The discovery that a disorder known as "the staggers," of which many thousands of sheep have died annually, is caused by an entozoon which presses on the brain, and that if the creature is extracted through the softened place in the skull which marks its position, the sheep usually recovers, is another debt which agriculture owes to biology.
The entozoon of course gives rise to a variety of stale and melancholy jokes about the early bird, the worm that dieth not, and so forth. A greybeard of our gin was incontinently opened and a tumbler in a basin was filled to overflowing; even when buying ground-nuts, the measure must be heaped up.
Tape-worms There are several kinds, but the treatment is the same in all cases. The commonest in the country is the Cucumerine. This is a tape-worm of about fifteen inches in average length, although I have taken them from Newfoundland pups fully thirty inches long. It is a semi-transparent entozoon; each segment is long compared to its breadth, and narrowed at both ends.
An old Dutch microscopist, Anton von Leeuwenhoek, in 1675, while studying with lenses of his own manufacture, discovered and described forms which undoubtedly belong to this genus. A, B, Megastoma entericum, C, Balantidum entozoon.
Some individuals spent one hundred thousand dollars trying to save the alcoholic byproduct that distils from bread in baking. They would have saved their money had they known that only a hundredth part of the flour is changed through fermentation. The study of biology is essential in the successful fattening of cattle. An "entozoon" seems to the practical man a foolish, imaginary creature.
But millions of sheep have been saved by the discovery that one of these fancy scientific entozoa, pressing on the brain, caused the sheep's death. When you know the entozoon you can dig him out and save the sheep's life. "My son's going to be an artist," says one proud father. "He does not need to study a lot of scientific rubbish."