Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/197

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TEE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

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��1851, being edited by Dr. George Wil- son; Cavendish's electrical researches were edited by J. Clerk Maxwell from original manuscripts in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire, and pub- lished in 1879; since then there has been no important monograph concern- ing him.

THE ORIGIN OF THE HUMAN SPECIES.

The discovery by Dubois of the much discussed remains of Pithecan- thropus erectus in a situation which seems to indicate for them a late Plio- cene horizon, has reawakened interest in the phylogeny and antiquity of man, and has led to a reexamination of some of the more interesting pre- historic remains. The Neanderthal skeleton has recently been carefully studied by Schwalbe and Klaatsch and minute comparisons have been made with recent races on the one hand, with the Spy remains and Pithecanthropus on the other and also with the recent anthropoids.

The results of these studies have demonstrated a great similarity be- tween the Neanderthal and Spy skele- tons and the possession by these of so many peculiarities which lie beyond the limits of variation in recent human races, that it has been thought neces- sary to recognize them as representa- tives of a distinct species of Homo, the H.Neanderthaliensis. Of this species we know at least three individuals and possibly more, and it seems certain that it is quite distinct from the Pithecan- thropus, the skull characters of this Javanese form placing it on a much lower level than the Neanderthal- Spy skulls, and showing a more pronounced approach toward generalized anthro- poid condition than is to be seen in the European skulls. There is, how- ever, an enormous gap between even Pithecanthropus and the recent anthro- poids, and, indeed, it seems certain that the latter cannot be regarded as coming into the direct line of human descent,

��but both these and existing human races must trace back to a common ancestor, whose characteristics are per- haps indicated in the cranial peculiari- ties of young anthropoids.

If this be the case it would seem that the origin of the human race must be referred back to a period antedating considerably the horizons to which H. Neanderthaliensis and Pithecanthropus belong. The former is assigned by Klaatsch to the first interglacial period, at the close of the Chellean era, while the latter seems to pertain to the late Pliocene, and the divergence of form which led to the genus Homo would accordingly seem to be referable to the early Pliocene or possibly even to the Miocene period.

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS.

We regret to record the death of Henry Morton, the eminent engineer, president of Stevens Institute of Tech- nology since its foundation in 1870. — J. Sterling Morton, ex-Secretary of Agri- culture, died on April 27. — The death is announced of Mr. Patrick T. Manson, son of Dr. Patrick Manson, on Christ- mas Island, whither he had gone to in- vestigate the cause and treatment of beriberi, on behalf of the London School of Tropical Medicine. — M. Alfred Cornu, the eminent physicist, since 1867 professor at the Ecole polytechnique, Paris, has died at the age of sixty-one years. — M. Emile Renou, founder and director of the Meteorological Observa- tory at St. Mauri, died in Paris on April 7, aged eighty-seven. — M. Henri Filhol, professor of paleontology at the Jardin des Plantes, Paris, and the author of numerous important con- tributions to this science, has died at the age of sixty years. — Immanuel Lazarus Fuchs, since 1884 professor of mathematics in the University of Ber- lin, died on April 26 at the age of sixty- eight years. — Dr. E. von Pfleiderer, pro- fessor of philosophy at Tubingen, has died at the age of sixty years.

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