Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 5.djvu/137

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127
NOTES.

hills to the sea will eventually be stocked with English tench.

 

A Clever Shepherd-Dog.—At a field trial of shepherd-dogs held at Bala, in Wales, last October, for a prize of fifty guineas, one of the contestants, a pure-bred Scotch colley, named Sam, performed some marvelous feats which have earned for his portrait a place in the American Agriculturist. The duty the dog had to perform was, to drive three sheep, just released from the fold, into a pen with an entrance six feet wide at about five hundred yards' distance. The difficult nature of the performance was increased by the great wildness of the small, wiry mountain-sheep of Wales, which leads them to go in any direction rather than the right one, and each one to scamper off in its own chosen direction. Sam, however, was not to be defeated, and, "surrounding" his three wayward sheep by rapidly-executed flank-movements, had them safely penned in eleven minutes and a half. Sam's next performance was rendered more difficult of accomplishment by sundry unlucky accidents. A flock of geese got mixed up with the sheep, but Sam cleverly extricated his flock. Then two of the sheep jumped over a stone-wall, and the third leaped into the river. Sam persuaded two to come back again, and then hauled the third out of the water by the scruff of the neck and soon had them all in the pen. But, by a mistake of his master, Sam lost too much time, and although his performances were by far the best in other respects, he was adjudged only the third place in the competition.

 

Eozoon Canadense.—It was the occasion of a great surprise to geological savants, when it was announced that the hitherto so-called azoic rocks of the Laurentian formation contained fossil remains. Certain dark-green spherules, not larger than pin-heads, were found speckling the mass, like caraway seeds in a cake. These specks were of hard green-stone, or serpentine. In Northern New York a limestone formation exists, in which these green spherules abound to such an extent as to color or mottle the rock, so that it is called verd-antique marble. These green globules are the same with those in the rocks of the St. Lawrence.

They have now for a few years been known by the name Eozoon Canadense. Mr. H. J. Carter, in the Annals and Magazine of Natural History, as cited in the American Journal of Science, seems to have given Eozoon Canadense its death-blow. He declares that it is not a Zoraminifer, or calcareous rhizopod secretion. It was argued, by those who claimed for it a fossil character, that it was a Zoraminifer infiltrated with serpentine. Mr. Carter has made a study of infiltrated specimens of Nummulites, Orbitoides, and other minute fossils from the Eocene of Western India. These well preserved their foraminiferous structure. But of the Eozoon Canadense he says: "In vain do we look for the casts of true foraminiferous chambers at all in the grains of serpentine; they, for the most part, are not sub-globular, but sub-prismatic." He declares himself "at a loss to conceive how the so-called Eozoon Canadense can be identified with foraminiferous structure, except by the wildest conjecture."

If, then, this absence of structure thus puts out the claim of this so-called Eozoon, or "dawn of life," may it not be timely to ask what evidence of structure there may be in the so-called organism on which the recent attempt has been made to prove the existence of land-plants in the Silurian?

 

Jasmine flowering early.—For a little time the opening of the winter was severe, after which, until about the close of January, the season was exceptionally mild. It told on the budding of trees generally. At Washington, the Jasminum nudiflorum, a Japanese species of jasmine, is cultivated in the open air. This plant burst into bloom about the first of January, some twenty days earlier than is its habit in that latitude.

 


NOTES.

About 800 miles west of Omaha, says the Scientific American, the line of the Union Pacific Railroad crosses Green River, and the approach to the river is for a considerable distance through a cutting of from twenty to forty feet in depth, made in rock. During the construction of the road, some workmen piled together a few pieces of this rock for a fireplace, and soon observed that the stone itself ignited. It has been shown by analysis that the rock, which is a shale.