Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/282

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270
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

this year from the press of Doerflinger, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This little volume is of much interest to educators. It treats the subject by the physiological method, which is the point of view to be taken in the education of childhood. Part I is devoted to Infant Education, the Kindergarten, and what are called Physiological Infant Schools. Part II considers the Education of Deaf Mutes; Part III the Education of Idiots; and Part IV applies the results arrived at to Popular Education as it is and as it should be. The book is full of valuable information and pregnant suggestions, taking their complexion from the author's professional experience, scientific observations, and peculiar line of studies.

We began by remarking that Dr. Seguin's special studies have a breadth of application that reaches far beyond the technical schools for the feeble-minded. He has taught the world the difficult task of elevating idiots into rational beings. An intelligent appreciation of his philosophy might at least prevent us from doing the opposite—turning rational beings into idiots in our popular schools. If any are curious about the rationale of this process, we refer them to the article on "The Artificial Production of Stupidity in Schools," in the second number of "The Popular Science Monthly."

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

Odontornithes: A Monograph on the Extinct Toothed Birds of North America. With Thirty-four Plates and Forty Wood-cuts. Forming Vol. VII of the Geological Survey of the Fortieth Parallel. By Othniel Charles Marsh, Professor of Paleontology in Yale College, New Haven, Conn.

Fossil anatomy is generally regarded as one of the driest of subjects; but, when the vestiges of old bones become the keys to the history of the world and the mysteries of the universe, their study acquires an intense interest. No better exemplification of this can be found than that furnished by the author of the splendid monograph before us. Professor Marsh, as is well known, has been engaged for the last ten years in exploring the Kooky Mountain regions in search of fossils, and his enthusiasm, untiring energy, and whole-souled devotion to the work well attest the fascination there is to the scientific mind in inquiries which the mass of people are apt to regard with indifference.

Two circumstances combined to give especial and powerful interest to the investigation. The region was rich in new material for paleontological science, and the facts discovered were certain to have great significance in their bearing upon biological theory and our whole view of the economy and order of nature.

Geology tells us, in the first place, that the North American stratified rocks, over vast areas west of the Mississippi, were deposited in a continuous, tranquil way, and were so little disturbed by revolution and upheaval that the formations are found in a remarkably unbroken sequence. The geological systems follow each other regularly, so that the record is in an unusual degree complete. But, while the strata under the vast prairies remain nearly horizontal as they were left by deposit and subsidence, the beds have been denuded, and thrust up here and there so that the outcropping strata are open to examination. The maximum thickness of these formations is estimated at some seven or eight miles, and the "stratigraphical succession" is so perfect as to be most favorable for the study of the order and dependence of the extinct forms of life. Thus the field was not only fresh, but propitious for new paleontological exploration. In the second place, this interest was heightened by the crisis of biological speculation. The theory of the continuous evolution of living forms by descent with variation had got a foothold with naturalists, but evidence was sorely wanting to supply the missing links in the chains of organic succession. There was a demand for "intermediate types," and that the connecting forms predicted by the evolutionists should be forthcoming. The research had a factitious interest from these circumstances. Professor Marsh was, of course, animated by the genuine scientific motive of finding