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Second Report on Economic Zoology: British Museum (Natural History)

Nature volume 71, page 272 (19 January 1905) | Download Citation



THE recent development of British Museum activities in the line of economic zoology, for which the insight of the director is largely to be thanked, is re-expressed in a second report, following quickly on the heels of the first (see NATURE, January 28, 1904, vol. lxix. p. 290). We congratulated Mr. Theobald on his first report, and we repeat our congratulations, for the volume does credit to his energy and ability, and to the expertness of those inside and outside the national museum who have given him assistance. Everyone who has had even a little experience of the amount of work which is often required in order to answer apparently simple questions from outside will appreciate the skill which this report displays. The volume contains a large part of the information furnished by the director of the natural history departments of the British Museum to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries between November, 1902, and November, 1903, besides replies to other correspondents and some special notes of present-day interest. The British Museum of Natural History is not only one of the greatest world-treasure-houses of scientific material, it has also, in its staff, an almost unrivalled wealth of learning, and we cannot refrain from giving expression to the widespread gratification that these resources of material and knowledge are now being utilised in behalf of the practical queries of the nation. The volume deals with mosquitoes, sheep scab, weevils, aphides, wire-worm, mites, leather-jackets, warbles, ring-worm, liver-fluke, and a hundred other economically interesting pests—and always in a way that leads us to respect Mr. Theobald's wide knowledge and practical shrewdness. We hope that there will be many such reports, for they are of a kind that enrich the nation as well as science. That they also contribute to art may be illustrated by the report on the grubs causing damage at Rye Golf Links.

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