Popular Science Monthly/Volume 40/February 1892/New Observations on the Language of Animals

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search




I HAD occasion, in a note published several years ago in the Revue Scientifique, to mention a parroquet which I have since continued to observe, the manifestations of whose intelligence are both interesting and instructive. Many acts of birds are difficult of interpretation. To speak only of their songs, the meanings of most of the innumerable varieties of sounds which they produce, and of their diverse warblings, escape us completely. It is not possible to find the meaning of these things except by forming suppositions and hypotheses, or by catching the connections between cries and acts. But instances of the latter kind are extremely rare in comparison with the great majority of the manifestations made by animals.

Thus, to select examples which every one can observe, when a canary-bird is warbling in its cage and becomes deafening, or when a lark rises straight up in the air and incantat suum tirile tirile—sings its tirile tirile—as Linnæus picturesquely expresses it; when a tomtit, leaping from branch to branch of a willow or among the reeds, repeats its florid warblings; when a raven croaks; when a blackbird whistles—what significance can we attach to their songs and their cries? Certainty is impossible, and we can only form more or less plausible hypotheses concerning the interpretation of them.

The parrot furnishes us one more aid in this matter than other birds, and this helps us, to a certain extent, in overcoming the difficulty of interpretation. It has an articulate voice, and when we have taught it a few words, the meaning which it gives them may be better divined by us according to the tone and the rapidity or slowness of its utterance. This permits us to discover the feelings that move it, for we can better judge from an articulate sound than from one that is merely musical.

Much has been written on the language of animals. It is neither my desire nor my intention to repeat here all that may have been said on this subject. It would take too long and would be of no use. I have often witnessed facts that may be of interest to those who are occupied with the mental manifestations of animals. I will simply relate them; and of such as are already known, I will merely mention them anew, admitting in advance a priority for others which I do not demand for myself.

There can be no doubt that animals communicate their impressions by an inarticulate voice. Common sense and the most superficial observations are opposed to the negative of this proposition. But when a canary-bird warbles till it stuns us, or a nightingale sings in the shadows on the fine nights of June, can we follow and discover the significance of those modulations—now sharply cadenced, now slowly drawn out, and ending with a trill long and accurate enough to challenge the most skillful musician?

All the poets of every country have constantly sung of the songs of Philomela. But their fervent and enthusiastic verses cast little light on the value of the nightingale's song. It is said that the male sings for the entertainment of the sitting female, but there is no proof of the assertion. The note warning of the approach of danger is easier to recognize. The bird utters a short, hoarse cry, and repeats it with a succession of trrre, trrre, which is impossible to mistake. When we hear this cry we may be sure that an enemy is near. Music gives way to a cry of distress and warning, and the female leaves her nest if the sounds become piercing. What do we know of the gobbling of the turkey, which the whistling and the cries of children excite? They are doubtless responses to those challenges; but what do they mean?

The crowing of the cock, recurring regularly at fixed hours, has some signification, but we can not comprehend it. If on a fine afternoon in autumn the cock crows, and repeats his strain between two and four o'clock, the countrymen in some places will say there will be a fog on the morrow, and they are generally not mistaken. Hens do not mistake his notes either; when a leader of the troop, coming upon a spot rich in food, utters his peculiar chuckle, they run from all around to share the find with him. It is evident that the cock has called them and they have understood him. These facts indicate that there is some definite sense in this inarticulate language; and examples of it, taken from other groups, might be multiplied.

The dog, intelligent animal as he is, manifests his affection on meeting his master, with peculiar cries which vary with the intensity of his joy. No one could confound these notes of pleasure with those which he utters when he is angrily driving away a beggar, or when he meets another dog of unpleasant appearance and puts himself in the position of attack.

An interesting study of the voice of the dog on guard may be made in the country at night. If another dog barks in the distance, the house-dog answers in a peculiar manner. He gives a few growls, stops, seems to listen, begins again, very often getting answers; and, after two or three interruptions, he terminates his barking with abrupt yelps, loud at the beginning and long drawn out, and gradually dying away. This ending of his cries is habitually accompanied by his raising his head, and throwing it back. I have often, when within the house, on hearing the watch-dog bark in this way. opened the window to assure myself on the subject, and distinguished, as I could not do with the windows closed, the voice of another watch-dog barking in the same way in the distance—the barkings of the two dogs alternating, one answering the other. There is in such cases an evident communication of impressions. One of the dogs, having had his attention aroused by some unusual noise, has transmitted his impression to the other, as sentinels posted at intervals call out their warnings one to another. I have often repeated this observation during the long evenings of winter.

Another example, little known in thickly populated countries, is drawn from a curious scene which I witnessed during a winter passed in Perigord Noir. We had remarked that for several nights the three watch-dogs, a young and an old male and a bitch, howled often toward midnight, but in a peculiar way. One night in particular, during their tedious concert, just as we had got to sleep, they mingled with their cries howlings like those they would have uttered if they had been beaten, with a shading hard to define, but which we perceived plainly; and we remarked that, leaving their kennel in the avenue that led up to the lodge, they had come to close quarters with one another at the gate, with alternating howlings and plaintive cries. Inquiring in the morning for the cause of these singular cries, the peasants told me that a wolf had passed, and predicted that it would return. They said, too, that a neighbor's hunting-bitch had disappeared, and its bones had been found in the fields near a wood. We were awakened again about midnight by the cries of the dogs, and the scene was renewed. Informed as we now were of the nature of what was going on, we ran to one of the windows, whence we could see, in the clear light of the moon, all that passed. The three dogs were cowering against the gate, the oldest one howling by the side of the others, while the younger one and the bitch were exposed at intervals to the attacks of another animal, browner than they, and of about their size, without defending themselves, but moaning as if they were undergoing a vigorous correction.

Frightened, doubtless, by the opening of the blinds of the first story above him, the strange animal had gone away and was sitting in the middle of the road. We could only see that he had straight ears. While we were going down to get a gun the visitor came back to his charge on the dogs, which had begun howling after he left them, and resumed the cries significant of chastisement when they were attacked again. For some reason, perhaps because he heard the click of the gun, the foe drew back and sat down in a garden-walk, concealed by a bunch of shrubberry. The three dogs, notwithstanding our reiterated urging, were no more disposed to pursue him than before. If the assailant had been a dog they would have rushed upon him, but they stayed cowering at the gate and howled distressfully. The bitch was most affected, and they all seemed paralyzed by fear. It is said in the country that bitches are especially liable to be attacked by wolves. It was so here. The most certain feature in the matter was the terror of the animals. They were capable of resisting the attack three times over. The young dog was a savage one, and passers-by were afraid of the bitch; but that night they were terrorized, and all incapable of defending themselves. Their cries were therefore due to the same cause as in the preceding night—the presence and attacks of the wolf. I could not have realized their meaning if I had not been a witness of the scene—that is, I could not have correlated the cries and the acts.

A shot at the animal behind the bushes was followed by a hoarse cry. He was hit, and ran; but, in spite of our urgings, the dogs stayed at the gate and only stopped howling. Under any other conditions, upon the signal of the shot they would all have started in pursuit of the wounded animal.

A wolf came to the farm during the last winter (1890-'91) and attacked the same bitch. He would have carried her off, for he had seized her by the throat, if we could judge from the stifled cries she uttered; but this time he found with her a new watchdog—a mountain bitch from the Pyrenees—of a breed that attacks the wolf and the bear. The wolf would have been caught if he had not run away. He did not return, for he had been attacked, and learned what he had to deal with.

The Pyrenean breed furnishes excellent watch-dogs. I knew one of remarkable traits. At evening he would go round the house, giving two or three growls at each door. With his head raised he seemed to listen to his fine voice, then he would start again and go to another door. He seemed desirous to show those who were observing him that he was attending to his post as guardian. He then went away in silence along the walk, through a dark, rising hedgerow, leaping the slight hillock, yelping, toward the wood. He listened, yelped again, and went in. There was never any failure in this performance, but every evening as night was coming on he began his round, which no one had taught him. It was all done in his function as a guard. It would be hard to determine what his yelps meant, but there were in them an inflection, a sonorousness, and a continuance quite different from those he uttered when pursuing a passer-by or when going to meet a person coming toward the house. Every one who has a watch-dog is able to tell by the sound of his barking when a person is coming up, and usually what sort of a visitor it is.

The peasants' dogs of the southwest of France dislike the country millers, because of the long whips which they are always carrying and snapping, and with which the dogs, running after them, are often struck. From as far off as the snapping of the whip can be heard, the dogs come to wait for the millers and pursue them; and it is easy to recognize when the millers are passing, by the behavior of the dogs. There is in this also a significance, at once aggressive and defensive, in the cries which one can, by giving a little attention, soon learn to distinguish.

Another example of the reality of the various meanings of the cries of the dog under different circumstances is afforded by the companies that collect around a female in heat.

I have a very intelligent and experienced brach-hound, the same which with the bitch had to face the attack of the wolf. He amuses me much at my country lunches. Hunting-dogs which have been much with their masters at lunch do not like to have the drinking-glass offered them. This dog was much afraid of the glass, and I had only to present it to him at lunch-time to make him keep his distance. I used to keep my door open at lunch, for the amusement of observing how I could make him stop exactly at the threshold without stepping over it. If he had passed over it I could always send him back by casting toward him a few drops of water from the bottom of the glass after drinking. Sitting, as was his habit, on the sill of the door, with the tip of his muzzle never extending beyond the plane of the panels, he would follow my motions with the closest attention, reminding me, if I failed to give him a sign of attention, by a discreet, plaintive cry, that he was there. But if I touched my glass he would spring up at once; if I filled it, he would put himself on guard, utter a kind of sigh, sneeze, lick his lips, yawn, and, shaking his ears briskly, make little stifled cries. Then he would grow impatient, and more and more watchful and nervous. When I lifted my glass to my lips he would draw back, working gradually nearer to the farther door, and at last disappear and hide. One who was looking at him without seeing me could tell by his wails and his attitude the level and position of my glass. When the glass was horizontal, I could see only about half of his head, with one eye regarding me fixedly, for that was usually the critical moment—the one, also, when the wails and restraints were most demonstrative of the anxious fear of my poor animal.

When we dine in the kitchen, which is on the ground floor, the dogs are usually all put out. There are four of them, three young and not experienced, and this old, sagacious brach-hound. He insists on coming in, and, to gain his purpose, tries to have the door opened. Although no person may be coming up the walk, he dashes down it barking, all the others going along too and yelping with him; then he stops, remains a little behind after having got the others out of the way, and, turning his head from moment to moment, looks to see if the door has been opened, for we generally go to it to see who has come. In that case the feigned attack is successful, and the dog, who has evidently meant to give the alarm so as to have the door opened, comes in at once and claims a place at the table. He has accomplished his end, for the door is usually shut without paying attention to his having got in. I have frequently witnessed this stratagem, and when, during my kitchen dinner, I suddenly hear the dogs yelping after the brach-hound has begun, I am pretty sure that nobody is in sight.

I have forgotten where I found the next story of an old dog who was also very sagacious. Hunting-dogs, when they grow old, become rheumatic, or are at least debilitated with pains. We know, too, that they crave heat, and get as near the fire as possible—a craving which increases as they grow older. One such dog, older than the others, and slower in getting into the lodge on returning from the hunt, was often crowded away from the fire by the other livelier dogs getting all the best places before him. Finding himself thus turned out in the cold, he would dash toward the door barking, when the others, supposing it was an alarm, would rush away too, while the old rheumatic went to the fire and selected a place to suit him.

It is not necessary to dwell upon the intelligence shown by such acts. But it is hardly contestable that the old animal, who knows how to play such tricks upon his less experienced companions, deceives them by his intonations, while he is well aware that no enemy is approaching the house; but he does it scientifically, by the inflections of his voice, as a man speaking to other men would do in announcing the arrival of an imaginary enemy.

Inarticulate cries are all pretty much the same to us; their inflections, duration, pitch, abruptness, and prolongation alone can inform us of their purpose. But experience and close attention have shown us the connection of these variations with the acts that accompany or precede them. Animals evidently understand these inflections at once. We can not better compare the language of animals than with what takes place in a pleasant sport, a kind of pantomime of the voice or language which many youth doubtless understand, and which I venture to refer to here to aid in more easily conceiving of the communication of thought among animals by sounds which seem to us all alike. When I was engaged in hospitals, the evenings in the guardroom were sometimes enlivened by the presence of a companion who excelled in humorous mimicry. He would represent a man in liquor who had stopped at a fountain that flowed with a gentle sound, somewhat like that of his own hiccough. A single oath, pronounced in different tones, was sufficient to enable us to comprehend all the impressions, all the states of mind through which this devotee of Bacchus passed. The oath, at first pronounced slowly and with an accent expressing relief, represented a feeling of satisfaction, with shadings of prolonged exclamation which it would be hard for one to imagine without suggestion. The continued flowing of the fountain made our drunken man impatient, and he wanted it to stop. This state of mind was translated by a new modulation of the same word. In a little while the gurgling of the fountain produced astonishment. Was it possible that he, with all the liquid he had imbibed, could vomit so much and for so long a time? This mental condition was expressed by a new modulation of the same oath. The first movement of surprise over, resignation follows, and our man decides to wait patiently for the end. A period of half lethargy was easily represented by the slowness and weakness of the man's voice while living up to this decision; but when he comes out of this sleepy condition and hears the fountain again, ho is possessed with fear: he can not understand the flood he is pouring out—he dares not move—he believes he is lost. Gradually the fumes of the liquor pass away, and, his mistake being recognized, the drunkard is taken with a laughing and a gayety which are indicated by the same oath repeated in tones corresponding with the satisfaction he is then enjoying. This making the series of impressions a man passes through comprehensible by a single word, varied in pronunciation and utterance, is very like the language of animals, which is always the same, and the significance of which is given by variety of intonations corresponding with sensational conditions.

The mewing of the cat is always the same; but what a number of mental conditions it expresses! I had a kitten whose gambols and liveliness entertained me greatly. I understood well, when it came up to me mewing, what the sound meant: sometimes the kitten wanted to come up and sleep in my lap; at other times it was asking me to play with it. When, at my meals, it jumped on my knees, turned round, looked at me, and spoke in a coaxing and flattering way, it was asking for something to eat. When its mother came up with a mouse in her jaws, her muffled and low-toned mew informed the little one from a distance, and caused it to spring and run up to the game that was brought to it. The cry is always the same, but varied in the strength of the inflections and in its protraction, so as to represent the various states of mind with which my young animal is moved—just as it was with the drunken man in the mimicry scene. These facts are probably well known to all observers of animals.

We have seen that this tonality of the watch-dog's cries is competent to indicate that a person is coming to the house. We find similar cries of warning uttered by birds. When I was a professor in the Faculty of Lille, I frequently visited the well-known aged Professor of Physics, M. Delezenne. He had a working-room at the end of a garden, in which a laughing mew wandered. From the time that any one came in till he went out, this bird made the vocal explosions to which it owes its name; and the good professor was certain, without ever being mistaken, that somebody was coming to his laboratory. He was notified. My Jaco in Paris has a warble that answers the ringing of the bell. If we have not heard the bell, we are notified by Jaco of its ringing, and, going to the door, find some one there. I have been told of a parrot belonging to the steward of a lyceum which had heard the words "Come in," when any one rang the bell. He never failed to cry, "Come in," when the bell moved, and the visitor was embarrassed at seeing nobody after having been invited to open the door.

Instances in which cries of birds had an incontestable and precise signification are numerous; let me refer to a few of the best known. The cackle of a hen, after having laid an egg and left her nest, is decidedly characteristic. Her clucking when she is impelled to sit on her eggs, or when she is calling her chicks, is no less demonstrative. There is not a farmer who does not recognize it and understand it. In these things we see the relation between the tone of the prating or cluck of the hen and her acts. But when a nightingale sings all night, or a gold-finch whistles or a raven croaks, we can not so easily interpret the significance of their inarticulate sounds. The finch calls its mate by uttering a few notes followed by a long trill. Matches, of a barbarous character based on this habit, were held in the north of France while I was living at Lille, between 1855 and 1860. I do not know whether they have been suppressed or not, but the laws for the protection of animals ought to take cognizance of them. The gamesters put out the eyes of the male finches, and made them, thus blinded, compete as singers, for which purpose they brought their cages into proximity. When the birds heard and recognized one another's voices, they made their appeal to the female; the one that renewed his amorous trills most frequently, protracted them longest and to the last, gained the prize. The bird that was declared victor received a medal amid the applause of a large and enthusiastic crowd; and considerable wagers were staked upon the result. I have heard that these poor blinded birds sometimes fell down exhausted with singing, and kept on calling the absent female till they died, not being willing to yield to a rival, who on his side was also keeping up his equally useless appeals. These finch contests were suggested after the meaning of the song of the birds was learned. But when these birds, which are more usually isolated—whence they have been named Fringilla cœlebs, or celibates—hop around our houses and also utter their amorous trills at another than the mating season, they are evidently not calling the female. Should we not then seek to determine by the tone whether their call, which is always the same, is amorous or not?

In countries where flocks of turkeys are raised one can learn very quickly from their gobblings when they have captured a hare. If they meet him standing still or lying down, they form in a circle around him, and, putting their heads down, repeat continually their peculiar cries. The hare remains quiet, and it is sometimes possible to take him up, terrorized as he is in the midst of the black circle of gobbling beaks and heads. The language of the turkeys is at that time incontestably significant. It is war like, and similar to that of the males when they are fighting. In the present instance, they have joined for war, and they make it on the frightened hare.

My Jaco, like all parrots, which are excellent imitators, pronounces a few words and repeats them over and over again. Such birds amuse us, because the words they know sometimes happen to be ludicrously fitting. A bird of this kind had been struck by the note sounded by the wind blowing into a room through a crack in the glass-work whenever a certain door was opened; and he had become so perfect in his imitation that they sometimes, on hearing the noise, went to shut the door when it was not open. Jaco formerly belonged to a very pious old lady who was accustomed to say her litanies with another person. He had caught the words "Pray for us" in the invocations to the several saints, and said them so well as sometimes to deceive his learned mistress, and cause her to think she was saying her litanies with two colleagues. When Jaco was out of food, and any one passed by him, he would say, "My poor Cocotte" or "My poor rat!" in an arch, mawkish, protracted tone that indicated very clearly what he wanted, and that his drinking-cup was empty. There was no doubt in the house as to his meaning; and whenever one heard it he said, "He has nothing to eat." He was exceedingly fond of fresh pits of apples and pears, and I was in the habit of collecting them and keeping them to give him. So, whenever, as I came near him, I put my hand into my pocket.he never failed to say, "Poor Cocco!" in a supplicating tone which it was impossible to mistake. A sugar-plum is a choice morsel to him. He can tell what it is from a distance when I hold it out in my fingers; and when I give it to him he can not restrain himself if it has been any considerable time since he has had the delicacy. Usually, after having made the first motion to get it. as if he were ravished and wanted to express his joy in advance, he would draw back before taking it, and say, in a comical tone, "Hold, my poor Cocotte!" His manner of thanking in advance is likewise amusing. The expression of his eyes and the pose of his head are all in accord with the tone of his exclamation. When he tastes the plum he utters a series of ahs, and produces a kind of warble by prolonging some of his notes and shortening up others. We find in these examples without doubt that the articulate voice makes us better able to judge the meaning of the impressions that are moving the animal than inarticulate cries, or merely musical sounds. When Jaco met a child for whom he had a great affection, he would promenade on his perch, or turn the wheel, spreading out his tail and ruffling the feathers of his head, while his eyes grew red with excitement if the child was too slow in bestowing the accustomed caress. Then he would stop, bend down his head, and, looking at his friend, say pleasantly, "Jaco," in a tone and with a manner quite in contrast with the pronunciation of the same word when he was hungry.

It is not the word he speaks that is of interest; he might have been taught another, and it would have been the same; but it is the tone. In this case, too, the articulation gives an easier clew to the meaning the bird seeks to express, having a meaning according to the manner of pronouncing it, than any isolated, simply musical sound, like the song of the nightingale, canary-bird, and warbler. This became evident to me, not from observing animals for a few moments without seeing them again, but from studying them continuously.

Jaco did not like solitude, and was talkative and fond of being caressed, like all of his kind. One day when there was no one in the country-house, all having gone out into the garden or the fields, I heard him saying over what few words he knew, in different inflections. I went quietly into the room where he was, without being seen; but he heard my steps, although I had walked in very cautiously, hoping to surprise him. He ceased his chatter, listened, and, after a silence, pronounced "Jaco" in a low tone, drawing out the end of the word. He listened again, and repeated the word in the same tone; then, after another silence, repeated it with a rise of the voice I continued observing him, and, as he heard no one, he raised his tone gradually, repeating the same word, and ended at last with a genuine cry of distress. The people ran in from without, supposing something had happened to him. He then repeated his name in a lower tone, which seemed to indicate his satisfaction at finding his isolation ended. I went in myself, and his prattle unmistakably betrayed his gladness at being no longer alone.

Is there not in this an act of real intelligence? While alone. the parrot entertained himself by talking; but when he heard a sound he hoped at first to see some one come; and when no one answered him, he raised his voice, as a person would do who calls, and, getting no reply, cried out louder and louder till he was heard and answered. The meaning of the differences of intonation is as evident in this case as in that of the drunken man. A parrot raised in the south had learned to swear in the local patois. Being fond of coffee, he was sometimes given a spoonful, which he would come awkwardly up to the table to drink with his master. One day the master, not thinking of his bird, had already added cognac to his coffee, and gave the parrot the accustomed spoonful. The parrot took a swallow of it, and, in his surprise at the novel taste, raised his head and repeated the oath in a tone that excited laughter in all who were present. The cause of his surprise being discovered, he was soothed, and then took his usual ration with evident signs of contentment. The mimicry of language in this case clearly represented the shade of the new impression he felt.

Jaco is very timid. In the evening, when he is put to roost in a close and dark room, he is afraid of the shadow of his perch that is cast by the light we carry in our hand; he eyes it, and utters a low cry, which stops when the candle is blown out and he can not see the shadow any longer. He stands in dread of blows in the bottom of his cage, because, having a wing broken, he can not fly, and is afraid of falling. Feeling his weakness, his language has a different tone from the usual one. Large birds flying in the sky above him annoy him greatly, and we can all tell by his voice when such a bird is near or flying over. He inclines his head and chatters in a low tone as long as the bird is in sight, paying no attention to anything else. Turkeys and hens announce the approach of a bird of prey in a similar manner.

We find in the facts which we have related, as well as in many others which are cited respecting the ways and habits of parrots, proofs of a remarkable intelligence. These creatures are distinguished by the unlimited affection which they bestow upon certain persons, as well as by their excessive dislikes, which nothing can explain. Jaco conceived an extraordinary dislike for a maid who, although she took good care of him, was in the habit of washing the bottom of his cage under a faucet. He afterward discarded another person, whom he had liked so much that she could do what she pleased with him, even to passing her hand over his back and taking him by the tail, holding him in her hands, or putting him in her apron—caresses of a kind that parrots do not usually permit. Nothing astonished him or offended him. He proved very inconstant toward her, and now, while better disposed toward the other girl, he is furious against this one. A third miss has come to capture his affection; and when he has been left asleep, or resting in his cage, he has always the same word, but different in the inflection, wheedling, angry, or nearly indifferent, as either of the three persons comes near him. Jaco's pronunciation is scanned in many metres. Only one young student has had the privilege of retaining his affection unmarred.

Jaco had been left in the country for a whole week in the winter. Alone and isolated, he was taken care of by a person who was not constantly with him. The young student, accompanied by a tutor, came to pass a few days in the house. At the sight of the youth, Jaco, surprised, called out, "Momon! Momon!" "It was affecting," they wrote me, "to see so great signs of joy." I have also myself witnessed similar signs of joy at the coming of the student. Jaco's speech at such times is always in harmony with his feelings. In the pleasant season Jaco's cage is put outdoors; and at meal-times, knowing very well what is going on within, he keeps up a steady course of suppliant appeals for attention. His appeals cease at once if I go out with fruit in my hand, and if I go toward him he utters a prattle of joy that sounds like musical laughter. These manifestations indicate that he is happy at seeing that he has been thought of.

I close these anecdotes, as I began them, by repeating that animals communicate their impressions, and the feelings that move them, by various modulations of their inarticulate cries, which are incomprehensible to us unless we have succeeded by attentive observation in connecting them with the acts that follow or precede them. We have also seen that the articulation of a few words learned by parrots aids us greatly in learning the meaning of these different inflections.

The extension of these studies would furnish much of interest; but further observations should be made upon the same animals for a long time continuously, relating especially to their peculiar instincts as manifested by their various cries. We might then, by comparing and relating acts and cries, reach the point of comprehending and perhaps fixing the meaning in many cases where we are now in ignorance. Every one has noticed a few facts, and has interpreted and related them, but much is still wanting for the co-ordination of them in the point of view of the signification of the language and communication of animals among themselves. It has not been made in a general sense.—Translated for The Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.

According to Prof. G. Brown Goode, the United States is taking a "splendid lead" in the investigation of deep-sea fishes, England, France, Italy, Switzerland, and India have all suspended their investigations, and the United States steamer Albatross represents the whole work of the world in that direction.