Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/382

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drawing further conclusions from their comparative observations in addition to recording and classifying them; but, if the teacher is really capable of teaching, it will be found that the children begin to suggest these conclusions themselves, and, this stage once reached, the success of the method is insured.

Glimpses of the meanings of adaptations of structure to function soon follow, but they should be obvious and simple at first, and the mistake should not be made of entangling a child in a discussion as to more remote meanings. It should never be forgotten, in fact, that the first steps consist in learning to observe accurately and to record faithfully, comparative exercise being used in addition, both as a check and as a stimulus to the judgment.


QUESTIONS concerning the quality or faculty in animals comparable with human reason and the extent to which it is developed in them are much discussed. Mr. Romanes discriminates between those ideas of quality that spring from mere sensuous impressions and those elaborated notions that arise from the more complex associations supplied by mental reflection, and assumes that brutes have a power of thought of the former or inferior order. The Rev. George Henslow admits that they reason as we do, but always in connection with concrete phenomena, whether immediately apprehended by the senses or present to consciousness through memory; but that they have no power of conveying truly abstract ideas. Prof. Exner regards them as capable of certain determined combinations in view of specific ends which are variable within very narrow limits. Some of the recorded instances of the exercise of thought by animals suggest that the sphere of their action in this line is often capable of considerable enlargement.

In a former article were considered some of the friendships which cats appear to form with human beings, particularly with the members of the families in which they live. The discussion might be continued indefinitely, and illustrated by incidents without number. Of equal interest are the associations which they are capable of forming with other animals.

We have only an imperfect knowledge concerning the relations of different animals toward one another. We can conceive the relative feelings of an animal that pursues and one that is pursued, and can comprehend that there should be jealousies and disputes between rivals for the same prey. We perceive animals