Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/876

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

his reasons, derived from his later observations, for adhering to his former conclusion. He assumes to determine the character of the body of water which has occupied a given spot, whether it was a stream or a lake, from the nature of the terraces left in the valley. Thus there are stream terraces, and wave-terraces, and delta-terraces, and others, all marked by distinct features. A lake should leave wave-terraces or delta-terraces. In revisiting Marsh Valley, he traversed it from end to end, making a careful search for the terraces of the ancient shores, selecting the most favorable stations and lights he could get. He saw stream-terraces and displacement-terraces of considerable magnitude, and a few inconspicuous terraces due to unequal erosion, but no wave-terrace and no delta-terrace. He made a special examination of two terraces referred to by Dr. Peale in support of his views, but did not recognize in them any features inconsistent with the opinion that they are stream-terraces. He consents to reconsider his original location of the outlet of the lake at the time of the beginning of the overflow, and assigns it to a position two miles north of Red Rock, instead of at that point, and the distance nearer to the place fixed by Dr. Peale than the place where he first fixed it. Mr. Gilbert Thompson, an expert topographer, visited the northern limits of the lake in 1877, while ignorant of the results of Mr. Gilbert's examination, and came to the same conclusion that he had reached. In a letter to Mr. Gilbert, dated April 10, 1878, he says: "I was delighted, at Red Rock, to see unmistakable evidences of the ancient outlet of Great Salt Lake. . . . Thus you may have the gratification of knowing of an independent and entirely unbiased verification of your determination of this point."


A Fresh-water Medusa.—A new medusa, which lives in fresh water—the first freshwater medusa known—has been discovered in the tank of the water-lily house of the Royal Botanical Society in London. It flourishes and multiplies rapidly in water of a temperature of about 90°, and the specimens with which the tank swarms are described as being very energetic in their movements and apparently in the conditions which contribute most completely to their well-being. The new jelly-fish has attracted great attention among naturalists, and minute descriptions of it are given by Mr. Romanes and Drs. Allman and E. Ray Lankester. Mr. Romanes has found that exposure to sea-water kills it, and that it is more intolerant of sea-water than are the marine medusas of fresh water. Dr. Allman has named it Limnocodium Victoria and gives it a position between the Leptomedusæ and the Trachomedusæ, while he regards its affinity with the Leptomedusæ as the closer.


Origin of Chinese Civilization.—A new view of Chinese civilization has been presented by M. A. Terrien de la Couperie, who asserts that the ordinary opinion, which would regard China as a world by itself—with a distinct language, and a peculiar way of writing which it has invented for itself—is incorrect, and is based on insufficient study. The error has been committed by regarding the Chinese and their language as they are, and not studying them historically and tracing them as far back as possible. This M. Terrien de la Couperie has done, according to the testimony of Professor Robert K. Douglas, with success. Great changes were made in the language in the early centuries of the Christian era, and the present system dates from no further back than the fourth century. The more ancient language may be studied from a number of sources, of which M. Terrien specifies eleven classes. One of the most important documents is the Yh King, which is supposed to embody some of the most ancient writings in the language. Some of the texts are attributed to the times of the legendary Fuhhe, b. c. 2852, and became the subject of commentaries as early as b. c. 1150. M. Terrien is the first person in modern times who has succeeded in explaining any of it. The archaic Chinese characters were derived from hieroglyphics, and the hieroglyphics were accompanied by a certain number of phonetic signs. A study of the most ancient forms and a comparison with the other sources of information have led M. Terrien to recognize in the Chinese spoken language an ancient member of the Ural-Altaic family of agglutinant languages, in which it constitutes a new, a third division