Elementary Lessons in Physical Geography.


AS our knowledge of natural phenomena widens and our insight into the character and mode of operation of the forces which give rise to these phenomena becomes more profound, we are called upon from time to time to take a new survey of the fields of inquiry and to reconsider the principles on which the useful, but necessarily more or less arbitrary, classification of the natural history sciences is made to depend. To instance a notable example, the time-honoured division of the “three kingdoms in nature” has now, by almost universal consent, been abandoned in favour of a more logical grouping of the objects of natural history science depending on the presence or absence in them of the principle of life, and hence has arisen the term biology to include botany and zoology, while mineralogy, released from an unnatural bond, seeks and finds new alliances with those branches of knowledge, crystallography, chemistry, and petrography, with which it has so many and such intimate relations. Etymological purists have indeed cavilled at the term “biology,” and the opponents of change have disputed its raison d'être, but it is impossible to deny that its invention was the natural consequence of the growth of juster views concerning the relations of living beings to one another, or that, on account of its fitness, it bids fair to survive all hostile criticism.

Elementary Lessons in Physical Geography.

By Archibald Geikie, Murchison Professor of Geology and Mineralogy in the University of Edinburgh, and Director of the Geological Survey of Scotland. (London: Macmillan and Co., 1877.)

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J., J. Elementary Lessons in Physical Geography.. Nature 16, 158–160 (1877) doi:10.1038/016158a0

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