Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/800

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which attends it, while even a thorough knowledge of physiology-seems often to be of little avail for self-management.

In conclusion, I must say again that I am not here contending that theism or that Christianity is true, nor do I blink the tremendous difficulties with which at this moment the proof of both of them is beset. I stand up for history, and decline either to reject existing beliefs before they are confuted, or to accept new beliefs before they are proved. There is nothing in this inconsistent with the most grateful veneration for science, or the most perfect willingness to embrace any kind of truth. Vincat Veritas, ruat cœlum. Only, if the catastrophe does happen, it will surely be better, with such spirit as we can summon, to confront the void, and not to try to delude our souls by putting figments in the room of that which has been lost.—Contemporary Review.



THE attention of Adolphe Brongniart was for a long time given to the silicified fossil seeds which are inclosed in the beds of Autun and Saint-Étienne. The illustrious naturalist found the study a virgin domain, and an appropriate complement to his great labors on fossil plants. Although our knowledge in this department is still very far from complete, Brongniart was able to lay the foundation of a classification of these interesting remains; and it gives us pleasure, as much in the historical point of view as in its bearing on botany, to give a succinct idea of it here.

The seeds which Brongniart examined are divided into two principal groups:

A. Seeds with a binary symmetry, more or less flattened and bi-carinated. This natural group includes the genera Cardiocarpus (Fig. 1, 1), Rhabdocarpus (Fig. 1, 2), Diplotesta, Sarcotaxus, Taxospermum, and Leptocaryon, analogous to genera of the existing family of the Taxineæ.

B. Seeds with a symmetrical radiation around an axis, in which the number of the divisions varies from three, as in Pachytesta, Trigonocarpus (Fig. 1, 3), Tripterospermum, to six, as in Ptychotesta, Hexapterospermum, Polypterospermum (Fig. 1, 5), Polylophospermum or eight, as in Eriotesta, Codonospermum (Fig. 1, 6), or the section of which is circular, as in Stephanospermum and Ætheotesta. These seeds appear to represent the Sigillariæ and the calamites, and some genera of the cycads and conifers.

  1. Translated for "The Popular Science Monthly" from "La Nature."