From the October 16, 1937, issue


The last man is down from Shiva Temple, and today the Shiva Temple Expedition is another written chapter in the history of exploration and sciences. One of the few remaining blank spots on the biological map has disappeared.

More than 75 carefully prepared specimens from the top of the steep-sided mesa are on their way to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City for careful comparison and intensive study.

It seems hardly possible that such a country as the United States would have a blank spot on its biological map, that there are areas where nature has been left severely alone. But there they are, inviting conquest.

Word of these two sky islands—Shiva Temple and Wotan’s Throne—first reached the museum upwards of 2 years ago. An inquiry addressed to the park naturalist stationed at the Grand Canyon disclosed the fact that such areas really existed, and had been set aside as research areas where nature pursued its own course, unworried by the inroads of men.

As far as was known to the park personnel, these had never been climbed by a white man, and certainly had never been visited and studied by a naturalist.

Such a state of affairs was an instant challenge to the American Museum of Natural History, which has launched an aggressive campaign to build up a complete collection of North American mammals.


A new disease, which may have affected as many as one out of every five adults in the country without their knowing what they had, came in for discussion at the meeting of the American Public Health Association in New York City.

The disease has the jaw-breaking name lymphocytic choriomeningitis. It is caused by a virus. In about half the cases, it causes fever and symptoms similar to influenza. In the other half, it affects the membranes that cover the brain and causes more-severe symptoms, such as bad headaches, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, and even slight, temporary paralysis. So far, no death has been reported in a proved case of this disease.

It is difficult or impossible to distinguish this new disease by clinical means alone from another brain-membrane inflammation, acute aseptic meningitis, Drs. R.D. Baird and Thomas M. Rivers of the Hospital of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research pointed out at the meeting.

The disease was discovered and its virus isolated by Drs. Charles Armstrong and R.D. Lillie of the U.S. National Institute of Health. They found the virus while studying viruses from St. Louis encephalitis epidemic patients in 1934. Two years before this, Commander Paul F. Dickens of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps had reported two cases of what looked like acute aseptic meningitis but which he thought might be another disease caused by a virus. Since then the virus has been recovered from patients and from monkeys, mice, and other animals in this country, England, and France.


A Woodland Paradise of 70 million years ago, long before there were any human Adams and Eves to inhabit it, has been explored by scientists and is described in a new Smithsonian Institution report.

The great forest, now represented only by fossil remains of plants and animals, existed just east of the Crazy Mountains in central Montana, near the beginning of the Age of Mammals. Collections were made there over a period of nearly 30 years, by three successive paleontologists, Albert C. Silberling of the U.S. Geological Survey, the late Dr. James W. Gidley of the U.S. National Museum, and Dr. George Gaylord Simpson of the American Museum of Natural History, who completed the work and prepared the results for publication.

Leading citizens of this lost world of the treetops were the most primitive members of the primate family, the earliest ancestors of the apes, known scientifically as the lemuroids and tarsioids. The only fossil remains of these creatures are teeth and an occasional jawbone. The scarcity of their fossils is possibly due to the animals having been eaten by crocodiles; only very hard objects, like teeth, could resist their terrific digestive mills. The remains are so fragmentary that the scientists have no definite idea what the animals looked like.

Other inhabitants of this earliest mammalian menagerie included shrews, an order of animals still living, and a long-extinct group known as the multituberculates.