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SCIENCE

EDITORIAL COMMITTEE : S. NEWCOMB, Mathematics ; R. S. WOODWARD, Mechanics ; E. C. PICKERING, As-
tronony; T. C. MENDENHALL, Physics ; R. H. THURSTON, Engineering ; IRA REMSEN, Chemistry ;
JOSEPH LE CONTE, Geology; W. M. Davis, Physiography; 0. C. MARSH, Paleontology; W. K.
BROOKS, Invertebrate Zoology ; C. HART MERRIAM, Vertebrate Zoology ; N. L. BRITTON,
Botany ; HENRY F. OSBORN, General Biology ; H. P. BOWDITCH, Physiology ;

J. S. BILLINGS, Hygiene ; J. MCKEEN CATTELL, Psychology ;

DANIEL G. BRINTON, J. W. POWELL, Anthropology.

... 426

FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 1895.

referred to conditions which I considered

important for the study of such formations CONTENTS :

as the Pampean. All discussions hitherto On Marine Mollusks from the Pampean Formation : H. von IHERING

:421 lay great stress on the absence of marine Use of the Initial Capital in Specific Names of Plants : fossils in the Pampean mud. But this fact F. H. KNOWLTON

423

itself seems to rest partly on the belief of Density and Diameter of Terrestrial Planets : E. S. WHEELER

424

Burmeister that marine organisms are not The Distribution of the Blow Gun: WALTER

to be found in the formation. Hough..

425

Burmeister (Descr. Phys. Rep. Arg. II., Psychology: E. B. TITCHENER

1876, p. 177) having seen fragments of an Loss of Professor Milne's Seismological Apparatus, Library and Collection: T. C. M..

.431 Astræa found at a depth of two meters at Correspondence:

..433 San Nicolas, and believing that their presThe Ideal Index to Scientific Literature: G. BROWN GOODE.

ence was due to some disturbance of the Scientific Literature:

.437 beds, said that it is not possible to underChapman's Birds of Eastern North America: C.

stand how they could have reached the HART MERRIAM. National Geographical Monographs : W. M. DAVIS. Furneaux' Butterflies locality where they were found. and Moths : S. H. S. Quatrefages's Pygmies : Burmeister's view, above cited, will be D. G. BRINTON. Scott's Structural Botany : ALBERT SCHNEIDER.

essentially modified by the announcement Notes and News :

.444 which I am able to make of the following Argon; Paleontology; Sir William Dawson ; General.

list of marine shells received by me from Societies and Academies :

.447 the distinguished Argentine paleontologist, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia ;

Dr. Florentino Ameghino. The specimens New York Academy of Sciences; The Texas Academy of Science.

are from the “formacion pampeana, piso Scientific Journals .

.448 belgranense', near La Plata. New Books

..448

Purpura hæmastoma L. MSS. intended for publication and books, etc., intended

Nassa polygona Orb. for review should be sent to the responsible editor, Prof. J. McKeen Cattell, Garrison on Hudson, N. Y.

Bullia deformis King. Subscriptions and advertisements should be sent to SCIENCE, 41 N. Queen St., Lancaster, Pa., or 41 East 49th St., New York.

Olivancillaria auricularia Lam.

Voluta brasiliana Sol.
ON MARINE MOLLUSKS FROM THE PAMPEAN
FORMATION.

Litorina flava King.
It is known that D’Orbigny considered Litoridina australis Orb.
the pampas as a marine formation, Bur- Crepidula fornicata? Lam.
meister as a fluvio-lacustrine deposit. In a Ostrea cristata Born.
paper on the Lagoa dos patos, in 1885, I re- Ostrea puelchana Orb.

Mytilus platensis Orb.

del viage al Pacifico, III., p. 39) regards it Mytilus exustus L (magellanicus Rve. as being the same as N. cinisculus Reeve, fide Dall.).

with antillarum Dkr. and sturnii Phil. as Arca Martensii Recl.

varieties. So I prefer the name of D'OrAzara labiata Mat.

bigny, as to the application of which there Tagelus gibbus Spgl. (platensis Orb.) is no doubt. Mactra patagonica Orb.

These are, therefore, species once reaching * Mactra Dalli v. Iher. (M. Byronensis to the 35° of south latitude, which now do fide Dall).

not occur south of Santa Caterina or Rio † Mactra riograndensis v. Thes. (M. isa- Grande do Sul. It is quite possible that belleana Orb. fide v. Martens).

other species exist in the actual fauna which Cytherea rostrata Koch.

are dying out. For example, Neritina meleAn otolith of a Sciænoid fish, Micropogon agris Lam., found at Santa Caterina. It undulatus L., very common at Rio Grande occurs also in the bay of Paranagua, but do Sul, and probably also in the La Plata only in one locality, though formerly it was estuary.

much more common, being not rare in the All these mollusks are common species shell mounds of the Sambaquis. Dunker of the Atlantic coast of Uruguay and Ar

(Jahrb. d. Deutsche mal. Ges. 1875, p. 245) gentina and most of them also from Rio says that N. meleagris is common at MonteGrande do Sul. Only three of them are of video, but this seems to be an error, as special interest, as not now found living in D'Orbigny, myself and others have not these latitudes.

found the species in the La Plata region, Purpura hæmastoma L., still common on

either recent or fossil. the coast at Rio Grande do Sul, is, I believe, It was the opinion of Darwin, shared in not now known from the La Plata region. part by Burmeister, that deep bays entered D'Orbigny, Petit and other authors have long distances into the interior during the suggested that this species has been distrib- Pampean formation, which for the most part uted through the agency of navigation. is due to the action of winds and fresh water. It is therefore important to note that it To this I also agree. To such a gulf we occurs fossil in America, as it does in the owe the existence of the marine shells. The European Tertiary.

important facts discovered by Ameghino Litorina flava King, common from the give a new turn to the discussion of the West Indies to Santa Caterina, is not known origin of the pampas to occur at Rio Grande do Sul.

As Dall has shown that in Florida some Nassa polygona Orb. seems to have al- of the Pampean mammals occur in beds most the same distribution as Litorina flava. covered by marine pliocene limestone, there I use D'Orbigny's name in default of the cannot be any doubt that the pampean forcomplete synonymy. Prof. von Martens mation is in part of Pliocene age. It considers it synonymous with N. polygonata seemed that with the important study of Lam. Hidalgo, treating it in extenso (Moll. Santiago Roth the pampas question might

be considered as settled, but the facts here * This seems to me different from the Chilian form.

considered awaken doubts. It is quite pos† A very common species on the coast at Rio Grande sible that observations here brought together do Sul, but probably undescribed. Prof. von Martens named it M. isabelleana Orb., but this is a species

may be increased with time and more and with the beaks more inflated and the valves not so

more tend to modify the basis of our knowlthick. Descriptions will be published elsewhere.

edge.

I am not aware of the distribution of Astræa and other corals south to Paranagua. It is quite possible that the Astræa, like the mollusks above mentioned, was a denizen of warmer water, demonstrating that the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean in this region has diminished since the Tertiary epoch.

Santiago Roth says that marine (Tertiary ?) shells also occur at Buenos Ayres at a considerable depth, and at other localities in the Pampean beds. The question is a difficult one, and only in the future may it be possible to fully appreciate such facts as are here put on record. The Argentine geologists have hitherto paid little attention to the study of the fossil mollusks, and for this reason this first contribution of Ameghino is encouraging and important.

H. von IHERING. MUSEO PAULISTA, SAN PAULO, BRAZIL.

USE OF THE INITIAL CAPITAL IN SPECIFIC

NAMES OF PLANTS. The idea seems to prevail among some naturalists, as may be seen from a recent review in this journal (p. 162), that the retention of the initial capital in certain specific names of plants is a barbarous relic that the botanists themselves cannot honestly defend. As a matter of fact, this is very far from the truth, for it is almost universally adopted in botany, and for good and logical reasons. In the latest authoritative enumeration of American plants, namely, the List of Pteridophyta and Spermatophyta, there are four classes of specific names that are written with an initial capital: (1) Species named in honor of persons; (2) species named from places; (3) names of old genera, tribes or sections used as specific names; (4) substantives used as specific names.

The first case is based largely on sentiment. It, to the botanist, does not look well or dignified to write a person's name with a lower case initial. The name was given as an honor or monument to the per

son, and should be maintained as such. Not Sedum torreyi, Plantago purshii, but S. Torreyi and P. Purshii.

The second case is, perhaps, least defensible of all, yet it seems most natural and logical to give the name of a place as nearly as it is usually written, at least in English speaking countries. Thus, Sambucus Canadensis and Campanula Americana, rather than S. canadensis or C. americana.

The third case, namely the capitalization of specific names derived from old genera, tribes or sections, is in the highest degree valuable and condusive to accuracy. As names derived from these sources do not necessarily agree in case and number with the generic word, the initial capital calls attention to this, saves much trouble, and reduces the probability of error. Campanula Medium, for example, would half the time be changed into Campanula Media, but for the initial. So also with Convolvulus Sepium, Achillea Millefolium, Delphinium Consolida Vaccinium Oxycoccus, and hundreds of others that could be mentioned.

The ease with which words of this kind are changed is very well shown by the spelling of the name of the ruffed-grouse in the Century Dictionary. The correct name is Bonasa Umbellus and it is so printed in most places, but under the vocabulary word Bonasa it is B. umbella. This is, of course, quite a different thing, and simply shows that some unguided proof-reader, observing that the termination us did not agree with Bonasa, changed it.

The fourth case is much the same as the one just considered. Substantives do not necessarily agree with the generic word, and it is a matter of much convenience and information to write them with an initial capital, e. g., Ilex Dahoon, Gaultheria Shallon. In this form they stand out in bold relief, while if the lower case was used there would be the constant tendency to make them harmonize in termination with the genus word.

The use or disuse of this capital initial errors of the mass and diameter, and is may not be a matter of much importance, shown in the sketch by the arrow-heads but if there were no rule upon it there above and below the plotted points. It would be lack of that uniformity which is will be seen that the earth, Mars and the so much to be desired. If left to personal moon have much smaller probable errors choice, some writers would use it and others than Mercury and Venus, since these latter would not. The British Association Re- have no known satellites to aid in detervised Code (1865), the code of the French mining their masses. If the most probable Zoological Society and that of the Inter- straight line be drawn with respect to the national Zoölogical Congress leave the former, it will be as shown in the drawing. matter to individual preference. The code This line passes within the limits of the of nomenclature of the American Ornitholo- probable errors of all except Venus. gists' Union (canon viii.) expressly de- It will be observed that the straight line cides against capitals, although agreeing when prolonged to the left does not pass that it is a trivial matter.' The Inter- through the origin of coördinates, but cuts national Botanical Congress of 1867 and the the ordinate at some distance above it. committee of the American Association This indicates that a planet with a very (1894) agree as to its adoption. Therefore, small diameter would still have a considin addition to the above mentioned reasons, erable density. Meteroic stones of small botanists write these classes of specific diameter, when they reach the earth, do names with an initial capital for the sake have a density about the same as that of of uniformity in botanical writings.

terrestrial rocks, and this is about the denF. H. KNOWLTON. sity which is indicated in the drawing.

If this relation should prove to be the DENSITY AND DIAMETER OF TERRESTRIAL true law, then the mass of a terrestrial PLANETS.

planet could be determined from its diamRECENT determinations of the mass of eter. The mass of Venus so determined Mercury have brought out a relation be- would be about one-tenth greater than as tween the densities and diameters of the given. Venus is the only one of the five terrestrial planets which have not hereto- that is any more discrepant than might be fore been thought possible on account of expected from its probable error. The the supposed great density of Mercury. probable error of this planet as given may

The accompanying sketch shows graph- be too small. An increase of one-tenth in ically this relation. The planets have been the mass, or a decrease of one-thirtieth in plotted with their diameters in miles as the diameter, would make Venus accordant. abscissa and their density, the earth as one, A sufficient increase in her mass would as ordinates. It is seen that these points explain the movement in Mercury's perilie approximately in a straight line. The helion. If the mass of Mercury proves to data has been taken from Harkness' Solar be as small as now supposed, that is about Parallax' and Young's Astronomy. The one-thirtieth that of the earth, it may exmasses from the former and the diameters plain some of his irregularities. from the latter, except that the density of Prof. Young has pointed out that a body Mercury is that lately announced by Back- 200 miles in diameter near the sun would lund from a discussion of Encke's comet. not be likely to be accidentally discovered,

The probable error of the density has although it might be seen with some of the been obtained by combining the probable best instruments during transit across the

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Sun's disc. It is, therefore, possible that secondary orbit 150 miles in diameter, Mercury may have an undiscovered satellite which would be a measurable quantity. 200 miles in diameter. If so, and the

E. S. WHEELER. satellite should be as far from Mercury as SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. the moon is from the earth, it would take 150 days to make one complete revolution THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE BLOW-GUN. around the planet, or nearly twice as long The blow-gun is one of the most remarkas it takes Mercury to revolve about the able savage devices in which compressed air sun. Such a satellite would have sufficient is used as a motive force. Primarily, the mass to cause Mercury to revolve in a blow-gun is a simple tube of cane, smoothly

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