From the March 30, 1929 issue
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In the old West, the hard-riding, hard-hitting, hard-drinking West, where you call a man "pardner" on sight and bought him a drink, it was not considered good form to have curiosity concerning where a man came from, or to inquire overmuch into his ancestry or antecedents. The great open spaces of those days were the mouth of an undiscriminating melting pot into which all kinds and conditions of human materials were dumped and out of which some of the most amazing human alloysboth good and illhave been poured.
The human melting pot west of the Missouri is quieter now, though it still simmers; but from the Gulf to Bering Sea another melting pot has been set a-cooking. Into it go various domestic animal stocks, both immigrant and native, and out of it shall comeif the preliminary samples be any basis for judgmentnew races of beasts such as have not been seen since Noah, ancestor and patron of all stockmen, stood at the loading-chute of the Ark. Crosses between cattle and long-haired yaks from the Himalayas, between Siberian reindeer and Alaskan caribou, between fat-tailed sheep from Persia and domestic sheep from England, are among the new citizens of the North American West.
3,400,000,000 YEARS YOUNG
Old as our earth is, its age cannot be more than about 3,400,000,000 years. This is the conclusion reached by Sir Ernest Rutherford, famous British physicist and Nobel prize winner, and expressed in a communication to the British scientific journal Nature.
It is reached from a study of photographs made by Dr. F.W. Aston, of the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, with an instrument called the mass spectrograph. By means of this instrument it is possible to make photographs which show the weight of the atoms of many elements. Dr. Aston has shown, with its aid, that many elements consist of two or more separate kinds of stuff, with slightly different atomic weights, though they are all the same element. These different forms of the same element are called isotopes. Ordinary lead, for instance, consists of several such isotopes. One lead isotope is obtained as the final result of a series of elements into which radium disintegrates.
SEPARATED TWINS BECOME UNLIKE
The old, old question that scientists are always asking about the rival claims of the influences of heredity and environment has received fresh impetus from the discovery of twin sisters who have been separated since infancy. Dr. H.H. Newman of the University of Chicago, who has made a special study of twins, has been searching for years for just such a case, of which only one other instance has hitherto been studied and recorded in scientific literature.
The girls, said Dr. Newman in a report to the Journal of Heredity, were born about twenty years ago in the Chelsea district in London. When they were 18 months old their mother died. One of her twin daughters, who Dr. Newman designates as O., was adopted by relatives who shortly after moved to Canada. The other twin, called A., was cared for by friends of the family and lived in London until her foster parents died, when she rejoined her sister, at her home in a small town in Ontario. They had been separated about 17 years.
The difference between a small Canadian town and a crowded section of London presents as wide a variation in environment, said Dr. Newman, as one is ever likely to find in the case of separated identical twins. If such circumstances are effective in shaping mental and emotional characters it should show up in such a case, he added.
Physically the less favorable conditions of London, particularly during the lean war years, would appear to have had their effect, for the English twin is about nine pounds lighter than her sister though their resemblance, in spite of her thinness, is very marked.
Both twins received a public school education through the equivalent of the grammar grades and both took a two-year business course, finishing at 16, and have worked in offices ever since. The mental and intelligence tests administered by Dr. Newman and his assistants showed, however, a wide difference in intellectual attainments, with O., the Canadian twin, always rating consistently higher. Yet both the family judgment and psychological tests showed that emotionally and temperamentally they were very much alike.
Just the opposite state of affairs obtained in the first pair of twins to be studied scientifically, described about four years ago by Dr. H.J. Muller of the University of Texas. These twins were very similar in their mental ability and showed considerable variation in emotional traits. It would be premature, Dr. Newman pointed out, to base any very final conclusions on the study of just these two cases, that either emotional or intellectual characters are more strongly inherited or influenced by such outside factors as environment and training. He has succeeded in running down four other sets of separated twins and hopes from the study of these additional cases to obtain more conclusive evidence on this important subject.
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