Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/96

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above-mentioned structures present forms of coral so nearly related to those of the earth, and we must, therefore, accept this fact as important evidence that an organic evolution of great similarity to that on our own earth has taken place on whatever planet from which these meteorites originated.

Besides corals, Dr. Weinland has also succeeded in finding a number of other organic remains in Dr. Hahn's specimens. The material for this investigation was very large, for the greater part of the specimens has evidently been fused together from organic fragments. This is especially the case with the great meteoric stone of Knyahinya, which weighed over two hundred pounds. Well-preserved forms, however, are scarce, for the meteoric material was principally composed of fragments and detritus, which greatly resembled, for instance, the youngest marine chalk in the Gulf of Mexico. But, after comparing a great number of laminæ and attaining some practice in this work, Dr. Weinland succeeded in restoring certain often-repeated formations. The sponges especially were highly developed, and of these Dr. Weinland succeeded in actually determining three different genera. Of one characteristic bluish sponge, which occurred in several favorable shavings both as young and old specimens, he was able to make a drawing of its interior construction as easily as from a living specimen. He also thinks that he has discovered vegetable traces; at least, a remarkable, arched form, divided into two halves by a cross-partition, and measuring 0·8 millimetre in diameter, greatly resembles the shield-algæ (cocconeis). But he is yet unable to decide whether the formations, claimed by Dr. Hahn as crinoids, really belong to this class, for some of them are certainly spongiæ.

So far, not a single trace has been found of higher animal forms (mollusca, arthrozoa), but all the discovered organisms evidently indicate the primary formation of the celestial body from which they came. Then, again, this entire ex-terrestrial fauna hitherto discovered, which already comprises about fifty different species, and which originates from different meteoric falls, even from some during the last century, conveys the impression that it doubtlessly once formed part of a single ex-terrestrial-celestial body with a unique creation, which in by-gone ages seems to have been overtaken by a grand catastrophe, during which it was broken up into fragments.

Perhaps some readers of this article will ask why this remarkable discovery has not been made before, considering the great number of meteorites already collected in our mineralogical collections and the considerable number of scientists who have investigated them.[1] Dif-

  1. Probably the largest collection of meteoric stones is in the possession of Mr. Shephard, of New Haven, Connecticut. It contains over 500 specimens, weighing together 1,200 pounds. The largest fragment, which weighs 436 pounds, comes from Colorado, and the smallest, of half an ounce only, from Otsego County, New York. The largest complete stone (56 pounds) fell in Muskingum County, Ohio, the smallest (less than 50