« ПредишнаНапред »
Hibiscus, and a variety of flowering shrubs of similar beauty, enliven the forests with their splendour; and the seeds of the cinnamon, carried by the birds from the cultivated gardens near the coasts, have germinated in the sandy soil, and diversify the woods with the fresh verdure of its polished leaves and delicately-tinted shoots. ... Of the east side of the island the botany has never yet been examined by any scientific resident, but the productions of the hill country have been largely explored, and present features altogether distinct from those of the plains. For the first two or three thousand feet the dissimilarity is less perceptible to an unscientific eye, but as we ascend the difference becomes apparent in the larger size of the leaves, and the nearly uniform colour of the foliage, except where the scarlet shoots of the ironwood tree (Mesua férrea) seem like flowers in their blood-red hue. Here the broad leaves of the wild plantains (Musa textilis) penetrate the soil among the broken rocks; and in most spots the graceful bamboo flourishes in groups, whose feathery foliage waves like the plumes of the ostrich. Still ascending, at an elevation of 6500 feet, as we approach the mountain plateau of Neura-ellia, the dimensions of the trees again diminish, the stems and branches are covered with orchidea and mosses, and around them spring up herbaceous plants and balsams, with here and there broad expanses covered with Acanthaceæ, whose seeds are the favourite food of the jungle fowl, which are always in per. fection during the ripening of the Nilloo (Strobilanthes). It is in these regions that the tree ferns (Alsophila gigantea) rise from the damp hola lows, and carry their gracefully plumed heads sometimes to the height of twenty feet. At length in the loftiest range of the hills the Rhododendrons are discovered; no longer delicate bushes, as in Europe, but timber trees fifty to seventy feet in height, and of corresponding dimensions, every branch covered with a blaze of crimson flowers. In these forests are also to be met with some species of Michelia, the Indian representatives of the Magnolias of North America, several arboreous Myrtacece and Ternstroemiaceæ, the most common of which is the camellia-like Gordonia zcylanicu. These and Vaccinia, Gaultheria, Symploci, Goughia, and Gomphandra, establish the affinity between the vegetation of this region and that of the Malabar ranges, the Khasia and Lower Himalaya. --Ceylon ; by Sir James Emerson Tennent.
Post- Pliocene Drift.- The Rev. W. Symonds, in a recent address to the Malvern Field Club, says
“I have lately had the opportunity of examining carefully the mammalian relics and fossil shells obtained from the old river drifts of this neighbourhood, in the collections at Worcester, Jardine Hall, and Apperley Court, and, I may now add, of that of the Rev. William Parker of Little Comberton. The mammalian remains include those of the extinct elephant, that noble extinct bull the Bos primigenius, with the relics of the rhinoceros and hyena-quadrupeds no longer in existence on the continent of Europe, but which must, in former ages, have roamed on the ancient land, and whose skeletons were deposited in those old estuarine, lacustrine, and river margins which we have visited to-day. Among the fossil shells collected by the late Mr Hugh Strickland, from old lacustrine deposits at Cropthorne, Bricklehampton, and other localities near Pershore, are specimens of the Cyrena consobrina, which is found in the Nile, and ranges from Egypt to Cashmere and China, but no longer exists in Europe, with Unio antiquior, a remarkable form of river mussel which I•believe is altogether extinct. When examining these shells in the cabinets of Mrs Hugh Strickland, I was astonished at the beautiful state of their preservation—the colour being in many instances preserved
- thus rendering it impossible to arrive at any other conclusion than that the molluscs lived and died near the site where they are now found entombed. The accompanying shells are of the living species of Lymnea, Cyclas, Planorbis, &c., now found in the Avon and neighbouring brooks, and Mr Strickland has discovered in the interior of some of the fossil bones from the higher or estuarine gravels, some shells which I believe to be marine. The flint implements which have caused so much disquisition among geologists and naturalists were discovered in the north of France in undisturbed beds of gravel, sand, and clay, in drift, in fact, of much the same geological age as the old lake and river margins of the Avon and Severn. The level of the land, in that part of France, however, appears to have been more deranged by oscillating movements than has the water-level of our peaceful Worcestershire vales. Movements of upheaval and subsidence have occurred; and the stratified gravel, in which the supposed human implements are found, and which rests on the chalk (the basement rock of the country), is covered by a mass of newer unstratified drift, Nor is this all; for this stratified gravel, with the weapon-looking flints, and the bones of the elephant and the rhinoceros, is found in some instances at the height of 100 feet above the present level of the River Somme, which has worn down for itself a newer and a deeper bed since the mechanical-looking flints, and the bones of wild beasts long extinct in Europe, were buried together in the mud, and silt, and gravel of its ancient margins. I may here, then, reply to one or two questions which have been frequently put to me since my return from Aberdeen. First, Are we personally satisfied that the flints of the Somme Valley are implements fashioned by the hands of men ? I reply, that the rudeness of very many of these implements might well cause the cautious investigator of truth to pause before he gave credence to their having been wrought by human beings; while, on the other hand, some specimens which were exhibited by Sir C. Lyell and Mr R. W. Mylne, appear to me to decide the question in favour of human agency. Secondly, Do the stratified gravels in which these relics occur afford indisputable evidence that man was co-existent with the extinct elephant, the rhinoceros, and other mammalia no longer living on the continent of Europe; may not these mammalian relics have been derived from older drifts washed from older beds? This is at present an unsettled point, and the most celebrated geologists of Europe are endeavouring to unravel the mystery ; but I must candidly inform you that the most renowned tertiary geologists of England and France hold that it is impossible to avoid ihe conclusion, if these flints are human implements, that human beings lived at a far more remote period than was conjectured, when their creation was assigned to an epoch not more distant than some 6000 years, and that this opinion is arrived at from the evidence afforded by the physical geology of the district, by the physical position of the stratified gravels containing the supposed human implements, and independently of the question of the contemporaneity of man with the extinct animals."
Peculiar Suunds under Water.-On the occasion of another visit which I made to Batticaloa in September 1818, I made some inquiries relative to a story which had reached me of musical sounds said to be heard issuing from the bottom of the lake at several places, both above and below the ferry opposite the old Dutch fort, and which the natives suppose to proceed from some fish peculiar to the locality. The report was confirmed to me in all its particulars, and one of the spots whence the sounds proceed was pointed out between the pier and a rock which intersects the channel, 200 or 300 yards to the eastward. They were said to be heard at night, and most distinctly when the moon was nearest the full, and they were described as resembling the faint sweet notes of an Eolian harp. sent for some of the fishermen, who said they were perfectly aware of the fact, and that their fathers had always known of the existence of the musical sounds heard, they said, at the spot alluded to, but only during the dry season, and they cease when the lake is swollen by the freshes after rain. They believed them to proceed from a shell, which is known by the Tamil name of (Oorie coolooroo cradoo), the “crying shell,” a name in which the sound seems to have been adopted as an echo of the sense. I sent them in search of the shell, and they returned bringing me some living specimens of different shells, chiefly littorina and cerithium (Cerithium palustre). In the evening, when the moon had risen, I took a boat and accompanied the fishermen to the spot.
We rowed about 200 yards north-east of the jetty by the fort gate ; there was not a breath of wind nor a ripple except that caused by the dip of our oars ; and on coming to the point mentioned, I distinctly heard the sounds in question. They came up from the water like the gentle thrills of a musical chord or the faint vibrations of a wineglass when its rim is rubbed by a wet finger. It was not one sustained note, but a multitude of tiny sounds, each clear and distinct in itselfthe sweetest treble mingling with the lowest bass. On applying the ear to the woodwork of the boat, the vibration was greatly increased in volume by conduction. The sound varied considerably at different points as we moved across the lake, as if the number of the animals from which they proceeded was greatest in particular spots; and occasionally we rowed out of hearing of them altogether, until
, on returning to the original locality, the sounds were at once renewed. This fact seems to indicate that the cause of the sounds, whatever they may be, are stationary at several points, and this agrees with the statement of the natives, that they are produced by mollusca and not by fish. They came evidently and sensibly from the depth of the lake, and there was nothing in the surrounding circumstances to support the conjecture that they could be the reverberation of noises made by insects on the shore, conveyed along the surface of the water, for they were loudest and most distinct at those points where the nature of the land, and the intervention of the fort and its buildings, forbade the possibility of this kind of conduction. Sounds somewhat similar are heard under water at some places on the western coast of India, especially in the harbour of Bombay. At Caldera, in Chili, musical cadences are stated to issue from the sea near the landing place; they are described as rising and falling fully four notes, resembling the tones of harp strings, and mingling like those at Batticaloa, till they produce a musical discord of great delicacy and sweetness. The animals from which they proceed have not been identified at either place, and the mystery remains unsolved whether those at Batticaloa are given forth by fishes or by molluscs. Certain fishes are known to utter sounds when removed from the water, and some are capable of making noises when under it; but all the circumstances connected with the sounds which I heard at Batticaloa are unfavourable to the conjecture that they were produced by either. Organs of hearing have been clearly ascertained to exist, not only in fishes but in mollusca. In an oyster, the presence of an acoustic apparatus of the simplest possible construction has been established by the discoveries of Siebold; and from our knowledge of the reciprocal relations existing between the faculties of hearing and NEW SERIES.-VOL. XI. NO. 1.-APRIL 1860.
of producing sounds, the ascertained existence of the one might afford legitimate grounds for inferring the co-existence of the other in animals of the same class. Besides, it has been clearly established, that one at least of the gasteropoda is furnished with the power of producing sounds. Dr Grant, in 1826, communicated to the Edinburgh Philosophical Society the fact, that on placing some specimens of the Tritonia arborescens in a glass vessel filled with sea-water, his attention was attracted by a noise which he ascertained to proceed from these mollusca. It resembled the "clink" of a steel wire on the side of the jar, one stroke only being given at a time and repeated at short intervals. The affinity of structure between the tritonia and the mollusca in habiting the shells brought to ne at Batticaloa might justify the belief of the natives of Ceylon that the latter are the authors of the sounds I heard ; and the description of those emitted by the former, as given by Dr Grant, so nearly resemble them, that I have always regretted my inability, on the occasion of my visits to Batticaloa, to investigate the subject more narrowly. At subsequent periods I have renewed my efforts, but without success, to obtain specimens or observations of the habits of the living mollusca. The only species afterwards sent to me were Cerithia, but no vigilance sufficed to catch the desired sounds, and I still hesitate to accept the dictum of the fishermen, as the same mollusc abounds in all the other brackish estuaries on the coast, and it would be singular, if true, that the phenomenon of its uttering a musical note should be confined to a single spot in the lagoon of Batticaloa."— Tennent's Ceylon.
ABSTRACT OF THE METEOROLOGICAL REGISTER FOR 1859,
Latitude 56° 34' N. Longitude 2° 35 W. Distance from the Sea, iths of a Mile.
The number of “Rainy Days "includes those on which now or hail fell.
Meteorological Society, &c.
Corrected to 32
477 16 1.222
was lowest on 5th November, 28-62.
| The highest and lowest readings of the Barometer are reduced to sea-level, and otherwise corrected.