Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/588

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572
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

cluded fifty-eight local unions or groups, and about twenty-three hundred members.

 

Development of the Mammalian Foot.—Professor E. D. Cope has suggested as a result of his studies of the feet of the mammalia, that the reduction in the number of toes in the ungulates "is due to the elongation of those which slightly exceeded the others in length, in consequence of the greater number of strains and impacts received by them in rapid progression, and the complementary loss of material available for the growth of the smaller ones. This is rendered probable from the fact that the types with reduced digits are dwellers on dry land in both orders, and those that have more numerous digits are inhabitants of swamps and mud." The cloven-footed animals were mud-dwellers, as a few of them still are, and larger than the whole-footed ungulates; and "the mechanical effect of walking in the mud is to spread the toes equally on opposite sides of the middle line. This would encourage the equal development of the digits on each side of the middle line, as in the cloven-footed types." On the other hand, in progression on hard ground, the longest toe (the third) will receive the greatest amount of shock from contact with the earth, and there is every reason to believe that shocks, if not excessive, encourage growth in the direction of the force applied. The hinge between the first and second series of tarsal bones in cloven feet is also supposed to be the result of strains endured in walking in mud. The variations in the degree of development of the trochleæ, or the prominences forming the tongues of the tongue-and-groove articulations, in different mammalia, also seem to be dependent on the amount and kind of strain to which the limbs are subjected.

 

The Archæological Congress at Tiflis.—A very interesting Archæological Congress was recently held at Tiflis, which was attended by about eight hundred persons, nearly all from Russia and the Caucasus. Professor Virchow was the most conspicuous foreign delegate. Collections of stone and bronze antiquities and Georgian ornaments were exhibited from Russia, Kuban, and Ossetia, where great numbers of bronze implements, carved hatchets with spiral, zigzag, and animal ornaments, and religious objects belong to some unknown worship, have been found in recent years. Count Ouvaroff made a communication on remains of the stone period human skeletons, with stone and bone implements, perforated teeth of animals, and as many as two hundred jade (nephrite) hatchets, the first jade implements observed in graves in Russia, which had been found on the bank of the Angara River, near Irkutsk. In the discussion concerning jade that followed the reading of this paper, M. Moushketoff described the great monolith of jade over the grave of Tamerlane at Samarcand, which is 7·8 feet long, 1·5 foot wide, 1·2 foot high, and weighs about eighteen hundred pounds, or more than twice as much as the largest pieces of nephrite that have been found in bowlders. Professor Samokoff gave an account of his finds in the graves near Pyatigorsk, in the Caucasus. He excavated about two hundred graves belonging to the stone, bronze, and iron periods, and found in the larger graves bronze and stone implements, bones of sheep, and several split human bones that did not belong to skeletons. His conclusion that the Caucasians of the bronze age were anthropophagists was not concurred in by the majority of the Congress. Professor Virchow gave a lecture on the chief problems of the ethnology and archæology of the Caucasus. On the current opinion that the Caucasus was the highway for populations coming from Asia to Europe, he expressed some doubts whether the Caucasian passes could have been crossed by whole tribes at a time when communications were so difficult, and the ice-covering descended lower than now. It would be most important, therefore, to ascertain whether the first inhabitants of the Caucasus came from the north or from the south. He considered that the civilization which the antiquities found in Ossetia represent was far more recent than that discovered by Dr. Schliemann at Troy.

 

Acoustics in Architecture.—Mr. A. F. Oakey, the architect of the Cincinnati Music Hall, gives some valuable suggestions on "Acoustics in Architecture" in "Van Nostrand's Engineering Magazine." The most essential requisite to a good music hall or