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time of his feeding. How far such an observation can apply to the Greenland whale, which feeds near the surface, will be noticed in the conclusion of these remarks; but I can state here, that such an observation cannot hold good with regard to the sperm whale, for that creature feeds far below the surface, and, in so doing, the large male continues in the depths of the ocean from an hour to an hour and twenty minutes, without once showing himself above; so that, if he wishes to eject water from the mouth through the nostril, to avoid swallowing it, (if, indeed, he has any anatomical arrangement for so doing), it must be performed in the depths of his native element, into which he descends to feed, and therefore the operation is remote from observation.”
Mr. Beale appears to be completely in his element when describing the chase and capture of this giant of the ocean.
“Let the reader suppose himself on the deck of a south-seaman, cruising in the North Pacific Ocean at its Japanese confine. He may be musing over some past event,—the ship may be sailing gently along over the smooth ocean, every thing around solemnly still, with the sun pouring its intense rays with dazzling brightness; suddenly the monotonous quietude is broken by an animated voice from the mast-head exclaiming" there she spouts.” The captain starts on deck in an instant, and inquires “ where away?” but perhaps the next moment every one aloft and on deck can perceive an enormous whale lying about a quarter of a mile from the ship, on the surface of the sea, having just come up to breathe, his large hump” projecting three feet out of the water, when at the end of every ten seconds the spout is seen rushing from the fore-part of his enormous head, followed by the cry of every one on board, who join heart and soul in the chorus of “ there again!” keeping time with the duration of the spout. But while they have been looking, a few seconds have expired—they rush into the boats, which are directly
lowered to receive them—and in two minutes from the time of first observing the whale, three or four boats are down, and are darting through the water with their utmost speed towards their intended victim, perhaps accompanied with a song from the headsman, who urges the quick and powerful plying of the oar with the common whaling chant, of—
“Away my boys, away my boys, 'tis time for us to go." But we have not time to go with them, and must therefore refer our readers to the preceding spirited sketch, which forms one of the series in Mr. Beale's work; at the same time heartily recommending the volume to their perusal, as containing a great deal of entertaining matter, blended with really valuable scientific information.
MAGAZINE OF NATURAL HISTORY.
We have this month devoted a portion of the Magazine to the papers read before the Geological Society, on the zoological characters of the Stonesfield jaws; and having previously given translations of the Memoirs upon the same subject by MM. de Blainville and Valenciennes, our columns will be found to embody all the reasoning that has been advanced for and against the mammiferous nature of these fossil re. mains. The whole subject is one of which the investigation is attended with extraordinary interest, depending, however, not so much upon the abstract importance attached to the solution of the problem that has arisen from the “ doutes” of M. de Blainville, as upon the ultimate considerations involved in the issue of the controversy. Are we mistaken in supposing that the comparative anatomist has obtained such an insight into those laws which regulate the development of organic structure,-such a knowledge of the limits assigned to deviation from uniformity in their operation,—that from a characteristic - fragment of a skeleton he shall be able to restore the entire fabric, determine the element in which it was destined to exist, and the rank which it held in the scale of creation ?
This inquiry, arising out of the present discussion, naturally forces itself upon our attention; and its vital relation to the science of Geology is so obviously apparent, that the mere allusion to its importance is all the notice that, in this view, the subject requires. In approaching the original question, it is hardly possible to shake off the impression conveyed by negative geological evidence, and to regard the matter as one in which the only legitimate data to guide our decision, must be sought for in the inductive reasoning of the comparative anatomist.
The frequency and abundance in which we find terrestrial mammals imbedded in tertiary rocks of marine origin, and the ample evidence which exists of secondary strata having often been deposited by the waters of bays, estuaries, or rivers, and under conditions which
must have been favourable for the transportation of terrestrial productions, are facts which the geologist cannot easily exclude from recollection ; and as the result of geological research in every country of the world where fossiliferous strata have been studied, the Stonesfield relics come before him, the one single exception—the solitary record during that period of the earth's history, of the existence of beings in the same elevated class in which man himself has been stationed,
We had a few casual remarks to offer on this subject, rather from a feeling that we ought not to pass by a topic in Paleontology that has excited such an unusual degree of attention, than. with the idea of testing the strength of the respective positions assumed during the course of the discussion; but perceiving that our observations would extend over a greater space than we can venture to afford, we must take another opportunity of reverting to the subject.
Some numbers of a work have, within the last few days, come under our notice, the publication of which we see with no small share of surprise, mingled wrth a feeling not far short of indignation.The covers bear the following indication of their contents.—“Conchologie Mineralogique de la Grande Bretagne, par James Sowerby.-Traduction Française revue, corrigée, augmentée, par L. Agassiz.” A French version of the text of Mr. Sowerby's 'Fossil Conchology, with coloured imitations of the accompanying figures, and this published at one fourth the cost of the original work, is about the last thing we should have looked for from the hands of Louis Agassiz. The illustrations, for the most part, are but sorry imitations, though sufficiently characteristic to serve for the identification of the species, and thus check at least the foreign demand for a work, upon which so many years of toil have been expended. As a set-off against this undue appropriation of the labours of another,—this inroad upon the property of a fellow-labourer in the field of seience, we are told that “l'utilité d'une édition Française du Mineral Conchology, mise à la portée de toutes les bourses, devant être incontestable aux yeux de tous ceux qui favorisent les progrès de la Géologie.”
Now if some noble patroniser of science in this country, aeting under a conviction that an English translation of the 'Poissons Fossils,' with a fac-simile of the numerous illustrations, would, if published -at ten shillings each part, instead of thirty, be very acceptable to ·all those who are favourable to the progress of Geology, were, either by the aid of a government grant, or from his own private re
sources, to carry this idea into execution, the “utilité” of such an edition would, in this case, be equally incontestable, and probably no one would be better able to appreciate its value than Louis Agassiz himself. We believe the number of copies of Agassiz' work sold in this country exceeds one hundred, and were this demand supplanted by an English translation, we would not venture to predict how many more livraisons of the ‘Poissons Fossils' would be forthcoming. Of this we feel satisfied, that the · Fossil Conchology' would never have been undertaken, if its authors (the Messrs. Sowerby) had anticipated such a course as that pursued in the present instance by Agassiz, and if his first speculation succeed, we suppose he will follow it up with a regular system of piracy upon the literary productions of English naturalists.
Personal knowledge, and a feeling of respect for the proud position in the zoological world occupied by the author of the · Poissons Fossils,' make us, on the present occasion, most reluctant censurers.Agassiz has met with the most cordial support on all sides, and in various ways, from the cultivators of science in this country; and although it may appear harsh thus to express ourselves, we do not hesitate openly to declare our conviction, that in editing a transcript in the French language of the Mineral Conchology of Great Britain, its author cannot be said to have really promoted the objects of science, still less to have added to his own reputation.
SHORT COMMUNICATIONS. BREEDING of the Woodcock in England.-On the 24th of March a woodcock was flushed in a wood near my house; and on examining the spot from whence it rose, a nest with four eggs in it was discovered. It was not disturbed for four or five days; when, finding it deserted, the eggs were taken and brought to me, and are now in a glass case. They had not been sat upon, as upon blowing them they were perfectly fresh.-E. Eardly Wilmot.-Berkswell, April 11th, 1839.
Iconographie des Insectes Coléoptères, par De Laporte Comte de Castelneau et H. Gory.
According to the prospectus, the above work was to consist of 20 livraisons ; having just received the 27th and 28th, I beg leave to offer to your readers some observations on the publication. Livraison 27 contains twenty-three figures in five plates ;- livraison 28 only thirteen. The anatomical details are not worthy of com
256 ICONOGRAPHIE DES COLEOPTERES.-FROG IN AMBER.
parison with those published by M. Guerin, and there are also other faults requiring notice. A monograph, according to my views, should give the derivation of the new generic names adopted by the monographer; the authors have omitted to give them. Some are easy enough to guess at; others are very recondite and obscure, and require some explanation. Some again exhibit a sad want of taste and euphony. What is the signification of Temina, and the meaning of the absurd term of Nascio ? Acherusia, Asthræus, Bulis and Bubastes require their derivatives to be mentioned. It is high time that this work should be brought to a close; if not, subscribers will probably withdraw their names, and not submit to receive a fasciculus in which only thirteen species are figured instead of at least thirty, as there ought to be.
We recommend the attention of the authors to the latinity, as absolutely necessary. The typograpical errors are numerous, and ought to be corrected. It is to be hoped that the index will be more perfect than that of the Cetoniade published by M.M. Gory and Percheron. A word respecting the plates. The figures are engraved under the superintendence of Dumesnil, and certainly do him credit; the colours are too vivid, many of the species are more like peacocks than the insect originals; and the quantity of gum used to set off the colouring comes off, and damages the appearance of the plates. We have yet another fault to find; the Latin descriptions of the species are too concise, and the French descriptions which follow are little more than a mere copy of the former; the whole are so meagre and scanty that it is impossible to make out any species with certainty; the characteristic distinctions are generally omitted. So much for the Iconographie, a work which has only one recommendation, namely, Dusmesnil's engravings.-F. W. Hope.
New species of frog in yellow amber.—Baron Bülow-Rieth of Stettin, is in possession of a very curious specimen of a frog, imbedded in yellow amber, which appears to be the only known instance of an antediluvian amphibian being handed down to our time with its external characters. That this individual has not been imbedded in the amber by artificial means, appears evident from its differing specifically from all living frogs. Mr. Schmidt, of Stettin, considers it to belong to the true Rane of the moderns, and that it is nearly allied to Rana temporaria, Linn., which it resembles in the colour of the skin and markings on the legs, but essentially differs from that species in the thinness and delicacy of the toes, which taper almost to a point.-W. Weissenborn.-Weimar