Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/316

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312
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

suddenly increase, its death rate would also increase at first, owing to the high infant mortality, but in the subsequent fifty years the population would be composed largely of people between the ages of ten and fifty years, whoso death rate is the smallest, and the death rate of the whole country would be low. Thus in England the greatly increased population of the country is due to the high birth rate in the sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties. Although the recorded birth rate was higher in 1876 than previously, this is probably due only to the improved registration. But the ever increasing population has given a composition such that those predominate in numbers who are at ages at which the death rate is low. Of a thousand people in France, about 125 are over sixty years of age, of a thousand in England only about 75 are of this age. The lower death rate in England is largely due to its more youthful population. It may decrease somewhat further, owing to improved hygiene and sanitation; but if the birth rate continues lo decrease there will come a time when the death rate will increase.

 

ALBERT GAUDRY

In the loss of Professor Gaudry, who died recently, in Paris, paleontology' suffers not only in France but in the world at large, for he was an investigator of rare ability who was also gifted with a felicitous mode of expression. It is remarkable that his earliest woik of note was also his greatest. This was the memoir on the fossil mammals of Pikermi, a small hillock of Upper Miocene age in Greece. Taken altogether, the volume on the Pikermi mammals is the finest contribution which has ever been made to the paleontology of the mammals in Europe, with the possible exception of Kowalevsky's great memoirs of 1873. Similar works appeared on fauna of the same age at Mt. Leberon. Gaudry's most popular volume was his "Enchainements du Mo de Animal."

The most original feature of Gaudry's research on the Pikermi fauna was his recognition of the polyphyletic nature of the evolution of the horses, rhinoceroses and other animals whose remains are found in such profusion in this classic locality of Greece. Gaudry's other great service to science was the building up of the splendid collection in the Jardin des Plantes, Paris, and the artistic finishing of the famous "Gallerie de Palæontologie," which contains the older collections which have found their way to Paris, including the classic types of Cuvier and de Blainville.

Professor Gaudry was a man of charming character and personality, a French gentleman of the old school; extremely sympathetic in his relations with others, and cordially enthusiastic in recognition of their work. He always showed marked hospitality in his reception of visiting paleontologists to the Paris museum, and was warmly welcomed on his rare journeys to foreign countries.

 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific has awarded its Bruce gold medal for the year 1909 to Dr. G. W. Hill for distinguished services to astronomy.—The first award of the gold medal recently established by the Smithsonian Institution in memory of the late Secretary Langley has been made to Messrs. Wilbur and Orville Wright.—M. Henri Poincaré,the eminent mathematician and philosopher, has been received into the French Academy, taking the seat vacant by the death of the poet Sully Prudhomme.

Dr. S. Weir Mitcehell celebrated his eightieth birthday on February 15, and Professor Ernst Haeckel his seventy-fifth birthday on February 16.