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Societies and Academies

Nature volume 113, pages 805807 (31 May 1924) | Download Citation



LONDON. Royal Society, May 22.—J. W. Gregory and C. J. Gregory: The geology and physical geography of Chinese Tibet, and its relations to the mountain system of South-Eastern Asia. The continuation of the Himalayan System eastward from India has been suggested on two lines-one N.E. into Northern China and the other S. through Western Burma to the Eastern Archipelago. In a journey across this region in 1922 the authors found that in addition to the N. and S. strike, due to movements of Hercynian age in the later Palaeozoic, there was clear evidence of transverse Kainozoic disturbances, such as should accompany an extension of the Himalayan axis into S.W. China. Marine rocks were found belonging to the Devonian, with a reef of Stromatoporoids, and to the Carboniferous, Permian, and Triassic Periods. The Triassic limestones and the Permo-Triassic sandstones show evidence of widespread dislocation by over-thrusts and over-folds, which are certainly post-Hercynian, and are regarded as Himalayan. These movements have brought up blocks of older pre-Palsozoic rocks along E. to W. belts. The country is therefore regarded as having been folded by Himalayan movements, and afterwards fractured in the Pliocene along lines which trend predominantly N. and S., and have produced a series of tectonic basins. The authors do not accept the great uplift of S.E. Asia in the Pleistocene. The succession of earth-movements and volcanic eruptions in comparison with that of East Africa indicates that both areas were profoundly affected by the subsidence of the Indian Ocean.—Madge Kaye and Dorothy Jordan Lloyd: A histological and chemical investigation of the swelling of a fibrous tissue. The behaviour of a heterogeneous system, such as skin in water, acids and alkalies, differs in several important respects from that of a homogeneous system, such as gelatin. The fibres of skins are grouped into regular bundles and are divided longitudinally into fine threadlike fibrils. These are embedded in a colourless semi-fluid matrix, the “inter-fibrillary substance,” which has the characteristics of an albumen. The fibres and fibrils of fresh skin are in a state of internal strain, due to (a) the inherent structure of the fibril, and (b) their arrangement in the tissue. These strains are released when the fibres are swollen, but new temporary strains are produced by encircling threadlike elements binding the fibres together, which only become visible when the bundles are in a swollen condition. Drying introduces additional strains, but destroys the constricting bands. In swollen skins, water is present in at least two conditions-(a) imbibed between the fibres or fibrils, (6) combined with the internal substance of the fibrils. In fresh skins the inter-fibrillary albumen does not prevent absorption of water in either way, but the coagulated albumen of skin dried under the influence of heat or ultraviolet light offers considerable resistance to both. Skins dried under conditions which do not coagulate albumen are brought nearer to fresh skins; solutions which disperse coagulated albumen increase the power of water-absorption of dried skins, but some irreversible changes seem to occur in drying.—C. H. Browning, J. B. Cohen, S. Ellingworth, and R. Gulbransen: The antiseptic action of compounds of the apocyanine, carbocyanine, and isocyanine series. In general, these substances are very powerfully antiseptic towards Staphylococcus aureus, but are much less active towards B. coli. In the presence of serum their antiseptic action is practically as well marked as in watery medium. Unlike the acridine series, the introduction of am ino-groups did not enhance the action of the cyanine compounds. In the isocyanine series the introduction of side-chains into the quinoline fraction of the molecule, as compared with their presence in the quinaldine fraction, had a depressing effect on antiseptic potency. Otherwise significant alterations in antiseptic power were not observed as a result of variations in chemical structure within the groups.—H. J. Watt: Dimensions of the labyrinth correlated. The dimensions of the semicircular canals of mammals (and birds), like those of the cochlea, are highly correlated with one another and with the length of the head and body, so that they may be said to maintain a typical form, varying in scale with the length of the head and body. They show no noteworthy signs of variation from type, except that the dimensions of the canals in the porpoise and the Cape sea-lion are relatively unusually low, while the dimensiors of the body and head of the whale, the sea-cow, and the horse are relatively unusually high.

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