Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/138

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country and appear to be intended by nature to form not only the arteries for its inner life, but also channels of communication with the rest of the world, all flow toward the north, and fall into a sea which, down to recent times, has been considered completely inaccessible." The basins of the three Great rivers together cover an area of nearly 2,500,000 geographical square miles, of which 1,440,000 geographical square miles lie south of 60° north. A part of the journey lay through the region of the remains of the mammoth, and "between shores probably richer in such remains than any other on the surface of the globe, and over a sea, from whose bottom our dredge brought up, along with pieces of driftwood, half-decayed portions of mammoth-tusks." The business of gathering and disposing of these tusks is really an important one, estimated to amount to a hundred pairs a year, or twenty thousand pairs since the country was conquered. These figures indicate that the mammoth population of the country must have been more considerable than the impression of the barrenness of the Arctic regions which is given by a superficial view leads us to suppose could have been the case. Professor Nordenskiöld finds no difficulty, however, in indicating the sources whence these animals derived their food. Having remarked that the remains of food which were found in the hollows of the teeth of a rhinoceros discovered on the Wilui River consisted of portions of leaves and needles of species of trees that still grow in Siberia, he observes that "it ought not to be overlooked that in sheltered places overflowed by the spring inundations there are found, still far north of the limit of trees, luxuriant bushy thickets, whose newly expanded juicy leaves, burned up by no tropical sun, perhaps form a special luxury for grass-eating animals, and that even the bleakest stretches of land in the high north are fertile in comparison with many regions where at least the camel can find nourishment."

Even now the animal life in the extreme north, as in Nova Zembla, in summer, "is more vigorous and, perhaps, even more abundant, or, to speak more correctly, less concealed by the luxuriance of vegetation, than in the south." Especially is this the case with "the innumerable flocks of birds that swarm around the polar traveler during the long summer days of the north." Insects, also, of a few species, are remarkably abundant, considering that the soil is continually frozen below the depth of a few inches, but as a rule "the actual land vertebrate fauna of the polar countries is exceedingly scanty in comparison with that of more southerly regions. It is quite otherwise as regards the sea. Here animal life is exceedingly abundant as far as man has succeeded in making his way to the farthest north. At nearly every sweep the dredge brings up from the sea-bottom masses of decapods, crustacea, mussels, asteroids, echini, etc., in varying forms, and the surface of the sea on a sunny day swarms with pteropods, beroids, surface-crustacea, etc," A greater number also of the higher types of animals within the polar territory occur in the sea than on the land. Having spent a winter in the frozen ocean, the expedition proceeded eastward to and through Behring Strait, and calling, always with scientific intent, at Japan, China, and the East India islands, came around through the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic Ocean, to its starting-point in the Scandinavian waters, thus accomplishing, for the first time in history, the circumnavigation of Europe and Asia.

Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as illustrated by Some Points in the History of Indian Buddhism. By T. W. Rhys Davids. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 262. Price, $2.50.

A religion which is believed to embrace more adherents than any other system of religious thought; the fundamental principles of which are embodied in a literature the merit and intrinsic interest of which have received the general recognition of scholars in all nations; and some of the external aspects of which present a striking resemblance to some Christian forms, is entitled to be regarded as a most remarkable outgrowth and manifestation of human thought, and deserves profound and respectful study. Buddhism is such a religion as we have described, and it receives the treatment it merits at the hands of Mr. Davids, who is considered one of the most competent living authorities on the subject It has to be