100 and 50 years ago

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    100 YEARS AGO

    “Do the crystalline gneisses represent portions of the original earth's crust?” is the question asked, and answered in the affirmative, by Mr. J. Lomas, in his recent presidential address to the Liverpool Geological Society ⃛ Excluding gneisses of later igneous or metamorphic origin, there remain the great series of fundamental gneisses, world-wide in distribution and uniform in general character, which must have had some world-wide cause of origin. As a possible cause of their foliation, Mr. Lomas suggests tidal action in the incompletely-consolidated crust. Prof. G. H. Darwin has shown that huge tidal wrinkles must have been raised by the moon when near the earth, forming ridges and troughs which ran north and south near the Equator, and curved to the eastward as they approached the Poles. The strike of the gneisses of Britain and Scandinavia corresponds to the direction of these tidal wrinkles in those latitudes, and there is evidence that the Palæozoic strata were deposited in troughs parallel to the gneissic ridges.

    From Nature 30 December 1897.

    50 YEARS AGO

    In a previous communication, a preliminary account was given of observations and experiments on the relative edibility of the flesh of birds. During the past two years, this work has been extended to an investigation of the relative edibility of birds’ eggs. ⃛ Each sample was tested in the form of a scramble, prepared over steam, a numerical score being awarded on a scale ranging from 10.0 (excellent flavour) to 2.0 (inedible). Eggs of eighty-one species have now been examined. In the following list these are arranged in order of palatability:

    Domestic fowl - 8.8

    Coot (Fulica a. atra Linn. - 8.3

    Moorhen (Gallinula c. chloropus (Linn.)) - 8.3

    Great tit (Parus major newtoni Prazak) - 3.5

    Blue tit (Parus coeruleus obscurus Prazak) - 3.3

    Wren (Troglodytes t. troglodytes (Linn.)) - 2.0

    An extensive series of experiments has also been carried out to test the preferences of small egg-eating mammals such as the ferret, rat and hedgehog.

    From Nature 3 January 1948.

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