John Almon.

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ducible to that hypothesis, and will follow as consequences from it, always
supposingr that the atomic hypothesis itself is true.

Brodi^s ' Calculus of Chemical Operations* is an attempt of this kind.
But the talented author of these speculations evidently goes too far, when
ke declares '^that Dalton's theory is inadequate for present purposes, and
that it could no longer be advantageously used to elucidate the work
carried on by chemists ;" and when he adds " that chemistry had got on
the wrong track-— off the rails, in fkcU^

A final verdict on these speculations cannot at present be pronounced,
seeing that we have before us merely the method of drawing conclusions,
and &e application of this method to the construction of formulas for the
elements and for particular compounds. The author promises, indeed,
that his method will present numerous and important advantages, and
he hopes, further, '* to be able to express, by formulee, dynamical facts f
but all these points are reserved for future communications. We may,
however, even now assert that the published results, and especially the
formuiaB given for the elements and compounds, possess no advantage
whatever over the views now universally received. They contain, like
those hitherto in use, only statics, and no dynamics, and although we
are assured '* that they express by symbols, the exact fiscts of chemistry,''
it is impossible not to perceive that these symbols involve an almost un-
limited number of hypotheses for which there is no proof whatever.

For the elements, brodie, as is well known, comes to the conclusion
that there exist three groups, expressible by the symbols —

All elements belonging to the third group (chlorine, bromine, iodine,
nitrogen, eta) are regarded as compounds. They are not, indeed, sup-
posed to contain twokinds of matter at present unknown in the separate
state ; but the much less admissible hypothesis is made that they consist
of a constttnent hitherto unknown in the isolated state, combined with

Such an assumption is so directly at variance, not only with all views
hitherto received, but with the entire range of known facts, that it re-
quires to be tested with all possible circumspection.

Even admitting at the outset that Brodie s speculation is founded " on
a very fair amount of hypothesis," we cannot avoid seeing at the first
glance that it leads to hypotheses of most astounding character, and on
closer examination we are inevitably led to the conclusion that the entire

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272 Scieniific Intelligence.

speoulation is based on pare caprice. Its foundation inTolve^ espedaUj
the three following hypotheses :

^1^ Hydrogen must be assumed as the starting point

(2) Hydrogen is an element.

(8) Hydrogen is the result of a single operation, therefore = «.

With r^;ard to the first, it must, at all events, be admitted that, in-
stead of hydrogen, any other element ought to be admissible as the
starting-point of the system. But if chlorine (;= x) or nitrogen (:= y)
had b^n selected for this purpose, no calculation could have led to the
conclusion that these bodies contain hydrogen. Now, it is clear that a
system of symbols cannot be admitted as a true representation of aetoal
facts, unless its results are independent of the particular member of the
system which has been taken as a starting-point for the construction of
the whole.

The second hypothesis, that hydrogen is an element, might have been
admitted without remark by every chemist who regards as elements all
bodies not hitherto decomposed ; but the author of the speculations now
under consideration is under an obligation to show grounds for such an
assumption, inasmuch as he comes to the conclusion that others of the
so-called elements are compounds.

The third point, and perhaps the most important in connection with
results, is no less hypothetical. Why is hydrogen regarded as the result
of a single operation, and not as the result of two, seeing that oxygen,
sulphur, eta, are supposed to result, from two operations ? We are as-
sured, *^ There were strong reasons for preferring the use of the system in
which a was employed to present the standard amount of matter;" but
these reasons are not yet made known, and therefore their value cannot
be appreciated. So much, however, is certain, that, if instead of a, the ex-
pression a* had been chosen for the purpose just mentioned, Brodie's own
form of reasoning would have led to formuls identical in every particular
with those now in use. All bodies which we now regard as elements
would, or, at least, might have been found to be such ; and for all com-
pounds, the system in question would have led to the very formuls which
nave long been used by the adherents of the atomic molecular theory.

The hypothesis, hydrogen = a, is said to be the simplest that could be
adopted ; but it may be laid down as a general rule that, in selecting
from a number of different hypotheses the one which is most probable on
the ground of simplicity, it is necessary to look, not only to the relative
simplicity of the hypothesis itself, but to the more or less simple char-
acter of the consequences which follow from it.

Had the author of the ** Calculus of Chemical Operations'^ merely
expressed an opinion that the formulae which he has constructed for ele-
ments and compounds are " one of the different expressions " which,
according to the principle of prime factors, are deducible from the known
fiacts connected with relations of volume, everybody would have agreed
with him. We should have perceived (though, perhaps, with some sur-
prise) that our existing hypotheses are not the only ones capable of ac-
counting for these relations of volume ; and we should have been strength-
ened in the conviction that the correctness of our present theories and
formulae does not depend for its proof on volume-relations alone. But
the author of this new mode of representation goes further. Among

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Minerahgy and Otology, 273

other things he plainly puts forward the view that manj of the sub*
stances now regarded as elements contain hydrogen ; and suggests that,
even if the elements which are combined with hjdrogen in these com-
pounds do not exist in the free state on our earth, they may possibly
exist in that state in other parts of the universe.

No one will maintain that the bodies which we now call elements are
necessarily and absolutely undecomposable. But if, on the other hand,
it be asserted that our existing elements are actually of compound na-
ture, the establishment of such a proposition will certainly require more
than the simple observation, that a result of the kind may possibly be
deduced from a kind of reasoning founded upon hypothesis. We shall,
at least, require proof that such an assumption is calculated to lead to
useful results, and that it presents decided advantages over our present
views. If it be maintained that many of the substances now regarded
as elementary contain a substance at present unknown in the free state,
combined with another body— hydrogen, for example — which we do not
know in that state, we may, certainly, require the assertion to be proved
by the actual separation of hydrogen from these substances. In default,
however, of further knowledge, we may hold fast by the principle an-
nounced by Dalton, ** that a substance, till it is decomposed, must be re-
garded, according to the just logic of chemistry, as an elementary sub-


1. I/'otice of volume IV of the Paleontology of New Tork^ by the
Author, 24 pp., 8vo. Albany, March, 1 867. — O of the Corniferous limestone are, Bhynchonella (StenocumaS
Teikys, Billingsi (in place of R, ihalia of Billings, name preoccupied)
Carolina (n. s.), Boyana (n. s.) ; of the Hamilton group, R. {Steno-
dema) Hors/ordi^ Sappho^ congrepata, prolifica (n. s.), dotie (n. s.), car-
tea (n. s.) ; of the Chemung group, the following species are described :
Bhynchonella {Stenocinna) eximia, Stephani (n. s.), duplicator contractor
orbicularii^ Sappho var.

The genus Leiorhynchus is retained for such forms as L. limitaris and
L. quaaricottata which present, among other distinguishing features, a
division or bifurcation of the plications on the mesial fold and sinus. The
species recognized as belonging to this ffenus are L. limitarie^ L. myna
(n. B.), Z. quadricMtata^ L, multicostOy £. iris (n. s.), L. KeUoggi (n. s.),
jL, 9inuatuB (n. s.), L. mesacottalie^ L. globuliformie^ L. dubius (n. s.).

Under the genus Leptocoelia, the X. acutiplicata is the only species

The genus Camarophoria has been observed in a single smooth spedes,
the (7. eucharis, from the Upper Helderherg limestones.

Some of the pentameroid forms, heretofore referred to the genus Pen*
tamerus, are placed under new genera, on account of certain pebuliarities
of their internal structure.

Pentamerella includes P. orato (^Pentomerut aratttt), P. pajnlknen-
eis (izzPerUamerus papilionensie), P, tnieula (n. s.), P. ohsolescene (n. a.),
and P.dubia (=Spirifer dubius Hall, Thirteenth Report on the Sute Cab-
inet) ; Gypidula includes G. ocddentalis (piPentamerus ocddentalie GUI,
Geol. Report of Iowa), and G, Icevitueula (n. s.) ; Amphigenia is pro-
posed to include the original Pentamerus elongatut of Vanuzem, which
possesses characters unlike any other genus of the pentameroid family ;
the A, elongata^ and a variety undulata. The species formerly described
as aubtrigonolis appears to be only a variety of the A. slangata, Bena-
selseria is recognized with doubt, and a single species, B. f Johanni, k
noticed from the rocks of the age of the Upper Helderherg group in
Iowa. The genus Terebratula is recognized in the following species:
T. Lens, T, Sullivanti (n. s.), T, fiarmonia (n. s.), T, Banningeri, T,
Mia (n. s.), T, jucunda (n. s.), T, navicella (n. s.), T. simulator (n. a.).

The genus Cryptonella includes Crypionslla rectirostra, C, plcfgiirostra^
C, Ifhis (n. s.), (7. Lincklceni^ and a doubtful form, Cryptonella (Terebrat-
hIo) eudora, from the Chemung group ; and Centronella, the C, glans-
fageoy C, alveata, C. imprssso and C glaucia (n. s.).

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Hfineralogy and Geology , 279

A further stndy of the 'genus Troptdoleptus has revealed certain fea-
tures of internal structure, which seem to allj it with the TerehratuHdae.
The T* earinatus is the typical species of the genus. A western form
has heen descrihed under 4^e name T. ceeideni.

The relations of the genus Vitulina are not fully established. The
shell-stmcture is punctate, with a papillose sur&ce, a high area on the
▼entral vaWe, with a large triangular fissure. The genus embraces a
single species, the Vitulina pustuloses.

The volume contains critical remarks on many of the various genera,
citations from some of which, Professor Hall gives in the Notice of the

The labors of Professor Hall are contributing very largely to the pro-
gress of American and general Gkoloffy and Paleontology, and it is to be
hoped that his engravers will do their work as rapidly as is consistent
with its accuracy and beauty, that the world may speedily reap the full
benefit of his extended researches.

2. On the Paleontology of Victoria, South Australia; by Frederick
McCoy. — The author, after treating of the distribution and characteris-
tics of the Post-tertiary, Tertiary, Cretaceous, and Triassio of Victoria,
and pronouncing the Australian coal beds Mesozoic, makes the following
observations on the Paleozoic formations of the country.

Carboniferous.-^The sandstones of the Avon in Gippsland are the
only traces of this formation that I can recognize in Victoria, and the
only fossil I have seen from it is the Lepidodendron, referred to above,
identical with that recognized by me many years ago from New South
Wales, and which I have lately seen also from Queensland.

Devonian. — It is with great pleasure I announce the fact of my hav-
ing been able satisfactorily to determine the existence of this formation
also in Australia, the limestone of Buchan in Gippsland containing char-
acteristic corals, Placodermatus fish, and abundance of the Spirifera
Icsmeostata, perfectly identical with specimens from the European Devo-
nian limestones of the Eiset.

Upper Silurian, — I have been able to recognise the Mayhill sand-
atones and the Wenlock rocks with certainty in many localities in Vic>>
toria. At Broadhnrst Creek, for instance, the beds are filled with num-
bers of the Fhacops ( Odontochilas) Umgicaudatus exactly as the corres-
ponding English beds of Cheny Lonffville are in Shropshire ; and here,
as in every part of the northern hemisphere, the Spirigera reticulata is
the commonest Brachiopod, and many others identical with species of
England, Bohemia, and North America occur with it.

The Ludlow rocks are indicated by the Ortkoeeras hullatum, and a
series of starfish closely representing those of the English Ludlow beds,
together with a beautiful new Momalonotus {ff. Harrisoni M'Coy),
which I have named after the discoverer, as well as the Graptolites Lu-
densis. The Hendthyris diodonta Dal. is as abundant in the Mayhill
sandstone of Victoria as in the corresponding English beds at Malvern,
and the same appearance of oblong smooth Pentamerus (P, Australis
DtTCoy) mark this sandy base of the Upper Silurian in Victoria as in
England and Wales, and North America.

Cambrian of Sedgtsiek, I^ower Silurian of Murchison. — ^It is to this

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280 Scientific Intelligence.

period that I have been able without hesitation to refer the whole of the
slates containing gold-quartz Teins or reeh in Victoria, and all the elates
containing these gold-bearing veins are identical in age and character
with those of Norih Wales, in which the Romans worked the gold mines
of Gogo Fan.

Not only are the majority of the fossil GrapioliUi fonnd in the Welsh
Llandeilo Flag, and of the corresponding Cumberland and Scotch slates,
also found in those beds in Victoria, but we have in these formations the
most extraordinary proof of the unexpected fact which I announced on
a former occasion, that there was in the Cambrian or Lower Silurian pe-
riod a nearly complete specific uniformity of the marine fauna, not only
over the whole northern hemisphere, but across the tropics, extending to
this remote temperate latitude of the southern hemisphere;

In the slates of the goldfields the principal fossils are Graptoliie$^ and,
what is very extraordinary, I have here identified specifically nearly the
whole of the series of remarkable compound Graptolites first made
known from the similar slates of Canada by the researches of Profeasor
Hall, Many of the species have not yet been recognised in any but the
Canadian localities in the northern hemisphere, and to find nearly the
whole series here is most interesting, as their powers of locomotion could
only be exercised in the bhort ovarian and free stage, so that, except on
the supposition of a uniform marine fauna at this eariiest zoological pe-
riod or the earth's history, we could scarcely account for this width of
distribution, and still less so of the littoral or shallow-water moUusoa
which accompany them in other beds. The Diplograpnu mueranatus
Hall, so common in the Utica slates of New York, I find in equal
abundance here in the slates of Bendigo or Sandhurst, and with it abun-
dance of the D. quadrangularis M'Coy, completely identical with those
I described many years ago from the slates of Dumfriesshire. The
Diplograptus pristu (His. sp.), also occurs in these same slates, mixed
with the others, as in Sweden, Bohemia, and Scotland, but in certaiB
different sandy beds it covers the whole of the planes of deposition in
millions, to the exclusion of everything else, exactly as it does in certain
beds of the English Caradoc sandstone near Church Stretton. In some
localities these are replaced by great numbers of the Bohemian DipUh
ffrapius paltneus Barrande, on the upper end of many specimens of
which I find a large smooth pear-shaped or heart-shaped appendage, which
I believe to be an ovarian vesicle. I should remark that I have observed
exactly the same appendage (bearing out, I think, the idea which I have
supported formerly on other grounds,* of the affinity of (he Orc^loUiee
with the HydroidcL) in specimens of this species from the slates of the
typical locality in Bohemia, when carrying out the direct careful compari-
sons of specimens of species, which I state to be identical in Victoria and
other countries ; so the frequent observation of this apparent ovicell in the
Victorian specimens does not at all affect the identity of this species with
that of the basin of Bohemia, of which there can be no doubt The
2>. ramonii Hall is also in our slates identical with thoee of the Utka
sUte of New York. Of the group of compound Canadian Oraptoliteej
the commonest in the Victorian goldfield slates of many localities ia the

• Britiih Pal»o£oic Rocks and Fosuls.

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Mineralogy und Geology. 281

DidymograpeuB cadueeue Salt, first described from the Quebec slates.
In many localities the specimeDs of this species are as small as the first
described Canadian ones, but in others they acquire a greatly increased
siae, occasionally twice the length and nearly three times the width, and
the angle of divarication of the two branches varies from 5^ to 70^.

This is usually accompanied by the D. serratulus Hall, identical
with those of New York slates, and generally also by the very large
Canadian D. bryanoides Hall, which it is possible may be hereafter found
to be the perfect development of my G. latu$. The D. nitidus Hall
is more rare, but perfectly identical with the Canadian types. The
Oraptolitei yracilis Hall, identical with the New York and Canadian
species, is one of the rare compound forms. The curious radiating com«
pound forms, which created so much astonishment when published first
by Professor Hall in his Decades of the paleontology of this part of Sir
H. Logan's geological survey of Canada, I find in just as great abun-
dance m the slates of the same age in Victoria. 3. octobrachiatuSj JD.
qtMdribrachiatus^ and 2). Logani Hall, are, especially the latter, not
uncommon in many of the goldfield localities. The curious Canadian
quadrifid graptolite, named PhyUograpiw Typue by Hall, is one of our
most abundant Australian Graptolites; but, although sometimes upwards
of an inch in length, small sp^imens, I find, on comparison with Swed-
ish specimens of the G. Folium of Hisinger, are perfectly identical there-*
with ; and further, on carefully comparing Bohemian specimens of the
(7. ovatttt of Barrande with the Swedish G. folium^ I hsLre no doubt
they belong to one variable species, and are identical with the smaller
examples of the Australian and Canadian species; and further, that the
European specimens are truly quadrifoliate, like Hall's Phyllograptw ;
and in this way the difference in the different descriptions, as to the
width of the midrib, becomes intelligible.

As a general rule, the ffraptolite slates in every part of the world con*"
tain no other foesils. I many years ago discovered in Wales, near
Bttilth, the only shell I ever heard of in graptolite slates (the Siphoiuh
treta micula M'Coy), and I was greatly surprised to recognize it also in
Victoria, in the Deep Creek section. The crustacean genus Hymeno-
earU is represented by a new species, E. Salteri M'Coy, found in most
of the graptolite slate localities.

In a different set of sandy, marly, and mud-stone beds — as at Woori
Yallock, Yarra — we find an extensive series of the senera and many of
the species of corals, trilobites, and roollusca of Uie "Bala beds" of
North Wales; species of FavonUs* Fakeopora^ Calymene, Fkacops^
Beyrkhia^ Strophomena^ Leptagonia depretsoj Spirigera retieularis, Or-
this eUgantulUf the characteristic little genus CuculUlla, Murchisonia^
Comularia, &c. ; and some species new, and some identical with British
ones, forming a group so completely reproducing the well known Bala
beds as to afford a second case in support of the view of the general spe-
cific identity of the marine fauna over both hemispheres of the whole
world in the earliest paleozoic times.

* It is worthy of remark, that as on the ooDtinent of Europe the Devonian gencw
PUufodietpm luu now been found in Silurian strata, so in thoeo beds in Victoria
I find a new species (P. m^gtutama, M'Coy), with cells half an inch in diameter.

Am. Joub. Sol— Second Series, Vol. XLIV, No. 131.— Sept., 1867.

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982 Sdentijlc hUdligenct.

It is curious that I hare not jat seen any trace of tlie genua Trvfrn-
eUus in Australian beds, nor Ampyx, while all the above-mentioned
genera of Trilobites, with Aeidcupis, Chirurut, dec, are well marked.

I can scarcely close this part of the subject without drawing attention
to the curious confirmation offered in Victorian geology of ue view of
Professor Sedgwick and myself, that there was a real systematic line of
division between the Upper Silurian and the Cambrian and Lower Silurian,
at the base of the Mayhill sandstone, and over the Garadoc sandstone —
the Mayhill sandstone which we first defined and demonstrated to have
Upper Silurian fossils only, and the true Caradoc sandstone full exdosively
of Lower Silurian or Cambrian types ; the previous confusion of these two
sandstones, from the mingling erroneously of the fossils in collections,
having given Sir Roderick Murchison the erroneous impression that hit
Upper and Lower Silurian groups of fossils (the distinctness of which he
himself was the first to point out) were mixed together in the Caradoc
sandstone, and that consequently the Bala beds, identical in fossils with
those of the Caradoc beds (although formerly recognized by him as the
type of the Cambrian system), could not be separated paleontologically
from the Upper Silurian group. The Mayhill sandstone was one 0( the
first formations I recognized on landing near Melbourne, with the usual
Upper Silurian fossils ; and it is now found here, as in Wales, to be
slightly unconformable to the Cambrian or Lower Silurian, forming the
obvious base of the former, and totally distinct in fossils from the latter,

8. Note by F, B. Meek to his Review of Prof, 0einitz in regard to
Nebraska fossils, (See p. 170). — Since writing the remarks on tlie Ne-
braska fossils investigated by Prof. Geinitz, an extensive collection of
specimens obtained at Nebraska City by Dr. Hayden and myself^ duriaff
tne progress of the geological survey of that state (now under his cfaargi^
and placed in my hands for investigation, enables me to give the following
additional information.

On page 182, I expressed the opinion, from the examination of some
rather imperfect specimens shown to me by Dr. White from Iowa, Ifast
the species referred by Prof. Geinitz to the so-called Avieula pmnafofrmis^
is not only specifically distinct from that shell, but that it probably
belonged to the distinct genus Pinna, A careful examination of a %n»
series of much better specimens from Nebraska City confirms my fint
conclusion in regard to its being a distinct species, and at the same time
leads to the conclusion that it is an Avievdopinna^ since its beaks are
slightly removed from the extreme point of the shell, so as to leare a
very small lobe in front, best seen in internal easts. It differs, howerer,
specifically from the European A. pinniformis^ not only in never attain-
ing one-fourth as large a size, in its more uniform outline, and its muck
more nearly terminal beaks, but in being without any traces of radiating
stiise, while its concentric markings differ in being strong, regularly dis-
posed, rather distantly separated and abruptly elevated lines or lameHae,
unconnected with concentric wrinkles on any part of the valves ; instead
of fine crowded striae, gathered into wrinkles on the ventral region. It is
also provided on the upper half, with two or three larg^ very obecars
radiating folds not seen on A, pinniformis, while its posterior mama
also differs in being slightly sinuous just under the extremity of Uie

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Mineralogy and Otology . 283

For this speci«8 I would propose the name Aviculopinna Americana,
As might be expected, the very thin substanoe of this shell is seen under
the microscope to have a prismatic structure, like that of other types of
the Aviculiaa,

I avail myself of this opportunity to correct a few typographical errors

Online LibraryJohn AlmonThe American journal of science and arts → online text (page 83 of 102)