These leaves soon became strongly inflected, and remained so for an unusual length of time; namely, one leaf for ten and the other two for nine days. The bits of bone were surrounded all the time by acid secretion. When examined under a weak power, they were found quite softened, so that they were readily penetrated by a blunt needle, torn into fibres, or compressed. Dr. Klein was so kind as to make sections of both bones and examine them. He informs me that both presented the normal appearance of decalcified bone, with traces of the earthy salts occasionally left. The corpuscles with their processes were very distinct in most parts; but in some parts, especially near the periphery of the hyoidal bone, none could be seen. Other parts again appeared amorphous, with even the longitudinal striation of bone not distinguishable. This amorphous structure, [page 106] as Dr. Klein thinks, may be the result either of the incipient digestion of the fibrous basis or of all the animal matter having been removed, the corpuscles being thus rendered invisible. A hard, brittle, yellowish substance occupied the position of the medulla in the fragments of the hyoidal bone.
As the angles and little projections of the fibrous basis were not in the least rounded or corroded, two of the bits were placed on fresh leaves. These by the next morning were closely inflected, and remained so,--the one for six and the other for seven days,--therefore for not so long a time as on the first occasion, but for a much longer time than ever occurs with leaves inflected over inorganic or even over many organic bodies. The secretion during the whole time coloured litmus paper of a bright red; but this may have been due to the presence of the acid super-phosphate of lime. When the leaves re-expanded, the angles and projections of the fibrous basis were as sharp as ever. I therefore concluded, falsely as we shall presently see, that the secretion cannot touch the fibrous basis of bone. The more probable explanation is that the acid was all consumed in decomposing the phosphate of lime which still remained; so that none was left in a free state to act in conjunction with the ferment on the fibrous basis.
Enamel and Dentine.--As the secretion decalcified ordinary bone, I determined to try whether it would act on enamel and dentine, but did not expect that it would succeed with so hard a substance as enamel. Dr. Klein gave me some thin transverse slices of the canine tooth of a dog; small angular fragments of which were placed on four leaves; and these were examined each succeeding day at the same hour. The results are, I think, worth giving in detail.] [page 107]
[Experiment 1.--May 1st, fragment placed on leaf; 3rd, tentacles but little inflected, so a little saliva was added; 6th, as the tentacles were not strongly inflected, the fragment was transferred to another leaf, which acted at first slowly, but by the 9th closely embraced it. On the 11th this second leaf began to re-expand; the fragment was manifestly softened, and Dr. Klein reports, "a great deal of enamel and the greater part of the dentine decalcified."
Experiment 2.--May 1st, fragment placed on leaf; 2nd, tentacles fairly well inflected, with much secretion on the disc, and remained so until the 7th, when the leaf re-expanded. The fragment was now transferred to a fresh leaf, which next day (8th) was inflected in the strongest manner, and thus remained until the 11th, when it re-expanded. Dr. Klein reports, "a great deal of enamel and the greater part of the dentine decalcified."
Experiment 3.--May 1st, fragment moistened with saliva and placed on a leaf, which remained well inflected until 5th, when it re-expanded. The enamel was not at all, and the dentine only slightly, softened. The fragment was now transferred to a fresh leaf, which next morning (6th) was strongly inflected, and remained so until the 11th. The enamel and dentine both now somewhat softened; and Dr. Klein reports, "less than half the enamel, but the greater part of the dentine decalcified."
Experiment 4.--May 1st, a minute and thin bit of dentine, moistened with saliva, was placed on a leaf, which was soon inflected, and re-expanded on the 5th.