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NEW YORK, OCTOBER 28, 1892.
THE HUMMING-BIRD'S FOOD.
BY MORRIS GIBBS, M D.
THIS article refers to the ruby-throat, the only representative of this interesting family in our State. Much has been written regarding the food of this species, and yet I am satisfied that but few accurate notes have been offered to the readers. writer offers observations taken with a view to learning of the feeding habits, and does not pretend to assert that others' notes, however conflicting, are not correct. Locality has everything to do with the habits of birds, and the requirements of the same species may differ vastly in a slight variation, either in latitude or longitude. Again, the resources of a region may radically alter the food habits of any and all animals. Certain it is, that my observations convince me, contrary to all writings that I have seen, that the food of the ruby-throated humming-bird is mainly honey, and that these little fellows do not rely to any extent on an insect diet.
Years ago I captured several in our flower-garden with my insect net, and, in accordance with the views of all books read, they were offered insects as food, but invariably completely ignored everything of this nature set before them. No matter whether I gave them the liberty of a large room or confined the frightened creatures in my hand or a small box, the result was invariably the same; all insect food was refused, whether small beetles, or even those minute flies or gnats, often common about honey-producing flowers. However, on releasing the captive, it would immediately visit the flowers, and appear to revel in the exploration of the deep recesses of the fuchsias and trumpetcreepers. One immature specimen that I caught would sip sugar-water from my hand, and even protrude its delicate tongue for the sweets to be so easily had. This young one was so very unsophisticated that it had to be taught regarding the honey-water, by dipping its tiny, slender beak into the sticky mass, after which it quickly learned. The old ones only fluttered in my hand, and would not eat, but would apparently enjoy that which was forced into their bills. But, left to themselves and watched secretly, they could be seen indulging in the sweets provided for them. If held carefully and an insect forced between their mandibles, they invariably ejected it with a snap of the bill and a side jerk of the bead.
Of the wild flowers of Michigan, there are many species which the hummers visit regularly, but as nearly all of these flowers are so far from my residence, it follows that my observations are mainly made from our house-plants and garden flowers. Of all of the uncultivated species that I know, the flowers of the wild crab-apple are most sought after by the ruby-throat, and during the season, about the middle of May, a hundred birds may be seen in a few hours about a group of these trees. There are very few insects on the crabs, and in wet days none, and yet the hummers swarm about. They must come alone for sweets. One point in relation to my theory of the hummer's love for honey would seem to receive a challenge, and it is, that the ruby-throat rarely hovers over the common red and white clover. Now, as we know, red clover is one of the sweetest of flowers, and a head is agreeable to anyone's palate, while the white clover is a great favorite with the honey-bee. My reply to this is, that the individual flower is too small for the ruby-throat's attention.
On our piazza in the city are a number of house-plants, some growing in a hanging-box, others in pots on a stand, while several
species of out door perennials and annuals flourish in a bed just below, and a large creeper clambers near. It is safe to say that from early morning till evening twilight there will be an average of one visit every half-hour by the hummers to this collection. So unsuspicious have they become that one can study them at a yard's distance. One advantage in observing them is that they always make their presence known by their pleasant humming and a faint, sharp chirp; thus warning one when to lay aside the book and watch their movements.
On first appearing, they immediately dash towards the fuchsias, which are their greatest attraction, and the next best is the trumpet-creeper, and then the selection appears to them indifferent, as the pelargoniums, nasturtiums, morning-glories, and others are visited indiscriminately. However, the fuchsias are first choice, and, wondering at their preference, I examined the blossoms thoroughly for insects and sweets. In very few cases, and at rare intervals, I found small insects, as no others can reach the heart of the flower; but in every case I met with a most refreshing nectar, to be sure, in very small quantity to us, but to a hummer, a most plentiful supply. Let my readers pluck a full-blown fuchsia blossom, and cutting into the calyx near the stem end, apply the part to the tip of the tongue, and they will be fully convinced why the hummer is partial to this beautiful pendant flower.
Thinking to test their fondness for sugar, some was dissolved and then dropped deeply into the blossoms of the creeper. In the course of the hour, in their rounds, the busy birds found the bait, and fully thrice the amount of time was spent on the extrasweetened flowers as was occupied over those of nature's honeying. The sweetening attracted many insects in the course of the day, principally ants and small flies and gnats, but not one instance of their capture could I detect, although careful record of the number of insects in each flower was kept, and the flower examined after each bird departed.
The movements of the hummers when visiting a bed of flowers are interesting. With a dash it is among us with the characteristic impetuosity of its kind, but it is not then detected by the ear, as the noise of a flying bird is but slight and not always heard. It is when the bright, red-throated fellow stops in mid-air that we hear his rapidly-vibrating wings, always loudest when he makes a sudden side-movement from flower to flower. Selecting a flower, after a second's inspection of his surroundings, a rush is made toward it at a very rapid rate, but just as we think he will fly past or against the blossom, he stops-stops instantly. In the fraction of a second he introduces his tiny, but long, slim bill into the heart of the flower, and then is away to the next. The swiftness with which this delicate bird travels about, exploring hundreds of flowers each hour of the day, and from early morning till twilight is truly a marvel.
At each insertion of the tiny beak, his mobile tongue is thrust out and from side to side, and the sweets, and, I think, some pol. len, are drawn into its mouth. The tip of the tongue is peculiarly and beautifully constructed for this purpose, and with the perfect adaptability of its slender, delicate bill, the bird is endowed with the means of securing sweets, possessed by no other group of birds.
In conclusion, I will say that I have carefully dissected many humming-birds, both old and young, but have never found anything to convince me that the birds lived on insects. It may be that at times when flowers are scarce some species of insects are captured, but I am satisfied that in season, when flowers are abundant, that the ruby-throat of Michigan lives on honey.
THE ORIGIN OF THE CAVE FAUNA OF KENTUCKY, WITH A DESCRIPTION OF A NEW BLIND BEETLE.
BY H. GARMAN.
It is common in writings on the origin of the cave fauna of the United States to assume that the recent formation of the caves of Kentucky is evidence of a similar recent origin of the blind animals which inhabit them. The geological evidence appears conclusive that the caves of the Green River region, and those to the northward in Indiana, were occupied during the Champlain period with water, and that their present inhabitants (at least the air-breathing species) must consequently have taken possession after the caves were elevated and the water no longer completely filled them. There can be no disputing the grounds for this belief; the geological evidence is all that could be desired for proof of a recent origin of the caves themselves. But I must beg leave to dissent from the conclusions which have been drawn from this proof, as to the recent origin of the blind animals. Conditions requisite to the development of eyeless animals are present in most parts of the United States. It seems only required that a species have no use for eyes, irrespective of the presence of light, and the eyes become reduced. Animals which burrow in the soil everywhere show a tendency to loss of the organs of vision. The moles, the worm-snakes (Carphophis), and Cambarus bartoni are familiar examples. Parasitic species lose their eyes, not in all cases because of a life in darkness, but because as parasites no eyes are needed. Numerous burrowing insects with poorly-developed eyes are known to occur over wide extents of territory. Beetles which live almost as exclusively in the dark as Adelops and Anophthalmus are not at all rare. Quite a list of non-cavernicolous blind beetles is known. It is to species such as these, already fitted for life in caves, that we should look, it seems to me, as representing the ancestors of cave species; certainly not to ordinary species with well-developed eyes. The originals of the cave species of Kentucky were probably already adjusted to a life in the earth before the caves were formed, and it seems probable from some facts mentioned below that they were not very different in character from the animals now living in the caves. I cannot believe that there has been anything more than a gradual assembling in the caves of animals adapted to a life in such channels. In this view of the matter the transformation of eyed into eyeless species appears to have been much less sudden and recent than has been supposed.
To take a definite example: There appears to be no imperative reason for assuming that the blind crustacean, Cœcidotea (Asellus) stygia, originated in Mammoth Cave. It was first discovered in caves it is true, but occurs widely distributed in the upper Mississippi Valley, is found throughout Kentucky, and is known to occur as far east as Pennsylvania. It is throughout its range a creature of underground streams, and is nowhere more common than on the prairies of Illinois (the last place in the country in which one would expect to find a cave), where it may be collected literally by the hundreds at the mouths of tile drains and in springs. In Kentucky, also, it is not more abundant in the cave region than elsewhere, being very frequently common under rocks in springs and in streams flowing from them, even during its breeding season. It is only natural that such a crustacean should have found itself at home in Mammoth Cave when this cavern was ready for its reception.
The blind fishes, again, are not by any means confined to the caves, but are widely distributed in underground waters throughout the country. Amblyopsis spelaeus occurs in Indiana, Kentucky; and probably also in Missouri and farther south. Typhlichthys subterraneus occurs in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. Chologaster agassizii occurs in Kentucky and Tennessee. C. papilliferus occurs in a spring in southern Illinois. I have had the pleasure of taking this species, and can say that the spring is evidently the outlet of an underground stream, and sends away a narrow but vigorous rill at all times of the year. C. cornutus I have taken, with the help of my friend, Professor B. P. Colton, in North and South Carolina, and can speak positively as to the situation in which it occurs. Like its relatives. it is a fish of underground streams, and makes its appearance at times at their
mouths. Still another species appears, according to Dr. Packard, to have been observed in California. Here are widely scattered fishes with the family characters of Amblyopsis, and so probably closely resembling the eyed ancestors of the latter. They illustrate my point that there were in existence species possessing at least some of the characters of the Mammoth Cave forms when the caves became habitable; for it will hardly be supposed that all of these fishes originated in the caves of Kentucky and have become scattered since the glacial period. They illustrate, also, the point that hundreds of generations of a species may exist under the same conditions of environment as Amblyopsis and Typhlichthys, and yet not lose their eyes. Why then should these latter have had their eyes all but obliterated in the course of a few generations?
The distribution in this country of blind beetles of the genus Anophthalmus might at first thought appear to favor the idea that Mammoth Cave is a centre from which our species have been disseminated towards the East. Of our eight described species four (possibly five with A. audax) live in the Mammoth Cave region. Two others occur in Wyandotte Cave, only a short distance away. The single species not thus far recorded from these caves is A. pusio of Virginia and eastern Kentucky. It is to be remembered, however, that the large caves of Kentucky and Indiana have been much more thoroughly explored for cave animals than those of other parts of the country, and that their size and accessibility to Man have had much to do with the frequency with which they have been visited by collectors. They are simply portions of the haunts of the subterranean species which are opened up to us. One of the blind species (Anophthalmus tenuis) of Wyandotte Cave has now been found in Luray Cave, Virginia, a fact which gives us reason for believing that the Mammoth Cave species are more widely distributed than our present knowledge indicates. The large number of species (64) occurring in Europe points to that continent as the habitat from which all species of the genus have spread. If we accept this view of the origin of the genus then, whether the American species were introduced into this country before or after the Champlain period, it follows that our species have been but little modified by residence in Mammoth Cave, for if they had been we should find them departing more widely than they do from their European allies. They are in fact very closely related to European species. If we transfer the question of the sudden appearance of Anophthalmus to Europe, and claim still that the species are of post-glacial origin, that the eyes were lost suddenly after the Champlain period, we are met with the difficulty that here there is a gradation in both the habits and structure of the species which shows that the change may be and probably always has been gradual; for there are in existence species which live under rocks and have rudiments of external eyes.
Another aspect of this question of a sudden transformation of the species has recently been brought to my attention by some observations I have been making on the habits of these beetles, and particularly on a new species of Anophthalmus, of which a description is appended. Isolation in caves has been urged as an important factor in the development of those peculiarities by which cave animals are marked. It is assumed that the cave species are completely shut off from all relations with their outof-door allies at an early stage in their phylogenic history. Nothing, it seems to me, can be farther from the truth. They are not even now isolated by anything except their inability to look out for themselves in the presence of their eyed enemies. Cæcidotea stygia is often found associated with Asellus communis. the eyed species from which it is supposed to have been derived. The cave cricket, Hadenæcus subterraneus, while occurring in the depths of caves, has always in my experience been found most abundant at the openings, where the twilight prevailing probably does not prevent the use of its well-developed eyes. It is frequently associated in such situations with its near relatives of the genus Ceuthophilus. Nor are the blind beetles confined to parts of caves in which total darkness prevails. Probably Anophthalmus tellkampfii is as completely adapted to a life in darkness as any of our species, and I have not yet found this species in the light; but I have found it abundant in a cave where
the rumbling of vehicles (not more than twenty feet away) passing on a road overhead could be distinctly heard. In all probability the beetles of this cave penetrate much nearer the surface than this. Some of the other species are common under rocks and wood in the shade of overhanging cliffs at the mouths of caves where they are associated with the Carabidæ commonly found in such places. The isolation, such as it is, is largely voluntary on the part of the insects, and I can see nothing in the surroundings or habits which would indicate that they have ever been more completely isolated than they are now. I believe, on the contrary, that they are more completely isolated now, from specialization, than ever before.
In short, a reconnaissance of the zoology of Kentucky, which the writer has had an opportunity to make during the past two years, satisfies him that the evolution of the structures which characterize our cave species is to be considered apart from the question as to the age of Mammoth Cave, and that the origin of our aquatic cave fauna is in some respects a separate question from that touching the origin of the insect fauna.
Of these matters I hope to have something further to present in the future. Of the insects I may say now that there appears to have been after the Champlain period a migration towards Mammoth Cave of cave insects from the south and east, where the continent had not been so greatly affected by changes of level as was the Mississippi valley. Some observations in my possession tend to show that cave species are now abundant in the vicinity of the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. In fact much of the eastern end of the State appears to be adapted to an extensive subterranean fauna It was a source of wonder to me during the first few months of my residence at Lexington how the rainfall disappeared so rapidly. A precipitation, which in central Illinois would have left its traces in muddy roads and swollen streams for weeks, disappears here in the course of forty-eight hours, having been swallowed up by a network of fissures in the underlying limestone and hurried down to the Kentucky River. These fissures are co-extensive with the Trenton limestone of this locality, and constitute the natural drainage system of the blue grass region of Kentucky. The wonder is not where the rainfall goes, but that any at all should remain at the surface. It early occurred to me that one might find cave animals in these fissures could he but get access to them. This can be done in some cases in quarries, and I can say as the result of preliminary exploration that some cave insects do occur here, and that at least one blind beetle is as abundant as it well could be. On a single visit to one of these opened channels I have, with the aid of a pupil, taken over one hundred specimens of the new species here described. It is without trace of external organs of vision, but like the earthworms possesses the power of recognizing light, a power which is evidently of some importance to it. It occurs in channels seemingly wherever there is food and moisture, and may be collected in the dim light near the openings. For some time I have kept forty individuals of this little beetle in my cellar where it appears to be perfectly at home, although during the day the light is never wholly excluded from its quarters. It wanders about freely, but may be sent scampering to cover by a flash of strong light. The food evidently consists of dead animal matter, such as insects and small mammals which are carried into fissures by freshets. This supply must be very great, though perhaps somewhat irregular; but this latter is a feature of the available food supply of many ordinary insects. Dead grasshoppers carried into the fissures are eagerly devoured. Food is evidently discovered by the sense of smell. In three minutes after placing a freshly killed grasshopper on the ground in one of the channels, several beetles were found at work on it. In confinement the beetles collect on such food after the manner of small ants, and eventually leave only the empty crust.
Anophthalmus horni, n. s. Somewhat depressed; smooth and shining; head, thorax, elytra, and abdomen everywhere provided with scant, erect, microscopic pubescence. Head oval; cheeks rounded; dorsal linear impressions rather deep; surface between the impressions very finely transversely rugulose; mentum tooth prominent, bicuspid. Antennæ densely pubescent excepting the thickened basal segment, which is smooth and shining, with a
few hairs near its distal extremity. Thorax trapezoidal, larger than the head; sides strongly arcuate in front; sinuate behind; the hind angles acute but not produced; basal impressions deep, separated by a ridge at which the well-marked median linear impression terminates; truncate behind, but with a shallow emargination at each side separated by a wider median one; margin of contracted posterior part a trifle convex before the posterior angles. Elytra oblong oval, widest a little in front of the middle, truncate in front with the rounded humeri rather prominent; humeral margin obsoletely serrulate under a high magnifying power; striæ very evident next the suture, becoming obscure next the outer margin, obsoletely punctured, the third and fourth broken near the middle by a dorsal puncture, the sutural stria recurved at the posterior extremity of the elytron, joining the third; four rather strong punctures within each humeral margin, the second of which gives rise to one of the long setæ. Color pale fulvous, fading on posterior part of elytra to yellowish white, or cream color; curved impressions of head, edge of prothorax behind and at sides, rims about coxæ, etc., darker; length of body 3.67-4 millimeters; antennæ, 2-3.28 millimeters; length of head, 0.64 millimeter; width of head, 0.60 millimeter; length of thorax, 0.72 millimeter; width of thorax, 0.80 millimeter; width of thorax at base, 0.66 millimeter.
The species is closely related to A. pusio, Horn, from the Carter caves of eastern Kentucky, agreeing in size, in the absence of evident serrulation at the humeral margins of the elytra and in the deep basal impressions of the prothorax. It differs in the size and shape of the prothorax, A. pusio having a very small prothorax, "not as long as the head and scarcely larger," whereas in this beetle the prothorax is distinctly larger than the head. The prothorax in A. pusio is as wide as long, and contracts in width somewhat gradually from the front, while in the new species this division of the body is broadly rounded at the sides, contracting rather abruptly behind. A. pusio is said to have pubescence only at the bases of the elytra. In this species the pubescence is rather scant, but is present on all the surfaces. The new species was discovered within the corporate limits of Lexington in the spring of 1890. It is named in honor of Dr. G. H. Horn of Philadelphia, who has contributed much towards an accurate knowledge of our species of Anophthalmus.
State College of Kentucky, Lexington, Oct. 8.
THE BOTANICAL LIBRARY OF A STATION BOTANIST.
BY A. S. HITCHCOCK.
PROBABLY the most essential part of the special equipment of a botanist to an experiment station is his working library. At least a part of the work of a station should be original investigation. In order that the results of his investigation should be an addition to the sum total of the world's knowledge, it is obviously desirable that the investigator should know all that has been published on the subject up to the time he presents his own results to the public. In the scientific world results are said to be known when they are put on record; that is, when they are published. If all the results of botanical investigation were published in one periodical, it would be an easy matter to hunt up the literature on a given subject. If all the results were to be found in botanical periodicals in the English, French, or German language, our work would be less easy, but still not difficult. But, lo! where must we look for our information? In botanical periodicals in all languages. I doubt if there be a station botanist in this country who can readily read all the botanical literature published in Europe. This statement will probably hold good if we exclude the Hungarian, Polish, and Russian; and most of us are confined to French, German, Latin, and possibly Italian. But this is not the worst; we must look through the proceedings of a multitude of scientific societies, prominent ones whose proceedings are readily accessible in the larger libraries, others more or less local and little known. But even this is not the worst; we find botanical literature in periodicals or proceedings devoted to general science, or even to miscellaneous matters. Sometimes it is tucked
away in a seed catalogue, a weekly agricultural paper, or even a college monthly. Fortunately there is a growing tendency to have articles reprinted and distributed more or less freely among contemporaries. In addition to these various channels of publication, we have the thousands of books, pamphlets, and sheets devoted more or less to botanical subjects.
It is obviously impossible for a station botanist to have ready access to even a tenth-part of the accumulated literature. It is only at the larger public institutions that an attempt toward completeness is made.
But in botany, as in other sciences, the period has long since been reached when classification of its literature was necessary. Thus with the proper aids it is possible for every botanist to become fairly familiar with the literature on any subject.
Probably there are as many opinions as there are station botanists as to the selection to be made of these aids, and it is the object of this paper to give one opinion out of the many.
First, as to the periodicals; assuming, as is generally the case, that the funds for library purposes are quite limited. Most of us take from our own country at least the Botanical Gazette and the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. The latter is especially useful for its "Index to Recent Literature Relating to American Botany."
Of foreign periodicals I would mention the Botanisches Centralblatt, for its Referate," under which heading are given classified reviews of important articles, and for its Neue Litteratur." which is an index, and a very complete one, to the current literature in all languages; the Revue Générale de Botanique, for its excellent reviews of the work done in various departments of botany during a given period; and the Societatum Litterae, giving monthly a classified list of articles published in the proceedings of scientific societies.
All will agree that by far the most important work is Just's Botanischer Jahresbericht. This gives an abstract, long or short, according to importance, of all the botanical articles published during the year. It is well indexed and classified.
Most of the station botanists are working more or less in special lines. The above-mentioned works will enable him to get at least the titles, and often an abstract of the contents, of nearly all the articles that have been published on his special subject. The most difficult period to cover is the last few months. Just's Jahresbericht is about two years behind, and the Centralblatt usually at least a few months.
Having at hand the titles and authors on a given subject, it is often desirable, or even necessary, to obtain the articles. Books, pamphlets, and reprints can usually be picked up through dealers in second-hand books. Separate numbers of the current periodicals and proceedings can usually be obtained. There remain such articles as are to be found only in the back numbers of serials. These are often very important and difficult to obtain. It is out of the question to think of purchasing these expensive works, for station libraries have too limited an income for this purpose. A good way is to be on the lookout for separate volumes containing the articles desired. But this requires some knowledge of the serials.
Three important works for this purpose and for botanical bibliography in general are Pritzel's "Thesaurus Literaturae Botanicae," Bolton's "Catalogue of Scientific Periodicals," and Scudder's "Catalogue of Scientific Serials."
After one obtains all the articles possible in this way, there will still be many that are unattainable. For these one must consult a large library. Short articles can then be copied, and notes can be taken of long ones. Photography will doubtless, in the future, play an important part in copying rare articles and plates. This can be done at a comparatively small expenditure of time and money, and has the immense advantage of being certainly cor
I have said nothing about the selection of general works of reference and other books, as this depends so much on individual opinion and the line of work followed; but the above-mentioned aids to the botanist seem to me to be a necessary part of the equipment of every experiment station.
Agricultural College Experiment Station, Manhattan, Kansas.
BY L. A. HARDING, B.SC., PH.D.
FORENSIC Microscopy, like Forensic Medicine, has a close connection to law; it also deals with cases which are closely interwoven with the administration of justice, and with questions that involve the civil rights and social duties of individuals, the detection of poisons as well as the treatments of the recovery of poison from the poisoned. More and more in the history of the criminal courts is the demand occasioned for the application of the microscope, and microscopical toxicology. Although of late a certain line of medico-legal research has been obliged to combat with the works of the undertaker, who, when preserving the bodies of the dead, employs preservative compounds, largely composed of arsenical and mercurial compounds, while there is no question as to their preservative properties, yet the question arises, Is it good policy, is it for the good of the community at large, to employ embalming fluids composed of such poisonous substances? Criminals may easily hide their heinous crimes by having their victims embalmed, and who is there to tell which of the poisons was administered by the hand of the coward who did not dare to do his work before the world and openly, who for pecuniary or other reasons sought this road to remove a good man, nay, perhaps the man least to be spared, and who is there to identify the poison introduced by legitimate (?) means from that introduced with murderous designs? Yet, despite this opposing energy, despite the seemingly unsurmountable difficulties which surround forensic microscopy and toxicology on every side, we are still making progress and demonstrate that "forensic microscopy" is destined to be a branch of science which cannot be ignored, try as the opposers may.
If we measure the future by the work and benefits the microscope has done in the past, it will be seen that a very bright prospect is awaiting us indeed. No instrument yet devised by the ingenuity of man can compare with the microscope in its universal application to research in the broad domain of science, and I will endeavor in a brief way to call attention to a few of its special relations to law.
The direct application of the microscope to law dates back to about 1835, and ever since that time it has made a record for itself in convicting the guilty and protecting the innocent The expedient taught to us by Albertus in 1226, that the victim's wounds would open afresh in the presence of the slayer, or the custom honored from time immemorial of watching the effect upon the suspected criminal as he touched the dead body of his supposed victim, we no longer are obliged to resort to. In the early age of forensic microscopy, its application was simply confined to a few questions of criminal law; but the more it attained perfectness in lenses, the excellent means of determining minute measurements, the adaptation of the spectroscope, and numerous valuable mechanical appliances, it has claimed so much attention in civil and criminal law that its usefulness cannot be denied. Although the microscope has played a very important part for a number of years in noted criminal and civil cases, its proper relation to law seems to be little understood. It is true that many underrate its value, and throw aside all testimony attained through its use as worthless, while others again largely overrate its powers. It is a well-known fact, though an unfortunate existing condition of affairs, that persons are permitted to give expert testimony in branches where they have but little more knowledge than the court before whom they testify. It is largely from this cause that so much discredit has been thrown upon the whole field of expert testimony, especially in this country. This condition of fact does not alone relate to forensic microscopy, but it has invaded all branches of expert testimony.
When, however, persons expert in the use of the microscope are called upon to give testimony, there ought not to be any disagreement as to the result of the examination they may make; as, for instance, if they examine a stain, and blood corpuscles are found by one, it should be verified by the other; and, if measurements of these corpuscles are made, their measures should correspond without a doubt. There should be no difference on such matters of fact, though this is not meant to imply that they should
not honestly differ as to how the blood came there. The microscope will tell with true and unerring certainty whether the adhering substance on a weapon is human or animal hair, or whether what is thought to be hair is not cotton, silk, or wool fibre. It is a well-known fact that portions of brain-substance adhering to weapons which have caused the fracture of the skull and laceration of the brain can only be recognized by the microscope. While, when the substance is fresh it cannot easily be mistaken, it is quite different when it becomes dry; it will then assume a gray or brown color, and become quite horny. In this state no physical appearance can tell what it is, the naked eye is at a loss to recognize its source. Quite different with the microscope; it will tell you. Moisten the substance, and you will see its color become whiter and its consistence quite soapy. Now if you soften the mass in a solution of common salt, I will show you nerve-cells or nerve-fibres; though so small, being only go of an inch or less in diameter, you shall see them plain and distinct. Likewise, hair adhering to clubs or weapons of any kind can be recognized as to its source, whether it has been torn out by force or not. If by force, we plainly see the tubular sheath of the hair, with the hair issuing from it; the color is distinguishable, the size, and whether they are cut at both ends or pointed at one, whether the bulb or sheath in which it grows is still attached to them, etc. It may not be amiss to state that hair from lower animals differs in a great many particulars from that of man; the hairs of animals, generally speaking, are coarser, thicker, shorter, and less transparent. The ones which bear a close resemblance to that of man are the spaniels and sky terriers whose hair is long and silky, though the linar markings on the cortial portions are not so numerous and fine. It is a deplorable fact that very little of value has been written upon the subject of hair in its medicolegal relation. While it cannot be denied that all the works on forensic medicine mention this subject, yet they are based upon very little original research; they are mainly copied one from another. We shall say more on this subject at a later date; we are willing to admit that it may not at all times be perfectly discernible as to the source of the hair, yet, when taken in conjunction with other evidence, doubt may be removed and positive evidence established.
It is understood, of course, that the examination of supposed weapons should be conducted with the greatest care, and notes taken, full notes in fact of all the detail and every process in the operation; especially spots and marks which can have any possible bearing upon the case under question should be carefully noted.
In the broad domain of chemistry and toxicology the microscope is a very important factor for the identification and verification of many ordinary tests, which are made to determine the composition of solids and liquids. Not many years ago, death from poison was surrounded by dread and fear scarcely comprehensible at the present day. Tradition informs us that persons suspected of having committed murder by poisoning were broiled alive in England, and in France burned at the stake, and in the various other countries tortured in the most inhuman manner. It is now, however, generally conceded that, with modern methods introduced for the detection of poison, the fear of discovery has been rendered greater than the dread of punishment. The greatest advance in legal chemistry was through the achievements of Bunsen and others; quantities so minute as to be out of reach of all other known methods of analysis, we are enabled to identify with unerring certainty. Many poisons, such as strychnine, arsenic, morphine, etc., will crystallize with certain reagents into characteristic forms, which are peculiar to themselves.
Of late considerable attention has been paid to the microscopical examination of hand-writings. While perhaps the microscope cannot be considered an aid in forming an opinion as to the real author of a given specimen, yet its value for the detection of alteration and changes made in the original cannot be underrated. It is impossible to make an erasure of any written or printed lines and hide them from detection by the microscope; the most skilful forger cannot restore the slightest derangement of the fibres on the finished surface of the paper.
Equipped with the modern improvements and possessing the requisite skill, the progressive microscopist may be said to be a true friend of the curious, in the full meaning of this expression. It is true that sometimes our most exhaustive means of industry and research are only rewarded by negative results; yet it cannot be denied that in the majority of cases we reap the reward of diligence and industry by seeing our work change the whole theory of a plea in civil and criminal action, becoming a terror to the guilty and joy to the innocent.
THE tenth congress of the American Ornithologists' Union will convene in Washington, D. C., on Tuesday, November 15, 1892, at eleven o'clock, A M. The meetings will be held at the U. S. National Museum. The reading of papers will form a prominent feature of the meetings. Associate as well as active members are earnestly requested to contribute, and to notify the the secretary before November 12 as to the titles of their communications and the length of time required for their presentation, so that a programme for each day may be prepared.
- Among the articles of the November number of The Forum is one on The Library of the United States" by Mr. Ainsworth R. Spofford, Librarian of Congress, who explains the rank that this great library will take among the great libraries of the world. In the series of articles on Municipal Government there appear two contributions in the November number: 1, by the Rt. Hon. Joseph Chamberlain, who compares the Government of Birmingham, England, with the Government of Boston, and tries to ascertain why Boston's government costs five times as much as Birmingham's, they being cities of about the same size; and 2, by Mr. Charles Francis Adams, who points out lessons from the municipal experience of Quincy, Massachusetts. Professor Edward S. Holden, Director of Lick Observatory, tells what we really know about Mars. In the series of articles giving the results of his investigations into our public-school system, contributed by Dr. J. M. Rice, the November number contains his study of the schools in Buffalo and Cincinnati.
— Mr. O. P. Hay has furnished for recent "Proceedings of the National Museum" three interesting biological papers. The first is entitled "On the Ejection of Blood from the Eyes of Horned Toads," and establishes beyond question the fact that under certain conditions about the time of moulting Phryno sorna coronatum ejects from the eye a small quantity of blood. Mr. Hay records personal observations on the toads, and also quotes the experiences of others. Professor L. M. Underwood furnishes the following account: "In 1885 a student of mine received a specimen of horned toad from California. In examining the animal I took occasion to turn him on his back, using a lead pencil for the purpose. The animal resented this treatment, and showed considerable anger, opening bis mouth and puffing up his body. On being irritated still more, he grew more and more enraged, until finally blood spurted from just above his eye to a distance at least a foot from the animal, as several spots struck my arm considerably above the wrist. After spurting the blood the animal became limp and collapsed, and remained in a stupor for some time; and when handled behaved as if dead. After a time, possibly not over five or six minutes, certainly not over ten, the animal revived and commenced to run about the table. Wishing to know if he would repeat the operation, I commenced to irritate him again in the same manner. After becoming enraged again, the animal soon went through the same process, ejecting blood from the same eye as before. He then fell into a similar stupor and remained about the same length of time, after which he revived. No amount of irritation could produce a third discharge, although the animal showed some anger." Mr. Hay also records "Some Observations on the Turtles of the Genus Malaclemys." and presents a number of interesting facts concerning The Breeding Habits, Eggs, and Young of Certain Snakes." No. 905. of the Museum " Proceedings " consists of a valuable paper by Mr. L. O. Howard on "The Insects of the Sub-Family Encyrtinæ with Branched Antennæ." Three new genera (Pentacnemus, Tetracladia. Calocerinus) and species are described, five species being figured.