Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/567

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551
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

The Parasites in Pork.Cysticercus cellulosæ, familiarly known as "measles" in pork, on passing into the human economy may develop into the common tapeworm. Analogous entozoa are sometimes found in beef, veal, mutton, and other meats, but the great source of these formidable parasites is pork. They can be easily detected in the carcass of a pig that is infested by them. "They are in the muscles," writes Dr. Vacher, in a paper read before an association of health officers, "between the fibers, between the muscles, on the surface of the muscles, and even in the walls of the heart. . . . Specimens from the same beast," he continues, "are nearly of the same size, but specimens taken from different beasts vary considerably in size. The egg-shaped investing bladder is scarcely ever less than an eighth of an inch in length, and it sometimes measures half an inch, so that it may be easily seen and removed. It is semitransparent, and contains a clear fluid, and what looks like a little white ball. On transferring the bladder to a glass slip, a touch with the point of a knife will suffice to rupture it, and if you then press a cover down upon it you have a preparation in which the rostellum and circlet of hooks may be distinctly seen with an ordinary lens." When meat is a little dry from exposure to air the cysts collapse, and are not distinctly visible. Dr. Thudieum recommends that such pork be submerged in water which the cysts will absorb by endosmosis.

 

Proposed Domestication of the African Elephant.—While the Asiatic elephant is in India domesticated and employed as a beast of burden, the African elephant, living, has no economic use, and is merely hunted for "sport," or for its tusks, hide, and flesh. It is now proposed to attempt the utilization of the African elephant as an aid in the exploration of the "Dark Continent" and for the transportation of goods from the coast to the fertile plateaus of the interior. Even in the Cape Colony, to say nothing of central Africa, elephants are numerous, and one troop has been observed within fifty miles of Port Elizabeth. Sir J. Fayrer suggests that on this troop the attempt at domestication might first be made. According to him, the African elephant is as well fitted for labor as the Asiatic, and could be as easily tamed and trained. That this is the case is amply proved by the state of docility to which the male and female African elephants in the London Zoölogical Garden have been reduced by their keeper. They are just as obedient, intelligent, and free from vice as their Asiatic congeners, and there appears to be no room for doubt that they might be utilized to just as good purpose. The importation of a few of the officers who have had experience in catching and training elephants in India, together with a few trained Indian elephants to commence the work, would very soon put the value of the project to the test.

 

Relation of Brain-bulk to Intelligence.—From observations made on numerous series of human crania, Dr. Lebon, of Paris, infers that intelligence is in proportion to the volume of the cranium. By comparing these series of crania, it is also found that the superior races present a much greater number of voluminous crania than the others. The same phenomenon is presented in proportion to the degree of civilization; the Parisian crania of the twelfth century present, for example, a less volume than the crania of modern Parisians; at the same time the difference between individuals becomes more considerable. Dr. Lebon does not believe that stature exercises any considerable influence on the volume of the cranium and the weight of the brain. Nevertheless, with equal height, the woman has a brain less heavy than the man. The author, from a study of seventeen male and seventeen female brains, found between them a difference of 172 grammes to the advantage of the former. It is worthy of remark that, among the superior races, the cranium of the women is generally much less than among the inferior races. This is due, Dr. Lebon says, to the insignificant part taken by woman in the work of modern society. There is a constant inequality of development between the two halves of the brain, which is sometimes more developed on the right, sometimes on the left, without race or state of intelligence appearing to have any manifest influence on the direction of this inequality of development.