school education? were, like his views on pa
is shown to be fairly easy. Even as regards
the place to be taken by the Insurance Com6 What is a Species,” Amer. Nat., XLII., 184
missioners, there is less reason for dissatis94. 7 “Has the American College Failed to Fulfill
faction, and concessions no doubt have been Its Function?” Proc. Nat. Educ. Assn. (1909), made by the various bodies and individuals
concerned. Speaking generally, the measure