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by about 1 in its greatest breadth, and exhibits a transverse, or rather radiating, series of eight depressions, gradually increasing in depth, and showing lines of punctures, corresponding, he supposed, to the rows of the projecting teeth ; and the fossil was all the more strikingly displayed from the colour of the sandstone being completely discharged around the cast, which appears as a patch of white, in the dull red of the surrounding stone. He sent the fossil for examination to Mr Hugh Miller a few months before his lamented death, and received, in reply, the following interesting note :- .
“SURUBMOUNT, 30th June 1856. “My dear Sir,-Your fossil is the Old Red Ctenodus of Agassiz (his Coal Measure Ctenodus belongs to a different genus); but though he gives it (his Old Red Ctenodus) a generic standing of its own, it is in reality a portion of the previously described Dipterian genus. The Dipterus had two triangularly arranged groups of teeth on its palate, and your specimen is a remarkably distinct impression made by one of these I could show you groups of teeth, were you to do me the pleasure of looking in upon me here, that would fit into your impression well nigh as exactly as a seal would into the wax which it had stamped. Your specimen is the second of Dipterus which I have now seen from the Upper Old Red Sandstone. The first,-a gill cover,-is in the collection of Mr Patrick Duff of Elgin. I have been prostrated by another attack of my old enemy, inflammation of the lungs, and, after being confined to my bed for a fortnight, am but slowly recovering. Portobello has many visitors at present; but I have seen little of scientific men, and have had little of scientific conversation for the last three quarters of a twelvemonth ; and should you chance to come this way, it would gratify me much to have half an hour's talk with you among my fossils. Some of my Old Red ones would, I am sure, cast not a little light on the detached organisms of your south-country beds.—1 am, my dear Sir, yours very truly,
“Hugh Miller. “Dr John A. Smith.”
Wednesday, 220 December 1858.-William Ruind, Esq., President,
in the Chair,
J. W. Laidlay, Esq. of Seacliff, and John M. Mitchell, Esq., Mayville, Trinity, were elected members of the Society.
The Office Bearers for the session were elected as follows:
Presidents.-Andrew Murray, Esq., W.S.; William Rhind, Esq. ; Thomas Strethill Wright, M.D.
Council.-W. H. Lowe, M.D.; Alexander Rose, Esq.; George Logan, Esq., W.S.; John Hutton Balfour, M.D., Professor of Botany, University ; James M'Bain, M.D., R.N.; John Coldstream, M.D.
Secretary.-John Alexander Smith, M.D.
Library Committee.—John L. Stewart, Esq. ; Alexander Bryson, Esq. ; Patrick Dalmahoy, Esq., W.S.
The following Donations to the Library were laid on the table, and thanks voted to the donors :
1. Annales des Sciences Physiques et Naturelles d'Agriculture et d'Industrie, Publiées par la Société Royal d'Agriculture, &c., de Lyon, Tomes VI., VII., VIII., IX., X., and XI.-From the Royal Society of Agriculture and Industry of Lyons. 2. Geological Survey of Canada Report of Progress for the years 1853–56, printed by order of the Legis
lative Assembly, Toronto; with quarto Atlas of various lakes and rivers. ---From Sir W. E. Logan.
The following communications were then read :
I. Mr Rhind exhibited a specimen of black shale, displaying a branch of Lepidodendron several inches in length, with the Lepidostrobus attached to its extremity, which was found by Mr R. H. Traquair, in the beginning of August last, in a stratum of very fissile black shale exposed in the bed of the Water of Leith, a little below the church at Colinton, This shale abounds in the stems of Lepidodendra, in detached Lepidostrobi and Lepidophylli ; and in what seems to be impressions of very delicate bivalve shells ; also in Cyprides, and detached scales of the Palæoniscus. Notwithstanding the abundance of the two first-mentioned fossils (Lepidodendron and Lepidostrobus), this specimen is the only one Mr Traquair had ever found exhibiting them in distinct apposition.
II. On the Cnidæ or Thread-cells of the Eolidæ. By T. STRETHILL
WRIGHT, M.D. Dr Wright, after describing the anatomy of the respiratory, digestive, and hepatic organs in the Eolidæ, stated that, in his Memoir on Hydractinia echinata, read before the Society, November 26, 1856, he had observed, “ Hydractinia is infested by a small species of Eolis (Eolis nana), which peels off the polypary with its rasp-like tongue, and devours it,possessed, I suppose, of some potent magic, which renders all the formidable armament of its prey of no avail. Now, each of the dorsal papillæ
of the Eolidæ contains at its extremity a small ovate vesicle, communicating, through the biliary sac, with the digestive system, and opening externally by a minute aperture at the end of the papillæ. This vesicle is found crowded with compact masses of thread-cells ; which inasses, in Eolis nana, consist of aggregations of small and large thread-cells, identical in size and shape with those of Hydractinia,—on which this Eolis preys,—not contained in capsules, but cemented together by mucus. When we consider that each of the vesicles is in indirect communication with the stomach, I think we may, without presumption, suggest that the masses of thread-cells found in Eolis nana are quasi fæcal collections of the thread-cells of Hydractinia, which, protected by their strong coats, have escaped the digestive process. In corroboration of this view, I may mention that the thread-cells of Eolis papillosa, as figured in the work of Alder and Hancock, have a perfect resemblance to those found in the Actinias, which last animals furnish an Abyssinian repast to these carnivorous mollusca.” Dr Wright afterwards found that, as to the above idea, he had been anticipated by his friend Mr Gosse, who, in his “Tenby,” after noticing the existence of the thread-cells in the papillæ, remarks :-“The inquiry I suggest would be, How far the presence of thread-cells might be connected with the diet of the mollusc? And whether, seeing the forms of the missile threads vary in different genera of zoophytes, the forms of the corresponding organs in the papillæ of the Eolides would vary if the latter were fed exclusively first on one and then on another genus of the former.” He afterwards found that Mr Huxley had also doubted, previously to Mr Gosse and himself, whether the thread-cells of the Eolidæ were not adventitious. Here were three independent observers to whom the idea has suggested itself; Mr Huxley had first hinted it; Mr Gosse suggested it, and how it might be found to be true; Dr Strethill Wright also had suggested it, and given two instances in corroboration of his opinion, and to-night he proceeded to detail observations which would, he hoped, entitle it to be enrolled as a proved fact in the records of science. 18t, A specimen of Eolis nana was brought home from Morison's Haven, on a shell covered with Hydractinia, taken from a rock-pool, in which was a profuse growth of Campanularia Johnstonic. The papillæ of this Eolis contained the two kinds of thread-cells which are found on Hydractinia, together with the large thread-cells which occur within the reproductive capsules of C. Johnstonii. 2d, An Eolis coronata was taken at Queensferry, on a massive specimen of Coryne decipiens, which was very abundant there. The thread-cells of C. decipiens were very distinctive, being very large, oval, and containing a four-barbed dart. The thread-cells of the Eolis and Coryne were carefully compared together, and were found to be identical. 3d, Dr M.Bain and Dr Wright found an Eolis Drummondii on a fine specimen of Tubularia indivisa. They first carefully examined
the thread-cells of the Tubularia, and found four kinds, two (large and
III. Notice of a Skull of the Troglodytes Niger, Desm., the Chimpanzee,
found in a “ Devil-house,” Old Calabar, Africa. By John Alexr. SMITH, M.D.
The skull on the table was one of those interesting objects of natural history, for the exhibition of which the Society is indebted to the zeal of our Treasurer, Mr William Oliphant, and, through him, to the missionaries of the United Presbyterian Church at Old Calabar. It was sent home by Mr Archibald Hewan, the Mission surgeon, and was entitled by him the skull of an ape, taken from an old "devil-house” at the Guinea Company's villages, about a hundred miles from the mouth of the Old Calabar River. It is the skull of an adult Chimpanzee, indicated by its general appearance, the calvarium smooth and rounded, the partially obliterated sutures, and the full complement of teeth, well ground down on their summits. These teeth are similar in number to those of man. The skull measures 19 inches in circumference, in the line of the alveolar processes of the incisor teeth in front, and the occipital protuberance behind ; and rather more than 7 inches in length between the same points in a straight line. The skull of an adult male is described as measuring 8.inches in length; this is probably therefore the skull of an old female,—the muscular ridges being but slightly marked; the space between the incisor teeth and the canines is very slightly developed, measuring little more than 1-10th of an inch. The characteristic high superciliary ridge of the Chimpanzee is strongly marked; showing at a glance the very vague character of any deductions as to the amount of brain, to be drawn from the extent of what is called the facial angle in a cranium such as this. This formidable animal stands some 3 feet 10 inches high, the male reaching the height of 4 feet from the top of the head to the sole of the heel in a straight line. You are aware these creatures have been frequently described as reaching a much higher stature (it was believed with increasing age), but it now appears from the recent researches of naturalists, both in America and in this country, that there are at least two distinct species of Chimpanzee, inhabiting in one instance the same district of country, one of which is much larger than the other. The cranium now exhibited be