Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/124

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
114
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Here, then, are a series of observations by different observers from different standpoints, all telling the same story. Osteologists have long ago pointed out the reptilian affinities of the monotremes from the character of the skeleton. The anatomists in like manner have insisted upon certain reptilian characters as well as avian characters from its internal structure. A trained zoölogist now studies it on the ground, and finds it laying true eggs, a fact that had been insisted upon several times in the present century. More significant still, the study of these eggs shows that they go through a reptilian mode of development. And now the paleontologist brings to light the remains of a reptile from the Permian rocks, and again establishes the same relations.

In this connection the examination by Dr. Henry C. Chapman[1] of a fetal kangaroo and its membranes is of interest. The fœtus he examined was fourteen days old. He states that it had no true placenta, and says, "If the parts in question have been truthfully described and correctly interpreted, as partly bridging over the gap between the placental and non-placental vertebrates, they supply exactly what the theory of evolution demands, and furnish, therefore, one more proof of the truth of that doctrine."

 

THE UNHEALTHFULNESS OF BASEMENTS.[2]
By W. O. STILLMAN, M. D.

IN many American cities basement-houses are quite the rule; and rooms, partly or almost completely below the street-level, are in common use as work and dining rooms, and occasionally for living and sleeping purposes.

A rather casual examination of the standard works, on hygiene, of Parkes, Buck, Wilson, and others, fails to reveal any condemnation of basements, though the dangers arising from damp cellars and foundations are freely discussed. A not unnatural conclusion might be that these eminent sanitarians lived in an air of such hygienic innocence and purity that the possibility of the enormity of basement-living had not occurred to them to be reprehended.

The value of ground-space in modern cities has caused architects to plan for the occupancy of perpendicular space below as well as above the surface of the earth. In very few dwellings are the inhabitants protected from earth-damp, whether a basement or cellar intervenes. Every physician recognizes the dangers arising from damp and cold, not to specify from noxious exhalations, and unhealthy subterranean air-currents. Rheumatism, consumption, malaria, neuralgia, etc.,

  1. "Proceedings of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences," 1881, p. 468.
  2. From a paper read before the Albany County Medical Society, March 23, 1887.