IT was to be expected that the natural history of the country immediately surrounding a great and ancient university would have been studied with especial thoroughness. None the less, the naturalists attending the Oxford meeting of the British Association must have been impressed with the richness and variety of the plant and animal life and with the great geological interest of the district, as revealed in this handbook. The very abundance of the material at their disposal must have added to the difficulties of the task which the editor and his fellow-contributors set themselves and discharged with such conspicuous success. The volume consists of more than twenty short articles by authorities on their respective subjects. It opens appropriately with sketches of the physical history of the land forms and various other aspects of local geology. These are followed by accounts of the botany of the Upper Thames, and of the birds, insects, and other animals of the Oxford district. The final chapters deal with the entomological treasures in the Hope Department of the University Museum, the wonderful ethnological series in the Pitt-Rivers Museum, and the fine collection of early scientific instruments formed by Dr. Lewis Evans and housed in the Old Ashmolean Museum. The handbook constitutes a summary, and provides a record of local species, which will be of permanent value to such members of the University as are interested in biological studies, as well as to naturalists generally. It is perhaps permissible to suggest that, for the immediate purpose of its compilation, something a little less technical in style might have had an even wider appeal.
The Natural History of the Oxford District.
Contributions edited by Comdr. James J. Walker. Presented to the Members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Oxford Meeting, 1926. Pp. viii + 336. (London: Oxford University Press, 1926.) 10s. net.