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In conclusion, I suggest a simple rule for
THE PASSENGER PIGEON obtaining the score as an approximation to TO THE EDITOR OF SCIENCE: In 1902, 1904 the "geometrical mean," namely Revert dilu- and 1905 I rented a house at Devon, about tions and apply Phelps Method. The process sixteen miles west of Philadelphia, and on of reversion gives the benefit of geometrically several occasions a single passenger pigeon reducing the data, and by applying Phelps' visited my garden there. Doves came freMethod one obtains an approximate “Geo- quently. I was near enough to the passenger metrical Mean.” This is the principle success- pigeon to make mistake impossible. Its color fully applied in “scoring” oysters.
and size would easily distinguish it from the WILLIAM FIRTH WELLS dove, as well as its method of flight and the SANITARY CORPS U. S. A.
use of its tail in rising from the ground,
which is so much freer than that of the dove, CARDIUM CORBIS A MONECIOUS BIVALVE
while the shape of its tail would make it imIn the work entitled “Tertiary Fauna of possible to mistake its spread tail for that of Florida,” Transactions of The Wagner Free a domestic pigeon. I was at Devon again Institute of Science of Philadelphia, Vol. 3, during the summers of 1907 to 1913 inclusive part 5, 1900, p. 1071, William H. Dall makes and four or five times saw a single passenger the following observation with reference to pigeon. The last time was while motoring in Cardia: "Nearly all Cardia have two forms, 1913. I was running swiftly along a road not one more equilateral and globose, the other far from the woods and a bird got up by the more oblique and elongated, but whether these side of the road and after rising from the differences can be correlated with sex is at ground about fifteen feet started off towards present unknown.”
the woods. When its flight changed from If attention has been called to the fact that semi-perpendicular to horizontal I was not certain species of Cardia are monecious, twenty yards from it and could clearly see its since Dall made the above statement, the breast and the under side of its tail and just writer of this note is not aware of it.
afterwards the upper side of its tail still Variation as mentioned in the above quota- spread as the bird changed its course. I could tion is very noticeable in the common Cardium
see where it got up on the road and had an corbis Martyn of the northwest coast. On
excellent idea of my distance, so that I could preparing sections of the visceral region of judge of its size, as well as its color and the individuals of this species in recent studies, shape of the tail. their hermaphroditic character was clearly
I have always felt very skeptical about the shown, masses of ova being interspersed with
“scientific” killing off of the last bird of a and sometimes completely surrounded by the
species which was so broadly distributed and spermaries.
most of whose haunts were so far from the I have not had the opportunity of ex
abode of any one who would be likely to write amining other species of Cardia. They may
for the papers. It may be what professional or may not be monæcious, but it is evident,
scientists would call scientific, but to me, as a from the above observation on Cardium corbis
business man, it has seemed pretty much like Martyn, that variations in this genus must be
jumping at conclusions and trading on one's based upon something other than sexual differ
F. R. WELSH C. H. EDMONDSON ZOOLOGY LABORATORY, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
QUOTATIONS 7 Standard Methods of Water Analyses, Report
THE BRITISH BIRTH RATE Committee Am. Public Health Ass 'n, 1912.
It is very difficult to bring home to people the 8 Phelps, Professor Earle B., Am. Jour. Pub. meaning of a tendency so long as that tendHyg., 18, 1908, p. 141.
ency can only be expressed in figures. Yet
preceding quarter, and 18,672 over the third quarter of 1917.
According to the returns, 662,773 births and 611,991 deaths were registered in England and Wales in 1918. The natural increase of population, by excess of births over deaths, was, therefore, 50,782, the average annual increase in the preceding five years having been 287,664. The number of persons married during the year was 573,614.
The marriage-rate in England and Wales during 1918 was 15.3 per 1,000, the birth-rate 17.7 per 1,000—the lowest on record-and the death-rate 17.6 per 1,000. Infant mortality was 97 per 1,000 registered births.
The number of deaths registered in the last quarter, 241,218 was 127,000 more than in the preceding quarter, and 128,477 more than in the fourth quarter of 1917. The civilian deaths correspond to a rate of 26.8 per 1,000 of the civil population in 1917. The highest deathrate recorded in England and Wales as a whole in any previous quarter was 25.5 per 1,000 in 1846.—The London Times.
few, we think, car read the latest returns of the Registrar-General without realizing that, so far as population is concerned, all is not well with our state. These figures—the quarterly return of marriages, births and deathsreveal the outstanding fact that last quarter for the first time since the establishment of civil registration the number of deaths exceeded the number of births. The excess was 79,443. The average excess of births over deaths in the fourth quarter of the three preceding years was 44,785.
This lamentable state of matters requires, however, to be viewed in the light of the influenza epidemic. The Registrar-General regards influenza as a primary or contributory cause of death in no fewer than 98,998 instances, or 41 per cent. of the total deaths registered last quarter.
Influenza, however, by no means completely accounts for the fact that the relationship between birth-rate and death-rate is not improving, but is on the contrary getting worse. Even if we deduct all the influenza deaths the situation remains disquieting.
There is one chief remedy—the saving of those children we have. The fact that of 161,775 births in the quarter under consideration 10,367 were illegitimate should not be lost sight of. At present the way of the illegitimate child in a health sense is hard and dangerous. It must, we think, in the national interest be safeguarded. This is an economic and social as well as, perhaps more than, a medical question. But it is not the less on that account urgent.
Medicine can to some extent prevent disease from attacking the child; medicine can not perform miracles. It is a miracle if children brought up in foul and evil surroundings grow up healthy and wholesome men and women. The miracle, incidentally, is usually accomplished not by doctors but by the self-sacrifice and heroism of the mother of the children, who too often loses her own health in the process.
The birth-rate is the lowest on record, even though 8,104 more births occurred than in the fourth quarter of 1917. Marriages increased in the third quarter of 1918 23,710 over the
SCIENTIFIC BOOKS The Pygidiidæ, a Family of South American
Catfishes. By C. H. EIGENMANN. Mem. Carnegie Mus. 7 (5), 259–398; pls. 36-56.
The catfishes described in this excellent monograph are generally burrowers. They are usually characterized by the presence of spines on the opercula and interopercula and the absence of an adipose fin. The opercular spines render the fishes difficult to dislodge from cavities into which they are accustomed to insinuate themselves. Certain specialized types commonly live as parasites in the gill chambers of other fishes and some are even said to enter the urethræ of mammals, including man. Nematogenys from central Chile is the most primitive living representative, and resembles the Siluridæ in certain characters. The eighteen other genera are distributed throughout South America. Most pygidiids are slender, slimy fishes as slippery as the proverbial eel.” Eighty-nine species are described; sixty-three being placed in the genus Pugidium, which is said to occur "probably in all mountain streams north of the latitude of Buenos Aires and sporadically in the lowlands."
Though the monograph is intended primarily to give a systematic survey of the fishes included, the writer's interesting style makes many parts very entertaining for the general reader.
A. S. PEARSE
also nine German Correspondents and two Austrians, one of these the great mineralogist, Gustav Tschermak. This shows that whatever may have been the animus displayed by individual scientists in both camps, this great institution, though placed in the vortex of the fearful conflict, did not lose the conviction that science is international and eternal.
In the Annual is given an imposing list of the prizes adjudged annually, or at longer intervals, as well as of the special foundations or funds, and also of the medals regularly awarded. Here we have details regarding 94 different prizes, 10 foundations or funds, and 3 medals, the Arago Medal,” last awarded in 1887, the “ Lavoisier Medal" of which the last award was in 1900 and the “ Berthelot Medal” that has not been adjudged since 1902.
The president of the Académie des Sciences for the present year is M. Louis Guignard, the vice-president being M. Henri Deslandes. As it is an invarable rule that the vice-president succeeds to the presidency in the following year, M. Deslandes will be, if still living, the next president. The perpetual secretaries are M. Alfred Lacroix, elected in 1914, for the department of Sciences mathématiques, and M. Émile Picard, elected in 1917, for that of Sciences physiques.
THE PARIS ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
The recently issued Annual of the Académie des Sciences for 19191 records the election of fourteen new members in 1917 and 1918, seven in the former, and the same number in the latter year; none had been chosen from January 19, 1914, to February 26, 1917, an interval of over three years. Of these new members three belong to the section Géographie et Narigation, Ernest Fournier, Robert Bourgeois and Louis Fave; two enter the section Botanique, Henri Lecomte and P. A. Dangeard; one is credited to the section Minéralogie, Émile Haug; one to the section Médecine et Chirurgie, Edouard Quénu; one to Économie Rurale, Emmanuel Leclainche, and one to the section Mécanique, Gabriel Koenigs. In addition there are three chosen for the new division Applications de la Science à l'Industrie, namely, Maurice Leblanc, Auguste Rateau and Charles Charpy, and also one new non-resident member, Charles Flahault, of Montpellier. Last, but not least, Marshall Ferdinand Foch was elected Académicien Libre, on November 11, 1918, the day on which took place the signing of the armistice between the Allies and the Central Powers, one of the great events of history, and one to which the masterly military leadership of Foch had chiefly contributed.
It is worthy of note that an institution so thoroughly imbued with the most ardent patriotism still retains on its rolls the name of one German as Associé Étranger, namely Simon Schwendener of Berlin. There are
1“Institut de France, Académie des Sciences, Annuaire pour 1919," Paris, Gauthiers-Villars et Cie, 178 pp, 8vo.
SPECIAL ARTICLES SOME PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENTS IN NATIONAL
ARMY MEN UNDER MILITARY TRAINING
At the present time when the interest of the country is focused on the military policy of the future, it is worth while to record the effects of training on the physique of men who enter the army from civil life. This has been done before in the case of recruits and university men, and data secured from the men who trained for the present conflict constitute interesting material for comparison. It is a matter of common knowledge that civilians usually show an increase in weight and a generally improved condition after a
1 From the Section of Food and Nutrition, Medical Department, U. 8. Army.
and ordinates show the number of men in enlistment and approximately six months each group. The number of men in the va- later. For the men of this group, chest and rious weight groups at the time of enlistment height measurements were taken as well as is shown for each of the organizations as a weight. It was found that the height of the solid line while the distribution of weights group remained approximately stationary, but of the same men after four months is shown that chest motility increased on the average as a dotted line. Corresponding averages of 0.7 inches during the five months of training. the two sets of weights for the three organi- The increase in motility is considerable, reprezations are similarly indicated. It will be senting as it does a 23 per cent. gain over the noted that the average gain was 2.6, 4.0 and average of the men at enlistment. 10.7 pounds for Company A, 366th Infantry, A third study of gain in weight was made 331st Machine Gun Battalion, and Company by Lieutenant Wm. A. Perlzweig, Sanitary E, 356th Infantry, respectively.
Corps, on recruits at Camp Pike. A group of National Army men, 257 in number, was selected for study during their first weeks in camp. The typhoid prophylaxis was given in the first two weeks. In the third week the men were divided by the camp authorities into Class A men and Class B men. Class A consisted of those in good physical condition. This class was put at once on a hard training schedule to fit the men for overseas service in the shortest possible time. Class B in
cluded men who on account of minor physical Fig. 2.
defects were continued on the light training A second study of a similar kind was made
schedule that the entire group had formerly at Camp Devens by Lieutenant Thurlow C. undergone, until their defects could be remeNelson under the supervision of Captain J.
died or their classification for limited service Garfield Riley on the 303d Regiment of Field branches of the army could be effected. In Artillery. Fig. 2 shows the distribution graph addition to recording weight changes of these of the weights of 523 men of this regiment at recruits, their average food consumption per