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Though oil was known to exist in the Big Horn Basin as early as 1888 and sporadic attempts have from time to time since been made to discover it in large quantities, the production of oil in this region may be said to have begun in 1906, when wells were drilled in the Byron field. Wells were afterwards drilled in several other parts of the basin, and though small quantities of oil and gas have been discovered in fourteen fields, the region is well known largely because of the production since 1914 from the Grass Creek, Elk Basin, Greybull and Torchlight fields. From 1914 to 1916 the production of oil in Wyoming rose from 3,560,375 to 6,234,137 barrels, and a considerable part of this increase has been derived from the fields just named. The report describes fifty anticlines and domes, twentyseven of which have been tested by drilling. Four of these contain very productive oil and gas fields, and seven contain fields that are less productive and less promising. The anticlines

lie in a broad belt around the border of the Big Horn Basin, and the authors of the report conclude that those which are nearest the central trough of the basin offer the greatest prospect for successful drilling. In fact, none of the explored anticlines that are separated from the central trough by other anticlines have yet yielded more than traces of oil and gas. As nine anticlines adjacent to the central trough remain untested there is a good prospect that other productive fields may yet be discovered. The report was prepared by D. F. Hewett and C. T. Lupton.

UNIVERSITY AND EDUCATIONAL NEWS

By the will of Elmer P. Howe, of Marblehead, Mass., after private bequests amounting to between $35,000 and $40,000 are provided for, the residue of the estate is to be divided equally between Yale University and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute for general use. For the purposes of the probate bond the estate is estimated at $30,000 real and $400,000 personal property.

brick building on York Street, adjacent to Wrexham Hall.

ACCORDING to the Journal of the American Medical Association the number of students enrolled in the medical department of the University of Buenos Aires is over 5,000. In 1917, there were 4,078 enrolled, distributed as follows: medicine, 3,051; pharmacy, 317; doctor in pharmacy, 88; odontology, 428, and obstetrics, 194. Including the departments of law, engineering, philosophy and literature, agronomy and veterinary science, there are a total of 9,521 matriculated students. There are 984 students inscribed in the medical department of the other university in the country, the University of Cordoba.

DR. CHARLES A. TUTTLE has presented to Yale University his home and offices, a large

DURING the absence of President Harry Pratt Judson, of the University of Chicago, as head of the American Commission for Relief in Persia, the dean of the faculties, Professor James R. Angell, head of the department of psychology, has been designated by the board of trustees as vice-president of the university.

FRANK L. DE BEUKELAER, professor of chemistry at Washburn College, Topeka, Kansas, has been appointed to an instructorship in the department of chemistry at the University of Chicago.

DR. CYRUS H. FISKE, who has held the position of assistant professor of biological chemistry at Western Reserve University, Cleveland, will join the Harvard medical staff with the same title.

DISCUSSION AND CORRESPONDENCE THE SUPPLY OF ORGANIC REAGENTS TO THE EDITOR OF SCIENCE: In order to provide for the supply of organic reagents for research and industrial purposes the Eastman Kodak Company has determined to commence their preparation in its research laboratory.

This decision was arrived at partly as a result of the letters of Dr. Roger Adams and Professor Gortner1 which drew our attention to the need for an adequate supply of these materials produced by a firm of standing.

1 SCIENCE, March 8, 1918, p. 226 and June 14, 1918, p. 590.

In order to carry on the work a separate section of the laboratory has been established under the title of the "Department of Synthetic Chemistry," which will be under the immediate direction of Dr. H. T. Clarke, well known for his publications on organic chemistry.

In order to meet the need expressed in Professor Gortner's letter and to make available to research laboratories in this country the organic chemicals which they require, it is proposed that chemicals for research work shall be supplied at the lowest possible price. At first, no doubt, this price will necessarily be higher than that charged by the German firms before the war, but it is hoped that eventually the profit made on chemicals supplied for commercial purposes may enable the rarer materials made in small quantities for research work to be sold at a price which will be within the reach of all who require them.

At first, of course, the laboratory will be able to supply only a limited number of substances, and these in small amounts, but the department will be expanded to meet the demand and with the assistance of other laboratories interested in organic chemistry, and of the firms who are producing dyes and intermediates, it is hoped that after a time an adequate supply of synthetic organic reagents can be made available.

It is possible that laboratories may have in stock unusual reagents which they are unlikely to require. If any laboratories possessing such reagents will write to us we shall be glad to make an offer for the materials, thus making them available on the market.

Our thanks are due to many of the chief chemists of the country who have encouraged us to commence this work and especially to Professor Roger Adams for the way in which he has received our proposals and has assisted us by placing at our disposal the information as to this work which he has accumulated.

Communications regarding reagents should be addressed to the Research Laboratory, Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, N. Y. C. E. K. MEES

July 11, 1918

FIREFLIES FLASHING IN UNISON

IN SCIENCE for February 4, 1916, I published a short note entitled "Fireflies Flashing in Unison" in which I gave my own observations with confirmatory notes of K. G. Blair regarding a European species. This note led to a discussion in the pages of SCIENCE in which various views were expressed; one writer throwing doubt on the correctness of my observations, another suggesting that I was deceived and the effect psychological, another that it was the result of coincidence and still another giving confirmatory evidence of the phenomenon in question.

IN SCIENCE for September 15, 1916, I was able through the courtesy of Professor E. B. Poulton of Oxford, to note the advanced pages of a book entitled, "A Naturalist in Borneo," by Mr. S. Shelford, an old student of Professor Poulton. Mr. Shelford describes vividly the synchronous flashing of fireflies he observed in Borneo. In SCIENCE for October 27, 1916, Mr. F. Alex. McDermott, who has made a special study of the light emission of American Lampyridæ,1 has found no periodicity in the phenomenon. In SCIENCE for November 17, 1916, Mr. H. A. Allard says:

The synchronal flashing of fireflies appears to be a very rare phenomenon in North America. So rarely does it seem to occur that one may consider himself fortunate if he has observed the phenomenon once in a lifetime.

His observations were made at Oxford, Mass. A heavy thunder storm had passed over followed by a profound calm, the air was very warm and humid; thousands of these insects were sailing low over the ground flashing incessantly as far as the eye could see. After a while a most remarkable synchronism in the flashing appeared to take place, giving one the impression of alternating waves of illumination and darkness in the distance. Though Mr. Allard had given great attention to the flashing of fireflies since these observations were made twelve years before he had never since observed this phenomenon.

In SCIENCE for September 28, 1917, Mr. Frank C. Gates, of Carthage College, from ex

1 Canadian Entomologist, Vols. 42, 43, 44.

periments made on two specimens in a tent with a flashlight and observations made in the Philippines concludes that the synchronism in the flashing of a group of fireflies is accidental and of very rare occurrence

Mr. Olaf O. Nylander, of Caribou, Me., to whom I sent a copy of my firefly article, in a letter dated October 8, 1916, says that a number of years ago, while walking from Caribou Mills to his home, he noticed in a small clearing the greatest assembly of fireflies that he had ever seen; the ground and stumps were fairly aglow. The flashes were not perhaps as regular as an army officer would like to see in regimental drills but were so rhythmic that any one would take note of their action. He also observed that the air was very damp at the time.

In The Scientific American of January 19, 1918, Mr. John V Purssell, of Washington, D. C., records that

In the town of Cotabato, Island of Mindanao, P. I., a few years ago, there were two trees about the size of apple trees, and perhaps a hundred feet apart, and every evening these were filled with fireflies which flashed in synchronism, first one tree lighting up and then the other. There must have been several thousand insects in each tree, yet the synchronism was so perfect that rarely or never did a single firefly flash at the wrong time.

To the best of my recollection the illuminated period lasted about two or three seconds and the dark period perhaps twice that long. I can positively vouch for the accuracy of the foregoing for it seemed so strange, and produced so beautiful an effect that I thought it one of the most remarkable things in the Philippines, and it made a deep impression on me.

The independent observations of this synchronism in the flashing of fireflies by the author in Gorham, Me.; K. G. Blair in Europe; S. Shelford in Borneo; Dr. H. C. Bumpus near Woods Hole, Mass.; H. A. Allard in Oxford, Mass.; Olaf O. Nylander in northern Maine and John C. Purssell in Mindanao, Philippine Islands, are I think quite sufficient to establish the fact that these insects do at times flash in unison. The rarity of the occurrence is a mystery.

In this connection a coincidence might ex

plain a well-known occurrence in a small group of individuals, as at a dinner party when they all cease talking for an appreciable time, but would not explain the quiet pause which one sometimes observes in a large dining hall containing hundreds of diners. I discovered the cause of this phenomenon some years ago. While dining with a number of friends at the Parker House the guests at a neighboring table had been noisy, even boisterous, doubtless we had been somewhat noisy too. The neighboring table suddenly became quiet and we stopped talking to see if the noisy ones had gone, but they were still there, other tables looked about for the pause and this hush spread rapidly through the hall. Dear old Dr. Virchow had often observed this pause and thought my explanation correct. He also told me that it was a saying in his country that when this hush occurred an angel was passing through the room, also that a lieutenant was paying his debts! So in regard to fireflies a dozen or more might flash for awhile in unison as a coincidence, but when thousands are observed to flash in unison no doctrine of probability or chance can account for it.

EDWARD S. MORSE

SALEM, MASS., July 2, 1918

THE VERO MAN AND THE SABRE TOOTH

IN determining the relative antiquity of the Vero man and the fossil plants and animals there associated, certain larger factors yet require attention. The direct evidence has been minutely examined from varying points of view: geologic, paleontologic, anthropologic. It seems conclusive that the man of Vero reached one of the last lairs of the sabretoothed tiger, as Dr. Hay contends; while Berry discloses a degree of change in the local flora not to be ignored. But, on the other hand, the anthropologists show that the accompanying artifacts are like those elsewhere

recent.

Perhaps the anthropologists have the best of the argument, as such. Florida has retained much its present outline since the close

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of the Eocene, sometimes a little below the ocean level, never far above. Geologic change has been at no time great enough to prevent the easy reentrance of the sub-tropic vegetation, persistent in the United States at three points only-the Lower Colorado, the Lower Rio Grande, and the lower part of the "spruce pine," and Pinus heterophylla sections of Florida. In each of these widely separated regions larger continental features tend to create and maintain melior climatic conditions. The Colorado cuts deep, and holds its valley protected from the cold. The gulf warms the low coastal strip markedly as far north as the mouth of the Rio Grande; and Florida, though flung well out to sea, so blocks the warmer gulf waters that the southern half has long held to the favorable mean of dry days, rain and warmth. Long coastal barriers afford further protection.

Even a cursory glance at forest distribution in Florida serves to throw into relief the belts and regions of change of first concern. The upper half of Florida is still favorable to the "long leaf pine" (Pinus palustris), and now undergoes marked variation in its winter temperatures. Facing the Atlantic, this forest sharply gives way to the " spruce pine," and not far below Vero the palmetto-cycad underbush begins. Along the southern-western coast, is the region of "pine islands and cypress straits," as Bowman says, even more monotonous than the east coast." All the higher ground is invested by a Pinus heterophylla forest, with a nearly pure palmetto underbush, while the cycads also show a different facies. The Zamia floridana is rare in the open woods, although the Z. pumila grows more characteristically inside the mangrove fringes next the coast.

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The Vero man thus occurs near the border of the "spruce pine" (Pinus glabra) forest, with its striking and unique underbush of cycads and bush palmetto (Zamia floridana and Sabal serrulata). The latter in places make up the underbush nearly in equal numbers. But that this striking forest facies earlier extended to the north of Vero is probable; while in any case Vero lies within a region

locally characteristic for its old floral elements, and of generally soft climate since the Eocene.

Evidently the " spruce pine" country exemplifies a pronounced type of the so-called "asylum" or isolated and persisting habitat subjected throughout long periods of time to the minimum of environmental change. Especially the cats earlier tended to drift to the south; and there the man of Vero found them when he reached that soft climate and employed or developed arts admittedly recent. Seemingly too, the fossil plants and animals of Vero, after persisting beyond their geologically appointed time, were finally cut off by changes relatively slight.

G. R. WIELAND

YALE UNIVERSITY

SCIENTIFIC BOOKS

Fossil Plants. By A. C. SEWARD. Cambridge Biological Series 1917. Vol. III., pp. xviii +656, 629 figs.

The present volume, the third of Seward's great work, Volume 1 having been published in 1898 and Volume 2 in 1910, is appropriately dedicated to the late Professor Zeiller, the dean of paleobotanists. It is to be followed by a fourth volume, which it is stated is already in press, and which will discuss the remaining gymnosperms—the great group of angiosperms, so abundant in the fossil record from the midCretaceous to the present, apparently not coming within the category of fossil plants in the mind of a British botanist, which is quite in keeping with British tradition and practise.

Volume 3 opens with a very satisfactory chapter devoted to a discussion of existing cycads, largely an abstract of already published data. Then follow three chapters devoted to the Pteridospermæ. These are divided into three families-the Lyginopteridæ, Medulloseæ and Steloxyleæ, and are rather fully and very satisfactorily discussed.

The remaining structural forms that are probably more or less closely related to the foregoing pteridospsrms are considered to represent the following seven families: Megaloxyleæ, Rhetinangier, Stenomyeleæ, Cyca

doxyleæ, Calamopityex, Cladoxyleæ and Protopityeæ, and these are discussed in a separate chapter under the group term of Cycadofilices. These presumable pteridosperms, because of the dearth of conclusive evidence, are thus arbitrarily segregated. While caution is to be commended in dealing with fragmentary plant fossils it may be questioned whether judgment may not be suspended until it dies of inanition. It is also questionable how far it is desirable to introduce purely artificial groups, and if it be granted as desirable, it may be pertinent to ask what criteria are to decide such a question. That such a course does not make for clearness and that such questions rest after all upon personal equation rather than upon objective facts may be illustrated by Seward's reference of the genus Steloxylon to his Pteridosperma and the scarcely to be distinguished genus Cladoxylon to his Cycadofilices. The fact that so many of the so-called families of the latter group are monotypic is convincing enough evidence that they illustrate chance discoveries and the imperfection of the geological record and that they have absolutely no other significance such as Scott has suggested.

Following the chapter devoted to Cycadofilices are two chapters dealing with the Cordaitales which are described under the three groups of Poroxyleæ, Cordaiteæ and Pityeæ. A succeeding chapter of 65 pages is devoted to Paleozoic gymnospermous seeds and the remainder of the book is taken up with a consideration of fossil Cycadophytes. These last chapters are, on the whole, a very satisfactory summary of the present state of our knowledge although the concluding chapter, devoted to the fronds, is much abbreviated and not especially noteworthy.

There can be no doubt of the usefulness of Seward's book, particularly in the case of mature students and professional morphologists. The author has a wide acquaintance with the literature, especially on the side of morphology and modern botany, and the book shows throughout the results of considerable original work and a large amount of reinvestigation of insufficiently described material of

older workers. It may seem ungracious to criticize a noteworthy undertaking but it seems to the reviewer that throughout the three volumes already published there is a disregard of proportion and an unevenness of execution that seriously impair their value. It is impossible to discover the method of selection of matter to be included-unimportant and even doubtful forms are sometimes discussed, as under Williamsonia, among the seeds, or the frond genera of Cycadophytes, while more important material is not even mentioned. In a work spreading through four stout volumes one reasonably expects either completeness or a formulated method of selection. If the desire was to present in the main fossil plants based upon structural materials, why burden the pages with a very incomplete representation of other classes of plant remains.

The author assumes an oracular air that reminds one of Lowell's charming essay entitled "On a certain condescension in foreigners," and there is constantly displayed a readiness to pass judgment merely on the illustrations of other students' work, often in cases where most paleobotanists would be disposed to deny the author's competency, as for example in the case of the determination of American species referred to Eremopteris. There are so certain insular tendencies, as in the overemphasis of Carboniferous, Jurassic and Cretaceous horizons that have been studied in Britain, and the space devoted to the local history of important British specimens.

Professor Seward's position on the difficulty of founding well-marked botanical species on material preserved as impressions is well known and in the main sound. However, as has been pointed out recently by Halle, this does not justify the assumption that all fossils that are superficially similar belong to the same species regardless of geographical position or geological horizon. Such a method of treatment entirely obscures whatever real value such fossils may have for purposes of deduction concerning geographical distribution, the problems of paleogeography growing out of distribution, and the bearing of fossil plants upon stratigraphy.

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