6 SEPTEMBER 1890, Page 3

On Thursday, an extremely interesting paper on the geo- graphy

of the Mediterranean and its coasts was read by Sir E. Lambert Playfair, her Majesty's Consul-General in Algiers. He pointed out that the Mediterranean had formerly been divided into an Eastern and Western sea by an isthmus running from Sicily, by way of Malta, to Cape Bon in Tunisia. " In the caves and fissures of Malta were three species of fossil elephants, a hippopotamus, a gigantic dormouse, and other animals which could never have lived in so small an island. In Sicily, remains of the existing elephant have been found, as well as the elephas antiques and two species of hippopotamus, while nearly all these and many other animals of African type have been found in the pliocene deposits and caverns of the Atlantic region. The submersion of this isthmus no doubt occurred when the waters of the Atlantic were intruded through the Straits of Gibraltar." " The almost constant temperature of 56°, com- pared with 53° to 40° in the Atlantic, enabled Dr. Carpenter to distinguish between Atlantic and Mediterranean water."