Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/770

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770
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

furnished with a muscular stalk; the other, Rhynconella, having a shell-closure and a fibrous, but not further contractible, stem. Most of the genera living to-day can boast of a high age. Terebratula traces its race-stock back to the Devonian system, as does also Crania, while Argiope, Megerlea, and Terebratulina derive their ancestors from the Jurassic.

Our oldest vertebrate is a rare fish called Ceratodus, which lives in some of the Australian rivers. It has a few relatives living in the rivers and marshes of Central Africa and South America, and is adapted to breathe in the air through lungs and in the water through gills. Teeth of species of Ceratodus, clearly recognizable by their peculiar formation, appear in the muschelkalk of Würtemberg and Central Europe. Old as the race of the Ceratodus may be, it can not compare with that of the primeval genus Lingula.

I told my coral-fishers a falsehood in my story of the bet, but, as in every fiction there is a grain of truth, there is in this one the fact of the existence, in the present animal world, of a family of extremely anciently descended nobles, whose ancestors were members of the first animal creation visible to our eyes.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from Ueber Land und Meer.

STRANGE MEDICINES.
By Miss C. F. GORDON CUMMING.

QUICKLY—by far too quickly for the sake of the student and the archæologist—is the wave of foreign influence over-sweeping Japan, ruthlessly effacing all the most marked characteristics of native manners and customs, and substituting the commonplaces of everyday European life.

Already this tendency to exalt and to adopt foreign novelties meets the traveler at every turn, and only he who turns aside from the tracks most subject to foreign influence can hope now and then to find some stanch conservative who, in that nation of ultra-radicals (albeit most loyal imperialists*), has the courage to adhere to his own old-fashioned ways.

I had the good fortune to meet with such a one in the very interesting old city of Osaka—a compounder of just such strange medicines as were administered to our British ancestors in the middle ages. So rapidly has the scientific study of medicine been taken up by the Japanese medical practitioners, that the survival of such a chemist of the pure and unadulterated old school is quite remarkable; and I was greatly struck by the evident annoyance of a Japanese gentleman to whom I expressed my interest in this mediæval chemist, and who