Science: In the Museums

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Although the great hornless rhinoceros which paleontologists call Baluchitherium was undoubtedly the largest mammal that ever walked the Earth, not a trace of him was found until 1911. No complete skeleton of this 25,000,000-year-old monster exists anywhere, and the only skull, found in the Gobi by Dr. Walter Granger, is in Manhattan's American Museum of Natural History. Dissatisfied with tentative representations of Baluchitherium as he looked in life, Dr. Granger decided that close study of the Museum's 200 miscellaneous bones would permit a more accurate drawing. Last week the Museum announced completion of the drawing, scaled to one-fifth life size. The creature was 30 ft. long, stood 17 ft. 9 in. high at the shoulder, had a tough loose-folded hide, long legs, thick neck, small, blunt head, enormous incisor teeth. A vegetarian, Baluchitherium ("Beast of Baluchistan") probably weighed 20.000 lb., ate 500 lb. of herbage a day.

¶ One reason why chubby, energetic Charles Meigs Biddle Cadwalader. director without pay of Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences, was given the 1934 Bok award for civic service is that he manages to persuade moneyed sportsmen to go specimen-hunting for the Academy at their own expense. One of his ace sportsmen is Brooke Dolan II, who in the remote mountains of western China shot four specimens of takin, a rare antelope with thick, curling horns, yellow-gold forehead, yellow mane, black muzzle. Last week the Academy had the four on exhibition, only habitat group of takin in the world.

¶ The last survivor of the race of heath hens died in 1932 on Martha's Vineyard (TIME, April 11, 1932). Cause: overshooting, grass fires. The Eskimo curlew was extinct by 1925. Cause: overshooting during migration. The passenger pigeon disappeared just after the turn of the Century. Cause: market hunters killing nesting birds. The petrel and flicker of Guadalupe Island vanished about 1906. Cause: cats, goats. The Carolina and Louisiana parakeets were never seen after 1904. Cause: demand for caged birds. Great auks have been extinct since 1844 (TIME, Nov. 26). Last week specimens of all these unfortunates were included in an exhibition of extinct birds by Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, coupled with a warning that, without rigid safeguards, three more North American birds are threatened with imminent annihilation: the trumpeter swan, the whooping crane, the ivory-billed woodpecker.