Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/493

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477
LONGEVITY OF THE OYSTER.

centuries? An analogous example in contemporary hygiene was afforded at the meeting of the German Public Health Association, when Hofmann and Siegel showed by the light of experimental researches and exact observations that our church-yards and burial-grounds, provided the soil is in a proper condition, and a proper, easily applied restorative treatment is adopted, are not so detrimental to the ground-water and air, and consequently to the health of persons living near them, as has been heretofore believed, but that the water from wells inside of the church-yards is generally purer than that in the inhabited places around them, so that in this respect we have more to fear from the living than from the dead. We are injured by our method of burial quite as little as we were injured when systematic blood-letting in inflammatory diseases was abandoned in consequence of the observations of Skoda and Rokitansky.

It will not be otherwise with hygienic practice than it has been with therapeutics, if we now begin to apply a scientific method to it. May the medical faculties and the government speedily grant means to do it! The most beneficial practical results will not fail to be realized.

 

LONGEVITY OF THE OYSTER.
By Professor SAMUEL LOCKWOOD.

IT is proposed to give an account of an interesting determination of the extreme age of a pair of venerable oysters which have just come into my possession. They were given me by a professional oyster-grower, Captain T. S. R. Brown, of Keyport, New Jersey, and belong to a planting in which he was concerned thirty years ago. The young oysters were obtained from Virginia, and planted in Raritan Bay, Keyport. At the proper time the crop was taken up and sent to market. In all such cases there are leavings or escapes from the dredging. The bottom being too hard, the bed was abandoned and never planted again, and these oysters were found there a few days ago. They are not "naturals" or natives, but simply naturalized "Virginies," a distinction which a practical oyster-raiser will make unerringly. Any one examining the shells would infer the nature of the bed whence they were taken, for the outer edges of the "shoots" or layers are smooth, as if worn by a gentle motion on a compact sandy bottom. The shells are large, though not larger than or even as large as many often seen in market; but the latter, if "primes," have been of much quicker growth, and the mollusk is larger and finer. In a word, they are many years younger than the pair I am considering, and were grown on a softer bed, and one which was for them in every way a richer feeding-ground. The two oysters in question measure,