Page:Nature - volume 55 - 1897-04-08 - pages 539-540.pdf/1

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APRIL 8, 1897



division; and, also, laboratories for pharmaceutical purposes and agricultural chemistry. From this sketch it will be gathered that the courses of instruction are not only well provided for as regards laboratory equipment, but are thoroughly suited to the requirements of the students in every subject included in the syllabus.

Sciagraphs of British Batrachians and Reptiles[1]

On May 5 last, Mr. G. A. Boulenger, F.R.S., reading a paper before the Zoological Society of London, on "Some little-known Batrachians from the Caucasus,"

Nature - volume 55 - 1897-04-08 - pages 539-540 (Fig. 1).jpg

Fig. 1.

announced (cf. P.Z.S., 1896, p. 552) the first outcome of the application of the Röntgen rays to herpetological investigation, having by their aid settled the systematic position of a unique batrachian without injury to the specimen. The event aroused in the minds of Messrs. Green and Gardiner a determination to repeat the experiment on a larger scale, with the result now before us—viz. a series of sciagraphs of all the British Batrachians and Reptiles, including the rare Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca).

Two or three of the plates are indefinite, perhaps as the result of light printing, but the majority, for clearness and sharpness of definition, mark a very considerable advance upon anything of the kind yet published, and enable us the better to judge of the possibilities of the method as an aid to zoological and anatomical study. The plate of the Crested Newt (Fig. 1), which we reproduce, is especially noteworthy in this respect, and for the clearness with which the ossific nuclei of the carpus and tarsus are recorded. In the case of bones which, like these, are well isolated, and of those which are rod-like and dense, the method leaves little to be desired for purposes of general study and orientation of parts. Where thin flat bones exist, however, detail is not recorded; and as concerning the cranium, to which this remark especially applies, the appearances

Nature - volume 55 - 1897-04-08 - pages 539-540 (Fig. 2).jpg

Fig. 2.

presented by some of the plates suggest delimitation of brain structure rather than anything that is osteolagical. Be this as it may, it is important to observe that marked indications of the soft parts occur in some of the prints—most conspicuously in the case of the large intestine, especially when fully laden with egesta largely composed of the elytra of beetles ingested as food. The area of overlap of the segments of the limbs and of not a few of the individual limb muscles is also rendered evident.

Detail is greatest in the figure of the Natterjack Toad, which we also reproduce (Fig. 2). Its lungs (like those of the frog of which a sciagraph by Messrs. Reid and Kuenen

  1. "Sciagraphs of British Batrachians and Reptiles." Thirteen plates mounted, with portfolio. By J. Green and J. H. Gardiner. (Wallington, Surrey, 1897.) With an introduction by G. A. Boulenger, F.R.S.

NO. 1432, voL. 55]