Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/582

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566
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

given on the Saturday to Devil's Lake, about forty miles from Madison, and the Dells of the Wisconsin River, about eighty miles distant; besides three excursions of sections. The International Botanical Congress will consider questions of botanical interest, but papers embodying the results of research will be excluded, and the International Standing Committee upon Nomenclature is expected to make its report. Mr. William Harkness will be president of this meeting of the American Association; and the sectional vice-presidents will be: (A) Mathematics and Astronomy, C. L. Doolittle; (B) Physics, E. L. Nichols; (C) Chemistry, Edward Hart; (D) Mechanical Science and Engineering, S. W. Robinson; (E) Geology and Geography, Charles D. Walcott; (F) Zoölogy, Henry F. Osborn; (G) Botany, Charles E. Bessey; (H) Anthropology, J. Owen Dorsey; (I) Economic Science and Statistics, William H. Brewer.

 

Large Game.—Among the animals described in Mr. Rowland Ward's Measurements and Weights of the Great Game of the World, precedence is given to the hippopotamus of Africa. Not unlike him is the manatee, now extinct in the West Indies, but surviving in the upper Amazon. Both kinds of marine cattle, observes the Saturday Review, graze upon water-weeds at the bottoms of the streams; but the manatee is harmless under all circumstances, while the hippopotamus sometimes plays the part of an assailant. A very formidable enemy he can be, for his massive tusks—all tusks are measured at the root—are sometimes more than nine inches in circumference. Still more dangerous are the razor-like tushes of the boar, and they are none the less dangerous that they are short. The greatest length of the outside curve is given at ten inches, and yet the boar has been known to come off victorious in a battle with the Bengal tiger. In contrast with one another stand the muntjac, a deer of India and the warm countries of the southern Pacific, with a "sweep" of horns of only six inches and a half, and the sambur, which weighs six hundred pounds and has a "magnificent" spread of antlers of two feet and a half from tip to tip. The best of the American wapiti is more than half as large again as the Scottish red deer, and the grand Carpathian species yields in size to the extinct Irish elk. Generally speaking, we find that the weight of deer depends partly on the climate, but chiefly on the food. The caribou, or reindeer, is an exception. The farther north you find him, the better he seems to thrive, and, like the musk ox, he fattens on the arctic lichens; and the moose, which haunts more southerly forests and swamps, is decidedly smaller. There are some remarkably graceful dwarfs of the deer tribe. Kirk's antelope of East Africa wears Lilliputian horns three inches long; and Salt's antelope from Somali Land is still more minute. The beautiful little gazelles of Oriental poetry seem to do well anywhere; apparently they can dispense with water and lay on flesh in a wilderness of sand and stones. Naturally, they are always in high condition, and it is no easy business to ride them down. A very remarkable group are the wild sheep and goats which have been attracting so many adventurous rifles to the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada, to the Himalayas and the plateaus of Kashmir and Thibet. The horns of the finest Himalayan ibex which was killed by Mr. Kennard had a span of four feet and a quarter. Those of a wild goat from southeastern Europe, which fell to Colonel Marston's rifle, were a trifle longer. These, again, are surpassed by the curve of the best markhor, a denizen of the higher Himalayas, resembling the goat. When you cross the Indus into Afghanistan, the curved horns of the markhor are curiously straightened and fall away in length by a fourth. The length of the longest tiger skin after drying is said to be thirteen feet six inches; but it must be noted that skins expand considerably in the curing. The greatest length of a skin undressed is given as ten feet two inches and a half.

 

The Company of the Dead.—In Mr. Charles Hose's journeys in North Borneo, he found one morning after his night's rest that the remains of his host's last wife also occupied the room, where they were kept in a large box serving as a coffin. It is the custom of these people to keep a corpse in the house for three months before burying it. The body is then removed from the house and conveyed with much ceremony to the tomb. Every one present sends one or more cigar-