The Omori Shell Mounds


IN NATURE, vol. xxi. p. 350, is a review of my memoir on “The Omori Shell Mounds” by Fredk. V. Dickins. I do not now heed the spirit in which it is written, nor would I deem it worthy of notice did it not occur in the pages of your widely-read magazine. One expects in a reviewer some knowledge of the subject he reviews. Mr. Dickins, by a series of mistakes, betrays his ignorance of the whole matter. The extraordinary blunder he makes regarding the Ainos has already been promptly corrected by a Japanese gentleman residing in London. It is charitable to assume that Mr. Dickins has not lived in Japan, otherwise he would not, in common with so many of his countrymen, commit the wilful blunder of calling the principal city of the empire by its wrong name. On the other hand, it is impossible he could have seen the Omori deposits, otherwise he would not make another blunder by expressing his belief that they have been completely swept away, when in truth but a small portion of them have been removed. He says: "These mounds consist for the most part of shells, little, if at all, distinguishable from what are still found in abundance along the shores of the Gulf of Yedo". Had he taken the trouble to read the memoir he attempted to review he would have seen that all the species occurring in the mounds vary in size, proportion of parts, and relative abundance of individuals from similar species living along the shores to-day. That some species extremely abundant in the mounds are scarcely met within the vicinity, while one species has never been found within 400 miles of Omori; indeed, it belongs to a different zoological province!

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MORSE, E. The Omori Shell Mounds. Nature 21, 561–562 (1880).

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