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Coral At The U. Of M. Museum

Coral At The U. Of M. Museum image
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The arrangement of the cases fllled "with specimens of coral on the second floor of the museum, by Curator Sargent and assistant Taxidermist Wood, is about completed. The cases are worthy of the inspection of everyone, and of great interest. Some of them are like beautiful flowers They are of all kinds of form, some small and other individual specimens as large as ight inches across. The coráis shown, as has been said, are but the skeletons of beautiful and delicate animáis called coral polyps. Throughout the body tissues of the polyps is secreted the calcareous material of which the coral is composed. In á sense, the coral-polyp never dies, its growth being continuous, while in its native waters, life passing outward and upward, as in the case of a tree leaving the middle part dead. Living polyps are of the most brilliant color. In a few species the skeletons are red, blue or black, 3put in most cases they are white, or Searly so. The pure white specimens have been bleached. To be appreciated, coráis should be examined with a magnifying glass as in most species the individual skeleton is of more interest than are the colonies into which they ar grouped. Corals inhabit the warm waters of the ocean between tide water and 150 feet depth. Many of the tropical islands are composed wholly or in part of coral. Some of the more solid specimens of coral are used for building purposes, being ! sawed out óf the reefs in square blocks. Prof. J. B. Steere says many of the smaller churches near the sea ' coast in the Philippine Islands are ' built of coral. In damp weather the i interior of the buildings is filled with a smfcll of decomposing animal matter, which arises from the coral. It is also burned and used for lime. Many of the specimens in the cases come ' from the Steere collecfrion i ered by Prof. J. B. Steere in the ' ippines.