Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/514

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500
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and their neighbors. If this supposition be permissible, then a further stage still awaits our intellectual journey in the search after the origin of the elephant races. In the Eocene rocks of North America occur the fossil remains of some extinct quadrupeds, of which the Dinoceras is the best-known form. These animals unite in a singular fashion the characters of elephants and ordinary "hoofed" quadrupeds. While they possessed horns, they also developed tusks from the eye-teeth; and, from a survey of their complete organization, Professor Marsh tells us that the position of these unique quadrupeds is intermediate between the elephants themselves and the great order to which the hoofed quadrupeds belong. Dinoceras and its neighbors precede the dinotherium and mastodon in time, and this fact alone is important as bearing on the assumed relationship of these forms.

It may thus at present be assumed with safety that the evolution of the elephants has taken place from some ancient Eocene quadruped stock, represented by the Dinoceras group, which belongs to no one group of living quadrupeds, but is intermediate in its nature, as we have already observed. From some such stock, then, we may figure the dinotherium and mastodon races to have been in due time evolved. The New World, in this light, must have been the birthplace of the elephant hosts; for the Dinoceras and its neighbors are of North American origin; migration to the Old World having taken place by continuous land-surface then existent, and the further evolution of the living species and their fossil neighbors having occurred in the Eastern hemisphere. Thus, once again we arrive at the existing races of elephants. These are simply the survivals of an ancient line of quadrupeds, whose history is simply that of every other living being—animal or plant—a history which, like the unfolding of a flower, leads us from form to form, along pathways of variation and change, and which, at last, as the ages are born and die, evolves, from the buried and forgotten races of past monsters, the no less curious and unwieldy quadruped giants of to-day.—Belgravia.

 

THE CHEMISTRY OF SUGAR.
By Professor HARVEY W. WILEY.

THE annual consumption of sugar by the people of the United States amounts to more than forty pounds per capitum. This gives as a total the enormous quantity of two billion pounds per annum. The cost of this commodity may be safely placed at eight cents a pound. The total value of the sugar consumed each year, therefore, is one hundred and sixty million dollars. Sugar is a theme of general and pecuniary interest, which is a sufficient excuse for an article on its chemistry.