Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

its introduction, the time when it appears to have attained its maximum development, and that at which it is supposed to have died out, if not represented in our existing seas. At the head of each generic description the etymology of the name and the type of the genus, when known, are given. Full descriptions of each of the families including these genera are likewise given ; and at the end of each family description the names of all the genera, whether living or extinct. The introduction contains detailed descriptions of the various formations in which these fossils existed, with remarks on their synchronism with other American and European deposits.

A considerable portion of the specimens described and figured were collected by Dr. F. W. Hayden in the several expeditions into the regions of the Upper Missouri and Yellowstone, sent by the government under the command of Lieutenant (now Major General) G. K. Warren, of the United States Topographical Engineers, to whose scientific zeal and liberal encouragement we are indebted for much of the material upon which the work is founded. But besides these, a large number were collected by Dr. Hayden himself previous to his connexion with the exploring expeditions of the government. The specific descriptions of the fossils described in this work are therefore to be regarded as appearing in the joint names of Meek and Hayden, while the descriptions of the genera, and families, and the discussion of their relations, geological range, geographical distribution, &c., are to be accredited to Mr. Meek alone.

The first sketch of this work was prepared as a part of the report to Congress of the explorations of the above-mentioned regions, but Mr. Meek has since devoted almost three years exclusively to extending and completing the investigations; and as it is probable that Congress will make no provision for its publication, it has been adopted by the Institution, at the earnest recommendation of several eminent naturalists, and will be published in successive parts. All the specimens described are in the collections of the Institution, and as soon as the work is completed the numerous duplicates will be distributed, as types of the species, to various scientific institutions at home and abroad.

Miscellaneous Collections.—Several series of articles forming parts of the Miscellaneous Collections, as stated in previous reports, have been undertaken, of which some have been completed, some are still in hand, and others have been printed during the past year.

The first of these series is that relating to the shells of North America, and will consist of the following works:

1. Check lists of North American shells, by P. P. Carpenter, &c. 2. Circular relative to collecting shells. 3. Elementary introduction to the study of conchology, by P. P. Carpenter. 4. List of the species of shells collected by the United States exploring expedition, by the same author. 5. Descriptive catalogue of the shells of the west coast of the United States, Mexico, and Central America, by the same author. 6. Descriptive catalogue of the air-breathing shells of North America, by W. G. Binney. 7. Descriptive catalogue of several genera of water-breathing fresh water univalves, by the same author. 8. Descriptive catalogue of the Melaniadae, or the remainder of the water-breathing fresh water univalves, by George W. Tryon. 9. Descriptive catalogue of the Corbiculadae or Cycladide, a group of bivalves principally inhabiting fresh water, by Temple Prime. 10. Descriptive catalogue of the Unionidae, or fresh water mussels. 11. Descriptive catalogue of the shells of the eastern coast of the United States, by William Stimpson. 12. Bibliography of North American conchology, by W. G. Binney. - 13. Check list catalogue of cretaceous and jurassic fossils of North America, by F. B. Meek. The first and second articles of this list were published in 1860, and described in the report for that year. The third was published in 1861 as a part of the annual report for 1860. A new edition would have been printed before this time, as a part of the Miscellaneous Collections, had we not been disappointed by a delay in procuring the expected use of wood-cuts for the illustration of the work from the British Museum. We have just learned, however, that the Museum has liberally granted the use of these wood-cuts; that they are now being copied in stereotype in England; and consequently the work will be cpmpleted without further delay. The fourth and fifth articles are still in the hands of Mr. Carpenter, who has reported progress, which leads us to expect that they will be ready for the press during the present year. Of the 6th, 7th, and 8th, the first draughts of the manuscripts have been completed, and a preliminary sketch of the conclusions of the authors as regards the names of the species has been printed in the form of proof-sheets, and distributed to conchologists, with a view to elicit criticisms and suggestions prior to final publication. Many important additions and corrections have been obtained in this way which will add much to the value of the works. The request has been made that these proof-sheets should not be considered as expressing the final views of the authors, but only intended to obtain the information above mentioned.

The ninth article of the series, by Mr. Prime, is well advanced in printing, and will be completed in 1864. In addition to the purely North American species, it will contain descriptions and wood.cut figures of those of Central and South America, as well as of the West Indies, thus embracing all the members of the family found in the New World.

The tenth and eleventh articles are still in process of preparation, and the engraving of the wood-cuts for their illustration has com. menced.

The twelfth article—the first part of the Bibliography of North American conchology by Mr. Binney, mentioned in the last report as in press—has been completed and distributed. It forms a volume of 650 pages, and contains a list of the publications of American authors relative to conchology in general. As might reasonably be expected, some omissions have occurred of titles of papers overlooked or not met with, but copies have been sent to all the working con. chologists of the country, with the request to furnish rectifications and additions to be inserted in an appendix to the second part. This second part, which is now in the press, is intended to include an account of the writings of foreign naturalists relative to American conchology, and will also contain, beside the additions and corrections of the first volume, copious indexes of authors and names of genera and species. About 250 pages are stereotyped, and the whole work, probably filling over 500 pages, will be finished during 1864.

The thirteenth article, check list by Mr. Meek, has been completed and put to press. It contains a list of all the species of cretaceous fossils described by authors up to the end of 1863, and will constitute an important aid in the labor of cataloguing and labelling collections, being prepared in the same style as that of the check-lists of North American shells, published by the Institution some years ago, which. have been so much sought after by conchologists and amateurs.

Another series of works belonging to the miscellaneous collections: is intended to facilitate the study of American insects. Of this series the several articles are as follows:

1. Instructions for collecting and preserving insects.

2. Catalogue of the described Diptera (Alies, musquitoes, &c.) of North America, by Baron Osten Sacken.

3. Catalogue of the described Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths, &c.) of North America, by Dr. Jno. G. Morris. 4. Classification of the Coleoptera (beetles, &c.) of North America, by Dr. Jno. L. Le Conte. 5. Synopsis of the described Neuroptera (dragon-flies, &c.) of North America, with a list of the South American species, by H. Hagen. 6. Synopsis of the described Lepidoptera of North America, part I. Diurnal and Crepuscular Lepidoptera, by Dr. Jno. G. Morris. 7. List of the Coleoptera of North America, with descriptions of new species, by Dr. Jno. L. Le Conte. 8. Monograph of the Diptera of North America, by H. Loew, with additions, by Baron Osten Sacken. 9. Monographs of Homoptera and Hemiptera, (chinches, roaches, &c.,) of North America, by P. R. Uhler. 10. Descriptive Catalogue of the Hymenoptera, (bees, wasps, &c.,) of North America, by H. De Saussure. These have all been described in previous reports. Of No. 8, (monograph of Diptera,) the first part was published in 1862. During the past year the second part has been printed, and forms a volume of 339 pages. The manuscript of a third part is in an advanced state of preparation by Dr. Loew, and when received will, as in the case of the two preceding parts, be intrusted to Baron Osten Sacken for translation under his direction. We must again, in this connexion, express our obligations to Baron Osten Sacken for his valuable assistance in the preparation and publication of these works. Of No. 9, monographs of Homoptera and Hemiptera of North America, by P. R. Uhler, the manuscript is nearly completed, and will soon be received from the author. Of No. 10, the manuscript of the first part (Catalogue of Hymenoptera) was received from the author during the past summer, and placed in the hands of Mr. E. Norton, of New York, who kindly offered to translate it from the original French and superintend its publication. It is now in the press, and will soon be completed. In addition to the publications relating to shells and insects, the following, belonging also to the Miscellaneous Collections, have been prepared for the Institution: 1. Check-list of Minerals, by Thomas Egleston. 2. Instructions relative to Ethnology and Philology, by George Gibbs. 3. Comparative Vocabulary, by George Gibbs. 4. Dictionary of the Chinook Jargon or Trade Language of Oregon, by George Gibbs.

5. Monograph of the Bats of North America, by Dr. H. Allen, United States army. No. 1 of these works has been prepared to aid in arranging and cataloguing the Smithsonian collection of minerals and the distribution of duplicate specimens, but it will also be of value in facilitating the study of mineralogy by furnishing printed labels and check-lists for exchanges. It presents a list of all the described species of minerals, with their chemical symbols and systems of crystallization, indicating those which are peculiar to the United States, the whole arranged according to the method adopted by Professor Dana in the last edition of his Manual of Mineralogy. For important additions and corrections, this work is indebted to the principal mineralogists of this country, to whom the proofs were submitted, and especially to Professor Dana, Professor Brush, and Dr. Genth. This list is completed, and will shortly be ready for distribution. No. 2 of these works was printed in the Smithsonian annual report for 1861, but a large demand having arisen for it, it has been reprinted with corrections and additions, and now includes instructions for philological observation, rules for recording sounds and vocabularies, &c. In the latter part of the work Mr. Gibbs has received important assistance from Professor W. D. Whitney, of Yale College. It includes directions for the collection of various specimens, hints for special inquiry, &c. Among the former are the skulls of American Indians, which in some cases are difficult to obtain, on account of the jealousy with which the natives guard the remains of their dead. Numerous tribes, however, have become extinct, or have removed from their former abodes. The remains of victims of war are often left where they fall, and the bones of slaves and of the friendless are neglected. Relics of these can be obtained without offence to the living. It is, however, of essential importance that most positive information should be obtained as to the nation or tribe to which a particular skull belongs. This may frequently be learned from the history of the migrations of the tribe, or from the character of the ornaments and utensils found with it. Among the specimens of art which are designated as desirable are dresses, ornaments, bows and arrows, lances, saddles with their furniture, models of lodges, cradles, mats, baskets, gambling implements, models of canoes, paddles, fish-hooks, carvings in wood and stone, tools, &c. American antiquities are especially indicated as objects of interest. They include the tools found in the northern copper mines, articles

« AnteriorContinuar »