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THE growth and greatness of the Museum of Comparative Zoology must be a source of gratification to all lovers of Natural History. Students intending to devote the greater part of their lives to this branch of knowledge need no longer go to Europe with the expectation of finding better facilities to aid them in their investigations. In the course of his remarks last week to those who had elected studies at the Museum, Professor Agassiz said that twenty-six years ago there was not a single specimen, with which to illustrate a lecture, possessed by the Institution, which now offers better advantages to students, both in instruction and in specimens, than any Museum in Europe, and that it afforded him great pleasure to announce this fact in the presence of a distinguished European naturalist.
It will be remembered that Mr. Froude, when in this country, made a similar statement as to its advantages. That these advantages are appreciated by the students of the University is evinced by the increase in the number seeking instruction there, it more than doubling each year. In order to meet this rather unexpected result, the corps of instructors had to be enlarged, more specimens of certain species had to be obtained, and a some-what different organization in the laboratories had to be effected. These things were successfully accomplished. The services of a gentleman from Zurich, Switzerland, have been secured for the lecture-room; also those of Mr. MacCready, one of our own naturalists. The laboratories will be under the supervision of Mr. Faxon. Notwithstanding the fact that Professor Agassiz's time, as he himself says, ought to be spent in recording his own life-long observations, which are not yet on record, he will personally superintend one department. A vessel has been cruising to obtain specimens, which will be given to the student, but not, however, the Professor says, until he has learned to spell and read in Natural History; many of them being so rare that they could be replaced only with great difficulty.
That the Museum has, in so short a time, risen from almost nothing to its present position should not be merely an object of local but of national pride. Fortunate it is, too, that an interest in these studies, and it is to be hoped not a temporary one, has sprung up, not only here but elsewhere, just at a time when metaphysical investigations are awaiting the solution of certain problems in Natural History.
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