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Title: Delineations of the Ox Tribe - The Natural History of Bulls, Bisons, and Buffaloes. - Exhibiting all the Known Species and the More Remarkable - Varieties of the Genus Bos.
Author: Vasey, George, 1822-1893
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Historical Literature in Agriculture (CHLA), Cornell




[Illustration: THE SANGA OR GALLA OX OF ABYSSINIA, _v._ p. 120.]
















       *       *       *       *       *








This Volume is inscribed,




The primary object of the present work, is to give as correct and
comprehensive a view of the animals composing the Ox Tribe, as the
present state of our knowledge will admit, accompanied by authentic
figures of all the known species and the more remarkable varieties.

Although this genus (comprising all those Ruminants called Buffaloes,
Bisons, and Oxen generally,) is as distinct and well characterised as
any other genus in the animal kingdom, yet the facts which are at
present known respecting the various species which compose it, are not
sufficiently numerous to enable the naturalist to divide them into
sub-genera. This is abundantly proved by the unsuccessful result of
those attempts which have already been made to arrange them into minor
groups. Nor can we wonder at this want of success, when we consider that
even many of the species usually regarded as distinct are by no means
clearly defined.

The second object, therefore, of this treatise, is (by bringing into
juxta-position all the most important facts concerning the various
individual specimens which have been described, and by adding several
other facts of importance which have not hitherto been noticed,) to
enable the naturalist to define, more correctly than has yet been done,
the peculiarities of each species.

A third object is to direct the attention of travellers more
particularly to this subject; in order that, by their exertions, our
information upon this class of animals may be rendered more complete.

A new and important feature in the present Monograph, is the
introduction of a Table of the Number of Vertebræ, carefully constructed
from an examination of the actual skeletons, by which will be seen at a
glance the principal osteological differences of species which have
hitherto been confounded with each other. A Table of the Periods of
Gestation is likewise added, which presents some equally interesting

Several of the descriptions have been verified by a reference to the
living animals, seven specimens of which are at present (1847) in the
Gardens of the Zoological Society, Regent's Park. The several Museums in
the Metropolis have likewise been consulted with advantage.

I am indebted to Judge FURNAM, of the United States, for some original
information respecting the American Bison; and also to the late Mr.
COLE, who was forty years park-keeper at Chillingham, for answers to
several questions which I proposed to him on the subject of the
Chillingham Cattle.

I beg to acknowledge my obligation to Mr. CATLIN for kindly allowing me,
not only to make extracts, but also to copy some of the outlines from
his 'Letters and Notes on the North American Indians,' a work which I do
not hesitate to pronounce one of the most curious and interesting which
the present century has produced,--whether we regard the graphic merits
of its literary or pictorial department.

To Professor OWEN and the Officers of the Royal College of Surgeons, to
the Officers of the Zoological Society, and to the Officers of the
Zoological Department of the British Museum, my sincere thanks are due
for the kindness and promptness with which every information has been
given, and every facility afforded to my inquiries and investigations.

With respect to the engraved figures, I have striven to produce correct
delineations of form and texture, rather than to make pretty pictures by
sacrificing truth and nature for the sake of ideal beauty and artistic

I cannot conclude this Preface without expressing my thanks to Messrs.
ADLARD for the first-rate style in which this volume has been printed;
particularly for the successful manner in which the impressions of the
engravings have been produced, superior, in general, to India-proof

    _King Street, Camden Town;_
    _May, 1851._



In addition to the critical remarks on the writings of others, on this
subject, which the reader will find in the following pages, I have
further to observe that, although Pennant and Buffon have held a very
high character, for many years, as scientific naturalists, the portion
of their works which treats of the _Genus Bos_, appears to have been the
result of the most careless and superficial observation. With the
exception of the facts and observations furnished by such men as
Daubenton and Pallas, Buffon's works are little more than flimsy
speculations. As to Pennant's history of the Ox Tribe, it is calculated
rather to bewilder than to inform; it is, in fact, an incoherent mass of
dubious statements, huddled together in a most inextricable confusion:
as a piece of Natural History it is absolutely worse than nothing.

Goldsmith, Bewick, and Bingley, three of our most popular writers on
Natural History, appear to have done little more than compile from
Pennant and Buffon, and consequently are but little deserving of credit.
These strictures apply exclusively to such portions of their works as
relate to the Ox Tribe.



Introduction                                        1

American Bison                                     21

Aurochs                                            40

Yak                                                45

Gyall                                              51

Gayal                                              57

Domestic Gayal                                     68

Jungly Gau                                         71

Buffalo                                            75

Italian Buffalo                                    76

Manilla Buffalo                                    81

Condore Buffalo                                    84

Cape Buffalo                                       86

Pegasse                                            95

Gaur                                               97

Arnee                                             105

Zamouse                                           112

Musk Ox                                           115

Galla Ox                                          120

Zebu, or Brahmin Bull                             125

Backeley Ox                                       133

African Bull                                      137

Chillingham Cattle                                140

Kyloe, or Highland Ox                             150

Table of the Number of Vertebræ                   152

Table of the Periods of Gestation                 153

Note on the Skeleton of the American Bison        154


Free Martin                                       155

Short-nosed Ox                                    159

On the utility of the Ox Tribe to Mankind         160

Account of Alpine Cowherds
  --Notice of Ranz des Vaches                     164

Table of Habitat                                  168

---- Mode of Life                                 169

Indefinite Definitions of Col. H. Smith           170

Mr. Swainson's Transcendental Attempt at
  Classification                                  176

On Species and Variety                            181

Banteng (_Bos Bantiger_)                          185

British Domestic Cattle                           186

Influence of Colour in Breeding                   ib.

Influence of Male in Breeding                     187

Generative Precocity                              ib.

Milk                                              188

Butter                                            189

Mr. Youatt's Philosophy of Rabies                 190

Statistics                                        192


(_The Engravings not otherwise acknowledged are from original


1. Frontispiece.--The Sangu, or Abyssinian Ox                  i

2. Stomach of Manilla Buffalo                                  4

3. Gastro-duct (Oesophagean Canal), after Flourens             6

4. Stomach of a young Calf                                    12

5. Stomach of a full-grown Cow                                13

6. Skull of Domestic Ox                                       17

7. Skeleton of Domestic Ox                                    20

8. American Bison                                             21

9. Young Female Bison                                         23

10. Wounded Bison                                             24

11. Indian shooting a Bison                                   29

12. Bison surrounded by Wolves                                32

13. Bison Calf, after Cuvier                                  33

14. Skin Canoes of the Mandan Indians                         36

15. Head of young Male Bison                                  39

16. Aurochs, or European Bison                                40

17. Yak, from Asiatic Transactions                            45

18. Yak, from Oriental Annual                                 49

19. Gyall (_Bos Frontalis_)                                   51

20. Head of Gyall                                             53

21. Gayal, from Asiatic Transactions                          58

22. Head of Asseel Gayal                                      67

23. Domestic Gayal                                            68

24. Skull of Domestic Gayal                                   69

25. Occipital View of the same Skull                          ib.

26. Head of Domestic Gayal                                    ib.

27. Jungly Gau, after Cuvier                                  71

28. Syrian Ox, anon.                                          74

29. Italian Buffalo--Brandt and Ratzeburg                     76

30. Herefordshire Cow, after Howitt                           80

31. Manilla Buffalo                                           81

32. Outlines of Buffaloes Backs                               82

33. Head of Manilla Buffalo                                   83

34. Pulo Condore Buffalo                                      84

35. Short-horned Bull, after Howitt                           85

36. Cape Buffalo                                              86

37. Young Cape Buffalo, after Col. Smith                      90

38. Head of Cape Buffalo                                      94

39. Pegasse, from a Drawing in the Berlin Library             95

40. Horns of Cape Buffalo                                     96

41. Gaur, from Specimen in British Museum                     97

42. Horns of Gaur, Edin. Phil. Trans.                        103

43. Head of Gaur                                             104

44. Arnee, from Shaw's Zoology                               105

45. Horns of Young Arnee, from 'The Bee'                     107

46. Horns of Arnee, from Mus. Coll. Surg.                    108

47. Horns of Arnee, from British Museum                      ib.

48. Arnee from Indian Painting                               111

49. Zamouse, or Bush Cow                                     112

50. Head of Zamouse                                          114

51. Musk Ox                                                  115

52. Foot of Musk Ox, Griff., Cuv.                            117

53. Head of Musk Ox                                          119

54. Horns of Galla Ox, Mus. Coll. Surg.                      123

55. Horns of Hungarian Ox, Brit. Mus.                        124

56. Brahmin Bull, Harvey, Zool. Gar.                         125

57. Zebu (var. beta), after Cuvier                           128

58. Zebus (var. gamma) and Car, anon.                        129

59. Zebu (var. delta), anon.                                 132

60. African Bull, Harvey                                     137

61. Eyes of African Bull, Harvey                             139

62. Lateral Hoofs of African Bull, Harvey                    ib.

63. Dewlap of African Bull, Harvey                           139

64. Chillingham Bull                                         140

65. Heads of Chillingham Cattle                              148

66. Kyloe, or Highland Ox, Howitt                            150

67. Free Martin, Hunter's Animal Economy                     156

    Skull of Domestic Ox, (repetition of fig. 6)             158

68. Skull of Short-nosed Ox of the Pampas                    159

69. Outlines of Manilla Buffalo                              174

70. Hungarian Ox, from British Museum                        175

71. Banteng, from a Specimen in Brit. Mus.                   185

72. Alderney Cow, after Howitt                               189


Ruminantia is the term used by naturalists to designate those
mammiferous quadrupeds which chew the cud; or, in other words, which
swallow their food, in the first instance, with a very slight
mastication, and afterwards regurgitate it, in order that it may undergo
a second and more complete mastication: this second operation is called
ruminating, or chewing the cud. The order of animals which possess this
peculiarity, is divided into nine groups or genera, namely:--


The last named forms the subject of the following pages, and is called,
in zoological language, the _Genus Bos_, in popular language, the OX

One of the most interesting occupations which the wide field of Zoology
offers to the naturalist, is the investigation of those remarkable
adaptations of organs to functions, and of these again to the
necessities and well-being of the entire animal. Nor does it in the
least diminish our interest in the investigation of individual
adaptations, or our admiration on becoming acquainted with them, that we
know, _à priori_, this universal truth, that all the constituents of
every organised body, be that organisation what it may, are invariably
adapted, in the most perfect manner, to each other, and to the whole.

It is by a knowledge of this exact harmony in the animal economy, that
the comparative anatomist can determine, with almost unerring precision,
the genus, or even species of an animal, by an examination of any
important part of its organisation, as the teeth, stomach, bones, or
extremities. In some cases, a single bone, or even the fragment of a
bone, is sufficient to convey an idea of the entire animal to which it

In illustration of this:--if the viscera of an animal are so organised
as only to be fitted for the digestion of recent flesh, we find that the
jaws are so contracted as to fit them for devouring prey; the claws for
seizing and tearing it to pieces; the teeth for cutting and dividing its
flesh; the entire system of the limbs, or organs of motion, for pursuing
and overtaking it; and the organs of sense for discovering it at a
distance. Moreover, the brain of the animal is also endowed with
instincts sufficient for concealing itself, and for laying plans to
catch its necessary prey.

Again, we are well aware that all _hoofed_ animals must necessarily be
herbivorous, or vegetable feeders, because they are possessed of no
means of seizing prey. It is also evident, having no other use for their
fore-legs than to support their bodies, that they have no occasion for
a shoulder so vigorously organised as that of carnivorous animals; owing
to which they have no clavicles, and their shoulder-blades are
proportionally narrow. Having also no occasion to turn their forearms,
their radius is joined by ossification to the ulna, or is at least
articulated by gynglymus with the humerus. Their food being entirely
herbaceous, requires teeth with flat surfaces, on purpose to bruise the
seeds and plants on which they feed. For this purpose, also, these
surfaces require to be unequal, and are, consequently, composed of
alternate perpendicular layers of enamel and softer bone. Teeth of this
structure necessarily require horizontal motions to enable them to
triturate, or grind down the herbaceous food; and accordingly the
condyles of the jaw could not be formed into such confined joints as in
the carnivorous animals, but must have a flattened form, correspondent
to sockets in the temporal bones. The depressions, also, of the temporal
bones, having smaller muscles to contain, are narrower and not so deep;
and so on, throughout the whole organisation.

The digestive system of the ruminantia is more complicated in structure
than that of any other class of animals; and, owing to this complexity,
and the consequent difficulty of investigating it, its nature and
functions have been less perfectly understood.

The stomach of the Manilla Buffalo, which will serve as an example of
all the other species, is divided into four cavities or ventricles,
which are usually (but improperly) considered as four distinct

The following figure represents the form, relative size, and position of
these four cavities when detached from the animal, and fully inflated.

[Illustration: _a._ First cavity, called the paunch.

_b._ Second ditto, the honeycomb bag.

_c._ Third ditto, the many-plies.

_d._ Fourth ditto, the reed, or rennet.

_e._ A portion of the oesophagus, showing its connection with the

_f._ The pylorus, or opening into the intestines.]

The interior of those cavities present some remarkable differences in
point of structure, which, in the present work, can only be alluded to
in a very general manner. For a particular account of the internal
anatomy of these complicated organs, the reader is referred to the
interesting work on 'Cattle,' by W. Youatt.

The paunch is lined with a thick membrane, presenting numerous prominent
and hard papillæ. The inner surface of the second cavity is very
artificially divided into angular cells, giving it somewhat the
appearance of honeycomb, whence its name "honeycomb-bag." The lining
membrane of the third cavity forms numerous deep folds, lying upon each
other like the leaves of a book, and beset with small hard tubercles.
These folds vary in breadth in a regular alternate order, a narrow fold
being placed between each of the broader ones. The fourth cavity is
lined with a velvety mucous membrane disposed in longitudinal folds. It
is this part of the stomach that furnishes the gastric juice, and,
consequently, it is in this cavity that the proper digestion of the food
takes place; it is here, also, that the milk taken by the calf is
coagulated. The reed or fourth cavity of the calf's stomach retains its
power of coagulating milk even after it has been taken from the animal.
We have a familiar instance of its operation in the formation of curds
and whey.

The first and second cavities (_a_ and _b_) are placed parallel (or on a
level) with each other; and the oesophagus (_e_) opens, almost
equally, into them both. On each side of the termination of the
oesophagus there is a muscular ridge projecting, so that the two
together form a sort of groove or channel, which opens almost equally
into the second and third cavities (_b_ and _c_).

[As there has not been, as far as I am aware, any appropriate name given
to this very remarkable part of the stomach of ruminants, I here take
the liberty of suggesting the term _Gastro-duct_, by which epithet this
muscular channel will be designated in the following pages.]

[Illustration: View of Gastro-duct, after Flourens.

_a._ A portion of the oesophagus cut open, showing the internal folds
of the mucous membrane.

_b._ The opening of the oesophagus into the paunch.

_c, c._ The gastro-duct.

_d, d._ Muscular fibres passing completely round the edge of the
gastro-duct, and forming a sort of sphincter.

_e._ The opening from the gastro-duct into the third cavity.]

All these parts, namely, the oesophagus, the gastro-duct, and the
first three cavities, not only communicate with each other, but they
communicate by one common point, and that point is the gastro-duct. At
the extremity of the third cavity, opposite to that at which the
gastro-duct enters it, is an aperture which communicates immediately
with the fourth cavity (_d_).

Such is a very brief description of the complicated stomach of the Ox
Tribe. In what manner the food passes through this curious arrangement
of cavities is a problem which has engaged the attention of naturalists
from a very early period. A host of great men might be cited who have
failed to solve it. The French physiologist, M. Flourens, by his recent
experiments, has done more than any or all of his predecessors to give
clearness and precision to this intricate subject.

The following is an abstract of the most important of his experiments:--

A sheep having been fed on fresh trefoil, was killed and opened
immediately,--that is, before the process of rumination had commenced.
He (M. Flourens) found the greatest part of this herb (easily recognised
by its leaves, which were still almost entire,) in the paunch; but he
also found a certain portion (_une partie notable_) of those leaves (in
the same unmasticated state) in the honeycomb. In the other two
cavities, (the many-plies and the reed,) there was absolutely none.

M. Flourens repeated this experiment a great many times, with herbs of
various kinds, and the result was constantly the same: from which it
appears, that herbaceous food, on its first deglutition, enters into the
honeycomb, as well as into the paunch; the proportion, however, being
considerably greater into the paunch than into the honeycomb. It appears
equally certain that, in the first swallowing, this kind of food _only_
enters into the first two cavities, and never passes into the many-plies
or the reed.

Having ascertained this fact with respect to _herbs_, he instituted a
similar series of experiments, in which the animals were fed upon
various kinds of _grain_,--rye, barley, wheat, oats, &c. The animals
were killed and examined, as in the former experiments, immediately
after being fed. He found the greater part of the grain unmasticated
(_tout entier_) in the paunch; but, as in the case of the herbs, he also
found a certain portion, in the same unmasticated state, in the
honeycomb. Neither the many-plies nor the reed contained a single grain.
He repeated these experiments many times, and always with the same

He then tried the effect of carrots cut into pieces, from half an inch
to an inch in length; and in order that the animals might not chew them,
he passed them into the pharynx by means of a tube. In one of these
sheep he found all the morsels in the paunch; but, in the other two,
some of the morsels were in the honeycomb, and some in the paunch. In
all the three cases, there was none either in the many-plies or in the

He then proceeded to ascertain the effect of substances previously
comminuted. He caused a certain quantity of carrots to be reduced to a
kind of mash, with which he fed two sheep, and opened them immediately
afterwards. He found the greatest part of this mash in the paunch and in
the honeycomb; but he likewise found a certain portion in the many-plies
and in the reed.

His next experiments were made upon plain fluids. It is the opinion of
the generality of authors on this subject that fluids pass immediately
and _entirely_, along the gastro-duct, into the third and fourth
cavities. But, according to the experiments of M. Flourens, this is not
the case. He found, by making artificial openings (_anus artificiel_) in
the stomachs of various sheep, that, as the animals drank, the fluid
came directly out at the opening, in whatever cavity it might have been

It is clear, then, that fluids pass, in part, into the first and second
cavities, and, in part, into the third and fourth; and they pass as
directly into the former as into the latter.

The following is the result of some experiments which M. Flourens made
respecting the formation of the pellets.

In the first place, after the animal has swallowed a certain quantity of
food the first time, successive pellets are formed of this food, which
remount singly to the mouth; secondly, there is a particular apparatus,
which forms these pellets; and, thirdly, this apparatus consists of the
two closed apertures (_ouvertures fermées_) of the many-plies, and of
the oesophagus. Thus, the first two cavities, in contracting, push the
aliments which they contain between the edges of the gastro-duct; and
the gastro-duct, contracting in its turn, draws together the two
openings of the many-plies and oesophagus; and these two openings,
_closed_ at this moment of their action, seize a portion of the food,
detach it, and form it into a pellet.

The chief utility of rumination, as applicable to all the
animals in which it takes place, and the final purpose of this
wonderfully-complicated function in the animal economy, are still
imperfectly known; what has been already suggested on these points is
quite unsatisfactory. Perrault and others supposed that it contributed
to the security of those animals, which are at once voracious and timid,
by showing the necessity of their remaining long employed in chewing in
an open pasture; but the Indian buffalo ruminates, although it does not
fly even from the lion; and the wild goat dwells in Alpine countries,
which are inaccessible to beasts of prey.

Whatever may be our ignorance of the cause or the object of rumination,
it is certain that the nature of the food has a considerable influence
in increasing or diminishing the necessity for the performance of that
function. Thus, dry food requires to be entirely subjected to a second
mastication, before it can pass into the many-plies and reed; whilst a
great portion of that which is moist and succulent passes readily into
those cavities, on its first descent into the stomach.

It has already been shown by the illustration, (p. 4,) that the paunch
is the largest of the four cavities; but this is not the case with the
stomach of the young calf, which, while it continues to suck, does not
ruminate; in this case the _reed_, which is the true digestive cavity,
is actually larger than the other three taken together.

When the calf begins to feed upon solid food, then it begins to
ruminate; and as the quantity of solid food is increased, so does the
size of the paunch increase, until it attains its full dimensions. In
this latter case, the _paunch_ has become considerably larger than the
other three cavities taken together.

A curious modification of an organ to adjust itself to the altered
condition of the animal is beautifully shown in the instance now under
consideration, the nature of which will be easily understood by a
reference to the following diagrams, giving the exact relative
proportions of the different cavities of the stomach to each other in
the young calf and in the full-grown cow.

     [I am informed by Professor Symonds, of the Royal Veterinary
     College, that the two following sketches should be placed in
     the page so as to be viewed with the oesophagus to the right,
     and the pylorus to the left, instead of being, as they now are,
     at the top and the bottom; but as the present object is only to
     show the relative sizes of the different cavities, the error is
     not of much consequence.]

The letters refer to the same parts in each figure: _a_, the paunch;
_b_, the honeycomb bag; _c_, the many-plies; _d_, the reed.

[Illustration: Outline of the Stomach of a Calf about a fortnight old.]

[Illustration: Outline of the Stomach of a full-grown Cow.]

[These engravings, illustrative of the comparative sizes of the
different stomachal cavities, are copied from original drawings taken
from preparations of the stomachs which I made expressly for this

In all herbivorous animals, and especially those of the ruminating kind,
the alimentary canal is of an enormous length; measuring in a full grown
ox, as much as sixty yards. The paunch, in such an animal, will hold
from fifteen to eighteen gallons.

Blumenbach observes, that the process of rumination supposes a power of
voluntary motion in the oesophagus; and, indeed, the influence of the
will throughout the whole process is incontestible. It is not confined
to any particular time, since the animal can delay it according to
circumstances, even when the paunch is quite full. It has been expressly
stated of some men, who have had the power of ruminating, that it was
quite voluntary with them. Blumenbach knew four men who ruminated their
food, and they assured him they had a real enjoyment in doing it: two of
them had the power of doing or abstaining from it at their pleasure.

A case of human rumination occurred some years ago at Bristol, the
particulars of which are minutely recorded in the 'Philosophical
Transactions.' It seemed, in this instance, to have been hereditary, as
the father of the individual was subject to the same habit. The young
man usually began to chew his food over again, within a quarter of an
hour after eating. His ruminating after a full meal generally lasted
about an hour and a half; nor could he sleep until this task was
completed. The victuals, upon its return, tasted even more pleasantly
than at first; and seemed as if it had been beaten up in a mortar. If he
ate a variety of things, that which he ate first, came up again first;
and if this return was interrupted for any length of time, it produced
sickness and disorder; nor was he ever well till it returned. These
singular cases are caused, no doubt, by some abnormal structure of the
interior of the stomach. No account has yet been given of the dissection
of an individual so constituted.

When cattle are at rest, or not employed in grazing or chewing the cud,
they are observed frequently to lick themselves. By this means they
raise up the hair of their coats, and often swallow it in considerable
quantities. The hair thus swallowed gradually accumulates in the
stomach, where it is formed into smooth round balls, which, in time,
become invested with a hardish brown crust, composed, apparently, of
inspissated mucilage, that, by continual friction from the coats of the
stomach, becomes hard and glossy. It is generally in the paunch that
these hair-balls are found. They vary in weight from a few ounces to six
or seven pounds. Mr. Walton, author of an 'Account of the Peruvian
Sheep,' makes mention of one that he had in his possession which weighed
eight pounds and a quarter. This hair-ball had been taken from a cow
that fed on the Pampas of Buenos Ayres. It was of a flat circular shape,
and measured two feet eleven inches and a half in circumference; two
feet eight inches round the flat part; nine inches diameter also in the
flat part; eleven inches diameter in the cross part; and, on immersing
it in water, it displaced upwards of eight quarts, which made its bulk
correspond to 462 cubic inches. The digestive functions are sometimes
seriously impaired by these concretions; a loss of appetite ensues, and
general debility.

In the Museum of Daniel Crosthwaite, there is a very extraordinary ball
of hair, taken from a fatted calf only seven weeks old. The ball of
hair, when taken out of the animal's stomach, and full of moisture,
weighed eleven ounces. The calf was fatted by Daniel Thwaite, of Dale
Head Hall, within six miles of Keswick; and slaughtered by John Fisher,
butcher, Keswick. The calf was a particularly healthy animal.

Before closing this brief sketch of the digestive apparatus of the ox,
it may not be uninteresting to quote some of the quaint speculations of
Nathaniel Grew on this subject, from his 'Comparative Anatomy of
Stomachs and Guts.'

He says: "The _voluntary_ motion of the stomach is that only which
accompanies rumination. That it is truly voluntary, is clear, from the
command that ruminating animals have of that action. For this purpose it
is, that the muscules of their venters are so thick and strong; and have
several duplicatures, as the bases of those muscules, whereupon the
stress of their motion lies. By means whereof they are able with ease to
rowl and tumble any part of the meat from one cell of the same venter to
another; or from one venter to another; or from thence into the gullet,
whensoever they are minded to do it; so that the ejectment of the meat,
in rumination, is a voluntary eructation.

"The pointed knots, like little papillæ, in the stomachs of ruminating
beasts, are also of great use, namely, for the tasting of the meat. The
inner membrane of the first three venters is fibrous (like the gustatory
papillæ of the tongue) and not glandulous; the fourth only being
glandulous, as in a man. Of the fibres of this membrane, and the
nervous, are composed those pointed knots, which are, both in substance
and shape, altogether like to those upon the tongue. Whence I doubt not,
but that the said three ventricles, as they have a power of voluntary
motion, so, likewise, that they are the seat of taste, and as truly the
organs of that sense, as is the tongue itself."

[Illustration: Skull of Domestic Ox, from a specimen in the Royal
College of Surgeons.]

The mouth of animals of the Ox Tribe contains, when full, thirty-two
teeth. Six molars in each jaw, above, below, and on either side; and
eight incisors in the lower jaw. In the upper jaw there are no
incisors; but instead thereof a fibrous and elastic pad, or cushion,
which covers the convex extremity of the anterior maxillary bone, and
which is well worthy of observation.

The final cause of this pad (which stands in the place of upper incisor
teeth) and the part it plays in the procuring of food, is thus described
by Youatt. "The grass is collected and rolled together by means of the
long and moveable tongue; it is firmly held between the lower cutting
teeth and the pad, the cartilaginous upper lip assisting in this; and
then by a sudden nodding motion of the head, the little roll of herbage
is either torn or cut off, or partly both torn and cut.

"The intention of this singular method of gathering the food, it is
somewhat difficult satisfactorily to explain. It is peculiar to
ruminants, who have one large stomach, in which the food is kept as a
kind of reservoir until it is ready for the action of the other
stomachs. While it is kept there it is in a state of maceration; it is
exposed to the united influence of moisture and warmth, and the
consequence of this is, that a species of decomposition sometimes
commences, and a vast deal of gas is extricated.

"That this should not take place in the natural process of retention and
maceration, nature possibly established this mechanism for the first
gathering of the food. It is impossible that half of that which is thus
procured can be fairly cut through; part will be torn, and no little
portion will be torn up by the roots. If cattle are observed while they
are grazing, it will be seen that many a root mingles with the blades of
grass; and these roots have sometimes no inconsiderable quantity of
earth about them. The beast, however, seems not to regard this; he eats
on, dirt and all, until his paunch is filled.

"It was designed that this earth should be gathered and swallowed; it
was the meaning of this mechanism. A portion of absorbent earth is found
in every soil, sufficient not only to prevent the evil that would result
from occasional decomposition, by neutralizing the acid principle as
rapidly as it is evolved; but, perhaps, by its presence, preventing that
decomposition from taking place. Hence the eagerness with which
stall-fed cattle, who have not the opportunity of plucking up the roots
of grass, evince for mould. It is seldom that a cow will pass a
newly-raised mole hill without nuzzling into it, and devouring a
considerable portion of it. This is particularly the case where there is
any degree of indigestion."

The general disposition of animals of this class, when unmolested, is
inoffensive and retiring; but when excited and irritated, they are
fierce and courageous, and extremely dangerous to encounter. It is a
remarkable circumstance in their history, that they are generally
provoked to attack at the sight of red, or any very bright and glaring


    _a._ Cervical vertebræ.
    _b._ Dorsal vertebræ.
    _c._ Lumbar vertebræ.
    _d._ Sacrum.
    _e._ Caudal vertebræ, or coccygeal bones.
    _f._ Ribs.
    _g._ Costal cartilages.
    _h._ Scapula.
    _i._ Humerus,
    _k._ Radius.
    _l._ Ulna
    _m._ Carpus, or knee.
    _n._ Large metacarpal, or cannon.
    _pp._ Sesamoid bones.
    _qq._ Phalanges.
    _r._ Pelvis.
    _s._ Femur.
    _t._ Patella.
    _u._ Tibia.
    _v._ Rudimentum fibulæ.
    _w._ Hock and tarsals.
    _x._ Large metatarsal.
    _y._ Small metatarsal.

    1. Inferior maxilla (lower jaw).
    2. Superior maxilla (upper jaw).
    3. Anterior maxilla
    4. Nasal bone.
    5. Frontal.
    6. Parietal.
    7. Occipital.

Skeleton of Domestic Ox, from a specimen in the Royal College of



_Genus_ BOS,

Is distinguished from other Genera of Ruminantia by possessing hollow
persistent horns, growing on a bony core; the tail long, terminated by a
tuft of hair; and four inguinal mammæ.


_Bos Americanus._

[Illustration: THE BISON. ]

The head of this animal is enormously large; larger, in fact, in
proportion to the size of its body, than that of any other species of
the Ox Tribe. This huge head is supported by very powerful muscles,
attached to the projecting spinous processes of the dorsal vertebræ; and
these muscles, together with a quantity of fat, constitute the hump on
the shoulders. The horns are short, tapering, round, and very distant
from each other, as are also the eyes, which are small and dark. The
head, neck, shoulders, and fore-legs, to the knee-joints, are covered
with long woolly hair, which likewise forms a beard under the mouth. The
rest of the body is clothed only by short, close hair, which becomes
rather woolly in the depth of winter. The colour is of a deep brown,
nearly black on the head, and lighter about the neck and shoulders. The
legs are firm and muscular; the tail is short, with a tuft at the end.

The female is, in every respect, much smaller than the male; her horns
are more slender, and the hair on her neck and shoulders is not so thick
or long, nor the colour so dark. She brings forth in the spring, and
rarely more than one. The calves continue to be suckled nearly twelve
months, and follow the cows for a much longer period. It is said that
the cows are not unfrequently followed by the calves of two, or even
three, breeding seasons.

These animals, both male and female, are timid and shy, notwithstanding
their fierce appearance; unless they are wounded, or during the breeding
season, when it is dangerous to approach. Their mode of attack is to
throw down, by pushing, as they run with their head; then to crush, by
trampling their enemy under their fore-feet, which, surmounted as they
are, by their tremendous head and shoulder, form most effectual weapons
of destruction.

[Illustration: Young female Bison, after Cuvier.]

The following account, by Dr. Richardson, affords an instance of the
danger to be apprehended from these powerful animals, when wounded, and
not disabled: "Mr. Finnan M'Donald, one of the Hudson's Bay Company's
clerks was descending the Saskatchewan in a boat; and one evening,
having pitched his tent for the night, he went out in the dusk to look
for game. It had become nearly dark when he fired at a Bison bull, which
was galloping over an eminence; and as he was hastening forward to see
if this shot had taken effect, the wounded beast made a rush at him. He
had the presence of mind to seize the animal by the long hair on the
forehead, as it struck him on the side with its horn, and being a
remarkably tall and powerful man, a struggle ensued, which continued
until his wrist was severely sprained, and his arm was rendered
powerless; he then fell, and after receiving two or three blows, became
senseless. Shortly afterwards he was found by his companions, lying
bathed in his blood, being gored in several places, and the Bison was
couched beside him, apparently waiting to renew the attack, had he shown
any signs of life. Mr. M'Donald recovered from the immediate effects of
the injuries, but he died a few months afterwards. Many instances might
be mentioned of the tenaciousness with which this animal pursues its
revenge; and I have been told of a hunter being detained for many hours
in a tree, by an old bull, which had taken its post below, to watch

[Illustration: Wounded Bison, after Catlin.]

The capture of the Bison is effected in various ways, chiefly with the
rifle, and on foot. Their sense of smelling, however, is so acute, that
they are extremely difficult of approach, scenting their enemy from
afar, and retiring with the greatest precipitation. Care, therefore,
must be taken to go against the wind, in which case they may be
approached very near, being almost blinded by the long hair hanging over
their foreheads. The hunters generally aim at the shoulder, which, if
effectually hit, causes them to drop at once; otherwise they are
infuriated, and become dangerous antagonists, as was proved in the
result of Mr. M'Donald's adventure.

When flying before their pursuers, it would be in vain for the foremost
to halt, or attempt to obstruct the progress of the main body, as the
throng in the rear, still rushing onwards, the leaders must advance,
although destruction await the movement. The Indians take advantage of
this circumstance to destroy great quantities of this favorite game; and
certainly no method could be resorted to more effectually destructive,
nor could a more terrible devastation be produced, than that of forcing
a numerous herd of these large animals to leap from the brink of a
dreadful precipice upon a rocky and broken surface, a hundred feet

When the Indians determine to destroy Bisons in this way, one of their
swiftest-footed and most active young men is selected, who is disguised
in a Bison skin, having the head, ears, and horns adjusted on his own
head, so as to make the deception very complete; and thus accoutred, he
stations himself between the Bison herd and some of the precipices,
which often extend for several miles along the rivers. The Indians
surround the herd as nearly as possible, when, at a given signal, they
show themselves, and rush forward with loud yells. The animals being
alarmed, and seeing no way open but in the direction of the disguised
Indian, run towards him, and he, taking to flight, dashes on to the
precipice, where he suddenly secures himself in some previously
ascertained crevice. The foremost of the herd arrives at the
brink,--there is no possibility of retreat, no chance of escape; the
foremost may, for an instant, shrink with terror, but the crowd behind,
who are terrified by the approaching hunters, rush forward with
increasing impetuosity, and the aggregate force hurls them successively
into the gulf, where certain death awaits them.

Sometimes they are taken by the following method:--A great number of men
divide and form a vast square; each band then sets fire to the dry grass
of the savannah, where the herds are feeding; seeing the fire advance on
all sides, they retire in great consternation to the centre of the
square; the men then close and kill them without the least hazard.

Great numbers are also taken in pounds, constructed with an embankment
of such an elevation as to prevent the return of the Bisons when once
they are driven into it. A general slaughter then takes place with
rifles or arrows.

The following vivid sketch is from the narrative of John Tanner, who,
when about seven or eight years of age, was stolen from his parents by
the Indians, and remained with them during a period of thirty years.

"By the end of the second day after we left Pembinah we had not a
mouthful to eat, and were beginning to be very hungry. When we laid down
in our camp (near Craneberry River) at night, and put our ears close to
the ground, we could hear the tramp of the buffaloes, but when we sat up
we could hear nothing; and on the following morning nothing could be
seen of them; though we could command a very extensive view of the
prairie. As we knew they must not be far off in the direction of the
sounds we had heard, eight men, of whom I was one, were selected and
dispatched to kill some, and bring the meat to a point where it was
agreed the party should stop next night. The noise we could still hear
next morning, by applying our ears to the ground; and it seemed about as
far distant, and in the same direction, as before. We started early, and
rode some hours before we could begin to see them; and when we first
discovered the margin of the herd, it must have been at least ten miles
distant. It was like a black line drawn along the edge of the sky, or a
low shore seen across a lake. The distance of the herd from the place
where we first heard them could not have been less than twenty miles.
But it was now the rutting season, and various parts of the herd were
all the time kept in rapid motion by the severe fights of the bulls. To
the noise produced by the knocking together of the two divisions of the
hoof, when they raised their feet from the ground, and of their
incessant tramping, was added the loud and furious roar of the bulls,
engaged, as they all were, in their terrific and appalling conflicts. We
were conscious that our approach to the herd would not occasion the
alarm now, that it would at any other time, and we rode directly towards
them. As we came near we killed a wounded bull, which scarcely made an
effort to escape from us. He had wounds in his flanks, into which I
could put my whole hand. As we knew that the flesh of the bulls was not
now good to eat, we did not wish to kill them, though we might easily
have shot any number. Dismounting, we put our horses in the care of some
of our number, who were willing to stay back for that purpose, and then
crept into the herd to try to kill some cows. I had separated from the
others, and advancing, got entangled among the bulls. Before I found an
opportunity to shoot a cow, the bulls began to fight very near me. In
their fury they were totally unconscious of my presence, and came
rushing towards me with such violence, that in some alarm for my safety,
I took refuge in one of those holes which are so frequent where those
animals abound, and which they themselves dig to wallow in. Here I found
they were pressing directly upon me, and I was compelled to fire to
disperse them, in which I did not succeed until I had killed four of
them. By this firing the cows were so frightened, that I perceived I
should not be able to kill any in this quarter; so regaining my horse, I
rode to a distant part of the herd, where the Indians had succeeded in
killing a fat cow. But from this cow, as is usual in similar cases, the
herd had all moved off, except one bull, who, when I came up, still kept
the Indians at bay. 'You are warriors,' said I, as I rode up, 'going far
from your own country, to seek an enemy, but you cannot take his wife
from that old bull, who has nothing in his hands.' So saying, I passed
them directly towards the bull, then standing something more than two
hundred yards distant. He no sooner saw me approach, than he came
plunging towards me with such impetuosity, that, knowing the danger to
my horse and myself, I turned and fled. The Indians laughed heartily at
my repulse, but they did not give over their attempts to get at the cow.
By dividing the attention of the bull, and creeping up to him on
different sides, they at length shot him down. While we were cutting up
the cow, the herd were at no great distance; and an old cow, which the
Indians supposed to be the mother of the one we had killed, taking the
scent of the blood, came running with great violence towards us. The
Indians were alarmed and fled, many of them not having their guns in
their hands; but I had carefully reloaded mine, and had it ready for
use. Throwing myself down close to the body of the cow, and behind it, I
waited till the other came up within a few yards of the carcase, when I
fired upon her; she turned, gave one or two jumps, and fell dead. We had
now the meat of two fat cows, which was as much as we wanted;
accordingly we repaired, without delay, to the appointed place, where we
found our party, whose hunger was already somewhat allayed by a deer one
of them had killed."

In hunting the Bison, the spear and the arrow are still much in use
among the Indians. The following sketch (after Catlin) represents an
Indian in the act of shooting a Bison with the arrow:--


In the 'Letters and Notes on the North-American Indians,' by Catlin,
there are a great many interesting details of the Bison (or Buffalo, as
it is there called).

"Six days of severe travelling have brought us from the Camanchee
village to the north bank of the Canadian, where we are snugly encamped
on a beautiful plain, and in the midst of countless numbers of
buffaloes; and halting a few days to recruit our horses and men, and dry
meat to last us the remainder of our journey.

"The plains around this, for many miles, seem actually speckled, in
distance and in every direction, with herds of grazing buffaloes; and
for several days, the officers and men have been indulged in a general
license to gratify their sporting propensities; and a scene of bustle
and cruel slaughter it has been, to be sure! From morning till night,
the camp has been daily almost deserted. The men have dispersed in
little squads, in all directions, and are dealing death to these poor
creatures to a most cruel and wanton extent, merely for the pleasure of
destroying, generally without stopping to cut out the meat. During
yesterday and to day, several hundreds have undoubtedly been killed, and
not so much as the flesh of half a dozen used. Such immense swarms of
them are spread over this tract of country, and so divided and terrified
have they become, finding their enemies in all directions where they
run, that the poor beasts seem completely bewildered, running here and
there, and, as often as otherwise, come singly advancing to the
horsemen, as if to join them for their company, and are easily shot
down. In the turmoil and confusion, when their assailants have been
pushing them forward, they have galloped through our encampment, jumping
over our fires, upsetting pots and kettles, driving horses from their
fastenings, and throwing the whole encampment into the greatest
consternation and alarm."

Speaking of the attacks made upon them by the Wolves, he says, "When the
herd is together the Wolves never attack them, as they instantly gather
for combined resistance, which they effectually make. But when the herds
are travelling, it often happens that an aged or wounded one lingers at
a little distance behind, and when fairly out of sight of the herd, is
set upon by the voracious hunters, which often gather to the number of
fifty or more, and are sure at last to torture him to death, and use him
up at a meal. The Buffalo, however, is a huge and furious animal, and
when his retreat is cut off, makes desperate and deadly resistance,
contending to the last moment for the right of life, and oftentimes
deals death by wholesale to his canine assailants.

"During my travels in these regions, I have several times come across
such a gang of these animals surrounding an old or wounded bull, where
it would seem, from appearances, that they had been for several days in
attendance, and at intervals desperately engaged in the effort to take
his life. But a short time since, as one of my hunting companions and
myself were returning to our encampment, with our horses loaded with
meat, we discovered at a distance a huge bull, encircled with a gang of
white wolves. We rode up as near as we could without driving them away;
and being within pistol-shot, we had a remarkably good view, where I sat
for a few moments and made a sketch in my note-book. After which we rode
up, and gave the signal for them to disperse, which they instantly did,
withdrawing themselves to the distance of fifty or sixty rods, when we
found, to our great surprise, that the animal had made desperate
resistance, until his eyes were entirely eaten out of his head; the
gristle of his nose was mostly gone; his tongue was half eaten off, and
the skin and flesh of his legs torn almost literally into strings. In
this tattered and torn condition the poor old veteran stood bracing up
in the midst of his devourers, who had ceased hostilities for a few
minutes, to enjoy a sort of parley, recovering strength to resume the
attack in a few moments again. In this group, some were reclining to
gain breath, whilst others were sneaking about, and licking their chaps
in anxiety for a renewal of the attack; and others, less lucky, had been
crushed to death by the feet or the horns of the bull. I rode nearer to
the pitiable object, as he stood bleeding and trembling before me, and
said to him,--"Now is your time, old fellow, and you had better be off."
Though blind, and nearly destroyed, he straightened up, and, trembling
with excitement, dashed off at full speed upon the prairie, in a
straight line. We turned our horses, and resumed our march; and when we
had advanced a mile or more, we looked back, and again saw the ill-fated
animal surrounded by his tormentors, to whose insatiable voracity he
unquestionably soon fell a victim."

[Illustration: Bison surrounded by Wolves, after Catlin.]

It has frequently been noticed, that whenever a female Bison, having a
calf, is slain, the young one remains by its fallen dam, with signs of
strong natural affection, and instinctively follows the inanimate
carcase of its parent to the residence of the hunter. In this way many
calves are secured.

According to Mr. Catlin's account these young animals are induced to
follow any one who merely breathes in their nostrils. "I have often,"
says he, "in concurrence with a known custom of the country, held my
hands over the eyes of the calf, and breathed a few strong breaths into
its nostrils; after which I have, with my hunting companions, rode
several miles into our encampment, with the little prisoner busily
following the heels of my horse the whole way, as closely as its
instinct would attach it to the company of its dam.

[Illustration: Bison Calf, about three weeks old.]

"This is one of the most extraordinary things that I have met with in
the habits of this wild country; and although I had often heard of it,
and felt unable exactly to believe it, I am now willing to bear
testimony to the fact, from the numerous instances which I have
witnessed since I came into the country. During the time that I resided
at this post (Teton River) in the spring of the year, on my way up the
river, I assisted in bringing in, in the above manner, several of these
little prisoners, which sometimes followed for five or six miles close
to our horse's heels, and even into the Fur Company's Fort, and into the
stable where our horses were led. In this way, before I left for the
head waters of the Missouri, I think we had collected about a dozen,
which Mr. Laidlaw was successfully raising with the aid of a good milch
cow, and which were to be committed to the care of Mr. Chouteau, to be
transported, by the return of the steamer, to his extensive plantation
in the vicinity of St. Louis."

The uses which are made of the various parts of the Bison are numerous.
The hide, which is thick and rather porous, is converted by the Indians
into mocassins for the winter; they also make their shields of it. When
dressed with the hair on, it is made into clothing by the natives, and
most excellent blankets by the European settlers; so valuable, indeed,
is it esteemed, that three or four pounds sterling a piece are not
unfrequently given for good ones in Canada, where they are used as
travelling cloaks. The fleece, which sometimes weighs eight pounds, is
spun and wove into cloth. Stockings, gloves, garters, &c., are likewise
knit with it, appearing and lasting as well as those made of the best
sheep's wool. In England it has been made into remarkably fine cloth.

"There are," says Catlin, "by a fair calculation, more than 300,000
Indians who are now subsisting on the flesh of the buffaloes, and by
these animals supplied with, all the luxuries of life which they
desire, as they know of none others. The great variety of uses to which
they convert the body and other parts of that animal, are almost
incredible to the person who has not actually dwelt amongst these
people, and closely studied their modes and customs. Every part of their
flesh is converted into food, in one shape or other, and on it they
entirely subsist. The skins of the animals are worn by the Indians
instead of blankets; their skins, when tanned, are used as coverings for
their lodges and for their beds; undressed, they are used for
constructing canoes, for saddles, for bridles, l'arrêts, lasos, and
thongs. The horns are shaped into ladles and spoons; the brains are used
for dressing the skins; their bones are used for saddle-trees, for
war-clubs, and scrapers for graining the robes; and others are broken up
for the marrow fat which is contained in them. The sinews are used for
strings and backs to their bows, for thread to string their beads and
sew their dresses. The feet of the animals are boiled, with their hoofs,
for the glue they contain, for fastening their arrow points, and many
other uses. The hair from the head and shoulders, which is long, is
twisted and braided into halters, and the tail is used for a fly-brush."

Again (vol. ii, p. 138), he says, "I have introduced the skin canoes of
the Mandans (of the Upper Missouri), which are made almost round like a
tub, by straining a buffalo's skin over a frame of wicker-work, made of
willow or other boughs. The woman, in paddling these awkward tubs,
stands in the bow, and makes the stroke with the paddle, by reaching it
forward in the water, and drawing it to her, by which means she pulls
the canoe along with considerable speed. These very curious and
rudely-constructed canoes are made in the form of the Welsh coracle;
and, if I mistake not, propelled in the same manner, which is a very
curious circumstance; inasmuch as they are found in the heart of the
great wilderness of America, where all the surrounding tribes construct
their canoes in decidedly different forms, and of different materials."

[Illustration: Skin Canoes of the Mandan Indians.]

It is generally agreed by travellers, that the flesh of the Bison is
little inferior to the beef of our domestic oxen. The tongue is
considered a delicacy, and the hump is much esteemed. A kind of
potted-beef, called _pemmican_, is made of the flesh of the Bison, in
the following manner:--The flesh is spread on a skin, dried in the sun,
and pounded with stones; then all the hair is carefully sifted out of
it, and melted fat kneeded into it. This, when properly made and kept
dry, will keep good for twelve months. The tallow of the Bison forms an
important article of commerce; one fat bull yielding sometimes as much
as 150 pounds weight.

Mr. Turner, a gentleman long resident in America, is of opinion, that
the Bison is superior even to our domestic cattle for the purposes of
husbandry, and has expressed a wish to see this animal domesticated on
the English farms. He informs us, that a farmer on the great Kenhawa
broke a young Bison to the plough; and having yoked it with a steer,
taken from his tame cattle, it performed its work to admiration. But
there is another property in which the Bison far surpasses the Ox, and
this is his strength. "Judging from the extraordinary size of his bones,
and the depth and formation of the chest, (continues this gentleman,) I
should not think it unreasonable to assign nearly a double portion of
strength to this powerful inhabitant of the forest. Reclaim him, and you
gain a capital quadruped, both for the draught and for the plough; his
activity peculiarly fits him for the latter, in preference to the ox."

As there are no Game Laws in America, (except in a very few confined
instances on the Atlantic border,) the consequence is that the Bison is
fast disappearing before the approach of the white settlers. At the
commencement of the eighteenth century these wild cattle were found in
large numbers all throughout the valley of the Ohio, of the Mississippi,
in Western New York, in Virginia, &c. In the beginning of the present
century they were still existing in the extreme western or southwestern
part of the State of New York. As late as 1812 they were natives of
Ohio, and numerous in that State. And now they are not to be seen in
their native state in any part of the United States, east of the
Mississippi River; nor are they now to be found in any considerable
numbers west of that great river, until you have travelled some eighty
or a hundred miles into the interior of the country.

There were no Bisons west of the Rocky Mountains, when Lewis and Clarke
travelled there in 1805. On their return from the Columbia, or Oregon
River, in July of that year, the first Bison they saw was on the day
after they commenced their descent of the Rocky Mountains towards the
east. On the second day after that, they saw immense herds of them on
the banks of the Medicine River. One collection of these animals which
they subsequently saw, on the borders of the Missouri River, they
estimated as being at least 20,000 in number.

In 1823 it was discovered that the Bisons had crossed the Rocky
Mountains, and some were to be seen in the vallies to the west of that

East of that range of mountains, these animals migrate from the uplands
or mountains to the plains, and from north to south, about the beginning
of November; and return from the south to the north, and from the plains
to the uplands, soon after the disappearance of the snow in the spring.

The herds of Bisons wander over the country in search of food, usually
led by a bull remarkable for strength and fierceness. While feeding,
they are often scattered over a great extent of country; but when they
move, they form a dense and almost impenetrable column, which, when once
in motion, is scarcely to be impeded. Their line of march is seldom
interrupted, even by considerable rivers, across which they swim,
without fear or hesitation, nearly in the order in which they traverse
the plains. The Bisons which frequent the woody parts of the country
form smaller herds than those which roam over the plains, but are said
to be individually of a greater size.

The rutting takes place the latter part of July and the beginning of
August, after which the cows separate from the bulls in distinct herds.
They bring forth their young in April: from which it appears that the
term of gestation is about nine months.

The pair of American Bisons in the Zoological Gardens produced a calf in
1849; from the observations made in that instance, the period of
gestation was calculated at 270 days.

The most important anatomical difference between the American and the
European is, that the American has fifteen pairs of ribs, whereas the
European has but fourteen.

The following are the dimensions of a large specimen:--

                                                    Ft. In.
From the nose to the insertion of the tail           8   6
Height at the shoulder                               6   0
  "         at the croup                             5   0
Length of the head                                   2   1

Their weights vary from 1200 to 2000 pounds.

[Illustration: Head of young male Bison.]


_Bos Bison._


In this, as in the American species, the head is very broad, and the
forehead arched; but the horns are longer, more curved, and end in a
finer point than those of the American Bison. The eyes are large and
dark; the hair on the forehead is long and wavy; under the chin and on
the breast it forms a sort of beard. In winter, the whole of the neck,
hump, and shoulders are covered with a long woolly hair of a dusky brown
colour, intermingled with a short soft fur of a fawn colour. The long
hair is gradually cast in the summer, to be again renewed as the
inclemency of winter comes on. The legs, back, and posterior portions
are covered with short, dark brown hair. The tail is of a moderate
length, is covered with hair, and terminates in a large tuft.

The females are not so large as the males, neither are they
characterised by that abundance of hair on the anterior parts, which is
so conspicuous in the bulls.

These animals have never been domesticated, although calves have
sometimes been caught, and confined in an enclosed pasture. An instance
of this kind is recorded by Mr. Gilibert, who, while in Poland, had the
opportunity of observing the character of four young ones thus reared in
captivity. They were suckled by a she-goat, obstinately refusing to
touch a common cow. This antipathy to the domestic cow, which they
manifested so early, maintained its strength as they advanced in years;
their anger was sure to be excited at the appearance of any domestic
cattle, which, whenever introduced to them, they vigorously expelled
from their pasture. They were, however, sufficiently tame to acknowledge
the voice of their keeper.

The geographical range of this animal is now comparatively very limited,
being confined to the forests of Lithuania, Moldavia, Wallachia, and
some of the Caucasian mountain forests; yet there can be no doubt that,
at an early period, they roamed at large over a great part of both
Europe and Asia.

Although they have never been, strictly speaking, domesticated, yet
herds of them are kept in certain localities in the forest of
Bialowieza, under the special protection of the Emperor of Russia, and
under the immediate superintendence of twelve herdsmen, each herdsman
keeping the number allotted to his charge in a particular department of
the forest, near some river or stream. The estimated number of the
twelve herds is about 800.

They feed on grass and brushwood; also on the leaves and bark of young
trees, particularly the willow, poplar, ash, and birch. In autumn they
likewise browse on heath, and the lichens which cover the bark of trees.
In winter, when the ground is covered with snow, fodder is provided for

Their cry is quite peculiar, resembling a groan, or a grunt, more than
the lowing of an ox.

They do not attain their full stature until after the sixth year, and
live till between thirty and forty.

"The strength of the Zubr," says Dr. Weissenborn, "is enormous; and
trees of five or six inches diameter cannot withstand the thrusts of old
bulls. It is neither afraid of wolf nor bear, and assails its enemies
both with its horns and hoofs. An old Zubr is a match for four wolves;
packs of the latter animal, however, sometimes hunt down even old bulls
when alone; but a herd of Zubrs has nothing to fear from any rapacious

"Notwithstanding the great bulk of its body, the Zubr can run very
swiftly. In galloping, its hoofs are raised above its head, which it
carries very low. The animal has, however, but little bottom, and seldom
runs farther than one or two English miles. It swims well, and is very
fond of bathing.

"The zubr is generally exceedingly shy, and avoids the approach of man.
They can only be approached from the leeward, as their smell is
extremely acute. But when accidentally and suddenly fallen in with, they
will passionately assail the intruder. In such fits of passion the
animal thrusts out its tongue repeatedly, lashes its sides with its
tail, and the reddened and sparkling eyes project from their sockets,
and roll furiously. Such is their innate wildness, that none of them
have been completely tamed. When taken young they become, it is true,
accustomed to their keepers, but the approach of other persons renders
them furious; and even their keepers must be careful always to wear the
same sort of dress when going near them. Their great antipathy to the
Bos Taurus, which they either avoid or kill, would render their
domestication, if it were practicable, but little desirable. The
experiments made with a view of obtaining a mixed breed from the Zubr
and Bos Taurus have all failed, and are now strictly prohibited."

The rutting season is in August, and continues for about a fortnight;
the calves are produced in May; thus, the period of gestation is between
nine and ten months. The calves continue to suckle nearly twelve months,
and the cows seldom calve oftener than once in three years.

The European Bison differs internally from the common ox in having
fourteen pairs of ribs, whereas the common ox has but thirteen. The
external differences between the two animals are too obvious to require
pointing out.

In 1845, the Emperor of Russia presented to the British Museum a very
fine stuffed specimen of this animal, from which the figure at the head
of this chapter was taken.

The following are its dimensions:--

                                                           Ft.  In.
Length from the nose to the insertion of the tail          9    10
Height at the withers                                      5     6
  "       at the rump                                      4    11
Length of head                                             1     8
  "        of tail                                         3     0

M. Dimitri de Dolmatoff, Master of the Imperial Forests in the
Government of Grodno, in his note of the capture of the Aurochs,
(written in 1847,) alludes to the statement (made by every writer who
has treated of these animals), that the calves, although taken young,
invariably refuse to be suckled by the Domestic Cow. This he contradicts
in the most explicit manner, on the testimony of his own experience,
having had several instances come under his observation, in which the
young calves of the Aurochs were suckled and reared by cows of the
common domestic species.

Cæsar, in his account of the "Sylva Hercynia"--the Black Forest--thus
mentions the Urus, amongst other animals, there found:

"A third kind [of animals] are those called Uri. They are but little
less than Elephants in size, and are of the species, colour, and form of
a bull. Their strength is very great, and also their speed. They spare
neither man nor beast that they see. They cannot be brought to endure
the sight of men, nor be tamed, even when taken young. The people who
take them in pit-falls, assiduously destroy them; and young men harden
themselves in this labour, and exercise themselves in this kind of
chase; and those who have killed a great number--the horns being
publicly exhibited in evidence of the fact--obtain great honour. The
horns, in amplitude, shape, and species, differ much from the horns of
our oxen. They are much sought after; and after having been edged with
silver at their mouths, they are used for drinking vessels at great
feasts." (_De Bello Gallico_, lib. vi.)


_Bos Grunniens._


The following interesting and circumstantial account of this curious
species of Ox, is from the pen of Lieut. Samuel Turner. (_Asiatic
Researches_, vol. iv.)

"The Yak of Tartary, called Soora-Goy in Hindostan, and which I term the
Bushy-tailed Bull of Tibet, is about the height of an English Bull,
which he resembles in the figure of the body, head, and legs. I could
distinguish between them no essential difference, except only that the
Yak is covered all over with a thick coat of long hair. The head is
rather short, crowned with two smooth round horns, that, tapering from
the setting on, terminate in sharp points, arch inwardly, and near the
extremities are a little turned back. The ears are small; the forehead
appears prominent, being adorned with much curling hair; the eyes are
full and large; the nose smooth and convex; the nostrils small. The
neck is short, describing a curvature nearly equal both above and below;
the withers high and arched; the rump low. Over the shoulders rises a
bunch, which at first sight would seem to be the same kind of exuberance
peculiar to the cattle of Hindostan; but in reality it consists in the
superior length of the hair only, which, as well as that along the ridge
of the back to the setting on of the tail, grows long and erect, but not
harsh. The tail is composed of a prodigious quantity of long flowing
glossy hair, descending to the hock; and is so extremely well furnished,
that not a joint of it is perceptible; but it has much the appearance of
a large bunch of hair artificially set on. The shoulders, rump, and
upper part of the body are clothed with a sort of thick soft wool, but
the inferior parts with straight pendent hair that descends below the
knee; and I have seen it so long in some cattle, which were in high
health and condition, as to trail along the ground. From the chest,
between the fore-legs, issues a large pointed tuft of hair, growing
somewhat larger than the rest. The legs are very short. In every other
respect, hoofs, &c., he resembles the ordinary Bull. There is a great
variety of colours among them, but black and white are the most
prevalent. It is not uncommon to see the long hair upon the ridge of the
back, the tail, the tuft upon the chest, and the legs below the knee
white, when all the rest of the animal is jet black.

"These cattle, though not large boned, from the profuse quantity of hair
with which they are provided, appear of great bulk. They have a down
heavy look, but are fierce, and discover much impatience at the near
approach of strangers. They do not low loud (like the cattle of
England) any more than those of Hindostan; but make a low grunting
noise, scarcely audible, and that but seldom, when under some impression
of uneasiness. These cattle are pastured in the coldest part of Tibet,
upon short herbage, peculiar to the tops of mountains and bleak plains.
That chain of lofty mountains situated between lat. 27° and 28°, which
divides Tibet from Bootan, and whose summits are most commonly covered
with snow, is their favourite haunt. In this vicinity the Southern glens
afford them food and shelter during the severity of the winter; in
milder seasons the Northern aspect is more congenial to their nature,
and admits a wider range. They are a very valuable property to the
tribes of illiterate Tartars, who live in tents, and tend them from
place to place, affording their herdsmen a mode of conveyance, a good
covering, and subsistence. They are never employed in agriculture, but
are extremely useful as beasts of burden; for they are strong,
sure-footed, and carry a great weight. Tents and ropes are manufactured
of their hair, and I have seen, though amongst the humblest ranks of
herdsmen, caps and jackets worn of their skins. Their tails are esteemed
throughout the East, as far as luxury or parade have any influence on
the manners of the people; and on the continent of India are found,
under the denomination of Chowries, in the hands of the meanest grooms,
as well as, occasionally, in those of the first ministers of state. Yet
the best requital with which the care of their keepers is at length
rewarded for selecting them good pastures, is in the abundant quantity
of rich milk they give, yielding most excellent butter, which they have
a custom of depositing in skins or bladders, and excluding the air; it
keeps in this cold climate all the year, so that after some time
tending their flocks, when a sufficient stock is accumulated, it remains
only to load their cattle, and drive them to a proper market with their
own produce, which constitutes, to the utmost verge of Tartary, a most
material article of commerce."

The soft fur upon the hump and shoulders is manufactured by the natives
of Tibet into a fine but strong cloth; and, if submitted to the test of
European skill, might no doubt be made to produce a very superior

The herdsmen commonly convert the hides into a loose outer garment that
covers the whole of their bodies, hanging down to the knees; and it
proves a sufficient protection against the lowest temperature of the
cold and desolate region which they inhabit. It furnishes at once a
cloak by day and a bed by night.

The Yak is not generally fierce, but, if intruded upon by strangers, it
sometimes manifests very formidable symptoms of impatience, stamping its
feet, whisking its tail aloft, and tossing its head. When excited, it is
not easily appeased, and is exceedingly tenacious of injury, always
showing great fierceness whenever any one approaches who has chanced to
provoke it.

The cow is called _Dhe_, of which the wandering Tartars possess great
numbers, having no means of subsistence but those supplied by their
flocks and herds.

A fine male specimen of this Ox was brought to England by Warren
Hastings, and several attempts were made to procure a cross between it
and the common English Cow, but without success. He invariably refused
to associate with ordinary cattle, and exhibited a decided antipathy to
them. His portrait was painted, and is now in the Museum of the College
of Surgeons, London. The following figure (taken from the 'Oriental
Annual') is so much like the portrait of Warren Hastings's Yak, that it
might almost be taken for a copy of it.


There is the skin of a Yak in the Zoological Museum, which coincides
pretty nearly with the foregoing description. There is also a stuffed
specimen of a female in the British Museum.

Like the European Bison, the skeleton of the Yak has fourteen pairs of
ribs. Period of gestation not recorded.

THE GYALL, (_Bos Frontalis_ of Lambert;)

THE GAYAL, (_Bos Gavæus_ of Colebrooke;)

THE JUNGLY GAU, (_Bos Sylhetanus_ of F. Cuvier.)

Of the animals named in the foregoing list, we have had several very
interesting accounts; but none of these have been sufficiently precise
to enable us to determine the specific character of the animals

Are they, as some affirm, merely different names for the same animal; or
do they designate animals which are really and truly distinct?

Nothing short of an appeal to structure can satisfactorily settle this
or any other disputed point of a similar nature; but, unfortunately for
zoology, the opportunities for such appeals are rare, and, when they do
occur, are seldom taken advantage of. Let us hope that this hint will
not be lost on some of our intelligent countrymen in the East; and that
before long we may be favoured with the result of their researches.

In the meantime, and in order to facilitate as much as possible the
endeavours of those who may have opportunities for such inquiries, the
following epitome is given of the various papers which have already
appeared on the subject, but which, in their present scattered form, are
of very little general utility.


The earliest descriptive notice we have of the Gyall was that given in a
paper read before the Linnean Society, in 1802, by Mr. Lambert, on the
occasion of a bull of this species arriving in London from India.

"_Bos Frontalis._

"General colour a blueish-black; the frontal fascia gray; the horns
short, thick, and distant at their bases, the tail nearly naked,
slender, and with a tuft at the end. The Gyall has no mane; its coat is
soft; the edge of the under lip is white, and is fringed with bristling
hair. The horns are pale, with their bases included in the frontal

[Illustration: The Gyall, reduced--from the Linnean Transactions.]

The animal of which this description is given, appeared to be between
two and three years old, very tame, and inoffensive. A drawing was
taken of it, which was engraved and published in the Linnean

The following are its dimensions:

                                                                Ft.   In.
From tip of nose to end of tail                                 9     2
 "   tip of hoof of fore foot to top of the rising of
           back                                                 4     1-1/2
Girth of largest part of abdomen                                5     7
From the tip of the hoof of the hind leg to the
           highest part of the rump                             4     0-1/2
  "      the tip of forehead to end of nose                     1     9
Girth of head over the angle of the jaws                        2    11-1/2
Between tips of horns                                           1     8-1/2
Length of horn, externally                                      0     8-1/2
Girth of horn at largest part                                   1     1

In reply to some inquiries respecting this animal which he made of a
gentleman, (Mr. Harris,) resident in India, Mr. Lambert received the

"DEAR SIR,--I have before me your note, with the drawing, which
undoubtedly appears to me to be the figure of the animal I mentioned to
have in my possession. Some parts of the drawing seem to be rather too
much enlarged, as in the base of the horns, and the rising between the
fore shoulders.

"The animal I described to you, and which I have kept and reared these
last seven years, and know by the name of the Gyall, is a native of the
hills to the north east and east of the Company's province of
Chittagong, in Bengal, inhabiting that range of hills which separates it
from the country of Arracan.

"The male Gyall is like our Bull in shape and appearance, but I conceive
not quite so tall; it is of a blackish-brown colour; the horns short,
but thick and strong towards the base, round which, and across the
frons, the hair is bushy, and of a dirty white colour; the chest and
forehead are broad and thick. He is naturally very bold, and will defend
himself against any of the beasts of prey.

"The female differs a little in appearance; her horns are not quite so
large, and her make is somewhat more slender. She is very quiet, and is
used for all the purposes of the dairy; as also, (I have been informed
by the natives,) for tilling the ground, and is more tractable than the
Buffalo. The milk which these cows give has a peculiar richness in it,
arising, I should conceive, from their always feeding on the young
shoots and branches of trees in preference to grass.

[Illustration: (Head of Gyall, from Linnean Transactions.)]

"I constantly made it a practice to allow them to range abroad, amongst
the hills and jungles at Chittagong, during the day, to browse; a keeper
attending to prevent their straying so far as to endanger losing them.
They do not thrive so well in any part of Bengal as in the
afore-mentioned province, and in the adjoining one, Pipperah, where, I
believe, the animal is also to be found. I have heard of a female Gyall
breeding with a common Bull. I wish it were in my power to give you more
particulars, but I am describing entirely from memory."

In February, 1804, Mr. Lambert again addressed the Linnean Society on
the same subject. He says, "Since I presented to the Society the last
account of the Bos Frontalis, or Gyall of India, Mr. Fleming, a
gentleman who has just returned from that country, has very obligingly
communicated to me the following further particulars. This account was
transmitted to Mr. Fleming by Mr. Macrae, resident at Chittagong, in a
letter, dated March 22, 1802, and was accompanied with a drawing, by
which it appears that the animal from which my figure was taken was full
grown." (See the figure, p. 51.)


The Gyall is a species of cow peculiar to the mountains, which form the
eastern boundary of the province of Chittagong, where it is found
running wild in the woods; and it is also reared as a domestic animal by
the Kookies, or Lunclas, the inhabitants of those hills. It delights to
live in the deepest jungles, feeding on the tender leaves and shoots of
the brushwood; and is never met with on the plains below, except when
brought there. Such of them as have been kept by the gentlemen at
Chittagong, have always preferred browsing among the thickets on the
adjacent hills to feeding on the grass of the plains.

It is of a dull heavy appearance, yet of a form that indicates both
strength and activity; and approaches nearly to that of the wild
Buffalo. Its head is set on like the Buffalo's, and it carries it much
in the same manner, with the nose projecting forward; but in the shape
of the head it differs materially from both the Buffalo and the Cow, the
head of the Gyall being much shorter from the crown to the nose, but
much broader between the horns than that of either. The withers and
shoulders of the Gyall rise higher in proportion than those of Buffalo
or Cow, and its tail is small and short, seldom falling lower than the
bend in the ham. Its colour is in general brown, varying from a light to
a deep shade; it has at times a white forehead, and _white legs_, with a
white belly and brush. The hair of the belly is invariably of a lighter
colour than that of the back and flanks. The Gyall calf is of a dull red
colour, which gradually changes to a brown as it advances in age.

The female Gyall receives the bull at three years of age; her term of
gestation is eleven months, when she brings forth, and does not again
admit the male until the second year thereafter, thus producing a calf
once in three years only. So long an interval between each birth must
tend to make the species rare. In the length of time she goes with
young, as well as in that between each conception, the Gyall differs
from the Buffalo and Cow. The Gyall does not give much milk, but what
she yields is nearly as rich as the cream of other milk. The calf sucks
its dam for eight or nine months, when it is capable of supporting
itself. The Kookies tie up the calf until he is sufficiently strong to
do so.

The Gyalls live to the age of from fifteen to twenty. They lose their
sight as they grow old, and are subject to a disease of the hoof, which
often proves fatal at an early age. When the Kookies consider the
disease beyond the hope of cure, he kills the animal and eats the
flesh, which constitutes his first article of luxury.

The Kookies have a very simple method of catching the wild Gyalls, which
is as follows:--On discovering a herd of wild Gyalls in the jungles,
they prepare a number of balls, of the size of a man's head, composed of
a particular kind of earth, salt, and cotton. They then drive their tame
Gyalls towards the wild ones, when the two herds soon meet, and
assimilate into one; the males of the one attaching themselves to the
females of the other, and _vice versâ_. The Kookies now scatter their
balls over such parts of the jungle as they think the herd most likely
to pass, and watch its motions. The Gyalls, on meeting these balls as
they pass along, are attracted by their appearance and smell, and begin
to lick them with their tongues; and relishing the taste of the salt,
and the particular earth composing them, they never quit the place until
all the balls are consumed. The Kookies having observed the Gyalls to
have once tasted their balls, prepare a sufficient supply of them to
answer the intended purpose; and as the Gyalls lick them up, they throw
down more; and it is to prevent their being so readily destroyed that
the cotton is mixed with the earth and the salt. This process generally
goes on for three changes of the moon, or for a month and a half, during
which time the tame and the wild Gyalls are always together, licking the
decoy balls; and the Kookie, after the first day or two of their being
so, makes his appearance, at such a distance as not to alarm the wild
ones. By degrees he approaches nearer and nearer, until at length the
sight of him has become so familiar that he can advance to stroke his
tame Gyalls on the back and neck, without frightening away the wild
ones. He next extends his hand to them, and caresses them also, at the
same time giving them plenty of his decoy balls to lick. Thus, in the
short space of time mentioned, he is able to drive them, along with the
tame ones, to his parrah, or village, without the least exertion of
force; and so attached do the Gyalls become to the parrah, that when the
Kookies migrate from one place to another, they always find it necessary
to set fire to the huts they are about to abandon, lest the Gyalls
should return to them from the new grounds.

It is worthy of remark that the new and full moon are the periods at
which the Kookies in general commence their operations of catching the
wild Gyalls, from having observed that at these changes the two sexes
are most inclined to associate. The same observation has been made with
respect to Elephants.


About four years after the publication of Mr. Macrae's account of the
Gyall (namely in 1808,) there appeared, in the Eighth volume of 'Asiatic
Researches,' a description of a species of Ox, named Gayal, communicated
by H. T. Colebrooke.

He commences by observing, that "the Gayal was mentioned in an early
volume of the 'Researches of the Asiatic Society,' (vol. ii, p. 188,
1790,) by its Indian name, which was explained by the phrase "Cattle of
the mountains." It had been obscurely noticed (if indeed the same
species of Ox be meant) by Knox, in his historical relation of Ceylon
(p. 21), and it has been imperfectly described by Captain Turner, in
his journey through Bootan, ('Embassy to Tibet,' p. 160).

"Herds of this species of cattle have been long kept by many gentlemen
in the eastern districts of Bengal, and also in other parts of this
province; but no detailed account of the animal and of its habits has
been yet published in India. To remedy this deficiency, Dr. Roxburgh
undertook, at my solicitation, to describe the Gayal, from those seen by
him in a herd belonging to the Governor-General. Dr. Buchanan has also
obligingly communicated his observations on the same cattle; with
information obtained from several gentlemen at Tipura, Sylhet, and
Chatgaon, relative to the habits of the animal. The original drawing
from which the plate has been taken was drawn by a native artist."

[Illustration: Reduced copy of the Plate just referred to.]

This representation does not appear to have been taken from a specimen
of the animals here described: it bears a much stronger resemblance to
our figure of the Gaur, which was taken from the stuffed specimen in the
British Museum (see p. 97), than it does to the Gyall (_Bos frontalis_
of Lambert, see p. 51), or to the Gayal, which died in the Zoological
Gardens in 1846, from which our figure was taken, which is given on p.

Dr. Roxburgh, who undertook, at the solicitation of Mr. Colebrooke, to
describe the Gayal, appears to have done so by the very simple method of
copying Mr. Macrae's description of the Gyall, which appeared in the
'Linnean Transactions,' in 1804, to which he has added, that the dewlap
is deep and pendant; and this, according to every other account, is not
the fact.

With respect to the account given by Dr. Buchanan, I have thought it
best to quote it in full; because (although it repeats several of the
characteristics already given,) it appears to flow from the pen of one
who really observed what he describes.

He says: "The Gayal generally carries its head with the mouth projecting
forward, like that of a Buffalo. The head, at the upper part, is very
broad and flat, and is contracted suddenly towards the nose, which is
naked, like that of the common cow. From the upper angle of the forehead
proceed two thick, short, horizontal processes of bone, which are
covered with hair; on these are placed the horns, which are smooth,
shorter than the head, and lie nearly in the plane of the forehead. They
diverge outward, and turn upward with a gentle curve. At the bases they
are very thick, and are slightly compressed, the flat side being toward
the front and the tail. The edge next the ear is rather the thinnest, so
that a transverse section would be somewhat ovate. Toward their tips
the horns are rounded, and end in a sharp point. The eyes resemble those
of the common Ox; the ears are much longer, broader, and blunter than
those of that animal.

"The neck is very slender near the head, at some distance from which a
dewlap commences, but this is not so deep, nor so much undulated as in
the Zebu or Indian Ox. The dewlap is covered with strong longish hairs,
so as to form a kind of mane on the lower part of the neck; but this is
not very conspicuous, especially when the animal is young.

"In place of the hump (which is situated between the shoulders of the
Zebu) the Gayal has a sharp ridge, which commences on the hinder part of
the neck, slopes gradually up till it comes over the shoulder-joint,
then runs horizontally almost a third part of the length of the back,
where it terminates with a very sudden slope. The height of this ridge
makes the neck appear much depressed, and also adds greatly to the
clumsiness of the chest, which, although narrow, is very deep. The
sternum is covered by a continuation of the dewlap. The rump, or os
sacrum, has a more considerable declivity than that of the European Ox,
but less than that of the Zebu.

"The tail is covered with short hair, except near the end, where it has
a tuft like that of the common Ox; but in the Gayal the tail descends no
lower than the extremity of the tibia.

"The legs, especially the fore ones, are thick and clumsy. The false
hoofs are much larger than those of the Zebu. The hinder parts are
weaker in proportion than the fore; and, owing to the contraction of the
belly, the hinder legs, although in fact the shortest, appear to be the

"The whole body is covered with a thick coat of short hair, which is
lengthened out into a mane on the dewlap, and into a pencil-like tuft on
the end of the tail. From the summit of the head there diverges, with a
whirl, a bunch of rather long coarse hair, which lies flat, is usually
lighter-coloured than that which is adjacent, and extends towards the
horns and over the forehead. The general colour of the animal is brown,
in various shades, which very often approaches to black, but sometimes
is rather light. Some parts, especially about the legs and belly, are
usually white; but in different individuals these are very differently

The following is the measurement of a full-grown cow:--

                                      Ft.    In.
From nose to summit of head            1     6
Between roots of horns                 0    10
From horns to shoulder                 3     3
From shoulder to insertion of tail     4     3
Height at shoulder                     4     9
Height at loins                        4     4
Depth of chest                         2     9
Circumference of chest                 6     7
Circumference at loins                 5    10
Length of horns                        1     2
Length of ears                         0    10

"The different species of the Ox kind may be readily distinguished from
the Gayal by the following marks; the European and Indian oxen by the
length of their tails, which reach to the false hoofs; the American Ox,
by the gibbosity on its back; the _Bovis moschatus_, Caffer, and
_pumilus_, by having their horns approximated at their bases; the _Bos
grunniens_ by it's whole tail being covered with long silky hairs; the
_Bos bubalus_,(at least the Indian buffalo,) by having the whole length
of its horns compressed, and by their being longer than the head, and
wrinkled--also by its thin coat of hair, by its want of a dewlap, and
above all by its manners; the _Bos barbatus_, by the long beard on its

"The cry of the Gayal has no resemblance to the grunt of the Indian Ox,
but a good deal resembles that of the Buffalo. It is a kind of lowing,
but shriller, and not near so loud as that of the European Ox. To this,
however, the Gayal approaches much nearer than it does to the Buffalo."

Mr. Macrae, who furnished the account in 1804, is again consulted; and
from his second account, the following additional particulars have been
gleaned. [Now, however, as the reader will observe, the name is Gayal,
and not Gyall; although, according to Mr. Macrae's own derivation of the
word, it would appear to be more correctly Gyall.]

"The Gayal is found wild in the range of mountains that form the eastern
boundary of the provinces of Aracan, Chittagong (Chatgaon), Tipura, and

"The Cucis, or Lunclas, a race of people inhabiting the hills
immediately to the eastward of Chatgaon, have herds of the Gayal in a
domesticated state. By them he is called Shial, from which, most
probably, his name of Gayal [Gyall] is derived; as he is never seen on
the plains, except when he is brought there. It appears, however, that
he is an animal very little known beyond the limits of his native
mountains, except by the inhabitants of the provinces above mentioned.

"His disposition is gentle: even when wild in his native hills, he is
not considered to be a dangerous animal; never standing the approach of
man, much less bearing his attack.

"To avoid the noon-day heat, he retires to the deepest shade of the
forest; preferring the dry acclivity of the hill to repose on, rather
than the low swampy ground below; and never, like the Buffalo, wallowing
in mud.

"Gayals have been domesticated among the Cucis from time immemorial; and
without any variation in their appearance from the wild stock. No
difference whatever is observed in the colour of the wild and tame
breeds; brown of different shades being the general colour of both.

"The wild Gayal is about the size of the wild Buffalo of India. The tame
Gayals among the Cucis, being bred in nearly the same habits of freedom,
and on the same food, without ever undergoing any labour, grow to the
same size with the wild ones.

"The Cucis makes no use whatever of the milk, but rear the Gayals
entirely for the sake of their flesh and skins; they make their shields
of the hides of these animals. The flesh of the Gayal is in the highest
estimation among the Cucis; so much so, that no solemn festival is ever
celebrated without slaughtering one or more Gayals, according to the
importance of the occasion.

"The domesticated Gayals are allowed by the Cucis to roam at large
during the day, through the forest, in the neighbourhood of the village;
but as evening approaches, they all return home of their own accord; the
young Gayal being early taught this habit, by being regularly fed every
night with salt, of which he is very fond; and from the occasional
continuance of this practice, as he grows up, the attachment of the
Gayal to his native village becomes so strong, that when the Cucis
migrate from it, they are obliged to set fire to the huts which they are
about to leave, lest their Gayals should return thither from their new
place of residence, before they become equally attached to it, as to the
former, through the same means.

"The wild Gayal sometimes steals out from the forest in the night, and
feeds in the rice fields bordering on the hills. The Cucis give no grain
to their cattle. With us (at Chatgaon) the tame Gayals feed on Caláï
_(phaseolus max_); but as our hills abound with shrubs, it has not been
remarked what particular kind of grass they prefer.

"The Hindus in this province will not kill the Gabay (or Gayal) which
they hold in equal veneration with the cow. But the As'l Gayal, or
Seloï, they hunt and kill, as they do the wild Buffalo. The animal here
alluded to is another species of Gayal found wild in the hills of
Chatgaon. He has never been domesticated, and is in appearance and
disposition very different from the common Gayal which has just been
described. The natives call him the As'l Gayal, in contra-distinction to
the Gabay. The Cucis distinguish him by the name of Seloï; and the Mugs
and Burmas by that of P'hanj, and they consider him, next to the tiger,
the most dangerous and fiercest animal of their forests."

Mr. Elliot, in writing from Tipura, says,--"I have some Gayals at
Munnamutty, and from their mode of feeding I presume that they keep on
the skirts of the vallies, to enable them to feed on the sides of the
mountain, where they can browse; they will not touch grass, if they can
find shrubs.

"While kept at Camerlah, which is situated in a level country, they used
to resort to the banks, and eat on the sides; frequently betaking
themselves to the water, to avoid the heat of the sun. However, they
became sickly and emaciated, and their eyes suffered much; but, on being
sent to the hills, they soon recovered, and are now (1808) in a healthy
condition. They seem fond of the shade, and are observed in the hot
weather to take the turn of the hills, so as to be always sheltered from
the sun. They do not wallow in mud, like Buffaloes, but delight in
water, and stand in it during the greatest heat of the day, with the
front of their heads above the surface.

"Each Cow yields from two and a half to about four sérs [from five to
eight pounds] of milk, which is rich, sweet, and almost as thick as
cream; it is of a high flavour, and makes excellent butter."

We learn from Mr. Dick that the Gayal is called Gaujangali in the
Persian language, Gavaya in Sanscrit, and Mat'hana by the mountaineers;
but others name the animal Gobay-goru.

The tame Gayals, however long they may have been domesticated, do not at
all differ from the wild ones, unless in temper, for the wild ones are
fierce and untractable. The colour of both is the same, namely, that of
the Antelope, but some are white and others black, none are spotted or
piebald. They graze and range like other cattle, and eat rice, mustard,
chiches, and any cultivated produce, as also chaff and chopped straw.

According to this gentleman the Gayal lives to the age of twenty or
twenty-five years, and reaches its full growth at five years. The
female is generally higher than the male. She receives the bull in her
fifth year, and bears after ten months.

In reference to the case of Mr. Bird's Gayal breeding with the common
Zebu, I may observe that this proves nothing beyond the bare fact
stated; no inference whatever of an identity of species can be drawn
from a thousand such cases. It is pretty well known that animals of
perfectly distinct species will, when artificially brought together,
produce hybrids, as in the familiar examples of the Horse and the Ass,
the Canary and the Goldfinch; but a hybrid is neither a species nor
(zoologically speaking) a variety.

In a paper on the Gour, by General Hardwicke, ('Zoological Journal,'
Vol. III,) he introduces the following observations on the Gayal: "Of
the Gayal (_Bos Gavæas_ of Colebrooke) there appears to be more than one
species. The provinces of Chatgong and Sylhet produce the wild, or, as
the Natives term it, the Asseel Gayal, and the domesticated one. The
former is considered an untameable animal, extremely fierce, and not to
be taken alive. It rarely quits the mountain tract of the south-east
frontier, and never mixes with the Gobbay, or village Gayal of the
plains. I succeeded in obtaining the skin, with the head, of the Asseel
Gayal, which is deposited in the Museum of the Hon. East-India Company,
in Leadenhall Street." [A drawing was taken of this head, of which the
engraving on the opposite page is a copy.]

"I may notice another species of Gayal, of which a male and female were
in the Governor General's park, at Barrackpore. This species differs in
some particulars from the domesticated Gayal, and also from the Asseel,
or true Gayal; first, in size, being a larger animal than the domestic
one; secondly, in the largeness of the dewlap, which is deeper and more
undulated than in either the wild or tame species; and, thirdly, in the
size and form of the horns."

Thus, according to the opinion of General Hardwicke, there are three
distinct species of the Gayal; but in this matter nothing can be decided
without further evidence, which we hope will soon appear in the shape of
complete skeletons, and accurate drawings and descriptions.




The representation of the Gayal here given was taken from a living
specimen in the Zoological Gardens, 1846.

The scanty information I was able to glean concerning it, consists in
its having been procured at Chitagong, and shipped, as a commercial
speculation, from Calcutta for London, in January 1844, when about two
years and a half old. It remained in the Zoological Gardens till the
summer of 1846, when it died from inflammation of the bowels, brought on
chiefly by eating too much green food.

I had the above particulars from Mr. Bartlett, naturalist, &c., who had
been commissioned to dispose of it. He preserved the skeleton, which he
kindly allowed me to examine, and from which I made the sketches of the
skull and horns, which appear on the following page.

The skeleton has fourteen pairs of ribs.

[Illustration: Skull of Domestic Gayal, viewed in front, with Section of


Distance from tip to tip (_a_ to _a_)               39
Length of horn (_a_ to _b_)                         16
Circumference of horn at base                       17
Distance of bases (_b_ to _b_)                      11
Length of skull (_c_ to _c_)                        19

Fig. _d_, section of the horn, at the base.

[Illustration: Occipital view of the same Skull.]

[Illustration: Head of Domestic Gayal.]

In concluding these details of the Gayal and Gyall, let it be remarked
that, when we hear one animal called Gayal and another Gyall, we are
not, _on that account merely_, to set them down as of the same species.
It is hardly necessary to say, that similarity or even identity of name,
is not the slightest criterion of identity of species. The name Elephant
is popularly applied to that animal, whether brought from Africa or
Asia; they are, nevertheless, anatomically distinct. The same
observation may be made respecting the Lions of those countries, and
various other animals.

It may further be observed, that the value of external characters in
determining a species is very different when applied to ascertain the
distinctions of domestic races, to what it is when applied to ascertain
the distinctions of animals living in a natural state. In domestication,
varieties ramify to an indefinite extent, and under such circumstances
external characters are comparatively valueless. But wild animals retain
their external characters with undeviating exactness; exceptional cases
may indeed occur, but so very rarely, that they are not worth taking
into the account; consequently, external forms, and in some cases even
colours, become of importance in ascertaining specific distinction.


_Bos Sylhetanus._ (Cuv.)


Further information is requisite to decide the specific character of
this animal. According to the opinion of Col. Smith, (see 'Synopsis of
the Species of Mammalia' in Griffith's Translation of Cuvier's Animal
Kingdom,) it is a mere variety of the Gayal (_Bos Gavæus_); and Mr. J.
E. Gray, in his 'List of the Specimens of Mammalia in the Collection of
the British Museum,' classes it as a domestic variety of the same
animal, but Mr. Fred. Cuvier regards it as an entirely new species.

The following account of the Jungly Gau (which is the only one that has
been published), is a translation from the splendid folio work of
Messrs. St. Hilaire and F. Cuvier.

This species of Ox, which is entirely new, appears to be the most
nearly allied to our domestic cattle. Those ruminants which are classed
under the generic name of Ox, may be very naturally divided into two
distinct groups. The first includes the Buffaloes, animals in some
measure aquatic, living in low, swampy localities, or near rivers, in
which they remain half immersed a great part of the day; having
broad-based horns, partly spreading over their foreheads, flat on their
internal side, and round on their external; tongue soft, &c. The second
is that of the Ox, properly so called. These are distinguished from the
first by their dwelling on more elevated lands, or in the vicinity of
forests; having smooth round horns, without enlargement at their base;
tongue covered with horny papillæ, &c.

It is to this second family, consisting of the American Bison, the
Aurox, the Yak, and the domestic Ox, with its varieties, that the Jungly
Gau undoubtedly belongs. It however differs from the first two in being
entirely destitute of the thick shaggy mane; and, instead of the long
silky hair of the third, it is clothed with close, short hair, equal in
uniformity of texture to the sleekest of our domestic cattle. To judge
from its general appearance, we might be even tempted to take it for a
mere variety of the domestic species, so close is the resemblance. But
the information furnished by M. Alfred Duvaucel, in the only description
which has been given, leaves no doubt as to its being a new species.

The following is M. Duvaucel's account:--"The horns of the Jungly Gau
rise from the sides of the occiput, first outward, then forward, with a
slight inclination backward of the upper extremity, forming a double
lunation, and separated by a space which gradually diminishes as the
animal grows older; standing equally apart in every individual of the
same age and sex; are round, except at their base, which is slightly
compressed; and they become smoother as the animal advances in age.

"The hump, which is characteristic of the generality of Indian oxen, is
reduced in this to a slight prominence, extending to the middle of the
back, and is covered with a grayish, woolly hair, rather longer than
that on the other parts of the body, which spreads likewise over the
occiput and the front. The rest of the hair is black except the legs,
which are white from the knees downwards. The tail terminates in a large
tuft of hair; and, in bulls of two or three years old, the under part of
the neck is slightly furnished with long, black, silky hair.

"The female is smaller than the male, with horns of a still less
proportionate size. The front of the head, instead of being convex, as
in the male, appears to be slightly depressed, in consequence of the
superior elevation of the muzzle. The colour of the female is not so
deep a black; the gray on the top of the neck and the shoulders extends
to the sides, and the inferior part of the muzzle is white.

"I have long entertained the opinion," continues M. Duvaucel, "that
these oxen were essentially the same as the domestic--that they were
both varieties of the same species; but this opinion was formed on the
inspection only of such specimens as I had seen in the menagerie at
Barracpour. Since that time, I have pursued them myself near the
mountains of Sylhet; and I have likewise learned from various sources
that they are as numerous and as generally diffused as the common
Buffalo; but they appear to be wilder than the Buffalo, and not so
bold, never approaching where man has established his dominion.
Nevertheless, when caught, they are easily subdued, and become quite
domesticated in a few months. The milk of this species is said to be
more abundant and nourishing than that of any other."

From all that is at present known respecting this animal, it is regarded
by M. F. Cuvier as a new species added to the genus _Bos_; and, from the
circumstance of its having been first seen in a wild state near the
mountains of Sylhet, he has given it the specific name of _Sylhetanus_.

The animal represented in the following vignette is the Syrian Ox, which
is considered as a variety of _Bos Taurus_.



The animal generally known under the name of the _Common_ Buffalo is
evidently a different species from the _Cape_ Buffalo. Much confusion,
however, prevails in the accounts, both of travellers and naturalists,
on the subject of these two animals. Descriptions of the one are mingled
with descriptions of the other, and anecdotes are related of the one
which, there is good reason for believing, ought to be referred to the
other. It is highly probable that future and more accurate observations
will show that more than one species has been confounded under the
general epithets of "the common Buffalo," "the domestic Buffalo," "the
tame Buffalo," or, more indeterminate still, "_the_ Buffalo."

The accounts furnished by travellers of the various animals in Asia and
Africa, described by them as Buffaloes, are altogether vague and
unsatisfactory, and frequently erroneous; not from any desire on the
part of the authors to deceive, but merely because their observations
have been made in the most careless and indifferent manner; and, in many
instances, their information is obtained from the verbal communications
of ignorant natives.

In those descriptions which are confined to the Buffalo, as it at
present exists in Italy and the south of Europe, tolerable reliance may
be placed, as their character and habits are there well known, being of
every day observation; yet, even in this case, little or nothing is
known of the anatomy of the animal, and its period of gestation has
never been precisely stated. The following information on this latter
point is given in Griffith's 'Cuvier,' (vol. iv, p. 383,) "Gestation _is
said_ to last twelve months, but _it appears_ not to exceed ten."


_Bos Bubalus._


This animal is more bulky than the domestic Ox, and its limbs are
stouter. The head is larger, in proportion to the size of the body, than
that of the domestic Ox, and is generally carried with the muzzle
projecting; the forehead is rather convex, and higher than broad; the
horns are large, slightly compressed, and recline towards the neck, with
the points turned up; dewlap of a moderate size.

Throughout the whole range of the Italian peninsula Buffaloes are used
as beasts of burden, and their immense strength renders their services
invaluable in the marshy and swampy districts, where the services of
horses, or ordinary oxen, would be totally unavailing. The roads through
which they are obliged to pass are frequently covered to a depth of two
or three feet, through which they work their way with wonderful

On the great plain of Apulia the Buffalo is the ordinary beast of
draught; and at the annual fair held at Foggia, at the end of May,
immense droves of almost wild Buffaloes are brought to the town for
sale. Fearful accidents occasionally happen; enraged animals breaking
from the dense mass, in spite of all the exertions of their drovers, and
rushing upon some object of their vengeance, whom they strike down, and
trample to death. It is dangerous to overwork or irritate the Buffalo,
and instances have been known in which, when released by the brutal
driver from the cart, they have instantly turned upon the man and killed
him on the spot.

The following part of their history is remarkable: They appear to be
most numerous, and to thrive best in those districts which are most
infected with malaria. In the Pontine marshes they find a favorite
retreat, and in the pestilential Maremma scarcely any other animals are
to be seen. In the northern portions of Italy, where malaria is much
less frequent than in the south. Buffaloes are to be found in the
greatest numbers precisely in those localities where malaria is the most

They are particularly fond of the long rank herbage, which springs up in
moist and undrained lands. In their habits they are almost amphibious,
lying for hours half submerged in water and mud.

When travellers make use of the name "common Buffalo," they are usually
understood to mean an animal identical with the Italian species; if this
really be the case, its geographical range must be very extensive. It is
said to inhabit the extensive regions of Hindostan, China, Cochin-China,
Malabar, Coromandel, Persia, and the Crimea; also Abyssinia, Egypt, and
the south of Europe; to which may be added, most of the large islands in
the Indian Sea.

As an article of food, the flesh of this animal is inferior to the beef
of the domestic Ox, but the milk of the female is particularly rich and
abundant; the semi-fluid butter, called _ghee_ in India, is made from
it. According to the testimony of Colonel Sykes, the long-horned variety
is reared in vast numbers in the Mawals, or hilly tracts lying along the
Ghauts:--"In those tracts much rice is planted, and the male Buffalo,
from his superior hardihood, is much better suited to resist the effects
of the heavy rains, and the splashy cultivation of the rice than the
bullock. The female is also infinitely more valuable than the cow, from
the very much greater quantity of milk she yields." The hide is also
much valued for its strength and durability.

In India they are used as beasts of burden; but the nature of the goods
they carry must be such as will not suffer from being wet, as they have
an invincible propensity to lie down in water. The native princes use
them to fight with tigers in their public shows; and from their fierce
and active nature, when excited, they frequently prove more than a match
for their formidable assailants. With the native herdsman, however, they
are generally docile: these men ride on their favorites, and spend the
night with them in the midst of jungles and forests, without fear of
wild beasts. When driven along, the herds keep close together, so that
the driver, if necessary, walks from the back of one to the other,
perfectly at his ease. In the south of Europe they are managed by means
of a ring passed through the cartilage of the nose, but in India it is a
mere rope.

Their fierceness and courage are well exemplified in the following
anecdote, related by Mr. D. Johnson in his interesting 'Sketches of
Indian Field Sports:' "Two Biparies, or carriers of grain and
merchandise on the backs of bullocks, were driving a loaded string of
these animals from Palamow to Chittrah: when they were come within a few
miles of the latter place, a tiger seized on the man in the rear, which
was seen by a Guallah (herdsman), as he was watching his Buffaloes
grazing. He boldly ran up to the man's assistance, and cut the tiger
severely with his sword; upon which he dropped the Biparie, and seized
the herdsman. The Buffaloes observing it, attacked the tiger, and
rescued the herdsman; they tossed him about from one to the other, and,
to the best of my recollection, killed him. Both the wounded men were
brought to me; the Biparie recovered, and the herdsman died."

Speaking of the Buffalo at Malabar, Dillon says, "It is an ugly animal,
almost destitute of hair, goes slowly, but carries very heavy burdens.
Herds may be seen, as of common cows; and they afford milk, which serves
to make butter and cheese. Their flesh is good, though less delicate,
than that of the ox: the animal swims perfectly well, and traverses the
broadest rivers. Besides the tame ones, there are wild Buffaloes, which
are extremely dangerous, tearing men to pieces, or crushing them with a
single blow of the head; they are less to be dreaded in woods than
elsewhere, because their horns often catch in the branches, and give
time for the persons pursued to escape by flight. The skins of these
animals serve for an infinity of purposes, and even cruses are made of
them for holding water or liquors. The animals on the coast of Malabar
are all wild, and strangers are not prevented from hunting them for
their flesh."

Whether the animals alluded to, in all these cases, constitute only one
species, or consist of several, the accounts which have been given of
them (from their vagueness and want of precision) afford no means of

The following tail-piece is a representation of the Herefordshire Cow,
_Bos Taurus_.


The Manilla Buffalo.

_Bos Bubalis?_


The animal which is represented in the above engraving, was living in
the Zoological Gardens, Regent's Park, in 1846, at which time the sketch
was taken.

In size the Manilla Buffalo is about equal to the Kyloe Ox. The horns
are of a similar shape, and take nearly the same direction, as those of
the Italian Buffalo. They differ, however, from the horns of the Italian
Buffalo in three particulars: first, in not being above half so thick or
bulky; second, in having a much larger curve; and third, in being
considerably more compressed, which compression exists throughout their
entire length: the colour of the upper surface of the horn is lightish,
on the lower side nearly black. The head is narrow, and the muzzle fine;
the ears are long and nearly naked; the eyes large and bright, with a
peculiarly timid and suspicious expression. The limbs are slender, and
indeed the whole frame is slight, and seems to betoken greater speed
than strength.

We have a notable example of the uncertainty of framing generic
characters, before the peculiar attributes of each species are known,
in Griffiths' work, already referred to (vol. iv, p. 382). "Buffaloes
_in general_" are there said to possess _strong and solid_ limbs,
_large_ head, _broad_ muzzle, _long_ and slender tail, back _rather_
straight. Here we have an animal (a Buffalo by universal consent) whose
limbs are _slender_, head _small_, muzzle _fine_; whose tail is _not_
long, and whose back is any thing but straight. The Cape Buffalo, also,
(see p. 86,) has _rather_ a small head, its tail is absolutely _short_,
and its back has very considerable curvature.


The preceding outline of the backs of four Buffaloes will show how
inappropriate the character of a _straight back_ is, when applied to
"Buffaloes _in general_." The lowest outline (5), inserted by way of
contrast, represents the back of the Domestic Ox, to which the character
of straight might very properly be applied. (1) Italian Buffalo. (2)
Manilla Buffalo. (3) Pulo Condore Buffalo. (4) Cape Buffalo.

Generic characters should be such (and such _only_) as will apply to
every species included in the genus.

The period of gestation of the Manilla Buffalo is between forty-eight
and forty-nine weeks. In two actual cases of a female now living in the
Zoological Gardens, the periods were, in the one case, 340 days, in the
other, 341 days; being 70 days longer than the ordinary term of the
domestic Cow.

[Illustration: Head of Manilla Buffalo--female.]


_Bos Bubalus?_


Not much is known of the Buffalo which is found in the island of Pulo
Condore. It is related by those navigators who completed the voyage to
the Pacific Ocean, begun by Captain Cook, that when at Pulo Condore,
they procured eight Buffaloes, which were to be conducted to the ships
by means of ropes put through their nostrils and round their horns; but
when they were brought within sight of the sailors, they became so
furious that some of them tore out the cartilage of their nostrils, and
set themselves at liberty. All attempts to get them on board would have
proved fruitless, had it not been for some children, whom the animals
would suffer to approach them, and by whose puerile management their
rage was quickly appeased; and when the animals were brought to the
beach, it was by their assistance, in twisting ropes around their legs,
that the men were enabled to throw them down, and by that means get them
into the boats. And what appears to have been no less singular than this
circumstance was, that they had not been a day on board before they
became perfectly gentle.

Whether this be a distinct species, or merely a variety, we have not, at
present, the least means of ascertaining.

Osteology unknown.

Period of gestation unknown.

The tail-piece below represents a short-horned Bull of the Domestic
species, _Bos Taurus_.



_Bos Caffer._


This species of ox is only to be found in Africa, and is chiefly
confined to the wooded districts lying north of the Cape of Good Hope.
What Lavater endeavours to prove of the human being, namely, that the
face is the index of the mind or disposition, may be applied, with at
least equal truth, to the Cape Buffalo. His broad, projecting muzzle,
lowering eyebrows, shaggy pendulous ears, surmounted by a pair of huge
horns, give a look of bold determination to this animal, which forms a
tolerably correct index of his character; his firm-set limbs and bulky
body convey a no less adequate idea of his enormous strength.

These animals are gregarious, living in small herds in the brushwoods or
open forests, of Caffraria, occasionally uniting in large droves. Old
bulls are often met with alone; but though they are fiercer than the
young ones, they are less dangerous, because less active, and less
inclined to exertion.

It is worthy of observation, that the males of every species of the
Genus Bos are remarkably bold and courageous, as are likewise the
females when they have calves. It is not, therefore, surprising that the
hunting of this animal should be attended with danger, and frequently
with fatal consequences. The European colonists generally pursue the
sport on horseback; but the Caffers and other natives, who are more
active, and accustomed to the intricacies of the forest, prefer
following the game on foot.

Professor Thunberg, whilst investigating the interior of Caffraria, in
1772, in company with a sergeant and a European gardener, who had
resided in the colony some time, and who acted as guide on the occasion,
met with the following perilous adventure:--

"We had not advanced far into the wood," says the traveller, "before we
had the misfortune of meeting with a large old male Buffalo, which was
lying down quite alone, in a spot that was free from bushes for the
space of a few square yards. He no sooner discovered Auge, the gardener,
who went first, than, roaring horribly, he rushed upon him. The gardener
turning his horse short round, behind a large tree, by that means got in
some measure out of the Buffalo's sight, which now rushed straight
forward towards the sergeant, who followed next, and gored his horse in
the belly in such a terrible manner, that it fell on its back that
instant, with its feet turned up in the air, and all its entrails
hanging out, in which state it lived almost half an hour. The gardener
and the sergeant, in the meantime, had climbed up into trees, where
they thought themselves secure. The Buffalo, after this first
achievement, still appeared to take his course in the same direction,
and, therefore, could not have failed in his way to pay his compliments
to me, who all the while was coming towards him, and, in the narrow pass
formed by the boughs and branches of the trees, and on account of the
rustling noise these made against my saddle and baggage, had neither
seen nor heard anything of what had passed; as in my way I frequently
stopped to take up plants, and put them into my handkerchief, I
generally kept behind my companions.

"The sergeant had brought two horses with him for the journey. One of
them had already been despatched, and the other now stood just in the
way of the Buffalo, who was going out of the wood. As soon as the
Buffalo saw this second horse, he became more outrageous than before,
and he attacked it with such fury, that he not only drove his horns into
the horse's breast, and out again through the very saddle, but also
threw it to the ground with such violence, that it died that very
instant, and most of its bones were broken. Just at the moment that he
was occupied with this latter horse, I came up to the opening, where the
wood was so thick that I had neither room to turn my horse, nor to get
on one side; I was, therefore, obliged to abandon him to his fate, and
take refuge in a tolerably high tree, up which I climbed.

"The Buffalo, having finished this his second exploit, suddenly turned
round, and shaped his course the same way which we had intended to take.

"From the height of my situation in the tree, I could plainly perceive
one of the horses quite dead; the other sprawling with his feet, and
endeavouring to rise, which it had not strength to do; the other two
horses shivering with fear, and unable to make their escape; but I could
neither see nor hear anything of my fellow-travellers, which induced me
to fear that they had fallen victims to the first transports of the
Buffalo's fury. I, therefore, made all possible haste to search for
them, to see if I could, in any way, assist them; but not discovering
any trace of them in the whole field of battle, I began to call out
after them, when I discovered these magnanimous heroes sitting fast,
like two cats, on the trees, with their guns on their backs, loaded with
fine shot, and unable to utter a single word.

"I encouraged them as well as I could, and advised them to come down,
and get away as fast as possible from such a dangerous place, where we
ran the risk of being once more attacked. The sergeant at length burst
out into tears, deploring the loss of his two spirited steeds; but the
gardener was so strongly affected, that he could scarcely speak for some
days after."

Speaking of a small settlement in the interior, he says: "Buffaloes were
shot here by a Hottentot, who had been trained to the business by the
farmer, and in this manner found the whole family in meat, without
having recourse to the herd. The balls were counted out to him every
time he went a shooting, and he was obliged to furnish the same number
of dead Buffaloes as he received of balls. Thus the many Hottentots that
lived here were supported without expense, and without the decrease of
the tame cattle which constitute the whole of the farmer's wealth. The
greatest part of the flesh of the Buffalo falls to the share of the
Hottentots, but the hide to that of the master."

[Illustration: Young Cape Buffalo.]

The Caffres, who at that time (1772) did not possess fire-arms, were,
nevertheless, dextrous in the use of their javelins. When a Caffre has
discovered a spot where several Buffaloes are assembled, he blows a
pipe, made of the thigh-bone of a sheep, which is heard at a great
distance. In consequence of this, several of his comrades run up to the
spot, and surrounding the Buffaloes, at the same time approaching them
by degrees, throw their javelins at them. In this case, out of ten or
twelve Buffaloes, it is very rare for one to escape. It sometimes
happens, however, that while the Buffaloes are running off, some one of
the hunters, who stands in the way of them, is tossed and killed, which,
by the people of this nation, is not much regarded. When the chase is
over, each one takes his share of the game.

Since the introduction of fire-arms by the Europeans, the natives, as
well as the colonists, bring down the Buffalo by means of the gun.
Nevertheless, great circumspection is required in following the sport,
as the animal is sometimes capable of revenging himself even after being
severely wounded. On one occasion a party of huntsmen discovered a small
herd of Buffaloes grazing on a piece of marshy ground. As it was
impossible to get near enough without crossing a marsh, which did not
afford a safe footing for their horses, they left them in charge of the
Hottentots, and proceeded on foot, thinking, that if the Buffaloes
should turn upon them, it would be easy to retreat by crossing the
quagmire, which, though firm enough to support a man, would not bear the
weight of a Buffalo. They advanced accordingly, and, under shelter of
the bushes, approached with such advantage, that the first volley
brought down three of the fattest of the herd, and so severely wounded
the great bull leader, that he dropped on his knees, bellowing most
furiously. Supposing him mortally wounded, the foremost of the huntsmen
issued from the covert, and began reloading his musket as he advanced,
to give him a finishing shot; but no sooner did the enraged animal see
his enemy in front of him than he sprang up, and ran furiously upon him.
The man, throwing down his gun, fled towards the quagmire; but the beast
was so close upon him, that, despairing to escape in that direction, he
suddenly turned round a clump of copsewood, and began to ascend a tree.
The raging animal, however, was too quick for him, and bounding forward
with a tremendous roar, he caught the unfortunate man with his terrible
horns, just as he had nearly escaped his reach, and tossed him into the
air with such force, that the body fell dreadfully mangled into the
cleft of a tree. The Buffalo ran round the tree once or twice,
apparently looking for the man, until weakened with loss of blood, he
again sank on his knees. The rest of the party, recovering from their
confusion, then came up and despatched him, though too late to save
their comrade, whose body was hanging in the tree quite dead.

The length of a full-grown Buffalo is about eight feet from horns to
root of tail, and the height five feet and a half. The horns are massive
and heavy, measuring from six to nine feet, following the curve from tip
to tip. They are broad at the base, and very nearly meet on the centre
of the forehead. Hamilton Smith says, they are "in contact at the base;"
but this is not the case in the several specimens which I have examined,
namely, three in the College of Surgeons, four in the British Museum,
and two in the Zoological Gardens.

In the living specimen in the Zoological Gardens, from which the figure
at the head of this article was taken, there is a good deal of hair of a
dark brown colour on the neck and shoulders, and some small tufts on the
fore-legs, but the rest of the body is almost naked. The tail is short,
with a tuft at the end.

The individual here referred to is by no means a large specimen, being
only four feet ten inches high at the shoulders; probably he is young,
and not yet full-grown. He is so active, as to be able to clear a
four-feet fence, and he frequently leaps over the half-door (about three
feet high,) which separates his little enclosure from his dormitory. His
intelligence is much superior to that of ordinary cattle: the entrance
to his apartment is furnished with four doors, two on each door-post;
and when closed, they of course meet in the middle of the entrance. When
he is outside, (as the doors all open inwardly,) a mere push with his
horns sends them open. But when he is inside, it requires four distinct
operations to shut them, and these he performs with the greatest
adroitness, going from one to the other, until all are closed. He opens
them also from within with equal skill, by applying the tip of one of
his horns to each separately, and retiring a step or two to allow them
room to open.

The flesh of the Cape Buffalo is reckoned excellent eating, especially
that of the young calf, which is equal to the veal of the domestic calf.
The horns are made into various articles, having a fine close grain, and
taking a beautiful polish. But the hide is the most valuable part of
this animal, being so thick and tough, that shields, proof against a
musket-shot, are formed of it; and it affords the strongest and best
thongs for harness and whips. The skin of the living Buffalo is so
dense that it is impenetrable, in many parts, to an ordinary
musket-ball; the balls used by the huntsmen are, therefore, mixed with
tin, and even these are often flattened by the resistance. In examining
the skeleton of this Buffalo, the ribs are found to be remarkably strong
and wide--measuring from three inches to three inches and seven-tenths
in width, and overlapping each other like the scales of a fish: the
difficulty of wounding this animal may be partly owing to this
arrangement of the ribs.

Since the increase of the settlements about the Cape of Good Hope, the
Buffalo has become rather a rare animal in the colony; but, on the
plains of Caffraria, they are so common that herds of a hundred and
fifty, or two hundred, may be frequently seen grazing together towards
the evening, but during the day they lie retired among the woods and
thickets. They range along the eastern side of Africa, to an unknown
distance in the interior.

Sparrman says that the period of gestation is twelve months.

[Illustration: Head of Cape Buffalo.]


_Bos Pegasus._


The above figure is copied from an engraving in the fourth volume of
Griffiths' 'Cuvier,' of which the following account is given: "In the
collection of drawings, formerly the property of Prince John Maurice of
Nassau, now in the Berlin library, there is the figure of a ruminant
with the name Pacasse written under it. Judging from the general
appearance of the painting, it represents a young animal, although the
horns are already about as long as the head. They are of a darkish
colour, with something like ridges passing transversely, commencing at
the sides of the frontal ridge, turned down and outwards, with the
points slightly upwards; the head is short, thick, abrupt at the nose;
the forehead wide; the eyes large and full, dark, with a crimson
canthus; the neck maned with a dense and rough mane; the tail descending
below the hough, entirely covered with dark, long hair, appearing
woolly; the carcass short, and the legs high and clumsy; but the most
remarkable character appears to consist in pendulous ears, nearly as
long as the head. The mane and tail are dark; the head, neck, body, and
limbs dark brown, excepting the pastern joints, which are white; this
figure cannot be referred to a known species, and is sufficiently
curious to merit an engraving."

Swainson says that this animal only occurs in the interior of Western
Africa; but he does not mention on what authority.

As the exploration of the interior of Africa is becoming an object of
increasing importance and interest, we may expect, before long, to be
furnished with some authentic details of the Pegasse, if such an animal
really exist.

[Illustration: Occipital View of Horns of _Bos Caffer_, from a Specimen
in the Zoological Society's Museum.]


_Bos Gaurus._


The above representation of this animal was sketched from a stuffed
specimen in the British Museum, the dimensions of which are given on p.

The following interesting particulars are taken from Mr. T. S. Traill's
paper on the Gour, in the 'Edinburgh Philosophical Journal,' October,

"The Gaur is considered by the Indians as of a species totally distinct
from either the Arna or the common Buffalo. The only animal with which
it appears to have affinity is the Gayal, or Bos Gavæus, described by
Mr. Colebrook, in the 'Asiatic Researches,' vol. viii. That animal is
said to exist, both wild and domestic, in the hilly countries of Upper
India, and to have a high dorsal ridge, somewhat similar to what we
shall immediately find in the Gaur; but the very different form of its
head, _the presence of a distinct dewlap_, and the general habit of the
Gayal, appear sufficient to distinguish it from the Gaur.

The Gaur occurs in several mountainous parts of central India, but is
chiefly found in Myn Pat, or Mine Paut, (Pat or Paut, in Hindostanee,
signifies table-land,) a high, insulated mountain, with a tabular
summit, in the province of Sergojah, in South Bahar.

This table-land is about 36 miles in length, by 24 or 25 in medial
breadth, and rises above the neighbouring plains probably 2000 feet. The
sides of the mountain slope with considerable steepness, and are
furrowed by streams that water narrow valleys, the verdant banks of
which are the favorite haunts of Gaurs. On being disturbed, they retreat
into the thick jungles (of saul-trees), which cover the sides of the
whole range. The south-east side of the mountain presents an extensive
mural precipice from 20 to 40 feet high. The rugged slopes at its foot
are covered by impenetrable green jungle, and abound with dens formed of
fallen blocks of rock, the suitable retreats of Tigers, Bears, and
Hyænas. The western slopes are less rugged, but the soil is parched, and
the forests seem withered by excess of heat. The summit of the mountain
presents a mixture of open lawns and woods. There were once twenty-five
villages on Myn Pat, but they have long been deserted, on account of the
number and ferocity of the beasts of prey. On this mountain, however,
the Gaur maintains his seat. The Indians assert that even the Tiger has
no chance in combat with the full-grown Gaur, though he may
occasionally succeed in carrying off an unprotected calf. The wild
Buffalo abounds in the plains below the mountains; but he so much dreads
the Gaur, according to the natives, that he rarely attempts to invade
his haunts. The forests which shield the Gaur abound, however, in
Hog-deer, Saumurs, and Porcupines.

The size of the Gaur is its most striking peculiarity. The following
measurement of one not fully grown will show the enormous bulk of the

                                        Ft.  In.
Height from the hoof to the withers      5   11-3/4
Length from nose to end of tail         11   11-3/4

The form of the Gaur is not so lengthened as that of the Arna. Its back
is strongly arched, so as to form a pretty uniform curve from the nose
to the origin of the tail, when the animal stands still. This appearance
is partly owing to the curved form of the nose and forehead, and still
more to a remarkable ridge, of no great thickness, which rises six or
seven inches above the general line of the back, from the last of the
cervical to beyond the middle of the dorsal vertebræ, from which it
gradually is lost in the outline of the back. This peculiarity proceeds
from an unusual elongation of the spinous processes of the dorsal
column. It is very conspicuous in the Gaurs of all ages, although loaded
with fat; and has no resemblance to the hunch which is found on some of
the domestic cattle of India. It bears some resemblance, certainly, to
the ridge _described_ as existing in the Gayal; but the Gaur is said to
be distinguished from that animal by the remarkable peculiarity of a
_total want of a dewlap._ Neither the male nor female Gaur, at any age,
has the slightest trace of this appendage, which is found on every
other known animal of this genus.

The colour of the Gaur is a very deep brownish black, almost approaching
to blueish black, except a tuft of curling dirty white hair between the
horns, and rings of the same colour just above the hoof. The hair over
the skin is extremely short and sleek, and has somewhat of the _oily_
appearance of a fresh seal-skin.

The character of the head differs little from that of the domestic Bull,
excepting that the outline of the face is more curved--the os-frontis
more solid and projecting. The horns are short, thick at the base,
considerably curved towards the tip, slightly compressed on one side,
and in the natural state are rough. They are, however, capable of a good
polish, when they are of a horn gray colour, with black solid tips. A
pair in my possession measure one foot eleven inches along their convex
sides; one foot from the centre of the base to the tip, in a straight
line; and one foot in their widest circumference; but as they are cut
and polished, a portion of their length and thickness has been lost.
They are of a very dense substance, as their weight indicates, for even
in their dressed state the pair weigh 5 lbs. 11 oz. avoirdupois.


The limbs of the Gaur have more of the form of the deer than any other
of the bovine genus. This is particularly observable in the acuteness of
the angle formed by the tibia and tarsus, and in the slenderness of the
lower part of the legs. They give the idea, however, of great strength
combined with fleetness; and the animal is observed to _canter_ with
great velocity. The form of the hoof, too, is longer, neater, and
stronger than in the ox, and the whole foot appears to have greater

When wounded the Gaur utters a short bellow, which may be best imitated
by the syllable--ugh-ugh.

It is said that the Gaur will not live in a state of captivity; even
when taken very young, the calf soon droops and dies. The bull-calf of
the first year is called, by the natives, Purorah; the female, Pareeah;
and when full-grown the cow is called Gourin.

Gaurs associate in herds consisting usually of from ten to twenty
animals. So numerous are they on Myn Pat, that, in one day hunting, the
party computed that not less than eighty had passed through the station
occupied by the sportsmen.

The Gaurs browse on the leaves and tender shoots of trees and shrubs,
and also graze on the banks of the streams. During the cold season they
remain concealed in the _saul_ forests, but in hot weather come out to
feed in the green vallies and lawns, which occur on the mountain of Myn
Pat. They show no disposition to wallow in mire or swamps, like the
Buffalo; a habit, indeed, which the sleekness of their skins renders not
at all probable.

The period of gestation is said to be twelve months, and they bring
forth usually in August."

To the preceding observations of Dr. Traill, I have to add the
important fact (which of itself will be sufficient to constitute a
specific difference between the Gaur and the Gayal), namely, that in the
skeleton of the Gaur there are only thirteen pairs of ribs, whilst the
skeleton of the Gayal possesses fourteen pairs. This fact I have
ascertained from an examination of both the skeletons; that of the Gaur
in the museum of the Zoological Society, and that of the Gayal, in the
possession of Mr. Bartlett, Russell Street, Covent Garden. (See p. 68.)

The skeleton of the Gaur just referred to, strikingly confirms Dr.
Traill's account of the elevated dorsal ridge of this animal; several of
the dorsal vertebræ measuring, with their spinous processes, upwards of
seventeen inches each, the longest being twenty inches and a half.

The Gaur, from which this skeleton was taken, was killed at Nicecond,
November 8, 1843. There is another fine specimen of the skull and horns
of the Gaur, in the Museum of the Zoological Society, taken from an
animal killed by Lieut. Nelson, on the Neilsburry Hills, Salem district.
This animal measured nineteen hands and half an inch at the shoulder.

Dimensions of the Figure in the British Museum:--

                                                              Ft. In.
Length from nose to insertion of tail, measuring over the
  forehead and along the back                                  11  0
Height at the highest part of the dorsal ridge                  5  7-1/2
Height at the croup                                             5  4
Length of the tail                                              3  1

In Mr. D. Johnson's Sketches, the Gaur is described as a kind of wild
bullock, of prodigious size, residing in the Ramghur district, not well
known to Europeans. Mr. Johnson says: "I have never obtained a sight of
them, but have often seen the print of their feet, the impression of
one of them covering as large a space as a common china plate. According
to the account I received from a number of persons they are much larger
than the largest of our oxen; light brown colour, with short horns, and
inhabit the thickest covers. They keep together in herds, and a herd of
them is always near the Luggo-hill; they are also in the heavy jungles
between Ramghur and Nagpoor. I saw the skin of one that had been killed
by Rajah Futty Narrain; its exact size I do not recollect, but I well
remember that it astonished me, having never seen the skin of any animal
so large. Some gentlemen at Chittrah have tried all in their power to
procure a calf without success. The Shecarries and villagers are so much
afraid of these animals, that they cannot be prevailed on to go near
them, or to endeavour to catch any of their young. It is a prevailing
opinion in the country, that if they are in the least molested, they
will attack the persons disturbing them, and never quit them until they
are destroyed; and should they get into a tree, they will remain near it
for many days."

The word Gau, or Ghoo, as it is sometimes spelled by European writers,
appears to be used both as a generic and specific term, in Persia and
Hindostan; and as it has the same meaning, and nearly the same sound, as
the German word _Kuh_, and the English _Cow_, it is highly probable that
its origin is the same. As the word _ur_, in Hindostan, appears to have
the meaning of _wild_, or _savage,_ the name Gaur, or Gau-ur, literally
signifies the _wild cow._ Should the prefix _aur_, in the German word
_Aurochs_, be merely a form, or different mode of spelling the prefix
_ur,_ then the name _Aurochs_ would be precisely synonymous with the
Hindostanee _Gau-ur_. That _aur_ is, in this instance, merely a
different spelling of the prefix _ur_, would appear to be corroborated
by the circumstance that the term _Urus_ is the latinized form of the
German _Aurochs_.--_From a MS. Note by Mr. W. A. Chatto._

[Illustration: Head of Gaur, from the stuffed Specimen in the British



It does not appear, that the Arnee had been noticed by Europeans until
the year 1792, when the following detailed account appeared in a weekly
Miscellany, called '_The Bee_,' conducted by Dr. J. Anderson.

This animal is hitherto unknown among the naturalists of Europe. It is a
native of the higher parts of Hindostan, being scarcely ever found lower
down than the Plains of Plassy, above which they are found in
considerable numbers, and are well known by the natives.

The figure, which is given at the end of this article, is copied from a
curious Indian painting, in the possession of Gilbert Innes, of Stow. It
forms one of a numerous group of figures, represented at a grand Eastern
festival. There are two more of them in the same painting. In this and
both the others, the horns bend inwards in a circular form; and it would
seem, too, that if a transverse section of the horn was made at any
place, that also would be circular. But this is a defect in the
painting, for although all the horns of the Arnee tribe bend in a
circular form, yet if the horn be cut transversely, the section is not
circular, but rather of a triangular shape. The horns of the Arnee rise
in a curve upwards, nearly in the same plane with the forehead, neither
bending forward nor backward. That part of the horn which fronts you
when the animal looks you in the face, is nearly flat, having a ridge
projecting a little forward all along, nearer the outer curvature of the
horn; from that ridge outward it goes backward, not at right angles, but
bending a little outward; and near the back part there is another obtuse
rounded ridge, where it turns inward, so as to join another obtuse,
rounded angle, at the inner curvature of the horn. Along the whole
length, especially toward the base of the horn, there are irregular
transverse dimples, or hollows and rugosities, more nearly resembling
those of a ram, than that of a common ox's horn, but no appearance of
rings, denoting the age of the animal, as in the horns of our cattle.

This description of the horns is taken from a pair of real horns of the
animal, now in the possession of Mr. James Haig, merchant in Leith, that
were sent home to him this year (1792) by his brother, Mr. W. Haig, of
the 'Hawkesbury' East-Indiaman, and of which the following cut
represents a front view. The little figure marked _a_, represents a
section of the horn near its base.

[Illustration: (1).--Horns of young Arnee--Scale of Half an Inch to a

In this young specimen (1) the length of the skull is exactly two feet,
and the distance between the tops of the horns thirty-five inches. In
the following sketch (2) from the Museum of the College of Surgeons, the
length of the skull is likewise two feet, and the distance between the
tips of the horns three feet four inches and a half.

The young animal just referred to, was found in a situation near which
no other animal of this sort had ever before been discovered: it was
killed by the crew of the 'Hawkesbury,' in the river Ganges, about fifty
miles below Calcutta, at the place where the ships usually lie.

The flesh was eaten by the ship's company, by whom it was considered
very good meat. Although conjectured to be only two years old, it
weighed, when cut up, 360 lbs. the quarter, which is 1440 lbs. the
carcase, exclusive of head, legs, hide, and entrails.

[Illustration: (2).--Horns of Arnee.--Scale of Half an Inch to a Foot.]

[Illustration: (3).--Horns of Arnee.--Scale of Half an Inch to a Foot.]

This last sketch (3) is from a pair of horns in the British Museum, of
which the following are the dimensions:--

                                                                 Ft. In.

The horn _a_, from tip to base, along the outer curve         6   6
The horn _b_               ditto            ditto             6   3
Circumference at the base of horn _a_                         1   5
        Ditto       ditto of horn _b_                         1   6[A]

The Arnee is by far the largest animal of the Ox tribe yet known. In its
native country _it is said_ to measure usually twelve, sometimes
fourteen, feet from the ground to the highest part of the back! The one
in the vignette, p. 111, comparing it with the man on its back, would
not seem to be quite so tall.

From the appearance of the three Arnees in the painting before
mentioned, it would seem that they are quite docile, and easily tamed;
for they are all standing quietly, with a person on their back, who
guides them by means of a rein, formed of a cord fastened to the gristle
of the nose, in the Eastern manner. The colour of the animal, in all the
three figures, is a pure black, except between the horns, where there is
a small tuft of longish hair of a bright red colour.

From the accounts of more recent travellers, there seem to be two or
three varieties of this animal, which exist, both in a wild and domestic
state, in China as well as India.

According to Major Smith, the gigantic or Taur-elephant Arnee, appears
to be rare; found only single, or in small families, in the upper
eastern provinces and forests at the foot of the Himalaya. A party of
officers of the British Cavalry, stationed in the north of Bengal, went
on a three months' hunting expedition to the eastward, and destroyed in
that time forty-two Tigers, and numerous wild Buffaloes, but only one
Arnee. When the head of this specimen rested perpendicularly on the
ground, it required the out-stretched arms of a man to hold the points
of the horns. These are described as angular, with the broadest side to
the rear; the two others anterior and inferior; they are of a brownish
colour, and wrinkled; standing outwards, and not bent back; straight for
near two thirds of their length, then curving inwards, with the tips
rather back. The face is nearly straight, and the breadth of the
forehead is carried down with little diminution to the foremost grinder.

There is a spirited figure of a long-horned Buffalo in Captain
Williamson's 'Oriental Field Sports,' which Major Smith considers to be
a representation of the great Arnee; and of which Captain Williamson
relates the following anecdote:--

"The late Dr. Baillie, who was a very keen and capable sportsman, used,
in my idea, to run many very foolish risks among Buffaloes. I often
remonstrated with him on his temerity, but he was so infatuated, that it
was all to no purpose. One morning, as we were riding on the same
elephant to the hunting-ground, to save our horses as much as possible,
we saw a very large Buffalo lying on the grass, which was rather short
and thin; as usual, the doctor would have a touch at him, and, heedless
of my expostulation, dismounted with his gun. The Buffalo, seeing him
approach, rose and shook his head as a prelude to immediate hostilities.
My friend fired, and hit him on the side. The enraged brute came
thundering at the doctor, who lost no time in running round to the
opposite side of the elephant; the _mohout_, at the same time, pushed
forward, to meet and screen him from the Buffalo, which absolutely put
his horns under the elephant's belly, and endeavoured to raise him from
the ground. We had no other gun, and might, perhaps, have felt some more
severe effects from the doctor's frolic, had not the Buffalo, from loss
of blood, dropped at our side. The Buffalo was upwards of six feet high
at the shoulder, and measured nearly a yard in breadth at the chest. His
horns were above five feet and a half in length."

In systems of classification, even of very recent date, the Arnee is
considered merely as a variety of the Buffalo. It appears to me,
however, that our information on the subject is not yet sufficiently
precise to determine this point.



[A] In Shaw's 'Zoology,' it is mentioned that a Mr. Dillon saw some
horns in India which were ten feet long.


_Bos Brachyceros._


[The following extract, from the 'Annals of Nat. Hist.,' vol. ii, p.
284, is from the pen of Mr. J. E. Gray.]

"Captain Clapperton and Colonel Denham, when they returned from their
expedition in Northern and Central Africa, brought with them two heads
of a species of Ox, covered with their skins. These heads are the
specimens which are mentioned in Messrs. Children and Vigors' accounts
of the animals collected in the expedition, as belonging to the
Buffalo, _Bos Bubalus_, and they are stated to be called _Zamouse_ by
the natives; but, as no particular locality is given for the head, this
name is probably the one applied to the common Buffalo, which is found
in most parts of North Africa.

"Having some years ago compared these heads with the skull of the common
Buffalo, _Bos Bubalus_, and satisfied myself, from the difference in the
form and position of the horns, that they were a distinct species, in
the 'Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' for 1837 (new series, vol. i, p. 589), I
indicated them as a new species, under the name of _Bos Brachyceros_.

"In the course of this summer (1838), Mr. Cross, of the Surrey
Zoological Gardens, received from Sierra Leone, under the name of the
_Bush Cow_, a specimen which serves more fully to establish the species.
It differs from the Buffalo and all other oxen in several important
characters, especially in the large size and particular bearding of the
ears, and in being totally deficient in any dewlap. It also differs from
the Buffalo in its forehead, being flatter and quite destitute of the
convex form which is so striking in all the varieties of that animal.

"Mr. Cross's cow is, like the head in the Museum, of a nearly uniform
pale chesnut colour. The hair is rather scattered, and nearly
perpendicular to the surface of the body. The legs, about the knees and
hocks, are rather darker. The ears are very large, with two rows of very
long hairs on the inner side, and a tuft of long hairs at the tips. The
body is short and barrel-shaped, and the tail reaches to the hocks,
rather thin and tapering, with a tuft of long hairs at the tip. The
chest is rounded and rather dependent, but without the least appearance
of a dewlap; and the horns nearly resemble those of the Museum
specimen, but are less developed, from the sex and evidently greater
youth of the animal. The Rev. Mr. Morgan informs me that the animal is
not rare in the bush near Sierra Leone.

"I have added a slight sketch of Mr. Cross's animal, which I hope will
enable any person to distinguish this very distinct and interesting
addition to the species of this useful genus."

The engraving at the head of this article is a reduced copy of Mr.
Gray's figure just alluded to. The following representation of the head
is from a specimen in the British Museum.



_Bos Moschatus._


The Musk-ox, in its external appearance, more nearly resembles the Yak
of Thibet than any other member of the Bos genus; and they both inhabit
mountainous districts near regions of perpetual snow.

The horns of the Musk Bull are remarkably broad at their bases, which
are closely united; they bend down on each side of the head, with an
outward curve turning upwards towards their ends, which taper to a sharp
point. They are two feet long measured along the curvature, and two feet
in girth at the base; the weight of a pair of these horns is sometimes
sixty pounds. The broad base of the horn is hollow on the inside, and of
a form approaching to a square; when this is separated from the head and
the other part of the horn, it forms a convenient dish, which is very
generally used by the native Esquimaux for many domestic purposes.

The horns of the cow are nine inches distant from each other at the
base, and are placed exactly on the sides of the head; they are thirteen
inches long, and eight or nine inches round at the base.

The head and the body generally is covered with very long silky hairs of
a dark colour; some of which are seventeen inches long; on the middle of
the back (which is broad and flat), the hair is lighter and not so long.
Beneath the long hairs, in all parts, there is a thick coat of cinereous
wool of exquisite fineness. M. Jeramie brought some to France, of which
stockings were made more beautiful than silk.

The tail is only three inches long, and completely covered with very
long hairs, so as to be undistinguishable to the sight. Of this tail,
the Esquimaux of the northwest side of Hudson's Bay, make a cap of a
most horrible appearance, for the hairs fall all round their heads, and
cover their faces; yet it is of singular service in keeping off the
musquitoes, which would otherwise be intolerable.

The ears are only three inches long, quite erect, and sharp pointed, but
dilate much in the middle; they are thickly lined with hair of a dusky
colour, marked with a stripe of white.

The frog in the hoof is soft, partially covered with hair, and
transversely ribbed. The following sketch represents the under surface
of the foot of the Musk-ox, the external hoof being rounded, the
internal pointed.


The foot-marks of the Musk-ox and those of the rein-deer are so much
alike, that it requires the eye of an experienced hunter to distinguish
them. The mark of the Musk-ox's hoof, however, is a little narrower.

The food of the Musk-ox is the same with that of the rein-deer--lichens
and grass; and sometimes twigs and shoots of willow, birch, and pine.

At present this animal is not found in a lower latitude than 66°; but
formerly they came much further to the south; and their flesh used to be
brought by the natives to Fort Churchill in latitude 58°. It would
appear that they are retiring northward, probably owing to the alarm
created by the attacks made upon them by fire-arms. It is worthy of
remark, that the American Bison has also retreated considerably to the
north. According to Dr. Richardson, the Musk-ox inhabits the North
Georgian Islands in the summer months. They arrive in Melville Island in
the middle of May, crossing the ice from the southward, and quit it on
their return towards the end of September.

The Musk-oxen, like the Bison, herd together in bands, and generally
frequent barren grounds during the summer months, keeping near the
rivers; but retire to the woods in winter. They seem to be less watchful
than most other wild animals; and when feeding are not difficult of
approach, provided the hunters go against the wind. When two or three
men get so near a herd as to fire at them from different points, these
animals, instead of separating or running away, huddle closer together,
and in this case they are easily shot down; but if the wound is not
mortal, they become enraged, and dart in the most furious manner at the
hunters, who must be very dexterous to evade them; for, notwithstanding
the shortness of their legs, they can run with great rapidity, and climb
hills and rocks, with great ease. They can defend themselves by their
powerful horns against wolves and bears, which, as the Indians say, they
not unfrequently kill.--(Capt. Franklin's 'Journey to the Polar Sea.')

They are hunted in their winter retreats by the Esquimaux only, the
Indian tribes never visiting the barren grounds at that season.

When the Musk-ox is fat, its flesh is well tasted, and it is then
preferred by the Copper Indians to the rein-deer. The flesh of bulls is
high-flavoured; but both bulls and cows smell strongly of musk, their
flesh at the same time being very dark and tough. The contents of the
paunch, and other intestinal parts, are relished as much by the Indian
as the similar parts of the rein-deer.--(Appendix to Capt. Parry's
'Second Voyage.')

The weight of the bulls killed during Capt. Parry's Second Voyage was,
on an average about 700 lbs., yielding about 400 lbs. of meat. Their
height, at the withers, was about ten hands and a half.

They were observed by Capt. Franklin's party to rut in the end of
August and beginning of September; and Hearne says, that they bring
forth one calf in the latter end of May, or beginning of June; thus the
period of gestation is about nine months.

The figure at the beginning of this article, as well as the following
cut of the head, are from the beautiful specimen of the Musk Ox, in the
British Museum.

[Illustration: Head of Musk Ox.]


_(See Frontispiece). Bos ----?_

This singular animal is only found in Abyssinia, and is famous on
account of its horns, which are of an almost incredible size.

Bruce the traveller, in speaking of these horns, says, "The animal
furnishing these monstrous horns is a cow or bull which would be
considered of a middling size in England. This extraordinary size of its
horns proceeds from a disease that the cattle have in these countries,
of which they die, and is probably derived from their pasture and
climate. When the animal shows symptoms of this disorder, he is set
apart in the very best and quietest grazing place, and never driven or
molested from that moment. His value lies then in his horns, for his
body becomes emaciated and lank, in proportion as the horns grow large;
at the last period of his life, the weight of his head is so great that
he is unable to lift it up, or at least for any space of time. The
joints of his neck become callous at last, so that it is not any longer
in his power to lift his head. In this situation he dies, with scarcely
flesh to cover his bones, and it is then his horns are of the greatest
value. I have seen horns that would contain as much as a common sized
water-pail, such as they make use of in the houses in England."[B]

So far Mr. Bruce. Mr. Salt, who visited Abyssinia some years afterwards,
gives a somewhat different account. He says: "Here [_i. e._ at Gibba],
for the first time, I was gratified by the sight of the Galla Oxen, or
Sanga, celebrated throughout Abyssinia for the remarkable size of its
horns. Three of these animals were grazing among the other cattle in
perfect health, which circumstance, together with the testimony of the
natives, 'that the size of the horns is in no instance occasioned by
disease,' completely refutes the fanciful theory given by Mr. Bruce
respecting this creature. It appears by the papers annexed to the last
edition of Mr. Bruce's work, that he never met with the Sanga; but that
he made many attempts to procure specimens of the horns, through Yanni,
a Greek, residing at Adowa. This old man very correctly speaks of them,
in his letters, as being only brought by the Cafilas from Antalo; and I
have now ascertained that they are sent to this country as valuable
presents, by the chiefs of the Galla, whose tribes are spread to the
southward of Enderta. So far, then, as to the description of the horns,
and the purposes to which they are applied by the Abyssinians, Mr.
Bruce's statements may be considered as correct; but with respect to
'the disease which occasions their size, probably derived from their
pasture and climate,' 'the care taken of them to encourage this
disease,' 'the emaciation of the animal,' and 'the extending of the
disorder to the spine of the neck, which at last becomes callous, so
that it is not any longer in the power of the animal to lift its head,'
they all prove to be mere ingenious conjectures, thrown out by the
author solely for the exercise of his own ingenuity.

"I should not venture to speak so positively upon this matter, had I
not indisputably ascertained the facts; for the Ras having subsequently
made me a present of three of these animals alive, I found them not only
in excellent health, but so exceedingly wild, that I was obliged to have
them shot. The horns of one of these are now deposited in the Museum of
the Surgeons' College, and a still larger pair are placed in the
collection of Lord Valentia, at Arley Hall. The length of the largest
horn of this description was nearly four feet, and its circumference at
the base twenty-one inches.

"It might have been expected that the animal, carrying horns of so
extraordinary a magnitude, would have proved larger than others
belonging to the same genus; but in every instance which came under my
observation, this was by no means the case. The etching on the following
page, which was copied from an original sketch (taken from the life),
may serve to convince the reader of this fact; and it will convey a
better idea of the animal than any description in writing I can pretend
to give. I shall only further observe, that its colour appeared to vary
as much as in the other species of its genus, and that the peculiarity
of the size of the horns was not confined to the male, the female being
very amply provided with this ornamental appendage to her forehead."

Notwithstanding the bold and confident tone of Mr. Salt's
counter-statement, it must be confessed, that the figure which he
himself gives from the life (and of which the frontispiece to this
volume is an exact copy), seems rather to coincide with Mr. Bruce's
account, being, to all appearance, both "lank and emaciated."

Engraving of the horns presented by Mr. Salt to the
Museum of the College of Surgeons.

[Illustration: Horns of Galla Ox.]

                                                Ft.  In.

Length of each round the outer curve            3   10-1/2
Distance between the tips                       3    4
Circumference at the base                       1    3
Distance between the bases at the forehead      0    3-1/2

The Sanga is usually considered as a mere variety of _Bos Taurus_. This
may possibly be the fact; but we have no proof whatever that it is so:
no information on this point has been presented beyond mere conjecture.
This being the case, and in the absence of direct anatomical evidence,
we may be pardoned in considering it, at least, as doubtful; especially
as there are so many points of external dissimilarity. The principal
differences are: 1st, in the shoulder, upon which there is a hump; 2d,
in the back, which descends (as in the Buffaloes and Zebus), abruptly
towards the tail; 3d, in the greater length of the legs; and 4th, in the
forehead, which is only three inches and a half between the bases of the
horns, whilst in the Common Ox it is nine inches.

The horns represented in the following sketch, are those of the
Hungarian Ox (a variety of _Bos Taurus_), and are almost as remarkable
for their length and expansion as those of the Abyssinian Sanga. The
length of each horn is three feet four inches and a half, and the
distance between the tips is five feet one inch. The sketch is from a
specimen in the British Museum.



[B] Jerom Lobo, in his account of Abyssinia, mentions that some of the
horns of the Buffaloes of that country will hold ten quarts.


_Bos ----?_

THE ZEBU, OR BRAHMIN OX.--(_Var. alpha._)


The opinions expressed in the following extract from Mr. Bennett's
description of the Indian Ox (Gardens and Menag. of the Zool. Soc.), may
be taken as a correct exposition of the views of naturalists generally
on the subject:--

"There can be little doubt that the Zebu, or Indian Ox, is merely a
variety of the Common Ox, although it is difficult to ascertain the
causes by which the distinctive characters of the two races have been in
the process of time gradually produced. But whatever the causes may
have been, their effects rapidly disappear by the intermixture of the
breeds, and are entirely lost at the end of a few generations. This
intermixture and its results would alone furnish a sufficient proof of
identity of origin; which, consequently, scarcely requires the
confirmation to be derived from the perfect agreement of their internal
structure, and of all the more essential particulars of their external
confirmation. These, however, are not wanting; not only is their
anatomical structure the same, but the form of their heads, which
affords the only certain means of distinguishing the actual species of
this genus from each other, presents no difference whatever. In both the
forehead is flat, or more properly slightly depressed; nearly square in
its outline, its height being equal to its breadth; and bounded above by
a prominent line, forming an angular protuberance, passing directly
across the skull between the bases of the horns. The only circumstances
in fact in which the two animals differ, consists in the fatty hump on
the shoulders of the Zebu, and in the somewhat more slender and delicate
make of its legs."

In a scientific work, it is not sufficient for the author merely to make
an assertion; it is not even sufficient for him to say that he has made
an experiment or observation, and merely give the result; he should, in
every case where it is practicable, describe the nature of his
experiment,--the _when_, the _where_, the _how_;--and the means and
opportunity he had of making his observations, that the curious or
sceptical inquirer may be enabled to perform the experiment, or make the
observation for himself.

Mr. Bennett tells us, that the differences observable in the Indian Ox
and the Common Ox "_rapidly_ disappear by the intermixture of the
breeds, and are entirely lost at the end of a few generations;" but he
does not refer to a single instance of this, authentic or otherwise; nor
are we aware that any such instance ever occurred.

Again, he states that "their anatomical structure is the same;" but he
does not inform us when, or where, or how, the comparison was made which
enabled him to arrive at that conclusion.

Wishing to satisfy myself, as far as possible, on this point, I have
examined the skeleton both of the British Domestic Ox and the Zebu; and
the following is the result of that examination:--

                      NUMBER OF VERTEBRÆ.

                     Cerv.   Dors.    Lumb.       Sac.   Caud.     Total.
In the Zebu           7       13        6          4       18    =   48
In the Common Ox      7       13        6          5       21    =   52

The skeletons may still be seen in the Museum of the College of

Furthermore, the period of gestation of the Brahmin Cow (according to
the MS. records of the Zoological Society), is 300 days, while that of
the Common Cow is only 270 days.

Whether the differences here pointed out are sufficient to constitute
specific distinction, is left for the umpires to decide.

[Illustration: THE ZEBU.--(_Var. beta._)]

These Indian Cattle are extremely gentle, and admirably adapted to
harness. Some of the eastern princes attach them to their artillery; but
generally they employ the finest to draw their light carriages, which in
form are very similar to those of the ancients. In mountainous
countries, they have them shod. Their pace is a kind of amble, and they
are able to sustain a journey of about twenty leagues a day. Guided by a
cord which passes through the nasal cartilage, they obey the hand with
as much precision as a horse.

In the same provinces are seen a race of dwarf Bisons, which are
scarcely as tall as our calves of two months old, generally described
under the name of _Zebu_. They are lively, well proportioned, and
trained to be mounted by children, or to draw a light car. In both cases
their pace is a sort of amble, the same as that of the larger species.

[Illustration: Zebus (_Var. gamma_) and Car.]

The curious Hindoo customs in relation to this animal have been recorded
by almost every traveller.

Neither the horse, the sheep, nor the goat, have any peculiar sanctity
annexed to them by the Braminical superstition; it is otherwise with the
cow, which in India is everywhere regarded with veneration, and is an
object of peculiar worship. Representations of objects are made upon the
walls with cow-dung, and these enter deeply into their routine of daily
observances. The same materials are also dried, and used as fuel for
dressing their victuals; for this purpose the women collect it, and bake
it into cakes, which are placed in a position where they soon become dry
and fit for use. The sacred character of the cow probably gives this
fuel a preference to every other in the imagination of a Hindoo, for it
is used in Calcutta, where wood is in abundance.

On certain occasions it is customary for the Hindoos to consecrate a
bull as an offering to their deities; particular ceremonies are then
performed, and a mark is impressed upon the animal, expressive of his
future condition to all the inhabitants. No consideration will induce
the pious Bengalee to hurt or even control one of these consecrated
animals. You may see them every day roaming at large through the streets
of Calcutta, and tasting rice, grain, or flour in the Bazar, according
to their pleasure. The utmost a native will do, when he observes the
animal doing too much honour to his goods, is to urge him, by the
gentlest hints, to taste of the vegetables or grain of his neighbour's
stall. (_Tennant's 'Indian Recreations.'_)

One of the doctrines of the Brahmins is to believe that kine have in
them somewhat of sacred and divine; that happy is the man who can be
sprinkled over with the ashes of a cow, burnt by the hand of a Brahmin;
but thrice happy is he who, in dying, lays hold of a cow's tail and
expires with it between his hands; for thus assisted, the soul departs
out of the body purified, and sometimes returns into the body of a cow.
That such a favour, notwithstanding, is not conferred but on heroic
souls, who contemn life, and die generously, either by casting
themselves headlong from a precipice, or leaping into a kindled pile, or
throwing themselves under the holy chariot wheels, to be crushed to
death by the Pagods, when they are carried in triumph about the
town.--(_Life of St. Francis Xavier, translated by Dryden, 1688._)


In Shaw's Zoology, the following species or varieties are noticed:--


This is said to be found in Abyssinia and in Madagascar, and is
distinguished by pendulous ears, and horns _attached only to the skin,
so as to hang down on each side_!


Of the size of a camel, and of a snowy whiteness, with a protuberance on
the back, is a native of Madagascar and some other islands.


Of a white colour, with black ears. Inhabits the island of Tinian.

Bewick mentions that in Persia there are many oxen entirely white, with
small blunt horns and humps on their backs. They are very strong, and
carry heavy burdens. When about to be loaded, they drop down on their
knees like the Camel, and rise again when their burdens are properly


which Col. Smith considers a distinct species, is likewise white, of a
very large size, with hunched back, and very large horns, which are
couched outwards and downwards, like those of the African Buffalo, with
the tip forming a small half-spiral revolution. The corneous external
coat is very soft, distinctly fibrous, and at the base not much thicker
than a human nail; the osseous core full of vascular grooves, and inside
very cellular, the pair scarcely weighing four pounds. The skin passes
insensibly to the horny state, so that there is no exact demarcation
where the one commences or the other ends. The dimension of a horn
are:--length measured on the curve, three feet seven inches;
circumference at base, two feet; circumference midway, one foot six
inches; circumference two thirds up the horn, one foot; length in a
straight line, from base to tip, one foot five inches and a half. The
species has a small neck, and is the common domestic breed of Bornou,
where the Buffalo is said to have small horns.

Leguat, in his 'Voyages in 1720,' states that the oxen are of three
sorts at the Cape of Good Hope, all of a large size, and very active;
some have a hump on the back, others have the horns long and pendent,
while others have them turned up and well shaped, as in English cattle.

[Illustration: Zebu.--(_Var. delta._)]


_Bos ----?_

The following particulars relating to these Oxen are taken from the
highly interesting work '_The Present State of the Cape of Good Hope_,'
by Peter Kolben, who visited that colony in 1705, and remained there
during a period of eight years.

"The Hottentots have a sort of oxen they call Backeleyers, or fighting
oxen; they use them in their wars, as some nations do elephants; of the
taming and farming of which last creatures upon the like discipline the
Hottentots as yet know nothing. They are of great use to them, too, in
the government of their herds at pasture; for, upon a signal from their
commanders, they will fetch in stragglers, and bring the herds within
compass. They will likewise run very furiously at strangers, and
therefore are of good defence against the Buschies, or robbers who steal
cattle. They are the stateliest oxen of the herd: every Kraal has
half-a-dozen of these oxen at the least. When one of them dies, or grows
so old, that, being unfit for business, his owner kills him, a young one
is chosen out of the herd to succeed him, by an ancient Hottentot, who
is judged best able to discern his capacity for instruction. This young
ox is associated with an old Backeleyer, and taught, by blows and other
means, to follow him. At night they tie them together by the horns; and
for some part of the day they fasten them together in the same manner,
till at length, by this and I know not what other means, the young ox
is fully instructed, and becomes a watchful guardian of the herds, and
an able auxiliary in war.

"The Backeleyers (so called from the Hottentot word Backeley for war)
know every inhabitant of the Kraal they belong to, men, women, and
children, and pay them all just the same respect that is paid by a dog
to every person who dwells in his master's house. Any of the inhabitants
may, therefore, at any time present themselves very safely on any side
of the herds; the Backeleyers will in nowise offend them. But if a
stranger, especially a European, shall approach the herds, without the
company of a Hottentot of the Kraal they belong to, he must look sharp
to himself; for these Backeleyers, which generally feed at the skirts of
the herds, quickly discover him, and make at him upon a full gallop. And
if he is not within hearing of any of the Hottentots who keep the herds,
or has not a fire-arm, or a light pair of heels, or there is not a tree
at hand which he can immediately climb, he is certainly demolished. The
Backeleyers mind not sticks or the throwing of stones at them. This is
one great reason why the Europeans always travel the Hottentot countries
with fire-arms. But the first thing a European does, upon the appearance
of such an enemy, is to shout and call to the Hottentots that look to
the herds. The Hottentot that hears him hastens to his assistance,
making all the way a very shrill whistling through his fingers. The
Backeleyers no sooner hear the whistling of their keepers, which they
very well know, than they stop, turn about, and return leisurely to the

"But if a European, in such a case, does not (upon his shouting and
calling to the keepers), hear the whistle, before the Backeleyers come
up with him, he discharges his fire-arm,--frightened with the report of
which, the Backeleyers run away.

"I have been often run at by the Backeleyers myself. As soon as I saw
them sallying out upon me, I shouted and called to the keepers. But I
could not often make them hear before the Backeleyers came up with me,
when I have been obliged to discharge my fire-arm (for I always carried
one about with me), upon which they always turned about and left me.

"In the wars of the Hottentots with one another, these Backeleyers make
very terrible impressions. They gore, and kick, and trample to death,
with incredible fury. Each army has a drove of them, which they take
their opportunity to turn upon the enemy. And if an army, against which
the Backeleyers are sent, is not alert and upon all its guard, these
creatures quickly force their way through it, tearing, shattering, and
confounding all the troops that oppose them, and paving for their
masters an easy way to victory. The courage of these creatures is
amazing; and the discipline upon which they are formed does not a little
honour to the Hottentot genius and dexterity.

"The Hottentots have likewise great numbers of oxen for carriage. These,
too, are very strong and stately creatures, chosen out of the herds, at
about the age of two years, by old men, well skilled in cattle. When
they have destined an ox to carry burdens, they take and throw him on
his back on the ground; and fastening his head and feet with strong
ropes to stakes firmly fixed in the ground, they make a hole with a
sharp knife through his upper lip, between his nostrils. Into this hole
they put a stick, about half an inch thick, and a foot and a half long,
with a hook at top to prevent its falling through. By this hooked stick
they break him to obedience and good behaviour; for if he refuses to be
governed, or to carry the burdens they lay upon him, they fix his nose
by this hooked stick to the ground, and there hold it till he comes to a
better temper.

"It is an exquisite torture to an Ox to be fastened to the ground by the
nose in this manner. He is not, therefore, long exercised this way,
before he gets a notion of his duty, and becomes tractable. After which,
the very sight alone of the stick, when he is wanton or refractory, will
humble and reduce him to the will of his driver. The terror of this
stick, likewise makes the carriage oxen so attentive to the words of
command the Hottentots use to them, that they quickly conceive and, ever
while they live, afterwards retain the intention of them. I have a
thousand times been surprised at the ready obedience the carriage oxen
have paid to a Hottentot's bare words. They are as quick at
apprehending, and as exact in performing the orders of their driver, as
is any taught dog in Europe at conceiving and accomplishing the orders
of his master. The stick--the terrible stick--makes them all attention
and diligence."


The following notice, which will explain itself, appeared in Loudon's
'Magazine of Natural History,' for July, 1828.

"Some Account of a particular Variety of Bull (_Bos Taurus_), now
exhibiting in London. By Mrs. Harvey.

"Sir,--Agreeably to your request, Mr. Harvey has taken a portrait of
this animal; and as he has made the drawing on the wood himself, the
engraving will be a very perfect resemblance.[C] I have, on my part,
drawn up the following particulars, from what my husband told me, and I
shall be happy if they prove of any interest to you or your readers:--


"This animal belongs to a French woman, who says he was brought from
Africa to Bordeaux when a calf; and, after having been shown in
different parts of the Continent, was taken to London, and exhibited at
the Grand Bazaar in King's Street, Portman Square, last autumn. He is
at present five years old, four feet high at the shoulder and seven feet
in length, from the horns to the insertion of the tail. The length of
his face is one foot eight inches, and the girth round the collar seven
feet six inches. His hair is short and silky, and the colour a cream or
yellowish white, except two black tufts which appear on each foot. On
the back of the neck there is a hump or swelling, which seems confined
to this variety. The general aspect of the animal is mild and docile;
but, when irritated, his expression is very remarkable, exhibiting
itself principally in the eye. This, in its ordinary state, is very
peculiar, (fig. 1, _a_,) rising more than one-half above the orbit, and
bearing a resemblance to a cup and ball, thus enabling the animal to see
on all sides with equal ease. The iris is naturally of a pale blue
colour; but, when the animal is irritated, it varies from a very pale
blue or lilac to a deep crimson. Its form is also very remarkable, being
a small oval, or rather a parallelogram, with the ends cut off, and
lying transversely across the ball, (fig. 1, _b_.)

[Illustration: Fig. 1. Eyes of African Bull.]

[Illustration: Fig. 2.]

"The black tufts, mentioned above, are the lateral hoofs (fig. 2), which
the animal sheds annually, and which grow to the length of five or six
inches. They are not shed together, or at stated periods; for those of
the fore-feet, (_a_, _b_,) in this example, are at present of different
ages, and, consequently, of different lengths; the difference between
them being exactly that represented in the sketch.

"On the hump or collar, the hair grows much longer than on the other
parts of the body, forming a sort of curled mane, resembling, I should
imagine, that of the Bison. It is perfectly white, growing to the length
of one foot six inches, and adding greatly to the height of the rising
part behind the horns. At present the hair is only beginning to grow;
but it will be in full beauty at the approach of the winter months, and
will fall off gradually again in the early part of the succeeding spring.

[Illustration: Fig. 3. Dewlap of African Bull.]

"The keeper pointed out to Mr. Harvey, as a remarkable peculiarity, that
the dewlap (fig. 3), in passing between the fore-legs (_a_), and under
the body (_b_), seemed to divide itself into three parts, which they
called the three stomachs, (1, 2, 3,) from their being very much acted
on in the progress of digestion."

    I remain. Sir, &c.
        M. HARVEY.


[C] The engraving here given as well as those of the eyes, hoofs, and
dewlap, have been carefully copied from Mr. Harvey's originals.


_Bos Taurus.--Restricted Variety._


Considerable interest has always been connected with the history of
those herds of white cattle which have been kept secluded, apparently
from time immemorial, in the parks of some of our aristocracy.[D] It has
been, and still is, a matter of lordly pride to their noble owners,
that these cattle are held to be of a distinct and untameable race.

Feeling a full share of the interest attached to them, and anxious to
gain the most accurate and circumstantial information, I was induced to
pay a visit, during the summer of 1845, to the beautifully wooded and
undulating Park of Chillingham, in which a herd of these cattle is
preserved; and, although I have not been able to gather material for a
perfect history of these animals, I think it will not be difficult to
show that matters respecting them have been set forth as facts which are
fictions; and that from some points of their history which have been
correctly detailed, inferences have been drawn, which are by no means
warranted by the facts.

In endeavouring to point out these errors and false reasonings, it will
be necessary to make quotations from the old history of the white
cattle, in Culley's 'Observations on Live Stock,' which has been so
often repeated in works on natural history, and is, moreover, so
thoroughly accredited, that it may now appear something like presumption
to call it in question. To what extent it is called in question on the
present occasion, and the reasons for so doing, will be seen in the
running commentary which accompanies these quotations.

Culley says: "The Wild Breed, from being untameable, can only be kept
within walls or good fences; consequently very few of them are now to be
met with, except in the parks of some gentlemen, who keep them for
ornament, and as a curiosity: those I have seen are at Chillingham
Castle, in Northumberland, a seat belonging to the Earl of Tankerville."

The statement of their being untameable is a mere assertion, founded
upon no evidence whatever. But so far is it from being the fact, that,
notwithstanding every means are used to preserve their wildness, such as
allowing them to range in an extensive park--seldom intruding upon
them--hunting and shooting them now and then--notwithstanding these
means are taken to preserve their wildness, they are even now so far
domesticated as voluntarily to present themselves every winter, at a
place prepared for them, for the purpose of being fed. From which it may
reasonably be concluded, that were they restricted in their pasture,
gradually familiarised with the presence of human beings, and in every
other respect treated as ordinary cattle, they would, in the course of
two or three generations, be equally tame and tractable.

Whilst writing the foregoing I was not aware that any attempt had been
made to domesticate these so-called untameable oxen; but on reading an
account of these cattle by Mr. Hindmarsh, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne,
(bearing date about 1837,) I find the following paragraph.

"By taking the calves at a very early age, and treating them gently, the
present keeper succeeded in domesticating an ox and a cow. _They became
as tame as domestic animals_, and the ox fed as rapidly as a
short-horned steer. He lived eighteen years, and when at his best was
computed at 8 cwt. 14 lbs. The cow only lived five or six years. She
gave little milk, but the quality was rich. She was crossed by a country
bull, but her progeny very closely resembled herself, being entirely
white, excepting the ears, which were brown, and the legs, which were
mottled." These facts speak for themselves.

Culley, in giving their distinguishing characteristics, says: "Their
colour is invariably of a creamy white; muzzle black; the whole of the
inside of the ear, and about one third of the outside, from the tips
downwards, red; horns white, with black tips, very fine, and bent
upwards; some of the bulls have a thin upright mane, about an inch and a
half, or two inches long."

That their colour is invariably white is simply owing to the care that
is taken to destroy all the calves that are born of a different
description. It is pretty well known to the farmers about Chillingham
(although pains are taken to conceal the fact,) that the wild cows in
the park not unfrequently drop calves variously spotted. With respect to
the redness of the ears, this is by no means an invariable character,
many young ones having been produced without that distinctive mark; and
Bewick records, that about twenty years before he wrote, there existed a
few in the herd with _black_ ears, but they were destroyed. So far from
the character here given of the horns being confined to those white
cattle, it is precisely the description of the horns of the Kyloe oxen,
or black cattle. The investiture of some of the bulls with a mane is
equally gratuitous; Cole, who was park-keeper for more than forty years,
and of course had ample means of observation, distinctly informed me
that they had no mane, but only some curly hair, about the neck, which
is likewise an attribute of the Kyloe Oxen.

Culley goes on to say: "From the nature of their pasture, and the
frequent agitation they are put into by the curiosity of strangers, it
is scarce to be expected that they should get very fat; yet the six
years old oxen are generally very good beef, from whence it may be
fairly supposed, that in proper situations they would feed well."

It would naturally be inferred from this, that the park in which they
are kept is visited by strangers every day, who are allowed to drive
them about, and disturb them in their feeding and ruminating, as boys
hunt geese or donkeys on a common. This, however, is so far from being
the case, that it frequently happens that the park is not visited for
many weeks in succession, and certainly on an average it is not visited
once a week. What is here meant by "the nature of their pasture," and
"in proper situations they would feed well," it is difficult to say. The
fact is, their pasture is both good and extensive, and they feed as well
as animals always do who are left to themselves with plenty of food.

Their behaviour to strangers is thus described: "At the first appearance
of any person, they set off at full speed, and gallop a considerable
distance, when they make a wheel round, and come boldly up again,
tossing their heads in a menacing manner; on a sudden, they make a full
stop, at a distance of forty or fifty yards, looking wildly at the
object of their surprise; but upon the least motion being made, they
turn round again, and gallop off with equal speed; but forming a shorter
circle, and, returning with a bolder and more threatening aspect, they
approach much nearer, when they make another stand, and again gallop
off. This they do several times, shortening their distance, and
approaching nearer, till they come within a few yards, when most people
think it prudent to leave them."

In the instance in which I had an opportunity of witnessing their method
of receiving visitors, the fashion was somewhat different. The
park-keeper who accompanied me described, as we rode through the park in
quest of them, what would be their mode of procedure on our approach.
This he did from observations so repeatedly made, as to warrant him in
saying that it was their invariable mode. It was perfectly simple, and I
found it precisely as he had described it. When we came in sight of
them, they were tranquilly ruminating under a clump of shady trees, some
of the herd standing, others lying. On their first observing us, those
that were lying rose up, and they all then began to move _slowly_ away,
not exactly to a greater distance from us, but in the direction of a
thickly wooded part of the park, which was as distant on our left as the
herd was on our right. To reach this wooded part they had to pass over
some elevated ground. They continued to walk at a gradually accelerating
pace, till they gained the most elevated part, when they broke out into
a trot, then into a canter, which at last gave way to a full gallop, a
sort of "devil-take-the-hindmost" race, by which they speedily buried
themselves in the thickest recesses of the wood. What they may have done
in Mr. Culley's time, we must take upon that gentleman's word; but at
present, and for so long as the present park-keeper can recollect, they
have never been in the habit of describing those curious concentric
circles of which Mr. Culley makes mention in the last quotation.

The late mode of killing them is described as "perhaps the only modern
remains of the grandeur of ancient hunting. On notice being given, that
a wild bull would be killed on a certain day, the inhabitants of the
neighbourhood came mounted and armed with guns, &c., sometimes to the
amount of a hundred horse, and four or five hundred foot, who stood upon
walls or got into trees, while the horsemen rode off the bull from the
rest of the herd until he stood at bay, when a marksman dismounted and
shot. At some of these huntings twenty or thirty shots have been fired
before he was subdued. On these occasions the bleeding victim grew
desperately furious, from the smarting of his wounds, and the shouts of
savage joy that were echoing from every side. But from the number of
accidents that happened, this dangerous mode has been little practised
of late years, the park-keeper alone generally shooting them with a
rifled gun at one shot."

This vivid portraiture of a scene, which the writer is pleased to
consider _grand_, does not appear to have much relation to the history
of the _Genus Bos_: it however, exhibits the brutal and ferocious habits
of two varieties of _Genus Homo_, namely _Nob_ility and _Mob_ility--two
varieties which, although distinguished by some external marks of
difference, possess in common many questionable characteristics.

Culley proceeds:--"When the cows calve, they hide their calves for a
week or ten days in some sequestered situation, and go and suckle them
two or three times a day. If any person come near the calves, they clap
their heads close to the ground, and lie like a hare in form, to hide
themselves; _this is a proof of their native wildness_, and is
corroborated by the following circumstance that happened to Mr. Bailey,
of Chillingham, who found a hidden calf, two days old, very lean and
very weak. On stroking its head it got up, pawed two or three times like
an old bull, bellowed very loud, stepped back a few steps, and bolted at
his legs with all its force; it then began to paw again, bellowed,
stepped back, and bolted as before; but knowing its intention, and
stepping aside, it missed him, fell, and was so very weak that it could
not rise, though it made several efforts. But it had done enough: the
whole herd were alarmed, and, coming to its rescue, obliged him to
retire; for the dams will allow no person to touch their calves without
attacking them with impetuous ferocity."

It seems almost unnecessary to remind the reader that all animals are
naturally wild; and that even those animals that have been the longest
under the dominion of man, are born with a strong tendency to the wild
state, to which they would immediately resort, if left to themselves: it
appears, therefore, rather gratuitous to tell us that the NATURAL
_actions of young animals_ (whose parents have been allowed to run
wild), _are proofs of their native mildness_!

The concluding paragraph requires no observation:--"When a calf is
intended to be castrated, the park-keeper marks the place where it is
hid, and, when the herd are at a distance, takes an assistant with him
on horseback; they tie a handkerchief round the calf s mouth, to prevent
its bellowing, and then perform the operation in the usual way. When any
one happens to be wounded, or is grown weak and feeble through age or
sickness, the rest of the herd set upon it, and gore it to death."

The following engraving exhibits the effects of castration on the
curvature and length of the horns.

[Illustration: 1. Head of the perfect animal. 2, 3. Heads of the
emasculated animal.]

We learn, on the authority of the present Lord Tankerville, that during
the early part of the life-time of his father, the bulls in the herd had
been reduced to three; two of them fought and killed each other, and the
third was discovered to be impotent; so that the means of preserving the
breed depended on the accident of some of the cows producing a bull

In 1844 I wrote to Mr. Cole, the late park-keeper at Chillingham,
requesting information on the following queries, to which he returned
the answers annexed; and although they are not so explicit as might be
wished, they embody facts both interesting and important.

_List of the Queries with their Answers._

1. How many pairs of ribs are there in the skeleton of the Chillingham
Ox? _Thirteen pairs._

2. How many vertebræ are there (from the skull to the end of the tail)?
_Thirty in the back-bone, twenty in the tail._

3. Will the wild cattle breed with the domestic cattle? _I have had two
calves from a wild bull and common cow._

4. What is the precise time the wild cow goes with young? _The same as
the domestic cow._

5. At what age does the curly hair appear which constitutes the mane of
the wild bull? _They have no mane, but curly hair on their neck and
head; more so in winter, when the hair is long._

6. In what month does the rutting take place among the wild cattle? _At
all times,--no particular time._

    J. COLE.

Here we have precise information on the following points:--namely, the
number of ribs; the period of gestation; their having no mane; their not
being in heat at any particular period; in all which points, they
perfectly agree with the ordinary domestic cattle; and it is important
to observe, that in the last point, namely, that of not being in heat at
any particular time, they differ from every known _wild_ species of
cattle, among which the rutting season invariably occurs at a particular
period of the year.


[D] Formerly these cattle were much more numerous, both in England and
Scotland, than they are at present. Scanty herds are still preserved at
the following places:--Chillingham Park, Northumberland; Wollaton,
Nottinghamshire; Gisburne, in Craven, Yorkshire; Lime-hall, Cheshire;
Chartley, Staffordshire; and Cadzow Forest, at Hamilton, Lanarkshire.

At Gisburne they are perfectly white, except the inside of their ears,
which are _brown_.

From Garner's 'Natural History of Staffordshire,' we learn that the Wild
Ox formerly roamed over Needwood Forest, and in the thirteenth century,
William de Farrarus caused the park of Chartley to be separated from the
forest, and the turf of this extensive enclosure still remains almost in
its primitive state. Here a herd of wild cattle has been preserved down
to the present day, and they retain their wild characteristics like
those at Chillingham. They are cream-coloured, with _black muzzles and
ears_; their fine sharp horns are also tipped with black. They are not
easily approached, but are harmless, unless molested.


_Bos Taurus._


The Chillingham Cattle are _white_, and the Highland Cattle or Kyloes
are generally _black_; but with this exception the same description
might almost serve for both breeds.

In their natural and unimproved state, the Highland cattle are
frequently well formed; their fine eyes, acute face, and lively
countenances, give them an air of fierceness, which is heightened by
their white, tapering, black-tipped, and sharp horns.

The Kyloe Oxen are very small (another respect in which they resemble
the Chillingham Oxen). They likewise partake much of the nature of wild
animals, which might be expected from the almost unlimited extent of
their pasture, and their being but little subject to artificial

Upon a close comparison of these two breeds, there appears not to be so
much difference between the Highland cattle and the cattle of
Chillingham as there is between any two breeds or varieties of British
cattle. Indeed so great is the similarity, that the Kyloe appears to be
only a black variety of the Chillingham Ox, and the Chillingham Ox only
a white variety of the Kyloe.

Dr. Anderson speaks of having seen a kind of Highland cattle which had a
mane on the top of the head, of considerable length, and a tuft between
the horns that nearly covered the eyes, giving them a fierce and savage
aspect. He likewise mentions another kind which have hair of a pale lead
colour, very beautiful in its appearance, and in its quality as glossy
and soft as silk.

The Kyloe Oxen are natives of the Western Highlands and Isles, and are
commonly called the Argyleshire breed, or the breed of the Isle of Skie,
one of the islands attached to the county of Argyle. They are generally
of a dark brown colour, or black, though sometimes brindled.

The Cows of the Isle of Skie (as is recorded by Martin, in his
'Description of the Western Islands of Scotland,') are exposed to the
rigour of the coldest seasons, and become mere skeletons in the spring,
many of them not being able to rise from the ground without help; but
they recover as the season becomes more favorable, and the grass grows
up; then they acquire new beef, which is both sweet and tender; the fat
and lean is not so much separated in them as in other cows, but as it
were larded, which renders it very agreeable to the taste. A cow in this
isle may be twelve years old, when at the same time its beef is not
above four, five, or six months old.


                     | Cerv. | Dors. | Lumb. | Sacr. | Caud. | Total.
American Bison       |   7   |  14   |   5   |   5   |  12+  |
European Bison,      |       |       |       |       |       |
  or Aurochs         |   7   |  14   |   5   |   5   |  19   |  50
Yak                  |   7   |  14   |   5   |   5   |  14   |  45
Gayal (Domestic)     |   7   |  14   |   5   |   5   |  16   |  47
Gayal (Asseel).      |       |       |       |       |       |
Gyall                |       |       |       |       |       |
Jungli Gau           |       |       |       |       |       |
Italian Buffalo.     |       |       |       |       |       |
Indian Buffalo.      |       |       |       |       |       |
Skeleton of Buffalo  |       |       |       |       |       |
  in Surg. Coll.     |       |       |       |       |       |
  (locality unknown) |   7   |  13   |   6   |   5   |  16   |  47
Gaur                 |   7   |  13   |   6   |   5   |  19   |  50
Domestic Ox          |   7   |  13   |   6   |   5   |  21   |  52
Condore Buffalo      |       |       |       |       |       |
Manilla Buffalo      |   7   |  13   |   6   |       |       |
Pegasse              |       |       |       |       |       |
Arnee                |       |       |       |       |       |
Cape Buffalo         |   7   |  13   |   6   |   4   |  19   |  49
Zamouse (_Bos_       |       |       |       |       |       |
  _Brachyceros_)     |   7   |  13   |   6   |   4   |  20   |  50
Banteng of Java      |       |       |       |       |       |
  (_Bos Bantinger_)  |   7   |  13   |   6   |   4   |  18   |  48
Zebu, or Brahmin Ox  |   7   |  13   |   6   |   4   |  18   |  48
Galla Ox.            |       |       |       |       |       |
Backeley             |       |       |       |       |       |
  (_Caffraria_).     |       |       |       |       |       |
Musk Ox              |       |       |       |       |       |

The osteological details in the above Table (except those of the Yak,
which are given on the authority of Pallas) are from the Author's own


                     |       Periods
American Bison.      |  270 days.--Zool. Proc., 1849.
European Bison.      |  Between 9 and 10 months.
Gayal (Domestic)     |  Over 10 months
Gyall                |   11 months
Indian Buffalo       |   10 months 10 days.
Gaur                 |   12 months
Domestic Ox.         |  270 days
Manilla Buffalo.     |  340 days
Arnee                |   12 months
Cape Buffalo         |   12 months
Zebu, or Brahmin Cow |  300 days
Musk Ox              |    9 months

To supply the deficiencies in the foregoing Tables, the results of
original observations are respectfully solicited. Address the Author or


It was Cuvier, I believe, who first made the statement, that the
American Bison is furnished with _fifteen_ pairs of ribs. In this
particular he has been implicitly followed by every subsequent writer on
the subject. Not being able to refer to a skeleton, and, moreover, never
suspecting any inaccuracy in the statement, I followed the received
account. But since this work has gone to press, I have had the
opportunity of examining two skeletons, by which I find that--

_The American Bison has only_ FOURTEEN _pairs of ribs._

I have, therefore, in the "Table of the Number of Vertebræ," (see p.
152,) set this species down as possessing only that number.

Of the two skeletons referred to (both of which are now in the British
Museum), one is from a female Bison, some years a living resident in the
Zoological Gardens; and the other is from a male, late in the possession
of the Earl of Derby, at Knowsley, in Lancashire.

A corroborative circumstance (amounting, indeed, to a complete proof of
the accuracy of these observations,) is presented by the fact, that, in
both the cases _the number of lumbar vertebræ is precisely_ FIVE; thus
making the true vertebræ to consist of nineteen, which Professor Owen[E]
has shown to be the invariable number possessed by all ruminants.


[E] See, in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, Professor Owen's
'Account of his Dissection of the Aurochs.'



Cows usually bring forth but one calf at a birth; occasionally, however,
they produce twins. John Hunter, in his 'Observations on the Animal
Economy,' says: "It is a fact known, and I believe almost universally
understood, that when a cow brings forth two calves, one of them a
bull-calf, and the other to appearance a cow, that the cow-calf is unfit
for propagation; but the bull-calf grows up into a very proper bull.
Such a cow-calf is called, in this country, a FREE MARTIN, and is
commonly as well known among the farmers as either cow or bull. It has
all the external marks of a cow-calf, namely, the teats, and the
external female parts, called by farmers the bearing. It does not show
the least inclination for the bull, nor does the bull ever take the
least notice of it. In form it very much resembles the Ox, or spayed
heifer, being considerably larger than either the bull or the cow,
having the horns very similar to the horns of an Ox. The bellow of the
Free Martin is similar to that of an Ox, having more resemblance to that
of the cow than that of the bull."

Free Martins are very much disposed to grow fat with good food. The
flesh, like that of the Ox or spayed heifer, is generally much finer in
the fibre than either the bull or cow; is even supposed to exceed that
of the Ox and heifer in delicacy of flavour, and bears a higher price
at market. However this superiority of the flavour does not appear to be
universal, for Mr. Hunter was informed of a case which occurred in
Berkshire, in which the flesh of a Free Martin turned out nearly as bad
as bull beef. This circumstance probably arose from the animal having
more the properties of a bull than a cow.

Mr. Hunter, having had many opportunities of dissecting Free Martins,
has satisfactorily shown that their incapacity to breed, and all their
other peculiarities, result from their having the generative organs of
both sexes combined, in a more or less imperfect state of development,
in some cases the organs of the male preponderating, in others those of
the female.


The above, which is copied from an engraving in Hunter's work on the
'Animal Economy,' is a representation of a Free Martin, five years old;
it shows the external form of that animal, which is neither like the
bull nor cow, but resembling the Ox or spayed heifer.

Although, as Hunter observes, "it is almost universally understood, that
when a cow brings forth two calves, one of them a bull-calf, and the
other to appearance a cow, that the cow-calf is unfit for propagation,"
it is by no means universally the fact, as instances of such twins
breeding were known even in Hunter's time, and have been witnessed more
recently. The following is recorded in Loudon's 'Mag. of Nat. History,'
and occurred a few years previous to 1826: Jos. Holroyd, of Withers,
near Leeds, had a cow which calved twins, a bull-calf and a cow-calf. As
popular opinion was against the cow-calf breeding, it being considered a
Free Martin, Mr. Holroyd was determined to make an experiment of them,
and reared them together. They copulated, and in due time the heifer
brought forth a bull-calf, and she regularly had calves for six or seven
years afterwards.

"If," says Hunter, "there are such deviations as of twins being perfect
male and female, why should there not be, on the other hand, an
hermaphrodite, produced singly, as in other animals? I had the
examination of one which seemed, upon the strictest inquiry, to have
been a single calf; and I am the more inclined to think this true, from
having found a number of hermaphrodites among black cattle, without the
circumstance of their birth being ascertained."

If Hunter had carried this reasoning a little further, he might have
asked,--Why should there not be a Free Martin, or hermaphrodite,
produced in the case of twins, when they are both apparently males, or
both apparently females? Had he done this, he would not, probably, have
made the following observation: "I need hardly observe, that if a cow
has twins, and they are both bull-calves, they are in every respect
perfect bulls; or if they are both cow-calves, they are perfect cows."
What is this but saying that a bull-calf is a bull-calf, and a cow-calf
is a cow-calf? For a Free Martin, or hermaphrodite, is not, in any case,
either a bull or a cow.

There does not appear to be anything known of the peculiar circumstances
under which, what is termed a Free Martin is produced.

[Illustration: Skull of Domestic Ox.]

The most general observation that can be made on the subject appears to
be, that cows sometimes produce calves, which, by reason of their
imperfectly developed generative system, are incapable of procreating.


[Illustration: Skull of short-nosed Ox of the Pampas.]

The common Ox, originally taken over to America by the early Spanish
settlers, now runs wild in immense herds on the Pampas, where it is
hunted and slain for its hide. Some idea may be formed of the immensity
of these herds, from the circumstance that nearly a million of hides are
annually exported from Buenos Ayres and Monte Video to Europe.

Some of the herds in these wild regions have undergone a most singular
modification of the cranium, consisting in a shortening of the nasal
bones, together with the superior and inferior maxillaries. There is a
skull of this variety in the Museum of the College of Surgeons, of which
the above is a sketch.


How eminently serviceable to man these animals are, is shown in the
following table, in which are set forth the most important uses to which
their various parts are applied:

SKIN.--The skin has been of great use in all ages. The ancient Britons
constructed their boats with osiers, and covered them with the hides of
bulls; and these boats were sufficiently strong to serve for short
coasting voyages. Similar vessels are still in use on the Irish lakes,
and in Wales on the rivers Dee and Severn. In Ireland they are called
_curach_, in England _coracles_, from the British _cwrwgl_, a word
signifying a boat of that structure.

Boots, shoes, harness, &c. for horses, and various kinds of travelling
trunks are made from hides when tanned. The skin of the calf is
extensively used in the binding of books, and the thinnest of the calf
skins are manufactured into vellum. The skin of the Cape Buffalo is made
into shields and targets, and is so hard that a musket ball will
scarcely penetrate it.

HAIR.--The short hair is used to stuff saddles and other articles; also
by bricklayers in the mixing up of certain kinds of mortar. It is
likewise frequently used in the manuring of land. The _long_ hair from
the tail is used for stuffing chairs and cushions. The hair of the Bison
is spun into gloves, stockings, and garters, which are very strong, and
look as well as those made of the finest sheep's wool; very beautiful
cloth has likewise been manufactured from it. The Esquimaux convert the
skin covering the tail into caps, which are so contrived that the long
hair falling over their faces, defends them from the bites of the

HORNS.--The horns of cattle consist of an outside horny case, and an
inside conical-shaped substance, somewhat between hardened hair and
bone. The horny outside furnishes the material for the manufacture of a
variety of useful articles. The first process consists in cutting the
horn transversely into three portions.

1. The _lowest_ of these, next the root of the horn, after undergoing
several operations by which it is rendered flat, is made into combs.

2. The _middle_ of the horn, after being flattened by heat, and its
transparency improved by oil, is split into thin layers, and forms a
substitute for glass in lanterns of the commonest kind. [The merit of
the invention of these horn plates, and of their application to
lanterns, is ascribed to King Alfred, who is said to have first used
lanterns of this description to preserve his candle time-measurers from
the wind.]

3. The _tips_ of the horns are generally used to make knife-handles; the
largest and best are used for crutch-stick heads, umbrella handles, and
ink-horns, and the smallest and commonest serve for the tops and bottoms
of ink-horns.

Spoons, small boxes, powder flasks, spectacle frames, and drinking horns
are likewise made of the outer horny case.

The interior or core of the horn is boiled down in water, when a large
quantity of fat rises to the surface; this is sold to the makers of
yellow soap.--The liquid itself is used as a kind of glue, and is
purchased by the cloth-dressers for stiffening.--The bony substance
which remains behind, is ground down, and sold to the farmers for

Besides these various purposes to which the different parts of the horn
are applied, the chippings which arise in comb-making are sold to the
farmer for manure, at about one shilling a bushel. In the first year
after they are spread over the soil they have comparatively little
effect; but during the next four or five their efficiency is
considerable. The shavings, which form the refuse of the lantern-maker,
are of a much thinner texture. Some of them are cut into various
figures, and painted and used as toys; for they curl up when placed in
the palm of a warm hand. But the greater part of these shavings are sold
also for manure, which from their extremely thin and divided form,
produce their full effect upon the first crop.

FEET.--An oil is extracted from the feet of oxen--hence called
Neat's-foot-oil--of great use in preparing and softening leather.

SKIN, _horns_, _hoofs_, and _cartilages_ are used to make glue.

BLOOD is used in the formation of mastic; also in the refining of sugar,
oil, &c.; and is an excellent manure for fruit trees.

_Blood_, _horns_, and _hoofs_ in the formation of Prussian blue.

_Gall_ is used to cleanse woollen garments, and to obliterate greasy and
other stains.

SUET, FAT, TALLOW are chiefly manufactured into candles; they are also
used to precipitate the salt that is drawn from briny springs.

INTESTINES, when dried, are used as envelopes for German and Bologna
sausages; in some countries to carry butter to market. By gold-beaters,
in the process of making gold-leaf. Gold-beater's skin, as it is called,
forms the most innocent sticking plaster for small cuts on the hands or

The STOMACHS vulgarly called _inwards_, after being washed and boiled,
are sold as an article of food under the name of _tripe_.

The EXCREMENTITIOUS MATTERS are used to manure the land.

The BONES are used as a substitute for ivory in the manufacture of a
variety of small articles of a common kind; also for manuring land.
"When calcined they are used as an absorbent to carry off the baser
metals in refining silver. From the tibia and carpus is procured an oil
much used by coach-makers and others in dressing and cleaning harness,
and all trappings belonging to carriages."

FLESH, both fresh and salted, is generally esteemed as an article of
food. _Pemmican_ is made of the flesh of the American Bison: this is
dried in the sun by the Indians, spread on a skin, and pounded with
stones. When the Indians have got it into this state, they sell it to
the different forts, where all the hair is carefully sifted out of it,
and melted fat kneaded into it. If it be well made, and kept dry, it
will not spoil for a year or two.

MILK, a nutritious beverage, _per se_, is used in the composition of
innumerable articles of diet; from milk is obtained cream, butter, and



_The Ranz des Vaches._

In the Alps, fine cattle are the pride of their keeper, who, not being
satisfied with their natural beauty, also gratifies his vanity by
adorning his best cows with large bells, suspended from broad thongs.
Every _Senn_, or great cow-keeper, has a harmonious set of bells, of at
least two or three, chiming in accordance with the famous _Ranz des
Vaches_. The finest black cow is adorned with the largest bell, and
those next in appearance wear the two smaller ones.

It is only on particular occasions that these ornaments are worn,
namely, in spring, when they are driven to the Alps, or removed from one
pasture to another; or in their autumnal descents, when they travel to
the different farmers for the winter. On such days the Senn, even in the
depth of winter, appears dressed in a fine white shirt, with the sleeves
rolled above the elbows; neatly embroidered red braces suspend his
yellow linen trowsers, which reach down to the shoes; he wears a small
leather cap on his head, and a new and skilfully carved wooden milk-bowl
hangs across his left shoulder. Thus arrayed, the Senn proceeds, singing
the _Ranz des Vaches_, followed by three or four fine goats; next comes
the finest cow, adorned with the great bell; then the other two with the
smaller bells; and these are succeeded by the rest of the cattle,
walking one after another, and having in their rear the bull, with a
one-legged milking-stool on his horns; the procession is closed by a
_traineau_, or sledge, bearing the dairy implements.

When dispersed on the Alps, the cattle are collected together by the
voice of the Senn, who is then said to allure them. How well these cows
distinguish the voice of their keeper, appears from the circumstance of
their hastening to him, although at a great distance, whenever he
commences singing the _Ranz des Vaches_.

This celebrated air is played on the bagpipes, as well as sung by the
young Swiss cowherds while watching their cattle on the mountains. The
astonishing effects of this simple melody on the Swiss soldier, when
absent from his native land, are thus described by Rousseau:

"Cet air, se chéri des Suisses qu'il fut défendu sous peine de mort de
le jouer dans leurs troupes, parce qu'il faisait fondre en larmes,
déserter, ou mourir, ceux qui l'entendaient, tant il excitait en eux
l'ardent desir de revoir leur pays. On chercherait en vain dans cet air
les accens énergetiques capables de produire de si étonnans effets. Ces
effets, qui n'ont aucun lieu sur les étrangers, ne viennent qui de
l'habitude, des souvenirs de mille circonstances qui, retracées par cet
air à ceux que l'entendent, et leur rappellant leur pays, leurs anciens
plaisirs, leur jeunesse, et toutes leur façons de vivre, excitent en eux
une douleur amère d'avoir perdu tout cela. La musique alors n'agit point
précisément comme musique, mais comme signe memoratif. Cet air, quoique
toujours le même, ne produit plus aujourd'hui les mêmes effets qu'il
produisait ci-devant sur les Suisses, parce qu'ayant perdu le gôut de
leur première simplicité, ils ne la regrettent plus quand on la leur
rappelle. Tant il est vrai que ce n'est pas dans leur action physique
qu'il faut chercher les plus grand effets des sons sur le coeur

For the delectation of the musical reader, the notes of this celebrated
air are here introduced, with the words, and an English imitation:



[Illustration: Musical notation]

The words are as follows:--

    Quand reverai-je en un jour,
    Tous les objets de mon amour,
    Nos clairs ruisseaux,
    Nos hameaux,
    Nos côteaux,
    Nos montagnes,
    Et l'ornament de nos montagnes,
    La si gentille Isabeau?
    Dans l'ombre d'un ormeau,
    Quand danserai-je au son du Chalameau?
    Quand reverai-je en un jour,
    Tous les objets de mon amour,
    Mon père,
    Ma mère,
    Mon frère,
    Ma soeur,
    Mes agneaux,
    Mes troupeaux,
    Ma bergère?


    When shall I return to the Land of the Mountains--
       The lakes and the Rhone that is lost in the earth--
    Our sweet little hamlets, our villages, fountains,
       The flour-clad rocks of the place of my birth?
    O when shall I see my old garden of flowers,
       Dear Emma, the sweetest of blooms in the glade,
    And the rich chestnut grove, where we pass'd the long hours
       With tabor and pipe, while we danced in the shade?
    When shall I revisit the land of the mountains,
       Where all the fond objects of memory meet:
    The cows that would follow my voice to the fountains,
       The lambs that I called to the shady retreat:
    My father, my mother, my sister, and brother;
       My all that was dear in this valley of tears;
    My palfrey grown old, but there's ne'er such another;
       My dear dog, still faithful, tho' stricken in years:
    The vesper bell tolling, the loud thunder rolling,
       The bees that humm'd round the tall vine-mantled tree:
    The smooth water's margin whereon we were strolling
       When evening painted its mirror for me?
    And shall I return to this scenery never?
       These objects of infantine glory and love,--
    O tell me, my dear Guardian Angel, that ever
       Floats nigh me,--safe guide to the regions above.


Buffalo--_Bos Bubalus_           Asia, North Africa, and South Europe.
Manilla Buffalo                  Island of Manilla.
Condore Buffalo                  Island of Pulo Condore.
Cape Buffalo                     South Africa.
Pegasse                          Congo, Angola, Central Africa.
Arnee                            India and China.
Gaur                             India.
American Bison                   North America.
Aurochs                          Lithuania.

Yak                              Tartary and Hindustan.

Musk Ox                          North America.
Zamouse, or Bush Cow             Gambia, Sierra Leone.
Banteng                          Island of Java.
Gyall                            India.

Gayal                            India.
Sanga, or Galla Ox               Abyssinia.
Zebu--Brahmin Ox                 Southern Asia, Eastern Africa.
Domestic Ox                      Generally diffused.


Mode of Life.

Partial to water and mud, swampy localities.

Semi-aquatic in its habits,--sometimes called the Water Buffalo.

Fond of wallowing in mire, and swims well.

Lives much in the water, and feeds on aquatic plants.
Ranges in mountain forests, and feeds on leaves and buds of trees.
Migratory in its habits--fond of bathing in marshy swamps.
Lives chiefly on the woody banks of rivers--feeds on bark of trees,
  lichens, and herbaceous plants.
Feeds on the short herbage peculiar to the tops of mountains and
  bleak plains.
Lives chiefly on rocky mountains.

Delights in the deepest jungles--feeds on leaves and shoots of
Lives entirely on woody-mountains--feeds on shoots and shrubs.
Half domesticated.
Domesticated, and artificially fed.
So completely domesticated, as to be subject to an endless variety of
diseases, and generally requires medical attendance.


On commencing this Monograph of the _Genus Bos_, I entertained the
confident expectation, that in the voluminous work of Cuvier's 'Animal
Kingdom,' translated and enlarged by Griffith and others, I should find
all that related to generic and specific distinction so clearly
exhibited, and so systematically arranged, that I should have no
hesitation in adopting the classification there set forth, and no
difficulty in determining the place of any new species or variety. With
this expectation I diligently studied that portion of Col. H. Smith's
volume on the Ruminantia, which treat of the _Genus Bos_, and I here
subjoin (verbatim) the generic and subgeneric characters there given of
that Genus, by which it will be seen how far they fall short of the
clearness and precision which are indispensable to a scientific work.


"_Genus BOS._--Skull very strong, dense about the frontals, which are
convex, nearly flat, or concave; horns invariably occupying the crest,
projecting at first laterally; osseous nucleus throughout porous, even
cellular; muzzle _invariably broad_, naked, moist, _black_; ears, _in
general_, _middle sized_; body _long_; legs _solid_; stature _large_."

Generic characters should be such as will apply to every species in the
genus; they should likewise be such as will distinguish the genus
described from every other genus. From such observations as I have been
enabled to make, the five last-mentioned characters do not appear to
accord with either of these conditions.

1st. The muzzle is stated to be _black_; but in the Yak, and in domestic
cattle (as may be observed by any one), the muzzle is very frequently
_white_; and granting that it was invariably black, other genera of the
ruminantia have the muzzle black: and therefore it cannot be said to be
a distinguishing mark of the _Genus Bos_.

2d. The ears are stated to be _in general middle-sized_. To pass over
the extreme vagueness of the terms "_in general_" and "_middle-sized_,"
I may state that having measured the ears of several species, I find
them to be of all lengths, varying from 5 inches to nearly 18 inches.
Such a term as "_middle-sized_" may be applied "_in general_" to the
ears of a vast variety of animals; and therefore it cannot be applied
_in particular_ to the _Genus Bos_.

3d. The body is said to be _long_. They are, indeed, of all lengths,
from 4 ft. 6 in. to nearly 11 ft. Can the term long be equally
applicable to animals of such different lengths?

4th. The legs are said to be _solid_. In some species the legs are very
slender, as the Zebu, Manilla Buffalo, and Domestic Ox.

5th. The stature is said to be _large_. From actual measurement I find
the stature to vary from 2 ft. 8 in. to upwards of 6 ft.; the smaller
species weighing not more than 100 lbs., the larger weighing as much as
2000 lbs. Can the term large be equally applicable to animals of such
different sizes?


"_Sub-genus_ I.--_Bubalus._--Animals low in proportion to their bulk;
limbs very solid; head large, forehead narrow, very strong, convex;
chaffron straight; muzzle square, horns lying flat, or bending laterally
with a certain direction to the rear; eyes large; ears mostly
funnel-shaped; no hunch; a small dewlap; _female udder with four mammæ_;
_tail long_; slender."

This sub-genus comprises Cape Buffalo, Pegasse, Arnee, Domestic Buffalo.

"_Sub-genus_ II.--BISON.--Forehead slightly arched, much broader than
high; horns placed before the salient line of the frontal crest; the
plane of the occiput forming an obtuse angle with the forehead and
semicircular in shape; fourteen or fifteen pairs of ribs; the shoulders
rather elevated; the _tail shorter_; the legs more slender; the tongue
blue; the hair soft and woolly."

This sub-genus comprises Aurochs, Gaur, American Bison, Yak, Gayal.

"_Sub-genus_ III.--TAURUS.--Forehead square from the orbits to the
occipital crest, somewhat concave, not convex, or arched as in the
former; the horns rising from the sides of the salient edge or crest of
the frontals; the plane of the occiput forming an acute angle with the
frontal, and of quadrangular form; the curve of the horns outwards,
upwards, and forwards; no mane; a deep dewlap; _thirteen pairs of ribs_;
_tail long_; _udder four teats in a square_."

This sub-genus comprises the Urus and the Domestic Ox.

Subgeneric characters should be such as will clearly distinguish the
animals of one sub-genus from those of another. But here we have set
down, in the sub-genus Bubalus, tail _long_, slender; in the sub-genus
Taurus, tail _long_; and although the epithet slender is not added in
the latter case, yet in truth it ought to be, as the tail of Taurus is
quite as slender as that of Bubalus.

The udder of Bubalus is said to have four mammæ; they are not stated to
be in a square, but, on examination, I find they are so; the udder of
Taurus has likewise four teats in a square.

Thirteen pairs of ribs are set down as a distinguishing character of the
sub-genus Taurus; but the Cape Buffalo, Domestic Buffalo, and the
Manilla Buffalo (in the sub-genus Bubalus), and the Gaur (in the
sub-genus Bison), all possess thirteen pairs of ribs.

In the sub-genus Bison the tail is said to be _shorter_ than the tail of
Bubalus; but on subjecting them to the infallible test of feet and
inches, I find the tails of the Aurochs, Gaur, Yak, and Gayal, to be
decidedly _longer_ than those of the Cape or the Manilla Buffalo.

The legs of Bisons are stated to be more slender than those of
Buffaloes,--the reverse of this is the fact in the instances which I
have had an opportunity of observing.


The details of a system of scientific classification should be precise,
methodical, and consistent; but the method observed by Col. Smith, in
describing the lengths of animals, can scarcely be called either precise
or consistent; for example, he states:--

1st. That the Cape Buffalo is nine feet from _nose to ROOT of tail_.

2d. That the Gaur is twelve feet long _to the END of tail_.

3d. That the Aurochs is ten feet three inches _from nose to tail_.

4th. That the Domestic Buffalo is eight feet six inches long, _without
mentioning either nose or tail_.

In none of these cases can we be even proximately certain of the length
of the animal.

In the first instance we may err to the amount of the length of the
head; as it is not stated whether the measure was taken when the head
was extended in a line with the back, or in a position at right angles
with the back, or in any intermediate position.

The following outline will illustrate this:--


It is obvious that the length of a line from the nose to the tail will
vary according to the different positions of the head of the animal.

In the second instance (taking it for granted that the measure was taken
from the nose), the same difficulty exists with respect to the head, and
another difficulty presents itself in our being left to guess the length
of the tail, which might be eighteen inches, or it might be four feet.

In the third instance, the same difficulty exists with respect to the
head, and the difficulty is further complicated by our being left to
guess whether the ROOT or the END of the tail is meant.

In the fourth we are completely "_at sea_."

The true value of these characteristic distinctions, definitions, or
descriptions, are left to the appreciation of the judicious reader.
Colonel Smith may doubtless be, what he has been styled, "an
indefatigable naturalist," and "in general" an exact one; but in this
special instance of the _Genus Bos_, his warmest admirers must allow
that his accuracy and precision have not kept pace with his industry.

[Illustration: Hungarian Ox, _Bos Taurus_, from a specimen in the
British Museum.]


The following very laboured attempt to arrange the various species of
_Genus Bos_ into groups, according to the Quinary or Circular System of
M'Leay, is from the pen of Mr. Swainson--the precise and fastidious
Swainson--who, from the number and boldness of his hypothetical views in
every department of Zoology, may be truly regarded as the beau-ideal of
a speculative naturalist--one of those, in short, so well described by
Swift, "whose chief art in division hath been to grow fond of some
proper mystical number, which their imaginations have rendered sacred to
a degree, that they force common reason to find room for it in every
part of nature; _reducing_, _including_, and _adjusting_, every _genus_
and _species_ within that compass, by coupling some against their wills,
and banishing others at any rate."

After describing the various members of the Bovine Family according to
the Procrustean method of stretching and chopping, Mr. Swainson
continues in his peculiarly dogmatic style "The types of form of the
_Genus Bos_, above enumerated, _we shall now demonstrate_ to be a
natural group. We have seen that the first represented by the _Bos
Scoticus_, or Scotch Wild Ox, is an untameable savage race, which
preserves, even in the domestication of a park, all that fierceness
which the ancient writers attributed to the Wild Bulls of Britain and of
the European Continent. Let those who imagine that the influence of
civilization, of care, and of judicious treatment, will alter the
natural instincts of animals, look to this as a palpable refutation of
their doctrine. Where is that boasted power of man over nature? Where
the fruits of long-continued efforts and fostering protection? The _Bos
Scoticus_ is as untameable now as it was centuries ago, simply for this
reason, that it is in accordance with an unalterable law of nature; a
law by which one type in every circular group is to represent the worst
passions of mankind--fierceness, or cruelty, or horror. In the _Urus_ we
consequently have the type of the wild and untameable _Feræ_ among
quadrupeds, the eagles among birds, and the innumerable analogies which
all the subordinate groups of these two great divisions present.
Following this is the typical Ox--a god among the ancients, and that
animal above all others, which, from its vital importance to man, we
should naturally expect such a nation as the ancient Egyptians would
exalt above all others. It is, in short, the typical perfection of the
whole order of Ruminants, and consequently represents the _Quadrumana_
among quadrupeds, and the _Incessores_ among birds. The third type is no
less beautiful; but it cannot be illustrated without going into details
which it is not our present intention to make public: suffice it,
however, to say, that in the prominent hump upon the shoulders we have a
perfect representation of the Camel, one of the most striking types of
the order, while it reminds us at the same time of the Buffalo, the
genus _Acronatus_ among the large Antelopes, and numerous other
representations of the same form. The fourth type is our _Bos Pusio_:
here we find the horns, when present, remarkably small, but in many
cases absent; and the size is diminutive to an extreme. These also are
distinguishing marks of the groups it is to represent: the
_Tenuirostres_ among birds, and the _Glires_, or mice, among quadrupeds,
are the smallest of their respective classes; and both are typically
distinguished by wanting all appendages to the head, either in the form
of crests or horns. The fifth type is, perhaps, the most extraordinary
of all; it should represent not only the order _Rasores_ among birds,
but also the _Camelopardalis_ among ruminating quadrupeds. Hence we find
that, in accordance with the first of these analogies, it is a peaceful
domesticated race, and that it has horns of an unusually large size,
even in its own group; while, at the same time, those horns have that
peculiar structure which can only be traced in the Camelopardalis; they
are covered with skin, which passes so imperceptibly to the horny state,
that, as Captain Clapperton observes, "there is no exact demarcation
where the one commences and the other ends." The five leading types of
quadrupeds and birds being now represented, and in precisely the same
order, _we demonstrate_ the groups to be natural by the following

GENUS _BOS_--_the Natural Types._

1. _Bos Scoticus._        Fierce, untameable.              FERÆ.             RAPTORES.

2. ---- _Taurus._         Pre-eminently typical.           PRIMATES.         INCESSORES.

                          {Appendages on the head}
3. ---- _Dermaceros._     {greatly developed     }         UNGULATA.         RASORES.

                          {Stature remarkably    }
4. ----  _Pusio._         {small.                }         GLIRES.           GRALLATORES.

                          {Fore-part of the shoulders}
5. ----  _Thersites._     {elevated              }         CETACEA.          NATATORES.

In regard to the last type, the analogies can only be traced through
the animals or types of other groups; but should the habits of
_Thersites_ lead it to frequent the water (like the Buffaloes) more than
any other species of true oxen--a supposition highly probable--the
analogy to the _Cetacea_ and the _Natatores_ would be direct. When we
find in all the other four types such a surprising representation of the
same peculiarities, we are justified in believing that want of
information alone prevents this analogy from being so complete as the
others. These analogies, in point of fact, may be traced through the
whole of the principal groups in this order, the most important, and the
most numerous of ungulated animals." Our luminous classifier then
triumphantly winds up:--"_Having now demonstrated_, in one of the very
lowest groups of quadrupeds, the validity of those principles of natural
classification we have so often illustrated," &c.

Let us not be confounded with high-sounding terms; let us rather
endeavour to ascertain the meaning of them, if indeed they possess a
meaning. Here we have, under the head of "_Genus_ Bos--the Natural
Types"--(see p. 178), certain words arranged in regular columns, which,
at a first glance, appear as though they were intended to bear some
relation to each other. But let us ask the most ordinary observer, or
the most profound observer, or the observer of any grade or shade
between these two extremes, what resemblance--what relation--what
analogy--can be discovered between an ordinary bull (_Taurus_) and a
man, a monkey, or a bat (_Primates_); or between Taurus and the
_Incessores_ (Perching Birds)? Or between Buffaloes, whose horns are
partially covered with skin (_Dermaceros_), and cocks and hens
(_Rasores_)? Can any one say wherein consists the similarity between a
dwarf Zebu and a Mouse, or a Flamingo? Yet this is the material of
which the columns are composed.

But one of the most unhappy of Mr. Swainson's speculations is that
wherein he represents the _Bos Scoticus_, or wild ox, as the type of "an
_untameable savage_ race, which preserves, even in the domestication of
a park, all that fierceness which the ancient writers attributed to the
wild bulls of Britain and the European continent. Let those who imagine
that the influence of civilization, of care, and of judicious treatment,
will alter the natural instinct of animals, look to this as a palpable
refutation of their doctrine. [!] Where is that boasted power of man
over nature? Where the fruits of long-continued efforts and fostering
protection? [!!] The _Bos Scoticus_ is as untameable now as it was
centuries ago, simply for this reason, that it is in accordance with an
unalterable law of nature; a law by which one type in every group is to
represent the worst passions of mankind--fierceness, or cruelty, or
horror." [!!!]

Who would for a moment imagine that all this grandiloquence is bestowed
upon an animal, which is so far from being fierce and untameable, that
young ones, taken and reared with ordinary cattle, become, even in the
first generation, as tame as domestic animals? [See account of
Chillingham White Cattle, p. 140.]

For a more complete satisfaction of his thought, the reader is referred
to Mr. Swainson's volume "On the Natural History and Classification of
Quadrupeds," p. 274, where he has given us an incoherent abstract of
Colonel Smith's article on the _Bovinæ_, without, however, making the
least attempt to verify the statements there recorded. The descriptions
and characteristics are avowedly Colonel Smith's; but, in justice to
the latter gentleman, it must be added, that the disquisitions on the
circular succession of forms, and the analogical relations, are entirely
Mr. Swainson's.


What constitutes a species? And how far do the limits of varieties
extend? Cuvier, who is, perhaps, the best authority we can have upon
this subject, in defining a species, says:--_A species comprehends all
the individuals which descend from each other or from a common
parentage, and those which resemble them as much as they do each other._
Thus, the different races which they have generated from them are
considered as varieties but of one species. Our observations, therefore,
respecting the differences between the ancestors and the descendants,
are the only rules by which we can judge on this subject; all other
considerations being merely hypothetical, and destitute of proof. Taking
the word _variety_ in this limited sense, we observe that the
differences which constitute this variety depend upon determinate
circumstances, and that their extent increases in proportion to the
intensity of the circumstances which occasion them.

Upon these principles it is obvious, that the most superficial
characters are the most variable. Thus colour depends much upon light;
thickness of hair upon heat; size upon abundance of food, &c. In wild
animals, however, these varieties are greatly limited by the natural
habits of the animal, which does not willingly migrate from the places
where it finds, in sufficient quantity, what is necessary for the
support of its species, and does not even extend its haunts to any great
distances, unless it also finds all these circumstances conjoined. Thus,
although the Wolf and the Fox inhabit all the climates from the torrid
to the frigid zone, we hardly find any other differences among them,
through the whole of that vast space, than a little more or less beauty
in their furs. The more savage animals, especially the carnivorous,
being confined within narrower limits, vary still less; and the only
difference between the Hyæna of Persia and that of Morocco, consists in
a thicker or a thinner mane.

Wild animals which subsist upon herbage, feel the influence of climate a
little more extensively, because there is added to it the influence of
food, both in regard to its abundance and its quality. Thus the
Elephants of one forest are larger than those of another; their tusks
also grow somewhat longer in places where their food may happen to be
more favorable for the production of the substance of ivory. The same
may take place in regard to the horns of Stags and Rein-deer. Besides,
the species of herbivorous animals, in their wild state, seem more
restrained from migrating and dispersing than the carnivorous species,
being influenced both by climate, and by the kind of nourishment which
they need.

We never see, in a wild state, intermediate productions between the Hare
and the Rabbit, between the Stag and the Doe, or between the Martin and
the Weasel. Human artifice contrives to produce all these intermixtures
of which the various species are susceptible, but which they would never
produce if left to themselves.

The degrees of these variations are proportional to the intensity of the
causes that produce them, namely, the slavery or subjection under which
these animals are to man. They do not proceed far in half-domesticated

In the domesticated herbivorous quadrupeds, which man transports into
all kinds of climates, and subjects to various kinds of management, both
in regard to labour and nourishment, he procures certainly more
considerable variations, but still they are all merely superficial:
greater or less size; longer or shorter horns, or even the want of these
entirely; a hump of fat, larger or smaller, on the shoulder; these form
the chief differences among particular races of the _Bos Taurus_, or
domestic Black Cattle; and these differences continue long in such
breeds as have been transported to great distances from the countries in
which they were originally produced, when proper care is taken to
prevent crossing.

Nature appears also to have guarded against the alterations of species
which might proceed from mixture of breeds, by influencing the various
species of animals with mutual aversion. Hence all the cunning and all
the force that man is able to exert is necessary to accomplish such
unions, even between species that have the nearest resemblance. And when
the mule-breeds that are thus produced by these forced conjunctions
happen to be fruitful, which is seldom the case, this fecundity never
continues beyond a few generations, and would not probably proceed so
far, without a continuance of the same causes which excited it at

This being the case, it is quite clear that the fact of two animals
producing an intermediate race is no proof whatever of their specific
identity; for it is well known, and has been already alluded to, that
several animals. Birds as well as Mammalia, produce offspring, and are
nevertheless distinct, both as it regards anatomical structure and
external form.

Neither does it constitute the species identical if either or both the
hybrids be even capable of fruitful intercourse with the original or
parent species. Hamilton Smith goes so far as to say, that "if it even
were proved that a prolific intermediate race exist, produced by the
intermixture of both, it would not fully determine that both form only
one original species: what forms a species, and what a variety, is as
yet far from being well understood."

It is, however, pretty generally agreed, that animals are of the same
species, that is to say, have been derived from one common stock, when
their offspring have the power, _inter se_, of indefinitely continuing
their kind; and conversely, that animals of distinct species, or
descendants of stocks originally different, cannot produce a mixed race
which shall possess the capability of perpetuating itself.

To conclude, it must be obvious, that permanent anatomical differences
are the only true criteria of distinctions of species.


_Bos Bantinger, or Bantiger. Bos Sondaicus?_


The above figure was drawn from a stuffed specimen in the British
Museum. In colour, shape, and texture of horns, and apparent want of
dewlap, it bears some resemblance to the Gaur; but in the skeleton of
the Gaur the sacrum consists of _five_ vertebræ, and the tail of
_nineteen_; while in the skeleton of the Banteng, the sacrum consists of
but _four_ vertebræ, and the tail of _eighteen_.


It does not come within the scope of the present work to give the
varieties of Domestic Cattle; for these the reader is referred to the
many excellent works already published on the subject. It will be
sufficient in this place to notice a few interesting facts--statistical,
anecdotal, &c.--in relation to their domestic history.


The following remarkable fact, respecting the colour of the offspring
being influenced by that of the external objects surrounding the Cow at
the time of copulation, is stated by John Boswell, of Balmuto and
Kingcaussie, in an essay upon the breeding of Live Stock, communicated
to the Highland Society in 1825. He says:--"One of the most intelligent
breeders I have ever met with in Scotland, Mr. Mustard, an extensive
farmer on Sir James Carnegie's Estate in Angus, told me a singular fact,
with regard to what I have now stated. One of his cows happened to come
into season while pasturing on a field which was bounded by that of one
of his neighbours, out of which field an Ox jumped, and went with the
Cow, until she was brought home to the Bull. The Ox was white with black
spots, and horned. Mr. Mustard had not a horned beast in his possession,
nor one with any white on it. Nevertheless, the produce of the following
spring was a black and white calf, _with horns_." Another fact, which
shows the great care required in keeping pure this breed--(the Angus
doddies)--is related of the Keillor Stock, where, two different seasons,
a dairy cow of the Ayrshire breed, red and white, was allowed to pasture
with the black doddies. In the first experiment, from pure black Bulls
and Cows, there appeared _three_ red and white calves; and on the second
trial, _two_ of the calves were of mixed colours. Since that time care
has been taken to have almost every animal on the farm, down to the Pigs
and Poultry of a black colour.


An ordinary Cow, and a Bull without horns, will produce a calf
resembling the male in appearance and character, without horns and
without that particular prominence of the transverse apophysis of the
frontal bone. The milk of the female from this cross, also, proves the
influence of the male: it has the peculiar qualities of the hornless
breed--less abundant, containing less whey, but more cream and curd.


A Mr. Gordon relates the following singular instance of fecundity and
early maturity in the Aberdeen Cattle. "On the 25th of Sept., 1805, a
calf of five months old, of the small Aberdeenshire breed, happening to
be put into an enclosure among other Cattle, admitted a male that was
only one year old. In the month of June following, at the age of
fourteen months, she brought forth a very fine calf, and in the Summer
of 1807, another equally good. The first calf, after working in the
Winter, Spring, and Summer of 1809, was killed in January, 1810, and
weighed 6 _cwt._ 3 _qrs._ 16 _lb._ The second was killed December 16,
1810, aged three years six months, and weighed exactly 7 _cwt._; and on
Dec. 30, 1807, the mother, after having brought up these calves, was
killed at the age of two years and eight months, and weighed 4 _cwt._ 1
_qr._ the four quarters, sinking the offal."


Cows are usually milked three times a day over the greatest part of
Scotland, from the time of calving till the milk begins to dry up during
the Winter season, when the Cows are for the most part in calf; nor is
it found that they suffer by that practice in any degree: and it is the
general opinion of all who adopt it, that nearly one third more milk is
thus obtained than if they were milked only twice.

A Cow, mentioned by Dr. Anderson in his 'Recreations,' (vol. v, p. 309,)
was milked three times a day for ten years running, during the space of
nine months, at least, every year; and was never seen, during all that
period, but in very excellent order, although she had no other feeding
than was given to the rest of the Cows, some of which were very low
every winter, when they gave no milk at all.

A farmer of the name of Watkinson had a Cow that, for seventeen years,
gave him from ten to twenty quarts of milk every day; was in moderate
condition when taken up, six months in fattening, and being then twenty
years old, was sold for more than £18. Mr. John Holt, of Walton, in
Lancashire, had a healthy Cow-calf presented to him, whose dam was in
her thirty-second year, and could not be said to have been properly out
of milk for the preceding fifteen years.

Yorkshire Cows, which are those chiefly used in the London Dairies, give
a very great quantity of milk. It is by no means uncommon for them, in
the beginning of the Summer, to yield thirty quarts a day; there are
rare instances of giving thirty-six quarts; but the average measure may
be estimated at twenty-two or twenty-four quarts.

[Illustration: Alderney Cow, after Howitt.]


The Alderney Cow, considering its voracious appetite, yields very little
milk; that milk, however, is of an extraordinary excellent quality, and
gives more butter than can be obtained from the milk of any other cow.
John Lawrence states that an Alderney Cow that had strayed on the
premises of a friend of his, and remained there three weeks, made 19
lbs. of butter each week; and the fact was held so extraordinary, as to
be thought worthy of a memorandum in the parish books. The milk of the
Alderney Cow fits her for the situation in which she is usually placed,
and where the excellence of the article is regarded, and not the

Lord Hampden, of Glynde, had a cow which in the height of the season
yielded ten pounds of butter and twelve pounds of cheese every week, and
yet her quantity of milk rarely exceeded five gallons per day. The next
year the same cow gave nine pounds and a half of butter per week for
several weeks, and then for the rest of the summer between eight and
nine pounds per week; and until the hard frost set in, seven pounds; and
four pounds per week during the frost. Yet as a proof of the quality of
the milk, she at no time gave more than five gallons in the day. To this
may be added that, "four or five years before, the same person had a
fine black Sussex Cow from Lord Gage, which also gave, in the height of
the season, five gallons per day, but no more than five pounds of butter
were ever made from it." This is accounted for in a singular way; for
there is a common opinion in the east of Sussex, that "the milk of a
black cow never gives so much butter as that of a red one."


In treating of Rabies, Youatt says:--"When a rabid or mad dog is
wandering about, labouring under an irrepressible disposition to bite,
he seeks out first of all his own species; but if his road lies by a
herd of cattle, he will attack the nearest to him; and if he meet with
much resistance, he will set upon the whole herd, and bite as many as he
can.... If the disease is to appear at all, it will be about the
expiration of the _fifth week_, although there will be no absolute
security in less than the double number of months," After making these
remarks, our author reasons himself into the sapient conclusion, that
the poison in all rabid animals resides in the saliva, and does not
affect any other secretion. "The knowledge that the virus is confined to
the saliva," he opines, "will settle a matter that has been the cause of
considerable uneasiness. A cow has been observed to be ailing for a day
or two, but she has been milked as usual; her milk has been mingled with
the rest, and has been used for domestic purposes, as heretofore. She is
at length discovered to be rabid. Is the family safe? Can the milk of a
rabid cow be drunk with impunity? Yes, perfectly so, for the poison is
confined to the saliva. The livers of hundreds of rabid dogs have been
eaten in days of ignorance, dressed in all manners of ways, but usually
fried as nicely as possible, as a preventive against madness. Some
miscreants have sent the flesh of rabid cattle to the market, and _it
has been eaten without harm_; and so, although not very pleasant to
think about, _the milk of the rabid cow may be drunk without the
slightest danger_."

Is it, indeed, possible for any of the secretions of an animal to be in
a healthy state, and fit for human food, after it has had the virus of a
rabid dog circulating in its system for at least _five weeks_?
Furthermore, is it consistent in Mr. Youatt to call those _miscreants_
who send the flesh of rabid cattle to market, when he acknowledges, in
the same breathy that it can be eaten without harm?

According to Mr. Youatt's philosophy, a cow in a rabid state is actually
as good as a cow in a healthy state; for its milk may be drunk with
impunity--the family is _perfectly safe_ who uses it for domestic
purposes; and, moreover, _the flesh of rabid cattle may be eaten without
harm_. What more can be predicated of cattle in the purest state of


The number of cattle in Great Britain was estimated by Youatt (1838) at
upwards of eight millions. 160,000 head of cattle are annually sold in
Smithfield alone, without including calves, or the _dead market_, i.e.,
the carcases, sent up from various parts of the country. 1,200,000
sheep, 36,000 pigs, and 18,000 calves, are also sent to Smithfield in
the course of a year.

A tenth part of the sheep and lambs die annually of disease (more than
4,000,000 perished by the rot alone in the winter of 1829-30), and at
least a fifteenth part of the neat cattle are destroyed by inflammatory
fever and milk fever, red water, hoose, and diarrhoea.

If a tithe of the sheep and lambs, and a fifteenth of the neat cattle
_die of disease_, what proportion are _slaughtered and sent to market in
the earlier stages of disease_; and, in fact, in all the stages
antecedent to those which are the immediate cause of death?


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Delineations of the Ox Tribe - The Natural History of Bulls, Bisons, and Buffaloes. - Exhibiting all the Known Species and the More Remarkable - Varieties of the Genus Bos." ***

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