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Title: The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication
Author: Darwin, Charles
Language: English
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The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication

by Charles Darwin M.A., F.R.S., ETC.





















CHAPTER VI.—PIGEONS—_continued._

























































 Figure 1. Dun Devonshire pony, with shoulder, spinal, and leg stripes.
 Figure 2. Head of Japan or masked pig.
 Figure 3. Head of wild boar, and of “golden days,” a pig of the Yorkshire large breed.
 Figure 4. Old Irish pig with jaw-appendages.
 Figure 5. Half-lop rabbit.
 Figure 6. Skull of wild rabbit.
 Figure 7. Skull of large lop-eared rabbit.
 Figure 8. Part of zygomatic arch, showing the projecting end of the malar bone of the auditory meatus, of rabbits.
 Figure 9. Posterior end of skull, showing the inter-parietal bone, of rabbits.
 Figure 10. Occipital foramen of rabbits.
 Figure 11. Skull of half-lop rabbit.
 Figure 12. Atlas vertebrae of rabbits.
 Figure 13. Third cervical vertebrae of rabbits.
 Figure 14. Dorsal vertebrae, from sixth to tenth inclusive, of rabbits.
 Figure 15. Terminal bone of sternum of rabbits.
 Figure 16. Acromion of scapula of rabbits.
 Figure 17. The rock-pigeon, or columba livia.
 Figure 18. English pouter.
 Figure 19. English carrier.
 Figure 20. English barb.
 Figure 21. English fantail.
 Figure 22. African owl.
 Figure 23. Short-faced English tumbler.
 Figure 24. Skulls of pigeons, viewed laterally.
 Figure 25. Lower jaws of pigeons, seen from above.
 Figure 26. Skull of runt, seen from above.
 Figure 27. Lateral view of jaws of pigeons.
 Figure 28. Scapulæ of pigeons.
 Figure 29. Furcula of pigeons.
 Figure 30. Spanish fowl.
 Figure 31. Hamburgh fowl.
 Figure 32. Polish fowl.
 Figure 33. Occipital foramen of the skulls of fowls.
 Figure 34. Skulls of fowls, viewed from above, a little obliquely.
 Figure 35. Longitudinal sections of skulls of fowls, viewed laterally.
 Figure 36. Skull of horned fowl, viewed from above, a little obliquely.
 Figure 37. Sixth cervical vertebræ of fowls, viewed laterally.
 Figure 38. Extremity of the furcula of fowls, viewed laterally.
 Figure 39. Skulls of ducks, viewed laterally, reduced to two-thirds of the natural size.
 Figure 40. Cervical vertebræ of ducks, of natural size.
 Figure 41. Pods of the common pea.
 Figure 42. Peach and almond stones, of natural size, viewed edgeways.
 Figure 43. Plum stones, of natural size, viewed laterally.

_Harriet Ritvo_

Charles Darwin wrote _On the Origin of Species_ in a hurry. He had, it
was true, been formulating his ideas and arguments for several
decades—since his round-the-world _Beagle_ voyage of 1831-1836. These
ideas and arguments had been slow to take definitive shape; Darwin had
nurtured and reworked them, amassing evidence for what he projected to
be a weighty magnum opus. Although he had shared his developing
evolutionary speculations with his closest professional colleagues,
Darwin was reluctant to publish them on several grounds. He was aware
that his theory of evolution by natural selection (or descent with
modification) was complex, that it rested on vast but not
incontrovertible evidence, and that the chain of his reasoning was not
uniformly strong. Further, his conclusions challenged not only the
scientific assumptions of many fellow specialists but also the
theological convictions of a much wider circle of fellow citizens.

In 1859, Darwin did not feel quite ready to expose his cherished theory
to the harsh light of public scrutiny. In the introduction to the
_Origin_ he confessed that although his work on evolution by natural
selection was “nearly finished,” he would need “two or three more years
to complete it.” The _ Origin_ was, he suggested, merely a stopgap, a
schematic “abstract” of a much longer and more fully supported treatise
yet to come. He had been moved to preview his labors in this way, he
explained, because his health was “far from strong” and, perhaps more
importantly, because Alfred Russel Wallace, a younger naturalist
working in isolation in southeast Asia, had sent a paper to the Linnean
Society of London in which he “arrived at almost exactly the same
general conclusions that I have on the origin of species.” If Darwin
had not gone public with his theory at this point, he would have risked
losing credit for the work of many years.

As its reception showed immediately and has continued to show, the
_Origin_ benefited from the succinctness imposed by circumstances.
Darwin himself may have appreciated this point; at any rate, he never
produced the massive treatise, although he repeatedly issued revised
editions of the _ Origin._ But he did not abandon his intention to
buttress his initial schematic presentation with additional evidence.
In the course of the next two decades he published several full-length
elaborations of topics summarily discussed in the _Origin: The
Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication; The Descent of
Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex;_ and _The Expression of the
Emotions in Man and Animals._ In addition to fleshing out the _Origin,_
these subsequent studies bolstered its arguments and responded to
questions raised by critical readers, especially pragmatic questions
about the way that descent with modification actually operated.

In _The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication,_ which
appeared first in 1868 and in a revised edition in 1875, Darwin
developed a theme to which he had accorded great rhetorical and
evidentiary significance. He had begun the _ Origin_ with a description
of artificial selection as practiced by farmers, stock breeders, and
pet fanciers, thus using a reassuringly homely example—one recognizable
by the general public as well as by members of the scientific
community—to introduce the most innovative component of his
evolutionary theory. In addition, domesticated animals and plants,
because they were numerous and available for constant observation,
provided a readily available body of evidence.

Reassuring as it was, the analogy between natural and artificial
selection was far from perfect. The point of Darwin’s analogy was to
make the idea of natural selection seem plausible by characterizing it
as a grander version of a well-known process while emphasizing its
efficiency and shaping power. He noted, for example, that some of the
prize birds bred by London pigeon fanciers diverged so strikingly in
size, plumage, beak shape, flying technique, vocalizations. bone
structure, and many other attributes, that if they had been presented
to an ornithologist as wild specimens, they would unquestionably have
been considered to represent distinct species, perhaps even distinct
genera. Darwin argued that if the relatively brief and constrained
selective efforts of human breeders had produced such impressive
results, it was likely that the more protracted and thorough-going
efforts of nature would work still more efficaciously.

But as Darwin acknowledged, there were some fairly obvious reasons why
the two processes might diverge. The superior power of natural
selection—“Man can act only on external and visible characters: nature
. . . can act on . . . the whole machinery of life. Man selects only
for his own good; Nature only for that of the being which she tends”
(_Origin,_ chap. 5)—might constitute a difference of kind rather than
of degree, as might the much greater stretches of time available for
natural selection. Further, although the mechanism of the two processes
appeared superficially similar, their outcomes tended to be rather
different. Natural selection produced a constantly increasing and
diversifying variety of forms; it never reversed or exactly repeated
itself. Anyone familiar with artificial selection would have realized
that, although new breeds were constantly being developed and although
neither improved wheat nor improved cattle showed any tendency to
revert to the condition of their aboriginal wild ancestors, the strains
produced by human selection were neither as prolific nor as durable as
those produced by nature. Indeed, the animals and plants celebrated as
the noblest achievements of the breeder’s art were especially liable to
delicacy and infertility. Highly bred strains, long isolated from
others of their species to preserve their genealogical purity, far from
serving as a springboard for further variation, often had to be
revivified with infusions of less-rarefied blood. Yet any relaxation of
reproductive boundaries threatened subsidence into the common run of

Darwin firmly connected _Variation_ to the _Origin_ by devoting its
introduction to an overview of his theory of evolution by natural
selection. In particular, the two volumes of _Variation,_ cumbersomely
organized and packed with zoological and botanical detail, addressed
some of the difficulties inherent in the attractive but paradoxical
analogy between natural selection and artificial selection. For
selection of any sort to operate, diversity already had to exist. With
wild populations living under natural conditions, however, diversity
was difficult to discern. It was widely believed that a heightened
propensity to vary (at least in ways obvious to human observers) was
one of the few general characteristics that differentiated domestic
animals as a group from their wild relatives. This point was
conventionally illustrated with reference to coat color and design.
American bison, for example, were, on the whole, brown, and all
Burchell’s zebras shared similar black and white stripes. A single herd
of either _Bos tauras_ or _Equus caballus_ (domestic cattle or horses),
on the other hand, could display colors ranging from white through
yellow, red, and brown to black, as well as a variety of spotted and
blotched patterns.

In order to demonstrate that such populations spontaneously produced
sufficient variation to support artificial selection, Darwin devoted
most of the first volume of _ Variation_ to a species-by-species survey
of domesticated plants and animals. He began with the dog, the breeds
of which differed so greatly in size, shape, disposition, talents, and
every other characteristic that Darwin attributed its exemplary
plasticity to its derivation from several different species of wild
canines. Domestic cats, on the other hand, differed relatively little
from one another, at least, their variation tended to be individual,
rather than consolidated into breeds. Darwin attributed this to the
minimal influence exerted by cat owners over the mating behavior of
their animals, so that, alone among fully domesticated animals, cats
could not be said to have undergone a genuine process of artificial

Farmyard ungulates, however, had all proved more susceptible to human
manipulation, whether through the gradual enhancement of inherent
tendencies, such as the relatively early maturation that distinguished
shorthorn cattle, or through the preservation of spontaneously arising
monstrosities, such as the short, broad foreheads and protruding lower
jaws of the niata cattle of South America, the bulldogs of the bovine
world. Among animals, fancy pigeons, with their short generations,
devoted breeders, and lack of any pragmatic constraints on their
extravagant deformations, provided Darwin with his most abundant
material. He allotted less space to his survey of domesticated plants,
although, with the exception of trees, they tended to he much shorter
lived and more variable even than pigeons. For example, as Darwin
pointed out, a single long-cultivated species—_Brassica oleracea,_ the
ordinary cabbage—had given rise to strains as distinctive as Brussels
sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and kohl-rabi.

Darwin crammed in so much information of this sort that, in order to
confine _Variation_ to two volumes of manageable size, less crucial
evidence was relegated to a smaller typeface. And so compendious was
his survey of domesticates that he felt constrained to deny that it was
intended to he an exhaustive catalog. After all, many such catalogs,
devoted merely to the accumulation of species- or breed-specific data,
existed already; Darwin cited them generously in his footnotes. The
material included in _Variation_ had been chosen to fulfill a more
focused argumentative purpose. Darwin’s theory of descent with
modification required something further than the simple demonstration
that abundant variation existed among domesticated animals and plants.
The accumulated experience of naturalists and breeders offered no clear
explanation of the causes of variation; indeed, no consensus existed on
this issue. Variation under domestication was frequently attributed to
accidental external influences, especially climate and food. But
environmentally induced variation was not of much use to Darwin.
Instead, he sought evidence not only that the tendency to vary was
inherent in domesticated animals and plants but also that specific
variations were inherited.

As a result, Darwin’s wealth of detail in _ Variation_
disproportionately featured strong—as well as puzzling, problematic, or
even questionable—versions of inheritance, in addition to the
unsurprising, if still not completely understood, likelihood that
children would resemble their parents. For example, he devoted an
entire chapter to what he termed “atavism” or “reversion”—that is, the
tendency for offspring to manifest traits apparently derived from their
grandparents, collateral relations, or even remote ancestors, rather
than from their mothers or their fathers. The existence of this
tendency in the lineages of individuals, he argued, incontrovertibly
demonstrated the fact of heritability; and in an extended or
exaggerated version it also demonstrated evolutionary relations between
species. Thus, many breeds of domesticated chickens revealed their
ultimate ancestry by producing occasional sports with the red and
orange plumage of the original _Callus bankiva,_ or jungle fowl.

Like many other naturalists of his time, Darwin was receptive to the
idea of telegony, also known as “the influence of the previous sire.”
He retailed the famous story of Lord Morton’s mare, a chestnut of
seven-eighths Arabian blood, whose first foal had been sired by a
quagga (a now-extinct relative of the zebra) her owner was attempting
to domesticate. It was not surprising that the young hybrid faintly
echoed his father’s stripes, but the fact that her next two foals, both
sired by a black Arabian horse, also seemed to resemble the quagga in
this regard, was more remarkable. Darwin pointed out that atavism
offered one possible explanation of this phenomenon—infant horses and
donkeys often showed evanescent striping, which might indicate the
pattern of their ancient shared progenitor—but he was also drawn to the
notion that the first male to impregnate a female left some permanent,
heritable trace of himself behind. He offered analogous examples from
the vegetable kingdom, where the pollen of related varieties of apples,
corn, or orchids, could not only produce hybrid offspring but
occasionally also physically alter the reproductive tract of the
female. Plants also, and more regularly, demonstrated a kind of
variability that could arise independently of sexual reproduction, such
as “bud variation,” whereby what Darwin called a “monstrosity” might
appear on a single branch or flower and then be transmitted, sexually
or asexually, to future generations.

As he documented the profusion of variation among domesticated animals
and plants, and the tendency of organisms to transmit these variations
down the generations, Darwin did more than demonstrate that there was
ample grist for the mill of natural selection. He also addressed the
most serious weakness in the argument of the _Origin._ Despite the
incompleteness of the fossil record, plenty of evidence suggested that
evolution had taken place; indeed the idea of evolution had been
current in one form or another for a century before 1859. Darwin’s
explanation of the way that natural selection should operate was also
widely persuasive. The competitive metaphors with which he
characterized it, especially the “struggle for life” prominently
featured in the _Origin_’s subtitle, fit well with Victorian
understandings about how things worked in the human arenas of industry,
commerce, and geopolitics. There was, however, a problem that troubled
those inclined to sympathize with Darwin’s reasoning as well as those
inclined to reject it. The efficacy of natural selection, like that of
artificial selection, depended on the inheritance of particular traits.
But before the modern understanding of genetics became available, no
satisfactory mechanism had been adduced to explain this phenomenon. No
consensus yet existed about the way that sexual reproduction worked, so
there was also disagreement about which characteristics were inherited
and which were the result of environment, and what could he contributed
by the male as opposed to the female parent, let alone why offspring
sometimes resembled a grandparent or some more distant relative rather
than their parents. The special difficulty of accounting for the sudden
emergence of monstrosities, or even less dramatically novel traits, led
Darwin, in later editions of the _Origin_ as well as in _Variation,_ to
become increasingly receptive to the notion that characteristics
acquired by one generation might he inherited by the next.

In the penultimate chapter of _Variation,_ Darwin attempted to
strengthen the weak link in his chain of argument by proposing a
mechanism for inheritance. He called his theory “pangenesis,” and he
claimed that it explained not only ordinary inheritance—the influence
of parents on their children—but also reversion, telegony, the
regeneration of amputated limbs in some kinds of animals, the
inheritance of acquired characteristics, and the relationship between
sexual and asexual modes of reproduction and inheritance. The operation
of pangenesis depended on the posited existence of unobservable units
that Darwin called “gemmules,” tiny granules that were thrown off by
individual cells and then circulated through the body. They had,
however, an affinity for each other, which led to their aggregation in
the reproductive organs or in parthenogenetic buds. They could remain
latent for years, until an organism reached a certain stage of
development, or for generations, until they encountered other gemmules
to which they bore some special relationship. In this way a
long-dormant greatgrandparental gemmule might suddenly manifest itself
in a child. Since gemmules could he altered by environmental
influences, they could convert acquired characteristics into the stuff
of heredity. And since they were vulnerable to error, they could
occasionally make mistakes, causing organs, such as limbs or tails or
even heads, to develop in inappropriate numbers or in the wrong places.

It has doubtless been fortunate for Darwin’s reputation that his theory
of pangenesis is not as well remembered as his theory of evolution by
natural selection. As vague in detail as it was ambitious and
comprehensive in scope, it was unpersuasive at the time and has since
been proven completely wrong. But like _Variation_ as a whole, which
similarly illustrated the limitations of its author as well as his
strengths, pangenesis does not therefore lack interest or significance.
Despite recent excellent and well-appreciated studies of his entire
life and extended _oeuvre_ (Janet Browne, _Charles Darwin: Voyaging_
[New York: Knopf, 1995] and Adrian Desmond and James Moore, _Darwin_
[London: Michael Joseph, 1991], Darwin is known primarily as the author
of the _Origin,_ which is unrepresentative in its economy of structure,
argument, and evidence, as well as on account of its historical
notoriety. Its enforced streamlining has helped to preserve the
_Origin_’s accessibility, but its relative paucity of examples was
particularly uncharacteristic of Darwin. _Variation,_ with its
accumulation of evidence about everything from the webbing between
dogs’ toes to the weight of gooseberries, was much more typical; in
addition, it placed Darwin firmly—indeed, irretrievably—within his
time, rather than in an achronological limbo reserved for intellectual
heroes. As a graduate student from the People’s Republic of China told
me several years ago, after having participated in a seminar that read
excerpts from _Variation_ and _The Expression of the Emotions,_ if the
leaders of his government knew that Darwin had written such books, he
would not be officially admired.

In science as in politics the victors tend to write the history books.
As a result, the record of the past is edited, intentionally or
unintentionally, so that it focuses mainly on the precursors of
contemporary orthodoxy. Such a focus may accurately represent the
genealogy of modem ideas, but it almost inevitably misrepresents the
historical experience of their progenitors. Viewed without the benefit
of hindsight, the marketplace of Victorian ideas seemed much more
competitive than it does to us. Even the powerful, persuasive, and
ultimately triumphant theory of evolution by natural selection required
not only defense, but repeated buttressing and revision. _ Variation_
showed Darwin hard at work on this rearguard action, using the
materials he had at hand—for the most part, homely details about the
domesticated animals and plants with which his audience was most
familiar. His information was gleaned from the observations of
fanciers, breeders, and amateur naturalists, as well as from the
treatises of those on the cutting edge of zoology and botany. As
hindsight narrows the historical spotlight, it imposes its own sense of
hierarchy on the preoccupations of the past. But Darwin was interested
in all of these topics, valued all of these sources, and belonged, to a
greater or lesser extent, to all of these communities.

The author of _Variation_ was a Victorian country gentleman, a lover of
dogs and horses, a breeder of pigeons and peas. He was also, and
equally, the author of _On the Origin of Species._


During the seven years which have elapsed since the publication in 1868
of the first edition of this Work, I have continued to attend to the
same subjects, as far as lay in my power; and I have thus accumulated a
large body of additional facts, chiefly through the kindness of many
correspondents. Of these facts I have been able here to use only those
which seemed to me the more important. I have omitted some statements,
and corrected some errors, the discovery of which I owe to my
reviewers. Many additional references have been given. The eleventh
chapter, and that on Pangenesis, are those which have been most
altered, parts having been remodelled; but I will give a list of the
more important alterations for the sake of those who may possess the
first edition of this book.


              Vol. I

              Vol. I



              Vol. I


              Vol. I
_Page_     _Chapter_      
34     I     Dr. Burt Wilder’s observations on the brains
          of different breeds of the Dog.
38     I     Degeneracy of Dogs imported into
51     II     Difference in the number of lumbar
          vertebræ in the races or species of the Horse.
102     III     Hairy appendages to the throats of
162     V     Sexual differences in colour in the domestic
217     VI     Movements like those of the Tumbler-pigeon,
          caused by injury to the brain.
290     VIII     Additional facts with respect to the
          Black-shouldered Peacock.
296     VIII     Ancient selection of Gold-fish in
314     IX     Major Hallett’s ‘Pedigree Wheat.’
326     IX     The common radish descended from _Raphanus
374     XI     Several additional cases of bud-variation
396     XI     An abstract of all the cases recently
          published of graft-hybrids in the potato, together with a
          general summary on graft-hybridisation.
399     XI     An erroneous statement with respect to the
          pollen of the date-palm affecting the fruit of the
          Chamærops omitted.
400     XI     New cases of the direct action of pollen on
          the mother-plant.
404     XI     Additional and remarkable instances of the
          actions of the male parent on the future progeny of the
14     XII     An erroneous statement corrected, with
          respect to the regrowth of supernumerary digits after
23     XII     Additional facts with respect to the
          inherited effects of circumcision.
23     XII     Dr. Brown-Séquard on the inherited
          effects of operations on the Guinea-pig.
24     XII     Other cases of inherited mutilations.
      Vol. II      
43     XIII     An additional case of reversion due to a
72     XIV     Inheritance as limited by sex.
105     XVI     Two varieties of maize which cannot be
120     XVII     Some additional facts on the advantages of
          cross-breeding in animals.
123     XVII     Discussion on the effects of the close
          interbreeding in the case of man.




                Additional cases of plants sterile with
          pollen from the same plant.
149     XVIII     Mr. Sclater on the infertility of animals
          under confinement.
152     XVIII     The Aperea a distinct species from the
230     XXI     Prof. Jäger on hawks killing
          light-coloured pigeons.
273     XXIII     Prof. Wisemann on the effects of isolation
          in the development of species.
281     XXIII     The direct action of the conditions of life
          in causing variation.
317     XXIV     Mr. Romanes on rudimentary parts.




                Some additional cases of correlated
339     XXVI     On Geoffrey St. Hilaire’s law of _“soi
          pour soi.”_




                The chapter on Pangenesis has been largely
          altered and re-modelled; but the essential principles remain
          the same.


The object of this work is not to describe all the many races of
animals which have been domesticated by man, and of the plants which
have been cultivated by him; even if I possessed the requisite
knowledge, so gigantic an undertaking would be here superfluous. It is
my intention to give under the head of each species only such facts as
I have been able to collect or observe, showing the amount and nature
of the changes which animals and plants have undergone whilst under
man’s dominion, or which bear on the general principles of variation.
In one case alone, namely in that of the domestic pigeon, I will
describe fully all the chief races, their history, the amount and
nature of their differences, and the probable steps by which they have
been formed. I have selected this case, because, as we shall hereafter
see, the materials are better than in any other; and one case fully
described will in fact illustrate all others. But I shall also describe
domesticated rabbits, fowls, and ducks, with considerable fulness.

The subjects discussed in this volume are so connected that it is not a
little difficult to decide how they can be best arranged. I have
determined in the first part to give, under the heads of the various
animals and plants, a large body of facts, some of which may at first
appear but little related to our subject, and to devote the latter part
to general discussions. Whenever I have found it necessary to give
numerous details, in support of any proposition or conclusion, small
type has been used. The reader will, I think, find this plan a
convenience, for, if he does not doubt the conclusion or care about the
details, he can easily pass them over; yet I may be permitted to say
that some of the discussions thus printed deserve attention, at least
from the professed naturalist.

It may be useful to those who have read nothing about Natural
Selection, if I here give a brief sketch of the whole subject and of
its bearing on the origin of species.[1] This is the more desirable, as
it is impossible in the present work to avoid many allusions to
questions which will be fully discussed in future volumes.

From a remote period, in all parts of the world, man has subjected many
animals and plants to domestication or culture. Man has no power of
altering the absolute conditions of life; he cannot change the climate
of any country; he adds no new element to the soil; but he can remove
an animal or plant from one climate or soil to another, and give it
food on which it did not subsist in its natural state. It is an error
to speak of man “tampering with nature” and causing variability. If a
man drops a piece of iron into sulphuric acid, it cannot be said
strictly that he makes the sulphate of iron, he only allows their
elective affinities to come into play. If organic beings had not
possessed an inherent tendency to vary, man could have done nothing.[2]
He unintentionally exposes his animals and plants to various conditions
of life, and variability supervenes, which he cannot even prevent or
check. Consider the simple case of a plant which has been cultivated
during a long time in its native country, and which consequently has
not been subjected to any change of climate. It has been protected to a
certain extent from the competing roots of plants of other kinds; it
has generally been grown in manured soil; but probably not richer than
that of many an alluvial flat; and lastly, it has been exposed to
changes in its conditions, being grown sometimes in one district and
sometimes in another, in different soils. Under such circumstances,
scarcely a plant can be named, though cultivated in the rudest manner,
which has not given birth to several varieties. It can hardly be
maintained that during the many changes which this earth has undergone,
and during the natural migrations of plants from one land or island to
another, tenanted by different species, that such plants will not often
have been subjected to changes in their conditions analogous to those
which almost inevitably cause cultivated plants to vary. No doubt man
selects varying individuals, sows their seeds, and again selects their
varying offspring. But the initial variation on which man works, and
without which he can do nothing, is caused by slight changes in the
conditions of life, which must often have occurred under nature. Man,
therefore, may be said to have been trying an experiment on a gigantic
scale; and it is an experiment which nature during the long lapse of
time has incessantly tried. Hence it follows that the principles of
domestication are important for us. The main result is that organic
beings thus treated have varied largely, and the variations have been
inherited. This has apparently been one chief cause of the belief long
held by some few naturalists that species in a state of nature undergo

I shall in this volume treat, as fully as my materials permit, the
whole subject of variation under domestication. We may thus hope to
obtain some light, little though it be, on the causes of
variability,—on the laws which govern it, such as the direct action of
climate and food, the effects of use and disuse, and of correlation of
growth,—and on the amount of change to which domesticated organisms are
liable. We shall learn something of the laws of inheritance, of the
effects of crossing different breeds, and on that sterility which often
supervenes when organic beings are removed from their natural
conditions of life, and likewise when they are too closely interbred.
During this investigation we shall see that the principle of Selection
is highly important. Although man does not cause variability and cannot
even prevent it, he can select, preserve, and accumulate the variations
given to him by the hand of nature almost in any way which he chooses;
and thus he can certainly produce a great result. Selection may be
followed either methodically and intentionally, or unconsciously and
unintentionally. Man may select and preserve each successive variation,
with the distinct intention of improving and altering a breed, in
accordance with a preconceived idea; and by thus adding up variations,
often so slight as to be imperceptible by an uneducated eye, he has
effected wonderful changes and improvements. It can, also, be clearly
shown that man, without any intention or thought of improving the
breed, by preserving in each successive generation the individuals
which he prizes most, and by destroying the worthless individuals,
slowly, though surely, induces great changes. As the will of man thus
comes into play, we can understand how it is that domesticated breeds
show adaptation to his wants and pleasures. We can further understand
how it is that domestic races of animals and cultivated races of plants
often exhibit an abnormal character, as compared with natural species;
for they have been modified not for their own benefit, but for that of

In another work I shall discuss, if time and health permit, the
variability of organic beings in a state of nature; namely, the
individual differences presented by animals and plants, and those
slightly greater and generally inherited differences which are ranked
by naturalists as varieties or geographical races. We shall see how
difficult, or rather how impossible it often is, to distinguish between
races and sub-species, as the less well-marked forms have sometimes
been denominated; and again between sub-species and true species. I
shall further attempt to show that it is the common and widely ranging,
or, as they may be called, the dominant species, which most frequently
vary; and that it is the large and flourishing genera which include the
greatest number of varying species. Varieties, as we shall see, may
justly be called incipient species.

But it may be urged, granting that organic beings in a state of nature
present some varieties,—that their organisation is in some slight
degree plastic; granting that many animals and plants have varied
greatly under domestication, and that man by his power of selection has
gone on accumulating such variations until he has made strongly marked
and firmly inherited races; granting all this, how, it may be asked,
have species arisen in a state of nature? The differences between
natural varieties are slight; whereas the differences are considerable
between the species of the same genus, and great between the species of
distinct genera. How do these lesser differences become augmented into
the greater difference? How do varieties, or as I have called them
incipient species, become converted into true and well-defined species?
How has each new species been adapted to the surrounding physical
conditions, and to the other forms of life on which it in any way
depends? We see on every side of us innumerable adaptations and
contrivances, which have justly excited the highest admiration of every
observer. There is, for instance, a fly (Cecidomyia)[3] which deposits
its eggs within the stamens of a Scrophularia, and secretes a poison
which produces a gall, on which the larva feeds; but there is another
insect (Misocampus) which deposits its eggs within the body of the
larva within the gall, and is thus nourished by its living prey; so
that here a hymenopterous insect depends on a dipterous insect, and
this depends on its power of producing a monstrous growth in a
particular organ of a particular plant. So it is, in a more or less
plainly marked manner, in thousands and tens of thousands of cases,
with the lowest as well as with the highest productions of nature.

This problem of the conversion of varieties into species,—that is, the
augmentation of the slight differences characteristic of varieties into
the greater differences characteristic of species and genera, including
the admirable adaptations of each being to its complex organic and
inorganic conditions of life,—has been briefly treated in my ‘Origin of
Species.’ It was there shown that all organic beings, without
exception, tend to increase at so high a ratio, that no district, no
station, not even the whole surface of the land or the whole ocean,
would hold the progeny of a single pair after a certain number of
generations. The inevitable result is an ever-recurrent Struggle for
Existence. It has truly been said that all nature is at war; the
strongest ultimately prevail, the weakest fail; and we well know that
myriads of forms have disappeared from the face of the earth. If then
organic beings in a state of nature vary even in a slight degree, owing
to changes in the surrounding conditions, of which we have abundant
geological evidence, or from any other cause; if, in the long course of
ages, inheritable variations ever arise in any way advantageous to any
being under its excessively complex and changing relations of life; and
it would be a strange fact if beneficial variations did never arise,
seeing how many have arisen which man has taken advantage of for his
own profit or pleasure; if then these contingencies ever occur, and I
do not see how the probability of their occurrence can be doubted, then
the severe and often-recurrent struggle for existence will determine
that those variations, however slight, which are favourable shall be
preserved or selected, and those which are unfavourable shall be

This preservation, during the battle for life, of varieties which
possess any advantage in structure, constitution, or instinct, I have
called Natural Selection; and Mr. Herbert Spencer has well expressed
the same idea by the Survival of the Fittest. The term “natural
selection” is in some respects a bad one, as it seems to imply
conscious choice; but this will be disregarded after a little
familiarity. No one objects to chemists speaking of “elective
affinity;” and certainly an acid has no more choice in combining with a
base, than the conditions of life have in determining whether or not a
new form be selected or preserved. The term is so far a good one as it
brings into connection the production of domestic races by man’s power
of selection, and the natural preservation of varieties and species in
a state of nature. For brevity sake I sometimes speak of natural
selection as an intelligent power;—in the same way as astronomers speak
of the attraction of gravity as ruling the movements of the planets, or
as agriculturists speak of man making domestic races by his power of
selection. In the one case, as in the other, selection does nothing
without variability, and this depends in some manner on the action of
the surrounding circumstances on the organism. I have, also, often
personified the word Nature; for I have found it difficult to avoid
this ambiguity; but I mean by nature only the aggregate action and
product of many natural laws,—and by laws only the ascertained sequence
of events.

It has been shown from many facts that the largest amount of life can
be supported on each area, by great diversification or divergence in
the structure and constitution of its inhabitants. We have, also, seen
that the continued production of new forms through natural selection,
which implies that each new variety has some advantage over others,
inevitably leads to the extermination of the older and less improved
forms. These latter are almost necessarily intermediate in structure,
as well as in descent, between the last-produced forms and their
original parent-species. Now, if we suppose a species to produce two or
more varieties, and these in the course of time to produce other
varieties, the principal of good being derived from diversification of
structure will generally lead to the preservation of the most divergent
varieties; thus the lesser differences characteristic of varieties come
to be augmented into the greater differences characteristic of species,
and, by the extermination of the older intermediate forms, new species
end by being distinctly defined objects. Thus, also, we shall see how
it is that organic beings can be classed by what is called a natural
method in distinct groups—species under genera, and genera under

As all the inhabitants of each country may be said, owing to their high
rate of reproduction, to be striving to increase in numbers; as each
form comes into competition with many other forms in the struggle for
life,—for destroy any one and its place will be seized by others; as
every part of the organisation occasionally varies in some slight
degree, and as natural selection acts exclusively by the preservation
of variations which are advantageous under the excessively complex
conditions to which each being is exposed, no limit exists to the
number, singularity, and perfection of the contrivances and
co-adaptations which may thus be produced. An animal or a plant may
thus slowly become related in its structure and habits in the most
intricate manner to many other animals and plants, and to the physical
conditions of its home. Variations in the organisation will in some
cases be aided by habit, or by the use and disuse of parts, and they
will be governed by the direct action of the surrounding physical
conditions and by correlation of growth.

On the principles here briefly sketched out, there is no innate or
necessary tendency in each being to its own advancement in the scale of
organisation. We are almost compelled to look at the specialisation or
differentiation of parts or organs for different functions as the best
or even sole standard of advancement; for by such division of labour
each function of body and mind is better performed. And as natural
selection acts exclusively through the preservation of profitable
modifications of structure, and as the conditions of life in each area
generally become more and more complex from the increasing number of
different forms which inhabit it and from most of these forms acquiring
a more and more perfect structure, we may confidently believe, that, on
the whole, organisation advances. Nevertheless a very simple form
fitted for very simple conditions of life might remain for indefinite
ages unaltered or unimproved; for what would it profit an infusorial
animalcule, for instance, or an intestinal worm, to become highly
organised? Members of a high group might even become, and this
apparently has often occurred, fitted for simpler conditions of life;
and in this case natural selection would tend to simplify or degrade
the organisation, for complicated mechanism for simple actions would be
useless or even disadvantageous.

The arguments opposed to the theory of Natural Selection, have been
discussed in my ‘Origin of Species,’ as far as the size of that work
permitted, under the following heads: the difficulty in understanding
how very simple organs have been converted by small and graduated steps
into highly perfect and complex organs; the marvellous facts of
Instinct; the whole question of Hybridity; and, lastly, the absence in
our known geological formations of innumerable links connecting all
allied species. Although some of these difficulties are of great
weight, we shall see that many of them are explicable on the theory of
natural selection, and are otherwise inexplicable.

In scientific investigations it is permitted to invent any hypothesis,
and if it explains various large and independent classes of facts it
rises to the rank of a well-grounded theory. The undulations of the
ether and even its existence are hypothetical, yet every one now admits
the undulatory theory of light. The principle of natural selection may
be looked at as a mere hypothesis, but rendered in some degree probable
by what we positively know of the variability of organic beings in a
state of nature,—by what we positively know of the struggle for
existence, and the consequent almost inevitable preservation of
favourable variations,—and from the analogical formation of domestic
races. Now this hypothesis may be tested,—and this seems to me the only
fair and legitimate manner of considering the whole question,—by trying
whether it explains several large and independent classes of facts;
such as the geological succession of organic beings, their distribution
in past and present times, and their mutual affinities and homologies.
If the principle of natural selection does explain these and other
large bodies of facts, it ought to be received. On the ordinary view of
each species having been independently created, we gain no scientific
explanation of any one of these facts. We can only say that it has so
pleased the Creator to command that the past and present inhabitants of
the world should appear in a certain order and in certain areas; that
He has impressed on them the most extraordinary resemblances, and has
classed them in groups subordinate to groups. But by such statements we
gain no new knowledge; we do not connect together facts and laws; we
explain nothing.

It was the consideration of such large groups of facts as these which
first led me to take up the present subject. When I visited during the
voyage of H.M.S. _Beagle,_ the Galapagos Archipelago, situated in the
Pacific Ocean about 500 miles from South America, I found myself
surrounded by peculiar species of birds, reptiles, and plants, existing
nowhere else in the world. Yet they nearly all bore an American stamp.
In the song of the mocking-thrush, in the harsh cry of the
carrion-hawk, in the great candlestick-like opuntias, I clearly
perceived the neighbourhood of America, though the islands were
separated by so many miles of ocean from the mainland, and differed
much in their geological constitution and climate. Still more
surprising was the fact that most of the inhabitants of each separate
island in this small archipelago were specifically different, though
most closely related to each other. The archipelago, with its
innumerable craters and bare streams of lava, appeared to be of recent
origin; and thus I fancied myself brought near to the very act of
creation. I often asked myself how these many peculiar animals and
plants had been produced: the simplest answer seemed to be that the
inhabitants of the several islands had descended from each other,
undergoing modification in the course of their descent; and that all
the inhabitants of the archipelago were descended from those of the
nearest land, namely America, whence colonists would naturally have
been derived. But it long remained to me an inexplicable problem how
the necessary degree of modification could have been effected, and it
would have thus remained for ever, had I not studied domestic
productions, and thus acquired a just idea of the power of Selection.
As soon as I had fully realised this idea, I saw, on reading Malthus on
Population, that Natural Selection was the inevitable result of the
rapid increase of all organic beings; for I was prepared to appreciate
the struggle for existence by having long studied the habits of

Before visiting the Galapagos I had collected many animals whilst
travelling from north to south on both sides of America, and
everywhere, under conditions of life as different as it is possible to
conceive, American forms were met with—species replacing species of the
same peculiar genera. Thus it was when the Cordilleras were ascended,
or the thick tropical forests penetrated, or the fresh waters of
America searched. Subsequently I visited other countries, which in all
their conditions of life were incomparably more like parts of South
America, than the different parts of that continent are to each other;
yet in these countries, as in Australia or Southern Africa, the
traveller cannot fail to be struck with the entire difference of their
productions. Again the reflection was forced on me that community of
descent from the early inhabitants of South America would alone explain
the wide prevalence of American types throughout that immense area.

To exhume with one’s own hands the bones of extinct and gigantic
quadrupeds brings the whole question of the succession of species
vividly before one’s mind; and I found in South America great pieces of
tesselated armour exactly like, but on a magnificent scale, that
covering the pigmy armadillo; I had found great teeth like those of the
living sloth, and bones like those of the cavy. An analogous succession
of allied forms had been previously observed in Australia. Here then we
see the prevalence, as if by descent, in time as in space, of the same
types in the same areas; and in neither the case does the similarity of
the conditions by any means seem sufficient to account for the
similarity of the forms of life. It is notorious that the fossil
remains of closely consecutive formations are closely allied in
structure, and we can at once understand the fact if they are closely
allied by descent. The succession of the many distinct species of the
same genus throughout the long series of geological formations seems to
have been unbroken or continuous. New species come in gradually one by
one. Ancient and extinct forms of life are often intermediate in
character, like the words of a dead language with respect to its
several offshoots or living tongues. All these facts seemed to me to
point to descent with modification as the means of production of new

The innumerable past and present inhabitants of the world are connected
together by the most singular and complex affinities, and can be
classed in groups under groups, in the same manner as varieties can be
classed under species and sub-varieties under varieties, but with much
higher grades of difference. These complex affinities and the rules for
classification, receive a rational explanation on the theory of
descent, combined with the principle of natural selection, which
entails divergence of character and the extinction of intermediate
forms. How inexplicable is the similar pattern of the hand of a man,
the foot of a dog, the wing of a bat, the flipper of a seal, on the
doctrine of independent acts of creation! how simply explained on the
principle of the natural selection of successive slight variations in
the diverging descendants from a single progenitor! So it is with
certain parts or organs in the same individual animal or plant, for
instance, the jaws and legs of a crab, or the petals, stamens, and
pistils of a flower. During the many changes to which in the course of
time organic beings have been subjected, certain organs or parts have
occasionally become at first of little use and ultimately superfluous;
and the retention of such parts in a rudimentary and useless condition
is intelligible on the theory of descent. It can be shown that
modifications of structure are generally inherited by the offspring at
the same age at which each successive variation appeared in the
parents; it can further be shown that variations do not commonly
supervene at a very early period of embryonic growth, and on these two
principles we can understand that most wonderful fact in the whole
circuit of natural history, namely, the close similarity of the embryos
within the same great class—for instance, those of mammals, birds,
reptiles, and fish.

It is the consideration and explanation of such facts as these which
has convinced me that the theory of descent with modification by means
of natural selection is in the main true. These facts have as yet
received no explanation on the theory of independent Creation; they
cannot be grouped together under one point of view, but each has to be
considered as an ultimate fact. As the first origin of life on this
earth, as well as the continued life of each individual, is at present
quite beyond the scope of science, I do not wish to lay much stress on
the greater simplicity of the view of a few forms or of only one form
having been originally created, instead of innumerable miraculous
creations having been necessary at innumerable periods; though this
more simple view accords well with Maupertuis’s philosophical axiom of
“least action.”

In considering how far the theory of natural selection may be extended,
—that is, in determining from how many progenitors the inhabitants of
the world have descended,—we may conclude that at least all the members
of the same class have descended from a single ancestor. A number of
organic beings are included in the same class, because they present,
independently of their habits of life, the same fundamental type of
structure, and because they graduate into each other. Moreover, members
of the same class can in most cases be shown to be closely alike at an
early embryonic age. These facts can be explained on the belief of
their descent from a common form; therefore it may be safely admitted
that all the members of the same class are descended from one
progenitor. But as the members of quite distinct classes have something
in common in structure and much in common in constitution, analogy
would lead us one step further, and to infer as probable that all
living creatures are descended from a single prototype.

I hope that the reader will pause before coming to any final and
hostile conclusion on the theory of natural selection. The reader may
consult my ‘Origin of Species’ for a general sketch of the whole
subject; but in that work he has to take many statements on trust. In
considering the theory of natural selection, he will assuredly meet
with weighty difficulties, but these difficulties relate chiefly to
subjects—such as the degree of perfection of the geological record, the
means of distribution, the possibility of transitions in organs,
etc.—on which we are confessedly ignorant; nor do we know how ignorant
we are. If we are much more ignorant than is generally supposed, most
of these difficulties wholly disappear. Let the reader reflect on the
difficulty of looking at whole classes of facts from a new point of
view. Let him observe how slowly, but surely, the noble views of Lyell
on the gradual changes now in progress on the earth’s surface have been
accepted as sufficient to account for all that we see in its past
history. The present action of natural selection may seem more or less
probable; but I believe in the truth of the theory, because it
collects, under one point of view, and gives a rational explanation of,
many apparently independent classes of facts.[4]


 [1] To any one who has attentively read my ‘Origin of Species’ this
 Introduction will be superfluous. As I stated in that work that I
 should soon publish the facts on which the conclusions given in it
 were founded, I here beg permission to remark that the great delay in
 publishing this first work has been caused by continued ill-health.

 [2] M. Pouchet has recently (‘Plurality of Races,’ Eng. Translat.,
 1864, p. 83, etc.) insisted that variation under domestication throws
 no light on the natural modification of species. I cannot perceive the
 force of his arguments, or, to speak more accurately, of his
 assertions to this effect.

 [3] Léon Dufour in ‘Annales des Science. Nat.’ (3rd series, Zoolog.),
 tom. v. p. 6.

 [4] In treating the several subjects included in the present and my
 other works I have continually been led to ask for information from
 many zoologists, botanists, geologists, breeders of animals, and
 horticulturists, and I have invariably received from them the most
 generous assistance. Without such aid I could have effected little. I
 have repeatedly applied for information and specimens to foreigners,
 and to British merchants and officers of the Government residing in
 distant lands, and, with the rarest exceptions, I have received
 prompt, open-handed, and valuable assistance. I cannot express too
 strongly my obligations to the many persons who have assisted me, and
 who, I am convinced, would be equally willing to assist others in any
 scientific investigation.




    The first and chief point of interest in this chapter is, whether
    the numerous domesticated varieties of the dog have descended from
    a single wild species, or from several. Some authors believe that
    all have descended from the wolf, or from the jackal, or from an
    unknown and extinct species. Others again believe, and this of late
    has been the favourite tenet, that they have descended from several
    species, extinct and recent, more or less commingled together. We
    shall probably never be able to ascertain their origin with
    certainty. Palæontology[1] does not throw much light on the
    question, owing, on the one hand, to the close similarity of the
    skulls of extinct as well as living wolves and jackals, and owing,
    on the other hand, to the great dissimilarity of the skulls of the
    several breeds of the domestic dogs. It seems, however, that
    remains have been found in the later tertiary deposits more like
    those of a large dog than of a wolf, which favours the belief of De
    Blainville that our dogs are the descendants of a single extinct
    species. On the other hand, some authors go so far as to assert
    that every chief domestic breed must have had its wild prototype.
    This latter view is extremely improbable: it allows nothing for
    variation; it passes over the almost monstrous character of some of
    the breeds; and it almost necessarily assumes that a large number
    of species have become extinct since man domesticated the dog;
    whereas we plainly see that wild members of the dog-family are
    extirpated by human agency with much difficulty; even so recently
    as 1710 the wolf existed in so small an island as Ireland.

    The reasons which have led various authors to infer that our dogs
    have descended from more than one wild species are as follows.[2]
    Firstly, the great difference between the several breeds; but this
    will appear of comparatively little weight, after we shall have
    seen how great are the differences between the several races of
    various domesticated animals which certainly have descended from a
    single parent-form. Secondly, the more important fact, that, at the
    most anciently known historical periods, several breeds of the dog
    existed, very unlike each other, and closely resembling or
    identical with breeds still alive.

    We will briefly run back through the historical records. The
    materials are remarkably deficient between the fourteenth century
    and the Roman classical period.[3] At this latter period various
    breeds, namely hounds, house-dogs, lapdogs, etc, existed; but, as
    Dr. Walther has remarked, it is impossible to recognise the greater
    number with any certainty. Youatt, however, gives a drawing of a
    beautiful sculpture of two greyhound puppies from the Villa of
    Antoninus. On an Assyrian monument, about 640 B.C., an enormous
    mastiff[4] is figured; and according to Sir H. Rawlinson (as I was
    informed at the British Museum), similar dogs are still imported
    into this same country. I have looked through the magnificent works
    of Lepsius and Rosellini, and on the Egyptian monuments from the
    fourth to the twelfth dynasties (i.e. from about 3400 B.C. to 2100 
    B.C.) several varieties of the dog are represented; most of them
    are allied to greyhounds; at the later of these periods a dog
    resembling a hound is figured, with drooping ears, but with a
    longer back and more pointed head than in our hounds. There is,
    also, a turnspit, with short and crooked legs, closely resembling
    the existing variety; but this kind of monstrosity is so common
    with various animals, as with the ancon sheep, and even, according
    to Rengger, with jaguars in Paraguay, that it would be rash to look
    at the monumental animal as the parent of all our turnspits:
    Colonel Sykes[5] also has described an Indian pariah dog as
    presenting the same monstrous character. The most ancient dog
    represented on the Egyptian monuments is one of the most singular;
    it resembles a greyhound, but has long pointed ears and a short
    curled tail: a closely allied variety still exists in Northern
    Africa; for Mr. E. Vernon Harcourt[6] states that the Arab
    boar-hound is “an eccentric hieroglyphic animal, such as Cheops
    once hunted with, somewhat resembling the rough Scotch deer-hound;
    their tails are curled tight round on their backs, and their ears
    stick out at right angles.” With this most ancient variety a
    pariah-like dog coexisted.

    We thus see that, at a period between four and five thousand years
    ago, various breeds, viz. pariah dogs, greyhounds, common hounds,
    mastiffs, house-dogs, lapdogs, and turnspits, existed, more or less
    closely resembling our present breeds. But there is not sufficient
    evidence that any of these ancient dogs belonged to the same
    identical sub-varieties with our present dogs.[7] As long as man
    was believed to have existed on this earth only about 6000 years,
    this fact of the great diversity of the breeds at so early a period
    was an argument of much weight that they had proceeded from several
    wild sources, for there would not have been sufficient time for
    their divergence and modification. But now that we know, from the
    discovery of flint tools embedded with the remains of extinct
    animals in districts which have since undergone great geographical
    changes, that man has existed for an incomparably longer period,
    and bearing in mind that the most barbarous nations possess
    domestic dogs, the argument from insufficient time falls away
    greatly in value.

    Long before the period of any historical record the dog was
    domesticated in Europe. In the Danish Middens of the Neolithic or
    Newer Stone period, bones of a canine animal are embedded, and
    Steenstrup ingeniously argues that these belonged to a domestic
    dog; for a very large proportion of the bones of birds preserved in
    the refuse consists of long bones, which it was found on trial dogs
    cannot devour.[8] This ancient dog was succeeded in Denmark during
    the Bronze period by a larger kind, presenting certain differences,
    and this again during the Iron period, by a still larger kind. In
    Switzerland, we hear from Prof. Rütimeyer,[9] that during the
    Neolithic period a domesticated dog of middle size existed, which
    in its skull was about equally remote from the wolf and jackal, and
    partook of the characters of our hounds and setters or spaniels
    (Jagdhund und Wachtelhund). Rütimeyer insists strongly on the
    constancy of form during a very long period of time of this the
    most ancient known dog. During the Bronze period a larger dog
    appeared, and this closely resembled in its jaw a dog of the same
    age in Denmark. Remains of two notably distinct varieties of the
    dog were found by Schmerling in a cave;[10] but their age cannot be
    positively determined.

    The existence of a single race, remarkably constant in form during
    the whole Neolithic period, is an interesting fact in contrast with
    what we see of the changes which the races underwent during the
    period of the successive Egyptian monuments, and in contrast with
    our existing dogs. The character of this animal during the
    Neolithic period, as given by Rütimeyer, supports De Blainville’s
    view that our varieties have descended from an unknown and extinct
    form. But we should not forget that we know nothing with respect to
    the antiquity of man in the warmer parts of the world. The
    succession of the different kinds of dogs in Switzerland and
    Denmark is thought to be due to the immigration of conquering
    tribes bringing with them their dogs; and this view accords with
    the belief that different wild canine animals were domesticated in
    different regions. Independently of the immigration of new races of
    man, we know from the wide-spread presence of bronze, composed of
    an alloy of tin, how much commerce there must have been throughout
    Europe at an extremely remote period, and dogs would then probably
    have been bartered. At the present time, amongst the savages of the
    interior of Guiana, the Taruma Indians are considered the best
    trainers of dogs, and possess a large breed which they barter at a
    high price with other tribes.[11]

    The main argument in favour of the several breeds of the dog being
    the descendants of distinct wild stocks, is their resemblance in
    various countries to distinct species still existing there. It
    must, however, be admitted that the comparison between the wild and
    domesticated animal has been made but in few cases with sufficient
    exactness. Before entering on details, it will be well to show that
    there is no a priori difficulty in the belief that several canine
    species have been domesticated. Members of the dog family inhabit
    nearly the whole world; and several species agree pretty closely in
    habits and structure with our several domesticated dogs. Mr. Galton
    has shown[12] how fond savages are of keeping and taming animals of
    all kinds. Social animals are the most easily subjugated by man,
    and several species of Canidæ hunt in packs. It deserves notice, as
    bearing on other animals as well as on the dog, that at an
    extremely ancient period, when man first entered any country, the
    animals living there would have felt no instinctive or inherited
    fear of him, and would consequently have been tamed far more easily
    than at present. For instance, when the Falkland Islands were first
    visited by man, the large wolf-like dog (_Canis antarcticus_)
    fearlessly came to meet Byron’s sailors, who, mistaking this
    ignorant curiosity for ferocity, ran into the water to avoid them:
    even recently a man, by holding a piece of meat in one hand and a
    knife in the other, could sometimes stick them at night. On a
    island in the Sea of Aral, when first discovered by Butakoff, the
    saigak antelopes, which are “generally very timid and watchful, did
    not fly from us, but on the contrary looked at us with a sort of
    curiosity.” So, again, on the shores of the Mauritius, the manatee
    was not at first in the least afraid of man, and thus it has been
    in several quarters of the world with seals and the morse. I have
    elsewhere shown[13] how slowly the native birds of several islands
    have acquired and inherited a salutary dread of man: at the
    Galapagos Archipelago I pushed with the muzzle of my gun hawks from
    a branch, and held out a pitcher of water for other birds to alight
    on and drink. Quadrupeds and birds which have seldom been disturbed
    by man, dread him no more than do our English birds, the cows, or
    horses grazing in the fields.

It is a more important consideration that several canine species evince
(as will be shown in a future chapter) no strong repugnance or
inability to breed under confinement; and the incapacity to breed under
confinement is one of the commonest bars to domestication. Lastly,
savages set the highest value, as we shall see in the chapter on
Selection, on dogs: even half-tamed animals are highly useful to them:
the Indians of North America cross their half-wild dogs with wolves,
and thus render them even wilder than before, but bolder: the savages
of Guiana catch and partially tame and use the whelps of two wild
species of _Canis,_ as do the savages of Australia those of the wild
Dingo. Mr. Philip King informs me that he once trained a wild Dingo
puppy to drive cattle, and found it very useful. From these several
considerations we see that there is no difficulty in believing that man
might have domesticated various canine species in different countries.
It would indeed have been a strange fact if one species alone had been
domesticated throughout the world.

    We will now enter into details. The accurate and sagacious
    Richardson says, “The resemblance between the Northern American
    wolves (_Canis lupus,_ var. _occidentalis_) and the domestic dogs
    of the Indians is so great that the size and strength of the wolf
    seems to be the only difference. I have more than once mistaken a
    band of wolves for the dogs of a party of Indians; and the howl of
    the animals of both species is prolonged so exactly in the same key
    that even the practised ear of the Indian fails at times to
    discriminate them.” He adds that the more northern Esquimaux dogs
    are not only extremely like the grey wolves of the Arctic circle in
    form and colour, but also nearly equal them in size. Dr. Kane has
    often seen in his teams of sledge-dogs the oblique eye (a character
    on which some naturalists lay great stress), the drooping tail, and
    scared look of the wolf. In disposition the Esquimaux dogs differ
    little from wolves, and, according to Dr. Hayes, they are capable
    of no attachment to man, and are so savage that when hungry they
    will attack even their masters. According to Kane they readily
    become feral. Their affinity is so close with wolves that they
    frequently cross with them, and the Indians take the whelps of
    wolves “to improve the breed of their dogs.” The half-bred wolves
    sometimes (Lamare-Picquot) cannot be tamed, “though this case is
    rare;” but they do not become thoroughly well broken in till the
    second or third generation. These facts show that there can be but
    little, if any, sterility between the Esquimaux dog and the wolf,
    for otherwise they would not be used to improve the breed. As Dr.
    Hayes says of these dogs, “reclaimed wolves they doubtless

    North America is inhabited by a second kind of wolf, the
    prairie-wolf (_Canis latrans_), which is now looked at by all
    naturalists as specifically distinct from the common wolf; and is,
    according to Mr. J.K. Lord, in some respects intermediate in habits
    between a wolf and a fox. Sir J. Richardson, after describing the
    Hare Indian dog, which differs in many respects from the Esquimaux
    dog, says, “It bears the same relation to the prairie-wolf that the
    Esquimaux dog does to the great grey wolf.” He could, in fact,
    detect no marked difference between them; and Messrs. Nott and
    Gliddon give additional details showing their close resemblance.
    The dogs derived from the above two aboriginal sources cross
    together and with the wild wolves, at least with the _C.
    occidentalis,_ and with European dogs. In Florida, according to
    Bartram, the black wolf-dog of the Indians differs in nothing from
    the wolves of that country except in barking.[15]

    Turning to the southern parts of the new world, Columbus found two
    kinds of dogs in the West Indies; and Fernandez[16] describes three
    in Mexico: some of these native dogs were dumb—that is, did not
    bark. In Guiana it has been known since the time of Buffon that the
    natives cross their dogs with an aboriginal species, apparently the
    _Canis cancrivorus._ Sir R. Schomburgk, who has so carefully
    explored these regions, writes to me, “I have been repeatedly told
    by the Arawaak Indians, who reside near the coast, that they cross
    their dogs with a wild species to improve the breed, and individual
    dogs have been shown to me which certainly resembled the _C.
    cancrivorus_ much more than the common breed. It is but seldom that
    the Indians keep the _C. cancrivorus_ for domestic purposes, nor is
    the Ai, another species of wild dog, and which I consider to be
    identical with the _Dusicyon silvestris_ of H. Smith, now much used
    by the Arecunas for the purpose of hunting. The dogs of the Taruma
    Indians are quite distinct, and resemble Buffon’s St. Domingo
    greyhound.” It thus appears that the natives of Guiana have
    partially domesticated two aboriginal species, and still cross
    their dogs with them; these two species belong to a quite different
    type from the North American and European wolves. A careful
    observer, Rengger,[17] gives reasons for believing that a hairless
    dog was domesticated when America was first visited by Europeans:
    some of these dogs in Paraguay are still dumb, and Tschudi[18]
    states that they suffer from cold in the Cordillera. This naked dog
    is, however quite distinct from that found preserved in the ancient
    Peruvian burial-places, and described by Tschudi, under the name of
    _Canis ingæ,_ as withstanding cold well and as barking. It is not
    known whether these two distinct kinds of dog are the descendants
    of native species, and it might be argued that when man first
    migrated into America he brought with him from the Asiatic
    continent dogs which had not learned to bark; but this view does
    not seem probable, as the natives along the line of their march
    from the north reclaimed, as we have seen, at least two N. American
    species of Canidæ.

    Turning to the Old World, some European dogs closely resemble the
    wolf; thus the shepherd dog of the plains of Hungary is white or
    reddish-brown, has a sharp nose, short, erect ears, shaggy coat,
    and bushy tail, and so much resembles a wolf that Mr. p.t, who
    gives this description, says he has known a Hungarian mistake a
    wolf for one of his own dogs. Jeitteles, also, remarks on the close
    similarity of the Hungarian dog and wolf. Shepherd dogs in Italy
    must anciently have closely resembled wolves, for Columella (vii.
    12) advises that white dogs be kept, adding, “pastor album probat,
    ne pro lupo canem feriat.” Several accounts have been given of dogs
    and wolves crossing naturally; and Pliny asserts that the Gauls
    tied their female dogs in the woods that they might cross with
    wolves.[19] The European wolf differs slightly from that of North
    America, and has been ranked by many naturalists as a distinct
    species. The common wolf of India is also by some esteemed as a
    third species, and here again we find a marked resemblance between
    the pariah dogs of certain districts of India and the Indian

    With respect to Jackals, Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire[21] says
    that not one constant difference can be pointed out between their
    structure and that of the smaller races of dogs. They agree closely
    in habits: jackals, when tamed and called by their master, wag
    their tails, lick his hands, crouch, and throw themselves on their
    backs; they smell at the tails of other dogs, and void their urine
    sideways; they roll on carrion or on animals which they have
    killed; and, lastly, when in high spirits, they run round in
    circles or in a figure of eight, with their tails between their
    legs.[22] A number of excellent naturalists, from the time of
    Güldenstädt to that of Ehrenberg, Hemprich, and Cretzschmar, have
    expressed themselves in the strongest terms with respect to the
    resemblance of the half-domestic dogs of Asia and Egypt to jackals.
    M. Nordmann, for instance, says, “Les chiens d’Awhasie ressemblent
    étonnamment à des chacals.” Ehrenberg[23] asserts that the domestic
    dogs of Lower Egypt, and certain mummied dogs, have for their wild
    type a species of wolf (_C. lupaster_) of the country; whereas the
    domestic dogs of Nubia and certain other mummied dogs have the
    closest relation to a wild species of the same country, viz. _C.
    sabbar,_ which is only a form of the common jackal. Pallas asserts
    that jackals and dogs sometimes naturally cross in the East; and a
    case is on record in Algeria.[24] The greater number of naturalists
    divide the jackals of Asia and Africa into several species, but
    some few rank them all as one.

    I may add that the domestic dogs on the coast of Guinea are
    fox-like animals, and are dumb.[25] On the east coast of Africa,
    between latitude 4° and 6° south, and about ten days’ journey in
    the interior, a semi-domestic dog, as the Rev. S. Erhardt informs
    me, is kept, which the natives assert is derived from a similar
    wild animal. Lichtenstein[26] says that the dogs of the Bosjemans
    present a striking resemblance even in colour (excepting the black
    stripe down the back) with the _C. mesomelas_ of South Africa. Mr.
    E. Layard informs me that he has seen a Caffre dog which closely
    resembled an Esquimaux dog. In Australia the Dingo is both
    domesticated and wild; though this animal may have been introduced
    aboriginally by man, yet it must be considered as almost an endemic
    form, for its remains have been found in a similar state of
    preservation and associated with extinct mammals, so that its
    introduction must have been ancient.[27]

    From this resemblance of the half-domesticated dogs in several
    countries to the wild species still living there,—from the facility
    with which they can often be crossed together,—from even half-tamed
    animals being so much valued by savages,—and from the other
    circumstances previously remarked on which favour their
    domestication, it is highly probable that the domestic dogs of the
    world are descended from two well-defined species of wolf (viz. _C.
    lupus_ and _C. latrans),_ and from two or three other doubtful
    species (namely, the European, Indian, and North African wolves);
    from at least one or two South American canine species; from
    several races or species of jackal; and perhaps from one or more
    extinct species. Although it is possible or even probable that
    domesticated dogs, introduced into any country and bred there for
    many generations, might acquire some of the characters proper to
    the aboriginal Canidæ of the country, we can hardly thus account
    for introduced dogs having given rise to two breeds in the same
    country, resembling two of its aboriginal species, as in the
    above-given cases of Guiana and of North America.[28]

    It cannot be objected to the view of several canine species having
    been anciently domesticated, that these animals are tamed with
    difficulty: facts have been already given on this head, but I may
    add that the young of the _Canis primævus_ of India were tamed by
    Mr. Hodgson,[29] and became as sensible of caresses, and manifested
    as much intelligence, as any sporting dog of the same age. There is
    not much difference, as we have already shown and shall further
    see, in habits between the domestic dogs of the North American
    Indians and the wolves of that country, or between the Eastern
    pariah dogs and jackals, or between the dogs which have run wild in
    various countries and the several natural species of the family.
    The habit of barking, however, which is almost universal with
    domesticated dogs, forms an exception, as it does not characterise
    a single natural species of the family, though I am assured that
    the _Canis latrans_ of North America utters a noise which closely
    approaches a bark. But this habit is soon lost by dogs when they
    become feral and is soon reacquired when they are again
    domesticated. The case of the wild dogs on the island of Juan
    Fernandez having become dumb has often been quoted, and there is
    reason to believe[30] that the dumbness ensued in the course of
    thirty-three years; on the other hand, dogs taken from this island
    by Ulloa slowly reacquired the habit of barking. The
    Mackenzie-river dogs, of the _Canis latrans_ type, when brought to
    England, never learned to bark properly; but one born in the
    Zoological Gardens[31] “made his voice sound as loudly as any other
    dog of the same age and size.” According to Professor Nillson,[32]
    a wolf-whelp reared by a bitch barks. I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
    exhibited a jackal which barked with the same tone as any common
    dog.[33] An interesting account has been given by Mr. G. Clarke[34]
    of some dogs run wild on Juan de Nova, in the Indian Ocean; “they
    had entirely lost the faculty of barking; they had no inclination
    for the company of other dogs, nor did they acquire their voice”
    during a captivity of several months. On the island they
    “congregate in vast packs, and catch sea-birds with as much address
    as foxes could display.” The feral dogs of La Plata have not become
    dumb; they are of large size, hunt singly or in packs, and burrow
    holes for their young.[35] In these habits the feral dogs of La
    Plata resemble wolves and jackals; both of which hunt either singly
    or in packs, and burrow holes.[36] These feral dogs have not become
    uniform in colour on Juan Fernandez, Juan de Nova, or La Plata.[37]
    In Cuba the feral dogs are described by Poeppig as nearly all
    mouse-coloured, with short ears and light-blue eyes. In St.
    Domingo, Col. Ham. Smith says[38] that the feral dogs are very
    large, like greyhounds, of a uniform pale blue-ash, with small
    ears, and large light-brown eyes. Even the wild Dingo, though so
    anciently naturalised in Australia, “varies considerably in
    colour,” as I am informed by Mr. P.P. King: a half-bred Dingo
    reared in England[39] showed signs of wishing to burrow.

    From the several foregoing facts we see that reversion in the feral
    state gives no indication of the colour or size of the aboriginal
    parent-species. One fact, however, with respect to the colouring of
    domestic dogs, I at one time hoped might have thrown some light on
    their origin; and it is worth giving, as showing how colouring
    follows laws, even in so anciently and thoroughly domesticated an
    animal as the dog. Black dogs with tan-coloured feet, whatever
    breed they may belong to, almost invariably have a tan-coloured
    spot on the upper and inner corners of each eye, and their lips are
    generally thus coloured. I have seen only two exceptions to this
    rule, namely, in a spaniel and terrier. Dogs of a light-brown
    colour often have a lighter, yellowish-brown spot over the eyes;
    sometimes the spot is white, and in a mongrel terrier the spot was
    black. Mr. Waring kindly examined for me a stud of fifteen
    greyhounds in Suffolk: eleven of them were black, or black and
    white, or brindled, and these had no eye-spots; but three were red
    and one slaty-blue, and these four had dark-coloured spots over
    their eyes. Although the spots thus sometimes differ in colour,
    they strongly tend to be tan-coloured; this is proved by my having
    seen four spaniels, a setter, two Yorkshire shepherd dogs, a large
    mongrel, and some fox-hounds, coloured black and white, with not a
    trace of tan-colour, excepting the spots over the eyes, and
    sometimes a little on the feet. These latter cases, and many
    others, show plainly that the colour of the feet and the eye-spots
    are in some way correlated. I have noticed, in various breeds,
    every gradation, from the whole face being tan-coloured, to a
    complete ring round the eyes, to a minute spot over the inner and
    upper corners. The spots occur in various sub-breeds of terriers
    and spaniels; in setters; in hounds of various kinds, including the
    turnspit-like German badger-hound; in shepherd dogs; in a mongrel,
    of which neither parent had the spots; in one pure bulldog, though
    the spots were in this case almost white; and in greyhounds,—but
    true black-and-tan greyhounds are excessively rare; nevertheless I
    have been assured by Mr. Warwick, that one ran at the Caledonian
    Champion meeting of April 1860, and was “marked precisely like a
    black-and-tan terrier.” This dog, or another exactly the same
    colour, ran at the Scottish National Club on the 21st of March,
    1865; and I hear from Mr. C. M. Browne, that “there was no reason
    either on the sire or dam side for the appearance of this unusual
    colour.” Mr. Swinhoe at my request looked at the dogs in China, at
    Amoy, and he soon noticed a brown dog with yellow spots over the
    eyes. Colonel H. Smith[40] figures the magnificent black mastiff of
    Thibet with a tan-coloured stripe over the eyes, feet, and chaps;
    and what is more singular, he figures the Alco, or native domestic
    dog of Mexico, as black and white, with narrow tan-coloured rings
    round the eyes; at the Exhibition of dogs in London, May 1863, a
    so-called forest dog from North-West Mexico was shown, which had
    pale tan-coloured spots over the eyes. The occurrence of these
    tan-coloured spots in dogs of such extremely different breeds,
    living in various parts of the world, makes the fact highly

    We shall hereafter see, especially in the chapter on Pigeons, that
    coloured marks are strongly inherited, and that they often aid us
    in discovering the primitive forms of our domestic races. Hence, if
    any wild canine species had distinctly exhibited the tan-coloured
    spots over the eyes, it might have been argued that this was the
    parent-form of nearly all our domestic races. But after looking at
    many coloured plates, and through the whole collection of skins in
    the British Museum, I can find no species thus marked. It is no
    doubt possible that some extinct species was thus coloured. On the
    other hand, in looking at the various species, there seems to be a
    tolerably plain correlation between tan-coloured legs and face; and
    less frequently between black legs and a black face; and this
    general rule of colouring explains to a certain extent the
    above-given cases of correlation between the eye-spots and the
    colour of the feet. Moreover, some jackals and foxes have a trace
    of a white ring round their eyes, as in _C. mesomelas, C. aureus,_
    and (judging from Colonel H. Smith’s drawing) in _C. alopex,_ and
    _C. thaleb._ Other species have a trace of a black line over the
    corners of the eyes, as in _C. variegatus, cinereo-variegatus,_ and
    _fulvus,_ and the wild Dingo. Hence I am inclined to conclude that
    a tendency for tan-coloured spots to appear over the eyes in the
    various breeds of dogs, is analogous to the case observed by
    Desmarest, namely, that when any white appears on a dog the tip of
    the tail is always white, “de manière à rappeler la tache terminale
    de même couleur, qui caractérise la plupart des Canidés
    sauvages.”[41] This rule, however, as I am assured by Mr. Jesse,
    does not invariably hold good.

    It has been objected that our domestic dogs cannot be descended
    from wolves or jackals, because their periods of gestation are
    different. The supposed difference rests on statements made by
    Buffon, Gilibert, Bechstein, and others; but these are now known to
    be erroneous; and the period is found to agree in the wolf, jackal,
    and dog, as closely as could be expected, for it is often in some
    degree variable.[42] Tessier, who has closely attended to this
    subject, allows a difference of four days in the gestation of the
    dog. The Rev. W. D. Fox has given me three carefully recorded cases
    of retrievers, in which the bitch was put only once to the dog; and
    not counting this day, but counting that of parturition, the
    periods were fifty-nine, sixty-two, and sixty-seven days. The
    average period is sixty-three days; but Bellingeri states that this
    applies only to large dogs; and that for small races it is from
    sixty to sixty-three days; Mr. Eyton of Eyton, who has had much
    experience with dogs, also informs me that the time is apt to be
    longer with large than with small dogs.

    F. Cuvier has objected that the jackal would not have been
    domesticated on account of its offensive smell; but savages are not
    sensitive in this respect. The degree of odour, also, differs in
    the different kinds of jackal;[43] and Colonel H. Smith makes a
    sectional division of the group with one character dependent on not
    being offensive. On the other hand, dogs— for instance, rough and
    smooth terriers—differ much in this respect; and M. Godron states
    that the hairless so-called Turkish dog is more odoriferous than
    other dogs. Isidore Geoffroy[44] gave to a dog the same odour as
    that from a jackal by feeding it on raw flesh.

    The belief that our dogs are descended from wolves, jackals, South
    American Canidæ, and other species, suggests a far more important
    difficulty. These animals in their undomesticated state, judging
    from a widely-spread analogy, would have been in some degree
    sterile if intercrossed; and such sterility will be admitted as
    almost certain by all those who believe that the lessened fertility
    of crossed forms is an infallible criterion of specific
    distinctness. Anyhow these animals keep distinct in the countries
    which they inhabit in common. On the other hand, all domestic dogs,
    which are here supposed to be descended from several distinct
    species, are, as far as is known, mutually fertile together. But,
    as Broca has well remarked,[45] the fertility of successive
    generations of mongrel dogs has never been scrutinised with that
    care which is thought indispensable when species are crossed. The
    few facts leading to the conclusion that the sexual feelings and
    reproductive powers differ in the several races of the dog when
    crossed are (passing over mere size as rendering propagation
    difficult) as follows: the Mexican Alco[46] apparently dislikes
    dogs of other kinds, but this perhaps is not strictly a sexual
    feeling; the hairless endemic dog of Paraguay, according to
    Rengger, mixes less with the European races than these do with each
    other; the Spitz dog in Germany is said to receive the fox more
    readily than do other breeds; and Dr. Hodgkin states that a female
    Dingo in England attracted the male wild foxes. If these latter
    statements can be trusted, they prove some degree of sexual
    difference in the breeds of the dog. But the fact remains that our
    domestic dogs, differing so widely as they do in external
    structure, are far more fertile together than we have reason to
    believe their supposed wild parents would have been. Pallas
    assumes[47] that a long course of domestication eliminates that
    sterility which the parent-species would have exhibited if only
    lately captured; no distinct facts are recorded in support of this
    hypothesis; but the evidence seems to me so strong (independently
    of the evidence derived from other domesticated animals) in favour
    of our domestic dogs having descended from several wild stocks,
    that I am inclined to admit the truth of this hypothesis.

    There is another and closely allied difficulty consequent on the
    doctrine of the descent of our domestic dogs from several wild
    species, namely, that they do not seem to be perfectly fertile with
    their supposed parents. But the experiment has not been quite
    fairly tried; the Hungarian dog, for instance, which in external
    appearance so closely resembles the European wolf, ought to be
    crossed with this wolf: and the pariah dogs of India with Indian
    wolves and jackals; and so in other cases. That the sterility is
    very slight between certain dogs and wolves and other Canidæ is
    shown by savages taking the trouble to cross them. Buffon got four
    successive generations from the wolf and dog, and the mongrels were
    perfectly fertile together.[48] But more lately M. Flourens states
    positively as the result of his numerous experiments that hybrids
    from the wolf and dog, crossed _inter se,_ become sterile at the
    third generation, and those from the jackal and dog at the fourth
    generation.[49] But these animals were closely confined; and many
    wild animals, as we shall see in a future chapter, are rendered by
    confinement in some degree or even utterly sterile. The Dingo,
    which breeds freely in Australia with our imported dogs, would not
    breed though repeatedly crossed in the Jardin des Plantes.[50] Some
    hounds from Central Africa, brought home by Major Denham, never
    bred in the Town of London;[51] and a similar tendency to sterility
    might be transmitted to the hybrid offspring of a wild animal.
    Moreover, it appears that in M. Flourens’ experiments the hybrids
    were closely bred in and in for three or four generations; and this
    circumstance would most certainly increase the tendency to
    sterility. Several years ago I saw confined in the Zoological
    Gardens of London a female hybrid from an English dog and jackal,
    which even in this the first generation was so sterile that, as I
    was assured by her keeper, she did not fully exhibit her proper
    periods; but this case was certainly exceptional, as numerous
    instances have occurred of fertile hybrids from these two animals.
    In almost all experiments on the crossing of animals there are so
    many causes of doubt, that it is extremely difficult to come to any
    positive conclusion. It would, however, appear, that those who
    believe that our dogs are descended from several species will have
    not only to admit that their offspring after a long course of
    domestication generally lose all tendency to sterility when crossed
    together; but that between certain breeds of dogs and some of their
    supposed aboriginal parents a certain degree of sterility has been
    retained or possibly even acquired.

Notwithstanding the difficulties in regard to fertility given in the
last two paragraphs, when we reflect on the inherent improbability of
man having domesticated throughout the world one single species alone
of so widely distributed, so easily tamed, and so useful a group as the
Canidæ; when we reflect on the extreme antiquity of the different
breeds; and especially when we reflect on the close similarity, both in
external structure and habits, between the domestic dogs of various
countries and the wild species still inhabiting these same countries,
the balance of evidence is strongly in favour of the multiple origin of
our dogs.

    _Differences between the several Breeds of the Dog.—_If the several
    breeds have descended from several wild stocks, their difference
    can obviously in part be explained by that of their parent species.
    For instance, the form of the greyhound may be partly accounted for
    by descent from some such animal as the slim Abyssinian _Canis
    simensis,_[52] with its elongated muzzle; that of the larger dogs
    from the larger wolves, and the smaller and slighter dogs from the
    jackals: and thus perhaps we may account for certain constitutional
    and climatal differences. But it would be a great error to suppose
    that there has not been in addition[53] a large amount of
    variation. The intercrossing of the several aboriginal wild stocks,
    and of the subsequently formed races, has probably increased the
    total number of breeds, and, as we shall presently see, has greatly
    modified some of them. But we cannot explain by crossing the origin
    of such extreme forms as thoroughbred greyhounds, bloodhounds,
    bulldogs, Blenheim spaniels, terriers, pugs, etc., unless we
    believe that forms equally or more strongly characterised in these
    different respects once existed in nature. But hardly any one has
    been bold enough to suppose that such unnatural forms ever did or
    could exist in a wild state. When compared with all known members
    of the family of Canidæ they betray a distinct and abnormal origin.
    No instance is on record of such dogs as bloodhounds, spaniels,
    true greyhounds having been kept by savages: they are the product
    of long-continued civilisation.

    The number of breeds and sub-breeds of the dog is great; Youatt for
    instance, describes twelve kinds of greyhounds. I will not attempt
    to enumerate or describe the varieties, for we cannot discriminate
    how much of their difference is due to variation, and how much to
    descent from different aboriginal stocks. But it may be worth while
    briefly to mention some points. Commencing with the skull, Cuvier
    has admitted[54] that in form the differences are “plus fortes que
    celles d’aucunes espèces sauvages d’un même genre naturel.” The
    proportions of the different bones; the curvature of the lower jaw,
    the position of the condyles with respect to the plane of the teeth
    (on which F. Cuvier founded his classification), and in mastiffs
    the shape of its posterior branch; the shape of the zygomatic arch,
    and of the temporal fossae; the position of the occiput—all vary
    considerably.[55] The difference in size between the brains of dogs
    belonging to large and small breeds “is something prodigious.”
    “Some dogs’ brains are high and rounded, while others are low,
    long, and narrow in front.” In the latter, “the olfactory lobes are
    visible for about half their extent, when the brain is seen from
    above, but they are wholly concealed by the hemispheres in other
    breeds.”[56] The dog has properly six pairs of molar teeth in the
    upper jaw, and seven in the lower; but several naturalists have
    seen not rarely an additional pair in the upper jaw;[57] and
    Professor Gervais says that there are dogs “qui ont sept paires de
    dents supérieures et huit inférieures.” De Blainville[58] has given
    full particulars on the frequency of these deviations in the number
    of the teeth, and has shown that it is not always the same tooth
    which is supernumerary. In short-muzzled races, according to H.
    Müller,[59] the molar teeth stand obliquely, whilst in long-muzzled
    races they are placed longitudinally, with open spaces between
    them. The naked, so-called Egyptian or Turkish dog is extremely
    deficient in its teeth,[60] —sometimes having none except one molar
    on each side; but this, though characteristic of the breed, must be
    considered as a monstrosity. M. Girard,[61] who seems to have
    attended closely to the subject, says that the period of the
    appearance of the permanent teeth differs in different dogs, being
    earlier in large dogs; thus the mastiff assumes its adult teeth in
    four or five months, whilst in the spaniel the period is sometimes
    more than seven or eight months. On the other hand small dogs are
    mature, and the females have arrived at the best age for breeding,
    when one year old, whereas large dogs “are still in their puppyhood
    at this time, and take fully twice as long to develop their

    With respect to minor differences little need be said. Isidore
    Geoffroy has shown[63] that in size some dogs are six times as long
    (the tail being excluded) as others; and that the height relatively
    to the length of the body varies from between one to two, and one
    to nearly four. In the Scotch deer-hound there is a striking and
    remarkable difference in the size of the male and female.[64] Every
    one knows how the ears vary in size in different breeds, and with
    their great development their muscles become atrophied. Certain
    breeds of dogs are described as having a deep furrow between the
    nostrils and lips. The caudal vertebrae, according to F. Cuvier, on
    whose authority the two last statements rest, vary in number; and
    the tail in English cattle and some shepherd dogs is almost absent.
    The mammae vary from seven to ten in number; Daubenton, having
    examined twenty-one dogs, found eight with five mammae on each
    side; eight with four on each side; and the others with an unequal
    number on the two sides.[65] Dogs have properly five toes in front
    and four behind, but a fifth toe is often added; and F. Cuvier
    states that, when a fifth toe is present, a fourth cuneiform bone
    is developed; and, in this case, sometimes the great cuneiform bone
    is raised, and gives on its inner side a large articular surface to
    the astragalus; so that even the relative connection of the bones,
    the most constant of all characters, varies. These modifications,
    however, in the feet of dogs are not important, because they ought
    to be ranked, as De Blainville has shown[66] as monstrosities.
    Nevertheless they are interesting from being correlated with the
    size of the body, for they occur much more frequently with mastiffs
    and other large breeds than with small dogs. Closely allied
    varieties, however, sometimes differ in this respect; thus Mr.
    Hodgson states that the black-and-tan Lassa variety of the Thibet
    mastiff has the fifth digit, whilst the Mustang sub-variety is not
    thus characterised. The extent to which the skin is developed
    between the toes varies much; but we shall return to this point.
    The degree to which the various breeds differ in the perfection of
    their senses, dispositions, and inherited habits is notorious to
    every one. The breeds present some constitutional differences: the
    pulse, says Youatt[67] “varies materially according to the breed,
    as well as to the size of the animal.” Different breeds of dogs are
    subject in different degrees to various diseases. They certainly
    become adapted to different climates under which they have long
    existed. It is notorious that most of our best European breeds
    deteriorate in India.[68] The Rev R. Everest[69] believes that no
    one has succeeded in keeping the Newfoundland dog long alive in
    India; so it is, according to Lichtenstein,[70] even at the Cape of
    Good Hope. The Thibet mastiff degenerates on the plains of India,
    and can live only on the mountains.[71] Lloyd[72] asserts that our
    bloodhounds and bulldogs have been tried, and cannot withstand the
    cold of the northern European forests.

    Seeing in how many characters the races of the dog differ from each
    other, and remembering Cuvier’s admission that their skulls differ
    more than do those of the species of any natural genus, and bearing
    in mind how closely the bones of wolves, jackals, foxes, and other
    Canidæ agree, it is remarkable that we meet with the statement,
    repeated over and over again, that the races of the dog differ in
    no important characters. A highly competent judge, Prof.
    Gervais,[73] admits “si l’on prenait sans contrôle les alterations
    dont chacun de ces organes est susceptible, on pourrait croire
    qu’il y a entre les chiens domestiques des différences plus grandes
    que celles qui séparent ailleurs les espèces, quelquefois même les
    genres.” Some of the differences above enumerated are in one
    respect of comparatively little value, for they are not
    characteristic of distinct breeds: no one pretends that such is the
    case with the additional molar teeth or with the number of mammae;
    the additional digit is generally present with mastiffs, and some
    of the more important differences in the skull and lower jaw are
    more or less characteristic of various breeds. But we must not
    forget that the predominant power of selection has not been applied
    in any of these cases; we have variability in important parts, but
    the differences have not been fixed by selection. Man cares for the
    form and fleetness of his greyhounds, for the size of his mastiffs,
    and formerly for the strength of the jaw in his bulldogs, etc.; but
    he cares nothing about the number of their molar teeth or mammae or
    digits; nor do we know that differences in these organs are
    correlated with, or owe their development to, differences in other
    parts of the body about which man does care. Those who have
    attended to the subject of selection will admit that, nature having
    given variability, man, if he so chose, could fix five toes to the
    hinder feet of certain breeds of dogs, as certainly as to the feet
    of his Dorking fowls: he could probably fix, but with much more
    difficulty, an additional pair of molar teeth in either jaw, in the
    same way as he has given additional horns to certain breeds of
    sheep; if he wished to produce a toothless breed of dogs, having
    the so-called Turkish dog with its imperfect teeth to work on, he
    could probably do so, for he has succeeded in making hornless
    breeds of cattle and sheep.

    With respect to the precise causes and steps by which the several
    races of dogs have come to differ so greatly from each other, we
    are, as in most other cases, profoundly ignorant. We may attribute
    part of the difference in external form and constitution to
    inheritance from distinct wild stocks, that is to changes effected
    under nature before domestication. We must attribute something to
    the crossing of the several domestic and natural races. I shall,
    however, soon recur to the crossing of races. We have already seen
    how often savages cross their dogs with wild native species; and
    Pennant gives a curious account[74] of the manner in which
    Fochabers, in Scotland, was stocked “with a multitude of curs of a
    most wolfish aspect” from a single hybrid-wolf brought into that

    It would appear that climate to a certain extent directly modifies
    the forms of dogs. We have lately seen that several of our English
    breeds cannot live in India, and it is positively asserted that
    when bred there for a few generations they degenerate not only in
    their mental faculties, but in form. Captain Williamson,[75] who
    carefully attended to this subject, states that “hounds are the
    most rapid in their decline;” “greyhounds and pointers, also,
    rapidly decline.” But spaniels, after eight or nine generations,
    and without a cross from Europe, are as good as their ancestors.
    Dr. Falconer informs me that bulldogs, which have been known, when
    first brought into the country, to pin down even an elephant by its
    trunk, not only fall off after two or three generations in pluck
    and ferocity, but lose the under-hung character of their lower
    jaws; their muzzles become finer and their bodies lighter. English
    dogs imported into India are so valuable that probably due care has
    been taken to prevent their crossing with native dogs; so that the
    deterioration cannot be thus accounted for. The Rev. R. Everest
    informs me that he obtained a pair of setters, born in India, which
    perfectly resembled their Scotch parents: he raised several litters
    from them in Delhi, taking the most stringent precautions to
    prevent a cross, but he never succeeded, though this was only the
    second generation in India, in obtaining a single young dog like
    its parents in size or make; their nostrils were more contracted,
    their noses more pointed, their size inferior, and their limbs more
    slender. So again on the coast of Guinea, dogs, according to
    Bosman, “alter strangely; their ears grow long and stiff like those
    of foxes, to which colour they also incline, so that in three or
    four years, they degenerate into very ugly creatures; and in three
    or four broods their barking turns into a howl.”[76] This
    remarkable tendency to rapid deterioration in European dogs
    subjected to the climate of India and Africa, may be largely
    accounted for by reversion to a primordial condition which many
    animals exhibit, as we shall hereafter see, when their
    constitutions are in any way disturbed.

    Some of the peculiarities characteristic of the several breeds of
    the dog have probably arisen suddenly, and, though strictly
    inherited, may be called monstrosities; for instance, the shape of
    the legs and body in the turnspit of Europe and India; the shape of
    the head and the under-hanging jaw in the bull-and pug-dog, so
    alike in this one respect and so unlike in all others. A
    peculiarity suddenly arising, and therefore in one sense deserving
    to be called a monstrosity, may, however, be increased and fixed by
    man’s selection. We can hardly doubt that long-continued training,
    as with the greyhound in coursing hares, as with water-dogs in
    swimming—and the want of exercise, in the case of lapdogs—must have
    produced some direct effect on their structure and instincts. But
    we shall immediately see that the most potent cause of change has
    probably been the selection, both methodical and unconscious, of
    slight individual differences,—the latter kind of selection
    resulting from the occasional preservation, during hundreds of
    generations, of those individual dogs which were the most useful to
    man for certain purposes and under certain conditions of life. In a
    future chapter on Selection I shall show that even barbarians
    attend closely to the qualities of their dogs. This unconscious
    selection by man would be aided by a kind of natural selection; for
    the dogs of savages have partly to gain their own subsistence: for
    instance, in Australia, as we hear from Mr. Nind,[77] the dogs are
    sometimes compelled by want to leave their masters and provide for
    themselves; but in a few days they generally return. And we may
    infer that dogs of different shapes, sizes, and habits, would have
    the best chance of surviving under different circumstances,—on open
    sterile plains, where they have to run down their own prey,—on
    rocky coasts, where they have to feed on crabs and fish left in the
    tidal pools, as in the case of New Guinea and Tierra del Fuego. In
    this latter country, as I am informed by Mr. Bridges, the Catechist
    to the Mission, the dogs turn over the stones on the shore to catch
    the crustaceans which lie beneath, and they “are clever enough to
    knock off the shell-fish at a first blow;” for if this be not done,
    shell-fish are well-known to have an almost invincible power of

    It has already been remarked that dogs differ in the degree to
    which their feet are webbed. In dogs of the Newfoundland breed,
    which are eminently aquatic in their habits, the skin, according to
    Isidore Geoffroy,[78] extends to the third phalanges whilst in
    ordinary dogs it extends only to the second. In two Newfoundland
    dogs which I examined, when the toes were stretched apart and
    viewed on the under side, the skin extended in a nearly straight
    line between the outer margins of the balls of the toes; whereas,
    in two terriers of distinct sub-breeds, the skin viewed in the same
    manner was deeply scooped out. In Canada there is a dog which is
    peculiar to the country and common there, and this has “half-webbed
    feet and is fond of the water.”[79] English otter-hounds are said
    to have webbed feet: a friend examined for me the feet of two, in
    comparison with the feet of some harriers and bloodhounds; he found
    the skin variable in extent in all, but more developed in the
    otter-hounds than in the others.[80] As aquatic animals which
    belong to quite different orders have webbed feet, there can be no
    doubt that this structure would be serviceable to dogs that
    frequent the water. We may confidently infer that no man ever
    selected his water-dogs by the extent to which the skin was
    developed between their toes; but what he does, is to preserve and
    breed from those individuals which hunt best in the water, or best
    retrieve wounded game, and thus he unconsciously selects dogs with
    feet slightly better webbed. The effects of use from the frequent
    stretching apart of the toes will likewise aid in the result. Man
    thus closely imitates Natural Selection. We have an excellent
    illustration of this same process in North America, where,
    according to Sir J. Richardson,[81] all the wolves, foxes, and
    aboriginal domestic dogs have their feet broader than in the
    corresponding species of the Old World, and “well calculated for
    running on the snow” Now, in these Arctic regions, the life or
    death of every animal will often depend on its success in hunting
    over the snow when soft; and this will in part depend on the feet
    being broad; yet they must not be so broad as to interfere with the
    activity of the animal when the ground is sticky, or with its power
    of burrowing holes, or with other necessary habits of life.

    As changes in domestic breeds which take place so slowly are not to
    be noticed at any one period, whether due to the selection of
    individual variations or of differences resulting from crosses, are
    most important in understanding the origin of our domestic
    productions, and likewise in throwing indirect light on the changes
    effected under nature, I will give in detail such cases as I have
    been able to collect. Lawrence,[82] who paid particular attention
    to the history of the foxhound, writing in 1829, says that between
    eighty and ninety years before “an entirely new foxhound was raised
    through the breeder’s art,” the ears of the old southern hound
    being reduced, the bone and bulk lightened, the waist increased in
    length, and the stature somewhat added to. It is believed that this
    was effected by a cross with a greyhound. With respect to this
    latter dog, Youatt,[83] who is generally cautious in his
    statements, says that the greyhound within the last fifty years,
    that is before the commencement of the present century, “assumed a
    somewhat different character from that which he once possessed. He
    is now distinguished by a beautiful symmetry of form, of which he
    could not once boast, and he has even superior speed to that which
    he formerly exhibited. He is no longer used to struggle with deer,
    but contends with his fellows over a shorter and speedier course.”
    An able writer[84] believes that our English greyhounds are the
    descendants, _progressively improved,_ of the large rough
    greyhounds which existed in Scotland so early as the third century.
    A cross at some former period with the Italian greyhound has been
    suspected; but this seems hardly probable, considering the
    feebleness of this latter breed. Lord Orford, as is well-known,
    crossed his famous greyhounds, which failed in courage, with a
    bulldog—this breed being chosen from being erroneously supposed to
    be deficient in the power of scent; “after the sixth or seventh
    generation,” says Youatt, “there was not a vestige left of the form
    of the bulldog, but his courage and indomitable perseverance

    Youatt infers, from a comparison of an old picture of King
    Charles’s spaniels with the living dog, that “the breed of the
    present day is materially altered for the worse:” the muzzle has
    become shorter, the forehead more prominent, and the eyes larger;
    the changes in this case have probably been due to simple
    selection. The setter, as this author remarks in another place, “is
    evidently the large spaniel improved to his present peculiar size
    and beauty, and taught another way of marking his game. If the form
    of the dog were not sufficiently satisfactory on this point, we
    might have recourse to history:” he then refers to a document dated
    1685 bearing on this subject, and adds that the pure Irish setter
    shows no signs of a cross with the pointer, which some authors
    suspect has been the case with the English setter. The bulldog is
    an English breed, and as I hear from Mr. G. R. Jesse,[85] seems to
    have originated from the mastiff since the time of Shakspeare; but
    certainly existed in 1631, as shown by Prestwick Eaton’s letters.
    There can be no doubt that the fancy bulldogs of the present day,
    now that they are not used for bull-baiting, have become greatly
    reduced in size, without any express intention on the part of the
    breeder. Our pointers are certainly descended from a Spanish breed,
    as even their present names, Don, Ponto, Carlos, etc., show; it is
    said that they were not known in England before the Revolution in
    1688;[86] but the breed since its introduction has been much
    modified, for Mr. Borrow, who is a sportsman and knows Spain
    intimately well, informs me that he has not seen in that country
    any breed “corresponding in figure with the English pointer; but
    there are genuine pointers near Xeres which have been imported by
    English gentlemen.” A nearly parallel case is offered by the
    Newfoundland dog, which was certainly brought into England from
    that country, but which has since been so much modified that, as
    several writers have observed, it does not now closely resemble any
    existing native dog in Newfoundland.[87]

These several cases of slow and gradual changes in our English dogs
possess some interest; for though the changes have generally, but not
invariably, been caused by one or two crosses with a distinct breed,
yet we may feel sure, from the well-known extreme variability of
crossed breeds, that rigorous and long-continued selection must have
been practised, in order to improve them in a definite manner. As soon
as any strain or family became slightly improved or better adapted to
alter circumstances, it would tend to supplant the older and less
improved strains. For instance, as soon as the old foxhound was
improved by a cross with the greyhound, or by simple selection, and
assumed its present character—and the change was probably desired owing
to the increased fleetness of our hunters—it rapidly spread throughout
the country, and is now everywhere nearly uniform. But the process of
improvement is still going on for every one tries to improve his strain
by occasionally procuring dogs from the best kennels. Through this
process of gradual substitution the old English hound has been lost;
and so it has been with the Irish wolf-dog, the old English bulldog,
and several other breeds, such as the alaunt, as I am informed by Mr.
Jesse. But the extinction of former breeds is apparently aided by
another cause; for whenever a breed is kept in scanty numbers, as at
present with the bloodhound, it is reared with some difficulty,
apparently from the evil effects of long-continued close interbreeding.
As several breeds of the dog have been slightly but sensibly modified
within so short a period as the last one or two centuries, by the
selection of the best individuals, modified in many cases by crosses
with other breeds; and as we shall hereafter see that the breeding of
dogs was attended to in ancient times, as it still is by savages, we
may conclude that we have in selection, even if only occasionally
practised, a potent means of modification.


    Cats have been domesticated in the East from an ancient period; Mr.
    Blyth informs me that they are mentioned in a Sanskrit writing 2000
    years old, and in Egypt their antiquity is known to be even
    greater, as shown by monumental drawings and their mummied bodies.
    These mummies, according to De Blainville,[88] who has particularly
    studied the subject, belong to no less than three species, namely,
    _F. caligulata,_ bubastes, and _chaus._ The two former species are
    said to be still found, both wild and domesticated, in parts of
    Egypt. _F. caligulata_ presents a difference in the first inferior
    milk molar tooth, as compared with the domestic cats of Europe,
    which makes De Blainville conclude that it is not one of the
    parent-forms of our cats. Several naturalists, as Pallas, Temminck,
    Blyth, believe that domestic cats are the descendants of several
    species commingled: it is certain that cats cross readily with
    various wild species, and it would appear that the character of the
    domestic breeds has, at least in some cases, been thus affected.
    Sir W. Jardine has no doubt that, “in the north of Scotland, there
    has been occasional crossing with our native species (_F.
    sylvestris_), and that the result of these crosses has been kept in
    our houses. I have seen,” he adds, “many cats very closely
    resembling the wild cat, and one or two that could scarcely be
    distinguished from it.” Mr. Blyth[89] remarks on this passage, “but
    such cats are never seen in the southern parts of England; still,
    as compared with any Indian tame cat, the affinity of the ordinary
    British cat to _F. sylvestris_ is manifest; and due I suspect to
    frequent intermixture at a time when the tame cat was first
    introduced into Britain and continued rare, while the wild species
    was far more abundant than at present.” In Hungary, Jeitteles[90]
    was assured on trustworthy authority that a wild male cat crossed
    with a female domestic cat, and that the hybrids long lived in a
    domesticated state. In Algiers the domestic cat has crossed with
    the wild cat (_F. lybica_) of that country.[91] In South Africa as
    Mr. E. Layard informs me, the domestic cat intermingles freely with
    the wild _F. caffra_; he has seen a pair of hybrids which were
    quite tame and particularly attached to the lady who brought them
    up; and Mr. Fry has found that these hybrids are fertile. In India
    the domestic cat, according to Mr. Blyth, has crossed with four
    Indian species. With respect to one of these species, _F. chaus,_
    an excellent observer, Sir W. Elliot, informs me that he once
    killed, near Madras, a wild brood, which were evidently hybrids
    from the domestic cat; these young animals had a thick lynx-like
    tail and the broad brown bar on the inside of the forearm
    characteristic of _F. chaus._ Sir W. Elliot adds that he has often
    observed this same mark on the forearms of domestic cats in India.
    Mr. Blyth states that domestic cats coloured nearly like _ F.
    chaus,_ but not resembling that species in shape, abound in Bengal;
    he adds, “such a colouration is utterly unknown in European cats,
    and the proper tabby markings (pale streaks on a black ground,
    peculiarly and symmetrically disposed), so common in English cats,
    are never seen in those of India.” Dr. D. Short has assured Mr.
    Blyth[92] that, at Hansi, hybrids between the common cat and _F.
    ornata_ (or _ torquata_) occur, “and that many of the domestic cats
    of that part of India were undistinguishable from the wild _F.
    ornata._” Azara states, but only on the authority of the
    inhabitants, that in Paraguay the cat has crossed with two native
    species. From these several cases we see that in Europe, Asia,
    Africa, and America, the common cat, which lives a freer life than
    most other domesticated animals, has crossed with various wild
    species; and that in some instances the crossing has been
    sufficiently frequent to affect the character of the breed.

Whether domestic cats have descended from several distinct species, or
have only been modified by occasional crosses, their fertility, as far
as is known, is unimpaired. The large Angora or Persian cat is the most
distinct in structure and habits of all the domestic breeds; and is
believed by Pallas, but on no distinct evidence, to be descended from
the _F. manul_ of middle Asia; and I am assured by Mr. Blyth that the
Angora cat breeds freely with Indian cats, which, as we have already
seen, have apparently been much crossed with _F. chaus._ In England
half-bred Angora cats are perfectly fertile with one another.

    Within the same country we do not meet with distinct races of the
    cat, as we do of dogs and of most other domestic animals; though
    the cats of the same country present a considerable amount of
    fluctuating variability. The explanation obviously is that, from
    their nocturnal and rambling habits, indiscriminate crossing cannot
    without much trouble be prevented. Selection cannot be brought into
    play to produce distinct breeds, or to keep those distinct which
    have been imported from foreign lands. On the other hand, in
    islands and in countries completely separated from each other, we
    meet with breeds more or less distinct; and these cases are worth
    giving, showing that the scarcity of distinct races in the same
    country is not caused by a deficiency of variability in the animal.
    The tailless cats of the Isle of Man are said to differ from common
    cats not only in the want of a tail, but in the greater length of
    their hind legs, in the size of their heads, and in habits. The
    Creole cat of Antigua, as I am informed by Mr. Nicholson, is
    smaller, and has a more elongated head, than the British cat. In
    Ceylon, as Mr. Thwaites writes to me, every one at first notices
    the different appearance of the native cat from the English animal;
    it is of small size, with closely lying hairs; its head is small,
    with a receding forehead; but the ears are large and sharp;
    altogether it has what is there called a “low-caste” appearance.
    Rengger[93] says that the domestic cat, which has been bred for 300
    years in Paraguay, presents a striking difference from the European
    cat; it is smaller by a fourth, has a more lanky body, its hair is
    short, shining, scanty and lies close, especially on the tail: he
    adds that the change has been less at Ascension, the capital of
    Paraguay, owing to the continual crossing with newly imported cats;
    and this fact well illustrates the importance of separation. The
    conditions of life in Paraguay appear not to be highly favourable
    to the cat, for, though they have run half-wild, they do not become
    thoroughly feral, like so many other European animals. In another
    part of South America, according to Roulin,[94] the introduced cat
    has lost the habit of uttering its hideous nocturnal howl. The Rev.
    W.D. Fox purchased a cat in Portsmouth, which he was told came from
    the coast of Guinea; its skin was black and wrinkled, fur
    bluish-grey and short, its ears rather bare, legs long, and whole
    aspect peculiar. This “negro” cat was fertile with common cats. On
    the opposite coast of Africa, at Mombas, Captain Owen,  R.N.,[95]
    states that all the cats are covered with short stiff hair instead
    of fur: he gives a curious account of a cat from Algoa Bay, which
    had been kept for some time on board and could be identified with
    certainty; this animal was left for only eight weeks at Mombas, but
    during that short period it “underwent a complete metamorphosis,
    having parted with its sandy-coloured fur.” A cat from the Cape of
    Good Hope has been described by Desmarest as remarkable from a red
    stripe extending along the whole length of its back. Throughout an
    immense area, namely, the Malayan archipelago, Siam, Pegu, and
    Burmah, all the cats have truncated tails about half the proper
    length,[96] often with a sort of knot at the end. In the Caroline
    archipelago the cats have very long legs, and are of a
    reddish-yellow colour.[97] In China a breed has drooping ears. At
    Tobolsk, according to Gmelin, there is a red-coloured breed. In
    Asia, also, we find the well-known Angora or Persian breed.

    The domestic cat has run wild in several countries, and everywhere
    assumes, as far as can be judged by the short recorded
    descriptions, a uniform character. Near Maldonado, in La Plata, I
    shot one which seemed perfectly wild; it was carefully examined by
    Mr. Waterhouse,[98] who found nothing remarkable in it, excepting
    its great size. In New Zealand according to Dieffenbach, the feral
    cats assume a streaky grey colour like that of wild cats; and this
    is the case with the half-wild cats of the Scotch Highlands.

We have seen that distant countries possess distinct domestic races of
the cat. The differences may be in part due to descent from several
aboriginal species, or at least to crosses with them. In some cases, as
in Paraguay, Mombas, and Antigua, the differences seem due to the
direct action of different conditions of life. In other cases some
slight effect may possibly be attributed to natural selection, as cats
in many cases have largely to support themselves and to escape diverse
dangers. But man, owing to the difficulty of pairing cats, has done
nothing by methodical selection; and probably very little by
unintentional selection; though in each litter he generally saves the
prettiest, and values most a good breed of mouse- or rat-catchers.
Those cats which have a strong tendency to prowl after game, generally
get destroyed by traps. As cats are so much petted, a breed bearing the
same relation to other cats, that lapdogs bear to larger dogs, would
have been much valued; and if selection could have been applied, we
should certainly have had many breeds in each long-civilised country,
for there is plenty of variability to work upon.

    We see in this country considerable diversity in size, some in the
    proportions of the body, and extreme variability in colouring. I
    have only lately attended to this subject, but have already heard
    of some singular cases of variation; one of a cat born in the West
    Indies toothless, and remaining so all its life. Mr. Tegetmeier has
    shown me the skull of a female cat with its canines so much
    developed that they protruded uncovered beyond the lips; the tooth
    with the fang being .95, and the part projecting from the gum .6 of
    an inch in length. I have heard of several families of six-toed
    cats, in one of which the peculiarity had been transmitted for at
    least three generations. The tail varies greatly in length; I have
    seen a cat which always carried its tail flat on its back when
    pleased. The ears vary in shape, and certain strains, in England,
    inherit a pencil-like tuft of hairs, above a quarter of an inch in
    length, on the tips of their ears; and this same peculiarity,
    according to Mr. Blyth, characterises some cats in India. The great
    variability in the length of the tail and the lynx-like tufts of
    hairs on the ears are apparently analogous to differences in
    certain wild species of the genus. A much more important
    difference, according to Daubenton,[99] is that the intestines of
    domestic cats are wider, and a third longer, than in wild cats of
    the same size; and this apparently has been by their less strictly
    carnivorous diet.


 [1] Owen ‘British Fossil Mammals,’ pp. 123 to 133. Pictet’s ‘Traité de
 Pal.,’ 1853, tom. i. p. 202. De Blainville in his ‘Ostéographie,
 Canidæ,’ p. 142, has largely discussed the whole subject, and
 concludes that the extinct parent of all domesticated dogs came
 nearest to the wolf in organisation, and to the jackal in habits. _See
 also_ Boyd Dawkins, ‘Cave Hunting,’ 1874, p. 131, etc., and his other
 publications. Jeitteles has discussed in great detail the character of
 the breeds of pre-historic dogs: ‘Die vorgeschichtlichen Alterthümer
 der Stadt Olmütz,’ II. Theil, 1872, p. 44 to end.

 [2] Pallas, I believe, originated this doctrine in ‘Act. Acad. St.
 Petersburgh,’ 1780, Part ii. Ehrenberg has advocated it, as may be
 seen in De Blainville’s ‘Ostéographie,’ p. 79. It has been carried to
 an extreme extent by Col. Hamilton Smith in the ‘Naturalist Library,’
 vols ix and x. Mr. W. C. Martin adopts it in his excellent ‘History of
 the Dog,’ 1845; as does Dr. Morton, as well as Nott and Gliddon, in
 the United States. Prof. Low, in his ‘Domesticated Animals,’ 1845, p.
 666, comes to this same conclusion. No one has argued on this side
 with more clearness and force than the late James Wilson, of
 Edinburgh, in various papers read before the Highland Agricultural and
 Wernerian Societies. Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (‘Hist. Nat.
 Gén.,’ 1860, tom. iii. p. 107), though he believes that most dogs have
 descended from the jackal, yet inclines to the belief that some are
 descended from the wolf. Prof. Gervais (‘Hist. Nat. Mamm.’ 1855, tom.
 ii. p. 69, referring to the view that all the domestic races are the
 modified descendants of a single species, after a long discussion,
 says, “Cette opinion est, suivant nous du moins, la moins probable.”

 [3] Berjeau, ‘The Varieties of the Dog; in old Sculptures and
 Pictures,’ 1863. ‘Der Hund,’ von Dr. F. L. Walther, Giessen, 1817, s.
 48: this author seems carefully to have studied all classical works on
 the subject. _See also_ Volz, ‘Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte,’
 Leipzig, 1852, s. 115, ‘Youatt on the Dog,’ 1845, p. 6. A very full
 history is given by De Blainville in his ‘Ostéographie, Canidæ.’

 [4] I have seen drawings of this dog from the tomb of the son of Esar
 Haddon, and clay models in the British Museum. Nott and Gliddon, in
 their ‘Types of Mankind,’ 1854, p. 393, give a copy of these drawings.
 This dog has been called a Thibetan mastiff, but Mr. H. A. Oldfield,
 who is familiar with the so-called Thibet mastiff, and has examined
 the drawings in the British Museum, informs me that he considers them

 [5] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ July 12th, 1831.

 [6] ‘Sporting in Algeria,’ p. 51.

 [7] Berjeau gives facsimiles of the Egyptian drawings. Mr. C. L.
 Martin in his ‘History of the Dog,’ 1845, copies several figures from
 the Egyptian monuments, and speaks with much confidence with respect
 to their identity with still living dogs. Messrs. Nott and Gliddon
 (‘Types of Mankind,’ 1854, p. 388) give still more numerous figures.
 Mr. Gliddon asserts that a curl-tailed greyhound, like that
 represented on the most ancient monuments, is common in Borneo; but
 the Rajah, Sir J. Brooke, informs me that no such dog exists there.

 [8] These, and the following facts on the Danish remains, are taken
 from M. Morlot’s most interesting memoir in ‘Soc. Vaudoise des Sc.
 Nat.’ tom. vi., 1860, pp. 281, 299, 320.

 [9] ‘Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten,’ 1861, s. 117, 162.

 [10] De Blainville ‘Ostéographie, Canidæ.’

 [11] Sir R. Schomburgk has given me information on this head. _See
 also_ ‘Journal of R. Geographical Soc.’ vol. xiii. 1843, p. 65.

 [12] ‘Domestication of Animals:’ Ethnological Soc., Dec. 22nd, 1863.

 [13] ‘Journal of Researches,’ etc., 1845, p. 393. With respect to
 _Canis antarcticus, see_ p. 193. For the case of the antelope, _see_
 ‘Journal Royal Geograph. Soc.,’ vol. xxiii. p. 94.

 [14] The authorities for the foregoing statements are as
 follow:—Richardson in ‘Fauna Boreali-Americana,’ 1829, pp. 64, 75; Dr.
 Kane ‘Arctic Explorations,’ 1856, vol. i. pp. 398, 455; Dr. Hayes
 ‘Arctic Boat Journey,’ 1860, p. 167. Franklin’s ‘Narrative,’ vol. i.
 p. 269, gives the case of three whelps of a black wolf being carried
 away by the Indians. Parry, Richardson, and others, give accounts of
 wolves and dogs naturally crossing in the eastern parts of North
 America. Seeman in his ‘Voyage of H.M.S. _Herald_,’ 1853, vol. ii. p.
 26, says the wolf is often caught by the Esquimaux for the purpose of
 crossing with their dogs, and thus adding to their size and strength.
 M. Lamare-Picquot in ‘Bull. de la Soc. d’Acclimat,’ tom. vii., 1860,
 p. 148, gives a good account of the half-bred Esquimaux dogs.

 [15] ‘Fauna Boreali-Americana,’ 1829, pp. 73, 78, 80. Nott and
 Gliddon, ‘Types of Mankind,’ p. 383. The naturalist and traveller
 Bartram is quoted by Hamilton Smith, in ‘Naturalist Lib.,’ vol. x. p.
 156. A Mexican domestic dog seems also to resemble a wild dog of the
 same country; but this may be the prairie-wolf. Another capable judge,
 Mr. J. K. Lord (‘The Naturalist in Vancouver Island,’ 1866, vol. ii.
 p. 218), says that the Indian dog of the Spokans, near the Rocky
 Mountains, “is beyond all question nothing more than a tamed Cayote or
 prairie-wolf,” or _Canis latrans._)

 [16] I quote this from Mr. R. Hill’s excellent account of the Alco or
 domestic dog of Mexico, in Gosse’s ‘Naturalist’s Sojourn in Jamaica,’
 1851, p. 329.

 [17] ‘Naturgeschichte der Säugethiere von Paraguay,’ 1830, s. 151.

 [18] Quoted in Humboldt’s ‘Aspects of Nature’ (Eng. trans.), vol. i.
 p. 108.

 [19] p.t’s ‘Travels in Hungary and Transylvania,’ vol. i. p. 501.
 Jeitteles ‘Fauna Hungariæ Superioris,’ 1862, s. 13. _See_ Pliny ‘Hist.
 of the World’ (Eng. trans.), 8th book, ch. xl., about the Gauls
 crossing their dogs. _See also_ Aristotle ‘Hist. Animal.’lib. viii. c.
 28. For good evidence about wolves and dogs naturally crossing near
 the Pyrenees, _see_ M. Mauduyt ‘Du Loup et de ses Races,’ Poitiers,
 1851; also Pallas in ‘Acta Acad. St. Petersburgh,’ 1780, part ii. p.

 [20] I give this on excellent authority, namely Mr. Blyth (under the
 signature of Zoophilus), in the ‘Indian Sporting Review,’ Oct. 1856,
 p. 134. Mr. Blyth states that he was struck with the resemblance
 between a brush-tailed race of pariah-dogs, north-west of Cawnpore,
 and the Indian wolf. He gives corroborative evidence with respect to
 the dogs of the valley of the Nerbudda.

 [21] For numerous and interesting details on the resemblance of dogs
 and jackals _see_ Isid. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ 1860,
 tom. iii. p. 101. _ See also_ ‘Hist. Nat. des Mammifères,’ par Prof.
 Gervais, 1855, tom. ii. p. 60.

 [22] Also Güldenstädt ‘Nov. Comment. Acad. Petrop.,’ tom. xx., pro
 anno 1775, p. 449. Also Salvin in ‘Land and Water,’ Oct. 1869.

 [23] Quoted by De Blainville in his ‘Ostéographie, Canidæ,’ pp. 79,

 [24] _See_ Pallas in ‘Act. Acad. St. Petersburgh,’ 1780, part ii. p.
 91. For Algeria, _see_ Isid. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’
 tom. iii. p. 177. In both countries it is the male jackal which pairs
 with female domestic dogs.

 [25] John Barbut’s ‘Description of the Coast of Guinea in 1746.’

 [26] ‘Travels in South Africa,’ vol. ii. p. 272.

 [27] Selwyn, Geology of Victoria; ‘Journal of Geolog. Soc.,’ vol.
 xiv., 1858, p. 536, and vol. xvi., 1860, p. 148; and Prof. M’Coy, in
 ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.’ (3rd series) vol. ix., 1862, p. 147.
 The Dingo differs from the dogs of the central Polynesian islands.
 Dieffenbach remarks (‘Travels,’ vol. ii. p. 45) that the native New
 Zealand dog also differs from the Dingo.

 [28] These latter remarks afford, I think, a sufficient answer to some
 criticisms by Mr. Wallace, on the multiple origin of dogs, given in
 Lyell’s ‘Principles of Geology,’ 1872, vol. ii. p. 295.

 [29] ‘Proceedings Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1833, p. 112. _ See also,_ on the
 taming of the common wolf, L. Lloyd, ‘Scandinavian Adventures,’ 1854,
 vol. i. p. 460. With respect to the jackal, _see_ Prof. Gervais ‘Hist.
 Nat. Mamm.’ tom. ii. p. 61. With respect to the aguara of Paraguay
 _see_ Rengger’s work.

 [30] Roulin, in ‘Mém. présent. par divers Savans,’ tom. vi. p. 341.

 [31] Martin, ‘History of the Dog,’ p. 14.

 [32] Quoted by L. Lloyd in ‘Field Sports of North of Europe,’ vol. i.
 p. 387.

 [33] Quatrefages, ‘Soc. d’Acclimat.,’ May 11th, 1863, p. 7.

 [34] ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.’ vol. xv., 1845, p. 140.

 [35] Azara, ‘Voyages dans l’Amér. Mérid.’ tom. i. p. 381; his account
 is fully confirmed by Rengger. Quatrefages gives an account of a bitch
 brought from Jerusalem to France which burrowed a hole and littered in
 it. _ See_ ‘Discours, Exposition des Races Canines,’ 1865, p. 3.

 [36] With respect to wolves burrowing holes _ see_ Richardson, ‘Fauna
 Boreali-Americana,’ p. 64; and Bechstein ‘Naturgeschichte
 Deutschlands,’ B. i. s. 617.

 [37] _See_ Poeppig, ‘Reise in Chile,’ B. i. s. 290; Mr. G. Clarke, as
 above; and Rengger, s. 155.

 [38] Dogs, ‘Nat. Library,’ vol. x. p. 121; an endemic South American
 dog seems also to have become feral in this island. _See_ Gosse’s
 ‘Jamaica,’ p. 340.

 [39] Low ‘Domesticated Animals,’ p. 650.

 [40] ‘The Naturalist Library,’ Dogs, vol. x. pp. 4, 19.

 [41] Quoted by Prof. Gervais, ‘Hist. Nat. Mamm.,’ tom. ii. p. 66.

 [42] J. Hunter shows that the long period of seventy-three days given
 by Buffon is easily explained by the bitch having received the dog
 many times during a period of sixteen days (‘Phil. Transact.,’ 1787,
 p. 353). Hunter found that the gestation of a mongrel from wolf and
 dog (‘Phil. Transact.,’ 1789, p. 160) apparently was sixty-three days,
 for she received the dog more than once. The period of a mongrel dog
 and jackal was fifty-nine days. Fred. Cuvier found the period of
 gestation of the wolf to be (‘Dict. Class. d’Hist. Nat.’ tom. iv. p.
 8) two months and a few days, which agrees with the dog. Isid G.
 St.-Hilaire, who has discussed the whole subject, and from whom I
 quote Bellingeri, states (‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. p. 112) that in
 the Jardin des Plantes the period of the jackal has been found to be
 from sixty to sixty-three days, exactly as with the dog.

 [43] _See_ Isid. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. p.
 112, on the odour of jackals. Col. Ham. Smith in ‘Nat. Lib.,’ vol. x.
 p. 289.

 [44] Quoted by Quatrefages in ‘Bull. Soc. d’Acclimat.,’ May 11th,

 [45] ‘Journal de la Physiologie,’ tom. ii. p. 385.

 [46] _See_ Mr. R. Hill’s excellent account of this breed in Gosse’s
 ‘Jamaica,’ p. 338; Rengger ‘Säugethiere von Paraguay,’ s. 153. With
 respect to Spitz dogs, _see_ Bechstein’s ‘Naturgesch. Deutschlands,’
 1801, B. i. s. 638. With respect to Dr. Hodgkin’s statement made
 before Brit. Assoc. _see_ ‘The Zoologist,’ vol. iv. for 1845-46 p.

 [47] ‘Acta Acad. St. Petersburgh,’ 1780, part ii. pp. 84, 100.

 [48] M. Broca has shown (‘Journal de Physiologie,’ tom. ii. p. 353)
 that Buffon’s experiments have been often misrepresented. Broca has
 collected (pp. 390-395) many facts on the fertility of crossed dogs,
 wolves, and jackals.

 [49] ‘De la Longévité Humaine,’ par M. Flourens, 1855, p. 143. Mr.
 Blyth says (‘Indian Sporting Review,’ vol. 2 p. 137) that he has seen
 in India several hybrids from the pariah-dog and jackal; and between
 one of these hybrids and a terrier. The experiments of Hunter on the
 jackal are well-known. _See also_ Isid. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, ‘Hist.
 Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. p. 217, who speaks of the hybrid offspring of
 the jackal as perfectly fertile for three generations.

 [50] On authority of F. Cuvier quoted in Bronn’s ‘Geschichte der
 Natur,’ B ii. s. 164.

 [51] W. C. L. Martin ‘History of the Dog,’ 1845, p. 203. Mr. Philip P.
 King, after ample opportunities of observation, informs me that the
 Dingo and European dogs often cross in Australia.

 [52] Rüppel ‘Neue Wirbelthiere von Abyssinien,’ 1835-40 ‘Mammif.,’ s.
 39 pl. xiv. There is a specimen of this fine animal in the British

 [53] Even Pallas admits this; _see_ ‘Act. Acad. St. Petersburgh,’
 1780, p. 93.

 [54] Quoted by I. Geoffroy, ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. p. 453.

 [55] F. Cuvier in ‘Annales du Muséum,’ tom. xviii. p. 337; Godron ‘De
 l’Espèce,’ tom. i. p. 342; and Col. H. Smith in ‘Nat. Library,’ vol.
 ix. p. 101. _See also_ some observations on the degeneracy of the
 skull in certain breeds, by Prof. Bianconi, ‘La Theorie Darwinienne,’
 1874, p. 279.

 [56] Dr. Burt Wilder, ‘American Assoc. Advancement of Science,’ 1873,
 pp. 236, 239.

 [57] Isid. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire ‘Hist. des Anomalies,’ 1832, tom. i.
 p. 660, Gervais ‘Hist. Nat. des Mammifères,’ tom. ii., 1855, p. 66. De
 Blainville (‘Ostéographie, Canidæ,’ p. 137) has also seen an extra
 molar on both sides.

 [58] ‘Ostéographie, Canidæ,’ p. 137.

 [59] Würzburger ‘Medecin. Zeitschrift,’ 1860, B. i. s. 265.

 [60] Mr. Yarrell in ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ Oct. 8th, 1833. Mr.
 Waterhouse showed me a skull of one of these dogs, which had only a
 single molar on each side and some imperfect incisors.

 [61] Quoted in ‘The Veterinary,’ London, vol. viii. p. 415.

 [62] This is quoted from Stonehenge, a great authority, ‘The Dog,’
 1867, p. 187.

 [63] ‘Hist. Nat. Général,’ tom. iii. p. 448.

 [64] W. Scrope ‘Art of Deer-Stalking,’ p. 354.

 [65] Quoted by Col. Ham. Smith in ‘Nat. Lib.,’ vol. x. p. 79.

 [66] De Blainville ‘Ostéographie, Canidæ,’ p. 134. F. Cuvier ‘Annales
 du Muséum,’ tom. xviii. p. 342. In regard to mastiffs, _see_ Col. H.
 Smith ‘Nat. Lib.’ vol. x. p. 218. For the Thibet mastiff, _see_ Mr.
 Hodgson in ‘Journal of As. Soc. of Bengal,’ vol. i., 1832, p. 342.

 [67] ‘The Dog,’ 1845, p. 186. With respect to diseases Youatt asserts
 (p. 167) that the Italian greyhound is “strongly subject” to polypi in
 the matrix or vagina. The spaniel and pug (p. 182) are most liable to
 bronchocele. The liability to distemper (p. 232) is extremely
 different in different breeds. On the distemper, _see also_ Col.
 Hutchinson on ‘Dog Breaking,’ 1850, p. 279.

 [68] _See_ Youatt on the Dog, p. 15; ‘The Veterinary,’ London, vol.
 xi. p. 235.

 [69] ‘Journal of As. Soc. of Bengal,’ vol. iii. p. 19.

 [70] ‘Travels,’ vol. ii. p. 15.

 [71] Hodgson in ‘Journal of As. Soc. of Bengal,’ vol. i. p. 342.

 [72] ‘Field Sports of the North of Europe,’ vol. ii. p. 165.

 [73] ‘Hist. Nat. des Mammif.,’ 1855, tom. ii. pp. 66, 67.

 [74] ‘History of Quadrupeds,’ 1793, vol. i. p. 238.

 [75] ‘Oriental Field Sports,’ quoted by Youatt, ‘The Dog,’ p. 15.

 [76] A. Murray gives this passage in his ‘Geographical Distribution of
 Mammals,’ 4to, 1866, p. 8.

 [77] Quoted by Mr. Galton, ‘Domestication of Animals,’ p. 13.

 [78] ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. p. 450.

 [79] Mr. Greenhow on the Canadian Dog in Loudon’s ‘Mag. of Nat.
 Hist.,’ vol. vi., 1833, p. 511.

 [80] _See_ Mr. C. O. Groom-Napier on the webbing of the hind feet of
 Otterhounds in ‘Land and Water,’ Oct. 13, 1866, p. 270.

 [81] ‘Fauna Boreali-Americana,’ 1829, p. 62.

 [82] ‘The Horse in all his Varieties,’ etc., 1829, pp. 230, 234.

 [83] ‘The Dog,’ 1845, pp. 31, 35; with respect to King Charles’s
 spaniel, p. 45; for the setter, p. 90.

 [84] In the ‘Encyclop. of Rural Sports,’ p. 557.

 [85] Author of ‘Researches into the History of the British Dog.’

 [86] _See_ Col. Hamilton Smith on the antiquity of the Pointer, in
 ‘Nat. Lib.’ vol. x. p. 196.

 [87] The Newfoundland dog is believed to have originated from a cross
 between the Esquimaux dog and a large French hound. _See_ Dr. Hodgkin
 ‘British Assoc.,’ 1844; Bechstein ‘Naturgesch. Deutschland,’ B. i. s.
 574; ‘Nat. Lib.,’ vol. x. p. 132; also Mr. Jukes’ ‘Excursion in and
 about Newfoundland.’

 [88] De Blainville ‘Ostéographie, Felis,’ p. 65, on the character of
 _F. caligulata_; pp. 85, 89, 90, 175, on the other mummied species. He
 quotes Ehrenberg on _F. maniculata_ being mummied.

 [89] Asiatic Soc. of Calcutta; Curator’s Report, Aug. 1856. The
 passage from Sir W. Jardine is quoted from this Report. Mr. Blyth, who
 has especially attended to the wild and domestic cats of India, has
 given in this Report a very interesting discussion on their origin.

 [90] ‘Fauna Hungariæ Sup.,’ 1862, s. 12.

 [91] Isid. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. p.

 [92] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1863, p. 184.

 [93] ‘Säugethiere von Paraguay,’ 1830, s. 212.

 [94] ‘Mem. présentés par divers Savans: Acad. Roy. des Sciences,’ tom.
 vi. p. 346. Gomara first noticed this fact in 1554.

 [95] ‘Narrative of Voyages,’ vol. ii. p. 180.

 [96] J. Crawfurd ‘Descript. Dict. of the Indian Islands,’ p. 255. The
 Madagascar cat is said to have a twisted tail; _see_ Desmarest in
 ‘Encyclop. Nat. Mamm.,’ 1820, p. 233, for some of the other breeds.

 [97] Admiral Lutké’s Voyage, vol. iii. p. 308.

 [98] ‘Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle, Mammalia,’ p. 20.
 Dieffenbach ‘Travels in New Zealand,’ vol. ii. p. 185. Ch. St. John
 ‘Wild Sports of the Highlands,’ 1846, p. 40.

 [99] Quoted by Isid. Geoffroy ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. p. 427.




    The history of the Horse is lost in antiquity. Remains of this
    animal in a domesticated condition have been found in the Swiss
    lake-dwellings, belonging to the Neolithic period.[1] At the
    present time the number of breeds is great, as may be seen by
    consulting any treatise on the Horse.[2] Looking only to the native
    ponies of Great Britain, those of the Shetland Isles, Wales, the
    New Forest, and Devonshire are distinguishable; and so it is,
    amongst other instances, with each separate island in the great
    Malay archipelago.[3] Some of the breeds present great differences
    in size, shape of ears, length of mane, proportions of the body,
    form of the withers and hind quarters, and especially in the head.
    Compare the race-horse, dray-horse, and a Shetland pony in size,
    configuration, and disposition; and see how much greater the
    difference is than between the seven or eight other living species
    of the genus Equus.

    Of individual variations not known to characterise particular
    breeds, and not great or injurious enough to be called
    monstrosities, I have not collected many cases. Mr. G. Brown, of
    the Cirencester Agricultural College, who has particularly attended
    to the dentition of our domestic animals, writes to me that he has
    “several times noticed eight permanent incisors instead of six in
    the jaw.” Male horses only should have canines, but they are
    occasionally found in the mare, though a small size.[4] The number
    of ribs on each side is properly eighteen, but Youatt[5] asserts
    that not unfrequently there are nineteen, the additional one being
    always the posterior rib. It is a remarkable fact that the ancient
    Indian horse is said in the Rig-Vêda to have only seventeen ribs;
    and M. Piétrement,[6] who has called attention to this subject,
    gives various reasons for placing full trust in this statement,
    more especially as during former times the Hindoos carefully
    counted the bones of animals. I have seen several notices of
    variations in the bones of the leg; thus Mr. Price[7] speaks of an
    additional bone in the hock, and of certain abnormal appearances
    between the tibia and astragalus, as quite common in Irish horses,
    and not due to disease. Horses have often been observed, according
    to M. Gaudry,[8] to possess a trapezium and a rudiment of a fifth
    metacarpal bone, so that “one sees appearing by monstrosity, in the
    foot of the horse, structures which normally exist in the foot of
    the Hipparion,”—an allied and extinct animal. In various countries
    horn-like projections have been observed on the frontal bones of
    the horse: in one case described by Mr. Percival they arose about
    two inches above the orbital processes, and were “very like those
    in a calf from five to six months old,” being from half to
    three-quarters of an inch in length.[9] Azara has described two
    cases in South America in which the projections were between three
    and four inches in length: other instances have occurred in Spain.

    That there has been much inherited variation in the horse cannot be
    doubted, when we reflect on the number of the breeds existing
    throughout the world or even within the same country, and when we
    know that they have largely increased in number since the earliest
    known records.[10] Even in so fleeting a character as colour,
    Hofacker[11] found that, out of 216 cases in which horses of the
    same colour were paired, only eleven pairs produced foals of a
    quite different colour. As Professor Low[12] has remarked, the
    English race-horse offers the best possible evidence of
    inheritance. The pedigree of a race-horse is of more value in
    judging of its probable success than its appearance: “King Herod”
    gained in prizes 201,505 pounds sterling, and begot 497 winners;
    “Eclipse” begot 334 winners.

    Whether the whole amount of difference between the various breeds
    has arisen under domestication is doubtful. From the fertility of
    the most distinct breeds[13] when crossed, naturalists have
    generally looked at all the breeds as having descended from a
    single species. Few will agree with Colonel H. Smith, who believes
    that they have descended from no less than five primitive and
    differently coloured stocks.[14] But as several species and
    varieties of the horse existed[15] during the later tertiary
    periods, and as Rutimeyer found differences in the size and form of
    the skull in the earliest known domesticated horses,[16] we ought
    not to feel sure that all our breeds are descended from a single
    species. The savages of North and South America easily reclaim the
    feral horses, so that there is no improbability in savages in
    various quarters of the world having domesticated more than one
    native species or natural race. M. Sanson[17] thinks that he has
    proved that two distinct species have been domesticated, one in the
    East, and one in North Africa; and that these differed in the
    number of their lumbar vertebra and in various other parts; but M.
    Sanson seems to believe that osteological characters are subject to
    very little variation, which is certainly a mistake. At present no
    aboriginal or truly wild horse is positively known to exist; for it
    is commonly believed that the wild horses of the East are escaped
    domestic animals.[18] If therefore our domestic breeds are
    descended from several species or natural races, all have become
    extinct in the wild state.

    With respect to the causes of the modifications which horses have
    undergone, the conditions of life seem to produce a considerable
    direct effect. Mr. D. Forbes, who has had excellent opportunities
    of comparing the horses of Spain with those of South America,
    informs me that the horses of Chile, which have lived under nearly
    the same conditions as their progenitors in Andalusia, remain
    unaltered, whilst the Pampas horses and the Puno horses are
    considerably modified. There can be no doubt that horses become
    greatly reduced in size and altered in appearance by living on
    mountains and islands; and this apparently is due to want of
    nutritious or varied food. Every one knows how small and rugged the
    ponies are on the Northern islands and on the mountains of Europe.
    Corsica and Sardinia have their native ponies; and there were,[19]
    or still are, on some islands on the coast of Virginia, ponies like
    those of the Shetland Islands, which are believed to have
    originated through exposure to unfavourable conditions. The Puno
    ponies, which inhabit the lofty regions of the Cordillera, are, as
    I hear from Mr. D. Forbes, strange little creatures, very unlike
    their Spanish progenitors. Further south, in the Falkland Islands,
    the offspring of the horses imported in 1764 have already so much
    deteriorated in size[20] and strength that they are unfitted for
    catching wild cattle with the lasso; so that fresh horses have to
    be brought for this purpose from La Plata at a great expense. The
    reduced size of the horses bred on both southern and northern
    islands, and on several mountain-chains, can hardly have been
    caused by the cold, as a similar reduction has occurred on the
    Virginian and Mediterranean islands. The horse can withstand
    intense cold, for wild troops live on the plains of Siberia under
    lat. 56°,[21] and aboriginally the horses must have inhabited
    countries annually covered with snow, for he long retains the
    instinct of scraping it away to get at the herbage beneath. The
    wild tarpans in the East have this instinct; and so it is, as I am
    informed by Admiral Sulivan, with the horses recently and formerly
    introduced into the Falkland Islands from La Plata, some of which
    have run wild; this latter fact is remarkable, as the progenitors
    of these horses could not have followed this instinct during many
    generations in La Plata. On the other hand, the wild cattle of the
    Falklands never scrape away the snow, and perish when the ground is
    long covered. In the northern parts of America the horses descended
    from those introduced by the Spanish conquerors of Mexico, have the
    same habit, as have the native bisons, but not so the cattle
    introduced from Europe.[22]

    The horse can flourish under intense heat as well as under intense
    cold, for he is known to come to the highest perfection, though not
    attaining a large size, in Arabia and northern Africa. Much
    humidity is apparently more injurious to the horse than heat or
    cold. In the Falkland Islands, horses suffer much from the
    dampness; and this circumstance may perhaps partly account for the
    singular fact that to the eastward of the Bay of Bengal,[23] over
    an enormous and humid area, in Ava, Pegu, Siam, the Malayan
    archipelago, the Loo Choo Islands, and a large part of China, no
    full-sized horse is found. When we advance as far eastward as
    Japan, the horse reacquires his full size.[24]

    With most of our domesticated animals, some breeds are kept on
    account of their curiosity or beauty; but the horse is valued
    almost solely for its utility. Hence semi-monstrous breeds are not
    preserved; and probably all the existing breeds have been slowly
    formed either by the direct action of the conditions of life, or
    through the selection of individual differences. No doubt
    semi-monstrous breeds might have been formed: thus Mr. Waterton
    records[25] the case of a mare which produced successively three
    foals without tails; so that a tailless race might have been formed
    like the tailless races of dogs and cats. A Russian breed of horses
    is said to have curled hair, and Azara[26] relates that in Paraguay
    horses are occasionally born, but are generally destroyed, with
    hair like that on the head of a negro; and this peculiarity is
    transmitted even to half-breeds: it is a curious case of
    correlation that such horses have short manes and tails, and their
    hoofs are of a peculiar shape like those of a mule.

    It is scarcely possible to doubt that the long-continued selection
    of qualities serviceable to man has been the chief agent in the
    formation of the several breeds of the horse. Look at a dray-horse,
    and see how well adapted he is to draw heavy weights, and how
    unlike in appearance to any allied wild animal. The English
    race-horse is known to be derived from the commingled blood of
    Arabs, Turks, and Barbs; but selection, which was carried on during
    very early times in England,[27] together with training, have made
    him a very different animal from his parent-stocks. As a writer in
    India, who evidently knows the pure Arab well, asks, who now,
    “looking at our present breed of race-horses, could have conceived
    that they were the result of the union of the Arab horse and
    African mare?” The improvement is so marked that in running for the
    Goodwood Cup the first descendants of Arabian, Turkish, and Persian
    horses, are allowed a discount of 18 pounds weight; and when both
    parents are of these countries a discount of 36 pounds.[28] It is
    notorious that the Arabs have long been as careful about the
    pedigree of their horses as we are, and this implies great and
    continued care in breeding. Seeing what has been done in England by
    careful breeding, can we doubt that the Arabs must likewise have
    produced during the course of centuries a marked effect on the
    qualities of their horses? But we may go much farther back in time,
    for in the Bible we hear of studs carefully kept for breeding, and
    of horses imported at high prices from various countries.[29] We
    may therefore conclude that, whether or not the various existing
    breeds of the horse have proceeded from one or more aboriginal
    stocks, yet that a great amount of change has resulted from the
    direct action of the conditions of life, and probably a still
    greater amount from the long-continued selection by man of slight
    individual differences.

    With several domesticated quadrupeds and birds, certain coloured
    marks are either strongly inherited or tend to reappear after
    having been lost for a long time. As this subject will hereafter be
    seen to be of importance, I will give a full account of the
    colouring of horses. All English breeds, however unlike in size and
    appearance, and several of those in India and the Malay
    archipelago, present a similar range and diversity of colour. The
    English race-horse, however, is said[30] never to be dun-coloured;
    but as dun and cream-coloured horses are considered by the Arabs as
    worthless, “and fit only for Jews to ride,”[31] these tints may
    have been removed by long-continued selection. Horses of every
    colour, and of such widely different kinds as dray-horses, cobs,
    and ponies, are all occasionally dappled,[32] in the same manner as
    is so conspicuous with grey horses. This fact does not throw any
    clear light on the colouring of the aboriginal horse, but is a case
    of analogous variation, for even asses are sometimes dappled, and I
    have seen, in the British Museum, a hybrid from the ass and zebra
    dappled on its hinder quarters. By the expression analogous
    variation (and it is one that I shall often have occasion to use) I
    mean a variation occurring in a species or variety which resembles
    a normal character in another and distinct species or variety.
    Analogous variations may arise, as will be explained in a future
    chapter, from two or more forms with a similar constitution having
    been exposed to similar conditions,—or from one of two forms having
    reacquired through reversion a character inherited by the other
    form from their common progenitor,—or from both forms having
    reverted to the same ancestral character. We shall immediately see
    that horses occasionally exhibit a tendency to become striped over
    a large part of their bodies; and as we know that in the varieties
    of the domestic cat and in several feline species stripes readily
    pass into spots and cloudy marks—even the cubs of the
    uniformly-coloured lion being spotted with dark marks on a lighter
    ground—we may suspect that the dappling of the horse, which has
    been noticed by some authors with surprise, is a modification or
    vestige of a tendency to become striped.

Illustration: Fig. 1.—Dun Devonshire Pony, with shoulder, spinal, and
leg stripes.

    This tendency in the horse to become striped is in several respects
    an interesting fact. Horses of all colours, of the most diverse
    breeds, in various parts of the world, often have a dark stripe
    extending along the spine, from the mane to the tail; but this is
    so common that I need enter into no particulars.[33] Occasionally
    horses are transversely barred on the legs, chiefly on the under
    side; and more rarely they have a distinct stripe on the shoulder,
    like that on the shoulder of the ass, or a broad dark patch
    representing a stripe. Before entering on any details I must
    premise that the term dun-coloured is vague, and includes three
    groups of colours, viz., that between cream-colour and
    reddish-brown, which graduates into light-bay or
    light-chestnut—this, I believe is often called fallow-dun;
    secondly, leaden or slate-colour or mouse-dun, which graduates into
    an ash-colour; and, lastly, dark-dun, between brown and black. In
    England I have examined a rather large, lightly-built, fallow-dun
    Devonshire pony (Figure 1), with a conspicuous stripe along the
    back, with light transverse stripes on the under sides of its front
    legs, and with four parallel stripes on each shoulder. Of these
    four stripes the posterior one was very minute and faint; the
    anterior one, on the other hand, was long and broad, but
    interrupted in the middle, and truncated at its lower extremity,
    with the anterior angle produced into a long tapering point. I
    mention this latter fact because the shoulder-stripe of the ass
    occasionally presents exactly the same appearance. I have had an
    outline and description sent to me of a small, purely-bred, light
    fallow-dun Welch pony, with a spinal stripe, a single transverse
    stripe on each leg, and three shoulder-stripes; the posterior
    stripe corresponding with that on the shoulder of the ass was the
    longest, whilst the two anterior parallel stripes, arising from the
    mane, decreased in length, in a reversed manner as compared with
    the shoulder-stripes on the above-described Devonshire pony. I have
    seen a bright fallow-dun cob, with its front legs transversely
    barred on the under sides in the most conspicuous manner; also a
    dark-leaden mouse-coloured pony with similar leg stripes, but much
    less conspicuous; also a bright fallow-dun colt, fully three-parts
    thoroughbred, with very plain transverse stripes on the legs; also
    a chestnut-dun cart-horse with a conspicuous spinal stripe, with
    distinct traces of shoulder-stripes, but none on the legs; I could
    add other cases. My son made a sketch for me of a large, heavy,
    Belgian cart-horse, of a fallow-dun, with a conspicuous spinal
    stripe, traces of leg-stripes, and with two parallel (three inches
    apart) stripes about seven or eight inches in length on both
    shoulders. I have seen another rather light cart-horse, of a dirty
    dark cream-colour, with striped legs, and on one shoulder a large
    ill-defined dark cloudy patch, and on the opposite shoulder two
    parallel faint stripes. All the cases yet mentioned are duns of
    various tints; but Mr. W. W. Edwards has seen a nearly thoroughbred
    chestnut horse which had the spinal stripe, and distinct bars on
    the legs; and I have seen two bay carriage-horses with black spinal
    stripes; one of these horses had on each shoulder a light
    shoulder-stripe, and the other had a broad back ill-defined stripe,
    running obliquely half-way down each shoulder; neither had

    The most interesting case which I have met with occurred in a colt
    of my own breeding. A bay mare (descended from a dark-brown Flemish
    mare by a light grey Turcoman horse) was put to Hercules, a
    thoroughbred dark bay, whose sire (Kingston) and dam were both
    bays. The colt ultimately turned out brown; but when only a
    fortnight old it was a dirty bay, shaded with mouse-grey, and in
    parts with a yellowish tint: it had only a trace of the spinal
    stripe, with a few obscure transverse bars on the legs; but almost
    the whole body was marked with very narrow dark stripes, in most
    parts so obscure as to be visible only in certain lights, like the
    stripes which may be seen on black kittens. These stripes were
    distinct on the hind-quarters, where they diverged from the spine,
    and pointed a little forwards; many of them as they diverged became
    a little branched, exactly in the same manner as in some zebrine
    species. The stripes were plainest on the forehead between the
    ears, where they formed a set of pointed arches, one under the
    other, decreasing in size downwards towards the muzzle; exactly
    similar marks may be seen on the forehead of the quagga and
    Burchell’s zebra. When this foal was two or three months old all
    the stripes entirely disappeared. I have seen similar marks on the
    forehead of a fully grown, fallow-dun, cob-like horse, having a
    conspicuous spinal stripe, and with its front legs well barred.

    In Norway the colour of the native horse or pony is dun, varying
    from almost cream-colour to dark-mouse dun; and an animal is not
    considered purely bred unless it has the spinal and
    leg-stripes.[34] My son estimated that about a third of the ponies
    which he saw there had striped legs; he counted seven stripes on
    the fore-legs and two on the hind-legs of one pony; only a few of
    them exhibited traces of shoulder stripes; but I have heard of a
    cob imported from Norway which had the shoulder as well as the
    other stripes well developed. Colonel H. Smith[35] alludes to
    dun-horses with the spinal stripe in the Sierras of Spain; and the
    horses originally derived from Spain, in some parts of South
    America, are now duns. Sir W. Elliot informs me that he inspected a
    herd of 300 South American horses imported into Madras, and many of
    these had transverse stripes on the legs and short
    shoulder-stripes; the most strongly marked individual, of which a
    coloured drawing was sent me, was a mouse-dun, with the
    shoulder-stripes slightly forked.

    In the North-Western parts of India striped horses of more than one
    breed are apparently commoner than in any other part of the world;
    and I have received information respecting them from several
    officers, especially from Colonel Poole, Colonel Curtis, Major
    Campbell, Brigadier St. John, and others. The Kattywar horses are
    often fifteen or sixteen hands in height, and are well but lightly
    built. They are of all colours, but the several kinds of duns
    prevail; and these are so generally striped, that a horse without
    stripes is not considered pure. Colonel Poole believes that all the
    duns have the spinal stripe, the leg-stripes are generally present,
    and he thinks that about half the horses have the shoulder-stripe;
    this stripe is sometimes double or treble on both shoulders.
    Colonel Poole has often seen stripes on the cheeks and sides of the
    nose. He has seen stripes on the grey and bay Kattywars when first
    foaled, but they soon faded away. I have received other accounts of
    cream-coloured, bay, brown, and grey Kattywar horses being striped.
    Eastward of India, the Shan (north of Burmah) ponies, as I am
    informed by Mr. Blyth, have spinal, leg, and shoulder stripes. Sir
    W. Elliot informs me that he saw two bay Pegu ponies with
    leg-stripes. Burmese and Javanese ponies are frequently
    dun-coloured, and have the three kinds of stripes, “in the same
    degree as in England.”[36] Mr. Swinhoe informs me that he examined
    two light-dun ponies of two Chinese breeds, viz., those of Shanghai
    and Amoy; both had the spinal stripe, and the latter an indistinct

    We thus see that in all parts of the world breeds of the horse as
    different as possible, when of a dun-colour (including under this
    term a wide range of tint from cream to dusty black), and rarely
    when almost white tinged with yellow, grey, bay, and chestnut, have
    the several above-specified stripes. Horses which are of a yellow
    colour with white mane and tail, and which are sometimes called
    duns, I have never seen with stripes.[37]

    From reasons which will be apparent in the chapter on Reversion, I
    have endeavoured, but with poor success, to discover whether duns,
    which are so much oftener striped than other coloured horses, are
    ever produced from the crossing of two horses, neither of which are
    duns. Most persons to whom I have applied believe that one parent
    must be dun; and it is generally asserted that, when this is the
    case, the dun-colour and the stripes are strongly inherited.[38]
    One case, however, has fallen under my own observation of a foal
    from a black mare by a bay horse, which when fully grown was a dark
    fallow-dun and had a narrow but plain spinal stripe. Hofacker[39]
    gives two instances of mouse-duns (Mausrapp) being produced from
    two parents of different colours and neither duns.

    The stripes of all kinds are generally plainer in the foal than in
    the adult horse, being commonly lost at the first shedding of the
    hair.[40] Colonel Poole believes that “the stripes in the Kattywar
    breed are plainest when the colt is first foaled; they then become
    less and less distinct till after the first coat is shed, when they
    come out as strongly as before; but certainly often fade away as
    the age of the horse increases.” Two other accounts confirm this
    fading of the stripes in old horses in India. One writer, on the
    other hand, states that colts are often born without stripes, but
    that they appear as the colt grows older. Three authorities affirm
    that in Norway the stripes are less plain in the foal than in the
    adult. In the case described by me of the young foal which was
    narrowly striped over nearly all its body, there was no doubt about
    the early and complete disappearance of the stripes. Mr. W. W.
    Edwards examined for me twenty-two foals of race-horses, and twelve
    had the spinal stripe more or less plain; this fact, and some other
    accounts which I have received, lead me to believe that the spinal
    stripe often disappears in the English race-horse when old. With
    natural species, the young often exhibit characters which disappear
    at maturity.

The stripes are variable in colour, but are always darker than the rest
of the body. They do not by any means always coexist on the different
parts of the body: the legs may be striped without any shoulder-stripe,
or the converse case, which is rarer, may occur; but I have never heard
of either shoulder or leg-stripes without the spinal stripe. The latter
is by far the commonest of all the stripes, as might have been
expected, as it characterises the other seven or eight species of the
genus. It is remarkable that so trifling a character as the
shoulder-stripe being double or triple should occur in such different
breeds as Welch and Devonshire ponies, the Shan pony, heavy
cart-horses, light South American horses, and the lanky Kattywar breed.
Colonel Hamilton Smith believes that one of his five supposed primitive
stocks was dun-coloured and striped; and that the stripes in all the
other breeds result from ancient crosses with this one primitive dun;
but it is extremely improbable that different breeds living in such
distant quarters of the world should all have been crossed with any one
aboriginally distinct stock. Nor have we any reason to believe that the
effects of a cross at a very remote period would be propagated for so
many generations as is implied on this view.

    With respect to the primitive colour of the horse having been dun,
    Colonel Hamilton Smith[41] has collected a large body of evidence
    showing that this tint was common in the East as far back as the
    time of Alexander, and that the wild horses of Western Asia and
    Eastern Europe now are, or recently were, of various shades of dun.
    It seems that not very long ago a wild breed of dun-coloured horses
    with a spinal stripe was preserved in the royal parks in Prussia. I
    hear from Hungary that the inhabitants of that country look at the
    duns with a spinal stripe as the aboriginal stock, and so it is in
    Norway. Dun-coloured ponies are not rare in the mountainous parts
    of Devonshire, Wales, and Scotland, where the aboriginal breed
    would have the best chance of being preserved. In South America in
    the time of Azara, when the horse had been feral for about 250
    years, 90 out of 100 horses were “bai-châtains,” and the remaining
    ten were “zains,” that is brown; not more than one in 2000 being
    black. In North America the feral horses show a strong tendency to
    become roans of various shades; but in certain parts, as I hear
    from Dr. Canfield, they are mostly duns and striped.[42]

In the following chapters on the Pigeon we shall see that a blue bird
is occasionally produced by pure breeds of various colours and that
when this occurs certain black marks invariably appear on the wings and
tail; so again, when variously coloured breeds are crossed, blue birds
with the same black marks are frequently produced. We shall further see
that these facts are explained by, and afford strong evidence in favour
of, the view that all the breeds are descended from the rock-pigeon, or
_ Columba livia,_ which is thus coloured and marked. But the appearance
of the stripes on the various breeds of the horse, when of a dun
colour, does not afford nearly such good evidence of their descent from
a single primitive stock as in the case of the pigeon: because no horse
certainly wild is known as a standard of comparison; because the
stripes when they appear are variable in character; because there is
far from sufficient evidence that the crossing of distinct breeds
produces stripes, and lastly, because all the species of the genus
Equus have the spinal stripe, and several species have shoulder and leg
stripes. Nevertheless the similarity in the most distinct breeds in
their general range of colour, in their dappling, and in the occasional
appearance, especially in duns, of leg-stripes and of double or triple
shoulder-stripes, taken together, indicate the probability of the
descent of all the existing races from a single, dun-coloured, more or
less striped, primitive stock, to which our horses occasionally revert.


    Four species of Asses, besides three zebras, have been described by
    naturalists. There is now little doubt that our domesticated animal
    is descended from the _Equus tæniopus_ of Abyssinia.[43] The ass is
    sometimes advanced as an instance of an animal domesticated, as we
    know by the Old Testament, from an ancient period, which has varied
    only in a very slight degree. But this is by no means strictly
    true; for in Syria alone there are four breeds;[44] first, a light
    and graceful animal, with an agreeable gait, used by ladies;
    secondly, an Arab breed reserved exclusively for the saddle;
    thirdly, a stouter animal used for ploughing and various purposes;
    and lastly, the large Damascus breed, with a peculiarly long body
    and ears. In the South of France also there are several breeds, and
    one of extraordinary size, some individuals being as tall as
    full-sized horses. Although the ass in England is by no means
    uniform in appearance, distinct breeds have not been formed. This
    may probably be accounted for by the animal being kept chiefly by
    poor persons, who do not rear large numbers, nor carefully match
    and select the young. For, as we shall see in a future chapter, the
    ass can with ease be greatly improved in size and strength by
    careful selection, combined no doubt with good food; and we may
    infer that all its other characters would be equally amenable to
    selection. The small size of the ass in England and Northern Europe
    is apparently due far more to want of care in breeding than to
    cold; for in Western India, where the ass is used as a beast of
    burden by some of the lower castes, it is not much larger than a
    Newfoundland dog, “being generally not more than from twenty to
    thirty inches high.”[45]

    The ass varies greatly in colour; and its legs, especially the
    fore-legs, both in England and other countries—for instance, in
    China—are occasionally barred more plainly than those of
    dun-coloured horses. Thirteen or fourteen transverse stripes have
    been counted on both the fore and hind legs. With the horse the
    occasional appearance of leg-stripes was accounted for by reversion
    to a supposed parent-form, and in the case of the ass we may
    confidently believe in this explanation, as _E. tæniopus_ is known
    to be barred, though only in a slight degree, and not quite
    invariably. The stripes are believed to occur most frequently and
    to be plainest on the legs of the domestic ass during early
    youth,[46] as likewise occurs with the horse. The shoulder-stripe,
    which is so eminently characteristic of the species, is
    nevertheless variable in breadth, length, and manner of
    termination. I have measured one four times as broad as another,
    and some more than twice as long as others. In one light-grey ass
    the shoulder-stripe was only six inches in length, and as thin as a
    piece of string; and in another animal of the same colour there was
    only a dusky shade representing a stripe. I have heard of three
    white asses, not albinoes, with no trace of shoulder or spinal
    stripes;[47] and I have seen nine other asses with no
    shoulder-stripe, and some of them had no spinal stripe. Three of
    the nine were light-greys, one a dark-grey, another grey passing
    into reddish-roan, and the others were brown, two being tinted on
    parts of their bodies with a reddish or bay shade. If therefore
    grey and reddish-brown asses had been steadily selected and bred
    from, the shoulder stripe would probably have been lost almost as
    generally and completely as in the case of the horse.

    The shoulder stripe on the ass is sometimes double, and Mr. Blyth
    has seen even three or four parallel stripes.[48] I have observed
    in ten cases shoulder-stripes abruptly truncated at the lower end,
    with the anterior angle produced into a tapering point, precisely
    as in the above dun Devonshire pony. I have seen three cases of the
    terminal portion abruptly and angularly bent; and have seen and
    heard of four cases of a distinct though slight forking of the
    stripe. In Syria, Dr. Hooker and his party observed for me no less
    than five similar instances of the shoulder-stripe plainly
    bifurcating over the fore leg. In the common mule it likewise
    sometimes bifurcates. When I first noticed the forking and angular
    bending of the shoulder-stripe, I had seen enough of the stripes in
    the various equine species to feel convinced that even a character
    so unimportant as this had a distinct meaning, and was thus led to
    attend to the subject. I now find that in the _E. burchellii_ and
    _quagga,_ the stripe which corresponds with the shoulder-stripe of
    the ass, as well as some of the stripes on the neck, bifurcate, and
    that some of those near the shoulder have their extremities bent
    angularly backwards. The bifurcation and angular bending of the
    stripes on the shoulders apparently are connected with the nearly
    upright stripes on the sides of the body and neck changing their
    direction and becoming transverse on the legs. Finally, we see that
    the presence of shoulder, leg, and spinal stripes in the horse,—
    their occasional absence in the ass,—the occurrence of double and
    triple shoulder-stripes in both animals, and the similar manner in
    which these stripes terminate downwards,—are all cases of analogous
    variation in the horse and ass. These cases are probably not due to
    similar conditions acting on similar constitutions, but to a
    partial reversion in colour to the common progenitor of the genus.
    We shall hereafter return to this subject, and discuss it more


 [1] Rütimeyer ‘Fauna der Pfahlbauten,’ 1861, s. 122.

 [2] _See_ ‘Youatt on the Horse’: J. Lawrence on the Horse, 1829; W. C.
 L. Martin, ‘History of the Horse,’ 1845: Col. H. Smith, in ‘Nat.
 Library, Horses,’ 1841, vol. xii.: Prof. Veith, ‘Die naturgesch.
 Haussäugethiere,’ 1856.

 [3] Crawfurd, ‘Descript. Dict. of Indian Islands,’ 1856, p. 153.
 “There are many different breeds, every island having at least one
 peculiar to it.” Thus in Sumatra there are at least two breeds; in
 Achin and Batubara one; in Java several breeds; one in Bali, Lomboc,
 Sumbawa (one of the best breeds), Tambora, Bima, Gunung-api, Celebes,
 Sumba, and Philippines. Other breeds are specified by Zollinger in the
 ‘Journal of the Indian Archipelago,’ vol. v, p. 343, etc.

 [4] ‘The Horse,’ etc. by John Lawrence, 1829, p. 14.

 [5] ‘The Veterinary,’ London, vol. v, p. 543.

 [6] ‘Mémoire sur les chevaux à trente-quatre côtes,’ 1871.

 [7] Proc. Veterinary Assoc., in ‘The Veterinary,’ vol. xiii. p. 42.

 [8] ‘Bulletin de la Soc. Géolog.,’ tom. xxii., 1866, p. 22.

 [9] Mr. Percival of the Enniskillen Dragoons, in ‘The Veterinary,’
 vol. i. p. 224: _see_ Azara, ‘Des Quadrupèdes du Paraguay,’ tom. ii.
 p. 313. The French translator of Azara refers to other cases mentioned
 by Huzard as having occurred in Spain.

 [10] Godron, ‘De l’Espèce’ tom. i. p. 378.

 [11] ‘Ueber die Eigenschaften,’ etc., 1828, s. 10.

 [12] ‘Domesticated Animals of the British Islands,’ pp. 527, 532. In
 all the veterinary treatises and papers which I have read, the writers
 insist in the strongest terms on the inheritance by the horse of all
 good and bad tendencies and qualities. Perhaps the principle of
 inheritance is not really stronger in the horse than in any other
 animal; but, from its value, the tendency has been more carefully

 [13] Andrew Knight crossed breeds so different in size as a dray-horse
 and Norwegian pony: _see_ A. Walker on ‘Intermarriage,’ 1838, p. 205.

 [14] ‘Nat. Library, Horses,’ vol. xii. p. 208.

 [15] Gervais, ‘Hist. Nat. Mamm.,’ tom. ii. p. 143. Owen, ‘British
 Fossil Mammals,’ p. 383.

 [16] ‘Kenntniss der fossilen Pferde,’ 1863, s. 131.

 [17] ‘Comptes rendus,’ 1866, p. 485, and ‘Journal de l’Anat. et de la
 Phys.,’ Mai 1868.

 [18] Mr. W. C. L. Martin, (‘The Horse,’ 1845, p. 34), in arguing
 against the belief that the wild Eastern horses are merely feral, has
 remarked on the improbability of man in ancient times having
 extirpated a species in a region where it can now exist in numbers.

 [19] ‘Transact. Maryland Academy,’ vol. i. part i. p. 28.

 [20] Mr. Mackinnon ‘The Falkland Islands,’ p. 25. The average height
 of the Falkland horses is said to be 14 hands 2 inches. _See_ also my
 ‘Journal of Researches.’

 [21] Pallas, ‘Act. Acad. St. Petersburgh,’ 1777, part ii. p. 265. With
 respect to the tarpans scraping away the snow _see_ Col. Hamilton
 Smith in ‘Nat. Lib.,’ vol. xii. p. 165.

 [22] Franklin’s ‘Narrative,’ vol. i. p. 87; note by Sir J. Richardson.

 [23] Mr. J. H. Moor, ‘Notices of the Indian Archipelago;’ Singapore,
 1837, p. 189. A pony from Java was sent (‘Athenæum,’ 1842, p. 718) to
 the Queen only 28 inches in height. For the Loo Choo Islands, _see_
 Beechey’s ‘Voyage,’ 4th. edit., vol. i. p. 499.

 [24] J. Crawford, ‘History of the Horse;’ ‘Journal of Royal United
 Service Institution,’ vol. iv.

 [25] ‘Essays on Natural History,’ 2nd series, p. 161.

 [26] ‘Quadrupédes du Paraguay,’ tom. ii. p. 333. Dr. Canfield informs
 me that a breed with curly hair was formed by selection at Los Angeles
 in North America.

 [27] See the evidence on this head in ‘Land and Water,’ May 2nd, 1868.

 [28] Prof. Low, ‘Domesticated Animals,’ p. 546. With respect to the
 writer in India _see_ ‘India Sporting Review,’ vol. ii. p. 181. As
 Lawrence has remarked (‘The Horse,’ p. 9), “perhaps no instance has
 ever occurred of a three-part bred horse (_i.e._ a horse, one of whose
 grandparents was of impure blood) saving his distance in running two
 miles with thoroughbred racers.” Some few instances are on record of
 seven-eights racers having been successful.

 [29] Prof. Gervais (in his ‘Hist. Nat. Mamm.,’ tom. ii. p. 144) has
 collected many facts on this head. For instance Solomon (Kings, B. i.
 ch. x. v. 28) bought horses in Egypt at a high price.

 [30] ‘The Field,’ July 13th, 1861, p. 42.

 [31] E. Vernon Harcourt, ‘Sporting in Algeria,’ p. 26.

 [32] I state this from my own observations made during several years
 on the colours of horses. I have seen cream-coloured, light-dun and
 mouse-dun horses dappled, which I mention because it has been stated
 (Martin, ‘History of the Horse,’ p. 134) that duns are never dappled.
 Martin (p. 205) refers to dappled asses. In the ‘Farrier’ (London,
 1828, pp. 453, 455) there are some good remarks on the dappling of
 horses; and likewise in Col. Hamilton Smith on ‘The Horse.’

 [33] Some details are given in ‘The Farrier,’ 1828, pp. 452, 455. One
 of the smallest ponies I ever saw, of the colour of a mouse, had a
 conspicuous spinal stripe. A small Indian chestnut pony had the same
 stripe, as had a remarkably heavy chestnut cart-horse. Race-horses
 often have the spinal stripe.

 [34] I have received information, through the kindness of the
 Consul-General, Mr. J. R. Crowe, from Prof. Boeck, Rasck, and Esmarck,
 on the colours of the Norwegian ponies. _See also_ ‘The Field,’ 1861,
 p. 431.

 [35] Col. Hamilton Smith, ‘Nat. Lib.,’ vol. xii. p. 275.

 [36] Mr. G. Clark, in ‘Annal and Mag. of Nat. History,’ 2nd series,
 vol. ii. 1848, p. 363. Mr. Wallace informs me that he saw in Java a
 dun and clay-coloured horse with spinal and leg stripes.

 [37] _See also_ on this point, ‘The Field,’ July 27th, 1861, p. 91.

 [38] ‘The Field,’ 1861, pp. 431, 493, 545.

 [39] ‘Ueber die Eigenschaften,’ etc., 1828, s. 13, 14.

 [40] Von Nathusius, ‘Vorträge über Viehzucht,’ 1872, 135.

 [41] ‘Nat. Library,’ vol. xii. (1841), pp. 109, 156 to 163, 280, 281.
 Cream-colour, passing into Isabella (_i.e._ the colour of the dirty
 linen of Queen Isabella), seems to have been common in ancient times.
 _See also_ Pallas’s account of the wild horses of the East, who speaks
 of dun and brown as the prevalent colours. In the Icelandic sagas,
 which were committed to writing in the twelfth century, dun-coloured
 horses with a black spinal stripe are mentioned; _see_ Dasent’s
 translation, vol. i. p. 169.

 [42] Azara, ‘Quadrupèdes du Paraguay,’ tom. ii. p. 307. In North
 America, Catlin (vol. ii. p. 57) describes the wild horses, believed
 to have descended from the Spanish horses of Mexico, as of all
 colours, black, grey, roan, and roan pied with sorrel. F. Michaux
 (‘Travels in North America,’ Eng. translat., p. 235) describes two
 wild horses from Mexico as roan. In the Falkland Islands, where the
 horse has been feral only between 60 and 70 years, I was told that
 roans and iron-greys were the prevalent colours. These several facts
 show that horses do not soon revert to any uniform colour.

 [43] Dr. Sclater, in ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1862, p. 164. Dr. Hartmann
 says (‘Annalen der Landw.’ B. xliv. p. 222) that this animal in its
 wild state is not always striped across the legs.

 [44] W. C. Martin, ‘History of the Horse,’ 1845, p. 207.

 [45] Col. Sykes’ Cat. of Mammalia, ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.’ July 12th,
 1831. Williamson ‘Oriental Field Sports,’ vol. ii., quoted by Martin,
 p. 206.

 [46] Blyth, in ‘Charlesworth’s Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ vol. iv., 1840, p.
 83. I have also been assured by a breeder that this is the case.

 [47] (One case is given by Martin, ‘The Horse,’ p. 205.

 [48] ‘Journal As. Soc. of Bengal,’ vol. xxviii. 1860, p. 231. Martin
 on the Horse, p. 205.






    The breeds of the pig have recently been more closely studied,
    though much still remains to be done, than those of almost any
    other domesticated animal. This has been effected by Hermann von
    Nathusius in two admirable works, especially in the later one on
    the Skulls of the several races, and by Rütimeyer in his celebrated
    Fauna of the ancient Swiss lake-dwellings.[1] Nathusius has shown
    that all the known breeds may be divided into two great groups: one
    resembling in all important respects and no doubt descended from
    the common wild boar; so that this may be called the _Sus scrofa_
    group. The other group differs in several important and constant
    osteological characters; its wild parent-form is unknown; the name
    given to it by Nathusius, according to the law of priority, is _
    Sus indicus,_ of Pallas. This name must now be followed, though an
    unfortunate one, as the wild aboriginal does not inhabit India, and
    the best-known domesticated breeds have been imported from Siam and

    First for the _Sus scrofa_ breeds, or those resembling the common
    wild boar. These still exist, according to Nathusius
    (‘Schweineschädel’ s. 75), in various parts of central and northern
    Europe; formerly every kingdom,[2] and almost every province in
    Britain, possessed its own native breed; but these are now
    everywhere rapidly disappearing, being replaced by improved breeds
    crossed with the _S. indicus_ form. The skull in the breeds of the
    _ S. scrofa_ type resembles, in all important respects, that of the
    European wild boar; but it has become (‘Schweineschädel’ s. 63-68)
    higher and broader relatively to its length; and the hinder part is
    more upright. The differences, however, are all variable in degree.
    The breeds which thus resemble _S. scrofa_ in their essential skull
    characters differ conspicuously from each other in other respects,
    as in the length of the ears and legs, curvature of the ribs,
    colour, hairiness, size and proportions of the body.

    The wild _Sus scrofa_ has a wide range, namely, Europe, North
    Africa, as identified by osteological characters by Rütimeyer, and
    Hindostan, as similarly identified by Nathusius. But the wild boars
    inhabiting these several countries differ so much from each other
    in external characters, that they have been ranked by some
    naturalists as specifically distinct. Even within Hindostan these
    animals, according to Mr. Blyth, form very distinct races in the
    different districts; in the N. Western provinces, as I am informed
    by the Rev. R. Everest, the boar never exceeds 36 inches in height,
    whilst in Bengal one has been measured 44 inches in height. In
    Europe, Northern Africa, and Hindostan, domestic pigs have been
    known to cross with the wild native species;[3] and in Hindostan an
    accurate observer,[4] Sir Walter Elliot, after describing the
    differences between wild Indian and wild German boars, remarks that
    “the same differences are perceptible in the domesticated
    individuals of the two countries.” We may therefore conclude that
    the breeds of the _Sus scrofa_ type are descended from, or have
    been modified by crossing with, forms which may be ranked as
    geographical races, but which, according to some naturalists, ought
    to be ranked as distinct species.

Pigs of the _Sus indicus_ type are best known to Englishmen under the
form of the Chinese breed. The skull of _S. indicus,_ as described by
Nathusius, differs from that of _S. scrofa_ in several minor respects,
as in its greater breadth and in some details in the teeth; but chiefly
in the shortness of the lachrymal bones, in the greater width of the
fore part of the palate-bones, and in the divergence of the premolar
teeth. It deserves especial notice that these latter characters are not
gained, even in the least degree, by the domesticated forms of _S.
scrofa._ After reading the remarks and descriptions given by Nathusius,
it seems to me to be merely playing with words to doubt whether _S.
indicus_ ought to be ranked as a species; for the above-specified
differences are more strongly marked than any that can be pointed out
between, for instance, the fox and the wolf, or the ass and the horse.
As already stated, _S. indicus_ is not known in a wild state; but its
domesticated forms, according to Nathusius, come near to _S. vittatus_
of Java and some allied species. A pig found wild in the Aru islands
(‘Schweineschädel’ s. 169) is apparently identical with _S. indicus_;
but it is doubtful whether this is a truly native animal. The
domesticated breeds of China, Cochin-China, and Siam belong to this
type. The Roman or Neapolitan breed, the Andalusian, the Hungarian, and
the “Krause” swine of Nathusius, inhabiting south-eastern Europe and
Turkey, and having fine curly hair, and the small Swiss
“Bündtnerschwein” of Rütimeyer, all agree in their more important
skull-characters with _S. indicus,_ and, as is supposed, have all been
largely crossed with this form. Pigs of this type have existed during a
long period on the shores of the Mediterranean, for a figure
(‘Schweineschädel’ s. 142) closely resembling the existing Neapolitan
pig was found in the buried city of Herculaneum.

    Rütimeyer has made the remarkable discovery that there lived
    contemporaneously in Switzerland, during the Neolithic period, two
    domesticated forms, the _S. scrofa,_ and the _S. scrofa palustris_
    or Torfschwein. Rütimeyer perceived that the latter approached the
    Eastern breeds, and, according to Nathusius, it certainly belongs
    to the _S. indicus_ group; but Rütimeyer has subsequently shown
    that it differs in some well-marked characters. This author was
    formerly convinced that his Torfschwein existed as a wild animal
    during the first part of the Stone period, and was domesticated
    during a later part of the same period.[5] Nathusius, whilst he
    fully admits the curious fact first observed by Rütimeyer, that the
    bones of domesticated and wild animals can be distinguished by
    their different aspect, yet, from special difficulties in the case
    of the bones of the pig (‘Schweineschädel’ s. 147), is not
    convinced of the truth of the above conclusion; and Rütimeyer
    himself seems now to feel some doubt. Other naturalists have also
    argued strongly on the same side as Nathusius.[6]

    Several breeds, differing in the proportions of the body, in the
    length of the ears, in the nature of the hair, in colour, etc.,
    come under the _S. indicus_ type. Nor is this surprising,
    considering how ancient the domestication of this form has been
    both in Europe and in China. In this latter country the date is
    believed by an eminent Chinese scholar[7] to go back at least 4900
    years from the present time. This same scholar alludes to the
    existence of many local varieties of the pig in China; and at the
    present time the Chinese take extraordinary pains in feeding and
    tending their pigs, not even allowing them to walk from place to
    place.[8] Hence these pigs, as Nathusius has remarked,[9] display
    in an eminent degree the characters of a highly-cultivated race,
    and hence, no doubt, their high value in the improvement of our
    European breeds. Nathusius makes a remarkable statement
    (‘Schweineschädel’ s. 138), that the infusion of the 1/32nd, or
    even of the 1/64th, part of the blood of _S. indicus_ into a breed
    of _S. scrofa,_ is sufficient plainly to modify the skull of the
    latter species. This singular fact may perhaps be accounted for by
    several of the chief distinctive characters of _S. indicus,_ such
    as the shortness of the lachrymal bones, etc., being common to
    several species of the genus; for in crosses characters which are
    common to many species apparently tend to be prepotent over those
    appertaining to only a few species.

Illustration: Fig. 2.—Head of Japan or Masked Pig.

    The Japan pig (_S. pliciceps_ of Gray), which was formerly
    exhibited in the Zoological Gardens, has an extraordinary
    appearance from its short head, broad forehead and nose, great
    fleshy ears, and deeply furrowed skin. Figure 2 is copied from that
    given by Mr. Bartlett.[10] Not only is the face furrowed, but thick
    folds of skin, which are harder than the other parts, almost like
    the plates on the Indian rhinoceros, hang about the shoulders and
    rump. It is coloured black, with white feet, and breeds true. That
    it has long been domesticated there can be little doubt; and this
    might have been inferred even from the fact that its young are not
    longitudinally striped; for this is a character common to all the
    species included within the genus _Sus_ and the allied genera
    whilst in their natural state.[11] Dr. Gray[12] has described the
    skull of this animal, which he ranks not only as a distinct
    species, but places it in a distinct section of the genus.
    Nathusius, however, after his careful study of the whole group,
    states positively (‘Schweineschädel’ s. 153-158). that the skull in
    all essential characters closely resembles that of the short-eared
    Chinese breed of the _S. indicus_ type. Hence Nathusius considers
    the Japan pig as only a domesticated variety of _S. indicus_: if
    this really be the case, it is a wonderful instance of the amount
    of modification which can be effected under domestication.

    Formerly there existed in the central islands of the Pacific Ocean
    a singular breed of pigs. These are described by the Rev. D.
    Tyerman and G. Bennett[13] as of small size, hump-backed, with a
    disproportionately long head, with short ears turned backwards,
    with a bushy tail not more than two inches in length, placed as if
    it grew from the back. Within half a century after the introduction
    of European and Chinese pigs into these islands, the native breed,
    according to the above authors, became almost completely lost by
    being repeatedly crossed with them. Secluded islands, as might have
    been expected, seem favourable for the production or retention of
    peculiar breeds; thus, in the Orkney Islands, the hogs have been
    described as very small, with erect and sharp ears, and “with an
    appearance altogether different from the hogs brought from the

Seeing how different the Chinese pigs, belonging to the _Sus indicus_
type, are in their osteological characters and in external appearance
from the pigs of the _S. scrofa_ type, so that they must be considered
specifically distinct, it is a fact well deserving attention, that
Chinese and common pigs have been repeatedly crossed in various
manners, with unimpaired fertility. One great breeder who had used pure
Chinese pigs assured me that the fertility of the half-breeds _inter
se_ and of their recrossed progeny was actually increased; and this is
the general belief of agriculturists. Again, the Japan pig or _S.
pliciceps_ of Gray is so distinct in appearance from all common pigs,
that it stretches one’s belief to the utmost to admit that it is simply
a domestic variety; yet this breed has been found perfectly fertile
with the Berkshire breed; and Mr. Eyton informs me that he paired a
half-bred brother and sister and found them quite fertile together.

Illustration: Fig. 3—Head of Wild Boar, and of “Golden Days,” a pig of
the Yorkshire Large Breed

    The modification of the skull in the most highly cultivated races
    is wonderful. To appreciate the amount of change, Nathusius’ work,
    with its excellent figures, should be studied. The whole of the
    exterior in all its parts has been altered: the hinder surface,
    instead of sloping backwards, is directed forwards, entailing many
    changes in other parts; the front of the head is deeply concave;
    the orbits have a different shape; the auditory meatus has a
    different direction and shape; the incisors of the upper and lower
    jaws do not touch each other, and they stand in both jaws beyond
    the plane of the molars; the canines of the upper jaw stand in
    front of those of the lower jaw, and this is a remarkable anomaly:
    the articular surfaces of the occipital condyles are so greatly
    changed in shape, that, as Nathusius remarks (s. 133), no
    naturalist, seeing this important part of the skull by itself,
    would suppose that it belonged to the genus Sus. These and various
    other modifications, as Nathusius observes, can hardly be
    considered as monstrosities, for they are not injurious, and are
    strictly inherited. The whole head is much shortened; thus, whilst
    in common breeds its length to that of the body is as 1 to 6, in
    the “cultur-racen” the proportion is as 1 to 9, and even recently
    as 1 to 11.[15] The following woodcut[16] of the head of a wild
    boar and of a sow from a photograph of the Yorkshire Large Breed,
    may aid in showing how greatly the head in a highly cultivated race
    has been modified and shortened.

    Nathusius has well discussed the causes of the remarkable changes
    in the skull and shape of the body which the highly cultivated
    races have undergone. These modifications occur chiefly in the pure
    and crossed races of the _S. indicus_ type; but their commencement
    may be clearly detected in the slightly improved breeds of the _S.
    scrofa_ type.[17] Nathusius states positively (s. 99, 103), as the
    result of common experience and of his experiments, that rich and
    abundant food, given during youth, tends by some direct action to
    make the head broader and shorter; and that poor food works a
    contrary result. He lays much stress on the fact that all wild and
    semi-domesticated pigs, in ploughing up the ground with their
    muzzles, have, whilst young, to exert the powerful muscles fixed to
    the hinder part of the head. In highly cultivated races this habit
    is no longer followed, and consequently the back of the skull
    becomes modified in shape, entailing other changes in other parts.
    There can hardly be a doubt that so great a change in habits would
    affect the skull; but it seems rather doubtful how far this will
    account for the greatly reduced length of the skull and for its
    concave front. It is well known (Nathusius himself advancing many
    cases, s. 104) that there is a strong tendency in many domestic
    animals—in bull- and pug-dogs, in the niata cattle, in sheep, in
    Polish fowls, short-faced tumbler pigeons, and in one variety of
    the carp—for the bones of the face to become greatly shortened. In
    the case of the dog, as H. Müller has shown, this seems caused by
    an abnormal state of the primordial cartilage. We may, however,
    readily admit that abundant and rich food supplied during many
    generations would give an inherited tendency to increased size of
    body, and that, from disuse, the limbs would become finer and
    shorter.[18] We shall in a future chapter see also that the skull
    and limbs are apparently in some manner correlated, so that any
    change in the one tends to affect the other.

    Nathusius has remarked, and the observation is an interesting one,
    that the peculiar form of the skull and body in the most highly
    cultivated races is not characteristic of any one race, but is
    common to all when improved up to the same standard. Thus the
    large-bodied, long-eared, English breeds with a convex back, and
    the small-bodied, short-eared, Chinese breeds with a concave back,
    when bred to the same state of perfection, nearly resemble each
    other in the form of the head and body. This result, it appears, is
    partly due to similar causes of change acting on the several races,
    and partly to man breeding the pig for one sole purpose, namely,
    for the greatest amount of flesh and fat; so that selection has
    always tended towards one and the same end. With most domestic
    animals the result of selection has been divergence of character,
    here it has been convergence.[19]

    The nature of the food supplied during many generations has
    apparently affected the length of the intestines; for, according to
    Cuvier,[20] their length to that of the body in the wild boar is as
    9 to 1,—in the common domestic boar as 13·5 to 1,—and in the Siam
    breed as 16 to 1. In this latter breed the greater length may be
    due either to descent from a distinct species or to more ancient
    domestication. The number of mammæ vary, as does the period of
    gestation. The latest authority says[21] that “the period averages
    from 17 to 20 weeks,” but I think there must be some error in this
    statement: in M. Tessier’s observations on 25 sows it varied from
    109 to 123 days. The Rev. W. D. Fox has given me ten carefully
    recorded cases with well-bred pigs, in which the period varied from
    101 to 116 days. According to Nathusius the period is shortest in
    the races which come early to maturity; but the course of their
    development does not appear to be actually shortened, for the young
    animal is born, judging from the state of the skull, less fully
    developed, or in a more embryonic condition,[22] than in the case
    of common swine. In the highly cultivated and early matured races
    the teeth, also, are developed earlier.

    The difference in the number of the vertebræ and ribs in different
    kinds of pigs, as observed by Mr. Eyton,[23] and as given in the
    following table, has often been quoted. The African sow probably
    belongs to the _S. scrofa_ type; and Mr. Eyton informs me that,
    since the publication of this paper, cross-bred animals from the
    African and English races were found by Lord Hill to be perfectly

          Male.     African
          Female.     Chinese
          Male.     Wild Boar
          from Cuvier.     French
          Boar, from
          Cuvier. Dorsal vertebræ     15     13     15     14     14
          Lumbar       6       6       4       5       5 Dorsal and lumbar
          together     21     19     19     19     19 Sacral       5      
          5       4       4       4 Total number of
          vertebræ     26     24     23     23     23

    Some semi-monstrous breeds deserve notice. From the time of
    Aristotle to the present time solid-hoofed swine have occasionally
    been observed in various parts of the world. Although this
    peculiarity is strongly inherited, it is hardly probable that all
    the animals with solid hoofs have descended from the same parents;
    it is more probable that the same peculiarity has reappeared at
    various times and places. Dr. Struthers has lately described and
    figured[24] the structure of the feet; in both front and hind feet
    the distal phalanges of the two greater toes are represented by a
    single, great, hoof-bearing phalanx; and in the front feet, the
    middle phalanges are represented by a bone which is single towards
    the lower end, but bears two separate articulations towards the
    upper end. From other accounts it appears that an intermediate toe
    is likewise sometimes superadded.

Illustration: Old Irish Pig, with jaw-appendages.

    Another curious anomaly is offered by the appendages, described by
    M. Eudes-Deslongchamps as often characterizing the Normandy pigs.
    These appendages are always attached to the same spot, to the
    corners of the jaw; they are cylindrical, about three inches in
    length, covered with bristles, and with a pencil of bristles rising
    out of a sinus on one side: they have a cartilaginous centre, with
    two small longitudinal muscles they occur either symmetrically on
    both sides of the face or on one side alone. Richardson figures
    them on the gaunt old “Irish Greyhound pig;” and Nathusius states
    that they occasionally appear in all the long eared races, but are
    not strictly inherited, for they occur or fail in animals of the
    same litter.[25] As no wild pigs are known to have analogous
    appendages, we have at present no reason to suppose that their
    appearance is due to reversion; and if this be so, we are forced to
    admit that a somewhat complex, though apparently useless, structure
    may be suddenly developed without the aid of selection.

It is a remarkable fact that the boars of all domesticated breeds have
much shorter tusks than wild boars. Many facts show that with many
animals the state of the hair is much affected by exposure to, or
protection from, climate; and as we see that the state of the hair and
teeth are correlated in Turkish dogs (other analogous facts will be
hereafter given), may we not venture to surmise that the reduction of
the tusks in the domestic boar is related to his coat of bristles being
diminished from living under shelter? On the other hand, as we shall
immediately see, the tusks and bristles reappear with feral boars,
which are no longer protected from the weather. It is not surprising
that the tusks should be more affected than the other teeth; as parts
developed to serve as secondary sexual characters are always liable to
much variation.

    It is a well-known fact that the young of wild European and Indian
    pigs,[26] for the first six months, are longitudinally banded with
    light-coloured stripes. This character generally disappears under
    domestication. The Turkish domestic pigs, however, have striped
    young, as have those of Westphalia, “whatever may be their
    hue;”[27] whether these latter pigs belong to the same curly-haired
    race as the Turkish swine, I do not know. The pigs which have run
    wild in Jamaica and the semi-feral pigs of New Granada, both those
    which are black and those which are black with a white band across
    the stomach, often extending over the back, have resumed this
    aboriginal character and produce longitudinally-striped young. This
    is likewise the case, at least occasionally, with the neglected
    pigs in the Zambesi settlement on the coast of Africa.[28]

    The common belief that all domesticated animals, when they run
    wild, revert completely to the character of their parent-stock, is
    chiefly founded, as far as I can discover, on feral pigs. But even
    in this case the belief is not grounded on sufficient evidence; for
    the two main types, namely, _S. scrofa_ and _indicus,_ have not
    been distinguished. The young, as we have just seen, reacquire
    their longitudinal stripes, and the boars invariably reassume their
    tusks. They revert also in the general shape of their bodies, and
    in the length of their legs and muzzles, to the state of the wild
    animal, as might have been expected from the amount of exercise
    which they are compelled to take in search of food. In Jamaica the
    feral pigs do not acquire the full size of the European wild boar,
    “never attaining a greater height than 20 inches at the shoulder.”
    In various countries they reassume their original bristly covering,
    but in different degrees, dependent on the climate; thus, according
    to Roulin, the semi-feral pigs in the hot valleys of New Granada
    are very scantily clothed; whereas, on the Paramos, at the height
    of 7000 to 8000 feet, they acquire a thick covering of wool lying
    under the bristles, like that on the truly wild pigs of France.
    These pigs on the Paramos are small and stunted. The wild boar of
    India is said to have the bristles at the end of its tail arranged
    like the plumes of an arrow, whilst the European boar has a simple
    tuft; and it is a curious fact that many, but not all, of the feral
    pigs in Jamaica, derived from a Spanish stock, have a plumed
    tail.[29] With respect to colour, feral pigs generally revert to
    that of the wild boar; but in certain parts of S. America, as we
    have seen, some of the semi-feral pigs have a curious white band
    across their stomachs; and in certain other hot places the pigs are
    red, and this colour has likewise occasionally been observed in the
    feral pigs of Jamaica. From these several facts we see that with
    pigs when feral there is a strong tendency to revert to the wild
    type; but that this tendency is largely governed by the nature of
    the climate, amount of exercise, and other causes of change to
    which they have been subjected.

    The last point worth notice is that we have unusually good evidence
    of breeds of pigs now keeping perfectly true, which have been
    formed by the crossing of several distinct breeds. The Improved
    Essex pigs, for instance, breed very true; but there is no doubt
    that they largely owe their present excellent qualities to crosses
    originally made by Lord Western with the Neapolitan race, and to
    subsequent crosses with the Berkshire breed (this also having been
    improved by Neapolitan crosses), and likewise, probably, with the
    Sussex breed.[30] In breeds thus formed by complex crosses, the
    most careful and unremitting selection during many generations has
    been found to be indispensable. Chiefly in consequence of so much
    crossing, some well-known breeds have undergone rapid changes;
    thus, according to Nathusius,[31] the Berkshire breed of 1780 is
    quite different from that of 1810; and, since this latter period,
    at least two distinct forms have borne the same name.


    Domestic cattle are certainly the descendants of more than one wild
    form, in the same manner as has been shown to be the case with our
    dogs and pigs. Naturalists have generally made two main divisions
    of cattle: the humped kinds inhabiting tropical countries, called
    in India Zebus, to which the specific name of _ Bos indicus_ has
    been given; and the common non-humped cattle, generally included
    under the name of _Bos taurus._ The humped cattle were
    domesticated, as may be seen on the Egyptian monuments, at least as
    early as the twelfth dynasty, that is 2100 B.C. They differ from
    common cattle in various osteological characters, even in a greater
    degree, according to Rütimeyer,[32] than do the fossil and
    prehistoric European species, namely, _Bos primigenius_ and _
    longifrons,_ from each other. They differ, also, as Mr. Blyth,[33]
    who has particularly attended to this subject, remarks, in general
    configuration, in the shape of their ears, in the point where the
    dewlap commences, in the typical curvature of their horns, in their
    manner of carrying their heads when at rest, in their ordinary
    variations of colour, especially in the frequent presence of
    “nilgau-like markings on their feet,” and “in the one being born
    with teeth protruding through the jaws, and the other not so.” They
    have different habits, and their voice is entirely different. The
    humped cattle in India “seldom seek shade, and never go into the
    water and there stand knee-deep, like the cattle of Europe.” They
    have run wild in parts of Oude and Rohilcund, and can maintain
    themselves in a region infested by tigers. They have given rise to
    many races differing greatly in size, in the presence of one or two
    humps, in length of horns, and other respects. Mr. Blyth sums up
    emphatically that the humped and humpless cattle must be considered
    as distinct species. When we consider the number of points in
    external structure and habits, independently of important
    osteological differences, in which they differ from each other; and
    that many of these points are not likely to have been affected by
    domestication, there can hardly be a doubt, notwithstanding the
    adverse opinion of some naturalists, that the humped and non-humped
    cattle must be ranked as specifically distinct.

    The European breeds of humpless cattle are numerous. Professor Low
    enumerates 19 British breeds, only a few of which are identical
    with those on the Continent. Even the small Channel islands of
    Guernsey, Jersey, and Alderney possess their own sub-breeds;[34]
    and these again differ from the cattle of the other British
    islands, such as Anglesea, and the western isles of Scotland.
    Desmarest, who paid attention to the subject, describes 15 French
    races, excluding sub-varieties and those imported from other
    countries. In other parts of Europe there are several distinct
    races, such as the pale-coloured Hungarian cattle, with their light
    and free step, and enormous horns sometimes measuring above five
    feet from tip to tip:[35] the Podolian cattle also are remarkable
    from the height of their fore-quarters. In the most recent work on
    Cattle,[36] engravings are given of fifty-five European breeds; it
    is, however, probable that several of these differ very little from
    each other, or are merely synonyms. It must not be supposed that
    numerous breeds of cattle exist only in long-civilised countries,
    for we shall presently see that several kinds are kept by the
    savages of Southern Africa.

    With respect to the parentage of the several European breeds, we
    already know much from Nilsson’s Memoir,[37] and more especially
    from Rütimeyer’s works and those of Boyd Dawkins. Two or three
    species or forms of Bos, closely allied to still living domestic
    races, have been found in the more recent tertiary deposits or
    amongst prehistoric remains in Europe. Following Rütimeyer, we

    _Bos primigenius._This magnificent, well known species was
    domesticated in Switzerland during the Neolithic period; even at
    this early period it varied a little, having apparently been
    crossed with other races. Some of the larger races on the
    Continent, as the Friesland, etc., and the Pembroke race in
    England, closely resemble in essential structure _B. primigenius,_
    and no doubt are its descendants. This is likewise the opinion of
    Nilsson. _Bos primigenius_ existed as a wild animal in Cæsar’s
    time, and is now semi-wild, though much degenerated in size, in the
    park of Chillingham; for I am informed by Professor Rütimeyer, to
    whom Lord Tankerville sent a skull, that the Chillingham cattle are
    less altered from the true primigenius type than any other known

    _Bos trochoceros._ This form is not included in the three species
    above mentioned, for it is now considered by Rütimeyer to be the
    female of an early domesticated form of _B. primigenius,_ and as
    the progenitor of his _frontosus_ race. I may add that specific
    names have been given to four other fossil oxen, now believed to be
    identical with _B. primigenius._[39]

    _Bos longifrons_ (or _ brachyceros_) of Owen.—This very distinct
    species was of small size, and had a short body with fine legs.
    According to Boyd Dawkins[40] it was introduced as a domesticated
    animal into Britain at a very early period, and supplied food to
    the Roman legionaries.[41] Some remains have been found in Ireland
    in certain crannoges, of which the dates are believed to be from
    843-933 A.D.[42] It was also the commonest form in a domesticated
    condition in Switzerland during the earliest part of the Neolithic
    period. Professor Owen[43] thinks it probable that the Welsh and
    Highland cattle are descended from this form; as likewise is the
    case, according to Rütimeyer, with some of the existing Swiss
    breeds. These latter are of different shades of colour from
    light-grey to blackish-brown, with a lighter stripe along the
    spine, but they have no pure white marks. The cattle of North Wales
    and the Highlands, on the other hand, are generally black or

    _Bos frontosus_ of Nilsson.—This species is allied to _B.
    longifrons,_ and, according to the high authority of Mr. Boyd
    Dawkins, is identical with it, but in the opinion of some judges is
    distinct. Both co-existed in Scania during the same late geological
    period,[44] and both have been found in the Irish crannoges.[45]
    Nilsson believes that his _B. frontosus_ may be the parent of the
    mountain cattle of Norway, which have a high protuberance on the
    skull between the base of the horns. As Professor Owen and others
    believe that the Scotch Highland cattle are descended from his _B.
    longifrons,_ it is worth notice that a capable judge[46] has
    remarked that he saw no cattle in Norway like the Highland breed,
    but that they more nearly resembled the Devonshire breed.

    On the whole we may conclude, more especially from the researches
    of Boyd Dawkins, that European cattle are descended from two
    species; and there is no improbability in this fact, for the genus
    Bos readily yields to domestication. Besides these two species and
    the zebu, the yak, the gayal, and the arni[47] (not to mention the
    buffalo or genus Bubalus) have been domesticated; making altogether
    six species of Bos. The zebu and the two European species are now
    extinct in a wild state. Although certain races of cattle were
    domesticated at a very ancient period in Europe, it does not follow
    that they were first domesticated here. Those who place much
    reliance on philology argue that they were imported from the
    East.[48] It is probable that they originally inhabited a temperate
    or cold climate, but not a land long covered with snow; for our
    cattle, as we have seen in the chapter on Horses, have not the
    instinct of scraping away the snow to get at the herbage beneath.
    No one could behold the magnificent wild bulls on the bleak
    Falkland Islands in the southern hemisphere, and doubt about the
    climate being admirably suited to them. Azara has remarked that in
    the temperate regions of La Plata the cows conceive when two years
    old, whilst in the much hotter country of Paraguay they do not
    conceive till three years old; “from which fact,” as he adds, “one
    may conclude that cattle do not succeed so well in warm

    _Bos primigenius_ and _longifrons_ have been ranked by nearly all
    palæontologists as distinct species; and it would not be reasonable
    to take a different view simply because their domesticated
    descendants now intercross with the utmost freedom. All the
    European breeds have so often been crossed both intentionally and
    unintentionally, that, if any sterility had ensued from such
    unions, it would certainly have been detected. As zebus inhabit a
    distant and much hotter region, and as they differ in so many
    characters from our European cattle, I have taken pains to
    ascertain whether the two forms are fertile when crossed. The late
    Lord Powis imported some zebus and crossed them with common cattle
    in Shropshire; and I was assured by his steward that the cross-bred
    animals were perfectly fertile with both parent-stocks. Mr. Blyth
    informs me that in India hybrids, with various proportions of
    either blood, are quite fertile; and this can hardly fail to be
    known, for in some districts[50] the two species are allowed to
    breed freely together. Most of the cattle which were first
    introduced into Tasmania were humped, so that at one time thousands
    of crossed animals existed there; and Mr. B. O’Neile Wilson, M.A.,
    writes to me from Tasmania that he has never heard of any sterility
    having been observed. He himself formerly possessed a herd of such
    crossed cattle, and all were perfectly fertile; so much so, that he
    cannot remember even a single cow failing to calve. These several
    facts afford an important confirmation of the Pallasian doctrine
    that the descendants of species which when first domesticated would
    if crossed have been in all probability in some degree sterile,
    become perfectly fertile after a long course of domestication. In a
    future chapter we shall see that this doctrine throws some light on
    the difficult subject of Hybridism.

    I have alluded to the cattle in Chillingham Park, which, according
    to Rütimeyer, have been very little changed from the _Bos
    primigenius_ type. This park is so ancient that it is referred to
    in a record of the year 1220. The cattle in their instincts and
    habits are truly wild. They are white, with the inside of the ears
    reddish-brown, eyes rimmed with black, muzzles brown, hoofs black,
    and horns white tipped with black. Within a period of thirty-three
    years about a dozen calves were born with “brown and blue spots
    upon the cheeks or necks; but these, together with any defective
    animals, were always destroyed.” According to Bewick, about the
    year 1770 some calves appeared with black ears; but these were also
    destroyed by the keeper, and black ears have not since reappeared.
    The wild white cattle in the Duke of Hamilton’s park, where I have
    heard of the birth of a black calf, are said by Lord Tankerville to
    be inferior to those at Chillingham. The cattle kept until the year
    1780 by the Duke of Queensberry, but now extinct, had their ears,
    muzzle, and orbits of the eyes black. Those which have existed from
    time immemorial at Chartley, closely resemble the cattle at
    Chillingham, but are larger, “with some small difference in the
    colour of the ears.” “They frequently tend to become entirely
    black; and a singular superstition prevails in the vicinity that,
    when a black calf is born, some calamity impends over the noble
    house of Ferrers. All the black calves are destroyed.” The cattle
    at Burton Constable in Yorkshire, now extinct, had ears, muzzle,
    and the tip of the tail black. Those at Gisburne, also in
    Yorkshire, are said by Bewick to have been sometimes without dark
    muzzles, with the inside alone of the ears brown; and they are
    elsewhere said to have been low in stature and hornless.[51]

The several above-specified differences in the park-cattle, slight
though they be, are worth recording, as they show that animals living
nearly in a state of nature, and exposed to nearly uniform conditions,
if not allowed to roam freely and to cross with other herds, do not
keep as uniform as truly wild animals. For the preservation of a
uniform character, even within the same park, a certain degree of
selection—that is, the destruction of the dark-coloured calves—is
apparently necessary.

    Boyd Dawkins believes that the park-cattle are descended from
    anciently domesticated, and not truly wild animals; and from the
    occasional appearance of dark-coloured calves, it is improbable
    that the aboriginal _Bos primigenius_ was white. It is curious what
    a strong, though not invariable, tendency there is in wild or
    escaped cattle to become white with coloured ears, under widely
    different conditions of life. If the old writers Boethius and
    Leslie[52] can be trusted, the wild cattle of Scotland were white
    and furnished with a great mane; but the colour of their ears is
    not mentioned. In Wales,[53] during the tenth century, some of the
    cattle are described as being white with red ears. Four hundred
    cattle thus coloured were sent to King John; and an early record
    speaks of a hundred cattle with red ears having been demanded as a
    compensation for some offence, but, if the cattle were of a dark or
    black colour, 150 were to be presented. The black cattle of North
    Wales apparently belong, as we have seen, to the small _
    longifrons_ type: and as the alternative was offered of either 150
    dark cattle, or 100 white cattle with red ears, we may presume that
    the latter were the larger beasts, and probably belonged to the
    _primigenius_ type. Youatt has remarked that at the present day,
    whenever cattle of the shorthorn breed are white, the extremities
    of their ears are more or less tinged with red.

    The cattle which have run wild on the Pampas, in Texas, and in two
    parts of Africa, have become of a nearly uniform dark
    brownish-red.[54] On the Ladrone Islands, in the Pacific Ocean,
    immense herds of cattle, which were wild in the year 1741, are
    described as “milk-white, except their ears, which are generally
    black.”[55] The Falkland Islands, situated far south, with all the
    conditions of life as different as it is possible to conceive from
    those of the Ladrones, offer a more interesting case. Cattle have
    run wild there during eighty or ninety years; and in the southern
    districts the animals are mostly white, with their feet, or whole
    heads, or only their ears black; but my informant, Admiral
    Sulivan,[56] who long resided on these islands, does not believe
    that they are ever purely white. So that in these two archipelagos
    we see that the cattle tend to become white with coloured ears. In
    other parts of the Falkland Islands other colours prevail: near
    Port Pleasant brown is the common tint; round Mount Usborn, about
    half the animals in some of the herds were lead- or mouse-coloured,
    which elsewhere is an unusual tint. These latter cattle, though
    generally inhabiting high land, breed about a month earlier than
    the other cattle; and this circumstance would aid in keeping them
    distinct and in perpetuating a peculiar colour. It is worth
    recalling to mind that blue or lead-coloured marks have
    occasionally appeared on the white cattle of Chillingham. So
    plainly different were the colours of the wild herds in different
    parts of the Falkland Islands, that in hunting them, as Admiral
    Sulivan informs me, white spots in one district, and dark spots in
    another district, were always looked out for on the distant hills.
    In the intermediate districts, intermediate colours prevailed.
    Whatever the cause may be, this tendency in the wild cattle of the
    Falkland Islands, which are all descended from a few brought from
    La Plata, to break up into herds of three different colours, is an
    interesting fact.

Returning to the several British breeds, the conspicuous difference in
general appearance between Shorthorns, Longhorns (now rarely seen),
Herefords, Highland cattle, Alderneys, etc., must be familiar to every
one. A part of this difference may be attributed to descent from
primordially distinct species; but we may feel sure that there has been
a considerable amount of variation. Even during the Neolithic period,
the domestic cattle were to a certain extent variable. Within recent
times most of the breeds have been modified by careful and methodical
selection. How strongly the characters thus acquired are inherited, may
be inferred from the prices realised by the improved breeds; even at
the first sale of Colling’s Shorthorns, eleven bulls reached an average
of 214 pounds, and lately Shorthorn bulls have been sold for a thousand
guineas, and have been exported to all quarters of the world.

    Some constitutional differences may be here noticed. The Shorthorns
    arrive at maturity far earlier than the wilder breeds, such as
    those of Wales or the Highlands. This fact has been shown in an
    interesting manner by Mr. Simonds,[57] who has given a table of the
    average period of their dentition, which proves that there is a
    difference of no less than six months in the appearance of the
    permanent incisors. The period of gestation, from observations made
    by Tessier on 1131 cows, varies to the extent of eighty-one days;
    and what is more interesting, M. Lefour affirms “that the period of
    gestation is longer in the large German cattle than in the smaller
    breeds.”[58] With respect to the period of conception, it seems
    certain that Alderney and Zetland cows often become pregnant
    earlier than other breeds.[59] Lastly, as four fully developed
    mammæ is a generic character in the genus Bos,[60] it is worth
    notice that with our domestic cows the two rudimentary mammæ often
    become fairly well developed and yield milk.

    As numerous breeds are generally found only in long-civilised
    countries, it may be well to show that in some countries inhabited
    by barbarous races, who are frequently at war with each other, and
    therefore have little free communication, several distinct breeds
    of cattle now exist or formerly existed. At the Cape of Good Hope
    Leguat observed, in the year 1720, three kinds.[61] At the present
    day various travellers have noticed the differences in the breeds
    in Southern Africa. Sir Andrew Smith several years ago remarked to
    me that the cattle possessed by the different tribes of Caffres,
    though living near each other under the same latitude and in the
    same kind of country, yet differed, and he expressed much surprise
    at the fact. Mr. Andersson has described[62] the Damara, Bechuana,
    and Namaqua cattle; and he informs me in a letter that the cattle
    north of Lake Ngami are likewise different, as Mr. Galton has heard
    is also the case with the cattle of Benguela. The Namaqua cattle in
    size and shape nearly resemble European cattle, and have short
    stout horns and large hoofs. The Damara cattle are very peculiar,
    being big-boned, with slender legs, and small hard feet; their
    tails are adorned with a tuft of long bushy hair nearly touching
    the ground, and their horns are extraordinarily large. The Bechuana
    cattle have even larger horns, and there is now a skull in London
    with the two horns 8 ft. 8-1/4 in. long, as measured in a straight
    line from tip to tip, and no less than 13 ft. 5 in. as measured
    along their curvature! Mr. Andersson in his letter to me says that,
    though he will not venture to describe the differences between the
    breeds belonging to the many different sub-tribes, yet such
    certainly exist, as shown by the wonderful facility with which the
    natives discriminate them.

    That many breeds of cattle have originated through variation,
    independently of descent from distinct species, we may infer from
    what we see in South America, where the genus Bos was not endemic,
    and where the cattle which now exist in such vast numbers are the
    descendants of a few imported from Spain and Portugal. In Columbia,
    Roulin[63] describes two peculiar breeds, namely, _pelones,_ with
    extremely thin and fine hair, and _calongos,_ absolutely naked.
    According to Castelnau there are two races in Brazil, one like
    European cattle, the other different, with remarkable horns. In
    Paraguay, Azara describes a breed which certainly originated in S.
    America, called _chivos,_ “because they have straight vertical
    horns, conical, and very large at the base.” He likewise describes
    a dwarf race in Corrientes, with short legs and a body larger than
    usual. Cattle without horns, and others with reversed hair, have
    also originated in Paraguay.

    Another monstrous breed, called niatas or natas, of which I saw two
    small herds on the northern bank of the Plata, is so remarkable as
    to deserve a fuller description. This breed bears the same relation
    to other breeds, as bull or pug dogs do to other dogs, or as
    improved pigs, according to H. von Nathusius, do to common
    pigs.[64] Rütimeyer believes that these cattle belong to the
    primigenius type.[65] The forehead is very short and broad, with
    the nasal end of the skull, together with the whole plane of the
    upper molar-teeth, curved upwards. The lower jaw projects beyond
    the upper, and has a corresponding upward curvature. It is an
    interesting fact that an almost similar confirmation characterizes,
    as I am informed by Dr. Falconer, the extinct and gigantic
    Sivatherium of India, and is not known in any other ruminant. The
    upper lip is much drawn back, the nostrils are seated high up and
    are widely open, the eyes project outwards, and the horns are
    large. In walking the head is carried low, and the neck is short.
    The hind legs appear to be longer, compared with the front legs,
    than is usual. The exposed incisor teeth, the short head and
    upturned nostrils, give these cattle the most ludicrous,
    self-confident air of defiance. The skull which I presented to the
    College of Surgeons has been thus described by Professor Owen:[66]
    “It is remarkable from the stunted development of the nasals,
    premaxillaries, and fore-part of the lower jaw, which is unusually
    curved upwards to come into contact with the premaxillaries. The
    nasal bones are about one-third the ordinary length, but retain
    almost their normal breadth. The triangular vacuity is left between
    them, the frontal and lachrymal, which latter bone articulates with
    the premaxillary, and thus excludes the maxillary from any junction
    with the nasal.” So that even the connexion of some of the bones is
    changed. Other differences might be added: thus the plane of the
    condyles is somewhat modified, and the terminal edge of the
    premaxillaries forms an arch. In fact, on comparison with the skull
    of a common ox, scarcely a single bone presents the same exact
    shape, and the whole skull has a wonderfully different appearance.

The first brief published notice of this race was by Azara, between the
years 1783-96; but Don F. Muniz, of Luxan, who has kindly collected
information for me, states that about 1760 these cattle were kept as
curiosities near Buenos Ayres. Their origin is not positively known,
but they must have originated subsequently to the year 1552, when
cattle were first introduced. Senor Muniz informs me that the breed is
believed to have originated with the Indians southward of the Plata.
Even to this day those reared near the Plata show their less civilised
nature in being fiercer than common cattle, and in the cow, if visited
too often, easily deserting her first calf. The breed is very true, and
a niata bull and cow invariably produce niata calves. The breed has
already lasted at least a century. A niata bull crossed with a common
cow, and the reverse cross, yield offspring having an intermediate
character, but with the niata character strongly displayed. According
to Senor Muniz, there is the clearest evidence, contrary to the common
belief of agriculturists in analogous cases, that the niata cow when
crossed with a common bull transmits her peculiarities more strongly
than does the niata bull when crossed with a common cow. When the
pasture is tolerably long, these cattle feed as well as common cattle
with their tongue and palate; but during the great droughts, when so
many animals perish on the Pampas, the niata breed lies under a great
disadvantage, and would, if not attended to, become extinct; for the
common cattle, like horses, are able to keep alive by browsing with
their lips on the twigs of trees and on reeds: this the niatas cannot
so well do, as their lips do not join, and hence they are found to
perish before the common cattle. This strikes me as a good illustration
of how little we are able to judge from the ordinary habits of an
animal, on what circumstances, occurring only at long intervals of
time, its rarity or extinction may depend. It shows us, also, how
natural selection would have determined the rejection of the niata
modification had it arisen in a state of nature.

    Having described the semi-monstrous niata breed, I may allude to a
    white bull, said to have been brought from Africa, which was
    exhibited in London in 1829, and which has been well figured by Mr.
    Harvey.[67] It had a hump, and was furnished with a mane. The
    dewlap was peculiar, being divided between its fore-legs into
    parallel divisions. Its lateral hoofs were annually shed, and grew
    to the length of five or six inches. The eye was very peculiar,
    being remarkably prominent, and “resembled a cup and ball, thus
    enabling the animal to see on all sides with equal ease; the pupil
    was small and oval, or rather a parallelogram with the ends cut
    off, and lying transversely across the ball.” A new and strange
    breed might probably have been formed by careful breeding and
    selection from this animal.

    I have often speculated on the probable causes through which each
    separate district in Great Britain came to possess in former times
    its own peculiar breed of cattle; and the question is, perhaps,
    even more perplexing in the case of Southern Africa. We now know
    that the differences may be in part attributed to descent from
    distinct species; but this cause is far from sufficient. Have the
    slight differences in climate and in the nature of the pasture, in
    the different districts of Britain, directly induced corresponding
    differences in the cattle? We have seen that the semi-wild cattle
    in the several British parks are not identical in colouring or
    size, and that some degree of selection has been requisite to keep
    them true. It is almost certain that abundant food given during
    many generations directly affects the size of a breed.[68] That
    climate directly affects the thickness of the skin and the hair is
    likewise certain: thus Roulin asserts[69] that the hides of the
    feral cattle on the hot Llanos “are always much less heavy than
    those of the cattle raised on the high platform of Bogota; and that
    these hides yield in weight and in thickness of hair to those of
    the cattle which have run wild on the lofty Paramos.” The same
    difference has been observed in the hides of the cattle reared on
    the bleak Falkland Islands and on the temperate Pampas. Low has
    remarked[70] that the cattle which inhabit the more humid parts of
    Britain have longer hair and thicker skins than other British
    cattle. When we compare highly improved stall-fed cattle with the
    wilder breeds, or compare mountain and lowland breeds, we cannot
    doubt that an active life, leading to the free use of the limbs and
    lungs, affects the shape and proportions of the whole body. It is
    probable that some breeds, such as the semi-monstrous niata cattle,
    and some peculiarities, such as being hornless, etc., have appeared
    suddenly owing to what we may call in our ignorance spontaneous
    variation; but even in this case a rude kind of selection is
    necessary, and the animals thus characterised must be at least
    partially separated from others. This degree of care, however, has
    sometimes been taken even in little-civilised districts, where we
    should least have expected it, as in the case of the niata, chivo,
    and hornless cattle in S. America.

    That methodical selection has done wonders within a recent period
    in modifying our cattle, no one doubts. During the process of
    methodical selection it has occasionally happened that deviations
    of structure, more strongly pronounced than mere individual
    differences, yet by no means deserving to be called monstrosities,
    have been taken advantage of: thus the famous Longhorn Bull,
    Shakespeare, though of the pure Canley stock, scarcely inherited a
    single point of the long-horned breed, his horns excepted;[71] yet
    in the hands of Mr. Fowler, this bull greatly improved his race. We
    have also reason to believe that selection, carried on so far
    unconsciously that there was at no one time any distinct intention
    to improve or change the breed, has in the course of time modified
    most of our cattle; for by this process, aided by more abundant
    food, all the lowland British breeds have increased greatly in size
    and in early maturity since the reign of Henry VII.[72] It should
    never be forgotten that many animals have to be annually
    slaughtered; so that each owner must determine which shall be
    killed and which preserved for breeding. In every district, as
    Youatt has remarked, there is a prejudice in favour of the native
    breed; so that animals possessing qualities, whatever they may be,
    which are most valued in each district, will be oftenest preserved;
    and this unmethodical selection assuredly will in the long run
    affect the character of the whole breed. But it may be asked, can
    this rude kind of selection have been practised by barbarians such
    as those of southern Africa? In a future chapter on Selection we
    shall see that this has certainly occurred to some extent.
    Therefore, looking to the origin of the many breeds of cattle which
    formerly inhabited the several districts of Britain, I conclude
    that, although slight differences in the nature of the climate,
    food, etc., as well as changed habits of life, aided by correlation
    of growth, and the occasional appearance from unknown causes of
    considerable deviations of structure, have all probably played
    their parts; yet that the occasional preservation in each district
    of those individual animals which were most valued by each owner
    has perhaps been even more effective in the production of the
    several British breeds. As soon as two or more breeds were formed
    in any district, or when new breeds descended from distinct species
    were introduced, their crossing, especially if aided by some
    selection, will have multiplied the number and modified the
    characters of the older breeds.


    I shall treat this subject briefly. Most authors look at our
    domestic sheep as descended from several distinct species. Mr.
    Blyth, who has carefully attended to the subject, believes that
    fourteen wild species now exist, but “that not one of them can be
    identified as the progenitor of any one of the interminable
    domestic races.” M. Gervais thinks that there are six species of
    Ovis,[73] but that our domestic sheep form a distinct genus, now
    completely extinct. A German naturalist[74] believes that our sheep
    descend from ten aboriginally distinct species, of which only one
    is still living in a wild state! Another ingenious observer,[75]
    though not a naturalist, with a bold defiance of everything known
    on geographical distribution, infers that the sheep of Great
    Britain alone are the descendants of eleven endemic British forms!
    Under such a hopeless state of doubt it would be useless for my
    purpose to give a detailed account of the several breeds; but a few
    remarks may be added.

    Sheep have been domesticated from a very ancient period.
    Rütimeyer[76] found in the Swiss lake-dwellings the remains of a
    small breed, with thin tall legs, and horns like those of a goat,
    thus differing somewhat from any kind now known. Almost every
    country has its own peculiar breed; and many countries have several
    breeds differing greatly from each other. One of the most strongly
    marked races is an Eastern one with a long tail, including,
    according to Pallas, twenty vertebræ, and so loaded with fat that
    it is sometimes placed on a truck, which is dragged about by the
    living animal. These sheep, though ranked by Fitzinger as a
    distinct aboriginal form, bear in their drooping ears the stamp of
    long domestication. This is likewise the case with those sheep
    which have two great masses of fat on the rump, with the tail in a
    rudimentary condition. The Angola variety of the long-tailed race
    has curious masses of fat on the back of the head and beneath the
    jaws.[77] Mr. Hodgson in an admirable paper[78] on the sheep of the
    Himalaya infers from the distribution of the several races, “that
    this caudal augmentation in most of its phases is an instance of
    degeneracy in these pre-eminently Alpine animals.” The horns
    present an endless diversity in character; being not rarely absent,
    especially in the female sex, or, on the other hand, amounting to
    four or even eight in number. The horns, when numerous, arise from
    a crest on the frontal bone, which is elevated in a peculiar
    manner. It is remarkable that multiplicity of horns “is generally
    accompanied by great length and coarseness of the fleece.”[79] This
    correlation, however, is far from being general; for instance, I am
    informed by Mr. D. Forbes, that the Spanish sheep in Chile
    resemble, in fleece and in all other characters, their parent
    merino-race, except that instead of a pair they generally bear four
    horns. The existence of a pair of mammæ is a generic character in
    the genus Ovis as well as in several allied forms; nevertheless, as
    Mr. Hodgson has remarked, “this character is not absolutely
    constant even among the true and proper sheep: for I have more than
    once met with Càgias (a sub-Himalayan domestic race) possessed of
    four teats.”[80] This case is the more remarkable as, when any part
    or organ is present in reduced number in comparison with the same
    part in allied groups, it usually is subject to little variation.
    The presence of interdigital pits has likewise been considered as a
    generic distinction in sheep; but Isidore Geoffroy[81] has shown
    that these pits or pouches are absent in some breeds.

    In sheep there is a strong tendency for characters, which have
    apparently been acquired under domestication, to become attached
    either exclusively to the male sex, or to be more highly developed
    in this than in the other sex. Thus in many breeds the horns are
    deficient in the ewe, though this likewise occurs occasionally with
    the female of the wild musmon. In the rams of the Wallachian breed,
    “the horns spring almost perpendicularly from the frontal bone, and
    then take a beautiful spiral form; in the ewes they protrude nearly
    at right angles from the head, and then become twisted in a
    singular manner.”[82] Mr. Hodgson states that the extraordinarily
    arched nose or chaffron, which is so highly developed in several
    foreign breeds, is characteristic of the ram alone, and apparently
    is the result of domestication.[83] I hear from Mr. Blyth that the
    accumulation of fat in the fat-tailed sheep of the plains of India
    is greater in the male than in the female; and Fitzinger[84]
    remarks that the mane in the African maned race is far more
    developed in the ram than in the ewe.

    Different races of sheep, like cattle, present constitutional
    differences. Thus the improved breeds arrive at maturity at an
    early age, as has been well shown by Mr. Simonds through their
    early average period of dentition. The several races have become
    adapted to different kinds of pasture and climate: for instance, no
    one can rear Leicester sheep on mountainous regions, where Cheviots
    flourish. As Youatt has remarked, “In all the different districts
    of Great Britain we find various breeds of sheep beautifully
    adapted to the locality which they occupy. No one knows their
    origin; they are indigenous to the soil, climate, pasturage, and
    the locality on which they graze; they seem to have been formed for
    it and by it.”[85] Marshall relates[86] that a flock of heavy
    Lincolnshire and light Norfolk sheep which had been bred together
    in a large sheep-walk, part of which was low, rich, and moist, and
    another part high and dry, with benty grass, when turned out,
    regularly separated from each other; the heavy sheep drawing off to
    the rich soil, and the lighter sheep to their own soil; so that
    “whilst there was plenty of grass the two breeds kept themselves as
    distinct as rooks and pigeons.” Numerous sheep from various parts
    of the world have been brought during a long course of years to the
    Zoological Gardens of London; but as Youatt, who attended the
    animals as a veterinary surgeon, remarks, “few or none die of the
    rot, but they are phthisical; not one of them from a torrid climate
    lasts out the second year, and when they die their lungs are
    tuberculated.”[87] There is very good evidence that English breeds
    of sheep will not succeed in France.[88] Even in certain parts of
    England it has been found impossible to keep certain breeds of
    sheep; thus on a farm on the banks of the Ouse, the Leicester sheep
    were so rapidly destroyed by pleuritis[89] that the owner could not
    keep them; the coarser-skinned sheep never being affected.

    The period of gestation was formerly thought to be of so
    unalterable a character, that a supposed difference of this kind
    between the wolf and the dog was esteemed a sure sign of specific
    distinction; but we have seen that the period is shorter in the
    improved breeds of the pig, and in the larger breeds of the ox,
    than in other breeds of these two animals. And now we know, on the
    excellent authority of Hermann von Nathusius,[90] that Merino and
    Southdown sheep, when both have long been kept under exactly the
    same conditions, differ in their average period of gestation, as is
    seen in the following Table:—

Merinos     150·3 days. Southdowns     144·2 days. Half-bred Merinos and
Southdowns     146·3 days. 3/4 blood of Southdown     145·5 days. 7/8
blood of Southdown     144·2 days.

In this graduated difference in cross-bred animals having different
proportions of Southdown blood, we see how strictly the two periods of
gestation have been transmitted. Nathusius remarks that, as Southdowns
grow with remarkable rapidity after birth, it is not surprising that
their foetal development should have been shortened. It is of course
possible that the difference in these two breeds may be due to their
descent from distinct parent-species; but as the early maturity of the
Southdowns has long been carefully attended to by breeders, the
difference is more probably the result of such attention. Lastly, the
fecundity of the several breeds differs much; some generally producing
twins or even triplets at a birth, of which fact the curious Shangai
sheep (with their truncated and rudimentary ears, and great Roman
noses), lately exhibited in the Zoological Gardens, offer a remarkable

    Sheep are perhaps more readily affected by the direct action of the
    conditions of life to which they have been exposed than almost any
    other domestic animal. According to Pallas, and more recently
    according to Erman, the fat-tailed Kirghisian sheep, when bred for
    a few generations in Russia, degenerate, and the mass of fat
    dwindles away, “the scanty and bitter herbage of the steppes seems
    so essential to their development.” Pallas makes an analogous
    statement with respect to one of the Crimean breeds. Burnes states
    that the Karakool breed, which produces a fine, curled, black, and
    valuable fleece, when removed from its own canton near Bokhara to
    Persia or to other quarters, loses its peculiar fleece.[91] In all
    such cases, however, it may be that a change of any kind in the
    conditions of life causes variability and consequent loss of
    character, and not that certain conditions are necessary for the
    development of certain characters.

    Great heat, however, seems to act directly on the fleece: several
    accounts have been published of the change which sheep imported
    from Europe undergo in the West Indies. Dr. Nicholson of Antigua
    informs me that, after the third generation, the wool disappears
    from the whole body, except over the loins; and the animal then
    appears like a goat with a dirty door-mat on its back. A similar
    change is said to take place on the west coast of Africa.[92] On
    the other hand, many wool-bearing sheep live on the hot plains of
    India. Roulin asserts that in the lower and heated valleys of the
    Cordillera, if the lambs are sheared as soon as the wool has grown
    to a certain thickness, all goes on afterwards as usual; but if not
    sheared, the wool detaches itself in flakes, and short shining hair
    like that on a goat is produced ever afterwards. This curious
    result seems merely to be an exaggerated tendency natural to the
    Merino breed, for as a great authority, namely, Lord Somerville,
    remarks, “the wool of our Merino sheep after shear-time is hard and
    coarse to such a degree as to render it almost impossible to
    suppose that the same animal could bear wool so opposite in
    quality, compared to that which has been clipped from it: as the
    cold weather advances, the fleeces recover their soft quality.” As
    in sheep of all breeds the fleece naturally consists of longer and
    coarser hair covering shorter and softer wool, the change which it
    often undergoes in hot climates is probably merely a case of
    unequal development; for even with those sheep which like goats are
    covered with hair, a small quantity of underlying wool may always
    be found.[93] In the wild mountain-sheep (_0vis montana_) of North
    America there is an analogous annual change of coat; “the wool
    begins to drop out in early spring, leaving in its place a coat of
    hair resembling that of the elk, a change of pelage quite different
    in character from the ordinary thickening of the coat or hair,
    common to all furred animals in winter,—for instance, in the horse,
    the cow, etc., which shed their winter coat in the spring.”[94]

A slight difference in climate or pasture sometimes slightly affects
the fleece, as has been observed even in different districts in
England, and is well shown by the great softness of the wool brought
from Southern Australia. But it should be observed, as Youatt
repeatedly insists, that the tendency to change may generally be
counteracted by careful selection. M. Lasterye, after discussing this
subject, sums up as follows: “The preservation of the Merino race in
its utmost purity at the Cape of Good Hope, in the marshes of Holland,
and under the rigorous climate of Sweden, furnishes an additional
support of this my unalterable principle, that fine-woolled sheep may
be kept wherever industrious men and intelligent breeders exist.”

    That methodical selection has effected great changes in several
    breeds of sheep no one who knows anything on the subject,
    entertains a doubt. The case of the Southdowns, as improved by
    Ellman, offers perhaps the most striking instance. Unconscious or
    occasional selection has likewise slowly produced a great effect,
    as we shall see in the chapters on Selection. That crossing has
    largely modified some breeds, no one who will study what has been
    written on this subject—for instance, Mr. Spooner’s paper—will
    dispute; but to produce uniformity in a crossed breed, careful
    selection and “rigorous weeding,” as this author expresses it, are

    In some few instances new breeds have suddenly originated; thus, in
    1791, a ram-lamb was born in Massachusetts, having short crooked
    legs and a long back, like a turnspit-dog. From this one lamb the
    _otter_ or _ancon_ semi-monstrous breed was raised; as these sheep
    could not leap over the fences, it was thought that they would be
    valuable; but they have been supplanted by merinos, and thus
    exterminated. The sheep are remarkable from transmitting their
    character so truly that Colonel Humphreys[96] never heard of “but
    one questionable case” of an ancon ram and ewe not producing ancon
    offspring. When they are crossed with other breeds the offspring,
    with rare exceptions, instead of being intermediate in character,
    perfectly resemble either parent; even one of twins has resembled
    one parent and the second the other. Lastly, “the ancons have been
    observed to keep together, separating themselves from the rest of
    the flock when put into enclosures with other sheep.”

A more interesting case has been recorded in the Report of the Juries
for the Great Exhibition (1851), namely, the production of a merino
ram-lamb on the Mauchamp farm, in 1828, which was remarkable for its
long, smooth, straight, and silky wool. By the year 1833 M. Graux had
raised rams enough to serve his whole flock, and after a few more years
he was able to sell stock of his new breed. So peculiar and valuable is
the wool, that it sells at 25 per cent above the best merino wool: even
the fleeces of half-bred animals are valuable, and are known in France
as the “Mauchamp-merino.” It is interesting, as showing how generally
any marked deviation of structure is accompanied by other deviations,
that the first ram and his immediate offspring were of small size, with
large heads, long necks, narrow chests, and long flanks; but these
blemishes were removed by judicious crosses and selection. The long
smooth wool was also correlated with smooth horns; and as horns and
hair are homologous structures, we can understand the meaning of this
correlation. If the Mauchamp and ancon breeds had originated a century
or two ago, we should have had no record of their birth; and many a
naturalist would no doubt have insisted, especially in the case of the
Mauchamp race, that they had each descended from, or been crossed with,
some unknown aboriginal form.


    From the recent researches of M. Brandt, most naturalists now
    believe that all our goats are descended from the _Capra ægagrus_
    of the mountains of Asia, possibly mingled with the allied Indian
    species _C. falconeri_ of India.[97] In Switzerland, during the
    neolithic period, the domestic goat was commoner than the sheep;
    and this very ancient race differed in no respect from that now
    common in Switzerland.[98] At the present time, the many races
    found in several parts of the world differ greatly from each other;
    nevertheless, as far as they have been tried,[99] they are all
    quite fertile when crossed. So numerous are the breeds, that Mr. G.
    Clark[100] has described eight distinct kinds imported into the one
    island of Mauritius. The ears of one kind were enormously
    developed, being, as measured by Mr. Clark, no less than 19 inches
    in length and 4-3/4 inches in breadth. As with cattle, the mammæ of
    those breeds which are regularly milked become greatly developed;
    and, as Mr. Clark remarks, “it is not rare to see their teats
    touching the ground.” The following cases are worth notice as
    presenting unusual points of variation. According to Godron,[101]
    the mammæ differ greatly in shape in different breeds, being
    elongated in the common goat, hemispherical in the Angora race, and
    bilobed and divergent in the goats of Syria and Nubia. According to
    this same author, the males of certain breeds have lost their usual
    offensive odour. In one of the Indian breeds the males and females
    have horns of widely-different shapes;[102] and in some breeds the
    females are destitute of horns.[103] M. Ramu of Nancy informs me
    that many of the goats there bear on the upper part of the throat a
    pair of hairy appendages, 70 mm. in length and about 10 mm. in
    diameter, which in external appearance resemble those above
    described on the jaws of pigs. The presence of inter-digital pits
    or glands on all four feet has been thought to characterise the
    genus Ovis, and their absence to be characteristic of the genus
    Capra; but Mr. Hodgson has found that they exist in the front feet
    of the majority of Himalayan goats.[104] Mr. Hodgson measured the
    intestines in two goats of the Dúgú race, and he found that the
    proportional length of the great and small intestines differed
    considerably. In one of these goats the cæcum was thirteen inches,
    and in the other no less than thirty-six inches in length!


 [1] Hermann von Nathusius ‘Die Racen des Schweines,’ Berlin, 1860; and
 ‘Vorstudien für Geschichte,’ etc., ‘Schweineschädel,’ Berlin, 1864.
 Rütimeyer, ‘Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten,’ Basel, 1861.

 [2] Nathusius, ‘Die Racen des Schweines,’ Berlin, 1860. An excellent
 appendix is given with references to published and trustworthy
 drawings of the breeds of each country.

 [3] For Europe _see_ Bechstein, ‘Naturgesch. Deutschlands,’ 1801, B.
 i., s. 505. Several accounts have been published on the fertility of
 the offspring from wild and tame swine. _See_ Burdach’s ‘Physiology,’
 and Godron ‘De l’Espèce,’ tom. i. p. 370. For Africa, ‘Bull. de la
 Soc. d’Acclimat.’ tom. iv. p. 389. For India, _see_ Nathusius,
 ‘Schweineschädel,’ s. 148.

 [4] Sir W. Elliot, Catalogue of Mammalia, ‘Madras Journal of Lit. and
 Science,’ vol. x. p. 219.

 [5] ‘Pfahlbauten,’ s. 163 _et passim._

 [6] _See_ J. W. Schütz’ interesting essay, ‘Zur Kenntniss des
 Torfschweins,’ 1868. This author believes that the Torfschwein is
 descended from a distinct species, the _S. sennariensis_ of Central

 [7] Stan. Julien quoted by de Blainville, ‘Ostéographie,’ p. 163.

 [8] Richardson, ‘Pigs, their Origin,’ etc., p. 26.

 [9] ‘Die Racen des Schweines’ s. 47, 64.

 [10] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1861, p. 263.

 [11] Sclater, in ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ Feb. 26, 1861.

 [12] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1862, p. 13. The skull has since been
 described much more fully by Professor Lucae in a very interesting
 essay, ‘Der Schädel des Maskenschweines,’ 1870. He confirms the
 conclusion of von Nathusius on the relationship of this kind of pig.

 [13] ‘Journal of Voyages and Travels from 1821 to 1829,’ vol. i. p.

 [14] Rev. G. Low ‘Fauna Orcadensis,’ p. 10. _See also_ Dr. Hibbert’s
 account of the pig of the Shetland Islands.

 [15] ‘Die Racen des Schweines’ s. 70.

 [16] These woodcuts are copied from engravings given in Mr. S.
 Sidney’s excellent edition of ‘The Pig,’ by Youatt, 1860. _ See_ pp.
 1, 16, 19.

 [17] ‘Schweineschädel’ s. 74, 135.

 [18] Nathusius, ‘Die Racen des Schweines,’ s. 71.

 [19] ‘Die Racen des Schweines,’ s. 47. ‘Schweineschädel’ s. 104.
 Compare, also, the figures of the old Irish and the improved Irish
 breeds in Richardson on ‘The Pig,’ 1847.

 [20] Quoted by Isid. Geoffroy, ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. p. 441.

 [21] S. Sidney, ‘The Pig,’ p. 61.

 [22] ‘Schweineschädel,’ s. 2, 20.

 [23] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1837, p. 23. I have not given the caudal
 vertebræ, as Mr. Eyton says some might possibly have been lost. I have
 added together the dorsal and lumbar vertebræ, owing to Prof. Owen’s
 remarks (‘Journal Linn. Soc.,’ vol. ii. p. 28) on the difference
 between dorsal and lumbar vertebræ depending only on the development
 of the ribs. Nevertheless the difference in the number of the ribs in
 pigs deserves notice. M. Sanson gives the number of lumbar vertebræ in
 various pigs; ‘Comptes Rendus,’ lxiii. p. 843.

 [24] ‘Edinburgh New Philosoph. Journal,’ April, 1863. _See also_ De
 Blainville’s ‘Ostéographie,’ p. 128, for various authorities on this

 [25] Eudes-Deslongchamps, ‘Mémoires de la Soc. Linn. de Normandie,’
 vol. vii., 1842, p. 41. Richardson, ‘Pigs, their Origin, etc.,’ 1847,
 p. 30. Nathusius, ‘Die Racen des Schweines,’ 1863, s. 54.

 [26] D. Johnson’s ‘Sketches of Indian Field Sports,’ p. 272. Mr.
 Crawfurd informs me that the same fact holds good with the wild pigs
 of the Malay peninsula.

 [27] For Turkish pigs _see_ Desmarest, ‘Mammalogie,’ 1820, p. 391. For
 those of Westphalia _see_ Richardson’s ‘Pigs, their Origin, etc.,’
 1847, p. 41.

 [28] With respect to the several foregoing and following statements on
 feral pigs, _see_ Roulin, in ‘Mém. présentés par divers Savans a
 l’Acad.,’ etc., Paris, tom. vi. 1835, p. 326. It should be observed
 that his account does not apply to truly feral pigs; but to pigs long
 introduced into the country and living in a half-wild state. For the
 truly feral pigs of Jamaica, _see_ Gosse’s ‘Sojourn in Jamaica,’ 1851,
 p. 386; and Col. Hamilton Smith, in ‘Nat. Library,’ vol. ix. p. 93.
 With respect to Africa _see_ Livingstone’s ‘Expedition to the
 Zambesi,’ 1865, p. 153. The most precise statement with respect to the
 tusks of the West Indian feral boars is by P. Labat (quoted by
 Roulin); but this author attributes the state of these pigs to descent
 from a domestic stock which he saw in Spain. Admiral Sulivan, R.N.,
 had ample opportunities of observing the wild pigs on Eagle Islet in
 the Falklands; and he informs me that they resembled wild boars with
 bristly ridged backs and large tusks. The pigs which have run wild in
 the province of Buenos Ayres (Rengger ‘Säugethiere,’ s. 331) have not
 reverted to the wild type. De Blainville (‘Ostéographie,’ p. 132)
 refers to two skulls of domestic pigs sent from Patagonia by Al.
 d’Orbigny, and he states that they have the occipital elevation of the
 wild European boar, but that the head altogether is “plus courte et
 plus ramassée.” He refers, also, to the skin of a feral pig from North
 America, and says “il ressemble tout à fait à un petit sanglier, mais
 il est presque tout noir, et peut-être un peu plus ramassé dans ses

 [29] Gosse’s ‘Jamaica,’ p. 386, with a quotation from Williamson’s
 ‘Oriental Field Sports.’ Also Col. Hamilton Smith, in ‘Naturalist
 Library,’ vol. ix. p. 94.

 [30] S. Sidney’s edition of ‘Youatt on the Pig,’ 1860, pp. 7, 26, 27,
 29, 30.

 [31] ‘Schweineschädel’ s. 140.

 [32] ‘Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten,’ 1861, s. 109, 149, 222. _See also_
 Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in ‘Mém. du Mus. d’Hist. Nat.,’ tom. x. p. 172;
 and his son Isidore in ‘Hist. Nat. Gen.’ tom. iii. p. 69. Vasey, in
 his ‘Delineations of the Ox Tribe,’ 1851, p. 127, says the zebu has
 four, and common ox five, sacral vertebræ. Mr. Hodgson found the ribs
 either thirteen or fourteen in number; _see_ a note in ‘Indian Field,’
 1858, p. 62.

 [33] ‘The Indian Field,’ 1858, p. 74, where Mr. Blyth gives his
 authorities with respect to the feral humped cattle. Pickering, also,
 in his ‘Races of Man,’ 1850, p. 274, notices the peculiar grunt-like
 character of the voice of the humped cattle.

 [34] Mr. H. E. Marquand, in ‘The Times,’ June 23rd, 1856.

 [35] Vasey, ‘Delineations of the Ox-Tribe,’ p. 124. Brace’s ‘Hungary,’
 1851, p. 94. The Hungarian cattle descend, according to Rütimeyer
 ‘Zahmen Europ. Rindes,’ 1866, s. 13 from _Bos primigenius._

 [36] Moll and Gayot, ‘La Connaissance Gén. du Bœuf,’ Paris, 1860. Fig.
 82 is that of the Podolian breed.

 [37] A translation appeared in three parts in the ‘Annals and Mag. of
 Nat. Hist.,’ 2nd series, vol. iv., 1849.

 [38] _See also_ Rütimeyer’s ‘Beiträge pal. Gesch. der Wiederkäuer
 Basel,’ 1865, s. 54.

 [39] Pictet ‘Paléontologie,’ tom. i. p. 365 (2nd edit.). With respect
 to _B. trochoceros, see_ Rütimeyer ‘Zahmen Europ. Rindes,’ 1866, s.

 [40] W. Boyd Dawkins on the British Fossil Oxen, ‘Journal of the
 Geolog. Soc.,’ Aug. 1867, p. 182. Also ‘Proc. Phil. Soc. of
 Manchester,’ Nov. 14th, 1871, and ‘Cave Hunting,’ 1875, p. 27, 138.

 [41] ‘British Pleistocene Mammalia,’ by W. B. Dawkins and W. A.
 Sandford, 1866, p. 15.

 [42] W. R. Wilde, ‘An Essay on the Animal Remains, etc. Royal Irish
 Academy,’ 1860, p. 29. Also ‘Proc. of R. Irish Academy,’ 1858, p. 48.

 [43] ‘Lecture: Royal Institution of G. Britain,’ May 2nd, 1856, p. 4.
 ‘British Fossil Mammals,’ p. 513.

 [44] Nilsson, in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ 1849, vol. iv. p.

 [45] _See_ W. R. Wilde, ut supra; and Mr. Blyth, in ‘Proc. Irish
 Academy,’ March 5th, 1864.

 [46] Laing’s ‘Tour in Norway,’ p. 110.

 [47] Isid. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. 96.

 [48] Idem, tom. iii. pp. 82, 91.

 [49] ‘Quadrupèdes du Paraguay,’ tom. ii. p. 360.

 [50] Walther ‘Das Rindvieh,’ 1817, s. 30.

 [51] I am much indebted to the present Earl of Tankerville for
 information about his wild cattle; and for the skull which was sent to
 Prof. Rütimeyer. The fullest account of the Chillingham cattle is
 given by Mr. Hindmarsh, together with a letter by the late Lord
 Tankerville, in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ vol. ii., 1839, p.
 274. _See_ Bewick, ‘Quadrupeds,’ 2nd edit., 1791, p. 35, note. With
 respect to those of the Duke of Queensberry, _see_ Pennant’s ‘Tour in
 Scotland,’ p. 109. For those of Chartley, _see_ Low’s ‘Domesticated
 Animals of Britain,’ 1845, p. 238. For those of Gisburne, _see_ Bewick
 ‘Quadrupeds,’ and ‘Encyclop. of Rural Sports,’ p. 101.

 [52] Boethius was born in 1470; ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ vol.
 ii., 1839, p. 281; and vol. iv., 1849, p. 424.

 [53] n’Youatt on Cattle,’ 1834, p. 48: _See also_ p. 242, on
 short-horn cattle. Bell, in his ‘British Quadrupeds,’ p. 423, states
 that, after long attending to the subject, he has found that white
 cattle invariably have coloured ears.ote

 [54] Azara, ‘Quadrupèdes du Paraguay,’ tom. ii. p. 361. Azara quotes
 Buffon for the feral cattle of Africa. For Texas _ see_ ‘Times,’ Feb.
 18th, 1846.

 [55] Anson’s Voyage. _See_ Kerr and Porter’s ‘Collection,’ vol. xii.
 p. 103.

 [56] _See also_ Mr. Mackinnon’s pamphlet on the Falkland Islands, p.

 [57] ‘The Age of the Ox, Sheep, Pig,’ etc., by Prof. James Simonds,
 published by order of the Royal Agricult. Soc.

 [58] ‘Ann. Agricult. France,’ April, 1837, as quoted in ‘The
 Veterinary,’ vol. xii. p. 725. I quote Tessier’s observations from
 ‘Youatt on Cattle,’ p. 527.

 [59] ‘The Veterinary,’ vol. viii. p. 681 and vol. x. p. 268. Low’s
 ‘Domest. Animals, etc.’ p. 297.

 [60] Mr. Ogleby in ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1836, p. 138, and 1840, p. 4.
 Quatrefages quotes Philippi (‘Revue des Cours Scientifiques,’ Feb. 12,
 1688, p. 657), that the cattle of Piacentino have thirteen dorsal
 vertebræ and ribs in the place of the ordinary number of twelve.

 [61] Leguat’s Voyage, quoted by Vasey in his ‘Delineations of the
 Ox-tribe,’ p. 132.

 [62] ‘Travels in South Africa,’ pp. 317, 336.

 [63] ‘Mem. de l’Institut présent. par divers Savans,’ tom. vi., 1835,
 p. 333. For Brazil, _see_ ‘Comptes Rendus,’ June 15, 1846. _See_ Azara
 ‘Quadrupèdes du Paraguay,’ tom. ii. pp. 359, 361.

 [64] ‘Schweineschädel,’ 1864, s. 104. Nathusius states that the form
 of skull characteristic in the niata cattle occasionally appears in
 European cattle; but he is mistaken, as we shall hereafter see, in
 supposing that these cattle do not form a distinct race. Prof. Wyman,
 of Cambridge, United States, informs me that the common cod-fish
 presents a similar monstrosity, called by the fishermen “bull-dog
 cod.” Prof. Wyman also concluded, after making numerous inquiries in
 La Plata, that the niata cattle transmit their peculiarities or form a

 [65] ‘Ueber Art des zahmen Europ. Rindes,’ 1866, s. 28.

 [66] ‘Descriptive Cat. of Ost. Collect. of College of Surgeons,’ 1853,
 p. 624. Vasey in his ‘Delineations of the Ox-tribe’ has given a figure
 of this skull; and I sent a photograph of it to Prof. Rütimeyer.

 [67] Loudon’s ‘Magazine of Nat. Hist.,’ vol. i. 1829, p. 113. Separate
 figures are given of the animal, its hoofs, eye, and dewlap.

 [68] Low, ‘Domesticated Animals of the British Isles,’ p. 264.

 [69] ‘Mém. de l’Institut présent. Par divers Savans,’ tom. vi., 1835,
 p. 332.

 [70] Idem, pp. 304, 368, etc.

 [71] ‘Youatt on Cattle,’ p. 193. A full account of this bull is taken
 from Marshall.

 [72] ‘Youatt on Cattle,’ p. 116. Lord Spencer has written on this same

 [73] Blyth, on the genus Ovis, in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,’
 vol. vii., 1841, p. 261. With respect to the parentage of the breeds
 _see_ Mr. Blyth’s excellent articles in ‘Land and Water,’ 1867, pp.
 134, 156. Gervais, ‘Hist. Nat. des Mammifères,’ 1855, tom. ii. p. 191.

 [74] Dr. L. Fitzinger, ‘Ueber die Racen des Zahmen Schafes,’ 1860, s.

 [75] J. Anderson, ‘Recreations in Agriculture and Natural History,’
 vol. ii. p. 264.

 [76] ‘Pfahlbauten’ s. 127, 193.

 [77] ‘Youatt on Sheep,’ p. 120.

 [78] ‘Journal of the Asiatic Soc. of Bengal,’ vol.xvi. pp. 1007, 1016.

 [79] ‘Youatt on Sheep,’ pp. 142-169.

 [80] ‘Journal Asiat. Soc. of Bengal,’ vol. xvi., 1847, p. 1015.

 [81] ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. p. 435.

 [82] ‘Youatt on Sheep,’ p. 138.

 [83] ‘Journal Asiat. Soc. of Bengal,’ vol. xvi., 1847, pp. 1015, 1016.

 [84] ‘Racen des Zahmen Schafes,’ s. 77.

 [85] ‘Rural Economy of Norfolk,’ vol. ii. p. 136.

 [86] ‘Youatt on Sheep,’ p. 312. On same subject, _see_ excellent
 remarks in ‘Gardener’s Chronicle,’ 1858, p. 868. For experiments in
 crossing Cheviot sheep with Leicesters _see_ Youatt, p. 325.

 [87] ‘Youatt on Sheep,’ note, p. 491.

 [88] M. Malingié-Nouel, ‘Journal R. Agricult. Soc.,’ vol. xiv. 1853,
 p. 214. Translated and therefore approved by a great authority, Mr.

 [89] ‘The Veterinary,’ vol. x. p. 217.

 [90] A translation of his paper is given in ‘Bull. Soc. Imp.
 d’Acclimat.,’ tom. ix., 1862, p. 723.

 [91] Erman’s ‘Travels in Siberia,’ (Eng. trans.) vol. i. p. 228. For
 Pallas on the fat-tailed sheep I quote from Anderson’s account of the
 ‘Sheep of Russia,’ 1794, p. 34. With respect to the Crimean sheep
 _see_ Pallas’ ‘Travels’ (Eng. trans.) vol. ii. p. 454. For the
 Karakool sheep _see_ Burnes’ ‘Travels in Bokhara,’ vol. iii. p. 151.

 [92] _See_ Report of the Directors of the Sierra Leone Company, as
 quoted in White’s ‘Gradation of Man,’ p. 95. With respect to the
 change which sheep undergo in the West Indies _ see also_ Dr. Davy, in
 ‘Edin. New. Phil. Journal,’ Jan. 1852. For the statement made by
 Roulin, _see_ ‘Mém. de l’Institut présent. par divers Savans,’ tom.
 vi., 1835, p. 347.

 [93] ‘Youatt on Sheep,’ p. 69, where Lord Somerville is quoted. _See_
 p. 117 on the presence of wool under the hair. With respect to the
 fleeces of Australian sheep, p. 185. On selection counteracting any
 tendency to change, _see_ pp. 70, 117, 120, 168.

 [94] Audubon and Bachman, ‘The Quadrupeds of North America,’ 1846,
 vol. v. p. 365.

 [95] ‘Journal of R. Agricult. Soc. of England,’ vol. xx., part ii., W.
 C. Spooner on cross-Breeding.

 [96] ‘Philosoph. Transactions,’ London, 1813, p. 88.

 [97] Isidore Geoffroy St. Hilaire, ‘Hist. Nat. Générale,’ tom. iii. p.
 87. Mr. Blyth, (‘Land and Water,’ 1867, p. 37) has arrived at a
 similar conclusion, but he thinks that certain Eastern races may
 perhaps be in part descended from the Asiatic markhor.

 [98] Rütimeyer ‘Pfahlbauten,’ s. 127.

 [99] Godron ‘De l’Espèce,’ tom. i. p. 402.

 [100] ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,’ vol ii. (2nd series), 1848,
 p. 363.

 [101] ‘De l’Espèce,’ tom. i. p. 406. Mr. Clark also refers to
 differences in the shape of the mammæ. Godron states that in the
 Nubian race the scrotum is divided into two lobes; and Mr. Clark gives
 a ludicrous proof of this fact, for he saw in the Mauritius a male
 goat of the Muscat breed purchased at a high price for a female in
 full milk. These differences in the scrotum are probably not due to
 descent from distinct species: for Mr. Clark states that this part
 varies much in form.

 [102] Mr. Clark, ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ vol. ii. (2nd
 series), 1848, p. 361.

 [103] Desmarest, ‘Encyclop. Méthod. Mammalogie,’ p. 480.

 [104] ‘Journal of Asiatic Soc. of Bengal,’ vol. xvi., 1847, pp. 1020,



    All naturalists, with, as far as I know, a single exception,
    believe that the several domestic breeds of the rabbit are
    descended from the common wild species; I shall therefore describe
    them more carefully than in the previous cases. Professor
    Gervais[1] states “that the true wild rabbit is smaller than the
    domestic; its proportions are not absolutely the same; its tail is
    smaller; its ears are shorter and more thickly clothed with hair;
    and these characters, without speaking of colour, are so many
    indications opposed to the opinion which unites these animals under
    the same specific denomination.” Few naturalists will agree with
    this author that such slight differences are sufficient to separate
    as distinct species the wild and domestic rabbit. How extraordinary
    it would be, if close confinement, perfect tameness, unnatural
    food, and careful breeding, all prolonged during many generations,
    had not produced at least some effect! The tame rabbit has been
    domesticated from an ancient period. Confucius ranges rabbits among
    animals worthy to be sacrificed to the gods, and, as he prescribes
    their multiplication, they were probably at this early period
    domesticated in China. They are mentioned by several of the
    classical writers. In 1631 Gervaise Markham writes, “You shall not,
    as in other cattell, looke to their shape, but to their richnesse,
    onely elect your buckes, the largest and goodliest conies you can
    get; and for the richnesse of the skin, that is accounted the
    richest which hath the equallest mixture of blacke and white haire
    together, yet the blacke rather shadowing the white; the furre
    should be thicke, deepe, smooth, and shining; ... they are of body
    much fatter and larger, and, when another skin is worth two or
    three pence, they are worth two shillings.” From this full
    description we see that silver-grey rabbits existed in England at
    this period; and what is far more important, we see that the
    breeding or selection of rabbits was then carefully attended to.
    Aldrovandi, in 1637, describes, on the authority of several old
    writers (as Scaliger, in 1557), rabbits of various colours, some
    “like a hare,” and he adds that P. Valerianus (who died a very old
    man in 1558) saw at Verona rabbits four times bigger than ours.[2]

    From the fact of the rabbit having been domesticated at an ancient
    period, we must look to the northern hemisphere of the Old World,
    and to the warmer temperate regions alone, for the aboriginal
    parent-form; for the rabbit cannot live without protection in
    countries as cold as Sweden, and, though it has run wild in the
    tropical island of Jamaica, it has never greatly multiplied there.
    It now exists, and has long existed, in the warmer temperate parts
    of Europe, for fossil remains have been found in several
    countries.[3] The domestic rabbit readily becomes feral in these
    same countries, and when variously coloured kinds are turned out
    they generally revert to the ordinary grey colour.[4] Wild rabbits,
    if taken young, can be domesticated, though the process is
    generally very troublesome.[5] The various domestic races are often
    crossed, and are believed to be quite fertile together, and a
    perfect gradation can be shown to exist from the largest domestic
    kinds, having enormously developed ears, to the common wild kind.
    The parent-form must have been a burrowing animal, a habit not
    common, as far as I can discover, to any other species in the large
    genus Lepus. Only one wild species is known with certainty to exist
    in Europe; but the rabbit (if it be a true rabbit) from Mount
    Sinai, and likewise that from Algeria, present slight differences;
    and these forms have been considered by some authors as
    specifically distinct.[6] But such slight differences would aid us
    little in explaining the more considerable differences
    characteristic of the several domestic races. If the latter are the
    descendants of two or more closely allied species, these, with the
    exception of the common rabbit, have been exterminated in a wild
    state; and this is very improbable, seeing with what pertinacity
    this animal holds its ground. From these several reasons we may
    infer with safety that all the domestic breeds are the descendants
    of the common wild species. But from what we hear of the marvellous
    success in France in rearing hybrids between the hare and
    rabbit,[7] it is possible, though not probable, from the great
    difficulty in making the first cross, that some of the larger
    races, which are coloured like the hare, may have been modified by
    crosses with this animal. Nevertheless, the chief differences in
    the skeletons of the several domestic breeds cannot, as we shall
    presently see, have been derived from a cross with the hare.

    There are many breeds which transmit their characters more or less
    truly. Every one has seen the enormous lop-eared rabbits exhibited
    at our shows; various allied sub-breeds are reared on the
    Continent, such as the so-called Andalusian, which is said to have
    a large head with a round forehead, and to attain a greater size
    than any other kind; another large Paris breed is named the
    Rouennais, and has a square head; the so-called Patagonian rabbit
    has remarkably short ears and a large round head. Although I have
    not seen all these breeds, I feel some doubt about there being any
    marked difference in the shape of their skulls.[8] English
    lop-eared rabbits often weigh 8 pounds or 10 pounds, and one has
    been exhibited weighing 18 pounds; whereas a full-sized wild rabbit
    weighs only about 3-1/4 pounds. The head or skull in all the large
    lop-eared rabbits examined by me is much longer relatively to its
    breadth than in the wild rabbit. Many of them have loose transverse
    folds of skin or dewlaps beneath the throat, which can be pulled
    out so as to reach nearly to the ends of the jaws. Their ears are
    prodigiously developed, and hang down on each side of their faces.
    A rabbit was exhibited in 1867 with its two ears, measured from the
    tip of one to the tip of the other, 22 inches in length, and each
    ear 5-3/8 inches in breadth. In 1869 one was exhibited with ears,
    measured in the same manner, 23-1/8 in length and 5-1/2 in breadth;
    “thus exceeding any rabbit ever exhibited at a prize show.” In a
    common wild rabbit I found that the length of two ears, from tip to
    tip, was 7-5/8 inches, and the breadth only 1-7/8 inch. The weight
    of body in the larger rabbits, and the development of their ears,
    are the qualities which win prizes, and have been carefully

    The hare-coloured, or, as it is sometimes called, the Belgian
    rabbit, differs in nothing except colour from the other large
    breeds; but Mr. J. Young, of Southampton, a great breeder of this
    kind, informs me that the females, in all the specimens examined by
    him, had only six mammæ and this certainly was the case with two
    females which came into my possession. Mr. B. P. Brent, however,
    assures me that the number is variable with other domestic rabbits.
    The common wild rabbit always has ten mammæ. The Angora rabbit is
    remarkable from the length and fineness of its fur, which even on
    the soles of the feet is of considerable length. This breed is the
    only one which differs in its mental qualities, for it is said to
    be much more sociable than other rabbits, and the male shows no
    wish to destroy its young.[9] Two live rabbits were brought to me
    from Moscow, of about the size of the wild species, but with long
    soft fur, different from that of the Angora. These Moscow rabbits
    had pink eyes and were snow-white, excepting the ears, two spots
    near the nose, the upper and under surface of the tail, and the
    hinder tarsi, which were blackish-brown. In short, they were
    coloured nearly like the so-called Himalayan rabbits, presently to
    be described, and differed from them only in the character of their
    fur. There are two other breeds which come true to colour, but
    differ in no other respect, namely silver-greys and chinchillas.
    Lastly, the Nicard or Dutch rabbit may be mentioned, which varies
    in colour, and is remarkable from its small size, some specimens
    weighing only 1-1/4 pounds; rabbits of this breed make excellent
    nurses for other and more delicate kinds.[10]

Illustration: Fig. 5—Half-lop Rabbit.

    Certain characters are remarkably fluctuating, or are very feebly
    transmitted by domestic rabbits: thus, one breeder tells me that
    with the smaller kinds he has hardly ever raised a whole litter of
    the same colour: with the large lop-eared breeds “it is
    impossible,” says a great judge,[11] “to breed true to colour, but
    by judicious crossing a great deal may be done towards it. The
    fancier should know how his does are bred, that is, the colour of
    their parents.” Nevertheless, certain colours, as we shall
    presently see, are transmitted truly. The dewlap is not strictly
    inherited. Lop-eared rabbits, with their ears hanging down flat on
    each side of the face, do not transmit this character at all truly.
    Mr. Delamer remarks that, “with fancy rabbits, when both the
    parents are perfectly formed, have model ears, and are handsomely
    marked, their progeny do not invariably turn out the same.” When
    one parent, or even both, are oar-laps, that is, have their ears
    sticking out at right angles, or when one parent or both are
    half-lops, that is, have only one ear dependent, there is nearly as
    good a chance of the progeny having both ears full-lop, as if both
    parents had been thus characterised. But I am informed, if both
    parents have upright ears, there is hardly a chance of a full-lop.
    In some half-lops the ear that hangs down is broader and longer
    than the upright ear;[12] so that we have the unusual case of a
    want of symmetry on the two sides. This difference in the position
    and size of the two ears probably indicates that the lopping
    results from the great length and weight of the ear, favoured no
    doubt by the weakness of the muscles consequent on disuse.
    Anderson[13] mentions a breed having only a single ear; and
    Professor Gervais another breed destitute of ears.

    We come now to the Himalayan breed, which is sometimes called
    Chinese, Polish, or Russian. These pretty rabbits are white, or
    occasionally yellow, excepting their ears, nose, feet, and the
    upper side of the tail, which are all brownish-black; but as they
    have red eyes, they may be considered as albinoes. I have received
    several accounts of their breeding perfectly true. From their
    symmetrical marks, they were at first ranked as specifically
    distinct, and were provisionally named _L. nigripes._[14] Some good
    observers thought that they could detect a difference in their
    habits, and stoutly maintained that they formed a new species. The
    origin of this breed is so curious, both in itself and as throwing
    some light on the complex laws of inheritance that it is worth
    giving in detail. But it is first necessary briefly to describe two
    other breeds: silver-greys or silver-sprigs generally have black
    heads and legs, and their fine grey fur is interspersed with
    numerous black and white long hairs. They breed perfectly true, and
    have long been kept in warrens. When they escape and cross with
    common rabbits, the product, as I hear from Mr. Wyrley Birch, of
    Wretham Hall, is not a mixture of the two colours, but about half
    take after the one parent, and the other half after the other
    parent. Secondly, chinchillas or tame silver-greys (I will use the
    former name) have short, paler, mouse or slate-coloured fur,
    interspersed with long, blackish, slate-coloured, and white
    hairs.[15] These rabbits breed perfectly true. A writer stated in
    1857[16] that he had produced Himalayan rabbits in the following
    manner. He had a breed of chinchillas which had been crossed with
    the common black rabbit, and their offspring were either blacks or
    chinchillas. These latter were again crossed with other chinchillas
    (which had also been crossed with silver-greys), and from this
    complicated cross Himalayan rabbits were raised. From these and
    other similar statements, Mr. Bartlett[17] was led to make a
    careful trial in the Zoological Gardens, and he found that by
    simply crossing silver-greys with chinchillas he could always
    produce some few Himalayans; and the latter, notwithstanding their
    sudden origin, if kept separate, bred perfectly true. But I have
    recently been assured the pure silver-greys of any sub-breed
    occasionally produce Himalayans.

    The Himalayans, when first born, are quite white, and are then true
    albinoes; but in the course of a few months they gradually assume
    their dark ears, nose, feet, and tail. Occasionally, however, as I
    am informed by Mr. W. A. Wooler and the Rev. W. D. Fox, the young
    are born of a very pale grey colour, and specimens of such fur were
    sent me by the former gentleman. The grey tint, however, disappears
    as the animal comes to maturity. So that with these Himalayans
    there is a tendency, strictly confined to early youth, to revert to
    the colour of the adult silver-grey parent-stock. Silver-greys and
    chinchillas, on the other hand, present a remarkable contrast with
    the Himalayans in their colour whilst quite young, for they are
    born perfectly black, but soon assume their characteristic grey or
    silver tints. The same thing occurs with grey horses, which, as
    long as they are foals, are generally of a nearly black colour, but
    soon become grey, and get whiter and whiter as they grow older.
    Hence the usual rule is that Himalayans are born white and
    afterwards become in certain parts of their bodies dark-coloured;
    whilst silver-greys are born black and afterwards become sprinkled
    with white. Exceptions, however, and of a directly opposite nature,
    occasionally occur in both cases. For young silver-greys are
    sometimes born in warrens, as I hear from Mr. W. Birch, of a
    cream-colour, but these young animals ultimately become black. The
    Himalayans, on the other hand, sometimes produce, as is stated by
    an experienced amateur,[18] a single black young one in a litter;
    and this, before two months elapse, becomes perfectly white.

To sum up the whole curious case: wild silver-greys may be considered
as black rabbits which become grey at an early period of life. When
they are crossed with common rabbits, the offspring are said not to
have blended colours, but to take after either parent; and in this
respect they resemble black and albino varieties of most quadrupeds,
which often transmit their colours in this same manner. When they are
crossed with chinchillas, that is, with a paler sub-variety, the young
are at first pure albinoes, but soon become dark-coloured in certain
parts of their bodies, and are then called Himalayans. The young
Himalayans, however, are sometimes at first either pale grey or
completely black, in either case changing after a time to white. In a
future chapter I shall advance a large body of facts showing that, when
two varieties are crossed both of which differ in colour from their
parent-stock, there is a strong tendency in the young to revert to the
aboriginal colour; and what is very remarkable, this reversion
occasionally supervenes, not before birth, but during the growth of the
animal. Hence, if it could be shown that silver-greys and chinchillas
were the offspring of a cross between a black and albino variety with
the colours intimately blended—a supposition in itself not improbable,
and supported by the circumstance of silver-greys in warrens sometimes
producing creamy-white young, which ultimately become black—then all
the above given paradoxical facts on the changes of colour in
silver-greys and in their descendants the Himalayans would come under
the law of reversion, supervening at different periods of growth and in
different degrees, either to the original black or to the original
albino parent-variety.

    It is, also, remarkable that Himalayans, though produced so
    suddenly; breed true. But as, whilst young, they are albinoes, the
    case falls under a very general rule; albinism being well known to
    be strongly inherited, for instance with white mice and many other
    quadrupeds, and even white flowers. But why, it may be asked, do
    the ears, tail, nose, and feet, and no other part of the body,
    revert to a black colour? This apparently depends on a law, which
    generally holds good, namely, that characters common to many
    species of a genus—and this, in fact, implies long inheritance from
    the ancient progenitor of the genus—are found to resist variation,
    or to reappear if lost, more persistently than the characters which
    are confined to the separate species. Now, in the genus Lepus, a
    large majority of the species have their ears and the upper surface
    of the tail tinted black; but the persistence of these marks is
    best seen in those species which in winter become white: thus, in
    Scotland the _L. variabilis_[19] in its winter dress has a shade of
    colour on its nose, and the tips of its ears are black: in the _L.
    tibetanus_ the ears are black, the upper surface of the tail
    greyish-black, and the soles of the feet brown: in _L. glacialis_
    the winter fur is pure white, except the soles of the feet and the
    points of the ears. Even in the variously-coloured fancy rabbits we
    may often observe a tendency in these same parts to be more darkly
    tinted than the rest of the body. Thus the several coloured marks
    on the Himalayan rabbits, as they grow old, are rendered
    intelligible. I may add a nearly analogous case: fancy rabbits very
    often have a white star on their foreheads; and the common English
    hare, whilst young, generally has, as I have myself observed, a
    similar white star on its forehead.

    When variously coloured rabbits are set free in Europe, and are
    thus placed under their natural conditions, they generally revert
    to the aboriginal grey colour; this may be in part due to the
    tendency in all crossed animals, as lately observed, to revert to
    their primordial state. But this tendency does not always prevail;
    thus silver-grey rabbits are kept in warrens, and remain true
    though living almost in a state of nature; but a warren must not be
    stocked with both silver-greys and common rabbits; otherwise “in a
    few years there will be none but common greys surviving.”[20] When
    rabbits run wild in foreign countries under new conditions of life,
    they by no means always revert to their aboriginal colour. In
    Jamaica the feral rabbits are described as having been
    “slate-coloured, deeply tinted with sprinklings of white on the
    neck, on the shoulders, and on the back; softening off to
    blue-white under the breast and belly.”[21] But in this tropical
    island the conditions were not favourable to their increase, and
    they never spread widely, and are now extinct, as I hear from Mr.
    R. Hill, owing to a great fire which occurred in the woods. Rabbits
    during many years have run wild in the Falkland Islands; they are
    abundant in certain parts, but do not spread extensively. Most of
    them are of the common grey colour; a few, as I am informed by
    Admiral Sulivan, are hare-coloured, and many are black, often with
    nearly symmetrical white marks on their faces. Hence, M. Lesson
    described the black variety as a distinct species, under the name
    of _Lepus magellanicus,_ but this, as I have elsewhere shown, is an
    error.[22] Within recent times the sealers have stocked some of the
    small outlying islets in the Falkland group with rabbits; and on
    Pebble Islet, as I hear from Admiral Sulivan, a large proportion
    are hare-coloured, whereas on Rabbit Islet a large proportion are
    of a bluish colour, which is not elsewhere seen. How the rabbits
    were coloured which were turned out of these islets is not known.

    The rabbits which have become feral on the island of Porto Santo,
    near Madeira, deserve a fuller account. In 1418 or 1419, J.
    Gonzales Zarco[23] happened to have a female rabbit on board which
    had produced young during the voyage, and he turned them all out on
    the island. These animals soon increased so rapidly, that they
    became a nuisance, and actually caused the abandonment of the
    settlement. Thirty-seven years subsequently, Cada Mosto describes
    them as innumerable; nor is this surprising, as the island was not
    inhabited by any beast of prey or by any terrestrial mammal. We do
    not know the character of the mother-rabbit; but it was probably
    the common domesticated kind. The Spanish peninsula, whence Zarco
    sailed, is known to have abounded with the common wild species at
    the most remote historical period; and as these rabbits were taken
    on board for food, it is improbable that they should have been of
    any peculiar breed. That the breed was well domesticated is shown
    by the doe having littered during the voyage. Mr. Wollaston, at my
    request, brought home two of these feral rabbits in spirits of
    wine; and, subsequently, Mr. W. Haywood sent to me three more
    specimens in brine, and two alive. These seven specimens, though
    caught at different periods, closely resembled each other. They
    were full grown, as shown by the state of their bones. Although the
    conditions of life in Porto Santo are evidently highly favourable
    to rabbits, as proved by their extraordinarily rapid increase, yet
    they differ conspicuously in their small size from the wild English
    rabbit. Four English rabbits, measured from the incisors to the
    anus, varied between 17 and 17-3/4 inches in length; whilst two of
    the Porto Santo rabbits were only 14-1/2 and 15 inches in length.
    But the decrease in size is best shown by weight; four wild English
    rabbits averaged 3 pounds 5 ounces, whilst one of the Porto Santo
    rabbits, which had lived for four years in the Zoological Gardens,
    but had become thin, weighed only 1 pound 9 ounces. A fairer test
    is afforded by the comparison of the well-cleaned limb-bones of a
    Porto Santo rabbit killed on the island with the same bones of a
    wild English rabbit of average size, and they differed in the
    proportion of rather less than five to nine. So that the Porto
    Santo rabbits have decreased nearly three inches in length, and
    almost half in weight of body.[24] The head has not decreased in
    length proportionally with the body; and the capacity of the brain
    case is, as we shall hereafter see, singularly variable. I prepared
    four skulls, and these resembled each other more closely than do
    generally the skulls of wild English rabbits; but the only
    difference in structure which they presented was that the
    supra-orbital processes of the frontal bones were narrower.

In colour the Porto Santo rabbit differs considerably from the common
rabbit; the upper surface is redder, and is rarely interspersed with
any black or black-tipped hairs. The throat and certain parts of the
under surface, instead of being pure white, are generally pale grey or
leaden colour. But the most remarkable difference is in the ears and
tail; I have examined many fresh English rabbits, and the large
collection of skins in the British Museum from various countries, and
all have the upper surface of the tail and the tips of the ears clothed
with blackish-grey fur; and this is given in most works as one of the
specific characters of the rabbit. Now in the seven Porto Santo rabbits
the upper surface of the tail was reddish-brown, and the tips of the
ears had no trace of the black edging. But here we meet with a singular
circumstance: in June, 1861 I examined two of these rabbits recently
sent to the Zoological Gardens, and their tails and ears were coloured
as just described; but when one of their dead bodies was sent to me in
February, 1865, the ears were plainly edged, and the upper surface of
the tail was covered with blackish-grey fur, and the whole body was
much less red; so that under the English climate this individual rabbit
had recovered the proper colour of its fur in rather less than four

The two little Porto Santo rabbits, whilst alive in the Zoological
Gardens, had a remarkably different appearance from the common kind.
They were extraordinarily wild and active, so that many persons
exclaimed on seeing them that they were more like large rats than
rabbits. They were nocturnal to an unusual degree in their habits, and
their wildness was never in the least subdued; so that the
superintendent, Mr. Bartlett, assured me that he had never had a wilder
animal under his charge. This is a singular fact, considering that they
are descended from a domesticated breed. I was so much surprised at it,
that I requested Mr. Haywood to make inquiries on the spot, whether
they were much hunted by the inhabitants, or persecuted by hawks, or
cats, or other animals; but this is not the case, and no cause can be
assigned for their wildness. They live both on the central, higher
rocky land and near the sea-cliffs, and, from being exceedingly shy and
timid, seldom appear in the lower and cultivated districts. They are
said to produce from four to six young at a birth, and their breeding
season is in July and August. Lastly, and this is a highly remarkable
fact, Mr. Bartlett could never succeed in getting these two rabbits,
which were both males, to associate or breed with the females of
several breeds which were repeatedly placed with them.

If the history of these Porto Santo rabbits had not been known, most
naturalists, on observing their much reduced size, their colour,
reddish above and grey beneath, their tails and ears not tipped with
black, would have ranked them as a distinct species. They would have
been strongly confirmed in this view by seeing them alive in the
Zoological Gardens, and hearing that they refused to couple with other
rabbits. Yet this rabbit, which there can be little doubt would thus
have been ranked as a distinct species, as certainly originated since
the year 1420. Finally, from the three cases of the rabbits which have
run wild in Porto Santo, Jamaica, and the Falkland Islands, we see that
these animals do not, under new conditions of life, revert to or retain
their aboriginal character, as is so generally asserted to be the case
by most authors.

_Osteological Characters._

When we remember, on the one hand, how frequently it is stated that
important parts of the structure never vary; and, on the other hand, on
what small differences in the skeleton fossil species have often been
founded, the variability of the skull and of some other bones in the
domesticated rabbit well deserves attention. It must not be supposed
that the more important differences immediately to be described
strictly characterise any one breed; all that can be said is, that they
are generally present in certain breeds. We should bear in mind that
selection has not been applied to fix any character in the skeleton,
and that the animals have not had to support themselves under uniform
habits of life. We cannot account for most of the differences in the
skeleton; but we shall see that the increased size of the body, due to
careful nurture and continued selection, has affected the head in a
particular manner. Even the elongation and lopping of the ears have
influenced in a small degree the form of the whole skull. The want of
exercise has apparently modified the proportional length of the limbs
in comparison with that of the body.

As a standard of comparison, I prepared skeletons of two wild rabbits
from Kent, one from the Shetland Islands, and one from Antrim in
Ireland. As all the bones in these four specimens from such distant
localities closely resembled each other, presenting scarcely any
appreciable difference, it may be concluded that the bones of the wild
rabbit are generally uniform in character.

_Skull._—I have carefully examined skulls of ten large lop-eared
rabbits, and of five common domestic rabbits, which latter differ from
the lop-eared only in not having such large bodies or ears, yet both
larger than in the wild rabbit. First for the ten lop-eared rabbits: in
all these the skull is remarkably elongated in comparison with its
breadth. In a wild rabbit the length was 3·15 inches, in a large fancy
rabbit 4·3; whilst the breadth of the cranium enclosing the brain was
in both almost exactly the same. Even by taking as the standard of
comparison the widest part of the zygomatic arch, the skulls of the
lop-eared are proportionally to their breadth three-quarters of an inch
too long. The depth of the head has increased almost in the same
proportion with the length; it is the breadth alone which has not
increased. The parietal and occipital bones enclosing the brain are
less arched, both in a longitudinal and transverse line, than in the
wild rabbit, so that the shape of the cranium is somewhat different.
The surface is rougher, less cleanly sculptured, and the lines of
sutures are more prominent.

Although the skulls of the large lop-eared rabbits in comparison with
those of the wild rabbit are much elongated relatively to their
breadth, yet, relatively to the size of body, they are far from
elongated. The lop-eared rabbits which I examined were, though not fat,
more than twice as heavy as the wild specimens; but the skull was very
far from being twice as long. Even if we take the fairer standard of
the length of body, from the nose to the anus, the skull is not on an
average as long as it ought to be by a third of an inch. In the small
feral Porto Santo rabbit, on the other hand, the head relatively to the
length of body is about a quarter of an inch too long.

This elongation of the skull relatively to its breadth, I find a
universal character, not only with the large lop-eared rabbits, but in
all the artificial breeds; as is well seen in the skull of the Angora.
I was at first much surprised at the fact, and could not imagine why
domestication could produce this uniform result; but the explanation
seems to lie in the circumstance that during a number of generations
the artificial races have been closely confined, and have had little
occasion to exert either their senses, or intellect, or voluntary
muscles; consequently the brain, as we shall presently more fully see,
has not increased relatively with the size of body. As the brain has
not increased, the bony case enclosing it has not increased, and this
has evidently affected through correlation the breadth of the entire
skull from end to end.

Illustration: Fig. 6—Skull of Wild Rabbit. Fig. 7—Skull of large
Lop-eared Rabbit.

Illustration: Fig. 8—Part of Zygomatic Arch.

    In all the skulls of the large lop-eared rabbits, the supra-orbital
    plates or processes of the frontal bones are much broader than in
    the wild rabbit, and they generally project more upwards. In the
    zygomatic arch the posterior or projecting point of the malar-bone
    is broader and blunter; and in the specimen, fig. 8, it is so in a
    remarkable degree. This point approaches nearer to the auditory
    meatus than in the wild rabbit, as may be best seen in fig. 8; but
    this circumstance mainly depends on the changed direction of the
    meatus. The inter-parietal bone (see fig. 9) differs much in shape
    in the several skulls; generally it is more oval, that is more
    extended in the line of the longitudinal axis of the skull, than in
    the wild rabbit. The posterior margin of “the square raised
    platform”[25] of the occiput, instead of being truncated, or
    projecting slightly as in the wild rabbit, is in most lop-eared
    rabbits pointed, as in fig. 9, C. The paramastoids relatively to
    the size of the skull are generally much thicker than in the wild

Illustration: Fig. 9—Posterior end of skull of Rabbits.

Illustration: Fig. 10—Occipital Foramen of Rabbits.

The occipital foramen (fig. 10) presents some remarkable differences:
in the wild rabbit, the lower edge between the condyles is considerably
and almost angularly hollowed out, and the upper edge is deeply and
squarely notched; hence the longitudinal axis exceeds the transverse
axis. In the skulls of the lop-eared rabbits the transverse axis
exceeds the longitudinal; for in none of these skulls was the lower
edge between the condyles so deeply hollowed out; in five of them there
was no upper square notch, in three there was a trace of the notch, and
in two alone it was well developed. These differences in the shape of
the foramen are remarkable, considering that it gives passage to so
important a structure as the spinal marrow, though apparently the
outline of the latter is not affected by the shape of the passage.

In all the skulls of the large lop-eared rabbits, the bony auditory
meatus is conspicuously larger than in the wild rabbit. In a skull 4·3
inches in length, and which barely exceeded in breadth the skull of a
wild rabbit (which was 3·15 inches in length), the longer diameter of
the meatus was exactly twice as great. The orifice is more compressed,
and its margin on the side nearest the skull stands up higher than the
outer side. The whole meatus is directed more forwards. As in breeding
lop-eared rabbits the length of the ears, and their consequent lopping
and lying flat on the face, are the chief points of excellence, there
can hardly be a doubt that the great change in the size, form, and
direction of the bony meatus, relatively to this same part in the wild
rabbit, is due to the continued selection of individuals having larger
and larger ears. The influence of the external ear on the bony meatus
is well shown in the skulls (I have examined three) of half-lops (see
fig. 5), in which one ear stands upright, and the other and longer ear
hangs down; for in these skulls there was a plain difference in the
form and direction of the bony meatus on the two sides. But it is a
much more interesting fact, that the changed direction and increased
size of the bony meatus have slightly affected on the same side the
structure of the whole skull. I here give a drawing (fig. 11) of the
skull of a half-lop; and it may be observed that the suture between the
parietal and frontal bones does not run strictly at right angles to the
longitudinal axis of the skull; the left frontal bone projects beyond
the right one; both the posterior and anterior margins of the left
zygomatic arch on the side of the lopping ear stand a little in advance
of the corresponding bones on the opposite side. Even the lower jaw is
affected, and the condyles are not quite symmetrical, that on the left
standing a little in advance of that on the right. This seems to me a
remarkable case of correlation of growth. Who would have surmised that
by keeping an animal during many generations under confinement, and so
leading to the disuse of the muscles of the ears, and by continually
selecting individuals with the longest and largest ears, he would thus
indirectly have affected almost every suture in the skull and the form
of the lower jaw!

Illustration: Fig. 11—Skull of Half-lop Rabbit.

In the large lop-eared rabbits the only difference in the lower jaw, in
comparison with that of the wild rabbit, is that the posterior margin
of the ascending ramus is broader and more inflected. The teeth in
neither jaw present any difference, except that the small incisors,
beneath the large ones, are proportionately a little longer. The molar
teeth have increased in size proportionately with the increased width
of the skull, measured across the zygomatic arch, and not
proportionally with its increased length. The inner line of the sockets
of the molar teeth in the upper jaw of the wild rabbit forms a
perfectly straight line; but in some of the largest skulls of the
lop-eared this line was plainly bowed inwards. In one specimen there
was an additional molar tooth on each side of the upper jaw, between
the molars and premolars; but these two teeth did not correspond in
size; and as no rodent has seven molars, this is merely a monstrosity,
though a curious one.

The five other skulls of common domestic rabbits, some of which
approach in size the above-described largest skulls, whilst the others
exceed but little those of the wild rabbit, are only worth notice as
presenting a perfect gradation in all the above-specified differences
between the skulls of the largest lop-eared and wild rabbits. In all,
however, the supra-orbital plates are rather larger, and in all the
auditory meatus is larger, in conformity with the increased size of the
external ears, than in the wild rabbit. The lower notch in the
occipital foramen in some was not so deep as in the wild rabbit, but in
all five skulls the upper notch was well developed.

The skull of the _Angora_ rabbit, like the latter five skulls, is
intermediate in general proportions, and in most other characters,
between those of the largest lop-eared and wild rabbits. It presents
only one singular character: though considerably longer than the skull
of the wild rabbit, the breadth measured within the posterior
supra-orbital fissures is nearly a third less than in the wild. The
skulls of the _silver-grey,_ and _chinchilla_ and _Himalayan_ rabbits
are more elongated than in the wild, with broader supra-orbital plates,
but differ little in any other respect, excepting that the upper and
lower notches of the occipital foramen are not so deep or so well
developed. The skull of the _Moscow rabbit_ scarcely differs at all
from that of the wild rabbit. In the Porto Santo feral rabbits the
supra-orbital plates are generally narrower and more pointed than in
our wild rabbits.

As some of the largest lop-eared rabbits of which I prepared skeletons
were coloured almost like hares, and as these latter animals and
rabbits have, as it is affirmed, been recently crossed in France, it
might be thought that some of the above-described characters had been
derived from a cross at a remote period with the hare. Consequently I
examined skulls of the hare, but no light could thus be thrown on the
peculiarities of the skulls of the larger rabbits. It is, however, an
interesting fact, as illustrating the law that varieties of one species
often assume the characters of other species of the same genus, that I
found, on comparing the skulls of ten species of hares in the British
Museum, that they differed from each other chiefly in the very same
points in which domestic rabbits vary,—namely, in general proportions,
in the form and size of the supra-orbital plates, in the form of the
free end of the malar bone, and in the line of suture separating the
occipital and frontal bones. Moreover two eminently variable characters
in the domestic rabbit, namely, the outline of the occipital foramen
and the shape of the “raised platform” of the occiput, were likewise
variable in two instances in the same species of hare.

_Vertebræ._—The number is uniform in all the skeletons which I have
examined, with two exceptions, namely, in one of the small feral Porto
Santo rabbits and in one of the largest lop-eared kinds; both of these
had as usual seven cervical, twelve dorsal with ribs, but, instead of
seven lumbar, both had eight lumbar vertebræ. This is remarkable, as
Gervais gives seven as the number for the whole genus Lepus. The caudal
vertebræ apparently differ by two or three, but I did not attend to
them, and they are difficult to count with certainty.

Illustration: Fig. 12—Atlas Vertebræ of Rabbits.

In the first cervical vertebra, or atlas, the anterior margin of the
neural arch varies a little in wild specimens, being either nearly
smooth, or furnished with a small supra-median atlantoid process; I
have figured a specimen with the largest process (_a_) which I have
seen; but it will be observed how inferior this is in size and
different in shape to that in a large lop-eared rabbit. In the latter,
the infra-median process (_b_) is also proportionally much thicker and
longer. The alæ are a little squarer in outline.

Illustration: Fig. 13—Third Cervical Vertebræ, of natural size, of—A.
Wild Rabbit; B. Hare-coloured, large, Lop-eared Rabbit.

_Third cervical vertebra._—In the wild rabbit (fig. 13, A _a_) this
vertebra, viewed on the inferior surface, has a transverse process,
which is directed obliquely backwards, and consists of a single pointed
bar; in the fourth vertebra this process is slightly forked in the
middle. In the large lop-eared rabbits this process (B _ a_) is forked
in the third vertebra, as in the fourth of the wild rabbit. But the
third cervical vertebræ of the wild and lop-eared (A _b,_ B _b_)
rabbits differ more conspicuously when their anterior articular
surfaces are compared; for the extremities of the antero-dorsal
processes in the wild rabbit are simply rounded, whilst in the
lop-eared they are trifid, with a deep central pit. The canal for the
spinal marrow in the lop-eared (B _b_) is more elongated in a
transverse direction than in the wild rabbit; and the passages for the
arteries are of a slightly different shape. These several differences
in this vertebra seem to me well deserving attention.

_First dorsal vertebra._—Its neural spine varies in length in the wild
rabbit; being sometimes very short, but generally more than half as
long as that of the second dorsal; but I have seen it in two large
lop-eared rabbits three-fourths of the length of that of the second
dorsal vertebra.

Illustration: Fig. 14—Dorsal Vertebræ, from sixth to tenth inclusive,
of natural size, viewed laterally. A. Wild Rabbit. B. Large,
Hare-coloured, so-called Spanish Rabbit.

    _Ninth and tenth dorsal vertebræ._—In the wild rabbit the neural
    spine of the ninth vertebra is just perceptibly thicker than that
    of the eighth; and the neural spine of the tenth is plainly thicker
    and shorter than those of all the anterior vertebræ. In the large
    lop-eared rabbits the neural spines of the tenth, ninth, and eighth
    vertebræ, and even in a slight degree that of the seventh, are very
    much thicker, and of somewhat different shape, in comparison with
    those of the wild rabbit. So that this part of the vertebral column
    differs considerably in appearance from the same part in the wild
    rabbit, and closely resembles in an interesting manner these same
    vertebræ in some species of hares. In the Angora, Chinchilla, and
    Himalayan rabbits, the neural spines of the eighth and ninth
    vertebræ are in a slight degree thicker than in the wild. On the
    other hand, in one of the feral Porto Santo rabbits, which in most
    of its characters deviates from the common wild rabbit, in a
    direction exactly opposite to that assumed by the large lop-eared
    rabbits, the neural spines of the ninth and tenth vertebræ were not
    at all larger than those of the several anterior vertebra. In this
    same Porto Santo specimen there was no trace in the ninth vertebra
    of the anterior lateral processes (see fig. 14), which are plainly
    developed in all British wild rabbits, and still more plainly
    developed in the large lop-eared rabbits. In a half-wild rabbit
    from Sandon Park,[26] a haemal spine was moderately well developed
    on the under side of the twelfth dorsal vertebra, and I have seen
    this in no other specimen.

_Lumbar vertebræ._—I have stated that in two cases there were eight
instead of seven lumbar vertebræ. The third lumbar vertebræ in one
skeleton of a wild British rabbit, and in one of the Porto Santo feral
rabbits, had a haemal spine; whilst in four skeletons of large
lop-eared rabbits, and in the Himalayan rabbit, this same vertebra had
a well developed hæmal spine.

Illustration: Fig. 15—Terminal bone of Sternum of Rabbits.

_Pelvis._—In four wild specimens this bone was almost absolutely
identical in shape; but in several domesticated breeds shades of
differences could be distinguished. In the large lop-eared rabbits, the
whole upper part of the ilium is straighter, or less splayed outwards,
than in the wild rabbit; and the tuberosity on the inner lip of the
anterior and upper part of the ilium is proportionally more prominent.

_Sternum._—The posterior end of the posterior sternal bone in the wild
rabbit (fig. 15, A) is thin and slightly enlarged; in some of the large
lop-eared rabbits (B) it is much more enlarged towards the extremity;
whilst in other specimens (C) it keeps nearly of the same breadth from
end to end, but is much thicker at the extremity.

Illustration: Fig. 16—Acromion of Scapula, of natural size. A. Wild
Rabbit. B, C, D, Large, Lop-eared Rabbits.

_Scapula._—The acromion sends out a rectangular bar, ending in an
oblique knob, which latter in the wild rabbit (fig. 16, A) varies a
little in shape and size, as does the apex of the acromion in
sharpness, and the part just below the rectangular bar in breadth. But
the variations in these respects in the wild rabbit are very slight:
whilst in the large lop-eared rabbits they are considerable. Thus in
some specimens (B) the oblique terminal knob is developed into a short
bar, forming an obtuse angle with the rectangular bar. In another
specimen (C) these two unequal bars form nearly a straight line. The
apex of the acromion varies much in breadth and sharpness, as may be
seen by comparing figures B, C, and D.

_Limbs._—In these I could detect no variation; but the bones of the
feet were too troublesome to compare with much care.

I have now described all the differences in the skeletons which I have
observed. It is impossible not to be struck with the high degree of
variability or plasticity of many of the bones. We see how erroneous
the often-repeated statement is, that only the crests of the bones
which give attachment to muscles vary in shape, and that only parts of
slight importance become modified under domestication. No one will say,
for instance, that the occipital foramen, or the atlas, or the third
cervical vertebra is a part of slight importance. If the several
vertebræ of the wild and lop-eared rabbits, of which figures have been
given, had been found fossil, palæontologists would have declared
without hesitation that they had belonged to distinct species.

_The effects of the use and disuse of parts._—In the large lop-eared
rabbits the relative proportional length of the bones of the same leg,
and of the front and hind legs compared with each other, have remained
nearly the same as in the wild rabbit; but in weight, the bones of the
hind legs apparently have not increased in due proportion with the
front legs. The weight of the whole body in the large rabbits examined
by me was from twice to twice and a half as great as that of the wild
rabbit; and the weight of the bones of the front and hind limbs taken
together (excluding the feet, on account of the difficulty of cleaning
so many small bones) has increased in the large lop-eared rabbits in
nearly the same proportion; consequently in due proportion to the
weight of body which they have to support. If we take the length of the
body as the standard of comparison, the limbs of the large rabbits have
not increased in length in due proportion by one inch and a half.
Again, if we take as the standard of comparison the length of the
skull, which, as we have before seen, has not increased in length in
due proportion to the length of body, the limbs will be found to be,
proportionally with those of the wild rabbit, from half to
three-quarters of an inch too short. Hence, whatever standard of
comparison be taken, the limb-bones of the large lop-eared rabbits have
not increased in length, though they have in weight, in full proportion
to the other parts of the frame; and this, I presume, may be accounted
for by the inactive life which during many generations they have spent.
Nor has the scapula increased in length in due proportion to the
increased length of the body.

    The capacity of the osseous case of the brain is a more interesting
    point, to which I was led to attend by finding, as previously
    stated, that with all domesticated rabbits the length of the skull
    relatively to its breadth has greatly increased in comparison with
    that of the wild rabbits. If we had possessed a large number of
    domesticated rabbits of nearly the same size with the wild rabbits,
    it would have been a simple task to have measured and compared the
    capacities of their skulls. But this is not the case: almost all
    the domestic breeds have larger bodies than wild rabbits, and the
    lop-eared kinds are more than double their weight. As a small
    animal has to exert its senses, intellect, and instincts equally
    with a large animal, we ought not by any means to expect an animal
    twice or thrice as large as another to have a brain of double or
    treble the size.[27] Now, after weighing the bodies of four wild
    rabbits, and of four large but not fattened lop-eared rabbits, I
    find that on an average the wild are to the lop-eared in weight as
    1 to 2·17; in average length of body as 1 to 1·41; whilst in
    capacity of skull they are as 1 to 1·15. Hence we see that the
    capacity of the skull, and consequently the size of the brain, has
    increased but little, relatively to the increased size of the body;
    and this fact explains the narrowness of the skull relatively to
    its length in all domestic rabbits.

            I     II     III     IV Name of Breed
        WILD AND SEMI-WILD RABBITS.     Length of
        Skull.     Length of
        Body from
        to Anus.     Weight
        of whole
        Body.     Capacity
        of Skull
        by Small
        Shot. inches     inches     lbs  ozs     grains 1     Wild Rabbit,
        Kent     3·15     17·4     3    5       972 2     Wild Rabbit,
        Shetland Islands     3·15     —     —       979 3     Wild Rabbit,
        Ireland     3·15     —     —       992 4     Domestic rabbit, run
        wild, Sandon     3·15     18·5     —       997 5     Wild, common
        variety, small specimen, Kent     2·96     17·0     2  14       875
        6     Wild, fawn-coloured variety,
        Scotland     3·10     —     —       918 7     Silver-grey, small
        specimen, Thetford warren     2·95     15·5     2  11       938
        8     Feral rabbit, Porto Santo     2·83     —     —       893
        9     Feral rabbit, Porto Santo     2·85     —     —       756
        10     Feral Rabbit, Porto Santo     2·95     —     —       835
        Average of the three Porto Santo rabbits     2·88     —     —      
      DOMESTIC RABBITS. 11     Himalayan     3·50     20·5     —       963
      12     Moscow     3·25     17·0     3    8       803
      13     Angora     3·50     19·5     3    1       697
      14     Chinchilla     3·65     22·0     —       995 15     Large
      lop-eared     4·10     24·5     7    0     1065 16     Large
      lop-eared     4·10     25·0     7  13     1153 17     Large
      lop-eared     4·07     —     —     1037 18     Large
      lop-eared     4·10     25·0     7    4     1208 19     Large
      lop-eared     4·30     —     —     1232 20     Large
      lop-eared     4·25     —     —     1124 21     Large
      hare-coloured     3·86     24·0     6  14     1131 22     Average of
      above seven large lop-eared rabbits     4·11       24·62     7   
      4     1136
23     Hare (_L. timidus_) English specimen     3·61     —     7   
0     1315 24     Hare (_L. timidus_) German specimen     3·82     —     7  
 0     1415

            V     VI     VII Name of Breed

        WILD AND SEMI-WILD RABBITS.     Capacity
        according to
        Length of Skull
        to that of
        No. 1.     Difference
        actual and
        of Skulls.     Showing how much
        per cent. the Brain,
        by calculation
        according to the
        length of the Skull
        is too light or too
        heavy, relatively
        to the Brain of the
        Wild Rabbit No. 1. grains     grains 1     Wild Rabbit,
        Kent     —     — 2     Wild Rabbit, Shetland
        Islands     —     —     2 per cent. too heavy
        in comparison with No. 1 3     Wild Rabbit, Ireland     —     —
        4     Domestic rabbit, run wild, Sandon 5     Wild, common
        variety, small specimen, Kent       913       38     4 per cent.
        too light. 6     Wild, fawn-coloured variety, Scotland      
        950       32     3 per cent. too light. 7     Silver-grey, small
        specimen, Thetford warren       910       28     3 per cent. too
        heavy. 8     Feral rabbit, Porto Santo       873       20     2 per
        cent. too heavy. 9     Feral rabbit, Porto Santo      
        879     123     16 per cent. too light. 10     Feral Rabbit, Porto
        Santo       910       75     9 per cent. too light. Average of the
        three Porto Santo rabbits       888       60     7 per cent. too
      DOMESTIC RABBITS. 11     Himalayan     1080     117     12 per cent.
      too light. 12     Moscow     1002     199     24 per cent. too light.
      13     Angora     1080     383     54 per cent. too light.
      14     Chinchilla     1126     131     13 per cent. too light.
      15     Large lop-eared     1265     200     18 per cent. too light.
      16     Large lop-eared     1265     112     9 per cent. too light.
      17     Large lop-eared     1255     218     21 per cent. too light.
      18     Large lop-eared     1265       57     4 per cent. too light.
      19     Large lop-eared     1326       94     7 per cent. too light.
      20     Large lop-eared     1311     187     16 per cent. too light.
      21     Large hare-coloured     1191       60     5 per cent. too
      light. 22     Average of above seven large lop-eared
      rabbits     1268     132     11 per cent. too light.

In the upper half of Table 3 I have given the measurements of the skull
of ten wild rabbits; and in the lower half, of eleven thoroughly
domesticated kinds. As these rabbits differ so greatly in size, it is
necessary to have some standard by which to compare the capacities of
their skulls. I have selected the length of skull as the best standard,
for in the larger rabbits it has not, as already stated, increased in
length so much as the body; but as the skull, like every other part,
varies in length, neither it nor any other part affords a perfect

In the first column of figures the extreme length of the skull is given
in inches and decimals. I am aware that these measurements pretend to
greater accuracy than is possible; but I have found it the least
trouble to record the exact length which the compass gave. The second
and third columns give the length and weight of body, whenever these
observations were made. The fourth column gives the capacity of the
skull by the weight of small shot with which the skulls were filled;
but it is not pretended that these weights are accurate within a few
grains. In the fifth column the capacity is given which the skull ought
to have had by calculation, according to the length of skull, in
comparison with that of the wild rabbit No. 1; in the sixth column the
difference between the actual and calculated capacities, and in the
seventh the percentage of increase or decrease, are given. For
instance, as the wild rabbit No. 5 has a shorter and lighter body than
the wild rabbit No. 1, we might have expected that its skull would have
had less capacity; the actual capacity, as expressed by the weight of
shot, is 875 grains, which is 97 grains less than that of the first
rabbit. But comparing these two rabbits by the length of their skulls,
we see that in No. 1 the skull is 3·15 inches in length, and in No. 5
2·96 inches in length; according to this ratio, the brain of No. 5
ought to have had a capacity of 913 grains of shot, which is above the
actual capacity, but only by 38 grains. Or, to put the case in another
way (as in column vii), the brain of this small rabbit, No. 5, for
every 100 grains of weight is only 4 grains too light,—that is, it
ought, according to the standard rabbit No. 1, to have been 4 per cent
heavier. I have taken the rabbit No. 1 as the standard of comparison
because, of the skulls having a full average length, this has the least
capacity; so that it is the least favourable to the result which I wish
to show, namely, that the brain in all long-domesticated rabbits has
decreased in size, either actually, or relatively to the length of the
head and body, in comparison with the brain of the wild rabbit. Had I
taken the Irish rabbit, No. 3, as the standard, the following results
would have been somewhat more striking.

Turning to Table 3: the first four wild rabbits have skulls of the same
length, and these differ but little in capacity. The Sandon rabbit (No.
4) is interesting, as, though now wild, it is known to be descended
from a domesticated breed, as is still shown by its peculiar colouring
and longer body; nevertheless the skull has recovered its normal length
and full capacity. The next three rabbits are wild, but of small size,
and they all have skulls with slightly lessened capacities. The three
Porto Santo feral rabbits (Nos. 8 to 10) offer a perplexing case; their
bodies are greatly reduced in size, as in a lesser degree are their
skulls in length and in actual capacity, in comparison with the skulls
of wild English rabbits. But when we compare the capacities of the
skull in the three Porto Santo rabbits, we observe a surprising
difference, which does not stand in any relation to the slight
difference in the length of their skulls, nor, as I believe, to any
difference in the size of their bodies; but I neglected weighing
separately their bodies. I can hardly suppose that the medullary matter
of the brain in these three rabbits, living under similar conditions,
can differ as much as is indicated by the proportional difference of
capacity in their skulls; nor do I know whether it is possible that one
brain may contain considerably more fluid than another. Hence I can
throw no light on this case.

    Looking to the lower half of Table 3, which gives the measurements
    of domesticated rabbits, we see that in all the capacity of the
    skull is less, but in very various degrees, than might have been
    anticipated according to the length of their skulls, relatively to
    that of the wild rabbit No. 1. In line 22 the average measurements
    of seven large lop-eared rabbits are given. Now the question
    arises, has the average capacity of the skull in these seven large
    rabbits increased as much as might have been expected from the
    greatly increased size of body. We may endeavour to answer this
    question in two ways: in the upper half of the Table we have
    measurements of the skulls of six small wild rabbits (Nos. 5 to
    10), and we find that on an average the skulls are ·18 of an inch
    shorter, and in capacity 91 grains less, than the average length
    and capacity of the three first wild rabbits on the list. The seven
    large lop-eared rabbits, on an average, have skulls 4·11 inches in
    length, and 1136 grains in capacity; so that these skulls have
    increased in length more than five times as much as the skulls of
    the six small wild rabbits have decreased in length; hence we might
    have expected that the skulls of the large lop-eared rabbits would
    have increased in capacity five times as much as the skulls of the
    six small rabbits have decreased in capacity; and this would have
    given an average increased capacity of 455 grains, whilst the real
    average increase is only 155 grains. Again, the large lop-eared
    rabbits have bodies of nearly the same weight and size as the
    common hare, but their heads are longer; consequently, if the
    lop-eared rabbits had been wild, it might have been expected that
    their skulls would have had nearly the same capacity as that of the
    skull of the hare. But this is far from being the case; for the
    average capacity of the two hare-skulls (Nos. 23, 24) is so much
    larger than the average capacity of the seven lop-eared skulls,
    that the latter would have to be increased 21 per cent to come up
    to the standard of the hare.[28]

I have previously remarked that, if we had possessed many domestic
rabbits of the same average size with the wild rabbit, it would have
been easy to compare the capacity of their skulls. Now the Himalayan,
Moscow, and Angora rabbits (Nos. 11, 12, 13 of Table 3) are only a
little larger in body and have skulls only a little longer, than the
wild animal, and we see that the actual capacity of their skulls is
less than in the wild animal, and considerably less by calculation
(column 7), according to the difference in the length of their skulls.
The narrowness of the brain-case in these three rabbits could be
plainly seen and proved by external measurement. The Chinchilla rabbit
(No. 14) is a considerably larger animal than the wild rabbit, yet the
capacity of its skull only slightly exceeds that of the wild rabbit.
The Angora rabbit, No. 13, offers the most remarkable case; this animal
in its pure white colour and length of silky fur bears the stamp of
long domesticity. It has a considerably longer head and body than the
wild rabbit, but the actual capacity of its skull is less than that of
even the little wild Porto Santo rabbits. By the standard of the length
of skull the capacity (see column 7) is only half of what it ought to
have been! I kept this individual animal alive, and it was not
unhealthy nor idiotic. This case of the Angora rabbit so much surprised
me, that I repeated all the measurements and found them correct. I have
also compared the capacity of the skull of the Angora with that of the
wild rabbit by other standards, namely, by the length and weight of the
body, and by the weight of the limb-bones; but by all these standards
the brain appears to be much too small, though in a less degree when
the standard of the limb-bones was used; and this latter circumstance
may probably be accounted for by the limbs of this anciently
domesticated breed having become much reduced in weight, from its
long-continued inactive life. Hence I infer that in the Angora breed,
which is said to differ from other breeds in being quieter and more
social, the capacity of the skull has really undergone a remarkable
amount of reduction.

From the several facts above given,—namely, firstly, that the actual
capacity of the skull in the Himalayan, Moscow, and Angora breeds, is
less than in the wild rabbit, though they are in all their dimensions
rather larger animals; secondly, that the capacity of the skull of the
large lop-eared rabbits has not been increased in nearly the same ratio
as the capacity of the skull of the smaller wild rabbits has been
decreased; and thirdly, that the capacity of the skull in these same
large lop-eared rabbits is very inferior to that of the hare, an animal
of nearly the same size,—I conclude, notwithstanding the remarkable
differences in capacity in the skulls of the small Porto Santo rabbits,
and likewise in the large lop-eared kinds, that in all
long-domesticated rabbits the brain has either by no means increased in
due proportion with the increased length of the head and increased size
of the body, or that it has actually decreased in size, relatively to
what would have occurred had these animals lived in a state of nature.
When we remember that rabbits, from having been domesticated and
closely confined during many generations, cannot have exerted their
intellect, instincts, senses, and voluntary movements, either in
escaping from various dangers or in searching for food, we may conclude
that their brains will have been feebly exercised, and consequently
have suffered in development. We thus see that the most important and
complicated organ in the whole organisation is subject to the law of
decrease in size from disuse.

Finally, let us sum up the more important modifications which domestic
rabbits have undergone, together with their causes as far as we can
obscurely see them. By the supply of abundant and nutritious food,
together with little exercise, and by the continued selection of the
heaviest individuals, the weight of the larger breeds has been more
than doubled. The bones of the limbs taken together have increased in
weight, in due proportion with the increased weight of body, but the
hind legs have increased less than the front legs; but in length they
have not increased in due proportion, and this may have been caused by
the want of proper exercise. With the increased size of the body the
third cervical has assumed characters proper to the fourth cervical
vertebra; and the eighth and ninth dorsal vertebræ have similarly
assumed characters proper to the tenth and posterior vertebræ. The
skull in the larger breeds has increased in length, but not in due
proportion with the increased length of body; the brain has not duly
increased in dimensions, or has even actually decreased, and
consequently the bony case for the brain has remained narrow, and by
correlation has affected the bones of the face and the entire length of
the skull. The skull has thus acquired its characteristic narrowness.
From unknown causes the supra-orbital process of the frontal bones and
the free end of the malar bones have increased in breadth; and in the
larger breeds the occipital foramen is generally much less deeply
notched than in wild rabbits. Certain parts of the scapula and the
terminal sternal bones have become highly variable in shape. The ears
have been increased enormously in length and breadth through continued
selection; their weight, conjoined probably with the disuse of their
muscles, has caused them to lop downwards; and this has affected the
position and form of the bony auditory meatus; and this again, by
correlation, the position in a slight degree of almost every bone in
the upper part of the skull, and even the position of the condyles of
the lower jaw.


 [1] M. P. Gervais, ‘Hist. Nat. des Mammifères,’ 1854, tom. i., p. 288.

 [2] U. Aldrovandi ‘De Quadrupedibus digitatis,’ 1637, p. 383. For
 Confucius and G. Markham _see_ a writer who has studied the subject in
 ‘Cottage Gardener,’ Jan. 22, 1861, p. 250.

 [3] Owen, ‘British Fossil Mammals,’ p. 212.

 [4] Bechstein, ‘Naturgesch. Deutschlands,’ 1801, B. i. p. 1133. I have
 received similar accounts with respect to England and Scotland.

 [5] ‘Pigeons and Rabbits,’ by E. S. Delamer, 1854, p. 133. Sir J.
 Sebright (‘Observations on Instinct,’ 1836, p. 10.) speaks most
 strongly on the difficulty. But this difficulty is not invariable, as
 I have received two accounts of perfect success in taming and breeding
 from the wild rabbit. _See also_ Dr. P. Broca in ‘Journal de la
 Physiologie,’ tom. ii. p. 368.

 [6] Gervais, ‘Hist. Nat. des Mammifères,’ tom. i. p. 292.

 [7] _See_ Dr. P. Broca’s interesting memoir on this subject in
 Brown-Séquard’s ‘Journ. de. Phys.,’ vol. ii. p. 367.

 [8] The skulls of these breeds are briefly described in the ‘Journal
 of Horticulture,’ May 7, 1861, p. 108.

 [9] ‘Journal of Horticulture,’ 1861, p. 380.

 [10] ‘Journal of Horticulture,’ May 28, 1861, p. 169.

 [11] ‘Journal of Horticulture,’ 1861, p. 327. With respect to the ears
 _see_ Delamer on ‘Pigeons and Rabbits,’ 1854, p. 141; also ‘Poultry
 Chronicle,’ vol. ii. p. 499, and ditto for 1854, p. 586.

 [12] Delamer, ‘Pigeons and Rabbits,’ p. 136. _See also_ ‘Journal of
 Horticulture,’ 1861, p. 375.

 [13] ‘An Account of the different Kinds of Sheep in the Russian
 Dominions,’ 1794, p. 39.

 [14] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ June 23, 1857, p. 159.

 [15] ‘Journal of Horticulture,’ April 9, 1861, p. 35.

 [16] ‘Cottage Gardener,’ 1857, p. 141.

 [17] Mr. Bartlett, in ‘Proc. Zoolog Soc.,’ 1861, p. 40.

 [18] ‘Phenomenon in Himalayan Rabbits,’ in ‘Journal of Horticulture,’
 Jan. 27, 1865, p. 102.

 [19] G. R. Waterhouse, ‘Natural History of Mammalia: Rodents,’ 1846,
 pp. 52, 60, 105.

 [20] Delamer on ‘Pigeons and Rabbits,’ p. 114.

 [21] Gosse’s ‘Sojourn in Jamaica,’ 1851, p. 441, as described by an
 excellent observer, Mr. R. Hill. This is the only known case in which
 rabbits have become feral in a hot country. They can be kept, however,
 at Loanda (_see_ Livingstone’s ‘Travels,’ p. 407). In parts of India,
 as I am informed by Mr. Blyth, they breed well.

 [22] Darwin’s ‘Journal of Researches,’ p. 193; and ‘Zoology of the
 Voyage of the Beagle: Mammalia,’ p. 92.

 [23] Kerr’s ‘Collection of Voyages,’ vol. ii. p. 177: p. 205 for Cada
 Mosto. According to a work published in Lisbon in 1717 entitled
 ‘Historia Insulana,’ written by a Jesuit, the rabbits were turned out
 in 1420. Some authors believe that the island was discovered in 1413.

 [24] Something of the same kind has occurred on the island of Lipari,
 where, according to Spallanzani (‘Voyage dans les deux Siciles,’
 quoted by Godron, ‘De l’Espèce,’ p. 364), a countryman turned out some
 rabbits which multiplied prodigiously, but, says Spallanzani, “les
 lapins de l’ile de Lipari sont plus petits que ceux qu’on élève en

 [25] Waterhouse, ‘Nat. Hist. Mammalia,’ vol. ii. p. 36.

 [26] These rabbits have run wild for a considerable time in Sandon
 Park, and in other places in Staffordshire and Shropshire. They
 originated, as I have been informed by the gamekeeper, from
 variously-coloured domestic rabbits which had been turned out. They
 vary in colour; but many are symmetrically coloured, being white with
 a streak along the spine, and with the ears and certain marks about
 the head of a blackish-grey tint. They have rather longer bodies than
 common rabbits.

 [27] _See_ Prof. Owen’s remarks on this subject in his paper on the
 ‘Zoological Significance of the Brain, etc., of Man, etc.,’ read
 before Brit. Association 1862: with respect to Birds, _see_ ‘Proc.
 Zoolog. Soc.,’ Jan. 11, 1848, p. 8.

 [28] This standard is apparently considerably too low, for Dr. Crisp
 (‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1861, p. 86) gives 210 grains as the actual
 weight of the brain of a hare which weighed 7 pounds, and 125 grains
 as the weight of the brain of a rabbit which weighed 3 pounds 5
 ounces, that is, the same weight as the rabbit No. 1 in my list. Now
 the contents of the skull of rabbit No. 1 in shot is in my table 972
 grains; and according to Dr. Crisp’s ratio of 125 to 210, the skull of
 the hare ought to have contained 1632 grains of shot, instead of only
 (in the largest hare in my table) 1455 grains.



I have been led to study domestic pigeons with particular care, because
the evidence that all the domestic races are descended from one known
source is far clearer than with any other anciently domesticated
animal. Secondly, because many treatises in several languages, some of
them old, have been written on the pigeon, so that we are enabled to
trace the history of several breeds. And lastly, because, from causes
which we can partly understand, the amount of variation has been
extraordinarily great. The details will often be tediously minute; but
no one who really wants to understand the progress of change in
domestic animals, and especially no one who has kept pigeons and has
marked the great difference between the breeds and the trueness with
which most of them propagate their kind, will doubt that this
minuteness is worth while. Notwithstanding the clear evidence that all
the breeds are the descendants of a single species, I could not
persuade myself until some years had passed that the whole amount of
difference between them, had arisen since man first domesticated the
wild rock-pigeon.

    I have kept alive all the most distinct breeds, which I could
    procure in England or from the Continent; and have prepared
    skeletons of all. I have received skins from Persia, and a large
    number from India and other quarters of the world.[1] Since my
    admission into two of the London pigeon-clubs, I have received the
    kindest assistance from many of the most eminent amateurs.[2]

    The races of the Pigeon which can be distinguished, and which breed
    true, are very numerous. MM. Boitard and Corbié[3] describe in
    detail 122 kinds; and I could add several European kinds not known
    to them. In India, judging from the skins sent me, there are many
    breeds unknown here; and Sir W. Elliot informs me that a collection
    imported by an Indian merchant into Madras from Cairo and
    Constantinople included several kinds unknown in India. I have no
    doubt that there exist considerably above 150 kinds which breed
    true and have been separately named. But of these the far greater
    number differ from each other only in unimportant characters. Such
    differences will be here entirely passed over, and I shall confine
    myself to the more important points of structure. That many
    important differences exist we shall presently see. I have looked
    through the magnificent collection of the Columbidæ in the British
    Museum, and, with the exception of a few forms (such as the
    Didunculus, Calænas, Goura, etc.), I do not hesitate to affirm that
    some domestic races of the rock-pigeon differ fully as much from
    each other in external characters as do the most distinct natural
    genera. We may look in vain through the 288 known species[4] for a
    beak so small and conical as that of the short-faced tumbler; for
    one so broad and short as that of the barb; for one so long,
    straight, and narrow, with its enormous wattles, as that of the
    English carrier; for an expanded upraised tail like that of the
    fantail; or for an œsophagus like that of the pouter. I do not for
    a moment pretend that the domestic races differ from each other in
    their whole organisation as much as the more distinct natural
    genera. I refer only to external characters, on which, however, it
    must be confessed that most genera of birds have been founded.
    When, in a future chapter, we discuss the principle of selection as
    followed by man, we shall clearly see why the differences between
    the domestic races are almost always confined to external, or at
    least to externally visible, characters.

Owing to the amount and gradations of difference between the several
breeds, I have found it indispensable in the following classification
to rank them under Groups, Races, and Sub-races; to which varieties and
sub-varieties, all strictly inheriting their proper characters, must
often be added. Even with the individuals of the same sub-variety, when
long kept by different fanciers, different strains can sometimes be
recognised. There can be no doubt that, if well-characterised forms of
the several races had been found wild, all would have been ranked as
distinct species, and several of them would certainly have been placed
by ornithologists in distinct genera. A good classification of the
various domestic breeds is extremely difficult, owing to the manner in
which many of the forms graduate into each other; but it is curious how
exactly the same difficulties are encountered, and the same rules have
to be followed, as in the classification of any natural but difficult
group of organic beings. An “artificial classification” might be
followed which would present fewer difficulties than a “natural
classification;” but then it would interrupt many plain affinities.
Extreme forms can readily be defined; but intermediate and troublesome
forms often destroy our definitions. Forms which may be called
“aberrant” must sometimes be included within groups to which they do
not accurately belong. Characters of all kinds must be used; but as
with birds in a state of nature, those afforded by the beak are the
best and most readily appreciated. It is not possible to weigh the
importance of all the characters which have to be used so as to make
the groups and sub-groups of equal value. Lastly, a group may contain
only one race, and another and less distinctly defined group may
contain several races and sub-races, and in this case it is difficult,
as in the classification of natural species, to avoid placing too high
a value on the number of forms which a group may contain.

    In my measurements I have never trusted to the eye; and when
    speaking of a part being large or small, I always refer to the wild
    rock-pigeon (_Columba livia_) as the standard of comparison. The
    measurements are given in decimals of an inch.[5]

Illustration: Fig. 17—The Rock-Pigeon, or Columba livia.[6] The
parent-form of all domesticated pigeons.




I will now give a brief description of all the principal breeds. The
diagram above may aid the reader in learning their names and seeing
their affinities. The rock-pigeon, or _ Columba livia_ (including under
this name two or three closely-allied sub-species or geographical
races, hereafter to be described), may be confidently viewed, as we
shall see in the next chapter, as the common parent-form. The names in
italics on the right-hand side of the page show us the most distinct
breeds, or those which have undergone the greatest amount of
modification. The lengths of the dotted lines rudely represent the
degree of distinctness of each breed from the parent-stock, and the
names placed under each other in the columns show the more or less
closely connecting links. The distances of the dotted lines from each
other approximately represent the amount of difference between the
several breeds.

Illustration: Fig. 18—English Pouter.


This group includes a single race, that of the Pouters. If the most
strongly marked sub-race be taken, namely, the Improved English Pouter,
this is perhaps the most distinct of all domesticated pigeons.

      Race I. Pouter Pigeons.
      (Kropftauben, German. Grosses-gorges, or Boulans, French.)

_Œsophagus of great size, barely separated from the crop, often
inflated. Body and legs elongated. Beak of moderate dimensions._

_Sub-race I._—The improved English Pouter, when its crop is fully
inflated, presents a truly astonishing appearance. The habit of
slightly inflating the crop is common to all domestic pigeons, but is
carried to an extreme in the Pouter. The crop does not differ, except
in size, from that of other pigeons; but is less plainly separated by
an oblique constriction from the œsophagus. The diameter of the upper
part of the œsophagus is immense, even close up to the head. The beak
in one bird which I possessed was almost completely buried when the
œsophagus was fully expanded. The males, especially when excited, pout
more than the females, and they glory in exercising this power. If a
bird will not, to use the technical expression, “play,” the fancier, as
I have witnessed, by taking the beak into his mouth, blows him up like
a balloon; and the bird, then puffed up with wind and pride, struts
about, retaining his magnificent size as long as he can. Pouters often
take flight with their crops inflated. After one of my birds had
swallowed a good meal of peas and water, as he flew up in order to
disgorge them and feed his nearly fledged young, I heard the peas
rattling in his inflated crop as if in a bladder. When flying, they
often strike the backs of their wings together, and thus make a
clapping noise.

Pouters stand remarkably upright, and their bodies are thin and
elongated. In connexion with this form of body, the ribs are generally
broader and the vertebræ more numerous than in other breeds. From their
manner of standing their legs appear longer than they really are,
though, in proportion with those of _C. livia_, the legs and feet are
actually longer. The wings appear much elongated, but by measurement,
in relation to the length of body, this is not the case. The beak
likewise appears longer, but it is in fact a little shorter (about ·03
of an inch), proportionally with the size of the body, and relatively
to the beak of the rock-pigeon. The Pouter, though not bulky, is a
large bird; I measured one which was 34½ inches from tip to tip of
wing, and 19 inches from tip of beak to end of tail. In a wild
rock-pigeon from the Shetland Islands the same measurements gave only
28¼ and 14¾. There are many sub-varieties of the Pouter of different
colours, but these I pass over.

    _Sub-race II. Dutch Pouter._—This seems to be the parent-form of
    our improved English Pouters. I kept a pair, but I suspect that
    they were not pure birds. They are smaller than English pouters,
    and less well developed in all their characters. Neumeister[7] says
    that the wings are crossed over the tail, and do not reach to its

    _Sub-race III. The Lille Pouter._—I know this breed only from
    description.[8] It approaches in general form the Dutch Pouter, but
    the inflated œsophagus assumes a spherical form, as if the pigeon
    had swallowed a large orange, which had stuck close under the beak.
    This inflated ball is represented as rising to a level with the
    crown of the head. The middle toe alone is feathered. A variety of
    this sub-race, called the claquant, is described by MM. Boitard and
    Corbié; it pouts but little, and is characterised by the habit of
    violently hitting its wings together over its back,—a habit which
    the English Pouter has in a slight degree.

_Sub-race IV. Common German Pouter._—I know this bird only from the
figures and description given by the accurate Neumeister, one of the
few writers on pigeons who, as I have found, may always be trusted.
This sub-race seems considerably different. The upper part of the
œsophagus is much less distended. The bird stands less upright. The
feet are not feathered, and the legs and beak are shorter. In these
respects there is an approach in form to the common rock-pigeon. The
tail-feathers are very long, yet the tips of the closed wings extend
beyond the end of the tail; and the length of the wings, from tip to
tip, and of the body, is greater than in the English Pouter.

Illustration: Fig. 19—English Carrier.


This group includes three Races, namely, Carriers, Runts, and Barbs,
which are manifestly allied to each other. Indeed, certain carriers and
runts pass into each other by such insensible gradations that an
arbitrary line has to be drawn between them. Carriers also graduate
through foreign breeds into the rock-pigeon. Yet, if well-characterised
Carriers and Barbs (see figs 19 and 20) had existed as wild species, no
ornithologist would have placed them in the same genus with each other
or with the rock-pigeon. This group may, as a general rule, be
recognised by the beak being long, with the skin over the nostrils
swollen and often carunculated or wattled, and with that round the eyes
bare and likewise carunculated. The mouth is very wide, and the feet
are large. Nevertheless the Barb, which must be classed in this same
group, has a very short beak, and some runts have very little bare skin
round their eyes.

Race II.—Carriers.
      (Türkische Tauben; pigeons turcs, dragons.)

_Beak elongated, narrow, pointed; eyes surrounded by much naked,
generally carunculated, skin; neck and body elongated._

_Sub-race I. The English Carrier._—This is a fine bird, of large size,
close feathered, generally dark-coloured, with an elongated neck. The
beak is attenuated and of wonderful length: in one specimen it was 1·4
inch in length from the feathered base to the tip; therefore nearly
twice as long as that of the rock-pigeon, which measured only ·77.
Whenever I compare proportionally any part in the carrier and
rock-pigeon, I take the length of the body from the base of the beak to
the end of the tail as the standard of comparison; and according to
this standard, the beak in one Carrier was nearly half an inch longer
than in the rock-pigeon. The upper mandible is often slightly arched.
The tongue is very long. The development of the carunculated skin or
wattle round the eyes, over the nostrils, and on the lower mandible, is
prodigious. The eyelids, measured longitudinally, were in some
specimens exactly twice as long as in the rock-pigeon. The external
orifice or furrow of the nostrils was also twice as long. The open
mouth in its widest part was in one case ·75 of an inch in width,
whereas in the rock-pigeon it is only about ·4 of an inch. This great
width of mouth is shown in the skeleton by the reflexed edges of the
ramus of the lower jaw. The head is flat on the summit and narrow
between the orbits. The feet are large and coarse; the length, as
measured from end of hind toe to end of middle toe (without the claws),
was in two specimens 2·6 inches; and this, proportionally with the
rock-pigeon, is an excess of nearly a quarter of an inch. One very fine
Carrier measured 31½ inches from tip to tip of wing. Birds of this
sub-race are too valuable to be flown as carriers.

_Sub-race II. Dragons; Persian Carriers._—The English Dragon differs
from the improved English Carrier in being smaller in all its
dimensions, and in having less wattle round the eyes and over the
nostrils, and none on the lower mandible. Sir W. Elliot sent me from
Madras a Bagdad Carrier (sometimes called khandesi), the name of which
shows its Persian origin: it would be considered here a very poor
Dragon; the body was of the size of the rock-pigeon, with the beak a
little longer, namely, 1 inch from the tip to the feathered base. The
skin round the eyes was only slightly wattled, whilst that over the
nostrils was fairly wattled. The Hon. C. Murray, also, sent me two
Carriers direct from Persia; these had nearly the same character as the
Madras bird, being about as large as the rock-pigeon, but the beak in
one specimen was as much as 1·15 in length; the skin over the nostrils
was only moderately, and that round the eyes scarcely at all wattled.

    _Sub-race III. Bagadotten-Tauben of Neumeister_ (Pavdotten-or
    Hocker-Tauben).—I owe to the kindness of Mr. Baily, jun., a dead
    specimen of this singular breed imported from Germany. It is
    certainly allied to the Runts; nevertheless, from its close
    affinity with Carriers, it will be convenient here to describe it.
    The beak is long, and is hooked or bowed downwards in a highly
    remarkable manner, as will be seen in fig. 24-D when I treat of the
    skeleton. The eyes are surrounded by a wide space of bright red
    skin, which, as well as that over the nostrils, is moderately
    wattled. The breast-bone is remarkably protuberant, being abruptly
    bowed outwards. The feet and tarsi are of great length, larger than
    in first-rate English Carriers. The whole bird is of large size,
    but in proportion to the size of the body the feathers of the wing
    and tail are short; a wild rock-pigeon, of considerably less size,
    had tail-feathers 4·6 inches in length, whereas in the large
    Bagadotten these feathers were scarcely over 4·1 inches in length.
    Riedel[9] remarks that it is a very silent bird.

    _Sub-race IV. Bussorah Carrier._—Two specimens were sent me by Sir
    W. Elliot from Madras, one in spirits and the other skinned. The
    name shows its Persian origin. It is much valued in India, and is
    considered as a distinct breed from the Bagdad Carrier, which forms
    my second sub-race. At first I suspected that these two sub-races
    might have been recently formed by crosses with other breeds,
    though the estimation in which they are held renders this
    improbable; but in a Persian treatise,[10] believed to have been
    written about 100 years ago, the Bagdad and Bussorah breeds are
    described as distinct. The Bussorah Carrier is of about the same
    size as the wild rock-pigeon. The shape of the beak, with some
    little carunculated skin over the nostrils,— the much elongated
    eyelids,—the broad mouth measured internally,—the narrow head,—the
    feet proportionally a little longer than in the rock-pigeon,—and
    the general appearance, all show that this bird is an undoubted
    Carrier; yet in one specimen the beak was of exactly the same
    length as in the rock-pigeon. In the other specimen the beak (as
    well as the opening of the nostrils) was only a very little longer,
    viz., by ·08 of an inch. Although there was a considerable space of
    bare and slightly carunculated skin round the eyes, that over the
    nostrils was only in a slight degree rugose. Sir W. Elliot informs
    me that in the living bird the eye seems remarkably large and
    prominent, and the same fact is noticed in the Persian treatise;
    but the bony orbit is barely larger than that in the rock-pigeon.

Amongst the several breeds sent to me from Madras by Sir W. Elliot
there is a pair of the _Kali Par_, black birds with the beak slightly
elongated, with the skin over the nostrils rather full, and with a
little naked skin round the eyes. This breed seems more closely allied
to the Carrier than to any other breed, being nearly intermediate
between the Bussorah Carrier and the rock-pigeon.

The names applied in different parts of Europe and in India to the
several kinds of Carriers all point to Persia or the surrounding
countries as the source of this Race. And it deserves especial notice
that, even if we neglect the Kali Par as of doubtful origin, we get a
series broken by very small steps, from the rock-pigeon, through the
Bussorah, which sometimes has a beak not at all longer than that of the
rock-pigeon and with the naked skin round the eyes and over the
nostrils very slightly swollen and carunculated, through the Bagdad
sub-race and Dragons, to our improved English Carriers, which present
so marvellous a difference from the rock-pigeon or _Columba livia._

      Race III.—Runts.
      (Scanderoons: die Florentiner Tauben and Hinkeltauben of
      Neumeister; pigeon bagadais, pigeon romain.)

_Beak long, massive; body of great size._

Inextricable confusion reigns in the classification, affinities, and
naming of Runts. Several characters which are generally pretty constant
in other pigeons, such as the length of the wings, tail, legs, and
neck, and the amount of naked skin round the eyes, are excessively
variable in Runts. When the naked skin over the nostrils and round the
eyes is considerably developed and wattled, and when the size of body
is not very great, Runts graduate in so insensible a manner into
Carriers, that the distinction is quite arbitrary. This fact is
likewise shown by the names given to them in different parts of Europe.
Nevertheless, taking the most distinct forms, at least five sub-races
(some of them including well-marked varieties) can be distinguished,
which differ in such important points of structure, that they would be
considered as good species in a state of nature.

_Sub-race I. Scanderoon of English Writers_ (die Florentiner and
Hinkeltauben of Neumeister).—Birds of this sub-race, of which I kept
one alive and have since seen two others, differ from the Bagadotten of
Neumeister only in not having the beak nearly so much curved downwards,
and in the naked skin round the eyes and over the nostrils being hardly
at all wattled. Nevertheless I have felt myself compelled to place the
Bagadotten in Race II., or that of the Carriers, and the present bird
in Race III., or that of the Runts. The Scanderoon has a very short,
narrow, and elevated tail; wings extremely short, so that the first
primary feathers were not longer than those of a small tumbler pigeon!
Neck long, much bowed; breast-bone prominent. Beak long, being 1·15
inch from tip to feathered base; vertically thick; slightly curved
downwards. The skin over the nostrils swollen, not wattled; naked skin
round the eyes, broad, slightly carunculated. Legs long; feet very
large. Skin of neck bright red, often showing a naked medial line, with
a naked red patch at the distal end of the radius of the wing. My bird,
as measured from the base of the beak to the root of the tail, was
fully 2 inches longer than the rock-pigeon; yet the tail itself was
only 4 inches in length, whereas in the rock-pigeon, which is a much
smaller bird, the tail is 4-5/8 inches in length.

The Hinkel-or Florentiner Taube of Neumeister (Table 13 fig. 1) agrees
with the above description in all the specified characters (for the
beak is not mentioned), except that Neumeister expressly says that the
neck is short, whereas in my Scanderoon it was remarkably long and
bowed; so that the Hinkel forms a well-marked variety.

_Sub-race II. Pigeon cygne and Pigeon bagadais of Boitard and Corbié_
(Scanderoon of French writers).—I kept two of these birds alive,
imported from France. They differed from the first sub-race or true
Scanderoon in the much greater length of the wing and tail, in the beak
not being so long, and in the skin about the head being more
carunculated. The skin of the neck is red; but the naked patches on the
wings are absent. One of my birds measured 38½ inches from tip to tip
of wing. By taking the length of the body as the standard of
comparison, the two wings were no less than 5 inches longer than those
of the rock-pigeon! The tail was 6¼ inches in length, and therefore 2¼
inches longer than that of the Scanderoon,—a bird of nearly the same
size. The beak is longer, thicker, and broader than in the rock-pigeon,
proportionally with the size of body. The eyelids, nostrils, and
internal gape of mouth are all proportionally very large, as in
Carriers. The foot, from the end of the middle to end of hind toe, was
actually 2·85 inches in length, which is an excess of ·32 of an inch
over the foot of the rock-pigeon, proportionally to the relative size
of the two birds.

    _Sub-race III. Spanish and Roman Runts._—I am not sure that I am
    right in placing these Runts in a distinct sub-race; yet, if we
    take well-characterised birds, there can be no doubt of the
    propriety of the separation. They are heavy, massive birds, with
    shorter necks, legs, and beaks than in the foregoing races. The
    skin over the nostrils is swollen, but not carunculated; the naked
    skin round the eyes is not very wide, and only slightly
    carunculated; and I have seen a fine so-called Spanish Runt with
    hardly any naked skin round the eyes. Of the two varieties to be
    seen in England, one, which is the rarer, has very long wings and
    tail, and agrees pretty closely with the last sub-race; the other,
    with shorter wings and tail, is apparently the _Pigeon romain
    ordinaire_ of Boitard and Corbié. These Runts are apt to tremble
    like Fantails. They are bad flyers. A few years ago Mr.
    Gulliver[11] exhibited a Runt which weighed 1 pound 14 ounces; and,
    as I am informed by Mr. Tegetmeier, two Runts from the south of
    France were lately exhibited at the Crystal Palace, each of which
    weighed 2 pounds 2½ ounces. A very fine rock-pigeon from the
    Shetland Islands weighed only 14½ ounces.

_Sub-race IV. Tronfo of Aldrovandi_ (Leghorn Runt?).—In Aldrovandi’s
work published in 1600 there is a coarse woodcut of a great Italian
pigeon, with an elevated tail, short legs, massive body, and with the
beak short and thick. I had imagined that this latter character so
abnormal in the group, was merely a false representation from bad
drawing; but Moore, in his work published in 1735, says that he
possessed a Leghorn Runt of which “the beak was very short for so large
a bird.” In other respects Moore’s bird resembled the first sub-race or
Scanderoon, for it had a long bowed neck, long legs, short beak, and
elevated tail, and not much wattle about the head. So that Aldrovandi’s
and Moore’s birds must have formed distinct varieties, both of which
seem to be now extinct in Europe. Sir W. Elliot, however, informs me
that he has seen in Madras a short-beaked Runt imported from Cairo.

_Sub-race V. Murassa (adorned Pigeon) of Madras._—Skins of these
handsome chequered birds were sent me from Madras by Sir W. Elliot.
They are rather larger than the largest rock-pigeon, with longer and
more massive beaks. The skin over the nostrils is rather full and very
slightly carunculated, and they have some naked skin round the eyes;
feet large. This breed is intermediate between the rock-pigeon and a
very poor variety of Runt or Carrier.

From these several descriptions we see that with Runts, as with
Carriers, we have a fine gradation from the rock-pigeon (with the
Tronfo diverging as a distinct branch) to our largest and most massive
Runts. But the chain of affinities, and many points of resemblance,
between Runts and carriers, make me believe that these two races have
not descended by independent lines from the rock-pigeon, but from some
common parent, as represented in the Table, which had already acquired
a moderately long beak with slightly swollen skin over the nostrils,
and with some slightly carunculated naked skin round the eyes.

Illustration: Fig. 20—English Barb.

      Race IV.—Barbs.
      (Indische Tauben; pigeons polonais.)

_Beak short, broad, deep; naked skin round the eyes, broad and
carunculated; skin over nostrils slightly swollen._

Misled by the extraordinary shortness and form of the beak, I did not
at first perceive the near affinity of this Race to that of Carriers
until the fact was pointed out to me by Mr. Brent. Subsequently, after
examining the Bussorah Carrier, I saw that no very great amount of
modification would be requisite to convert it into a Barb. This view of
the affinity of Barbs to Carriers is supported by the analogical
difference between the short and long-beaked Runts; and still more
strongly by the fact, that, young Barbs and Dragons, within 24 hours
after being hatched, resemble each other much more closely than do
young pigeons of other and equally distinct breeds. At this early age,
the length of beak, the swollen skin over the rather open nostrils, the
gape of the mouth, and the size of the feet, are the same in both;
although these parts afterwards become widely different. We thus see
that embryology (as the comparison of very young animals may perhaps be
called) comes into play in the classification of domestic varieties, as
with species in a state of nature.

Fanciers, with some truth, compare the head and beak of the Barb to
that of a bullfinch. The Barb, if found in a state of nature would
certainly have been placed in a new genus formed for its reception. The
body is a little larger than that of the rock-pigeon, but the beak is
more than ·2 of an inch shorter; although shorter, it is both
vertically and horizontally thicker. From the outward flexure of the
rami of the lower jaw, the mouth internally is very broad, in the
proportion of ·6 to ·4 to that of the rock-pigeon. The whole head is
broad. The skin over the nostril is swollen, but not carunculated,
except slightly in first-rate birds when old; whilst the naked skin
round the eye is broad and much carunculated. It is sometimes so much
developed, that a bird belonging to Mr. Harrison Weir could hardly see
to pick up food from the ground. The eyelids in one specimen were
nearly twice as long as those of the rock-pigeon. The feet are coarse
and strong, but proportionally rather shorter than in the rock-pigeon.
The plumage is generally dark and uniform. Barbs, in short, may be
called short-beaked Carriers, bearing the same relation to Carriers
that the Tronfo of Aldrovandi does to the common Runt.


This group is artificial, and includes a heterogeneous collection of
distinct forms. It may be defined by the beak, in well-characterised
specimens of the several races, being shorter than in the rock-pigeon,
and by the skin round the eyes not being much developed.

Illustration: Fig. 21—English Fantail.

Race V.—Fantails.

_Sub-race I. European Fantails_ (Pfauentauben; trembleurs).

_Tail expanded, directed upwards, formed of many feathers; oil-gland
aborted; body and beak rather short._

    The normal number of tail-feathers in the genus Columba is 12; but
    Fantails have from only 12 (as has been asserted) up to, according
    to MM. Boitard and Corbié, 42. I have counted in one of my own
    birds 33, and at Calcutta Mr. Blyth[12] has counted in an
    _imperfect_ tail 34 feathers. In Madras, as I am informed by Sir W.
    Elliot, 32 is the standard number; but in England number is much
    less valued than the position and expansion of the tail. The
    feathers are arranged in an irregular double row; their permanent
    fanlike expansion and their upward direction are more remarkable
    characters than their increased number. The tail is capable of the
    same movements as in other pigeons, and can be depressed so as to
    sweep the ground. It arises from a more expanded basis than in
    other pigeons; and in three skeletons there were one or two extra
    coccygeal vertebræ. I have examined many specimens of various
    colours from different countries, and there was no trace of the
    oil-gland; this is a curious case of abortion.[13] The neck is thin
    and bowed backwards. The breast is broad and protuberant. The feet
    are small. The carriage of the bird is very different from that of
    other pigeons; in good birds the head touches the tail-feathers,
    which consequently often become crumpled. They habitually tremble
    much: and their necks have an extraordinary, apparently convulsive,
    backward and forward movement. Good birds walk in a singular
    manner, as if their small feet were stiff. Owing to their large
    tails, they fly badly on a windy day. The dark-coloured varieties
    are generally larger than white Fantails.

    Although between the best and common Fantails, now existing in
    England, there is a vast difference in the position and size of the
    tail, in the carriage of the head and neck, in the convulsive
    movements of the neck, in the manner of walking, and in the breadth
    of the breast, the differences so graduate away, that it is
    impossible to make more than one sub-race. Moore, however, an
    excellent old authority[14] says, that in 1735 there were two sorts
    of broad-tailed shakers (_i.e._ Fantails), “one having a neck much
    longer and more slender than the other;” and I am informed by Mr.
    B. P. Brent, that there is an existing German Fantail with a
    thicker and shorter beak.

_Sub-race II. Java Fantail._—Mr. Swinhoe sent me from Amoy, in China,
the skin of a Fantail belonging to a breed known to have been imported
from Java. It was coloured in a peculiar manner, unlike any European
Fantail; and, for a Fantail, had a remarkably short beak. Although a
good bird of the kind, it had only 14 tail-feathers; but Mr. Swinhoe
has counted in other birds of this breed from 18 to 24 tail-feathers.
From a rough sketch sent to me, it is evident that the tail is not so
much expanded or so much upraised as in even second-rate European
Fantails. The bird shakes its neck like our Fantails. It had a
well-developed oil-gland. Fantails were known in India, as We shall
hereafter see, before the year 1600; and we may suspect that in the
Java Fantail we see the breed in its earlier and less improved

Illustration: Fig. 22—African Owl.

Race VI.—Turbit and Owl.
      (Möventauben; pigeons à cravate.)

_Feathers divergent along the front of the neck and breast; beak very
short, vertically rather thick; œsophagus somewhat enlarged._

Turbits and Owls differ from each other slightly in the shape of the
head; the former have a crest, and the beak is differently curved; but
they may be here conveniently grouped together. These pretty birds,
some of which are very small, can be recognised at once by the feathers
irregularly diverging, like a frill, along the front of the neck, in
the same manner, but in a less degree, as along the back of the neck in
the Jacobin. They have the remarkable habit of continually and
momentarily inflating the upper part of the œsophagus, which causes a
movement in the frill. When the œsophagus of a dead bird is inflated,
it is seen to be larger than in other breeds, and not so distinctly
separated from the crop. The Pouter inflates both its true crop and
œsophagus; the Turbit inflates in a much less degree the œsophagus
alone. The beak of the Turbit is very short, being ·28 of an inch
shorter than that of the rock-pigeon, proportionally with the size of
their bodies; and in some owls brought by Mr. E. Vernon Harcourt from
Tunis, it was even shorter. The beak is vertically thicker, and perhaps
a little broader, in proportion to that of the rock-pigeon.

      Race VII.—Tumblers.
      (Tümmler, or Burzeltauben; culbutants.)

_During flight, tumble backwards; body generally small; beak generally
short, sometimes excessively short and conical._

This race may be divided into four sub-races, namely, Persian, Lotan,
Common, and short-faced Tumblers. These sub-races include many
varieties which breed true. I have examined eight skeletons of various
kinds of Tumblers: excepting in one imperfect and doubtful specimen,
the ribs are only seven in number, whereas the rock-pigeon has eight

_Sub-race I. Persian Tumblers._—I received a pair direct from Persia,
from the Hon. C. Murray. They are rather smaller birds than the wild
rock-pigeon, about the size of the common dovecot pigeon, white and
mottled, slightly feathered on the feet, with the beak just perceptibly
shorter than in the rock-pigeon. H.M. Consul, Mr. Keith Abbott, informs
me that the difference in the length of beak is so slight, that only
practised Persian fanciers can distinguish these Tumblers from the
common pigeon of the country. He informs me that they fly in flocks
high up in the air and tumble well. Some of them occasionally appear to
become giddy and tumble to the ground, in which respect they resemble
some of our Tumblers.

    _Sub-race II. Lotan, or Lowtun: Indian Ground Tumblers._—These
    birds present one of the most remarkable inherited habits or
    instincts ever recorded. The specimens sent to me from Madras by
    Sir W. Elliot are white, slightly feathered on the feet, with the
    feathers on the head reversed; and they are rather smaller than the
    rock or dovecot pigeon. The beak is proportionally only slightly
    shorter and rather thinner than in the rock-pigeon. These birds
    when gently shaken and placed on the ground immediately begin
    tumbling head over heels, and they continue thus to tumble until
    taken up and soothed,—the ceremony being generally to blow in their
    faces, as in recovering a person from a state of hypnotism or
    mesmerism. It is asserted that they will continue to roll over till
    they die, if not taken up. There is abundant evidence with respect
    to these remarkable peculiarities; but what makes the case the more
    worthy of attention is, that the habit has been inherited since
    before the year 1600, for the breed is distinctly described in the
    ‘Ayeen Akbery.’[15] Mr. Evans kept a pair in London, imported by
    Captain Vigne; and he assures me that he has seen them tumble in
    the air, as well as in the manner above described on the ground.
    Sir W. Elliot, however, writes to me from Madras, that he is
    informed that they tumble exclusively on the ground, or at a very
    small height above it. He also mentions birds of another
    sub-variety, called the Kalmi Lotan, which begin to roll over if
    only touched on the neck with a rod or wand.

    _Sub-race III. Common English Tumblers._—These birds have exactly
    the same habits as the Persian Tumbler, but tumble better. The
    English bird is rather smaller than the Persian, and the beak is
    plainly shorter. Compared with the rock-pigeon, and proportionally
    with the size of body, the beak is from ·15 to nearly ·2 of an inch
    shorter, but it is not thinner. There are several varieties of the
    common Tumbler, namely, Baldheads, Beards, and Dutch Rollers. I
    have kept the latter alive; they have differently shaped heads,
    longer necks, and are feather-footed. They tumble to an
    extraordinary degree; as Mr. Brent remarks,[16] “Every few seconds
    over they go; one, two, or three summersaults at a time. Here and
    there a bird gives a very quick and rapid spin, revolving like a
    wheel, though they sometimes lose their balance, and make a rather
    ungraceful fall, in which they occasionally hurt themselves by
    striking some object.” From Madras I have received several
    specimens of the common Tumbler of India, differing slightly from
    each other in the length of their beaks. Mr. Brent sent me a dead
    specimen of a “House-tumbler,”[17] which is a Scotch variety, not
    differing in general appearance and form of beak from the common
    Tumbler. Mr. Brent states that these birds generally begin to
    tumble “almost as soon as they can well fly; at three months old
    they tumble well, but still fly strong; at five or six months they
    tumble excessively; and in the second year they mostly give up
    flying, on account of their tumbling so much and so close to the
    ground. Some fly round with the flock, throwing a clean summersault
    every few yards, till they are obliged to settle from giddiness and
    exhaustion. These are called Air Tumblers, and they commonly throw
    from twenty to thirty summersaults in a minute, each clear and
    clean. I have one red cock that I have on two or three occasions
    timed by my watch, and counted forty summersaults in the minute.
    Others tumble differently. At first they throw a single
    summersault, then it is double, till it becomes a continuous roll,
    which puts an end to flying, for if they fly a few yards over they
    go, and roll till they reach the ground. Thus I had one kill
    herself, and another broke his leg. Many of them turn over only a
    few inches from the ground, and will tumble two or three times in
    flying across their loft. These are called House-tumblers, from
    tumbling in the house. The act of tumbling seems to be one over
    which they have no control, an involuntary movement which they seem
    to try to prevent. I have seen a bird sometimes in his struggles
    fly a yard or two straight upwards, the impulse forcing him
    backwards while he struggles to go forwards. If suddenly startled,
    or in a strange place, they seem less able to fly than if quiet in
    their accustomed loft.” These House-tumblers differ from the Lotan
    or Ground Tumbler of India, in not requiring to be shaken in order
    to begin tumbling. The breed has probably been formed merely by
    selecting the best common Tumblers, though it is possible that they
    may have been crossed at some former period with Lotans.

Illustration: Fig. 23—Short-faced English Tumbler.

    _Sub-race IV. Short-faced Tumblers._—These are marvellous birds,
    and are the glory and pride of many fanciers. In their extremely
    short, sharp, and conical beaks, with the skin over the nostrils
    but little developed, they almost depart from the type of the
    Columbidæ. Their heads are nearly globular and upright in front, so
    that some fanciers say[18] “the head should resemble a cherry with
    a barleycorn stuck in it.” These are the smallest kind of pigeons.
    Mr. Esquilant possessed a blue Baldhead, two years old, which when
    alive weighed, before feeding-time, only 6 ounces 5 drs.; two
    others, each weighed 7 ounces. We have seen that a wild rock-pigeon
    weighed 14 ounces 2 drs., and a Runt 34 ounces 4 drs. Short-faced
    Tumblers have a remarkably erect carriage, with prominent breasts,
    drooping wings, and very small feet. The length of the beak from
    the tip to the feathered base was in one good bird only ·4 of an
    inch; in a wild rock-pigeon it was exactly double this length. As
    these Tumblers have shorter bodies than the wild rock-pigeon, they
    ought of course to have shorter beaks; but proportionally with the
    size of the body, the beak is ·28 of an inch too short. So, again,
    the feet of this bird were actually ·45 shorter, and proportionally
    ·21 of an inch shorter, than the feet of the rock-pigeon. The
    middle toe has only twelve or thirteen, instead of fourteen or
    fifteen scutellæ. The primary wing-feathers are not rarely nine
    instead of ten in number. The improved short-faced Tumblers have
    almost lost the power of tumbling; but there are several authentic
    accounts of their occasionally tumbling. There are several
    sub-varieties, such as Bald-heads, Beards, Mottles, and Almonds;
    the latter are remarkable from not acquiring their
    perfectly-coloured plumage until they have moulted three or four
    times. There is good reason to believe that most of these
    sub-varieties, some of which breed truly, have arisen since the
    publication of Moore’s treatise in 1735.[19]

Finally, in regard to the whole group of Tumblers, it is impossible to
conceive a more perfect gradation than I have now lying before me, from
the rock-pigeon, through Persian, Lotan, and common Tumblers, up to the
marvellous short-faced birds; which latter, no ornithologist, judging
from mere external structure, would place in the same genus with the
rock-pigeon. The differences between the successive steps in this
series are not greater than those which may be observed between common
dovecot-pigeons (_C. livia_) brought from different countries.

      Race VIII.—Indian Frill-back.

_Beak very short; feathers reversed._

A specimen of this bird, in spirits, was sent to me from Madras by Sir
W. Elliot. It is wholly different from the Frill-back often exhibited
in England. It is a smallish bird, about the size of the common
Tumbler, but has a beak in all its proportions like our short-faced
Tumblers. The beak, measured from the tip to the feathered base, was
only ·46 of an inch in length. The feathers over the whole body are
reversed or curl backwards. Had this bird occurred in Europe, I should
have thought it only a monstrous variety of our improved Tumbler: but
as short-faced Tumblers are not known in India, I think it must rank as
a distinct breed. Probably this is the breed seen by Hasselquist in
1757 at Cairo, and said to have been imported from India.

      Race IX.—Jacobin.
      (Zopf-or Perrückentaube; nonnain.)

_Feathers of the neck forming a hood; wings and tail long; beak
moderately short._

    This pigeon can at once be recognised by its hood, almost enclosing
    the head and meeting in front of the neck. The hood seems to be
    merely an exaggeration of the crest of reversed feathers on the
    back of the head, which is common to many sub-varieties, and which
    in the Latztaube[20] is in a nearly intermediate state between a
    hood and a crest. The feathers of the hood are elongated. Both the
    wings and tail are likewise much elongated; thus the folded wing of
    the Jacobin, though a somewhat smaller bird, is fully 1¼ inch
    longer than in the rock-pigeon. Taking the length of the body
    without the tail as the standard of comparison, the folded wing,
    proportionally with the wings of the rock-pigeon, is 2¼ inches too
    long, and the two wings, from tip to tip, 5¼ inches too long. In
    disposition this bird is singularly quiet, seldom flying or moving
    about, as Bechstein and Riedel have likewise remarked in
    Germany.[21] The latter author also notices the length of the wings
    and tail. The beak is nearly ·2 of an inch shorter in proportion to
    the size of the body than in the rock-pigeon; but the internal gape
    of the mouth is considerably wider.


The birds of this group may be characterised by their resemblance in
all important points of structure, especially in the beak, to the
rock-pigeon. The Trumpeter forms the only well-marked race. Of the
numerous other sub-races and varieties I shall specify only a few of
the most distinct, which I have myself seen and kept alive.

      Race X.—Trumpeter.
      (Trommeltaube; pigeon tambour, glouglou.)

_A tuft of feathers at the base of the beak curling forward; feet much
feathered; voice very peculiar; size exceeding that of the

This is a well-marked breed, with a peculiar voice, wholly unlike that
of any other pigeon. The coo is rapidly repeated, and is continued for
several minutes; hence their name of Trumpeters. They are also
characterised by a tuft of elongated feathers, which curls forward over
the base of the beak, and which is possessed by no other breed. Their
feet are so heavily feathered, that they almost appear like little
wings. They are larger birds than the rock-pigeon, but their beak is of
very nearly the same proportional size. Their feet are rather small.
This breed was perfectly characterised in Moore’s time, in 1735. Mr.
Brent says that two varieties exist, which differ in size.

      Race XI.—Scarcely differing in structure from the wild _Columba

_Sub-race I. Laughers.—Size less than the Rock-pigeon; voice very
peculiar._—As this bird agrees in nearly all its proportions with the
rock-pigeon, though of smaller size, I should not have thought it
worthy of mention, had it not been for its peculiar voice—a character
supposed seldom to vary with birds. Although the voice of the Laugher
is very different from that of the Trumpeter, yet one of my Trumpeters
used to utter a single note like that of the Laugher. I have kept two
varieties of Laughers, which differed only in one variety being
turn-crowned; the smooth-headed kind, for which I am indebted to the
kindness of Mr. Brent, besides its peculiar note, used to coo in a
singular and pleasing manner, which, independently, struck both Mr.
Brent and myself as resembling that of the turtle-dove. Both varieties
come from Arabia. This breed was known by Moore in 1735. A pigeon which
seems to say Yak-roo is mentioned in 1600 in the ‘Ayeen Akbery’ and is
probably the same breed. Sir W. Elliot has also sent me from Madras a
pigeon called Yahui, said to have come from Mecca, which does not
differ in appearance from the Laugher; it has “a deep melancholy voice,
like Yahu, often repeated.” Yahu, yahu, means Oh God, oh God; and
Sayzid Mohammed Musari, in the treatise written about 100 years ago,
says that these birds “are not flown, because they repeat the name of
the most high God.” Mr. Keith Abbott, however, informs me that the
common pigeon is called Yahoo in Persia.

_Sub-race II. Common Frill-back_ (die Strupptaube).—_Beak rather longer
than in the rock-pigeon; feathers reversed._—This is a considerably
larger bird than the rock-pigeon, and with the beak, proportionally
with the size of body, a little (viz. by ·04 of an inch) longer. The
feathers, especially on the wing-coverts, have their points curled
upwards or back-wards.

_Sub-race III. Nuns_ (Pigeons coquilles).—These elegant birds are
smaller than the rock-pigeon. The beak is actually 1·7, and
proportionally with the size of the body ·1 of an inch shorter than in
the rock-pigeons, although of the same thickness. In young birds the
scutellæ on the tarsi and toes are generally of a leaden-black colour;
and this is a remarkable character (though observed in a lesser degree
in some other breeds), as the colour of the legs in the adult state is
subject to very little variation in any breed. I have on two or three
occasions counted thirteen or fourteen feathers in the tail; this
likewise occurs in the barely distinct breed called Helmets. Nuns are
symmetrically coloured, with the head, primary wing-feathers, tail, and
tail-coverts of the same colour, namely, black or red, and with the
rest of the body white. This breed has retained the same character
since Aldrovandi wrote in 1600. I have received from Madras almost
similarly coloured birds.

    _Sub-race IV. Spots_ (die Blasstauben; pigeons heurtés).—These
    birds are a very little larger than the rock-pigeon, with the beak
    a trace smaller in all its dimensions, and with the feet decidedly
    smaller. They are symmetrically coloured, with a spot on the
    forehead, with the tail and tail-coverts of the same colour, the
    rest of the body being white. This breed existed in 1676;[22] and
    in 1735 Moore remarks that they breed truly, as is the case at the
    present day.

_Sub-race V. Swallows._—These birds, as measured from tip to tip of
wing, or from the end of the beak to the end of the tail, exceed in
size the rock-pigeon; but their bodies are much less bulky; their feet
and legs are likewise smaller. The beak is of about the same length,
but rather slighter. Altogether their general appearance is
considerably different from that of the rock-pigeon. Their heads and
wings are of the same colour, the rest of the body being white. Their
flight is said to be peculiar. This seems to be a modern breed, which,
however, originated before the year 1795 in Germany, for it is
described by Bechstein.

    Besides the several breeds now described, three or four other very
    distinct kinds existed lately, or perhaps still exist, in Germany
    and France. Firstly, the Karmeliten, or carme pigeon, which I have
    not seen; it is described as of small size, with very short legs,
    and with an extremely short beak. Secondly, the Finnikin, which is
    now extinct in England. It had, according to Moore’s[23] treatise,
    published in 1735, a tuft of feathers on the hinder part of the
    head, which ran down its back not unlike a horse’s mane. “When it
    is salacious it rises over the hen and turns round three or four
    times, flapping its wings, then reverses and turns as many times
    the other way.” The Turner, on the other hand, when it “plays to
    the female, turns only one way.” Whether these extraordinary
    statements may be trusted I know not; but the inheritance of any
    habit may be believed, after what we have seen with respect to the
    Ground-tumbler of India. MM. Boitard and Corbié describe a
    pigeon[24] which has the singular habit of sailing for a
    considerable time through the air, without flapping its wings, like
    a bird of prey. The confusion is inextricable, from the time of
    Aldrovandi in 1600 to the present day, in the accounts published of
    the Draijers, Smiters, Finnikins, Turners, Claquers, etc., which
    are all remarkable from their manner of flight. Mr. Brent informs
    me that he has seen one of these breeds in Germany with its
    wing-feathers injured from having been so often struck together but
    he did not see it flying. An old stuffed specimen of a Finnikin in
    the British Museum presents no well-marked character. Thirdly, a
    singular pigeon with a forked tail is mentioned in some treatises;
    and as Bechstein[25] briefly describes and figures this bird, with
    a tail “having completely the structure of that of the
    house-swallow,” it must once have existed, for Bechstein was far
    too good a naturalist to have confounded any distinct species with
    the domestic pigeon. Lastly, an extraordinary pigeon imported from
    Belgium has lately been exhibited at the Philoperisteron Society in
    London,[26] which “conjoins the colour of an archangel with the
    head of an owl or barb, its most striking peculiarity being the
    extraordinary length of the tail and wing-feathers, the latter
    crossing beyond the tail, and giving to the bird the appearance of
    a gigantic swift (Cypselus), or long-winged hawk.” Mr. Tegetmeier
    informs me that this bird weighed only 10 ounces, but in length was
    15½ inches from tip to beak to end of tail, and 32½ inches from tip
    to tip of wing; now the wild rock-pigeon weighs 14½ ounces, and
    measures from tip to beak to end of tail 15 inches, and from tip to
    tip of wing only 26¾ inches.

I have now described all the domestic pigeons known to me, and have
added a few others on reliable authority. I have classed them under
four Groups, in order to mark their affinities and degrees of
difference; but the third group is artificial. The kinds examined by me
form eleven races, which include several sub-races; and even these
latter present differences that would certainly have been thought of
specific value if observed in a state of nature. The sub-races likewise
include many strictly inherited varieties; so that altogether there
must exist, as previously remarked, above 150 kinds which can be
distinguished, though generally by characters of extremely slight
importance. Many of the genera of the Columbidæ, admitted by
ornithologists, do not differ in any great degree from each other;
taking this into consideration, there can be no doubt that several of
the most strongly characterised domestic forms, if found wild, would
have been placed in at least five new genera. Thus a new genus would
have been formed for the reception of the improved English Pouter: a
second genus for Carriers and Runts; and this would have been a wide or
comprehensive genus, for it would have admitted common Spanish Runts
without any wattle, short-beaked Runts like the Tronfo, and the
improved English Carrier: a third genus would have been formed for the
Barb: a fourth for the Fantail: and lastly, a fifth for the short
beaked, not-wattled pigeons, such as Turbits and short-faced Tumblers.
The remaining domestic forms might have been included, in the same
genus with the wild rock-pigeon.

_Individual Variability; variations of a remarkable nature._

The differences which we have as yet considered are characteristic of
distinct breeds; but there are other differences, either confined to
individual birds, or often observed in certain breeds but not
characteristic of them. These individual differences are of importance,
as they might in most cases be secured and accumulated by man’s power
of selection and thus an existing breed might be greatly modified or a
new one formed. Fanciers notice and select only those slight
differences which are externally visible; but the whole organisation is
so tied together by correlation of growth, that a change in one part is
frequently accompanied by other changes. For our purpose, modifications
of all kinds are equally important, and if affecting a part which does
not commonly vary, are of more importance than a modification in some
conspicuous part. At the present day any visible deviation of character
in a well-established breed is rejected as a blemish; but it by no
means follows that at an early period, before well-marked breeds had
been formed, such deviations would have been rejected; on the contrary,
they would have been eagerly preserved as presenting a novelty, and
would then have been slowly augmented, as we shall hereafter more
clearly see, by the process of unconscious selection.

    I have made numerous measurements of the various parts of the body
    in the several breeds, and have hardly ever found them quite the
    same in birds of the same breed,—the differences being greater than
    we commonly meet with in wild species within the same district. To
    begin with the primary feathers of the wing and tail; but I must
    first mention, as some readers may not be aware of the fact, that
    the number of the primary wing and tail-feathers in wild birds is
    generally constant, and characterises, not only whole genera, but
    even whole families. When the tail-feathers are unusually numerous,
    as for instance in the swan, they are apt to be variable in number;
    but this does not apply to the several species and genera of the
    Columbidæ, which never (as far as I can hear) have less than twelve
    or more than sixteen tail-feathers; and these numbers characterise,
    with rare exception, whole sub-families.[27] The wild rock-pigeon
    has twelve tail-feathers. With Fantails, as we have seen, the
    number varies from fourteen to forty-two. In two young birds in the
    same nest I counted twenty-two and twenty-seven feathers. Pouters
    are very liable to have additional tail-feathers, and I have seen
    on several occasions fourteen or fifteen in my own birds. Mr. Bult
    had a specimen, examined by Mr. Yarrell, with seventeen
    tail-feathers. I had a Nun with thirteen, and another with fourteen
    tail-feathers; and in a Helmet, a breed barely distinguishable from
    the Nun, I have counted fifteen, and have heard of other such
    instances. On the other hand, Mr. Brent possessed a Dragon, which
    during its whole life never had more than ten tail-feathers; and
    one of my Dragons, descended from Mr. Brent’s, had only eleven. I
    have seen a Bald-head Tumbler with only ten; and Mr. Brent had an
    Air-Tumbler with the same number, but another with fourteen
    tail-feathers. Two of these latter Tumblers, bred by Mr. Brent,
    were remarkable,—one from having the two central tail-feathers a
    little divergent, and the other from having the two outer feathers
    longer by three-eighths of an inch than the others; so that in both
    cases the tail exhibited a tendency, but in different ways, to
    become forked. And this shows us how a swallow-tailed breed, like
    that described by Bechstein, might have been formed by careful

With respect to the primary wing-feathers, the number in the Columbidæ,
as far as I can find out, is always nine or ten. In the rock-pigeon it
is ten; but I have seen no less than eight short-faced Tumblers with
only nine primaries, and the occurrence of this number has been noticed
by fanciers, owing to ten primaries of a white colour being one of the
points in Short-faced Bald-head-Tumblers. Mr. Brent, however, had an
Air-Tumbler (not short-faced) which had in both wings eleven primaries.
Mr. Corker, the eminent breeder of prize Carriers, assures me that some
of his birds had eleven primaries in both wings. I have seen eleven in
one wing in two Pouters. I have been assured by three fanciers that
they have seen twelve in Scanderoons; but as Neumeister asserts that in
the allied Florence Runt the middle flight-feather is often double, the
number twelve may have been caused by two of the ten primaries having
each two shafts to a single feather. The secondary wing-feathers are
difficult to count, but the number seems to vary from twelve to
fifteen. The length of the wing and tail relatively to the body, and of
the wings to the tail, certainly varies; I have especially noticed this
in Jacobins. In Mr. Bult’s magnificent collection of Pouters, the wings
and tail varied greatly in length; and were sometimes so much elongated
that the birds could hardly play upright. In the relative length of the
few first primaries I have observed only a slight degree of
variability. Mr. Brent informs me that he has observed the shape of the
first feather to vary very slightly. But the variation in these latter
points is extremely slight compared with the differences which may be
observed in the natural species of the Columbidæ.

In the beak I have seen very considerable differences in birds of the
same breed, as in carefully bred Jacobins and Trumpeters. In Carriers
there is often a conspicuous difference in the degree of attenuation
and curvature of the beak. So it is indeed in many breeds: thus I had
two strains of black Barbs, which evidently differed in the curvature
of the upper mandible. In width of mouth I have found a great
difference in two Swallows. In Fantails of first-rate merit I have seen
some birds with much longer and thinner necks than in others. Other
analogous facts could be given. We have seen that the oil-gland is
aborted in all Fantails (with the exception of the sub-race from Java),
and, I may add, so hereditary is this tendency to abortion, that some,
although not all, of the mongrels which I reared from the Fantail and
Pouter had no oil-gland; in one Swallow out of many which I have
examined, and in two Nuns, there was no oil-gland.

    The number of the scutellæ on the toes often varies in the same
    breed, and sometimes even differs on the two feet of the same
    individual; the Shetland rock-pigeon has fifteen on the middle, and
    six on the hinder toe; whereas I have seen a Runt with sixteen on
    the middle and eight on the hind toe; and a short-faced Tumbler
    with only twelve and five on these same toes. The rock-pigeon has
    no sensible amount of skin between its toes; but I possessed a Spot
    and a Nun with the skin extending for a space of a quarter of an
    inch from the fork, between the two _ inner_ toes. On the other
    hand, as will hereafter be more fully shown, pigeons with feathered
    feet very generally have the bases of their _outer_ toes connected
    by skin. I had a red Tumbler, which had a coo unlike that of its
    fellows, approaching in tone to that of the Laugher: this bird had
    the habit, to a degree which I never saw equalled in any other
    pigeon, of often walking with its wings raised and arched in an
    elegant-manner. I need say nothing on the great variability, in
    almost every breed, in size of body, in colour, in the feathering
    of the feet, and in the feathers on the back of the head being
    reversed. But I may mention a remarkable Tumbler[28] exhibited at
    the Crystal Palace, which had an irregular crest of feathers on its
    head, somewhat like the tuft on the head of the Polish fowl. Mr.
    Bult reared a hen Jacobin with the feathers on the thigh so long as
    to reach the ground, and a cock having, but in a lesser degree, the
    same peculiarity: from these two birds he bred others similarly
    characterised, which were exhibited at the Philoperisteron Soc. I
    bred a mongrel pigeon which had fibrous feathers, and the wing and
    tail-feathers so short and imperfect that the bird could not fly
    even a foot in height.

    There are many singular and inherited peculiarities in the plumage
    of pigeons: thus Almond-Tumblers do not acquire their perfect
    mottled feathers until they have moulted three or four times: the
    Kite Tumbler is at first brindled black and red with a barred
    appearance, but when “it throws its nest feathers it becomes almost
    black, generally with a bluish tail, and a reddish colour on the
    inner webs of the primary wing-feathers.”[29] Neumeister describes
    a breed of a black colour with white bars on the wing and a white
    crescent-shaped mark on the breast; these marks are generally
    rusty-red before the first moult, but after the third or fourth
    moult they undergo a change; the wing-feathers and the crown of the
    head likewise then become white or grey.[30]

    It is an important fact, and I believe there is hardly an exception
    to the rule, that the especial characters for which each breed is
    valued are eminently variable: thus, in the Fantail, the number and
    direction of the tail-feathers, the carriage of the body, and the
    degree of trembling are all highly variable points; in Pouters, the
    degree to which they pout, and the shape of their inflated crops;
    in the Carrier, the length, narrowness, and curvature of the beak,
    and the amount of wattle; in Short-faced Tumblers, the shortness of
    the beak, the prominence of the forehead, and general carriage,[31]
    and in the Almond-Tumbler the colour of the plumage; in common
    Tumblers, the manner of tumbling; in the Barb, the breadth and
    shortness of the beak and the amount of eye-wattle; in Runts, the
    size of body; in Turbits the frill; and lastly in Trumpeters, the
    cooing, as well as the size of the tuft of feathers over the
    nostrils. These, which are the distinctive and selected characters
    of the several breeds, are all eminently variable.

    There is another interesting fact with respect to the characters of
    the several breeds, namely, that they are often most strongly
    displayed in the male bird. In Carriers, when the males and females
    are exhibited in separate pens, the wattle is plainly seen to be
    much more developed in the males, though I have seen a hen Carrier
    belonging to Mr. Haynes heavily wattled. Mr. Tegetmeier informs me
    that, in twenty Barbs in Mr. P. H. Jones’s possession, the males
    had generally the largest eye-wattles; Mr. Esquilant also believes
    in this rule, but Mr. H. Weir, a first-rate judge, entertains some
    doubt on the subject. Male Pouters distend their crops to a much
    greater size than do the females; I have, however, seen a hen in
    the possession of Mr. Evans which pouted excellently; but this is
    an unusual circumstance. Mr. Harrison Weir, a successful breeder of
    prize Fantails, informs me that his male birds often have a greater
    number of tail-feathers than the females. Mr. Eaton asserts[32]
    that if a cock and hen Tumbler were of equal merit, the hen would
    be worth double the money; and as pigeons always pair, so that an
    equal number of both sexes is necessary for reproduction, this
    seems to show that high merit is rarer in the female than in the
    male. In the development of the frill in Turbits, of the hood in
    Jacobins, of the tuft in Trumpeters, of tumbling in Tumblers, there
    is no difference between the males and females. I may here add a
    rather different case, namely, the existence in France[33] of a
    wine-coloured variety of the Pouter, in which the male is generally
    chequered with black, whilst the female is never so chequered. Dr.
    Chapuis also remarks[34] that in certain light-coloured pigeons the
    males have their feathers striated with black, and these striæ
    increase in size at each moult, so that the male ultimately becomes
    spotted with black. With Carriers, the wattle, both on the beak and
    round the eyes, and with Barbs that round the eyes, goes on
    increasing with age. This augmentation of character with advancing
    age, and more especially the difference between the males and
    females in the above-mentioned several respects, are remarkable
    facts, for there is no sensible difference at any age between the
    two sexes in the aboriginal rock-pigeon; and not often any strongly
    marked difference throughout the family of the Columbidæ.[35]

_Osteological Characters._

In the skeletons of the various breeds there is much variability; and
though certain differences occur frequently, and others rarely, in
certain breeds, yet none can be said to be absolutely characteristic of
any breed. Considering that strongly-marked domestic races have been
formed chiefly by man’s selection, we ought not to expect to find great
and constant differences in the skeleton; for fanciers neither see, nor
do they care for, modifications of structure in the internal framework.
Nor ought we to expect changes in the skeletons from changed habits of
life; as every facility is given to the most distinct breeds to follow
the same habits, and the much modified races are never allowed to
wander abroad and procure their own food in various ways. Moreover, I
find, on comparing the skeletons of _Columba livia, oenas, palumbus,_
and _turtur_, which are ranked by all systematists in two or three
distinct though allied genera, that the differences are extremely
slight, certainly less than between the skeletons of some of the most
distinct domestic breeds. How far the skeleton of the wild rock-pigeon
is constant I have had no means of judging, as I have examined only

Illustration: Fig. 24—Skulls of Pigeons, viewed laterally.

_Skull._—The individual bones, especially those at the base, do not
differ in shape. But the whole skull, in its proportions, outline, and
relative direction of the bones, differs greatly in some of the breeds,
as may be seen by comparing the figures of (A) the wild rock-pigeon,
(B) the Short-faced Tumbler, (C) the English Carrier, and (D) the
Bagadotten Carrier (of Neumeister), all drawn of the natural size and
viewed laterally. In the Carrier, besides the elongation of the bones
of the face, the space between the orbits is proportionally a little
narrower than in the rock-pigeon. In the Bagadotten the upper mandible
is remarkably arched, and the premaxillary bones are proportionally
broader. In the Short-faced Tumbler the skull is more globular: all the
bones of the face are much shortened, and the front of the skull and
descending nasal bones are almost perpendicular: the maxillo-jugal arch
and premaxillary bones form an almost straight line; the space between
the prominent edges of the eye-orbits is depressed. In the Barb the
premaxillary bones are much shortened, and their anterior portion is
thicker than in the rock-pigeon, as is the lower part of the nasal
bone. In two Nuns the ascending branches of the premaxillaries, near
their tips, were somewhat attenuated, and in these birds, as well as in
some others, for instance in the Spot, the occipital crest over the
foramen was considerably more prominent than in the rock-pigeon.

Illustration: Fig. 25—Lower jaws, seen from above.

Illustration: Fig. 26—Skull of Runt.

Illustration: Fig. 27—Lateral view of jaws.

In the lower jaw, the articular surface is proportionably smaller in
many breeds than in the rock-pigeon; and the vertical diameter, more
especially of the outer part of the articular surface, is considerably
shorter. May not this be accounted for by the lessened use of the jaws,
owing to nutritious food having been given during a long period to all
highly improved pigeons? In Runts, Carriers, and Barbs (and in a lesser
degree in several breeds), the whole side of the jaw near the articular
end is bent inwards in a highly remarkable manner; and the superior
margin of the ramus, beyond the middle, is reflexed in an equally
remarkable manner, as may be seen in fig. 25, in comparison with the
jaw of the rock-pigeon. This reflection of the upper margin of the
lower jaw is plainly connected with the singularly wide gape of the
mouth, as has been described in Runts, Carriers, and Barbs. The
reflection is well shown in fig. 26 of the head of a Runt seen from
above; here a wide open space may be observed on each side, between the
edges of the lower jaw and of the premaxillary bones. In the
rock-pigeon, and in several domestic breeds, the edges of the lower jaw
on each side come close up to the premaxillary bones, so that no open
space is left. The degree of downward curvature of the distal half of
the lower jaw also differs to an extraordinary degree in some breeds,
as may be seen in the drawings (fig. 27 A) of the rock-pigeon, (B) of
the Short-faced Tumbler, and (C) of the Bagadotten Carrier of
Neumeister. In some Runts the symphysis of the lower jaw is remarkably
solid. No one would readily have believed that jaws differing in the
several above-specified points so greatly could have belonged to the
same species.

    _Vertebræ._—All the breeds have twelve cervical vertebræ.[36] But
    in a Bussorah Carrier from India the twelfth vertebra carried a
    small rib, a quarter of an inch in length, with a perfect double

The _dorsal vertebræ_ are always eight. In the rock-pigeon all eight
bear ribs; the eighth rib being very thin, and the seventh having no
process. In Pouters all the ribs are extremely broad, eight bear ribs;
the eighth rib being very thin and the seventh having no process. In
Pouters all the ribs are extremely broad, and, in three out of four
skeletons examined by me, the eighth rib was twice or even thrice as
broad as in the rock-pigeon; and the seventh pair had distinct
processes. In many breeds there are only seven ribs, as in seven out of
eight skeletons of various Tumblers, and in several skeletons of
Fantails, Turbits and Nuns.>

In all these breeds the seventh pair was very small, and was destitute
of processes, in which respect it differed from the same rib in the
rock-pigeon. In one Tumbler, and in the Bussorah Carrier, even the
sixth pair had no process. The hypapophysis of the second dorsal
vertebra varies much in development; being sometimes (as in several,
but not all Tumblers) nearly as prominent as that of the third dorsal
vertebra; and the two hypapophyses together tend to form an ossified
arch. The development of the arch, formed by the hypapophyses of the
third and fourth dorsal vertebræ, also varies considerably, as does the
size of the hypapophysis of the fifth vertebra.

The rock-pigeon has twelve sacral vertebræ; but these vary in number,
relative size, and distinctness, in the different breeds. In Pouters,
with their elongated bodies, there are thirteen or even fourteen, and,
as we shall immediately see, an additional number of caudal vertebræ.
In Runts and Carriers there is generally the proper number, namely
twelve; but in one Runt, and in the Bussorah Carrier, there were only
eleven. In Tumblers there are either eleven, or twelve, or thirteen
sacral vertebræ.

The _caudal vertebræ_ are seven in number in the rock-pigeon. In
Fantails, which have their tails so largely developed, there are eight
or nine, and apparently in one case ten, and they are a little longer
than in the rock-pigeon, and their shape varies considerably. Pouters,
also, have eight or nine caudal vertebræ. I have seen eight in a Nun
and Jacobin. Tumblers, though such small birds, always have the normal
number seven; as have Carriers, with one exception, in which there were
only six.

The following table will serve as a summary, and will show the most
remarkable deviations in the number of the vertebra and ribs which I
have observed:—

                 Rock Pigeon.     Pouter, from Mr. Bult.     Tumbler,
                 Dutch Roller.     Bussorah Carrier. Cervical
                 Vertebræ     12     12     12     12
          The 12th bore a small rib. Dorsal Vertebræ       8       8      
          8       8 Dorsal Ribs       8
          The 6th pair with processes, the 7th pair without a
          process.       8
          The 6th and 7th pair with processes.       7
          The 6th and 7th pair without processes.       7
          The 6th and 7th pair without processes. Sacral
          Vertebræ     12     14     11     11 Caudal Vertebræ       7     8
          or 9       7       7 Total Vertebræ     39     42 or
          43     38     38

The _pelvis_ differs very little in any breed. The anterior margin of
the ilium, however, is sometimes a little more equally rounded on both
sides than in the rock-pigeon. The ischium is also frequently rather
more elongated. The obturator-notch is sometimes, as in many Tumblers,
less developed than in the rock-pigeon. The ridges on the ilium are
very prominent in most Runts.

Illustration: Fig. 28—Scapulæ of Pigeons.

Illustration: Fig. 29—Furcula of Pigeons.

In the bones of the extremities I could detect no difference, except in
their proportional lengths; for instance, the metatarsus in a Pouter
was 1·65 inch, and in a Short-faced Tumbler only ·95 in length; and
this is a greater difference than would naturally follow from their
differently-sized bodies; but long legs in the Pouter, and small feet
in the Tumbler, are selected points. In some Pouters the _scapula_ is
rather straighter, and in some Tumblers it is straighter, with the apex
less elongated, than in the rock-pigeon: in fig. 28, the scapula of the
rock-pigeon (A), and of a short-faced Tumbler (B), are given. The
processes at the summit of the _coracoid,_ which receive the
extremities of the furculum, form a more perfect cavity in some
Tumblers than in the rock-pigeon: in Pouters these processes are larger
and differently shaped, and the exterior angle of the extremity of the
coracoid, which is articulated to the sternum, is squarer.

The two arms of the _furculum_ in Pouters diverge less, proportionally
to their length, than in the rock-pigeon; and the symphysis is more
solid and pointed. In Fantails the degree of divergence of the two arms
varies in a remarkable manner. In fig. 29, B and C represent the
furcula of two Fantails; and it will be seen that the divergence in B
is rather less even than in the furculum of the short-faced,
small-sized Tumbler (A), whereas the divergence in C equals that in a
rock-pigeon, or in the Pouter (D), though the latter is a much larger
bird. The extremities of the furculum, where articulated to the
coracoids, vary considerably in outline.

In the _sternum_ the differences in form are slight, except in the size
and outline of the perforations, which, both in the larger and lesser
sized breeds, are sometimes small. These perforations, also, are
sometimes either nearly circular, or elongated as is often the case
with Carriers. The posterior perforations occasionally are not
complete, being left open posteriorly. The marginal apophyses forming
the anterior perforations vary greatly in development. The degree of
convexity of the posterior part of the sternum differs much, being
sometimes almost perfectly flat. The manubrium is rather more prominent
in some individuals than in others, and the pore immediately under it
varies greatly in size.

_Correlation of Growth._—By this term I mean that the whole
organisation is so connected, that when one part varies, other parts
vary; but which of two correlated variations ought to be looked at as
the cause and which as the effect, or whether both result from some
common cause, we can seldom or never tell. The point of interest for us
is that, when fanciers, by the continued selection of slight
variations, have largely modified one part, they often unintentionally
produce other modifications. For instance, the beak is readily acted on
by selection, and, with its increased or diminished length, the tongue
increases or diminishes, but not in due proportion; for, in a Barb and
Short-faced Tumbler, both of which have very short beaks, the tongue,
taking the rock-pigeon as the standard of comparison, was
proportionally not shortened enough, whilst in two Carriers and in a
Runt the tongue, proportionally with the beak, was not lengthened
enough, thus, in a first-rate English Carrier, in which the beak from
the tip to the feathered base was exactly thrice as long as in a
first-rate Short-faced Tumbler, the tongue was only a little more than
twice as long. But the tongue varies in length independently of the
beak: thus in a Carrier with a beak 1·2 inch in length, the tongue was
·67 in length: whilst in a Runt which equalled the Carrier in length of
body and in stretch of wings from tip to tip, the beak was ·92 whilst
the tongue was ·73 of an inch in length, so that the tongue was
actually longer than in the carrier with its long beak. The tongue of
the Runt was also very broad at the root. Of two Runts, one had its
beak longer by ·23 of an inch, whilst its tongue was shorter by ·14
than in the other.

With the increased or diminished length of the beak the length of the
slit forming the external orifice of the nostrils varies, but not in
due proportion, for, taking the rock-pigeon as the standard, the
orifice in a Short-faced Tumbler was not shortened in due proportion
with its very short beak. On the other hand (and this could not have
been anticipated), the orifice in three English Carriers, in the
Bagadotten Carrier, and in a Runt (_pigeon cygne_), was longer by above
the tenth of an inch than would follow from the length of the beak
proportionally with that of the rock-pigeon. In one Carrier the orifice
of the nostrils was thrice as long as in the rock-pigeon, though in
body and length of beak this bird was not nearly double the size of the
rock-pigeon. This greatly increased length of the orifice of the
nostrils seems to stand partly in correlation with the enlargement of
the wattled skin on the upper mandible and over the nostrils; and this
is a character which is selected by fanciers. So again, the broad,
naked, and wattled skin round the eyes of Carriers and Barbs is a
selected character; and in obvious correlation with this, the eyelids,
measured longitudinally, are proportionally more than double the length
of those of the rock-pigeon.

The great difference (see fig. 27) in the curvature of the lower jaw in
the rock-pigeon, the Tumbler, and Bagadotten Carrier, stands in obvious
relation to the curvature of the upper jaw, and more especially to the
angle formed by the maxillo-jugal arch with the premaxillary bones. But
in Carriers, Runts, and Barbs the singular reflexion of the upper
margin of the middle part of the lower jaw (see fig. 25) is not
strictly correlated with the width or divergence (as may be clearly
seen in fig. 26) of the premaxillary bones, but with the breadth of the
horny and soft parts of the upper mandible, which are always overlapped
by the edges of the lower mandible.

In Pouters, the elongation of the body is a selected character, and the
ribs, as we have seen, have generally become very broad, with the
seventh pair furnished with processes; the sacral and caudal vertebræ
have been augmented in number; the sternum has likewise increased in
length (but not in the depth of the crest) by ·4 of an inch more than
would follow from the greater bulk of the body in comparison with that
of the rock-pigeon. In Fantails, the length and number of the caudal
vertebræ have increased. Hence, during the gradual progress of
variation and selection, the internal bony framework and the external
shape of the body have been, to a certain extent, modified in a
correlated manner.

    Although the wings and tail often vary in length independently of
    each other, it is scarcely possible to doubt that they generally
    tend to become elongated or shortened in correlation. This is well
    seen in Jacobins, and still more plainly in Runts, some varieties
    of which have their wings and tail of great length, whilst others
    have both very short. With Jacobins, the remarkable length of the
    tail and wing-feathers is not a character which is intentionally
    selected by fanciers; but fanciers have been trying for centuries,
    at least since the year 1600, to increase the length of the
    reversed feathers on the neck, so that the hood may more completely
    enclose the head; and it may be suspected that the increased length
    of the wing and tail-feathers stand in correlation with the
    increased length of the neck-feathers. Short-faced Tumblers have
    short wings in nearly due proportion with the reduced size of their
    bodies; but it is remarkable, seeing that the number of the primary
    wing-feathers is a constant character in most birds, that these
    Tumblers generally have only nine instead of ten primaries. I have
    myself observed this in eight birds; and the Original Columbarian
    Society[37] reduced the standard for Bald-head Tumblers from ten to
    nine white flight-feathers, thinking it unfair that a bird which
    had only nine feathers should be disqualified for a prize because
    it had not ten _white_ flight-feathers. On the other hand, in
    Carriers and Runts, which have large bodies and long wings, eleven
    primary feathers have occasionally been observed.

Mr. Tegetmeier has informed me of a curious and inexplicable case of
correlation, namely, that young pigeons of all breeds which when mature
become white, yellow, silver (_i.e.,_ extremely pale blue), or
dun-coloured, are born almost naked; whereas pigeons of other colours
are born well-clothed with down. Mr. Esquilant, however, has observed
that young dun Carriers are not so bare as young dun Barbs and
Tumblers. Mr. Tegetmeier has seen two young birds in the same nest,
produced from differently coloured parents, which differed greatly in
the degree to which they were at first clothed with down.

I have observed another case of correlation which at first sight
appears quite inexplicable, but on which, as we shall see in a future
chapter, some light can be thrown by the law of homologous parts
varying in the same manner. The case is, that, when the feet are much
feathered, the roots of the feathers are connected by a web of skin,
and apparently in correlation with this the two outer toes become
connected for a considerable space by skin. I have observed this in
very many specimens of Pouters, Trumpeters, Swallows, Roller-tumblers
(likewise observed in this breed by Mr. Brent), and in a lesser degree
in other feather-footed pigeons.

The feet of the smaller and larger breeds are of course much smaller or
larger than those of the rock-pigeon; but the scutellæ or scales
covering the toes and tarsi have not only decreased or increased in
size, but likewise in number. To give a single instance, I have counted
eight scutellæ on the hind toe of a Runt, and only five on that of a
Short-faced Tumbler. With birds in a state of nature the number of the
scutellæ on the feet is usually a constant character. The length of the
feet and the length of the beak apparently stand in correlation; but as
disuse apparently has affected the size of the feet, this case may come
under the following discussion.

_On the Effects of Disuse._—In the following discussion on the relative
proportions of the feet, sternum, furculum, scapulæ, and wings, I may
premise, in order to give some confidence to the reader, that all my
measurements were made in the same manner, and that they were made
without the least intention of applying them to the following purpose.

Table I.
      _Pigeons with their beaks generally shorter than that of the
      Rock-pigeon, proportionally to the size of their bodies._

Name of Breed.     Actual
          of Feet     Difference between
          actual and calculated
          length of feet, in
          proportion to length of
          feet and size of body
          in the Rock-pigeon. Wild rock-pigeon (mean
          measurement)     2·02     Too short
           by     Too long
          by Short-faced Tumbler, blad-head     1·57     0·11     —
          Short-faced Tumbler, almond     1·60     0·16     — Tumbler, red
          magpie     1·75     0·19     — Tumbler, red common (by standard
          to end of tail)     1·85     0·07     — Tumbler, common
          bald-head     1·85     0·18     — Tumbler,
          roller     1·80     0·06     — Turbit     1·75     0·17     —
          Turbit     1·80     0·01     — Turbit     1·84     0·15     —
          Jacobin     1·90     0·02     — Trumpeter,
          white     2·02     0·06     — Trumpeter,
          mottled     1·95     0·18     — Fantail (by standard to end of
          tail)     1·85     0·15     — Fantail (by standard to end of
          tail)     1·95     0·15     — Fantail crested va. (by standard
          to end of tail)     1·95     0·0       0·0 Indian Frill-back (by
          standard to end of tail)     1·80     0·19     — English
          Frill-back     2·10     0·03     — Nun     1·82     0·02     —
          Laugher     1·65     0·16     — Barb     2·00     0·03     —
          Barb     2·00     —     0·03 Spot     1·90     0·02     —
          Spot     1·90     0·07     — Swallow, red     1·85     0·18     —
          Swallow, blue     2·00     —     0·03
          Pouter     2·42     —     0·11 Pouter,
          German     2·30     —     0·09 Bussorah
          Carrier     2·17     —     0·09 Number of
          specimens     28     22     5

I measured most of the birds which came into my possession, from the
feathered _base_ of the beak (the length of beak itself being so
variable) to the end of the tail, and to the oil-gland, but
unfortunately (except in a few cases) not to the root of the tail; I
measured each bird from the extreme tip to tip of wing; and the length
of the terminal folded part of the wing, from the extremity of the
primaries to the joint of the radius. I measured the feet without the
claws, from the end of the middle toe to the end of the hind toe; and
the tarsus and middle toe together. I have taken in every case the mean
measurement of two wild rock-pigeons from the Shetland Islands, as the
standard of comparison. The following table shows the actual length of
the feet in each bird; and the difference between the length which the
feet ought to have had according to the size of body of each, in
comparison with the size of body and length of feet of the rock-pigeon,
calculated (with a few specified exceptions) by the standard of the
length of the body from the base of the beak to the oil-gland. I have
preferred this standard, owing to the variability of the length of
tail. But I have made similar calculations, taking as the standard the
length from tip to tip of wing, and likewise in most cases from the
base of the beak to the end of the tail; and the result has always been
closely similar. To give an example: the first bird in the table, being
a Short-faced Tumbler, is much smaller than the rock-pigeon, and would
naturally have shorter feet; but it is found on calculation to have
feet too short by ·11 of an inch, in comparison with the feet of the
rock-pigeon, relatively to the size of the body in these two birds, as
measured from the base of beak to the oil-gland. So again, when this
same Tumbler and the rock-pigeon were compared by the length of their
wings, or by the extreme length of their bodies, the feet of the
Tumbler were likewise found to be too short in very nearly the same
proportion. I am well aware that the measurements pretend to greater
accuracy than is possible, but it was less trouble to write down the
actual measurements given by the compasses in each case than an

Table II.
      _Pigeons with their beaks longer than that of the Rock-pigeon,
      proportionally to the size of their bodies._

Name of Breed.     Actual
          Feet     Difference between
          actual and calculated
          length of feet, in
          proportion to length of
          feet and size of body
          in the Rock-pigeon. Wild rock-pigeon (mean
          measurement)     2·02     Too short
           by     Too long
          by Short-faced Tumbler, bald-head     1·57     0·11     —
          Carrier     2·60     —     0·31 Carrier     2·60     —     0·25
          Carrier     2·40     —     0·21 Carrier
          Dragon     2·25     —     0·06 Bagadotten
          Carrier     2·80     —     0·56 Scanderoon,
          white     2·80     —     0·37 Scanderoon, Pigeon
          cygne     2·85     —     0·29 Runt     2·75     —     0·27 Number
          of specimens     8     —     8

In these two tables (Tables I and II) we see in the first column the
actual length of the feet in thirty-six birds belonging to various
breeds, and in the two other columns we see by how much the feet are
too short or too long, according to the size of bird, in comparison
with the rock-pigeon. In the first table twenty-two specimens have
their feet too short, on an average by a little above the tenth of an
inch (viz. ·107); and five specimens have their feet on an average a
very little too long, namely, by ·07 of an inch. But some of these
latter cases can be explained; for instance, with Pouters the legs and
feet are selected for length, and thus any natural tendency to a
diminution in the length of the feet will have been counteracted. In
the Swallow and Barb, when the calculation was made on any standard of
comparison besides the one used (viz. length of body from base of beak
to oil-gland), the feet were found to be too small.

    In the second table we have eight birds, with their beaks much
    longer than in the rock-pigeon, both actually and proportionally
    with the size of body, and their feet are in an equally marked
    manner longer, namely, in proportion, on an average by ·29 of an
    inch. I should here state that in Table I there are a few partial
    exceptions to the beak being proportionally shorter than in the
    rock-pigeon: thus the beak of the English Frill-back is just
    perceptibly longer, and that of the Bussorah Carrier of the same
    length or slightly longer, than in the rock-pigeon. The beaks of
    Spots, Swallows, and Laughers are only a very little shorter, or of
    the same proportional length, but slenderer. Nevertheless, these
    two tables, taken conjointly, indicate pretty plainly some kind of
    correlation between the length of the beak and the size of the
    feet. Breeders of cattle and horses believe that there is an
    analogous connection between the length of the limbs and head; they
    assert that a race-horse with the head of a dray-horse, or a
    grey-hound with the head of a bulldog, would be a monstrous
    production. As fancy pigeons are generally kept in small aviaries,
    and are abundantly supplied with food, they must walk about much
    less than the wild rock-pigeon; and it may be admitted as highly
    probable that the reduction in the size of the feet in the
    twenty-two birds in the first table has been caused by disuse,[38]
    and that this reduction has acted by correlation on the beaks of
    the great majority of the birds in Table I. When, on the other
    hand, the beak has been much elongated by the continued selection
    of successive slight increments of length, the feet by correlation
    have likewise become much elongated in comparison with those of the
    wild rock-pigeon, notwithstanding their lessened use.

As I had taken measures from the end of the middle toe to the heel of
the tarsus in the rock-pigeon and in the above thirty-six birds, I have
made calculations analogous with those above given, and the result is
the same— namely, that in the short-beaked breeds, with equally few
exceptions as in the former case, the middle toe conjointly with the
tarsus has decreased in length; whereas in the long-beaked breeds it
has increased in length, though not quite so uniformly as in the former
case, for the leg, in some varieties of the Runt varies much in length.

As fancy pigeons are generally confined in aviaries of moderate size,
and as even when not confined they do not search for their own food,
they must during many generations have used their wings incomparably
less than the wild rock-pigeon. Hence it seemed to me probable that all
the parts of the skeleton subservient to flight would be found to be
reduced in size. With respect to the sternum, I have carefully measured
its extreme length in twelve birds of different breeds, and in two wild
rock-pigeons from the Shetland Islands. For the proportional comparison
I have tried three standards of measurement, with all twelve birds
namely, the length from the base of the beak to the oil-gland, to the
end of the tail, and from the extreme tip to tip of wings. The result
has been in each case nearly the same, the sternum being invariably
found to be shorter than in the wild rock-pigeon. I will give only a
single table, as calculated by the standard from the base of the beak
to the oil-gland; for the result in this case is nearly the mean
between the results obtained by the two other standards.

_Length of Sternum._

Name of Breed     Actual
          Inches     Too
          short by Wild Rock-pigeon     2·55     — Wild
          Rock-pigeon     2·55     — Pied Scanderoon     2·80     0·60
          Bagadotten Carrier     2·80     0·17 Dragon     2·45     0·41
          Carrier     2·75     0·35 Short-faced Tumbler     2·05     0·28
          Barb     2·35     0·34 Nun     2·27     0·15 German
          Pouter     2·36     0·54 Jacobin     2·33     0·22 English
          Frill-back     2·40     0·43 Swallow     2·45     0·17

This table shows that in these twelve breeds the sternum is of an
average one-third of an inch (exactly ·332) shorter than in the
rock-pigeon, proportionally with the size of their bodies; so that the
sternum has been reduced by between one-seventh and one-eighth of its
entire length; and this is a considerable reduction.

I have also measured in twenty-one birds, including the above dozen,
the prominence of the crest of the sternum relatively to its length,
independently of the size of the body. In two of the twenty-one birds
the crest was prominent in the same relative degree as in the
rock-pigeon; in seven it was more prominent; but in five out of these
seven, namely, in a Fantail, two Scanderoons, and two English Carriers,
this greater prominence may to a certain extent be explained, as a
prominent breast is admired and selected by fanciers; in the remaining
twelve birds the prominence was less. Hence it follows that the crest
exhibits a slight, though uncertain, tendency to be reduced in
prominence in a greater degree than does the length of the sternum
relatively to the size of body, in comparison with the rock-pigeon.

I have measured the length of the scapula in nine different large and
small-sized breeds, and in all the scapula is proportionally shorter
(taking the same standard as before) than in the wild rock-pigeon. The
reduction in length on an average is very nearly one-fifth of an inch,
or about one-ninth of the length of the scapula in the rock-pigeon.

The arms of the furcula in all the specimens which I compared, diverged
less, proportionally with the size of body, than in the rock-pigeon;
and the whole furculum was proportionally shorter. Thus in a Runt,
which measured from tip to tip of wings 38½ inches, the furculum was
only a very little longer (with the arms hardly more divergent) than in
a rock-pigeon which measured from tip to tip 26½ inches. In a Barb,
which in all its measurements was a little larger than the same
rock-pigeon, the furculum was a quarter of an inch shorter. In a
Pouter, the furculum had not been lengthened proportionally with the
increased length of the body. In a Short-faced Tumbler, which measured
from tip to tip of wings 24 inches, therefore only 2½ inches less than
the rock-pigeon, the furculum was barely two-thirds of the length of
that of the rock-pigeon.

    We thus clearly see that the sternum, scapula, and furculum are all
    reduced in proportional length; but when we turn to the wings we
    find what at first appears a wholly different and unexpected
    result. I may here remark that I have not picked out specimens, but
    have used every measurement made by me. Taking the length from the
    base of beak to the end of the tail as the standard of comparison,
    I find that, out of thirty-five birds of various breeds,
    twenty-five have wings of greater, and ten have them of less
    proportional length, than in the rock-pigeon. But from the
    frequently correlated length of the tail and wing-feathers, it is
    better to take as the standard of comparison the length from the
    base of the beak to the oil-gland; and by this standard, out of
    twenty-six of the same birds which had been thus measured,
    twenty-one had wings too long, and only five had them too short. In
    the twenty-one birds the wings exceeded in length those of the
    rock-pigeon, on an average, by 1-1/3 inch; whilst in the five birds
    they were less in length by only ·8 of an inch. As I was much
    surprised that the wings of closely confined birds should thus so
    frequently have been increased in length, it occurred to me that it
    might be solely due to the greater length of the wing-feathers; for
    this certainly is the case with the Jacobin, which has wings of
    unusual length. As in almost every case I had measured the folded
    wings, I subtracted the length of this terminal part from that of
    the expanded wings, and thus I obtained, with a moderate degree of
    accuracy, the length of the wings from the ends of the two radii,
    answering from wrist to wrist in our arms. The wings, thus measured
    in the same twenty-five birds, now gave a widely different result;
    for they were proportionally with those of the rock-pigeon too
    short in seventeen birds, and in only eight too long. Of these
    eight birds, five were long-beaked,[39] and this fact perhaps
    indicates that there is some correlation of the length of the beak
    with the length of the bones of the wings, in the same manner as
    with that of the feet and tarsi. The shortening of the humerus and
    radius in the seventeen birds may probably be attributed to disuse,
    as in the case of the scapula and furculum to which the wing-bones
    are attached;—the lengthening of the wing-feathers, and
    consequently the expansion of the wings from tip to tip, being, on
    the other hand, as completely independent of use and disuse as is
    the growth of the hair or wool on our long-haired dogs or
    long-woolled sheep.

To sum up: we may confidently admit that the length of the sternum, and
frequently the prominence of its crest, the length of the scapula and
furculum, have all been reduced in size in comparison with the same
parts in the rock-pigeon. And I presume that this may be attributed to
disuse or lessened exercise. The wings, as measured from the ends of
the radii, have likewise been generally reduced in length; but, owing
to the increased growth of the wing-feathers, the wings, from tip to
tip, are commonly longer than in the rock-pigeon. The feet, as well as
the tarsi conjointly with the middle toe, have likewise in most cases
become reduced; and this it is probable has been caused by their
lessened use; but the existence of some sort of correlation between the
feet and beak is shown more plainly than the effects of disuse. We have
also some faint indication of a similar correlation between the main
bones of the wing and the beak.

_Summary on the Points of Difference between the several Domestic
Races, and between the individual Birds._—The beak, together with the
bones of the face, differ remarkably in length, breadth, shape, and
curvature. The skull differs in shape, and greatly in the angle formed
by the union of the pre-maxillary, nasal, and maxillo-jugal bones. The
curvature of the lower jaw and the reflection of its upper margin, as
well as the gape of the mouth, differ in a highly remarkable manner.
The tongue varies much in length, both independently and in correlation
with the length of the beak. The development of the naked, wattled skin
over the nostrils and round the eyes varies in an extreme degree. The
eyelids and the external orifices of the nostrils vary in length, and
are to a certain extent correlated with the degree of development of
the wattle. The size and form of the œsophagus and crop, and their
capacity for inflation, differ immensely. The length of the neck
varies. With the varying shape of the body, the breadth and number of
the ribs, the presence of processes, the number of the sacral vertebræ,
and the length of the sternum, all vary. The number and size of the
coccygeal vertebræ vary, apparently in correlation with the increased
size of the tail. The size and shape of the perforations in the
sternum, and the size and divergence of the arms of the furculum,
differ. The oil-gland varies in development, and is sometimes quite
aborted. The direction and length of certain feathers have been much
modified, as in the hood of the Jacobin and the frill of the Turbit.
The wing and tail-feathers generally vary in length together, but
sometimes independently of each other and of the size of the body. The
number and position of the tail-feather vary to an unparalleled degree.
The primary and secondary wing-feathers occasionally vary in number,
apparently in correlation with the length of the wing. The length of
the leg and the size of the feet, and, in connection with the latter,
the number of the scutellæ, all vary. A web of skin sometimes connects
the bases of the two inner toes, and almost invariably the two outer
toes when the feet are feathered.

    The size of the body differs greatly: a Runt has been known to
    weigh more than five times as much as a Short-faced Tumbler. The
    eggs differ in size and shape. According to Parmentier,[40] some
    races use much straw in building their nests, and others use
    little; but I cannot hear of any recent corroboration of this
    statement. The length of time required for hatching the eggs is
    uniform in all the breeds. The period at which the characteristic
    plumage of some breeds is acquired, and at which certain changes of
    colour supervene, differs. The degree to which the young birds are
    clothed with down when first hatched is different, and is
    correlated in a singular manner with the colour of the plumage. The
    manner of flight, and certain inherited movements, such as clapping
    the wings, tumbling either in the air or on the ground, and the
    manner of courting the female, present the most singular
    differences. In disposition the several races differ. Some races
    are very silent; others coo in a highly peculiar manner.

    Although many different races have kept true in character during
    several centuries, as we shall hereafter more fully see, yet there
    is far more individual variability in the most constant breeds than
    in birds in a state of nature. There is hardly any exception to the
    rule that those characters vary most which are now most valued and
    attended to by fanciers, and which consequently are now being
    improved by continued selection. This is indirectly admitted by
    fanciers when they complain that it is much more difficult to breed
    high fancy pigeons up to the proper standard of excellence than the
    so-called toy pigeons, which differ from each other merely in
    colour; for particular colours when once acquired are not liable to
    continued improvement or augmentation. Some characters become
    attached, from quite unknown causes, more strongly to the male than
    to the female sex; so that we have in certain races, a tendency
    towards the appearance of secondary sexual characters,[41] of which
    the aboriginal rock-pigeon displays not a trace.


 [1] The Hon. C. Murray has sent me some very valuable specimens from
 Persia; and H.M. Consul, Mr. Keith Abbott, has given me information on
 the pigeons of the same country. I am deeply indebted to Sir Walter
 Elliot for an immense collection of skins from Madras, with much
 information regarding them. Mr. Blyth has freely communicated to me
 his stores of knowledge on this and all other related subjects. The
 Rajah Sir James Brooke sent me specimens from Borneo, as has H.M.
 Consul, Mr. Swinhoe, from Amoy in China, and Dr. Daniell from the west
 coast of Africa.

 [2] Mr. B. P. Brent, well known for his various contributions to
 poultry literature, has aided me in every way during several years: so
 has Mr. Tegetmeier, with unwearied kindness. This latter gentleman,
 who is well known for his works on poultry, and who has largely bred
 pigeons, has looked over this and the following chapters. Mr. Bult
 formerly showed me his unrivalled collection of Pouters, and gave me
 specimens. I had access to Mr. Wicking’s collection, which contained a
 greater assortment of kinds than could anywhere else be seen; and he
 has always aided me with specimens and information given in the freest
 manner. Mr. Haynes and Mr. Corker have given me specimens of their
 magnificent Carriers. To Mr. Harrison Weir I am likewise indebted. Nor
 must I by any means pass over the assistance received from Mr. J. M.
 Eaton, Mr. Baker, Mr. Evans, and Mr. J. Baily, jun., of
 Mount-street—to the latter gentleman I have been indebted for some
 valuable specimens. To all these gentlemen I beg permission to return
 my sincere and cordial thanks.

 [3] ‘Les Pigeons de Volière et de Colombier’ Paris 1824. During
 forty-five years the sole occupation of M. Corbié was the care of the
 pigeons belonging to the Duchess of Berry. Bonizzi has described a
 large number of coloured varieties in Italy: ‘Le variazioni dei
 colombi Domestici,’ Padova, 1873.

 [4] ‘Coup d’Oeil sur l’Ordre des Pigeons’ par Prince C. L. Bonaparte,
 Paris, 1855. This author makes 288 species, ranked under 85 genera.

 [5] As I so often refer to the size of the _C. livia,_ or rock-pigeon,
 it may be convenient to give the mean between the measurements of two
 wild birds, kindly sent me by Dr. Edmondstone from the Shetland

      Inches From feathered base of beak to end of tail:     14·25 From
      feathered base of beak to oil-gland:     9·50 From tip of beak to
      end of tail:     15·02 Of tail-feathers:     4·62 From tip to tip of
      wing:     26·75 Of folded wing:     9·25 Beak: Length from tip of
      beak to feathered base:     ·77 Thickness, measured vertically at
      distal end of nostrils:     ·23 Breadth, measured at same
      place:     ·16 Feet: From end of middle toe (without claw) to
      distal end of tibia:     2·77 From end of middle toe to end of hind
      toe (without claws):     2·02 Weight: 14-1/4 ounces.

 [6] This drawing was made from a dead bird. The six following figures
 were drawn with great care by Mr. Luke Wells from living birds
 selected by Mr. Tegetmeier. It may be confidently asserted that the
 characters of the six breeds which have been figured are not in the
 least exaggerated.

 [7] ‘Das Ganze der Taubenzucht:’ Weimar, 1837, pl. 11 and 12.

 [8] Boitard and Corbié, ‘Les Pigeons,’ etc., p. 177, pl. 6.

 [9] ‘Die Taubenzucht,’ Ulm, 1824, s. 42.

 [10] This treatise was written by Sayzid Mohammed Musari, who died in
 1770: I owe to the great kindness of Sir W. Elliot a translation of
 this curious treatise.

 [11] ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ vol. 2, p. 573.

 [12] ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,’ vol. xix, 1847, p. 105.

 [13] This gland occurs in most birds; but Nitzsch (in his
 ‘Pterylographie,’ 1840, p. 55) states that it is absent in two species
 of Columba, in several species of Psittacus, in some species of Otis,
 and in most or all birds of the Ostrich family. It can hardly be an
 accidental coincidence that the two species of Columba, which are
 destitute of an oil-gland, have an unusual number of tail-feathers,
 namely 16, and in this respect resemble Fantails.

 [14] _See_ the two excellent editions published by Mr. J. M. Eaton in
 1852 and 1858, entitled ‘A Treatise on Fancy Pigeons.’

 [15] English translation, by F. Gladwin, 4th edition, vol. i. The
 habit of the Lotan is also described in the Persian treatise before
 alluded to, published about 100 years ago: at this date the Lotans
 were generally white and crested as at present. Mr. Blyth describes
 these birds in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ vol. xiv., 1847, p.
 104; he says that they “may be seen at any of the Calcutta

 [16] ‘Journal of Horticulture,’ Oct. 22, 1861, p. 76.

 [17] _See_ the account of the House-tumblers kept at Glasgow, in the
 ‘Cottage Gardener,’ 1858, p. 285. Also Mr. Brent’s paper, ‘Journal of
 Horticulture,’ 1861, p. 76.

 [18] J. M. Eaton, ‘Treatise on Pigeons,’ 1852, p. 9.

 [19] J. M. Eaton, ‘Treatise,’ edit. 1858, p. 76.

 [20] Neumeister, ‘Taubenzucht,’ tab. 4. fig. i.

 [21] Riedel, ‘Die Taubenzucht,’ 1824, s. 26. Bechstein,
 ‘Naturgeschichte Deutschlands,’ Band iv. s. 36, 1795.

 [22] Willughby’s ‘Ornithology,’ edited by Ray.

 [23] J. M. Eaton’s edition (1858) of Moore, p. 98.

 [24] Pigeon pattu plongeur. ‘Les Pigeons,’ etc., p. 165.

 [25] ‘Naturgeschichte Deutschlands,’ Band iv. s. 47.

 [26] Mr. W. B. Tegetmeier, ‘Journal of Horticulture,’ Jan. 20, 1863,
 p. 58.

 [27] ‘Coup-d’œil sur L’Ordre des Pigeons,’ par C. L. Bonaparte
 (‘Comptes Rendus’), 1854-55. Mr. Blyth, in ‘Annals of Nat. Hist.,’
 vol. xix., 1847, p. 41, mentions, as a very singular fact, “that of
 the two species of Ectopistes, which are nearly allied to each other,
 one should have fourteen tail-feathers, while the other, the passenger
 pigeon of North America, should possess but the usual number—twelve.”

 [28] Described and figured in the ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ vol. iii.,
 1855, p. 82.

 [29] ‘The Pigeon Book,’ by Mr. B. P. Brent, 1859, p. 41.

 [30] ‘Die staarhälsige Taube. Das Ganze, etc.,’ s. 21, tab. i. fig. 4.

 [31] ‘A Treatise on the Almond-Tumbler,’ by J. M. Eaton, 1852, p. 8,
 _et passim._

 [32] ‘A Treatise, etc.,’ p. 10.

 [33] Boitard and Corbié ‘Les Pigeons,’ etc., 1824, p. 173.

 [34] ‘Le Pigeon Voyageur Belge,’ 1865, p. 87. I have given in my
 ‘Descent of Man’ (6th edit. p. 466) some curious cases, on the
 authority of Mr. Tegetmeier, of silver-coloured (_i.e._ very pale
 blue) birds being generally females, and of the ease with which a race
 thus characterised could be produced. Bonizzi (_see_ ‘Variazioni dei
 Columbi domestici:’ Padova, 1873) states that certain coloured spots
 are often different in the two sexes, and the certain tints are
 commoner in females than in male pigeons.

 [35] Prof. A. Newton (‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1865, p. 716) remarks that
 he knows no species which present any remarkable sexual distinction;
 but Mr. Wallace informs me, that in the sub-family of the Treronidæ
 the sexes often differ considerably in colour. _See also_ on sexual
 differences in the Columbidæ, Gould, ‘Handbook to the Birds of
 Australia,’ vol. ii., pp. 109-149.

 [36] I am not sure that I have designated the different kinds of
 vertebræ correctly: but I observe that different anatomists follow in
 this respect different rules, and, as I use the same terms in the
 comparison of all the skeletons, this, I hope, will not signify.

 [37] J. M. Eaton’s ‘Treatise,’ edit. 1858, p. 78.

 [38] In an analogous, but converse, manner, certain natural groups of
 the Columbidæ, from being more terrestrial in their habits than other
 allied groups, have larger feet. _See_ Prince Bonaparte’s ‘Coup d’œil
 sur l’Ordre des Pigeons.’

 [39] It perhaps deserves notice that besides these five birds two of
 the eight were Barbs, which, as I have shown, must be classed in the
 same group with the long-beaked Carriers and Runts. Barbs may properly
 be called short-beaked Carriers. It would, therefore, appear as if,
 during the reduction of their beaks, their wings had retained a little
 of that excess of length which is characteristic of their nearest
 relations and progenitors.

 [40] Temminck, ‘Hist. Nat. Gén. des Pigeons et des Gallinacés,’ tom.
 i., 1813, p. 170.

 [41] This term was used by John Hunter for such differences in
 structure between the males and females, as are not directly connected
 with the act of reproduction, as the tail of the peacock, the horns of
 deer, etc.

CHAPTER VI. PIGEONS—_continued._


The differences described in the last chapter between the eleven chief
domestic races and between individual birds of the same race, would be
of little significance, if they had not all descended from a single
wild stock. The question of their origin is therefore of fundamental
importance, and must be discussed at considerable length. No one will
think this superfluous who considers the great amount of difference
between the races, who knows how ancient many of them are, and how
truly they breed at the present day. Fanciers almost unanimously
believe that the different races are descended from several wild
stocks, whereas most naturalists believe that all are descended from
the Columba livia or rock-pigeon.

    Temminck[1] has well observed, and Mr. Gould has made the same
    remark to me, that the aboriginal parent must have been a species
    which roosted and built its nest on rocks; and I may add that it
    must have been a social bird. For all the domestic races are highly
    social, and none are known to build or habitually to roost on
    trees. The awkward manner in which some pigeons, kept by me in a
    summer-house near an old walnut-tree, occasionally alighted on the
    barer branches, was evident.[2] Nevertheless, Mr. R. Scot Skirving
    informs me that he often saw crowds of pigeons in Upper Egypt
    settling on low trees, but not on palms, in preference to alighting
    on the mud hovels of the natives. In India Mr. Blyth[3] has been
    assured that the wild _C. livia,_ var. _intermedia,_ sometimes
    roosts in trees. I may here give a curious instance of compulsion
    leading to changed habits: the banks of the Nile above lat. 28° 30′
    are perpendicular for a long distance, so that when the river is
    full the pigeons cannot alight on the shore to drink, and Mr.
    Skirving repeatedly saw whole flocks settle on the water, and drink
    whilst they floated down the stream. These flocks seen from a
    distance resembled flocks of gulls on the surface of the sea.

    If any domestic race had descended from a species which was not
    social, or which built its nest and roosted in trees,[4] the sharp
    eyes of fanciers would assuredly have detected some vestige of so
    different an aboriginal habit. For we have reason to believe that
    aboriginal habits are long retained under domestication. Thus with
    the common ass we see signs of its original desert life in its
    strong dislike to cross the smallest stream of water, and in its
    pleasure in rolling in the dust. The same strong dislike to cross a
    stream is common to the camel, which has been domesticated from a
    very ancient period. Young pigs, though so tame, sometimes squat
    when frightened, and thus try to conceal themselves even on an open
    and bare place. Young turkeys, and occasionally even young fowls,
    when the hen gives the danger-cry, run away and try to hide
    themselves, like young partridges or pheasants, in order that their
    mother may take flight, of which she has lost the power. The
    musk-duck (_Cairina moschata_) in its native country often perches
    and roosts on trees,[5] and our domesticated musk-ducks, though
    such sluggish birds, “are fond of perching on the tops of barns,
    walls, etc., and, if allowed to spend the night in the hen-house,
    the female will generally go to roost by the side of the hens, but
    the drake is too heavy to mount thither with ease.”[6] We know that
    the dog, however well and regularly fed, often buries, like the
    fox, any superfluous food; and we see him turning round and round
    on a carpet, as if to trample down grass to form a bed; we see him
    on bare pavements scratching backwards as if to throw earth over
    his excrement, although, as I believe, this is never effected even
    where there is earth. In the delight with which lambs and kids
    crowd together and frisk on the smallest hillock, we see a vestige
    of their former alpine habits.

We have therefore good reason to believe that all the domestic races of
the pigeon are descended either from some one or from several species
which both roosted and built their nests on rocks, and were social in
disposition. As only five or six wild species have these habits, and
make any near approach in structure to the domesticated pigeon, I will
enumerate them.

    Firstly, the _Columba leuconota_ resembles certain domestic
    varieties in its plumage, with the one marked and never-failing
    difference of a white band which crosses the tail at some distance
    from the extremity. This species, moreover, inhabits the Himalaya,
    close to the limit of perpetual snow; and therefore, as Mr. Blyth
    has remarked, is not likely to have been the parent of our domestic
    breeds, which thrive in the hottest countries. Secondly, the _C.
    rupestris,_ of Central Asia, which is intermediate[7] between the
    _C. leuconota_ and _livia_; but has nearly the same coloured tail
    as the former species. Thirdly, the _ Columba littoralis_ builds
    and roosts, according to Temminck, on rocks in the Malayan
    archipelago; it is white, excepting parts of the wing and the tip
    of the tail, which are black; its legs are livid-coloured, and this
    is a character not observed in any adult domestic pigeon; but I
    need not have mentioned this species or the closely-allied _C.
    luctuosa,_ as they in fact belong to the genus Carpophaga.
    Fourthly, _Columba guinea,_ which ranges from Guinea[8] to the Cape
    of Good Hope, and roosts either on trees or rocks, according to the
    nature of the country. This species belongs to the genus
    Strictoenas of Reichenbach, but is closely allied to Columba; it is
    to some extent coloured like certain domestic races, and has been
    said to be domesticated in Abyssinia; but Mr. Mansfield Parkyns,
    who collected the birds of that country and knows the species,
    informs me that this is a mistake. Moreover, the _C. guinea_ is
    characterised by the feathers of the neck having peculiar notched
    tips,—a character not observed in any domestic race. Fifthly, the _
    Columba œnas_ of Europe, which roosts on trees, and builds its nest
    in holes, either in trees or the ground; this species, as far as
    external characters go, might be the parent of several domestic
    races; but, though it crosses readily with the true rock-pigeon,
    the offspring, as we shall presently see, are sterile hybrids, and
    of such sterility there is not a trace when the domestic races are
    intercrossed. It should also be observed that if we were to admit,
    against all probability, that any of the foregoing five or six
    species were the parents of some of our domestic pigeons, not the
    least light would be thrown on the chief differences between the
    eleven most strongly-marked races.

    We now come to the best known rock-pigeon, the _Columba livia,_
    which is often designated in Europe pre-eminently as the
    Rock-pigeon, and which naturalists believe to be the parent of all
    the domesticated breeds. This bird agrees in every essential
    character with the breeds which have been only slightly modified.
    It differs from all other species in being of a slaty-blue colour,
    with two black bars on the wings, and with the croup (or loins)
    white. Occasionally birds are seen in Faroe and the Hebrides with
    the black bars replaced by two or three black spots; this form has
    been named by Brehm[9] _C. amaliæ,_ but this species has not been
    admitted as distinct by other ornithologists. Graba[10] even found
    a difference in the bars on the right and left wings of the same
    bird in Faroe. Another and rather more distinct form is either
    truly wild or has become feral on the cliffs of England and was
    doubtfully named by Mr. Blyth[11] as _C. affinis,_ but is now no
    longer considered by him as a distinct species. _C. affinis_ is
    rather smaller than the rock-pigeon of the Scottish islands, and
    has a very different appearance owing to the wing-coverts being
    chequered with black, with similar marks often extending over the
    back. The chequering consists of a large black spot on the two
    sides, but chiefly on the outer side, of each feather. The
    wing-bars in the true rock-pigeon and in the chequered variety are,
    in fact, due to similar though larger spots symmetrically crossing
    the secondary wing-feather and the larger coverts. Hence the
    chequering arises merely from an extension of these marks to other
    parts of the plumage. Chequered birds are not confined to the
    coasts of England; for they were found by Graba at Faroe; and W.
    Thompson[12] says that at Islay fully half the wild rock-pigeons
    were chequered. Colonel King, of Hythe, stocked his dovecot with
    young wild birds which he himself procured from nests at the Orkney
    Islands; and several specimens, kindly sent to me by him, were all
    plainly chequered. As we thus see that chequered birds occur
    mingled with the true rock-pigeon at three distinct sites, namely,
    Faroe, the Orkney Islands, and Islay, no importance can be attached
    to this natural variation in the plumage.

    Prince C. L. Bonaparte,[13] a great divider of species, enumerates,
    with a mark of interrogation, as distinct from _C. livia,_ the _C.
    turricola_ of Italy, the _C. rupestris_ of Daouria, and the _C.
    schimperi_ of Abyssinia; but these birds differ from _C. livia_ in
    characters of the most trifling value. In the British Museum there
    is a chequered pigeon, probably the _C. schimperi_ of Bonaparte,
    from Abyssinia. To these may be added the _C. gymnocyclus_ of G. R.
    Gray from W. Africa, which is slightly more distinct, and has
    rather more naked skin round the eyes than the rock-pigeon; but
    from information given me by Dr. Daniell, it is doubtful whether
    this is a wild bird, for dovecot-pigeons (which I have examined)
    are kept on the coast of Guinea.

    The wild rock-pigeon of India (_C. intermedia_ of Strickland) has
    been more generally accepted as a distinct species. It differs
    chiefly in the croup being blue instead of snow-white; but as Mr.
    Blyth informs me, the tint varies, being sometimes albescent. When
    this form is domesticated chequered birds appear, just as occurs in
    Europe with the truly wild _C. livia._ Moreover we shall
    immediately have proof that the blue and white croup is a highly
    variable character; and Bechstein[14] asserts that with
    dovecot-pigeons in Germany this is the most variable of all the
    characters of the plumage. Hence it may be concluded that _C.
    intermedia_ cannot be ranked as specifically distinct from _C.

In Madeira there is a rock-pigeon which a few ornithologists have
suspected to be distinct from _C. livia._ I have examined numerous
specimens collected by Mr. E. V. Harcourt and Mr. Mason. They are
rather smaller than the rock- pigeon from the Shetland Islands, and
their beaks are plainly thinner, but the thickness of the beak varied
in the several specimens. In plumage there is remarkable diversity;
some specimens are identical in every feather (I speak after actual
comparison) with the rock-pigeon of the Shetland Islands; others are
chequered, like _C. affinis_ from the cliffs of England, but generally
to a greater degree, being almost black over the whole back; others are
identical with the so-called _C. intermedia_ of India in the degree of
blueness of the croup; whilst others have this part very pale or very
dark blue, and are likewise chequered. So much variability raises a
strong suspicion that these birds are domestic pigeons which have
become feral.

    From these facts it can hardly be doubted that _C. livia, affinis,
    intermedia,_ and the forms marked with an interrogation by
    Bonaparte ought all to be included under a single species. But it
    is quite immaterial whether or not they are thus ranked, and
    whether some one of these forms or all are the progenitors of the
    various domestic kinds, as far as any light can thus be thrown on
    the differences between the more strongly-marked races. That common
    dovecot-pigeons, which are kept in various parts of the world, are
    descended from one or from several of the above-mentioned wild
    varieties of _C. livia,_ no one who compares them will doubt. But
    before making a few remarks on dovecot-pigeons, it should be stated
    that the wild rock-pigeon has been found easy to tame in several
    countries. We have seen that Colonel King at Hythe stocked his
    dovecot more than twenty years ago with young wild birds taken at
    the Orkney Islands, and since then they have greatly multiplied.
    The accurate Macgillivray[15] asserts that he completely tamed a
    wild rock-pigeon in the Hebrides; and several accounts are on
    records of these pigeons having bred in dovecots in the Shetland
    Islands. In India, as Captain Hutton informs me, the wild
    rock-pigeon is easily tamed, and breeds readily with the domestic
    kind; and Mr. Blyth[16] asserts that wild birds come frequently to
    the dovecots and mingle freely with their inhabitants. In the
    ancient ‘Ayeen Akbery’ it is written that, if a few wild pigeons be
    taken, “they are speedily joined by a thousand others of their

    Dovecot-pigeons are those which are kept in dovecots in a semi-
    domesticated state; for no special care is taken of them, and they
    procure their own food, except during the severest weather. In
    England, and, judging from MM. Boitard and Corbié’s work, in
    France, the common dovecot- pigeon exactly resembles the chequered
    variety of _C. livia;_ but I have seen dovecots brought from
    Yorkshire without any trace of chequering, like the wild
    rock-pigeon of the Shetland Islands. The chequered dovecots from
    the Orkney Islands, after having been domesticated by Colonel King
    for more than twenty years, differed slightly from each other in
    the darkness of their plumage and in the thickness of their beaks;
    the thinnest beak being rather thicker than the thickest one in the
    Madeira birds. In Germany, according to Bechstein, the common
    dovecot-pigeon is not chequered. In India they often become
    chequered, and sometimes pied with white; the croup also, as I am
    informed by Mr. Blyth, becomes nearly white. I have received from
    Sir. J. Brooke some dovecot-pigeons, which originally came from the
    S. Natunas Islands in the Malay Archipelago, and which had been
    crossed with the Singapore dovecots: they were small and the
    darkest variety was extremely like the dark chequered variety with
    a blue croup from Madeira; but the beak was not so thin, though
    decidedly thinner than in the rock- pigeon from the Shetland
    Islands. A dovecot-pigeon sent to me by Mr. Swinhoe from Foochow,
    in China, was likewise rather small, but differed in no other
    respect. I have also received through the kindness of Dr. Daniell,
    four living dovecot-pigeons from Sierra Leone,[17] these were fully
    as large as the Shetland rock-pigeon, with even bulkier bodies. In
    plumage some of them were identical with the Shetland rock pigeon,
    but with the metallic tints apparently rather more brilliant;
    others had a blue croup, and resembled the chequered variety of _C.
    intermedia_ of India; and some were so much chequered as to be
    nearly black. In these four birds the beak differed slightly in
    length, but in all it was decidedly shorter, more massive, and
    stronger than in the wild rock-pigeon from the Shetland Islands, or
    in the English dovecot. When the beaks of these African pigeons
    were compared with the thinnest beaks of the wild Madeira
    specimens, the contrast was great; the former being fully one-third
    thicker in a vertical direction than the latter; so that any one at
    first would have felt inclined to rank these birds as specifically
    distinct; yet so perfectly graduated a series could be formed
    between the above-mentioned varieties, that it was obviously
    impossible to separate them.

To sum up: the wild _Columba livia,_ including under this name _C.
affinis, intermedia,_ and the other still more closely-affined
geographical races, has a vast range from the southern coast of Norway
and the Faroe Islands to the shores of the Mediterranean, to Madeira
and the Canary Islands, to Abyssinia, India, and Japan. It varies
greatly in plumage, being in many places chequered with black, and
having either a white or blue croup or loins; it varies also slightly
in the size of the beak and body. Dovecot-pigeons, which no one
disputes are descended from one or more of the above wild forms,
present a similar but greater range of variation in plumage, in the
size of body, and in the length and thickness of the beak. There seems
to be some relation between the croup being blue or white, and the
temperature of the country inhabited by both wild and dovecot pigeons;
for nearly all the dovecot-pigeons in the northern parts of Europe have
a white croup, like that of the wild European rock-pigeon; and nearly
all the dovecot-pigeons of India have a blue croup like that of the
wild _C. intermedia_ of India. As in various countries the wild
rock-pigeon has been found easy to tame, it seems extremely probable
that the dovecot-pigeons throughout the world are the descendants of at
least two and perhaps more wild stocks; but these, as we have just
seen, cannot be ranked as specifically distinct.

With respect to the variation of _C. livia,_ we may without fear of
contradiction go one step further. Those pigeon-fanciers who believe
that all the chief races, such as Carriers, Pouters, Fantails, etc.,
are descended from distinct aboriginal stocks, yet admit that the
so-called toy-pigeons, which differ from the rock-pigeon in little
except colour, are descended from this bird. By toy-pigeons are meant
such birds as Spots, Nuns, Helmets, Swallows, Priests, Monks,
Porcelains, Swabians, Archangels, Breasts, Shields, and others in
Europe, and many others in India. It would indeed be as puerile to
suppose that all these birds are descended from so many distinct wild
stocks as to suppose this to be the case with the many varieties of the
gooseberry, heartsease, or dahlia. Yet these kinds all breed true, and
many of them include sub-varieties which likewise transmit their
character truly. They differ greatly from each other and from the
rock-pigeon in plumage, slightly in size and proportions of body, in
size of feet, and in the length and thickness of their beaks. They
differ from each other in these respects more than do dovecot-pigeons.
Although we may safely admit that dovecot-pigeons, which vary slightly,
and that toy- pigeons, which vary in a greater degree in accordance
with their more highly-domesticated condition, are descended from _C.
livia,_ including under this name the above-enumerated wild
geographical races; yet the question becomes far more difficult when we
consider the eleven principal races, most of which have been profoundly
modified. It can, however, be shown, by indirect evidence of a
perfectly conclusive nature, that these principal races are not
descended from so many wild stocks; and if this be once admitted, few
will dispute that they are the descendants of _C. livia,_ which agrees
with them so closely in habits and in most characters, which varies in
a state of nature, and which has certainly undergone a considerable
amount of variation, as in the toy-pigeons. We shall moreover presently
see how eminently favourable circumstances have been for a great amount
of modification in the more carefully tended breeds.

The reasons for concluding that the several principal races are not
descended from so many aboriginal and unknown stocks may be grouped
under the following six heads:—

_Firstly._—If the eleven chief races have not arisen from the variation
of some one species, together with its geographical races, they must be
descended from several extremely distinct aboriginal species; for no
amount of crossing between only six or seven wild forms could produce
races so distinct as Pouters, Carriers, Runts, Fantails, Turbits,
Short-faced Tumblers, Jacobins, and Trumpeters. How could crossing
produce, for instance, a Pouter or a Fantail, unless the two supposed
aboriginal parents possessed the remarkable characters of these breeds?
I am aware that some naturalists, following Pallas, believe that
crossing gives a strong tendency to variation, independently of the
characters inherited from either parent. They believe that it would be
easier to raise a Pouter or Fantail pigeon from crossing two distinct
species, neither of which possessed the characters of these races, than
from any single species. I can find few facts in support of this
doctrine, and believe in it only to a limited degree; but in a future
chapter I shall have to recur to this subject. For our present purpose
the point is not material. The question which concerns us is, whether
or not many new and important characters have arisen since man first
domesticated the pigeon. On the ordinary view, variability is due to
changed conditions of life; on the Pallasian doctrine, variability, or
the appearance of new characters, is due to some mysterious effect from
the crossing of two species, neither of which possesses the characters
in question. In some few instances it is possible that well-marked
races may have been formed by crossing; for instance, a Barb might
perhaps be formed by a cross between a long-beaked Carrier, having
large eye-wattles, and some short-beaked pigeon. That many races have
been in some degree modified by crossing, and that certain varieties
which are distinguished only by peculiar tints have arisen from crosses
between differently-coloured varieties, is almost certain. On the
doctrine, therefore, that the chief races owe their differences to
their descent from distinct species, we must admit that at least eight
or nine, or more probably a dozen species, all having the same habit of
breeding and roosting on rocks and living in society, either now exist
somewhere, or formerly existed, but have become extinct as wild birds.
Considering how carefully wild pigeons have been collected throughout
the world, and what conspicuous birds they are, especially when
frequenting rocks, it is extremely improbable that eight or nine
species, which were long ago domesticated and therefore must have
inhabited some anciently known country, should still exist in the wild
state and be unknown to ornithologists.

The hypothesis that such species formerly existed, but have become
extinct, is in some slight degree more probable. But the extinction of
so many species within the historical period is a bold hypothesis,
seeing how little influence man has had in exterminating the common
rock-pigeon, which agrees in all its habits of life with the domestic
races. The _C. livia_ now exists and flourishes on the small northern
islands of Faroe, on many islands off the coast of Scotland, on
Sardinia, and the shores of the Mediterranean, and in the centre of
India. Fanciers have sometimes imagined that the several supposed
parent-species were originally confined to small islands, and thus
might readily have been exterminated; but the facts just given do not
favour the probability of their extinction, even on small islands. Nor
is it probable, from what is known of the distribution of birds, that
the islands near Europe should have been inhabited by peculiar species
of pigeons; and if we assume that distant oceanic islands were the
homes of the supposed parent-species, we must remember that ancient
voyages were tediously slow, and that ships were then ill-provided with
fresh food, so that it would not have been easy to bring home living
birds. I have said ancient voyages, for nearly all the races of the
pigeon were known before the year 1600, so that the supposed wild
species must have been captured and domesticated before that date.

_Secondly._—The doctrine that the chief domestic races are descended
from several aboriginal species, implies that several species were
formerly so thoroughly domesticated as to breed readily when confined.
Although it is easy to tame most wild birds, experience shows us that
it is difficult to get them to breed freely under confinement; although
it must be owned that this is less difficult with pigeons than with
most other birds. During the last two or three hundred years, many
birds have been kept in aviaries, but hardly one has been added to our
list of thoroughly reclaimed species: yet on the above doctrine we must
admit that in ancient times nearly a dozen kinds of pigeons, now
unknown in the wild state, were thoroughly domesticated.

    _Thirdly._—Most of our domesticated animals have run wild in
    various parts of the world; but birds, owing apparently to their
    partial loss of the power of flight, less often than quadrupeds.
    Nevertheless I have met with accounts showing that the common fowl
    has become feral in South America and perhaps in West Africa, and
    on several islands: the turkey was at one time almost feral on the
    banks of the Parana; and the Guinea-fowl has become perfectly wild
    at Ascension and in Jamaica. In this latter island the peacock,
    also, “has become a maroon bird.” The common duck wanders from its
    home and becomes almost wild in Norfolk. Hybrids between the common
    and musk-duck which have become wild have been shot in North
    America, Belgium, and near the Caspian Sea. The goose is said to
    have run wild in La Plata. The common dovecot-pigeon has become
    wild at Juan Fernandez, Norfolk Island, Ascension, probably at
    Madeira, on the shores of Scotland, and, as is asserted, on the
    banks of the Hudson in North America.[18] But how different is the
    case, when we turn to the eleven chief domestic races of the
    pigeon, which are supposed by some authors to be descended from so
    many distinct species! no one has ever pretended that any one of
    these races has been found wild in any quarter of the world; yet
    they have been transported to all countries, and some of them must
    have been carried back to their native homes. On the view that all
    the races are the product of variation, we can understand why they
    have not become feral, for the great amount of modification which
    they have undergone shows how long and how thoroughly they have
    been domesticated; and this would unfit them for a wild life.

_Fourthly._—If it be assumed that the characteristic differences
between the various domestic races are due to descent from several
aboriginal species, we must conclude that man chose for domestication
in ancient times, either intentionally or by chance, a most abnormal
set of pigeons; for that species resembling such birds as Pouters,
Fantails, Carriers, Barbs, Short-faced Tumblers, Turbits, etc., would
be in the highest degree abnormal, as compared with all the existing
members of the great pigeon family, cannot be doubted. Thus we should
have to believe that man not only formerly succeeded in thoroughly
domesticating several highly abnormal species, but that these same
species have since all become extinct, or are at least now unknown.
This double accident is so extremely improbable that the assumed
existence of so many abnormal species would require to be supported by
the strongest evidence. On the other hand, if all the races are
descended from _C. livia,_ we can understand, as will hereafter be more
fully explained, how any slight deviation in structure which first
appeared would continually be augmented by the preservation of the most
strongly marked individuals; and as the power of selection would be
applied according to man’s fancy, and not for the bird’s own good, the
accumulated amount of deviation would certainly be of an abnormal
nature in comparison with the structure of pigeons living in a state of

I have already alluded to the remarkable fact that the characteristic
differences between the chief domestic races are eminently variable; we
see this plainly in the great difference in the number of the
tail-feathers in the Fantail, in the development of the crop in
Pouters, in the length of the beak in Tumblers, in the state of the
wattle in Carriers, etc. If these characters are the result of
successive variations added together by selection, we can understand
why they should be so variable: for these are the very parts which have
varied since the domestication of the pigeon, and therefore would be
likely still to vary; these variations moreover have been recently, and
are still being accumulated by man’s selection; therefore they have not
as yet become firmly fixed.

    _Fifthly._—All the domestic races pair readily together, and, what
    is equally important, their mongrel offspring are perfectly
    fertile. To ascertain this fact I made many experiments, which are
    given in the note below; and recently Mr. Tegetmeier has made
    similar experiments with the same result.[19] The accurate
    Neumeister asserts that when dovecots are crossed with pigeons of
    any other breed, the mongrels are extremely fertile and hardy.[20]
    MM. Boitard and Corbié[21] affirm, after their great experience,
    that the more distinct the breeds are which are crossed, the more
    productive are their mongrel offspring. I admit that the doctrine
    first broached by Pallas is highly probable, if not actually
    proved, namely, that closely allied species, which in a state of
    nature or when first captured would have been in some degree
    sterile if crossed, lose this sterility after a long course of
    domestication; yet when we consider the great difference between
    such races as Pouters, Carriers, Runts, Fantails, Turbits, Tumblers
    etc., the fact of their perfect, or even increased, fertility when
    intercrossed in the most complicated manner becomes a strong
    argument in favour of their having all descended from a single
    species. This argument is rendered much stronger when we hear (I
    append in a note[22] all the cases which I have collected) that
    hardly a single well-ascertained instance is known of hybrids
    between two true species of pigeons being fertile, _inter se,_ or
    even when crossed with one of their pure parents.

_Sixthly._—Excluding certain important characteristic differences, the
chief races agree most closely both with each other and with _C. livia_
in all other respects. As previously observed, all are eminently
sociable; all dislike to perch or roost, and refuse to build in trees;
all lay two eggs, and this is not a universal rule with the Columbidæ;
all, as far as I can hear, require the same time for hatching their
eggs; all can endure the same great range of climate; all prefer the
same food, and are passionately fond of salt; all exhibit (with the
asserted exception of the Finnikin and Turner which do not differ much
in any other character) the same peculiar gestures when courting the
females; and all (with the exception of Trumpeters and Laughers, which
likewise do not differ much in any other character) coo in the same
peculiar manner, unlike the voice of any other wild pigeon. All the
coloured breeds display the same peculiar metallic tints on the breast,
a character far from general with pigeons. Each race presents nearly
the same range of variation in colour; and in most of the races we have
the same singular correlation between the development of down in the
young and the future colour of plumage. All have the proportional
length of their toes, and of their primary wing-feathers, nearly the
same,—characters which are apt to differ in the several members of the
Columbidæ. In those races which present some remarkable deviation of
structure, such as in the tail of Fantails, crop of Pouters, beak of
Carriers and Tumblers, etc., the other parts remain nearly unaltered.
Now every naturalist will admit that it would be scarcely possible to
pick out a dozen natural species in any family which should agree
closely in habits and in general structure, and yet should differ
greatly in a few characters alone. This fact is explicable through the
doctrine of natural selection; for each successive modification of
structure in each natural species is preserved, solely because it is of
service; and such modifications when largely accumulated imply a great
change in the habits of life, and this will almost certainly lead to
other changes of structure throughout the whole organisation. On the
other hand, if the several races of the pigeon have been produced by
man through selection and variation, we can readily understand how it
is that they should still all resemble each other in habits and in
those many characters which man has not cared to modify, whilst they
differ to so prodigious a degree in those parts which have struck his
eye or pleased his fancy.

    Besides the points above enumerated, in which all the domestic
    races resemble _C. livia_ and each other, there is one which
    deserves special notice. The wild rock-pigeon is of a slaty-blue
    colour; the wings are crossed by two bars; the croup varies in
    colour, being generally white in the pigeon of Europe, and blue in
    that of India; the tail has a black bar close to the end, and the
    outer webs of the outer tail-feathers are edged with white, except
    near the tips. These combined characters are not found in any wild
    pigeon besides _C. livia._ I have looked carefully through the
    great collections of pigeons in the British Museum, and I find that
    a dark bar at the end of the tail is common; that the white edging
    to the outer tail-feathers is not rare; but that the white croup is
    extremely rare, and the two black bars on the wings occur in no
    other pigeon, excepting the alpine _C. leuconota_ and _C.
    rupestris_ of Asia. Now if we turn to the domestic races, it is
    highly remarkable, as an eminent fancier, Mr. Wicking, observed to
    me, that, whenever a blue bird appears in any race, the wings
    almost invariably show the double black bars.[23] The primary
    wing-feathers may be white or black, and the whole body may be of
    any colour, but if the wing-coverts are blue, the two black bars
    are sure to appear. I have myself seen, or acquired trustworthy
    evidence, as given below,[24] of blue birds with black bars on the
    wing, with the croup either white or very pale or dark blue, with
    the tail having a terminal black bar, and with the outer feathers
    externally edged with white or very pale coloured, in the following
    races, which, as I carefully observed in each case, appeared to be
    perfectly true: namely, in Pouters, Fantails, Tumblers, Jacobins,
    Turbits, Barbs, Carriers, Runts of three distinct varieties,
    Trumpeters, Swallows, and in many other toy-pigeons, which as being
    closely allied to _C. livia,_ are not worth enumerating. Thus we
    see that, in purely-bred races of every kind known in Europe, blue
    birds occasionally appear having all the marks which characterise
    _C. livia,_ and which concur in no other wild species. Mr. Blyth,
    also, has made the same observation with respect to the various
    domestic races known in India.

    Certain variations in the plumage are equally common in the wild
    _C. livia,_ in dovecot-pigeons, and in all the most highly modified
    races. Thus, in all, the croup varies from white to blue, being
    most frequently white in Europe, and very generally blue in
    India.[25] We have seen that the wild _C. livia_ in Europe, and
    dovecots in all parts of the world, often have the upper
    wing-coverts chequered with black; and all the most distinct races,
    when blue, are occasionally chequered in precisely the same manner.
    Thus I have seen Pouters, Fantails, Carriers, Turbits, Tumblers
    (Indian and English), Swallows, Bald-pates, and other toy-pigeons
    blue and chequered; and Mr. Esquilant has seen a chequered Runt. I
    bred from two pure blue Tumblers a chequered bird.

    The facts hitherto given refer to the occasional appearance in pure
    races of blue birds with black wing-bars, and likewise of blue and
    chequered birds; but it will now be seen that when two birds
    belonging to distinct races are crossed, neither of which have, nor
    probably have had during many generations, a trace of blue in their
    plumage, or a trace of wing-bars and the other characteristic
    marks, they very frequently produce mongrel offspring of a blue
    colour, sometimes chequered, with black wing-bars, etc.; or if not
    of a blue colour, yet with the several characteristic marks more or
    less plainly developed. I was led to investigate this subject from
    MM. Boitard and Corbié[26] having asserted that from crosses
    between certain breeds it is rare to get anything but bisets or
    dovecot pigeons, which, as we know, are blue birds with the usual
    characteristic marks. We shall hereafter see that this subject
    possesses, independently of our present object, considerable
    interest, so that I will give the results of my own trials in full.
    I selected for experiment races which, when pure, very seldom
    produce birds of a blue colour, or have bars on their wings and

The Nun is white, with the head, tail, and primary wing-feathers black;
it is a breed which was established as long ago as the year 1600. I
crossed a male Nun with a female red common Tumbler, which latter
variety generally breeds true. Thus neither parent had a trace of blue
in the plumage, or of bars on the wing and tail. I should premise that
common Tumblers are rarely blue in England. From the above cross I
reared several young: one was red over the whole back, but with the
tail as blue as that of the rock-pigeon; the terminal bar, however, was
absent, but the outer feathers were edged with white: a second and
third nearly resembled the first, but the tail in both presented a
trace of the bar at the end: a fourth was brownish, and the wings
showed a trace of the double bar: a fifth was pale blue over the whole
breast, back, croup, and tail, but the neck and primary wing-feathers
were reddish; the wings presented two distinct bars of a red colour;
the tail was not barred, but the outer feathers were edged with white.
I crossed this last curiously coloured bird with a black mongrel of
complicated descent, namely, from a black Barb, a Spot, and
Almond-tumbler, so that the two young birds produced from this cross
included the blood of five varieties, none of which had a trace of blue
or of wing and tail-bars: one of the two young birds was
brownish-black, with black wing-bars; the other was reddish-dun, with
reddish wing-bars, paler than the rest of the body, with the croup pale
blue, the tail bluish with a trace of the terminal bar.

    Mr. Eaton[27] matched two Short-faced Tumblers, namely, a splash
    cock and kite hen (neither of which are blue or barred), and from
    the first nest he got a perfect blue bird, and from the second a
    silver or pale blue bird, both of which, in accordance with all
    analogy, no doubt presented the usual characteristic marks.

    I crossed two male black Barbs with two female red Spots. These
    latter have the whole body and wings white, with a spot on the
    forehead, the tail and tail-coverts red; the race existed at least
    as long ago as 1676, and now breeds perfectly true, as was known to
    be the case in the year 1735.[28] Barbs are uniformly-coloured
    birds, with rarely even a trace of bars on the wing or tail; they
    are known to breed very true. The mongrels thus raised were black
    or nearly black, or dark or pale brown, sometimes slightly piebald
    with white: of these birds no less than six presented double
    wing-bars; in two the bars were conspicuous and quite black; in
    seven some white feathers appeared on the croup; and in two or
    three there was a trace of the terminal bar to the tail, but in
    none were the outer tail-feathers edged with white.

I crossed black Barbs (of two excellent strains) with purely-bred,
snow-white Fantails. The mongrels were generally quite black, with a
few of the primary wing and tail feathers white: others were dark
reddish-brown, and others snow-white: none had a trace of wing-bars or
of the white croup. I then paired together two of these mongrels,
namely, a brown and black bird, and their offspring displayed
wing-bars, faint, but of a darker brown than the rest of body. In a
second brood from the same parents a brown bird was produced, with
several white feathers confined to the croup.

    I crossed a male dun Dragon belonging to a family which had been
    dun- coloured without wing-bars during several generations, with a
    uniform red Barb (bred from two black Barbs); and the offspring
    presented decided but faint traces of wing-bars. I crossed a
    uniform red male Runt with a White trumpeter; and the offspring had
    a slaty-blue tail with a bar at the end, and with the outer
    feathers edged with white. I also crossed a female black and white
    chequered Trumpeter (of a different strain from the last) with a
    male Almond-tumbler, neither of which exhibited a trace of blue, or
    of the white croup, or of the bar at end of tail: nor is it
    probable that the progenitors of these two birds had for many
    generations exhibited any of these characters, for I have never
    even heard of a blue Trumpeter in this country, and my
    Almond-tumbler was purely bred; yet the tail of this mongrel was
    bluish, with a broad black bar at the end, and the croup was
    perfectly white. It may be observed in several of these cases, that
    the tail first shows a tendency to become by reversion blue; and
    this fact of the persistency of colour in the tail and
    tail-coverts[29] will surprise no one who has attended to the
    crossing of pigeons.

The last case which I will give is the most curious. I paired a mongrel
female Barb-fantail with a mongrel male Barb-spot; neither of which
mongrels had the least blue about them. Let it be remembered that blue
Barbs are excessively rare; that Spots, as has been already stated,
were perfectly characterised in the year 1676, and breed perfectly
true; this likewise is the case with white Fantails, so much so that I
have never heard of white Fantails throwing any other colour.
Nevertheless the offspring from the above two mongrels was of exactly
the same blue tint as that of the wild rock-pigeon from the Shetland
Islands over the whole back and wings; the double black wing-bars were
equally conspicuous; the tail was exactly alike in all its characters,
and the croup was pure white; the head, however, was tinted with a
shade of red, evidently derived from the Spot, and was of a paler blue
than in the rock-pigeon, as was the stomach. So that two black Barbs, a
red Spot, and a white Fantail, as the four purely-bred grandparents,
produced a bird exhibiting the general blue colour, together with every
characteristic mark, the wild _Columba livia._

With respect to crossed breeds frequently producing blue birds
chequered with black, and resembling in all respects both the
dovecot-pigeon and the chequered wild variety of the rock-pigeon, the
statement before referred to by MM. Boitard and Corbié would almost
suffice; but I will give three instances of the appearance of such
birds from crosses in which one alone of the parents or
great-grandparents was blue, but not chequered. I crossed a male blue
Turbit with a snow-white Trumpeter, and the following year with a dark,
leaden-brown, Short-faced Tumbler; the offspring from the first cross
were as perfectly chequered as any dovecot-pigeon; and from the second,
so much so as to be nearly as black as the most darkly chequered
rock-pigeon from Madeira. Another bird, whose great-grandparents were a
white Trumpeter, a white Fantail, a white Red-spot, a red Runt, and a
blue Pouter, was slaty-blue and chequered exactly like a
dovecot-pigeon. I may here add a remark made to me by Mr. Wicking, who
has had more experience than any other person in England in breeding
pigeons of various colours: namely, that when a blue, or a blue and
chequered bird, having black wing- bars, once appears in any race and
is allowed to breed, these characters are so strongly transmitted that
it is extremely difficult to eradicate them.

What, then, are we to conclude from this tendency in all the chief
domestic races, both when purely bred and more especially when
intercrossed, to produce offspring of a blue colour, with the same
characteristic marks, varying in the same manner, as in _Columbia
livia_? If we admit that these races are all descended from _C. livia,_
no breeder will doubt that the occasional appearance of blue birds thus
characterised is accounted for on the well-known principle of “throwing
back” or reversion. Why crossing should give so strong a tendency to
reversion, we do not with certainty know; but abundant evidence of this
fact will be given in the following chapters. It is probable that I
might have bred even for a century pure black Barbs, Spots, Nuns, white
Fantails, Trumpeters, etc., without obtaining a single blue or barred
bird; yet by crossing these breeds I reared in the first and second
generation, during the course of only three or four years, a
considerable number of young birds, more or less plainly coloured blue,
and with most of the characteristic marks. When black and white, or
black and red birds, are crossed, it would appear that a slight
tendency exists in both parents to produce blue offspring, and that
this, when combined, overpowers the separate tendency in either parent
to produce black, or white, or red offspring.

If we reject the belief that all the races of the pigeon are the
modified descendants of _C. livia,_ and suppose that they are descended
from several aboriginal stocks, then we must choose between the three
following assumptions: firstly, that at least eight or nine species
formerly existed which were aboriginally coloured in various ways, but
have since varied in exactly the same manner so as to assume the
colouring of _C. livia_; but this assumption throws not the least light
on the appearance of such colours and marks when the races are crossed.
Or secondly, we may assume that the aboriginal species were all
coloured blue, and had the wing-bars and other characteristic marks of
_C. livia,_—a supposition which is highly improbable, as besides this
one species no existing member of the Columbidæ presents these combined
characters; and it would not be possible to find any other instance of
several species identical in plumage, yet as different in important
points of structure as are Pouters, Fantails, Carriers, Tumblers, etc.
Or lastly, we may assume that all the races, whether descended from _C.
livia_ or from several aboriginal species, although they have been bred
with so much care and are so highly valued by fanciers, have all been
crossed within a dozen or score of generations with _C. livia,_ and
have thus acquired their tendency to produce blue birds with the
several characteristic marks. I have said that it must be assumed that
each race has been crossed with _C. livia_ within a dozen, or, at the
utmost, within a score of generations; for there is no reason to
believe that crossed offspring ever revert to one of their ancestors
when removed by a greater number of generations. In a breed which has
been crossed only once, the tendency to reversion will naturally become
less and less in the succeeding generations, as in each there will be
less and less of the blood of the foreign breed; but when there has
been no cross with a distinct breed, and there is a tendency in both
parents to revert to some long-lost character, this tendency, for all
that we can see to the contrary, may be transmitted undiminished for an
indefinite number of generations. These two distinct cases of reversion
are often confounded together by those who have written on inheritance.

Considering, on the one hand, the improbability of the three
assumptions which have just been discussed, and, on the other hand, how
simply the facts are explained on the principle of reversion, we may
conclude that the occasional appearance in all the races, both when
purely bred and more especially when crossed, of blue birds, sometimes
chequered, with double wing-bars, with white or blue croups, with a bar
at the end of the tail, and with the outer tail-feathers edged with
white, affords an argument of the greatest weight in favour of the view
that all are descended from _Columba livia,_ including under this name
the three or four wild varieties or sub-species before enumerated.

To sum up the six foregoing arguments, which are opposed to the belief
that the chief domestic races are the descendants of at least eight or
nine or perhaps a dozen species; for the crossing of any less number
would not yield the characteristic differences between the several
races. _ Firstly,_ the improbability that so many species should still
exist somewhere, but be unknown to ornithologists, or that they should
have become within the historical period extinct, although man has had
so little influence in exterminating the wild _C. livia. Secondly,_ the
improbability of man in former times having thoroughly domesticated and
rendered fertile under confinement so many species. _Thirdly,_ these
supposed species having nowhere become feral. _Fourthly,_ the
extraordinary fact that man should, intentionally or by chance, have
chosen for domestication several species, extremely abnormal in
character; and furthermore, the points of structure which render these
supposed species so abnormal being now highly variable. _Fifthly,_ the
fact of all the races, though differing in many important points of
structure, producing perfectly fertile mongrels; whilst all the hybrids
which have been produced between even closely allied species in the
pigeon-family are sterile. _Sixthly,_ the remarkable statements just
given on the tendency in all the races, both when purely bred and when
crossed, to revert in numerous minute details of colouring to the
character of the wild rock-pigeon, and to vary in a similar manner. To
these arguments may be added the extreme improbability that a number of
species formerly existed, which differed greatly from each other in
some few points, but which resembled each other as closely as do the
domestic races in other points of structure, in voice, and in all their
habits of life. When these several facts and arguments are fairly taken
into consideration, it would require an overwhelming amount of evidence
to make us admit that the chief domestic races are descended from
several aboriginal stocks; and of such evidence there is absolutely

The belief that the chief domestic races are descended from several
wild stocks no doubt has arisen from the apparent improbability of such
great modifications of structure having been effected since man first
domesticated the rock-pigeon. Nor am I surprised at any degree of
hesitation in admitting their common parentage: formerly, when I went
into my aviaries and watched such birds as Pouters, Carriers, Barbs,
Fantails, and Short-faced Tumblers, etc., I could not persuade myself
that all had descended from the same wild stock, and that man had
consequently in one sense created these remarkable modifications.
Therefore I have argued the question of their origin at great, and, as
some will think, superfluous length.

    Finally, in favour of the belief that all the races are descended
    from a single stock, we have in _Columba livia_ a still existing
    and widely distributed species, which can be and has been
    domesticated in various countries. This species agrees in most
    points of structure and in all its habits of life, as well as
    occasionally in every detail of plumage, with the several domestic
    races. It breeds freely with them, and produces fertile offspring.
    It varies in a state of nature,[30] and still more so when
    semi-domesticated, as shown by comparing the Sierra Leone pigeons
    with those of India, or with those which apparently have run wild
    in Madeira. It has undergone a still greater amount of variation in
    the case of the numerous toy-pigeons, which no one supposes to be
    descended from distinct species; yet some of these toy-pigeons have
    transmitted their character truly for centuries. Why, then, should
    we hesitate to believe in that greater amount of variation which is
    necessary for the production of the eleven chief races? It should
    be borne in mind that in two of the most strongly-marked races,
    namely, Carriers and Short-faced Tumblers, the extreme forms can be
    connected with the parent-species by graduated differences not
    greater than those which may be observed between the
    dovecot-pigeons inhabiting different countries, or between the
    various kinds of toy-pigeons,—gradations which must certainly be
    attributed to variation.

    That circumstances have been eminently favourable for the
    modification of the pigeon through variation and selection will now
    be shown. The earliest record, as has been pointed out to me by
    Professor Lepsius, of pigeons in a domesticated condition, occurs
    in the fifth Egyptian dynasty, about 3000 B.C.;[31] but Mr. Birch,
    of the British Museum, informs me that the pigeon appears in a bill
    of fare in the previous dynasty. Domestic pigeons are mentioned in
    Genesis, Leviticus, and Isaiah.[32] In the time of the Romans, as
    we hear from Pliny,[33] immense prices were given for pigeons;
    “nay, they are come to this pass, that they can reckon up their
    pedigree and race.” In India, about the year 1600, pigeons were
    much valued by Akbar Khan: 20,000 birds were carried about with the
    court, and the merchants brought valuable collections. “The monarch
    of Iran and Turan sent him some very rare breeds. His Majesty,”
    says the courtly historian, “by crossing the breeds, which method
    was never practised before, has improved them astonishingly.”[34]
    Akber Khan possessed seventeen distinct kinds, eight of which were
    valuable for beauty alone. At about this same period of 1600 the
    Dutch, according to Aldrovandi, were as eager about pigeons as the
    Romans had formerly been. The breeds which were kept during the
    fifteenth century in Europe and in India apparently differed from
    each other. Tavernier, in his Travels in 1677, speaks, as does
    Chardin in 1735, of the vast number of pigeon-houses in Persia; and
    the former remarks that, as Christians were not permitted to keep
    pigeons, some of the vulgar actually turned Mahometans for this
    sole purpose. The Emperor of Morocco had his favourite keeper of
    pigeons, as is mentioned in Moore’s treatise, published 1737. In
    England, from the time of Willughby in 1678 to the present day, as
    well as in Germany and in France, numerous treatises have been
    published on the pigeon. In India, about a hundred years ago, a
    Persian treatise was written; and the writer thought it no light
    affair, for he begins with a solemn invocation, “in the name of
    God, the gracious and merciful.” Many large towns, in Europe and
    the United States, now have their societies of devoted
    pigeon-fanciers: at present there are three such societies in
    London. In India, as I hear from Mr. Blyth, the inhabitants of
    Delhi and of some other great cities are eager fanciers. Mr. Layard
    informs me that most of the known breeds are kept in Ceylon. In
    China, according to Mr. Swinhoe of Amoy, and Dr. Lockhart of
    Shangai, Carriers, Fantails, Tumblers, and other varieties are
    reared with care, especially by the bonzes or priests. The Chinese
    fasten a kind of whistle to the tail-feathers of their pigeons, and
    as the flock wheels through the air they produce a sweet sound. In
    Egypt the late Abbas Pacha was a great fancier of Fantails. Many
    pigeons are kept at Cairo and Constantinople, and these have lately
    been imported by native merchants, as I hear from Sir W. Elliot,
    into Southern India, and sold at high prices.

    The foregoing statements show in how many countries, and during how
    long a period, many men have been passionately devoted to the
    breeding of pigeons. Hear how an enthusiastic fancier at the
    present day writes: “If it were possible for noblemen and gentlemen
    to know the amazing amount of solace and pleasure derived from
    Almond Tumblers, when they begin to understand their properties, I
    should think that scarce any nobleman or gentleman would be without
    their aviaries of Almond Tumblers.”[35] The pleasure thus taken is
    of paramount importance, as it leads amateurs carefully to note and
    preserve each slight deviation of structure which strikes their
    fancy. Pigeons are often closely confined during their whole lives;
    they do not partake of their naturally varied diet; they have often
    been transported from one climate to another; and all these changes
    in their conditions of life would be likely to cause variability.
    Pigeons have been domesticated for nearly 5000 years, and have been
    kept in many places, so that the numbers reared under domestication
    must have been enormous: and this is another circumstance of high
    importance, for it obviously favours the chance of rare
    modifications of structure occasionally appearing. Slight
    variations of all kinds would almost certainly be observed, and, if
    valued, would, owing to the following circumstances, be preserved
    and propagated with unusual facility. Pigeons, differently from any
    other domesticated animal, can easily be mated for life, and,
    though kept with other pigeons, rarely prove unfaithful to each
    other. Even when the male does break his marriage-vow, he does not
    permanently desert his mate. I have bred in the same aviaries many
    pigeons of different kinds, and never reared a single bird of an
    impure strain. Hence a fancier can with the greatest ease select
    and match his birds. He will also see the good results of his care;
    for pigeons breed with extraordinary rapidity. He may freely reject
    inferior birds, as they serve at an early age as excellent food.

      _History of the principal Races of the Pigeon._[36]

Before discussing the means and steps by which the chief races have
been formed, it will be advisable to give some historical details, for
more is known of the history of the pigeon, little though this is, than
of any other domesticated animal. Some of the cases are interesting as
proving how long domestic varieties may be propagated with exactly the
same or nearly the same characters; and other cases are still more
interesting as showing how slowly but steadily races have been greatly
modified during successive generations. In the last chapter I stated
that Trumpeters and Laughers, both so remarkable for their voices, seem
to have been perfectly characterised in 1735; and Laughers were
apparently known in India before the year 1600. Spots in 1676, and Nuns
in the time of Aldrovandi, before 1600, were coloured exactly as they
now are. Common Tumblers and Ground Tumblers displayed in India, before
the year 1600, the same extraordinary peculiarities of flight as at the
present day, for they are well described in the ‘Ayeen Akbery.’ These
breeds may all have existed for a much longer period; we know only that
they were perfectly characterised at the dates above given. The _
average_ length of life of the domestic pigeon is probably about five
or six years; if so, some of these races have retained their character
perfectly for at least forty or fifty generations.

    _Pouters._—These birds, as far as a very short description serves
    for comparison, appear to have been well characterised in
    Aldrovandi’s time,[37] before the year 1600. Length of body and
    length of leg are at the present time the two chief points of
    excellence. In 1735 Moore said (see Mr. J. M. Eaton’s edition)—and
    Moore was a first-rate fancier—that he once saw a bird with a body
    20 inches in length, “though 17 or 18 inches is reckoned a very
    good length;” and he has seen the legs very nearly 7 inches in
    length, yet a leg 6½ or 6¾ long “must be allowed to be a very good
    one.” Mr. Bult, the most successful breeder of Pouters in the
    world, informs me that at present (1858) the standard length of the
    body is not less than 18 inches; but he has measured one bird 19
    inches in length, and has heard of 20 and 22 inches, but doubts the
    truth of these latter statements. The standard length of the leg is
    now 7 inches, but Mr. Bult has recently measured two of his own
    birds with legs 7½ long. So that in the 123 years which have
    elapsed since 1735 there has been hardly any increase in the
    standard length of the body; 17 or 18 inches was formerly reckoned
    a very good length, and now 18 inches is the minimum standard; but
    the length of leg seems to have increased, as Moore never saw one
    quite 7 inches long; now the standard is 7, and two of Mr. Bult’s
    birds measured 7½ inches in length. The extremely slight
    improvement in Pouters, except in the length of the leg, during the
    last 123 years, may be partly accounted for by the neglect which
    they suffered, as I am informed by Mr. Bult, until within the last
    20 or 30 years. About 1765[38] there was a change of fashion,
    stouter and more feathered legs being preferred to thin and nearly
    naked legs.

    _Fantails._—The first notice of the existence of this breed is in
    India, before the year 1600, as given in the ‘Ayeen Akbery;’[39] at
    this date, judging from Aldrovandi, the breed was unknown in
    Europe. In 1677 Willughby speaks of a Fantail with 26
    tail-feathers; in 1735 Moore saw one with 36 feathers; and in 1824
    MM. Boitard and Corbié assert that in France birds can easily be
    found with 42 tail-feathers. In England, the number of the
    tail-feathers is not at present so much regarded as their upward
    direction and expansion. The general carriage of the bird is
    likewise now much valued. The old descriptions do not suffice to
    show whether in these latter respects there has been much
    improvement: but if Fantails with their heads and tails touching
    had formerly existed, as at the present time, the fact would almost
    certainly have been noticed. The Fantails which are now found in
    India probably show the state of the race, as far as carriage is
    concerned, at the date of their introduction into Europe; and some,
    said to have been brought from Calcutta, which I kept alive, were
    in a marked manner inferior to our exhibition birds. The Java
    Fantail shows the same difference in carriage; and although Mr.
    Swinhoe has counted 18 and 24 tail-feathers in his birds, a
    first-rate specimen sent to me had only 14 tail-feathers.

_Jacobins._—This breed existed before 1600, but the hood, judging from
the figure given by Aldrovandi, did not enclose the head nearly so
perfectly as at present: nor was the head then white; nor were the
wings and tail so long, but this last character might have been
overlooked by the rude artist. In Moore’s time, in 1735, the Jacobin
was considered the smallest kind of pigeon, and the bill is said to be
very short. Hence either the Jacobin, or the other kinds with which it
was then compared, must since that time have been considerably
modified; for Moore’s description (and it must be remembered that he
was a first-rate judge) is clearly not applicable, as far as size of
body and length of beak are concerned, to our present Jacobins. In
1795, judging from Bechstein, the breed had assumed its present

_Turbits._—It has generally been supposed by the older writers on
pigeons, that the Turbit is the Cortbeck of Aldrovandi; but if this be
the case, it is an extraordinary fact that the characteristic frill
should not have been noticed. The beak, moreover, of the Cortbeck is
described as closely resembling that of the Jacobin, which shows a
change in the one or the other race. The Turbit, with its
characteristic frill, and bearing its present name, is described by
Willughby in 1677; and the bill is said to be like that of the
bullfinch,—a good comparison, but now more strictly applicable to the
beak of the Barb. The sub-breed called the Owl was well known in
Moore’s time, in 1735.

    _Tumblers._—Common Tumblers, as well as Ground Tumblers, perfect as
    far as tumbling is concerned, existed in India before the year
    1600; and at this period diversified modes of flight, such as
    flying at night, the ascent to a great height, and manner of
    descent, seem to have been much attended to in India, as at the
    present time. Belon[40] in 1555 saw in Paphlagonia what he
    describes as “a very new thing, viz. pigeons which flew so high in
    the air that they were lost to view, but returned to their
    pigeon-house without separating.” This manner of flight is
    characteristic of our present Tumblers, but it is clear that Belon
    would have mentioned the act of tumbling if the pigeons described
    by him had tumbled. Tumblers were not known in Europe in 1600, as
    they are not mentioned by Aldrovandi, who discusses the flight of
    pigeons. They are briefly alluded to by Willughby, in 1687, as
    small pigeons “which show like footballs in the air.” The
    short-faced race did not exist at this period, as Willughby could
    not have overlooked birds so remarkable for their small size and
    short beaks. We can even trace some of the steps by which this race
    has been produced. Moore in 1735 enumerates correctly the chief
    points of excellence, but does not give any description of the
    several sub-breeds; and from this fact Mr. Eaton infers[41] that
    the Short-faced Tumbler had not then come to full perfection. Moore
    even speaks of the Jacobin as being the smallest pigeon. Thirty
    years afterwards, in 1765, in the Treatise dedicated to Mayor,
    short-faced Almond Tumblers are fully described, but the author, an
    excellent fancier, expressly states in his Preface (p. xiv.) that,
    “from great care and expense in breeding them, they have arrived to
    so great perfection and are so different from what they were 20 or
    30 years past, that an old fancier would have condemned them for no
    other reason than because they are not like what used to be thought
    good when he was in the fancy before.” Hence it would appear that
    there was a rather sudden change in the character of the
    short-faced Tumbler at about this period; and there is reason to
    suspect that a dwarfed and half-monstrous bird, the parent-form of
    the several short-faced sub-breeds, then appeared. I suspect this
    because short-faced Tumblers are born with their beaks (ascertained
    by careful measurement) as short, proportionally with the size of
    their bodies, as in the adult bird; and in this respect they differ
    greatly from all other breeds, which slowly acquire during growth
    their various characteristic qualities.

    Since the year 1765 there has been some change in one of the chief
    characters of the short-faced Tumbler, namely, in the length of the
    beak. Fanciers measure the “head and beak” from the tip of the beak
    to the front corner of the eyeball. About the year 1765 a “head and
    beak” was considered good,[42] which, measured in the usual manner,
    was 7/8 of an inch in length; now it ought not to exceed 5/8 of an
    inch; “it is however possible,” as Mr. Eaton candidly
    confesses,“for a bird to be considered as pleasant or neat even at
    6/8 of an inch, but exceeding that length it must be looked upon as
    unworthy of attention.” Mr. Eaton states that he has never seen in
    the course of his life more than two or three birds with the “head
    and beak” not exceeding half an inch in length; “still I believe in
    the course of a few years that the head and beak will be shortened,
    and that half-inch birds will not be considered so great a
    curiosity as at the present time.” That Mr. Eaton’s opinion
    deserves attention cannot be doubted, considering his success in
    winning prizes at our exhibitions. Finally in regard to the Tumbler
    it may be concluded from the facts above given that it was
    originally introduced into Europe, probably first into England,
    from the East; and that it then resembled our common English
    Tumbler, or more probably the Persian or Indian Tumbler, with a
    beak only just perceptibly shorter than that of the common
    dovecot-pigeon. With respect to the short-faced Tumbler, which is
    not known to exist in the East, there can hardly be a doubt that
    the whole wonderful change in the size of the head, beak, body and
    feet, and in general carriage, has been produced during the last
    two centuries by continued selection, aided probably by the birth
    of a semi- monstrous bird somewhere about the year 1750.

_Runts._—Of their history little can be said. In the time of Pliny the
pigeons of Campania were the largest known; and from this fact alone
some authors assert that they were Runts. In Aldrovandi’s time, in
1600, two sub-breeds existed; but one of them, the short-beaked, is now
extinct in Europe.

_Barbs._—Notwithstanding statements to the contrary, it seems to me
impossible to recognise the Barb in Aldrovandi’s description and
figures; four breeds, however, existed in the year 1600 which evidently
were allied both to Barbs and Carriers. To show how difficult it is to
recognise some of the breeds described by Aldrovandi I will give the
different opinions in regard to the above four kinds, named by him _C.
indica, cretensis, gutturosa,_ and _persica._ Willughby thought that
the _Columba indica_ was a Turbit, but the eminent fancier Mr. Brent
believes that it was an inferior Barb: _C. cretensis,_ with a short
beak and a swelling on the upper mandible, cannot be recognised: _C._
(falsely called) _gutturosa,_ which from its _rostrum, breve, crassum,
et tuberosum_ seems to me to come nearest to the Barb, Mr. Brent
believes to be a Carrier; and lastly, the _C. persica et turcica,_ Mr.
Brent thinks, and I quite concur with him, was a short-beaked Carrier
with very little wattle. In 1687 the Barb was known in England, and
Willughby describes the beak as like that of the Turbit; but it is not
credible that his Barbs should have had a beak like that of our present
birds, for so accurate an observer could not have overlooked its great

    _English Carrier._—We may look in vain in Aldrovandi’s work for any
    bird resembling our prize Carriers; the _C. persica et turcica_ of
    this author comes the nearest, but is said to have had a short
    thick beak; therefore it must have approached in character a Barb,
    and have differed greatly from our Carriers. In Willughby’s time,
    in 1677, we can clearly recognise the Carrier, yet he adds, “the
    bill is not short, but of a moderate length;” a description which
    no one would apply to our present Carriers, so conspicuous for the
    extraordinary length of their beaks. The old names given in Europe
    to the Carrier, and the several names now in use in India, indicate
    that Carriers originally came from Persia; and Willughby’s
    description would perfectly apply to the Bussorah Carrier as it now
    exists in Madras. In later times we can partially trace the
    progress of change in our English Carriers: Moore, in 1735, says
    “an inch and a half is reckoned a long beak, though there are very
    good Carriers that are found not to exceed an inch and a quarter.”
    These birds must have resembled or perhaps been a little superior
    to the Carriers, previously described, now found in Persia. In
    England at the present day “there are,” as Mr. Eaton[43] states,
    “beaks that would measure (from edge of eye to tip of beak) one
    inch and three-quarters, and some few even two inches in length.”

From these historical details we see that nearly all the chief domestic
races existed before the year 1600. Some remarkable only for colour
appear to have been identical with our present breeds, some were nearly
the same, some considerably different, and some have since become
extinct. Several breeds, such as Finnikins and Turners, the
swallow-tailed pigeon of Bechstein and the Carmelite, seem to have
originated and to have disappeared within this same period. Any one now
visiting a well-stocked English aviary would certainly pick out as the
most distinct kinds, the massive Runt, the Carrier with its wonderfully
elongated beak and great wattles, the Barb with its short broad beak
and eye-wattles, the short-faced Tumbler with its small conical beak,
the Pouter with its great crop, long legs and body, the Fantail with
its upraised, widely-expanded, well-feathered tail, the Turbit with its
frill and short blunt beak, and the Jacobin with his hood. Now, if this
same person could have viewed the pigeons kept before 1600 by Akber
Khan in India and by Aldrovandi in Europe, he would have seen the
Jacobin with a less perfect hood; the Turbit apparently without its
frill; the Pouter with shorter legs, and in every way less
remarkable—that is, if Aldrovandi’s Pouter resembled the old German
kind; the Fantail would have been far less singular in appearance, and
would have had much fewer feathers in its tail; he would have seen
excellent flying Tumblers, but he would in vain have looked for the
marvellous short-faced breeds; he would have seen birds allied to
Barbs, but it is extremely doubtful whether he would have met with our
actual Barbs; and lastly, he would have found Carriers with beaks and
wattle incomparably less developed than in our English Carriers. He
might have classed most of the breeds in the same groups as at present;
but the differences between the groups were then far less strongly
pronounced than at present. In short, the several breeds had at this
early period not diverged in so great a degree as now from their
aboriginal common parent, the wild rock-pigeon.

      _Manner of Formation of the chief Races._

We will now consider more closely the probable steps by which the chief
races have been formed. As long as pigeons are kept semi-domesticated
in dovecots in their native country, without any care in selecting and
matching them, they are liable to little more variation than the wild
_C. livia,_ namely, in the wings becoming chequered with black, in the
croup being blue or white, and in the size of the body. When, however,
dovecot-pigeons are transported into diversified countries, such as
Sierra Leone, the Malay archipelago, and Madeira, they are exposed to
new conditions of life; and apparently in consequence vary in a
somewhat greater degree. When closely confined, either for the pleasure
of watching them, or to prevent their straying, they must be exposed,
even in their native climate, to considerably different conditions; for
they cannot obtain their natural diversity of food; and, what is
probably more important, they are abundantly fed, whilst debarred from
taking much exercise. Under these circumstances we might expect to
find, from the analogy of all other domesticated animals, a greater
amount of individual variability than with the wild pigeon; and this is
the case. The want of exercise apparently tends to reduce the size of
the feet and organs of flight; and then, from the law of correlation of
growth, the beak apparently becomes affected. From what we now see
occasionally taking place in our aviaries, we may conclude that sudden
variations or sports, such as the appearance of a crest of feathers on
the head, of feathered feet, of a new shade of colour, of an additional
feather in the tail or wing, would occur at rare intervals during the
many centuries which have elapsed since the pigeon was first
domesticated. At the present day such “sports” are generally rejected
as blemishes; and there is so much mystery in the breeding of pigeons
that, if a valuable sport did occur, its history would often be
concealed. Before the last hundred and fifty years, there is hardly a
chance of the history of any such sport having been recorded. But it by
no means follows from this that such sports in former times, when the
pigeon had undergone much less variation, would have been rejected. We
are profoundly ignorant of the cause of each sudden and apparently
spontaneous variation, as well as of the infinitely numerous shades of
difference between the birds of the same family. But in a future
chapter we shall see that all such variations appear to be the indirect
result of changes of some kind in the conditions of life.

Hence, after a long course of domestication, we might expect to see in
the pigeon much individual variability, and occasional sudden
variations, as well as slight modifications from the lessened use of
certain parts, together with the effects of correlation of growth. But
without selection all this would produce only a trifling or no result;
for without such aid differences of all kinds would, from the two
following causes, soon disappear. In a healthy and vigorous lot of
pigeons many more young birds are killed for food or die than are
reared to maturity; so that an individual having any peculiar
character, if not selected, would run a good chance of being destroyed;
and if not destroyed, the peculiarity in question would generally be
obliterated by free intercrossing. It might, however, occasionally
happen that the same variation repeatedly occurred, owing to the action
of peculiar and uniform conditions of life, and in this case it would
prevail independently of selection. But when selection is brought into
play all is changed; for this is the foundation-stone in the formation
of new races; and with the pigeon, circumstances, as we have already
seen, are eminently favourable for selection. When a bird presenting
some conspicuous variation has been preserved, and its offspring have
been selected, carefully matched, and again propagated, and so onwards
during successive generations, the principle is so obvious that nothing
more need be said about it. This may be called _methodical selection,_
for the breeder has a distinct object in view, namely, to preserve some
character which has actually appeared; or to create some improvement
already pictured in his mind.

Another form of selection has hardly been noticed by those authors who
have discussed this subject, but is even more important. This form may
be called _unconscious selection,_ for the breeder selects his birds
unconsciously, unintentionally, and without method, yet he surely
though slowly produces a great result. I refer to the effects which
follow from each fancier at first procuring and afterwards rearing as
good birds as he can, according to his skill, and according to the
standard of excellence at each successive period. He does not wish
permanently to modify the breed; he does not look to the distant
future, or speculate on the final result of the slow accumulation
during many generations of successive slight changes; he is content if
he possesses a good stock, and more than content if he can beat his
rivals. The fancier in the time of Aldrovandi, when in the year 1600 he
admired his own Jacobins, Pouters, or Carriers, never reflected what
their descendants in the year 1860 would become: he would have been
astonished could he have seen our Jacobins, our improved English
Carriers, and our Pouters; he would probably have denied that they were
the descendants of his own once-admired stock, and he would perhaps not
have valued them, for no other reason, as was written in 1765, “than
because they were not like what used to be thought good when he was in
the fancy.” No one will attribute the lengthened beak of the Carrier,
the shortened beak of the Short-faced Tumbler, the lengthened leg of
the Pouter, the more perfectly enclosed hood of the Jacobin,
etc.—changes effected since the time of Aldrovandi, or even since a
much later period,—to the direct and immediate action of the conditions
of life. For these several races have been modified in various and even
in directly opposite ways, though kept under the same climate and
treated in all respects in as nearly uniform a manner as possible. Each
slight change in the length or shortness of the beak, in the length of
leg, etc., has no doubt been indirectly and remotely caused by some
change in the conditions to which the bird has been subjected, but we
must attribute the final result, as is manifest in those cases of which
we have any historical record, to the continued selection and
accumulation of many slight successive variations.

    The action of unconscious selection, as far as pigeons are
    concerned, depends on a universal principle in human nature,
    namely, on our rivalry, and desire to outdo our neighbours. We see
    this in every fleeting fashion, even in our dress, and it leads the
    fancier to endeavour to exaggerate every peculiarity in his breeds.
    A great authority on pigeons,[44] says, “Fanciers do not and will
    not admire a medium standard, that is, half and half, which is
    neither here nor there, but admire extremes.” After remarking that
    the fancier of Short-faced Beard Tumblers wishes for a very short
    beak, and that the fancier of Long-faced Beard Tumblers wishes for
    a very long beak, he says, with respect to one of intermediate
    length, “Don’t deceive yourself. Do you suppose for a moment the
    short or the long-faced fancier would accept such a bird as a gift?
    Certainly not; the short-faced fancier could see no beauty in it;
    the long-faced fancier would swear there was no use in it, etc.” In
    these comical passages, written seriously, we see the principle
    which has ever guided fanciers, and has led to such great
    modifications in all the domestic races which are valued solely for
    their beauty or curiosity.

Fashions in pigeon-breeding endure for long periods; we cannot change
the structure of a bird as quickly as we can the fashion of our dress.
In the time of Aldrovandi, no doubt the more the pouter inflated his
crop, the more he was valued. Nevertheless, fashions do to a certain
extent change; first one point of structure and then another is
attended to; or different breeds are admired at different times and in
different countries. As the author just quoted remarks, “the fancy ebbs
and flows; a thorough fancier now-a-days never stoops to breed
toy-birds;” yet these very “toys” are now most carefully bred in
Germany. Breeds which at the present time are highly valued in India
are considered worthless in England. No doubt, when breeds are
neglected, they degenerate; still we may believe that, as long as they
are kept under the same conditions of life, characters once gained will
be partially retained for a long time, and may form the starting-point
for a future course of selection.

Let it not be objected to this view of the action of unconscious
selection that fanciers would not observe or care for extremely slight
differences. Those alone who have associated with fanciers can be
thoroughly aware of their accurate powers of discrimination acquired by
long practice, and of the care and labour which they bestow on their
birds. I have known a fancier deliberately study his birds day after
day to settle which to match together and which to reject. Observe how
difficult the subject appears to one of the most eminent and
experienced fanciers. Mr. Eaton, the winner of many prizes, says, “I
would here particularly guard you against keeping too great a variety
of pigeons, otherwise you will know a little about all the kinds, but
nothing about one as it ought to be known.” “It is possible there may
be a few fanciers that have a good general knowledge of the several
fancy pigeons, but there are many who labour under the delusion of
supposing they know what they do not.” Speaking exclusively of one sub-
variety of one race, namely, the short-faced almond tumbler, and after
saying that some fanciers sacrifice every property to obtain a good
head and beak, and that other fanciers sacrifice everything for
plumage, he remarks: “Some young fanciers who are over covetous go in
for all the five properties at once, and they have their reward by
getting nothing.” In India, as I hear from Mr. Blyth, pigeons are
likewise selected and matched with the greatest care. We must not judge
of the slight divergences from existing varieties which would have been
valued in ancient days, by those which are now valued after the
formation of so many races, each with its own standard of perfection,
kept uniform by our numerous Exhibitions. The ambition of the most
energetic fancier may be fully satisfied by the difficulty of excelling
other fanciers in the breeds already established, without trying to
form a new one.

    A difficulty with respect to the power of selection will perhaps
    already have occurred to the reader, namely, what could have led
    fanciers first to attempt to make such singular breeds as Pouters,
    Fantails, Carriers, etc.? But it is this very difficulty which the
    principle of unconscious selection removes. Undoubtedly no fancier
    ever did intentionally make such an attempt. All that we need
    suppose is that a variation occurred sufficiently marked to catch
    the discriminating eye of some ancient fancier, and then
    unconscious selection carried on for many generations, that is, the
    wish of succeeding fanciers to excel their rivals, would do the
    rest. In the case of the Fantail we may suppose that the first
    progenitor of the breed had a tail only slightly erected, as may
    now be seen in certain Runts,[45] with some increase in the number
    of the tail-feathers, as now occasionally occurs with Nuns. In the
    case of the Pouter we may suppose that some bird inflated its crop
    a little more than other pigeons, as is now the case in a slight
    degree with the œesophagus of the Turbit. We do not know the origin
    of the common Tumbler, but we may suppose that a bird was born with
    some affection of the brain, leading it to make somersaults in the
    air;[46] and before the year 1600 pigeons remarkable for their
    diversified manner of flight were much valued in India, and by the
    order of the Emperor Akber Khan were sedulously trained and
    carefully matched.

In the foregoing cases we have supposed that a sudden variation,
conspicuous enough to catch a fancier’s eye, first appeared; but even
this degree of abruptness in the process of variation is not necessary
for the formation of a new breed. When the same kind of pigeon has been
kept pure, and has been bred during a long period by two or more
fanciers, slight differences in the strain can often be recognised.
Thus I have seen first- rate Jacobins in one man’s possession which
certainly differed slightly in several characters from those kept by
another. I possessed some excellent Barbs descended from a pair which
had won a prize, and another lot descended from a stock formerly kept
by that famous fancier Sir John Sebright, and these plainly differed in
the form of the beak; but the differences were so slight that they
could hardly be given by words. Again, the common English and Dutch
Tumbler differ in a somewhat greater degree, both in length of beak and
shape of head. What first caused these slight differences cannot be
explained any more than why one man has a long nose and another a short
one. In the strains long kept distinct by different fanciers, such
differences are so common that they cannot be accounted for by the
accident of the birds first chosen for breeding having been originally
as different as they now are. The explanation no doubt lies in
selection of a slightly different nature having been applied in each
case; for no two fanciers have exactly the same taste, and consequently
no two, in choosing and carefully matching their birds, prefer or
select exactly the same. As each man naturally admires his own birds,
he goes on continually exaggerating by selection whatever slight
peculiarities they may possess. This will more especially happen with
fanciers living in different countries, who do not compare their stocks
or aim at a common standard of perfection. Thus, when a mere strain has
once been formed, unconscious selection steadily tends to augment the
amount of difference, and thus converts the strain into a sub-breed and
this ultimately into a well-marked breed or race.

The principle of correlation of growth should never be lost sight of.
Most pigeons have small feet, apparently caused by their lessened use,
and from correlation, as it would appear, their beaks have likewise
become reduced in length. The beak is a conspicuous organ, and, as soon
as it had thus become perceptibly shortened, fanciers would almost
certainly strive to reduce it still more by the continued selection of
birds with the shortest beaks; whilst at the same time other fanciers,
as we know has actually been the case, would in other sub-breeds,
strive to increase its length. With the increased length of the beak,
the tongue becomes greatly lengthened, as do the eyelids with the
increased development of the eye-wattles; with the reduced or increased
size of the feet, the number of the scutellæ vary; with the length of
the wing, the number of the primary wing-feathers differ; and with the
increased length of the body in the pouter the number of the sacral
vertebræ is augmented. These important and correlated differences of
structure do not invariably characterise any breed; but if they had
been attended to and selected with as much care as the more conspicuous
external differences, there can hardly be a doubt that they would have
been rendered constant. Fanciers could assuredly have made a race of
Tumblers with nine instead of ten primary wing-feathers, seeing how
often the number nine appears without any wish on their part, and
indeed in the case of the white-winged varieties in opposition to their
wish. In a similar manner, if the vertebræ had been visible and had
been attended to by fanciers, assuredly an additional number might
easily have been fixed in the Pouter. If these latter characters had
once been rendered constant, we should never have suspected that they
had at first been highly variable, or that they had arisen from
correlation, in the one case with the shortness of the wings, and in
the other case with the length of the body.

In order to understand how the chief domestic races have become
distinctly separated from each other, it is important to bear in mind,
that fanciers constantly try to breed from the best birds, and
consequently that those which are inferior in the requisite qualities
are in each generation neglected; so that after a time the less
improved parent-stocks and many subsequently formed intermediate grades
become extinct. This has occurred in the case of the Pouter, Turbit,
and Trumpeter, for these highly improved breeds are now left without
any links closely connecting them either with each other or with the
aboriginal rock-pigeon. In other countries, indeed, where the same care
has not been applied, or where the same fashion has not prevailed, the
earlier forms may long remain unaltered, or altered only in a slight
degree, and we are thus sometimes enabled to recover the connecting
links. This is the case in Persia and India with the Tumbler and
Carrier, which there differ but slightly from the rock-pigeon in the
proportions of their beaks. So again in Java, the Fantail sometimes has
only fourteen caudal feathers, and the tail is much less elevated and
expanded than in our improved birds; so that the Java bird forms a link
between a first-rate Fantail and the rock-pigeon.

Occasionally a breed may be retained for some particular quality in a
nearly unaltered condition in the same country, together with highly
modified off-shoots or sub-breeds, which are valued for some distinct
property. We see this exemplified in England, where the common Tumbler,
which is valued only for its flight, does not differ much from its
parent-form, the Eastern Tumbler; whereas the Short-faced Tumbler has
been prodigiously modified, from being valued, not for its flight, but
for other qualities. But the common-flying Tumbler of Europe has
already begun to branch out into slightly different sub-breeds, such as
the common English Tumbler, the Dutch Roller, the Glasgow
House-tumbler, and the Long-faced Beard Tumbler, etc.; and in the
course of centuries, unless fashions greatly change, these sub-breeds
will diverge through the slow and insensible process of unconscious
selection, and become modified, in a greater and greater degree. After
a time the perfectly graduated links which now connect all these
sub-breeds together, will be lost, for there would be no object and
much difficulty in retaining such a host of intermediate sub-varieties.

The principle of divergence, together with the extinction of the many
previously existing intermediate forms, is so important for
understanding the origin of domestic races, as well as of species in a
state of nature, that I will enlarge a little more on this subject. Our
third main group includes Carriers, Barbs, and Runts, which are plainly
related to one another, yet wonderfully distinct in several important
characters. According to the view given in the last chapter, these
three races have probably descended from an unknown race having an
intermediate character, and this race from the rock-pigeon. Their
characteristic differences are believed to be due to different breeders
having at an early period admired different points of structure; and
then, on the acknowledged principle of admiring extremes, having gone
on breeding, without any thought of the future, as good birds as they
could,—Carrier-fanciers preferring long beaks with much
wattle,—Barb-fanciers preferring short thick beaks with much
eye-wattle,—and Runt-fanciers not caring about the beak or wattle, but
only for the size and weight of the body. This process would have led
to the neglect and final extinction of the earlier, inferior, and
intermediate birds; and thus it has come to pass, that in Europe these
three races are now so extraordinarily distinct from each other. But in
the East, whence they were originally brought, the fashion has been
different, and we there see breeds which connect the highly modified
English Carrier with the rock-pigeon, and others which to a certain
extent connect Carriers and Runts. Looking back to the time of
Aldrovandi, we find that there existed in Europe, before the year 1600,
four breeds which were closely allied to Carriers and Barbs, but which
competent authorities cannot now identify with our present Barbs and
Carriers; nor can Aldrovandi’s Runts be identified with our present
Runts. These four breeds certainly did not differ from each other
nearly so much as do our existing English Carriers, Barbs, and Runts.
All this is exactly what might have been anticipated. If we could
collect all the pigeons which have ever lived, from before the time of
the Romans to the present day, we should be able to group them in
several lines, diverging from the parent rock-pigeon. Each line would
consist of almost insensible steps, occasionally broken by some
slightly greater variation or sport, and each would culminate in one of
our present highly modified forms. Of the many former connecting links,
some would be found to have become absolutely extinct without having
left any issue, whilst others, though extinct, would be recognised as
the progenitors of the existing races.

I have heard it remarked as a strange circumstance that we occasionally
hear of the local or complete extinction of domestic races, whilst we
hear nothing of their origin. How, it has been asked, can these losses
be compensated, and more than compensated, for we know that with almost
all domesticated animals the races have largely increased in number
since the time of the Romans? But on the view here given, we can
understand this apparent contradiction. The extinction of a race within
historical times is an event likely to be noticed; but its gradual and
scarcely sensible modification through unconscious selection, and its
subsequent divergence, either in the same or more commonly in distant
countries, into two or more strains, and their gradual conversion into
sub-breeds, and these into well- marked breeds are events which would
rarely be noticed. The death of a tree, that has attained gigantic
dimensions, is recorded; the slow growth of smaller trees and their
increase in number excite no attention.

In accordance with the belief in the great power of selection, and of
the little direct power of changed conditions of life, except in
causing general variability or plasticity of organisation, it is not
surprising that dovecot-pigeons have remained unaltered from time
immemorial; and that some toy-pigeons, which differ in little else
besides colour from the dovecot-pigeon, have retained the same
character for several centuries. For when one of these toy-pigeons had
once become beautifully and symmetrically coloured,—when, for instance,
a Spot had been produced with the crown of its head, its tail, and
tail-coverts of a uniform colour, the rest of the body being
snow-white,—no alteration or improvement would be desired. On the other
hand, it is not surprising that during this same interval of time our
highly-bred pigeons have undergone an astonishing amount of change; for
in regard to them there is no defined limit to the wish of the fancier,
and there is no known limit to the variability of their characters.
What is there to stop the fancier desiring to give to his Carrier a
longer and longer beak, or to his Tumbler a shorter and shorter beak?
nor has the extreme limit of variability in the beak, if there be any
such limit, as yet been reached. Notwithstanding the great improvement
effected within recent times in the Short-faced Almond Tumbler, Mr.
Eaton remarks, “the field is still as open for fresh competitors as it
was one hundred years ago;” but this is perhaps an exaggerated
assertion, for the young of all highly-improved fancy birds are
extremely liable to disease and death.

I have heard it objected that the formation of the several domestic
races of the pigeon throws no light on the origin of the wild species
of the Columbidæ, because their differences are not of the same nature.
The domestic races, for instance do not differ, or differ hardly at
all, in the relative lengths and shape of the primary wing-feathers, in
the relative length of the hind toe, or in habits of life, as in
roosting and building in trees. But the above objection shows how
completely the principle of selection has been misunderstood. It is not
likely that characters selected by the caprice of man should resemble
differences preserved under natural conditions either from being of
direct service to each species, or from standing in correlation with
other modified and serviceable structures. Until man selects birds
differing in the relative length of the wing-feathers or toes, etc., no
sensible change in these parts should be expected. Nor could man do
anything unless these parts happened to vary under domestication: I do
not positively assert that this is the case, although I have seen
traces of such variability in the wing-feathers, and certainly in the
tail-feathers. It would be a strange fact if the relative length of the
hind toe should never vary, seeing how variable the foot is both in
size and in the number of the scutellæ. With respect to the domestic
races not roosting or building in trees, it is obvious that fanciers
would never attend to or select such changes in habits; but we have
seen that the pigeons in Egypt, which do not for some reason like
settling on the low mud hovels of the natives, are led, apparently by
compulsion, to perch in crowds on the trees. We may even affirm that,
if our domestic races had become greatly modified in any of the above
specified respects, and it could be shown that fanciers had never
attended to such points, or that they did not stand in correlation with
other selected characters, the fact, on the principles advocated in
this chapter, would have offered a serious difficulty.

Let us briefly sum up the last two chapters on the pigeon. We may
conclude with confidence that all the domestic races, notwithstanding
their great amount of difference, are descended from the _Columba
livia,_ including under this name certain wild races. But the
differences between the latter throw no light whatever on the
characters which distinguish the domestic races. In each breed or
sub-breed the individual birds are more variable than birds in a state
of nature; and occasionally they vary in a sudden and strongly-marked
manner. This plasticity of organisation apparently results from changed
conditions of life. Disuse has reduced certain parts of the body.
Correlation of growth so ties the organisation together, that when one
part varies other parts vary at the same time. When several breeds have
once been formed, their intercrossing aids the progress of
modification, and has even produced new sub-breeds. But as, in the
construction of a building, mere stones or bricks are of little avail
without the builder’s art, so, in the production of new races,
selection has been the presiding power. Fanciers can act by selection
on excessively slight individual differences, as well as on those
greater differences which are called sports. Selection is followed
methodically when the fancier tries to improve and modify a breed
according to a prefixed standard of excellence; or he acts
unmethodically and unconsciously, by merely trying to rear as good
birds as he can, without any wish or intention to alter the breed. The
progress of selection almost inevitably leads to the neglect and
ultimate extinction of the earlier and less improved forms, as well as
of many intermediate links in each long line of descent. Thus it has
come to pass that most of our present races are so marvellously
distinct from each other, and from the aboriginal rock-pigeon.


 [1] Temminck ‘Hist. Nat. Gén. des Pigeons,’ etc., tom. i. p. 191.

 [2] I have heard through Sir C. Lyell from Miss Buckley, that some
 half-bred Carriers kept during many years near London regularly
 settled by day on some adjoining trees, and, after being disturbed in
 their loft by their young being taken, roosted on them at night.

 [3] ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ 2nd ser., vol. xx., 1857, p. 509;
 and in a late volume of the Journal of the Asiatic Society.

 [4] In works written on the pigeon by fanciers I have sometimes
 observed the mistaken belief expressed that the species which
 naturalists called ground-pigeons (in contradistinction to arboreal
 pigeons) do not perch and build on trees. In these same works by
 fanciers wild species resembling the chief domestic races are often
 said to exist in various parts of the world; but such species are
 quite unknown to naturalists.

 [5] Sir R. Schomburgk in ‘Journal R. Geograph. Soc.,’ vol. xiii.,
 1844, p. 32.

 [6] Rev. E. S. Dixon ‘Ornamental Poultry,’ 1848, pp. 63, 66.

 [7] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1859, p. 400.

 [8] Temminck, ‘Hist. Nat. Gén. des Pigeons,’ tom. i.; also ‘Les
 Pigeons’ par Mme. Knip and Temminck. Bonaparte, however, in his ‘Coup-
 d’œil’ believes that two closely allied species are confounded
 together under this name. The _C. leucocephala_ of the West Indies is
 stated by Temminck to be a rock-pigeon; but I am informed by Mr. Gosse
 that this is an error.

 [9] ‘Handbuch der Naturgesch. Vögel Deutschlands.’

 [10] ‘Tagebuch, Reise nach Färo,’ 1830, s. 62.

 [11] ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ vol. xix., 1847, p. 102. This
 excellent paper on pigeons is well worth consulting.

 [12] ‘Natural History of Ireland,’ Birds, vol. ii. (1850), p. 11. For
 Graba _see_ previous reference.

 [13] ‘Coup-d’œil sur l’Ordre des Pigeons,’ ‘Comptes Rendus,’ 1854-55.

 [14] ‘Naturgeschichte. Deutschlands,’ Band. iv. 1795, s. 14.

 [15] ‘History of British Birds,’ vol. i. pp. 275-284. Mr. Andrew
 Duncan tamed a rock-pigeon in the Shetland Islands. Mr. James Barclay,
 and Mr. Smith of Uyea Sound, both say that the wild rock-pigeon can be
 easily tamed; and the former gentleman asserts that the tamed birds
 breed four times a year. Dr. Lawrence Edmondstone informs me that a
 wild rock-pigeon came and settled in his dovecot in Balta Sound in the
 Shetland Islands, and bred with his pigeons; he has also given me
 other instances of the wild rock-pigeon having been taken young and
 breeding in captivity.

 [16] ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,’ vol. xix. 1847, p. 103, and
 vol. for 1857, p. 512.

 [17] Domestic pigeons of the common kind are mentioned as being pretty
 numerous in John Barbut’s ‘Description of the Coast of Guinea’ (p.
 215), published in 1746; they are said, in accordance with the name
 which they bear, to have been imported.

 [18] With respect to feral pigeons—for Juan Fernandez, _ see_ Bertero
 in ‘Annal. des Sc. Nat.,’ tom. xxi. p. 351. For Norfolk Islands, _see_
 Rev. E. S. Dixon in the ‘Dovecote,’ 1851, p. 14, on the authority of
 Mr. Gould. For Ascension I rely on MS. information given me by Mr.
 Layard. For the banks of the Hudson, _see_ Blyth in ‘Annals of Nat.
 Hist.,’ vol. xx., 1857, p. 511. For Scotland, _see_ Macgillivray,
 ‘British Birds,’ vol. i. p. 275; also Thompson’s ‘Nat. Hist. of
 Ireland, Birds,’ vol. ii. p. 11. For ducks, _see_ Rev. E. S. Dixon,
 ‘Ornamental Poultry,’ 1847, p. 122. For the feral hybrids of the
 common and musk-ducks, _see_ Audubon’s ‘American Ornithology,’ and
 Selys-Longchamp’s ‘Hybrides dans la Famille des Anatides.’ For the
 goose, Isidore Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. p.
 498. For guinea-fowls, _see_ Gosse’s ‘Naturalist’s Sojourn in
 Jamaica,’ p. 124; and his ‘Birds of Jamaica,’ for fuller particulars.
 I saw the wild guinea-fowl in Ascension. For the peacock, _see_ ‘A
 Week at Port Royal,’ by a competent authority, Mr. R. Hill, p. 42. For
 the turkey I rely on oral information; I ascertained that they were
 not Curassows. With respect to fowls I will give the references in the
 next chapter.

 [19] I have drawn out a long table of the various crosses made by
 fanciers between the several domestic breeds but I do not think it
 worth while publishing. I have myself made for this special purpose
 many crosses, and all were perfectly fertile. I have united in one
 bird five of the most distinct races, and with patience I might
 undoubtedly have thus united all. The case of five distinct breeds
 being blended together with unimpaired fertility is important, because
 Gärtner has shown that it is a very general, though not, as he
 thought, universal rule, that complex crosses between several species
 are excessively sterile. I have met with only two or three cases of
 reported sterility in the offspring of certain races when crossed.
 Pistor (‘Das Ganze der Feldtaubenzucht,’ 1831, s. 15) asserts that the
 mongrels from Barbs and Fantails are sterile: I have proved this to be
 erroneous, not only by crossing those hybrids with several other
 hybrids of the same parentage, but by the more severe test of pairing
 brother and sister hybrids _inter se,_ and they were _perfectly_
 fertile. Temminck has stated (‘Hist. Nat. Gén. des Pigeons,’ tom. i.
 p. 197) that the Turbit or Owl will not cross readily with other
 breeds: but my Turbits crossed, when left free with Almond Tumblers
 and with Trumpeters; the same thing has occurred (Rev. E. S. Dixon,
 ‘The Dovecote,’ p. 107) between Turbits and Dovecots and Nuns. I have
 crossed Turbits with Barbs, as has M. Boitard (p. 34), who says the
 hybrids were very fertile. Hybrids from a Turbit and Fantail have been
 known to breed _inter se_ (Riedel, ‘Taubenzucht,’ s. 25, and
 Bechstein, ‘Naturgesch. Deutsch.,’ B. iv. s. 44. Turbits (Riedel, s.
 26) have been crossed with Pouters and with Jacobins, and with a
 hybrid Jacobin-trumpeter (Riedel, s. 27). The latter author has,
 however, made some vague statements (s. 22) on the sterility of
 Turbits when crossed with certain other crossed breeds. But I have
 little doubt that the Rev. E. S. Dixon’s explanation of such
 statements is correct, viz. that individual birds both with Turbits
 and other breeds are occasionally sterile.

 [20] ‘Das Ganze der Taubenzucht,’ s. 18.

 [21] ‘Les Pigeons,’ etc., p. 35.

 [22] Domestic pigeons pair readily with the allied _C. œnas_
 (Bechstein, ‘Naturgesch. Deutschlands,’ B. iv. s. 3); and Mr. Brent
 has made the same cross several times in England, but the young were
 very apt to die at about ten days old; one hybrid which he reared
 (from _C. œnas_ and a male Antwerp Carrier) paired with a Dragon, but
 never laid eggs. Bechstein further states (s. 26) that the domestic
 pigeon will cross with _C. palumbus, Turtur risoria,_ and _T.
 vulgaris,_ but nothing is said of the fertility of the hybrids, and
 this would have been mentioned had the fact been ascertained. In the
 Zoological Gardens (MS. report to me from Mr. James Hunt) a male
 hybrid from _Turtur vulgaris_ and a domestic pigeon “paired with
 several different species of pigeons and doves, but none of the eggs
 were good.” Hybrids from _C. œnas_ and _gymnophthalmos_ were sterile.
 In Loudon’s ‘Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ vol. vii. 1834, p. 154, it is said
 that a male hybrid (from _Turtur vulgaris_ male, and the
 cream-coloured _T. risoria_ female) paired during two years with a
 female _T. risoria,_ and the latter laid many eggs, but all were
 sterile. MM. Boitard and Corbié (‘Les Pigeons,’ p. 235) state that the
 hybrids from these two turtle-doves are invariably sterile both _inter
 se_ and with either pure parent. The experiment was tried by M. Corbié
 “avec une espèce d’obstination;” and likewise by M. Mauduyt, and by M.
 Vieillot. Temminck also found the hybrids from these two species quite
 barren. Therefore, when Bechstein (‘Naturgesch. Deutschlands Vögel,’
 B. iv. s. 101) asserts that the hybrids from these two turtle-doves
 propagate _inter se_ equally well with pure species, and when a writer
 in the ‘Field’ newspaper (in a letter dated Nov. 10th, 1858) makes a
 similar assertion, it would appear that there must be some mistake;
 though what the mistake is I know not, as Bechstein at least must have
 known the white _variety_ of _T. risoria_: it would be an unparalleled
 fact if the same two species sometimes produced _extremely_ fertile,
 and sometimes _extremely_ barren, offspring. In the MS. report from
 the Zoological Gardens it is said that hybrids from _Turtur vulgaris_
 and _ suratensis,_ and from _T. vulgaris_ and _Ectopistes
 migratorius,_ were sterile. Two of the latter male hybrids paired with
 their pure parents, viz. _Turtur vulgaris_ and the Ectopistes, and
 likewise with _T. risoria_ and with _ Columba œnas,_ and many eggs
 were produced, but all were barren. At Paris, hybrids have been raised
 (Isid. Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire, ‘Hist. Nat. Générale,’ tom. iii. p.
 180) from _Turtur auritus_ with _T. cambayensis_ and with _T.
 suratensis_; but nothing is said of their fertility. At the Zoological
 Gardens of London the _Goura coronata_ and _victoriæ_ produced a
 hybrid which paired with the pure _G. coronata,_ and laid several
 eggs, but these proved barren. In 1860 _Columba gymnophthalmos_ and
 _maculosa_ produced hybrids in these same gardens.

 [23] There is one exception to the rule, namely, in a sub-variety of
 the Swallow of German origin, which is figured by Neumeister, and was
 shown to me by Mr. Wicking. This bird is blue, but has not the black
 wing-bars; for our object, however, in tracing the descent of the
 chief races, this exception signifies the less as the Swallow
 approaches closely in structure to _C. livia._ In many sub-varieties
 the black bars are replaced by bars of various colours. The figures
 given by Neumeister are sufficient to show that, if the wings alone
 are blue, the black wing-bars appear.

 [24] I have observed blue birds with all the above-mentioned marks in
 the following races, which seemed to be perfectly pure, and were shown
 at various exhibitions. Pouters, with the double black wing-bars, with
 white croup, dark bar to end of tail, and white edging to outer
 tail-feathers. Turbits, with all these same characters. Fantails with
 the same; but the croup in some was bluish or pure blue. Mr. Wicking
 bred blue Fantails from two black birds. Carriers (including the
 Bagadotten of Neumeister) with all the marks: two birds which I
 examined had white, and two had blue croups; the white edging to the
 outer tail-feathers was not present in all. Mr. Corker, a great
 breeder, assures me that, if black carriers are matched for many
 successive generations, the offspring become first ash-coloured, and
 then blue with black wing-bars. Runts of the elongated breed had the
 same marks, but the croup was pale blue; the outer tail-feathers had
 white edges. Neumeister figures the great Florence Runt of a blue
 colour with black bars. Jacobins are very rarely blue, but I have
 received authentic accounts of at least two instances of the blue
 variety with black bars having appeared in England; blue Jacobins were
 bred by Mr. Brent from two black birds. I have seen common Tumblers,
 both Indian and English, and Short-faced Tumblers, of a blue colour,
 with black wing-bars, with the black bar at the end of the tail, and
 with the outer tail-feathers edged with white; the croup in all was
 blue, or extremely pale blue, never absolutely white. Blue Barbs and
 Trumpeters seem to be excessively rare; but Neumeister, who may be
 implicitly trusted, figures blue varieties of both, with black
 wing-bars. Mr. Brent informs me that he has seen a blue Barb; and Mr.
 H. Weir, as I am informed by Mr. Tegetmeier, once bred a silver (which
 means very pale blue) Barb from two yellow birds.

 [25] Mr. Blyth informs me that all the domestic races in India have
 the croup blue; but this is not invariable, for I possess a very pale
 blue Simmali pigeon with the croup perfectly white, sent to me by Sir
 W. Elliot from Madras. A slaty-blue and chequered Nakshi pigeon has
 some white feathers on the croup alone. In some other Indian pigeons
 there were a few white feathers confined to the croup, and I have
 noticed the same fact in a carrier from Persia. The Java Fantail
 (imported into Amoy, and thence sent me) has a perfectly white croup.

 [26] ‘Les Pigeons,’ etc., p. 37.

 [27] ‘Treatise on Pigeons,’ 1858, p. 145.

 [28] J. Moore’s ‘Columbarium,’ 1735; in J. M. Eaton’s edition, 1852,
 p. 71.

 [29] I could give numerous examples; two will suffice. A mongrel,
 whose four grandparents were a white Turbit, white Trumpeter, white
 Fantail, and blue Pouter, was white all over, except a very few
 feathers about the head and on the wings, but the whole tail and
 tail-coverts were dark bluish-grey. Another mongrel whose four
 grandparents were a red Runt, white Trumpeter, white Fantail, and the
 same blue Pouter, was pure white all over, except the tail and upper
 tail-coverts, which were pale fawn, and except the faintest trace of
 double wing-bars of the same pale fawn tint.

 [30] It deserves notice, as bearing on the general subject of
 variation, that not only _C. livia_ presents several wild forms,
 regarded by some naturalists as species and by others as sub-species
 or as mere varieties, but that the species of several allied genera
 are in the same predicament. This is the case, as Mr. Blyth has
 remarked to me, with Treron, Palumbus, and Turtur.

 [31] ‘Denkmäler,’ Abth. ii. Bl. 70.

 [32] ‘The ‘Dovecote,’ by the Rev. E. S. Dixon, 1851, pp. 11-13.
 Adolphe Pictet (in his ‘Les Origines Indo-Européennes,’ 1859, p. 399)
 states that there are in the ancient Sanscrit language between 25 and
 30 names for the pigeon, and other 15 or 16 Persian names; none of
 these are common to the European languages. This fact indicates the
 antiquity of the domestication of the pigeon in the East.

 [33] English translation, 1601, Book x. ch. xxxvii.

 [34] ‘Ayeen Akbery,’ translated by F. Gladwin, 4to edit., vol. i. p.

 [35] J. M. Eaton, ‘Treatise on the Almond Tumbler,’ 1851; Preface, p.

 [36] As in the following discussion I often speak of the present time,
 I should state that this chapter was completed in the year 1858.

 [37] ‘Ornithologie,’ 1600, vol. ii. p. 360.

 [38] ‘A Treatise on Domestic Pigeons,’ dedicated to Mr. Mayor, 1765.
 Preface, p. 14.

 [39] Mr. Blyth has given a translation of part of the ‘Ayeen Akbery’
 in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ vol. xix. 1847, p. 104.

 [40] ‘L’Histoire de la Nature des Oiseaux,’ p. 314.

 [41] ‘Treatise on Pigeons,’ 1852, p. 64.

 [42] J. M. Eaton ‘Treatise on the Breeding and Managing of the Almond
 Tumbler,’ 1851. Compare p. v. of Preface, p. 9, and p. 32.

 [43] ‘Treatise on Pigeons,’ 1852, p. 41.

 [44] Eaton’s ‘Treatise on Pigeons,’ 1858, p. 86.

 [45] _See_ Neumeister’s figure of the Florence Runt, tab. 13 in ‘Das
 Ganze der Taubenzucht.’

 [46] Mr. W. J. Moore gives a full account of the Ground Tumblers of
 India (‘Indian Medical Gazette,’ Jan. and Feb. 1873), and says the
 pricking the base of the brain, and giving hydrocyanic acid, together
 with strychnine, to an ordinary pigeon, brings on convulsive movements
 exactly like those of a Tumbler. One pigeon, the brain of which had
 been pricked, completely recovered, and ever afterwards occasionally
 made somersaults.



    As some naturalists may not be familiar with the chief breeds of
    the fowl, it will be advisable to give a condensed description of
    them.[1] From what I have read and seen of specimens brought from
    several quarters of the world, I believe that most of the chief
    kinds have been imported into England, but many sub-breeds are
    probably still unknown here. The following discussion on the origin
    of the various breeds and on their characteristic differences does
    not pretend to completeness, but may be of some interest to the
    naturalist. The classification of the breeds cannot, as far as I
    can see, be made natural. They differ from each other in different
    degrees, and do not afford characters in subordination to each
    other, by which they can be ranked in group under group. They seem
    all to have diverged by independent and different roads from a
    single type. Each chief breed includes differently coloured
    sub-varieties, most of which can be truly propagated, but it would
    be superfluous to describe them. I have classed the various crested
    fowls as sub-breeds under the Polish fowl; but I have great doubts
    whether this is a natural arrangement, showing true affinity or
    blood relationship. It is scarcely possible to avoid laying stress
    on the commonness of a breed; and if certain foreign sub-breeds had
    been largely kept in this country they would perhaps have been
    raised to the rank of main-breeds. Several breeds are abnormal in
    character; that is, they differ in certain points from all wild
    Gallinaceous birds. At first I made a division of the breeds into
    normal and abnormal, but the result was wholly unsatisfactory.

1. GAME BREED.—This may be considered as the typical breed, as it
deviates only slightly from the wild _Gallus bankiva,_ or, as perhaps
more correctly named, _ferrugineus._ Beak strong; comb single and
upright. Spurs long and sharp. Feathers closely appressed to the body.
Tail with the normal number of 14 feathers. Eggs often pale buff.
Disposition indomitably courageous, exhibited even in the hens and
chickens. An unusual number of differently coloured varieties exist,
such as black and brown-breasted reds, duckwings, blacks, whites,
piles, etc., with their legs of various colours.

2. MALAY BREED.—Body of great size, with head, neck, and legs
elongated; carriage erect; tail small, sloping downwards, generally
formed of 16 feathers; comb and wattle small; ear-lobe and face red;
skin yellowish; feathers closely appressed to the body; neck-hackles
short, narrow, and hard. Eggs often pale buff. Chickens feather late.
Disposition savage. Of Eastern origin.

3. COCHIN, OR SHANGAI BREED.—Size great; wing feathers short, arched,
much hidden in the soft downy plumage; barely capable of flight; tail
short, generally formed of 16 feathers, developed at a late period in
the young males; legs thick, feathered; spurs short, thick; nail of
middle toe flat and broad; an additional toe not rarely developed; skin
yellowish. Comb and wattle well developed. Skull with deep medial
furrow; occipital foramen, sub-triangular, vertically elongated. Voice
peculiar. Eggs rough, buff-coloured. Disposition extremely quiet. Of
Chinese origin.

4. DORKING BREED.—Size great; body square, compact; feet with an
additional toe; comb well developed, but varies much in form; wattles
well developed; colour of plumage various. Skull remarkably broad
between the orbits. Of English origin.

The white Dorking may be considered as a distinct sub-breed, being a
less massive bird.

Illustration: Fig. 30—Spanish Fowl

5. SPANISH BREED (fig. 30).—Tall, with stately carriage; tarsi long;
comb single, deeply serrated, of immense size; wattles largely
developed; the large ear-lobes and sides of face white. Plumage black
glossed with green. Do not incubate. Tender in constitution, the comb
being often injured by frost. Eggs white, smooth, of large size.
Chickens feather late but the young cocks show their masculine
characters, and crow at an early age. Of Mediterranean origin.

The _Andalusians_ may be ranked as a sub-breed: they are of a
slaty-blue colour, and their chickens are well feathered. A smaller,
short-legged Dutch sub-breed has been described by some authors as

Illustration: Fig. 31—Hamburgh Fowl

6. HAMBURGH BREED (fig 31).—Size moderate; comb flat, produced
backwards, covered with numerous small points; wattle of moderate
dimensions; ear lobe white; legs blueish, thin. Do not incubate. Skull,
with the tips of the ascending branches of the premaxillary and with
the nasal bones standing a little separate from each other; anterior
margin of the frontal bones less depressed than usual.

There are two sub-breeds; the _ spangled_ Hamburgh, of English origin,
with the tips of the feathers marked with a dark spot; and the
_pencilled_ Hamburgh, of Dutch origin, with dark transverse lines
across each feather, and with the body rather smaller. Both these
sub-breeds include gold and silver varieties, as well as some other
sub-varieties. Black Hamburghs have been produced by a cross with the
Spanish breed.

Illustration: Fig. 32—Polish Fowl

7. CRESTED OR POLISH BREED (fig 32).—Head with a large, rounded crest
of feathers, supported on a hemispherical protuberance of the frontal
bones, which includes the anterior part of the brain. The ascending
branches of premaxillary bones and the inner nasal processes are much
shortened. The orifice of the nostrils raised and crescentic. Beak
short. Comb absent, or small and of crescentic shape; wattles either
present or replaced by a beard-like tuft of feathers. Legs leaden-blue.
Sexual differences appear late in life. Do not incubate. There are
several beautiful varieties which differ in colour and slightly in
other respects.

The following sub-breeds agree in having a crest, more or less
developed, with the comb, when present, of crescentic shape. The skull
presents nearly the same remarkable peculiarities of structure as in
the true Polish fowl.

    Sub-breed _(a) Sultans._—A Turkish breed, resembling white Polish
    fowls with a large crest and beard with short and well-feathered
    legs. The tail is furnished with additional sickle feathers. Do not

Sub-breed _(b) Ptarmigans._—An inferior breed closely allied to the
last, white, rather small, legs much feathered, with the crest pointed;
comb small, cupped; wattles small.

Sub-breed _(c) Ghoondooks._—Another Turkish breed having an
extraordinary appearance; black and tailless; crest and beard large;
legs feathered. The inner processes of the two nasal bones come into
contact with each other, owing to the complete abortion of the
ascending branches of the premaxillaries. I have seen an allied white,
tailless breed from Turkey.

Sub-breed _(d) Crève-cœur._—A French breed of large size, barely
capable of flight, with short black legs, head crested, comb produced
into two points or horns, sometimes a little branched like the horns of
a stag; both beard and wattles present. Eggs large. Disposition

Sub-breed _(e) Horned fowl._—With a small crest; comb produced into two
great points, supported on two bony protuberances.

    Sub-breed _(f) Houdan._—A French breed; of moderate size,
    short-legged with five toes, well developed; plumage invariably
    mottled with black, white, and straw-yellow; head furnished with a
    crest, on a triple comb placed transversely; both wattles and beard

Sub-breed _(g) Guelderlands._—No comb, head said to be surmounted by a
longitudinal crest of soft velvety feathers; nostrils said to be
crescentic; wattles well developed; legs feathered; colour black. From
North America. The Breda fowl seems to be closely allied to the

8. BANTAM BREED.—Originally from Japan[5] characterised by small size
alone; carriage bold and erect. There are several sub-breeds, such as
the Cochin, Game, and Sebright Bantams, some of which have been
recently formed by various crosses. The Black Bantam has a differently
shaped skull, with the occipital foramen like that of the Cochin fowl.

    9. RUMPLESS FOWLS.—These are so variable in character[6] that they
    hardly deserve to be called a breed. Any one who will examine the
    caudal vertebræ will see how monstrous the breed is.

10. CREEPERS OR JUMPERS.—These are characterised by an almost monstrous
shortness of legs, so that they move by jumping rather than by walking;
they are said not to scratch up the ground. I have examined a Burmese
variety, which had a skull of rather unusual shape.

11. FRIZZLED OR CAFFRE FOWLS.—Not uncommon in India, with the feathers
curling backwards, and with the primary feathers of the wing and tail
imperfect; periosteum of bones black.

12. SILK FOWLS.—Feathers silky, with the primary wing and tail-feathers
imperfect; skin and periosteum of bones black; comb and wattles dark
leaden-blue; ear-lappets tinged with blue; legs thin, often furnished
with an additional toe. Size rather small.

13. SOOTY FOWLS.—An Indian breed, having the peculiar appearance of a
white bird smeared with soot, with black skin and periosteum. The hens
alone are thus characterised.

    From this synopsis we see that the several breeds differ
    considerably, and they would have been nearly as interesting for us
    as pigeons, if there had been equally good evidence that all had
    descended from one parent-species. Most fanciers believe that they
    are descended from several primitive stocks. The Rev. E. S.
    Dixon[7] argues strongly on this side of the question; and one
    fancier even denounces the opposite conclusion by asking, “Do we
    not perceive pervading this spirit, the spirit of the _Deist_?”
    Most naturalists, with the exception of a few, such as Temminck,
    believe that all the breeds have proceeded from a single species;
    but authority on such a point goes for little. Fanciers look to all
    parts of the world as the possible sources of their unknown stocks;
    thus ignoring the laws of geographical distribution. They know well
    that the several kinds breed truly even in colour. They assert,
    but, as we shall see, on very weak grounds, that most of the breeds
    are extremely ancient. They are strongly impressed with the great
    difference between the chief kinds, and they ask with force, can
    differences in climate, food, or treatment have produced birds so
    different as the black stately Spanish, the diminutive elegant
    Bantam, the heavy Cochin with its many peculiarities, and the
    Polish fowl with its great top-knot and protuberant skull? But
    fanciers, whilst admitting and even overrating the effects of
    crossing the various breeds, do not sufficiently regard the
    probability of the occasional birth, during the course of
    centuries, of birds with abnormal and hereditary peculiarities;
    they overlook the effects of correlation of growth—of the
    long-continued use and disuse of parts, and of some direct result
    from changed food and climate, though on this latter head I have
    found no sufficient evidence; and lastly, they all, as far as I
    know, entirely overlook the all-important subject of unconscious or
    unmethodical selection, though they are well aware that their birds
    differ individually and that by selecting the best birds for a few
    generations they can improve their stocks.

    An amateur writes[8] as follows: “The fact that poultry have until
    lately received but little attention at the hands of the fancier,
    and been entirely confined to the domains of the producer for the
    market, would alone suggest the improbability of that constant and
    unremitting attention having been observed in breeding, which is
    requisite to the consummating in the offspring of any two birds
    transmittable forms not exhibited by the parents.” This at first
    sight appears true. But in a future chapter on Selection, abundant
    facts will be given showing not only that careful breeding, but
    that actual selection was practised during ancient periods, and by
    barely civilised races of man. In the case of the fowl I can adduce
    no direct facts showing that selection was anciently practised; but
    the Romans at the commencement of the Christian era kept six or
    seven breeds, and Columella “particularly recommends as the best,
    those sorts that have five toes and white ears.”[9] In the
    fifteenth century several breeds were known and described in
    Europe; and in China, at nearly the same period, seven kinds were
    named. A more striking case is that at present, in one of the
    Philippine Islands, the semi-barbarous inhabitants have distinct
    native names for no less than nine sub-breeds of the Game fowl.[10]
    Azara,[11] who wrote towards the close of the last century, states
    that in the interior parts of South America, where I should not
    have expected that the least care would have been taken of poultry,
    a black-skinned and black-boned breed is kept, from being
    considered fertile and its flesh good for sick persons. Now every
    one who has kept poultry knows how impossible it is to keep several
    breeds distinct unless the utmost care be taken in separating the
    sexes. Will it then be pretended that those persons who, in ancient
    times and in semi-civilised countries took pains to keep the breeds
    distinct, and who therefore valued them, would not occasionally
    have destroyed inferior birds and occasionally have preserved their
    best birds? This is all that is required. It is not pretended that
    any one in ancient times intended to form a new breed, or to modify
    an old breed according to some ideal standard of excellence. He who
    cared for poultry would merely wish to obtain, and afterwards to
    rear, the best birds which he could; but this occasional
    preservation of the best birds would in the course of time modify
    the breed, as surely, though by no means as rapidly, as does
    methodical selection at the present day, If one person out of a
    hundred or out of a thousand attended to the breeding of his birds,
    this would be sufficient; for the birds thus tended would soon
    become superior to others, and would form a new strain; and this
    strain would, as explained in the last chapter, slowly have its
    characteristic differences augmented, and at last be converted into
    a new sub-breed or breed. But breeds would often be for a time
    neglected and would deteriorate; they would, however, partially
    retain their character, and afterwards might again come into
    fashion and be raised to a standard of perfection higher than their
    former standard; as has actually occurred quite recently with
    Polish fowls. If, however, a breed were utterly neglected, it would
    become extinct, as has recently happened with one of the Polish
    sub-breeds. Whenever in the course of past centuries a bird
    appeared with some slight abnormal structure, such as with a
    lark-like crest on its head, it would probably often have been
    preserved from that love of novelty which leads some persons in
    England to keep rumpless fowls, and others in India to keep
    frizzled fowls. And after a time any such abnormal appearance would
    be carefully preserved, from being esteemed a sign of the purity
    and excellence of the breed; for on this principle the Romans
    eighteen centuries ago valued the fifth toe and the white ear-lobe
    in their fowls.

 Thus from the occasional appearance of abnormal characters, though at
 first only slight in degree; from the effects of the use and the
 disuse of parts; possibly from the direct effects of changed climate
 and food; from correlation of growth; from occasional reversions to
 old and long-lost characters; from the crossing of breeds, when more
 than one had been formed; but, above all, from unconscious selection
 carried on during many generations, there is no insuperable
 difficulty, to the best of my judgment, in believing that all the
 breeds have descended from some one parent-source. Can any single
 species be named from which we may reasonably suppose that all are
 descended? The Gallus bankiva apparently fulfils every requirement. I
 have already given as fair an account as I could of the arguments in
 favour of the multiple origin of the several breeds; and now I will
 give those in favour of their common descent from _G. bankiva._

    But it will be convenient first briefly to describe all the known
    species of Gallus. The _G. sonneratii_ does not range into the
    northern parts of India; according to Colonel Sykes,[12] it
    presents at different heights of the Ghauts, two strongly marked
    varieties, perhaps deserving to be called species. It was at one
    time thought to be the primitive stock of all our domestic breeds,
    and this shows that it closely approaches the common fowl in
    general structure; but its hackles partially consist of highly
    peculiar, horny laminæ, transversely banded with three colours; and
    I have met no authentic account of any such character having been
    observed in any domestic breed.[13] This species also differs
    greatly from the common fowl, in the comb being finely serrated,
    and in the loins being destitute of true hackles. Its voice is
    utterly different. It crosses readily in India with domestic hens;
    and Mr. Blyth[14] raised nearly 100 hybrid chickens; but they were
    tender and mostly died whilst young. Those which were reared were
    absolutely sterile when crossed inter se or with either parent. At
    the Zoological Gardens, however, some ‘hybrids of the same
    parentage were not quite so sterile: Mr. Dixon, as he informed me,
    made, with Mr. Yarrell’s aid, particular inquiries on this subject,
    and was assured that out of 50 eggs only five or six chickens were
    reared. Some, however, of these half-bred birds were crossed with
    one of their parents, namely, a Bantam, and produced a few
    extremely feeble chickens. Mr. Dixon also procured some of these
    same birds and crossed them in several ways, but all were more or
    less infertile. Nearly similar experiments have recently been tried
    on a great scale in the Zoological Gardens with almost the same
    result.[15] Out of 500 eggs, raised from various first crosses and
    hybrids, between _G. sonneratii, bankiva,_ and _varius,_ only 12
    chickens were reared, and of these only three were the product of
    hybrids _inter se._ From these facts, and from the above-mentioned
    strongly-marked differences in structure between the domestic fowl
    and _G. sonneratii,_ we may reject this latter species as the
    parent of any domestic breed.

    Ceylon possesses a fowl peculiar to the island, viz. _G.
    stanleyii_; this species approaches so closely (except in the
    colouring of the comb) to the domestic fowl, that Messrs. Layard
    and Kellaert[16] would have considered it, as they inform me, as
    one of the parent-stocks, had it not been for its singularly
    different voice. This bird, like the last, crosses readily with
    tame hens, and even visits solitary farms and ravishes them. Two
    hybrids, a male and female, thus produced, were found by Mr.
    Mitford to be quite sterile: both inherited the peculiar voice of
    _G. stanleyii._ This species, then, may in all probability be
    rejected as one of the primitive stocks of the domestic fowl.

    Java and the islands eastward as far as Flores are inhabited by _G.
    varius_ (or _furcatus_), which differs in so many characters—green
    plumage, unserrated comb, and single median wattle—that no one
    supposes it to have been the parent of any one of our breeds; yet,
    as I am informed by Mr. Crawfurd,[17] hybrids are commonly raised
    between the male _G. varius_ and the common hen, and are kept for
    their great beauty, but are invariably sterile: this, however, was
    not the case with some bred in the Zoological Gardens. These
    hybrids were at one time thought to be specifically distinct, and
    were named _G. æneus._ Mr. Blyth and others believe that the _G.
    temminckii_[18] (of which the history is not known) is a similar
    hybrid. Sir J. Brooke sent me some skins of domestic fowls from
    Borneo, and across the tail of one of these, as Mr. Tegetmeier
    observed, there were transverse blue bands like those which he had
    seen on the tail-feathers of hybrids from _G. varius,_ reared in
    the Zoological Gardens. This fact apparently indicates that some of
    the fowls of Borneo have been slightly affected by crosses with _G.
    varius,_ but the case may possibly be one of analogous variation. I
    may just allude to the _G. giganteus,_ so often referred to in
    works on poultry as a wild species; but Marsden[19] the first
    describer, speaks of it as a tame breed; and the specimen in the
    British Museum evidently has the aspect of a domestic variety.

    The last species to be mentioned, namely, _Gallus bankiva,_ has a
    much wider geographical range than the three previous species; it
    inhabits Northern India as far west as Sinde, and ascends the
    Himalaya to a height of 4000 ft.; it inhabits Burmah, the Malay
    peninsula, the Indo-Chinese countries, the Philippine Islands, and
    the Malayan archipelago as far eastward as Timor. This species
    varies considerably in the wild state. Mr. Blyth informs me that
    the specimens, both male and female, brought from near the
    Himalaya, are rather paler coloured than those from other parts of
    India; whilst those from the Malay peninsula and Java are brighter
    coloured than the Indian birds. I have seen specimens from these
    countries, and the difference of tint in the hackles was
    conspicuous. The Malayan hens were a shade redder on the breast and
    neck than the Indian hens. The Malayan males generally had a red
    ear-lappet, instead of a white one as in India; but Mr. Blyth has
    seen one Indian specimen without the white ear-lappet. The legs are
    leaden blue in the Indian, whereas they show some tendency to be
    yellowish in the Malayan and Javan specimens. In the former Mr.
    Blyth finds the tarsus remarkably variable in length. According to
    Temminck[20] the Timor specimens differ as a local race from that
    of Java. These several wild varieties have not as yet been ranked
    as distinct species; if they should, as is not unlikely, be
    hereafter thus ranked, the circumstance would be quite immaterial
    as far as the parentage and differences of our domestic breeds are
    concerned. The wild _G. bankiva_ agrees most closely with the
    black-breasted red Game-breed, in colouring and in all other
    respects, except in being smaller, and in the tail being carried
    more horizontally. But the manner in which the tail is carried is
    highly variable in many of our breeds, for, as Mr. Brent informs
    me, the tail slopes much in the Malays, is erect in the Games and
    some other breeds, and is more than erect in Dorkings, Bantams,
    etc. There is one other difference namely, that in _G. bankiva,_
    according to Mr. Blyth, the neck-hackles when first moulted are
    replaced during two or three months not by other hackles, as with
    our domestic poultry, but by short blackish feathers.[21] Mr.
    Brent, however, has remarked that these black feathers remain in
    the wild bird after the development of the lower hackles, and
    appear in the domestic bird at the same time with them: so that the
    only difference is that the lower hackles are replaced more slowly
    in the wild than in the tame bird; but as confinement is known
    sometimes to affect the masculine plumage, this slight difference
    cannot be considered of any importance. It is a significant fact
    that the voice of both the male and female _G. bankiva_ closely
    resembles, as Mr. Blyth and others have noted, the voice of both
    sexes of the common domestic fowl; but the last note of the crow of
    the wild bird is rather less prolonged. Captain Hutton, well known
    for his researches into the natural history of India, informs me
    that he has seen several crossed fowls from the wild species and
    the Chinese bantam; these crossed fowls _bred freely_ with bantams,
    but unfortunately were not crossed _inter se._ Captain Hutton
    reared chickens from the eggs of the _Gallus bankiva_; and these,
    though at first very wild, afterwards became so tame that they
    would crowd round his feet. He did not succeed in rearing them to
    maturity; but as he remarks, “no wild gallinaceous bird thrives
    well at first on hard grain.” Mr. Blyth also found much difficulty
    in keeping _G. bankiva_ in confinement. In the Philippine Islands,
    however, the natives must succeed better, as they keep wild cocks
    to fight with their domestic game-birds.[22] Sir Walter Elliot
    informs me that the hen of a native domestic breed of Pegu is
    undistinguishable from the hen of the wild _G. bankiva_; and the
    natives constantly catch wild cocks by taking tame cocks to fight
    with them in the woods.[23] Mr. Crawfurd remarks that from
    etymology it might be argued that the fowl was first domesticated
    by the Malays and Javanese.[24] It is also a curious fact, of which
    I have been assured by Mr. Blyth, that wild specimens of the _
    Gallus bankiva,_ brought from the countries east of the Bay of
    Bengal, are far more easily tamed than those of India; nor is this
    an unparalleled fact, for, as Humboldt long ago remarked, the same
    species sometimes evinces a more tameable disposition in one
    country than in another. If we suppose that the _G. bankiva_ was
    first tamed in Malaya and afterwards imported into India, we can
    understand an observation made to me by Mr. Blyth, that the
    domestic fowls of India do not resemble the wild _G. bankiva_ of
    India more closely than do those of Europe.

    From the extremely close resemblance in colour, general structure,
    and especially in voice, between _Gallus bankiva_ and the Game
    fowl; from their fertility, as far as this has been ascertained,
    when crossed; from the possibility of the wild species being tamed,
    and from its varying in the wild state, we may confidently look at
    it as the parent of the most typical of all the domestic breeds,
    namely, the Game fowl. It is a significant fact, that almost all
    the naturalists in India, namely Sir W. Elliot, Mr. S. N. Ward, Mr.
    Layard, Mr. J. C. Jerdon, and Mr. Blyth,[25] who are familiar with
    G. bankiva, believe that it is the parent of most or all our
    domestic breeds. But even if it be admitted that G. bankiva is the
    parent of the Game breed, yet it may be urged that other wild
    species have been the parents of the other domestic breeds; and
    that these species still exist, though unknown, in some country, or
    have become extinct. The extinction, however, of several species of
    fowls, is an improbable hypothesis, seeing that the four known
    species have not become extinct in the most ancient and thickly
    peopled regions of the East. There is, in fact, not one other kind
    of domesticated bird, of which the wild parent-form is unknown,
    that is become extinct. For the discovery of new, or the
    rediscovery of old species of Gallus, we must not look, as fanciers
    often look, to the whole world. The larger gallinaceous birds, as
    Mr. Blyth has remarked,[26] generally have a restricted range: we
    see this well illustrated in India, where the genus Gallus inhabits
    the base of the Himalaya, and is succeeded higher up by
    Gallophasis, and still higher up by Phasianus. Australia, with its
    islands, is out of the question as the home for unknown species of
    the genus. It is, also, as improbable that Gallus should inhabit
    South America[27] as that a humming-bird should be found in the Old
    World. From the character of the other gallinaceous birds of
    Africa, it is not probable that Gallus is an African genus. We need
    not look to the western parts of Asia, for Messrs. Blyth and
    Crawfurd, who have attended to this subject, doubt whether Gallus
    ever existed in a wild state even as far west as Persia. Although
    the earliest Greek writers speak of the fowl as a Persian bird,
    this probably merely indicates its line of importation. For the
    discovery of unknown species we must look to India, to the
    Indo-Chinese countries, and to the northern parts of the Malay
    Archipelago. The southern portion of China is the most likely
    country; but as Mr. Blyth informs me, skins have been exported from
    China during a long period, and living birds are largely kept there
    in aviaries, so that any native species of Gallus would probably
    have become known. Mr. Birch, of the British Museum, has translated
    for me passages from a Chinese Encyclopædia published in 1609, but
    compiled from more ancient documents, in which it is said that
    fowls are creatures of the West, and were introduced into the East
    (_i.e._ China) in a dynasty 1400 B.C. Whatever may be thought of so
    ancient a date, we see that the Indo-Chinese and Indian regions
    were formerly considered by the Chinese as the source of the
    domestic fowl. From these several considerations we must look to
    the present metropolis of the genus, namely, to the south-eastern
    parts of Asia, for the discovery of species which were formerly
    domesticated, but are now unknown in the wild state; and the most
    experienced ornithologists do not consider it probable that such
    species will be discovered.

 In considering whether the domestic breeds are descended from one
 species, namely, _G. bankiva,_ or from several, we must not quite
 overlook, though we must not exaggerate, the importance of the test of
 fertility. Most of our domestic breeds have been so often crossed, and
 their mongrels so largely kept, that it is almost certain, if any
 degree of infertility had existed between them, it would have been
 detected. On the other hand, the four known species of Gallus when
 crossed with each other, or when crossed, with the exception of _G.
 bankiva,_ with the domestic fowl, produce infertile hybrids.

 Finally, we have not such good evidence with fowls as with pigeons, of
 all the breeds having descended from a single primitive stock. In both
 cases the argument of fertility must go for something; in both we have
 the improbability of man having succeeded in ancient times in
 thoroughly domesticating several supposed species,—most of these
 supposed species being extremely abnormal as compared with their
 natural allies,—all being now either unknown or extinct, though the
 parent-form of no other domesticated bird has been lost. But in
 searching for the supposed parent-stocks of the various breeds of the
 pigeon, we were enabled to confine our search to species having
 peculiar habits of life; whilst with fowls there is nothing in their
 habits in any marked manner distinct from those of other gallinaceous
 birds. In the case of pigeons, I have shown that purely-bred birds of
 every race and the crossed offspring of distinct races frequently
 resemble, or revert to, the wild rock-pigeon in general colour and in
 each characteristic mark. With fowls we have facts of a similar
 nature, but less strongly pronounced, which we will now discuss.

_Reversion and Analogous Variation._—Purely-bred Game, Malay, Cochin,
Dorking, Bantam, and, as I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier, Silk fowls, may
frequently or occasionally be met with, which are almost identical in
plumage with the wild _G. bankiva._ This is a fact well deserving
attention, when we reflect that these breeds rank amongst the most
distinct. Fowls thus coloured are called by amateurs black-breasted
reds. Hamburghs properly have a very different plumage; nevertheless,
as Mr. Tegetmeier informs me, “the great difficulty in breeding cocks
of the golden-spangled variety is their tendency to have black breasts
and red backs. The males of white Bantams and white Cochins, as they
come to maturity, often assume a yellowish or saffron tinge; and the
longer neck hackles of black Bantam cocks,”[28] when two or three years
old, not uncommonly become ruddy; these latter Bantams occasionally
“even moult brassy-winged, or actually red-shouldered.” So that in
these several cases we see a plain tendency to reversion to the hues of
_G. bankiva,_ even during the lifetime of the individual bird. With
Spanish, Polish, pencilled Hamburgh, silver-spangled Hamburgh fowls,
and with some other less common breeds, I have never heard of a
black-breasted red bird having appeared.

From my experience with pigeons, I made the following crosses. I first
killed all my own poultry, no others living near my house, and then
procured, by Mr. Tegetmeier’s assistance, a first-rate black Spanish
cock, and hens of the following pure breeds,—white Game, white Cochin,
silver-spangled Polish, silver-spangled Hamburgh, silver-pencilled
Hamburgh, and white Silk. In none of these breeds is there a trace of
red, nor when kept pure have I ever heard of the appearance of a red
feather; though such an occurrence would perhaps not be very improbable
with white Games and white Cochins. Of the many chickens reared from
the above six crosses the majority were black, both in the down and in
the first plumage; some were white, and a very few were mottled black
and white. In one lot of eleven mixed eggs from the white Game and
white Cochin by the black Spanish cock, seven of the chickens were
white, and only four black. I mention this fact to show that whiteness
of plumage is strongly inherited, and that the belief in the prepotent
power in the male to transmit his colour is not always correct. The
chickens were hatched in the spring, and in the latter part of August
several of the young cocks began to exhibit a change, which with some
of them increased during the following years. Thus a young male bird
from the silver-spangled Polish hen was in its first plumage
coal-black, and combined in its comb, crest, wattle, and beard, the
characters of both parents; but when two years old the secondary
wing-feathers became largely and symmetrically marked with white, and,
wherever in _G. bankiva_ the hackles are red, they were in this bird
greenish-black along the shaft, narrowly bordered with brownish-black,
and this again broadly bordered with very pale yellowish-brown; so that
in general appearance the plumage had become pale-coloured instead of
black. In this case, with advancing age there was a great change, but
no reversion to the red colour of _G. bankiva._

A cock with a regular rose comb derived either from the spangled or
pencilled silver Hamburgh was likewise at first quite black; but in
less than a year the neck-hackles, as in the last case, became whitish,
whilst those on the loins assumed a decided reddish-yellow tint; and
here we see the first symptom of reversion; this likewise occurred with
some other young cocks, which need not here be described. It has also
been recorded[29] by a breeder, that he crossed two silver-pencilled
Hamburgh hens with a Spanish cock, and reared a number of chickens, all
of which were black, the cocks having _ golden_ and the hens brownish
hackles; so that in this instance likewise there was a clear tendency
to reversion.

Two young cocks from my white Game hen were at first snow white; of
these, one subsequently assumed male orange-coloured hackles, chiefly
on the loins, and the other an abundance of fine orange-red hackles on
the neck, loins, and upper wing-coverts. Here again we have a more
decided, though partial, reversion to the colours of _G. bankiva._ This
second cock was in fact coloured like an inferior “pile Came cock;”—now
this sub-breed can be produced, as I am informed by Mr. Tegetmeier, by
crossing a black-breasted red Game cock with a white Game hen, and the
“pile” sub-breed thus produced can afterwards be truly propagated. So
that we have the curious fact of the glossy-black Spanish cock and the
black-breasted red Game cock when crossed with white Game hens
producing offspring of nearly the same colours.

I reared several birds from the white Silk hen by the Spanish cock: all
were coal-black, and all plainly showed their parentage in having
blackish combs and bones; none inherited the so-called silky feathers,
and the non-inheritance of this character has been observed by others.
The hens never varied in their plumage. As the young cocks grew old,
one of them assumed yellowish-white hackles, and thus resembled in a
considerable degree the cross from the Hamburgh hen; the other became a
gorgeous bird, so much so that an acquaintance had it preserved and
stuffed simply from its beauty. When stalking about it closely
resembled the wild _Gallus bankiva,_ but with the red feathers rather
darker. On close comparison one considerable difference presented
itself, namely, that the primary and secondary wing-feathers were edged
with greenish-black, instead of being edged, as in _G. bankiva,_ with
fulvous and red tints. The space, also, across the back, which bears
dark-green feathers, was broader, and the comb was blackish. In all
other respects, even in trifling details of plumage, there was the
closest accordance. Altogether it was a marvellous sight to compare
this bird first with _G. bankiva,_ and then with its father, the glossy
green-black Spanish cock, and with its diminutive mother, the white
Silk hen. This case of reversion is the more extraordinary as the
Spanish breed has long been known to breed true, and no instance is on
record of its throwing a single red feather. The Silk hen likewise
breeds true, and is believed to be ancient, for Aldrovandi, before
1600, alludes probably to this breed, and described it as covered with
wool. It is so peculiar in many characters that some writers have
considered it as specifically distinct; yet, as we now see, when
crossed with the Spanish fowl, it yields offspring closely resembling
the wild _G. bankiva._

Mr. Tegetmeier has been so kind as to repeat, at my request, the cross
between a Spanish cock and Silk hen, and he obtained similar results;
for he thus raised, besides a black hen, seven cocks, all of which were
dark-bodied with more or less orange-red hackles. In the ensuing year
he paired the black hen with one of her brothers, and raised three
young cocks, all coloured like their father, and a black hen mottled
with white.

The hens from the six above-described crosses showed hardly any
tendency to revert to the mottled-brown plumage of the female _G.
bankiva_: one hen, however, from the white Cochin, which was at first
coal-black, became slightly brown or sooty. Several hens, which were
for a long time snow-white, acquired as they grew old a few black
feathers. A hen from the white Game, which was for a long time entirely
black glossed with green, when two years old had some of the primary
wing feathers greyish-white, and a multitude of feathers over her body
narrowly and symmetrically tipped or laced with white. I had expected
that some of the chickens whilst covered with down would have assumed
the longitudinal stripes so general with gallinaceous birds; but this
did not occur in a single instance. Two or three alone were
reddish-brown about their heads. I was unfortunate in losing nearly all
the white chickens from the first crosses; so that black prevailed with
the grandchildren; but they were much diversified in colour, some being
sooty, others mottled, and one blackish chicken had its feathers oddly
tipped and barred with brown.

I will here add a few miscellaneous facts connected with reversion, and
with the law of analogous variation. This law implies, as stated in a
previous chapter, that the varieties of one species frequently mock
distinct but allied species; and this fact is explained, according to
the views which I maintain, on the principle of allied species having
descended from one primitive form. The white Silk fowl with black skin
and bones degenerates, as has been observed by Mr. Hewitt and Mr. R.
Orton, in our climate; that is, it reverts to the ordinary colour of
the common fowl in its skin and bones, due care having been taken to
prevent any cross. In Germany[30] a distinct breed with black bones,
and with black, not silky plumage, has likewise been observed to

Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that, when distinct breeds are crossed, fowls
are frequently produced with their feathers marked or pencilled by
narrow transverse lines of a darker colour. This may be in part
explained by direct reversion to the parent-form, the Bankiva hen; for
this bird has all its upper plumage finely mottled with dark and rufous
brown, with the mottling partially and obscurely arranged in transverse
lines. But the tendency to pencilling is probably much strengthened by
the law of analogous variation, for the hens of some other species of
Gallus are more plainly pencilled, and the hens of many gallinaceous
birds belonging to other genera, as the partridge, have pencilled
feathers. Mr. Tegetmeier has also remarked to me that, although with
domestic pigeons we have so great a diversity of colouring, we never
see either pencilled or spangled feathers; and this fact is
intelligible on the law of analogous variation, as neither the wild
rock pigeon nor any closely allied species has such feathers. The
frequent appearance of pencilling in crossed birds probably accounts
for the existence of “cuckoo” sub-breeds in the Game, Polish, Dorking,
Cochin, Andalusian, and Bantam breeds. The plumage of these birds is
slaty-blue or grey, with each feather transversely barred with darker
lines, so as to resemble in some degree the plumage of the cuckoo. It
is a singular fact, considering that the male of no species of Gallus
is in the least barred, that the cuckoo-like plumage has often been
transferred to the male, more especially in the cuckoo Dorking; and the
fact is all the more singular, as in gold- and silver-pencilled
Hamburghs, in which pencilling is characteristic of the breed, the male
is hardly at all pencilled, this kind of plumage being confined to the

Another case of analogous variation is the occurrence of spangled
sub-breeds of Hamburgh, Polish, Malay, and Bantam fowls. Spangled
feathers have a dark mark, properly crescent-shaped, on their tips;
whilst pencilled feathers have several transverse bars. The spangling
cannot be due to reversion to _G. bankiva_; nor does it often follow,
as I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier, from crossing distinct breeds; but it is
a case of analogous variation, for many gallinaceous birds have
spangled feathers,—for instance, the common pheasant. Hence spangled
breeds are often called “pheasant”-fowls. Another case of analogous
variation in several domestic breeds is inexplicable; it is, that the
chickens, whilst covered with down, of the black Spanish, black Game,
black Polish, and black Bantam, all have white throats and breasts, and
often have some white on their wings.[31] The editor of the ‘Poultry
Chronicle’[32] remarks that all the breeds which properly have red
ear-lappets occasionally produce birds with white ear-Tappets. This
remark more especially applies to the Game breed, which of all comes
nearest to the _G. bankiva_; and we have seen that with this species
living in a state of nature, the ear-lappets vary in colour, being red
in the Malayan countries, and generally, but not invariably, white in

In concluding this part of my subject, I may repeat that there exists
one widely-ranging, varying, and common species of Gallus, namely, _G.
bankiva,_ which can be tamed, produces fertile offspring when crossed
with common fowls, and closely resembles in its whole structure,
plumage, and voice the Game breed; hence it may be safely ranked as the
parent of this, the most typical domesticated breed. We have seen that
there is much difficulty in believing that other, now unknown, species
have been the parents of the other domestic breeds. We know that all
the breeds are most closely allied, as shown by their similarity in
most points of structure and in habits, and by the analogous manner in
which they vary. We have also seen that several of the most distinct
breeds occasionally or habitually closely resemble in plumage _G.
bankiva,_ and that the crossed offspring of other breeds, which are not
thus coloured, show a stronger or weaker tendency to revert to this
same plumage. Some of the breeds, which appear the most distinct and
the least likely to have proceeded from _G. bankiva,_ such as Polish
fowls, with their protuberant and little ossified skulls, and Cochins,
with their imperfect tail and small wings, bear in these characters the
plain marks of their artificial origin. We know well that of late years
methodical selection has greatly improved and fixed many characters;
and we have every reason to believe that unconscious selection, carried
on for many generations, will have steadily augmented each new
peculiarity, and thus have given rise to new breeds. As soon as two or
three breeds were once formed, crossing would come into play in
changing their character and in increasing their number. Brahma
Pootras, according to an account lately published in America, offer a
good instance of a breed, lately formed by a cross, which can be truly
propagated. The well-known Sebright Bantams offer another and similar
instance. Hence it may be concluded that not only the Game-breed but
that all our breeds are probably the descendants of the Malayan or
Indian variety of _G. bankiva._ If so, this species has varied greatly
since it was first domesticated; but there has been ample time, as we
shall now show.

_History of the Fowl._—Rütimeyer found no remains of the fowl in the
ancient Swiss lake-dwellings; but, according to Jeitteles,[33] such
have certainly since been found associated with extinct animals and
prehistoric remains. It is, therefore a strange fact that the fowl is
not mentioned in the Old Testament, nor figured on the ancient Egyptian
monuments. It is not referred to by Homer or Hesiod (about 900 B.C.);
but is mentioned by Theognis and Aristophanes between 400 and 500 B.C.
It is figured on some of the Babylonian cylinders, between the sixth
and seventh centuries B.C., of which Mr. Layard sent me an impression;
and on the Harpy Tomb in Lycia, about 600 B.C.: so that the fowl
apparently reached Europe in a domesticated condition somewhere about
the sixth century B.C. It had travelled still farther westward by the
time of the Christian era, for it was found in Britain by Julius Cæsar.
In India it must have been domesticated when the Institutes of Manu
were written, that is, according to Sir W. Jones, 1200 B.C., but,
according to the later authority of Mr. H. Wilson, only 800 B.C., for
the domestic fowl is forbidden, whilst the wild is permitted to be
eaten. If, as before remarked, we may trust the old Chinese
Encyclopædia, the fowl must have been domesticated several centuries
earlier, as it is said to have been introduced from the West into China
1400 B.C.

Sufficient materials do not exist for tracing the history of the
separate breeds. About the commencement of the Christian era, Columella
mentions a five-toed fighting breed, and some provincial breeds; but we
know nothing about them. He also alludes to dwarf fowls; but these
cannot have been the same with our Bantams, which, as Mr. Crawfurd has
shown, were imported from Japan into Bantam in Java. A dwarf fowl,
probably the true Bantam, is referred to in an old Japanese
Encyclopædia, as I am informed by Mr. Birch. In the Chinese
Encyclopædia published in 1596, but compiled from various sources, some
of high antiquity, seven breeds are mentioned, including what we should
now call Jumpers or Creepers, and likewise fowls with black feathers,
bones, and flesh. In 1600 Aldrovandi describes seven or eight breeds of
fowls, and this is the most ancient record from which the age of our
European breeds can be inferred. The _Gallus turcicus_ certainly seems
to be a pencilled Hamburgh; but Mr. Brent, a most capable judge, thinks
that Aldrovandi “evidently figured what he happened to see, and not the
best of the breed.” Mr. Brent, indeed, considers all Aldrovandi’s fowls
as of impure breed; but it is a far more probable view that all our
breeds have been much improved and modified since his time; for, as he
went to the expense of so many figures, he probably would have secured
characteristic specimens. The Silk fowl, however, probably then existed
in its present state, as did almost certainly the fowl with frizzled or
reversed feathers. Mr. Dixon[34] considers Aldrovandi’s Paduan fowl as
“a variety of the Polish,” whereas Mr. Brent believes it to have been
more nearly allied to the Malay. The anatomical peculiarities of the
skull of the Polish breed were noticed by P. Borelli in 1656. I may add
that in 1737 one Polish sub-breed, viz., the Golden-spangled, was
known; but judging from Albin’s description, the comb was then larger,
the crest of feathers much smaller, the breast more coarsely spotted,
and the stomach and thighs much blacker: a Golden-spangled Polish fowl
in this condition would now be of no value.

_Differences in External and Internal Structure between the Breeds:
Individual Variability._—Fowls have been exposed to diversified
conditions of life, and as we have just seen there has been ample time
for much variability and for the slow action of unconscious selection.
As there are good grounds for believing that all the breeds are
descended from Gallus bankiva, it will be worth while to describe in
some detail the chief points of difference. Beginning with the eggs and
chickens, I will pass on to their secondary sexual characters, and then
to their differences in external structure and in the skeleton. I enter
on the following details chiefly to show how variable almost every
character has become under domestication.

_Eggs._—Mr. Dixon remarks[35] that “to every hen belongs an individual
peculiarity in the form, colour, and size of her egg, which never
changes during her life-time, so long as she remains in health, and
which is as well known to those who are in the habit of taking her
produce, as the hand-writing of their nearest acquaintance.” I believe
that this is generally true, and that, if no great number of hens be
kept, the eggs of each can almost always be recognised. The eggs of
differently sized breeds naturally differ much in size; but apparently,
not always in strict relation to the size of the hen: thus the Malay is
a larger bird than the Spanish, but  she produces not such large eggs;
white Bantams are said to lay smaller eggs than other Bantams;[36]
white Cochins, on the other hand, as I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier,
certainly lay larger eggs than buff Cochins. The eggs, however, of the
different breeds vary considerably in character; for instance, Mr.
Ballance states[37] that his Malay “pullets of last year laid eggs
equal in size to those of any duck, and other Malay hens, two or three
years old, laid eggs very little larger than a good sized Bantam’s egg.
Some were as white as a Spanish hen’s egg, and others varied from a
light cream-colour to a deep rich buff, or even to a brown.” The shape
also varies, the two ends being much more equally rounded in Cochins
than in Games or Polish. Spanish fowls lay smoother eggs than Cochins,
of which the eggs are generally granulated. The shell in this latter
breed, and more especially in Malays is apt to be thicker than in Games
or Spanish; but the Minorcas, a sub-breed of Spanish, are said to lay
harder eggs than true Spanish.[38] The colour differs considerably,—the
Cochins laying buff-coloured eggs; the Malays a paler variable buff;
and Games a still paler buff. It would appear that darker-coloured eggs
characterise the breeds which have lately come from the East, or are
still closely allied to those now living there. The colour of the yolk,
according to Ferguson, as well as of the shell, differs slightly in the
sub-breeds of the Game. I am also informed by Mr. Brent that dark
partridge-coloured Cochin hens lay darker coloured eggs than the other
Cochin sub-breeds. The flavour and richness of the egg certainly differ
in different breeds. The productiveness of the several breeds is very
different. Spanish, Polish, and Hamburgh hens have lost the incubating

_Chickens._—As the young of almost all gallinaceous birds, even of the
black curassow and black grouse, whilst covered with down, are
longitudinally striped on the back,—of which character, when adult,
neither sex retains a trace,—it might have been expected that the
chickens of all our domestic fowls would have been similarly
striped.[39] This could, however, hardly have been expected, when the
adult plumage in both sexes has undergone so great a change as to be
wholly white or black. In white fowls of various breeds the chickens
are uniformly yellowish white, passing in the black-boned Silk fowl
into bright canary-yellow. This is also generally the case with the
chickens of white Cochins, but I hear from Mr. Zurhost that they are
sometimes of a buff or oak colour, and that all those of this latter
colour, which were watched, turned out males. The chickens of buff
Cochins are of a golden-yellow, easily distinguishable from the paler
tint of the white Cochins, and are often longitudinally streaked with
dark shades: the chickens of silver-cinnamon Cochins are almost always
of a buff colour. The chickens of the white Game and white Dorking
breeds, when held in particular lights, sometimes exhibit (on the
authority of Mr. Brent) faint traces of longitudinal stripes. Fowls
which are entirely black, namely, Spanish, black Game, black Polish,
and black Bantams, display a new character, for their chickens have
their breasts and throats more or less white, with sometimes a little
white elsewhere. Spanish chickens also, occasionally (Brent), have,
where the down was white, their first true feathers tipped for a time
with white. The primordially striped character is retained by the
chickens of most of the Game sub-breeds (Brent, Dixon); by Dorkings; by
the partridge and grouse-coloured sub-breeds of Cochins (Brent), but
not, as we have seen, by the sub-breeds; by the pheasant-Malay (Dixon),
but apparently not (at which I am much surprised) by other Malays. The
following breeds and sub-breeds are barely, or not at all,
longitudinally striped: viz., gold and silver pencilled Hamburghs,
which can hardly be distinguished from each other (Brent) in the down,
both having a few dark spots on the head and rump, with occasionally a
longitudinal stripe (Dixon) on the back of the neck. I have seen only
one chicken of the silver-spangled Hamburgh, and this was obscurely
striped along the back. Gold-spangled Polish chickens (Tegetmeier) are
of a warm russet brown; and silver-spangled Polish chickens are grey,
sometimes (Dixon) with dashes of ochre on the head, wings, and breast.
Cuckoo and blue-dun fowls (Dixon) are grey in the down. The chickens of
Sebright Bantams (Dixon) are uniformly dark brown, whilst those of the
brown-breasted red Game Bantam are black, with some white on the throat
and breast. From these facts we see that young chickens of the
different breeds, and even of the same main breed, differ much in their
downy plumage; and, although longitudinal stripes characterise the
young of all wild gallinaceous birds, they disappear in several
domestic breeds. Perhaps it may be accepted as a general rule that the
more the adult plumage differs from that of the adult _G. bankiva,_ the
more completely the chickens have lost their stripes.

With respect to the period of life at which the characters proper to
each breed first appear, it is obvious that such structures as
additional toes must be formed long before birth. In Polish fowls, the
extraordinary protuberance of the anterior part of the skull is well
developed before the chickens come out of the egg;[40] but the crest,
which is supported on the protuberance, is at first feebly developed,
nor does it attain its full size until the second year. The Spanish
cock is pre-eminent for his magnificent comb, and this is developed at
an unusually early age; so that the young males can be distinguished
from the females when only a few weeks old, and therefore earlier than
in other breeds; they likewise crow very early, namely, when about six
weeks old. In the Dutch sub-breed of the Spanish fowl the white
ear-lappets are developed earlier than in the common Spanish breed.[41]
Cochins are characterised by a small tail, and in the young cocks the
tail is developed at an unusually late period.[42] Game fowls are
notorious for their pugnacity; and the young cocks crow, clap their
little wings, and fight obstinately with each other, even whilst under
their mother’s care.[43] “I have often had,” says one author,[44]
“whole broods, scarcely feathered, stone-blind from fighting; the rival
couples moping in corners, and renewing their battles on obtaining the
first ray of light.” The weapons and pugnacity of all male gallinaceous
birds evidently serve the purpose of gaining possession of the females;
so that the tendency in our Game chickens to fight at an extremely
early age is not only useless, but injurious, as they suffer much from
their wounds. The training for battle during an early age may be
natural to the wild Gallus bankiva; but as man during many generations
has gone on selecting the most obstinately pugnacious cocks, it is more
probable that their pugnacity has been unnaturally increased, and
unnaturally transferred to the young male chickens. In the same manner,
it is probable that the extraordinary development of the comb in the
Spanish cock has been unintentionally transferred to the young cocks;
for fanciers would not care whether their young birds had large combs,
but would select for breeding the adults which had the finest combs,
whether or not developed at an early period. The last point which need
here be noticed is that, though the chickens of Spanish and Malay fowls
are well covered with down, the true feathers are acquired at an
unusually late age; so that for a time the young birds are partially
naked, and are liable to suffer from cold.

_Secondary Sexual Characters._—The two sexes in the parent-form, the
_Gallus bankiva,_ differ much in colour. In our domestic breeds the
difference is never greater, but is often less, and varies much in
degree even in the sub-breeds of the same main breed. Thus in certain
Game fowls the difference is as great as in the parent-form, whilst in
the black and white sub-breeds there is no difference in plumage. Mr.
Brent informs me that he has seen two strains of black-breasted red
Games, of which the cocks could not be distinguished, whilst the hens
in one were partridge-brown and in the other fawn-brown. A similar case
has been observed in the strains of the brown-breasted red Game. The
hen of the “duck-winged Game” is “extremely beautiful,” and differs
much from the hens of all the other Game sub-breeds; but generally, as
with the blue and grey Game and with some sub-varieties of the
pile-game, a moderately close relation may be observed between the
males and females in the variation of their plumage.[45] A similar
relation is also evident when we compare the several varieties of
Cochins. In the two sexes of gold and silver-spangled and of buff
Polish fowls, there is much general similarity in the colouring and
marks of the whole plumage, excepting of course in the hackles, crest,
and beard. In spangled Hamburghs, there is likewise a considerable
degree of similarity between the two sexes. In pencilled Hamburghs, on
the other hand, there is much dissimilarity; the pencilling which is
characteristic of the hens being almost absent in the males of both the
golden and silver varieties. But, as we have already seen, it cannot be
given as a general rule that male fowls never have pencilled feathers,
for Cuckoo Dorkings are “remarkable from having nearly similar markings
in both sexes.”

It is a singular fact that the males in certain sub-breeds have lost
some of their secondary masculine characters, and from their close
resemblance in plumage to the females, are often called hennies. There
is much diversity of opinion whether these males are in any degree
sterile; that they sometimes are partially sterile seems clear,[46] but
this may have been caused by too close interbreeding. That they are not
quite sterile, and that the whole case is widely different from that of
old females assuming masculine characters, is evident from several of
these hen-like sub-breeds having been long propagated. The males and
females of gold and silver-laced Sebright Bantams can be barely
distinguished from each other, except by their combs, wattles, and
spurs, for they are coloured alike, and the males have not hackles, nor
the flowing sickle-like tail-feathers. A hen-tailed sub-breed of
Hamburghs was recently much esteemed. There is also a breed of
Game-fowls, in which the males and females resemble each other so
closely that the cocks have often mistaken their hen-feathered
opponents in the cock-pit for real hens, and by the mistake have lost
their lives.[47] The cocks, though dressed in the feathers of the hen,
“are high-spirited birds, and their courage has been often proved:” an
engraving even has been published of one celebrated hen-tailed victor.
Mr. Tegetmeier[48] has recorded the remarkable case of a brown-breasted
red Game cock which, after assuming its perfect masculine plumage,
became hen-feathered in the autumn of the following year; but he did
not lose voice, spurs, strength, nor productiveness. This bird has now
retained the same character during five seasons, and has begot both
hen-feathered and male-feathered offspring. Mr. Grantley F. Berkeley
relates the still more singular case of a celebrated strain of “polecat
Game fowls,” which produced in nearly every brood a single hen-cock.
“The great peculiarity in one of these birds was that he, as the
seasons succeeded each other, was not always a hen-cock, and not always
of the colour called the polecat, which is black. From the polecat and
hen-cock feather in one season he moulted to a full male-plumaged
black-breasted red, and in the following year he returned to the former

I have remarked in my ‘Origin of Species’ that secondary sexual
characters are apt to differ much in the species of the same genus, and
to be unusually variable in the individuals of the same species. So it
is with the breeds of the fowl, as we have already seen, as far as the
colour of plumage is concerned, and so it is with the other secondary
sexual characters. Firstly, the comb differs much in the various
breeds,[50] and its form is eminently characteristic of each kind, with
the exception of the Dorkings, in which the form has not been as yet
determined on by fanciers, and fixed by selection. A single,
deeply-serrated comb is the typical and most common form. It differs
much in size, being immensely developed in Spanish fowls; and in a
local breed called Red-caps, it is sometimes “upwards of three inches
in breadth at the front, and more than four inches in length, measured
to the end of the peak behind.”[51] In some breeds the comb is double,
and when the two ends are cemented together it forms a “cup-comb;” in
the “rose-comb” it is depressed, covered with small projections, and
produced backwards; in the horned and creve-coeur fowl it is produced
into two horns; it is triple in the pea-combed Brahmas, short and
truncated in the Malays, and absent in the Guelderlands. In the
tasselled Game a few long feathers rise from the back of the comb: in
many breeds a crest of feathers replaces the comb. The crest, when
little developed, arises from a fleshy mass, but, when much developed,
from a hemispherical protuberance of the skull. In the best Polish
fowls it is so largely developed, that I have seen birds which could
hardly pick up their food; and a German writer asserts[52] that they
are in consequence liable to be struck by hawks. Monstrous structures
of this kind would thus be suppressed in a state of nature. The
wattles, also, vary much in size, being small in Malays and some other
breeds; in certain Polish sub-breeds they are replaced by a great tuft
of feathers called a beard.

The hackles do not differ much in the various breeds, but are short and
stiff in Malays, and absent in Hennies. As in some orders male birds
display extraordinarily-shaped feathers, such as naked shafts with
discs at the end, etc., the following case may be worth giving. In the
wild _Gallus bankiva_ and in our domestic fowls, the barbs which arise
from each side of the extremities of the hackles are naked or not
clothed with barbules, so that they resemble bristles; but Mr. Brent
sent me some scapular hackles from a young Birchen Duckwing Game cock,
in which the naked barbs became densely re-clothed with barbules
towards their tips; so that these tips, which were dark coloured with a
metallic lustre, were separated from the lower parts by a
symmetrically-shaped transparent zone formed of the naked portions of
the barbs. Hence the coloured tips appeared like little separate
metallic discs.

The sickle-feathers in the tail, of which there are three pair, and
which are eminently characteristic of the male sex, differ much in the
various breeds. They are scimitar-shaped in some Hamburghs, instead of
being long and flowing as in the typical breeds. They are extremely
short in Cochins, and are not at all developed in Hennies. They are
carried, together with the whole tail, erect in Dorkings and Gaines;
but droop much in Malays and in some Cochins. Sultans are characterised
by an additional number of lateral sickle-feathers. The spurs vary
much, being placed higher or lower on the shank; being extremely long
and sharp in Games, and blunt and short in Cochins. These latter birds
seem aware that their spurs are not efficient weapons; for though they
occasionally use them, they more frequently fight, as I am informed by
Mr. Tegetmeier, by seizing and shaking each other with their beaks. In
some Indian Game cocks, received by Mr. Brent from Germany, there are,
as he informs me, three, four, or even five spurs on each leg. Some
Dorkings also have two spurs on each leg;[53] and in birds of this
breed the spur is often placed almost on the outside of the leg. Double
spurs are mentioned in an ancient Chinese Encyclopædia. Their
occurrence may be considered as a case of analogous variation, for some
wild gallinaceous birds, for instance, the Polyplectron, have double

Judging from the differences which generally distinguish the sexes in
the Gallinaceæ, certain characters in our domestic fowls appear to have
been transferred from the one sex to the other. In all the species
(except in Turnix), when there is any conspicuous difference in plumage
between the male and female, the male is always the most beautiful; but
in golden-spangled Hamburghs the hen is equally beautiful with the
cock, and incomparably more beautiful than the hen in any natural
species of Gallus; so that here a masculine character has been
transferred to the female. On the other hand, in Cuckoo Dorkings and in
other cuckoo breeds the pencilling, which in Gallus is a female
attribute, has been transferred to the male: nor, on the principle of
analogous variation, is this transference surprising, as the males in
many gallinaceous genera are barred or pencilled. With most of these
birds head ornaments of all kinds are more fully developed in the male
than in the female; but in Polish fowls the crest or top-knot, which in
the male replaces the comb, is equally developed in both sexes. In the
males of certain other sub-breeds, which from the hen having a small
crest, are called lark-crested, “a single upright comb sometimes almost
entirely takes the place of the crest.”[54] From this latter case, and
more especially from some facts presently to be given with respect to
the protuberance of the skull in Polish fowls, the crest in this breed
must be viewed as a feminine character which has been transferred to
the male. In the Spanish breed the male, as we know, has an immense
comb, and this has been partially transferred to the female, for her
comb is unusually large, though not upright. In Game fowls the bold and
savage disposition of the male has likewise been largely transferred to
the female;[55] and she sometimes even possesses the eminently
masculine character of spurs. Many cases are on record of fertile hens
being furnished with spurs; and in Germany, according to Bechstein,[56]
the spurs in the Silk hen are sometimes very long. He mentions also
another breed similarly characterised, in which the hens are excellent
layers, but are apt to disturb and break their eggs owing to their

Mr. Layard[57] has given an account of a breed of fowls in Ceylon with
black skin, bones, and wattle, but with ordinary feathers, and which
cannot “be more aptly described than by comparing them to a white fowl
drawn down a sooty chimney; it is, however,” adds Mr. Layard, “a
remarkable fact that a male bird of the pure sooty variety is almost as
rare as a tortoise-shell tom-cat.” Mr. Blyth found the same rule to
hold good with this breed near Calcutta. The males and females, on the
other hand, of the black-boned European breed, with silky feathers, do
not differ from each other; so that in the one breed, black skin and
bones and the same kind of plumage are common to both sexes, whilst in
the other breed, these characters are confined to the female sex.

At the present day all the breeds of Polish fowls have the great bony
protuberance on their skulls, which includes part of the brain and
supports the crest, equally developed in both sexes. But formerly in
Germany the skull of the hen alone was protuberant: Blumenbach,[58] who
particularly attended to abnormal peculiarities in domestic animals,
states, in 1805, that this was the case; and Bechstein had previously,
in 1793 observed the same fact. This latter author has carefully
described the effects on the skull of a crest not only in the case of
fowls, but of ducks, geese, and canaries. He states that with fowls,
when the crest is not much developed, it is supported on a fatty mass;
but when much developed, it is always supported on a bony protuberance
of variable size. He well describes the peculiarities of this
protuberance; he attended also to the effects of the modified shape of
the brain on the intellect of these birds, and disputes Pallas’
statement that they are stupid. He then expressly remarks that he never
observed this protuberance in male fowls. Hence there can be no doubt
that this extraordinary character in the skulls of Polish fowls was
formerly in Germany confined to the female sex, but has now been
transferred to the males, and has thus become common to both sexes.

     _External Differences, not connected with the Sexes, between the
     Breeds and between individual Birds._

The size of the body differs greatly. Mr. Tegetmeier has known a Brahma
to weigh 17 pounds; a fine Malay cock 10 pounds; whilst a first-rate
Sebright Bantam weighs hardly more than 1 pound. During the last 20
years the size of some of our breeds has been largely increased by
methodical selection, whilst that of other breeds has been much
diminished. We have already seen how greatly colour varies even within
the same breed; we know that the wild _G. bankiva_ varies slightly in
colour; we know that colour is variable in all our domestic animals;
nevertheless some eminent fanciers have so little faith in variability,
that they have actually argued that the chief Game sub-breeds, which
differ from each other in nothing but colour, are descended from
distinct wild species! Crossing often causes strange modification of
colour. Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that when buff and white Cochins are
crossed, some of the chickens are almost invariably black. According to
Mr. Brent, black and white Cochins occasionally produce chickens of a
slaty-blue tint; and this same tint results, as Mr. Tegetmeier tells
me, from crossing white Cochins with black Spanish fowls, or white
Dorkings with black Minorcas.[59] A good observer[60] states that a
first-rate silver-spangled Hamburgh hen gradually lost the most
characteristic qualities of the breed, for the black lacing to her
feathers disappeared, and her legs changed from leaden-blue to white:
but what makes the case remarkable is, that this tendency ran in the
blood for her sister changed in a similar but less strongly marked
manner; and chickens produced from this latter hen were at first almost
pure white, “but on moulting acquired black colours and some spangled
feathers with almost obliterated markings;” so that a new variety arose
in this singular manner. The skin in the different breeds differs much
in colour, being white in common kinds, yellow in Malays and Cochins,
and black in Silk fowls; thus mocking, as M. Godron[61] remarks the
three principal types of skin in mankind. The same author adds that, as
different kinds of fowls living in distant and isolated parts of the
world have black skin and bones, this colour must have appeared at
various times and places.

The shape and carriage of the body, and the shape of the head differ
much. The beak varies slightly in length and curvature, but
incomparably less than with pigeons. In most crested fowls the nostrils
offer a remarkable peculiarity in being raised with a crescentic
outline. The primary wing-feathers are short in Cochins; in a male,
which must have been more than twice as heavy as _G. bankiva,_ these
feathers were in both birds of the same length. I have counted, with
Mr. Tegetmeier’s aid, the primary wing-feathers in thirteen cocks and
hens of various breeds; in four of them, namely in two Hamburghs, a
Cochin, and Game bantam, there were 10, instead of the normal number 9;
but in counting these feathers I have followed the practice of
fanciers, and have _not_ included the first minute primary feather,
barely three-quarters of an inch in length. These feathers differ
considerably in relative length, the fourth, or the fifth, or the
sixth, being the longest; with the third either equal to, or
considerably shorter than the fifth. In wild gallinaceous species the
relative length and number of the main wing and tail-feathers are
extremely constant.

The tail differs much in erectness and size, being small in Malays and
very small in Cochins. In thirteen fowls of various breeds which I have
examined, five had the normal number of 14 feathers, including in this
number the two middle sickle-feathers; six others (viz., a Caffre cock,
Gold-spangled Polish cock, Cochin hen, Sultan hen, Game hen and Malay
hen had 16; and two (an old Cochin cock and Malay hen) had 17 feathers.
The rumpless fowl has no tail and in one which I possessed there was no
oil-gland; but this bird though the os coccygis was extremely
imperfect, had a vestige of a tail with two rather long feathers in the
position of the outer caudals. This bird came from a family where, as I
was told, the breed had kept true for twenty years; but rumpless fowls
often produce chickens with tails.[62] An eminent physiologist[63] has
recently spoken of this breed as a distinct species; had he examined
the deformed state of the os coccyx he would never have come to this
conclusion; he was probably misled by the statement, which may be found
in some works, that tailless fowls are wild in Ceylon; but this
statement, as I have been assured by Mr. Layard and Dr. Kellaert who
have so closely studied the birds of Ceylon, is utterly false.

The tarsi vary considerably in length, being relatively to the femur
considerably longer in the Spanish and Frizzled, and shorter in the
Silk and Bantam breeds, than in the wild _G. bankiva_; but in the
latter, as we have seen, the tarsi vary in length. The tarsi are often
feathered. The feet in many breeds are furnished with additional toes.
Golden-spangled Polish fowls are said[64] to have the skin between
their toes much developed: Mr. Tegetmeier observed this in one bird,
but it was not so in one which I examined. Prof. Hoffmann has sent me a
sketch of the feet of a fowl of the common breed at Giessen, with a web
extending between the three toes, for about a third of their length. In
Cochins the middle toe is said[65] to be nearly double the length of
the lateral toes, and therefore much longer than in _G. bankiva_ or in
other fowls; but this was not the case in two which I examined. The
nail of the middle toe in this same breed is surprisingly broad and
flat, but in a variable degree in two birds which I examined; of this
structure in the nail there is only a trace in _G. bankiva._

The voice differs slightly, as I am informed by Mr. Dixon, in almost
every breed. The Malays[66] have a loud, deep, somewhat prolonged crow,
but with considerable individual difference. Colonel Sykes remarks that
the domestic Kulm cock in India has not the shrill clear pipe of the
English bird, and “his scale of notes appears more limited.” Dr. Hooker
was struck with the “prolonged howling screech” of the cocks in
Sikhim.[67] The crow of the Cochin is notoriously and ludicrously
different from that of the common cock. The disposition of the
different breeds is widely different, varying from the savage and
defiant temper of the Game-cock to the extremely peaceable temper of
the Cochins. The latter, it has been asserted, “graze to a much greater
extent than any other varieties.” The Spanish fowls suffer more from
frost than other breeds.

Before we pass on to the skeleton, the degree of distinctness of the
several breeds from _G. bankiva_ ought to be noticed. Some writers
speak of the Spanish as one of the most distinct breeds, and so it is
in general aspect; but its characteristic differences are not
important. The Malay appears to me more distinct, from its tall
stature, small drooping tail with more than fourteen tail-feathers, and
from its small comb and wattles; nevertheless, one Malay sub-breed is
coloured almost exactly like _G. bankiva._ Some authors consider the
Polish fowl as very distinct; but this is a semi-monstrous breed, as
shown by the protuberant and irregularly perforated skull. The Cochin,
from its deeply furrowed frontal bones, peculiarly shaped occipital
foramen, short wing-feathers, short tail containing more than fourteen
feathers, broad nail to the middle toe, fluffy plumage, rough and
dark-coloured eggs, and especially from its peculiar voice, is probably
the most distinct of all the breeds. If any one of our breeds has
descended from some unknown species, distinct from _G. bankiva,_ it is
probably the Cochin; but the balance of evidence does not favour this
view. All the characteristic differences of the Cochin breed are more
or less variable, and may be detected in a greater or lesser degree in
other breeds. One sub-breed is coloured closely like _G. bankiva._ The
feathered legs, often furnished with an additional toe, the wings
incapable of flight, the extremely quiet disposition, indicate a long
course of domestication; and these fowls come from China, where we know
that plants and animals have been tended from a remote period with
extraordinary care, and where consequently we might expect to find
profoundly modified domestic races.

_Osteological Differences._—I have examined twenty-seven skeletons and
fifty-three skulls of various breeds, including three of _G. bankiva_:
nearly half of these skulls I owe to the kindness of Mr. Tegetmeier,
and three of the skeletons to Mr. Eyton.

Illustration: Fig. 33—Occipital Foramen of the Skulls of Fowls

The _Skull_ differs greatly in size in different breeds, being nearly
twice as long in the largest Cochins, but not nearly twice as broad, as
in Bantams. The bones at the base, from the occipital foramen to the
anterior end (including the quadrates and pterygoids), are absolutely
identical in _ shape_ in all the skulls. So is the lower jaw. In the
forehead slight differences are often perceptible between the males and
females, evidently caused by the presence of the comb. In every case I
take the skull of _G. bankiva_ as the standard of comparison. In four
Games, in one Malay hen, in an African cock, in a Frizzled cock from
Madras, in two black-boned Silk hens, no differences worth notice
occur. In three _Spanish_ cocks, the form of the forehead between the
orbits differs considerably; in one it is considerably depressed,
whilst in the two others it is rather prominent, with a deep medial
furrow; the skull of the hen is smooth. In three skulls of _Sebright
Bantams_ the crown is more globular, and slopes more abruptly to the
occiput, than in _ G. bankiva._ In a Bantam or Jumper from Burmah these
same characters are more strongly pronounced, and the supra-occiput is
more pointed. In a black Bantam the skull is not so globular, and the
occipital foramen is very large, and has nearly the same sub-triangular
outline presently to be described in Cochins; and in this skull the two
ascending branches of the premaxillary are overlapped in a singular
manner by the processes of the nasal bone, but, as I have seen only one
specimen, some of these differences may be individual. Of Cochins and
Brahmas (the latter a crossed race approaching closely to Cochins) I
have examined seven skulls; at the point where the ascending branches
of the premaxillary rest on the frontal bone the surface is much
depressed, and from this depression a deep medial furrow extends
backwards to a variable distance; the edges of this fissure are rather
prominent, as is the top of the skull behind and over the orbits. These
characters are less developed in the hens. The pterygoids, and the
processes of the lower jaw, are broader, relatively to the size of the
head, than in _G. bankiva_; and this is likewise the case with Dorkings
when of large size. The fork of the hyoid bone in Cochins is twice as
wide as in _G. bankiva,_ whereas the length of the other hyoid bones is
only as three to two. But the most remarkable character is the shape of
the occipital foramen: in _G. bankiva_ (A) the breadth in a horizontal
line exceeds the height in a vertical line, and the outline is nearly
circular; whereas in Cochins (B) the outline is sub-triangular, and the
vertical line exceeds the horizontal line in length. This same form
likewise occurs in the black Bantam above referred to, and an approach
to it may be seen in some Dorkings, and in a slight degree in certain
other breeds.

Illustration: Fig. 34—Skulls of Fowls

Of _Dorkings_ I have examined three skulls, one belonging to the
white-sub-breed; the one character deserving notice is the breadth of
the frontal bones, which are moderately furrowed in the middle; thus in
a skull which was less than once and a half the length of that of _G.
bankiva,_ the breadth between the orbits was exactly double. Of
_Hamburghs_ I have examined four skulls (male and female) of the
pencilled sub-breed, and one (male) of the spangled sub-breed; the
nasal bones stand remarkably wide apart, but in a variable degree;
consequently narrow membrane-covered spaces are left between the tips
of the two ascending branches of the pre-maxillary bones, which are
rather short, and between these branches and the nasal bones. The
surface of the frontal bone, on which the branches of the premaxillary
rest, is very little depressed. These peculiarities no doubt stand in
close relation with the broad, flattened rose-comb characteristic of
the Hamburgh breed.

Illustration: Fig. 35—Longitudinal sections of Skulls of Fowls

I have examined fourteen skulls of _ Polish and other crested breeds._
Their differences are extraordinary. First for nine skulls of different
sub-breeds of English Polish fowls. The hemispherical protuberance of
the frontal bones[68] may be seen in fig. 34, in which (B) the skull of
a white-crested Polish fowl is shown obliquely from above, with the
skull (A) of _G. bankiva_ in the same position. In fig. 35 longitudinal
sections are given of the skull of a Polish fowl, and, for comparison,
of a Cochin of the same size. The protuberance in all Polish fowls
occupies the same position but differs much in size. In one of my nine
specimens it was extremely slight. The degree to which the protuberance
is ossified varies greatly, larger or smaller portions of bone being
replaced by membrane. In one specimen there was only a single open
pore; generally, there are many variously shaped open spaces, the bone
forming an irregular reticulation. A medial, longitudinal, arched
ribbon of bone is generally retained, but in one specimen there was no
bone whatever over the whole protuberance, and the skull, when cleaned
and viewed from above, presented the appearance of an open basin. The
change in the whole internal form of the skull is surprisingly great.
The brain is modified in a corresponding manner, as is shown in the two
longitudinal sections, which deserve attentive consideration. The upper
and anterior cavity of the three into which the skull may be divided,
is the one which is so greatly modified; it is evidently much larger
than in the Cochin skull of the same size, and extends much further
beyond the interorbital septum, but laterally is less deep. This
cavity, as I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier, is entirely filled with brain.
In the skull of the Cochin and of all ordinary fowls a strong internal
ridge of bone separates the anterior from the central cavity; but this
ridge is quite absent in the Polish skull here figured. The shape of
the central cavity is circular in the Polish, and lengthened in the
Cochin skull. The shape of the posterior cavity, together with the
position, size, and number of the pores for the nerves, differ much in
these two skulls. A pit deeply penetrating the occipital bone of the
Cochin is entirely absent in this Polish skull, whilst in another
specimen it was well developed. In this second specimen the whole
internal surface of the posterior cavity likewise differs to a certain
extent in shape. I made sections of two other skulls,—namely, of a
Polish fowl with the protuberance singularly little developed, and of a
Sultan in which it was a little more developed; and when these two
skulls were placed between the two above figured (fig. 35), a perfect
gradation in the configuration of each part of the internal surface
could be traced. In the Polish skull, with a small protuberance, the
ridge between the anterior and middle cavities was present, but low;
and in the Sultan this ridge was replaced by a narrow furrow standing
on a broad raised eminence.

Illustration: Fig. 36—Skulls of Horned Fowl

It may naturally be asked whether these remarkable modifications in the
form of the brain affect the intellect of Polish fowls; some writers
have stated that they are extremely stupid, but Bechstein and Mr.
Tegetmeier have shown that this is by no means generally the case.
Nevertheless Bechstein[69] states that he had a Polish hen which “was
crazy, and anxiously wandered about all day long.” A hen in my
possession was solitary in her habits, and was often so absorbed in
reverie that she could be touched; she was also deficient in the most
singular manner in the faculty of finding her way, so that, if she
strayed a hundred yards from her feeding-place, she was completely
lost, and would then obstinately try to proceed in a wrong direction. I
have received other and similar accounts of Polish fowls appearing
stupid or half-idiotic.[70]

To return to the skull of Polish fowls. The posterior part, viewed
externally, differs little from that of _G. bankiva._ In most fowls the
posterior-lateral process of the frontal bone and the process of the
squamosal bone run together and are ossified near their extremities:
this union of the two bones, however, is not constant in any breed; and
in eleven out of fourteen skulls of crested breeds, these processes
were quite distinct. These processes, when not united, instead of being
inclined anteriorly, as in all common breeds, descend at right angles
to the lower jaw; and in this case the longer axis of the bony cavity
of the ear is likewise more perpendicular, than in other breeds. When
the squamosal process is free instead of expanding at the tip, it is
reduced to an extremely fine and pointed style, of variable length. The
pterygoid and quadrate bones present no differences. The palatine bones
are a little more curved upwards at their posterior ends. The frontal
bones, anteriorly to the protuberance, are, as in Dorkings, very broad,
but in a variable degree. The nasal bones either stand far apart, as in
Hamburghs, or almost touch each other, and in one instance were
ossified together. Each nasal bone properly sends out in front two long
processes of equal lengths, forming a fork; but in all the Polish
skulls, except one, the inner process was considerably, but in a
variable degree, shortened and somewhat upturned. In all the skulls,
except one, the two ascending branches of the premaxillary, instead of
running up between the processes of the nasal bones and resting on the
ethmoid bone, are much shortened and terminate in a blunt, somewhat
upturned point. In those skulls in which the nasal bones approach quite
close to each other or are ossified together, it would be impossible
for the ascending branches of the premaxillary to reach the ethmoid and
frontal bones; hence we see that even the relative connection of the
bones has been changed. Apparently in consequence of the branches of
the premaxillary and of the inner processes of the nasal bones being
somewhat upturned, the external orifices of the nostrils are upraised
and assume a crescentic outline.

I must still say a few words on some of the foreign Crested breeds. The
skull of a crested, rumpless, white Turkish fowl was very slightly
protuberant, and but little perforated; the ascending branches of the
premaxillary were well developed. In another Turkish breed, called
Ghoondooks, the skull was considerably protuberant and perforated; the
ascending branches of the premaxillary were so much aborted that they
projected only 1/15th of an inch; and the inner processes of the nasal
bone were so completely aborted, that the surface where they should
have projected was quite smooth. Here then we see these two bones
modified to an extreme degree. Of Sultans (another Turkish breed) I
examined two skulls; in that of the female the protuberance was much
larger than in the male. In both skulls the ascending branches of the
premaxillary were very short, and in both the nasal portion of the
inner processes of the nasal bones were ossified together. These Sultan
skulls differed from those of English Polish fowls in the frontal
bones, anteriorly to the protuberance, not being broad.

The last skull which I need describe is a unique one, lent to me by Mr.
Tegetmeier: it resembles a Polish skull in most of its characters, but
has not the great frontal protuberance; it has, however, two rounded
knobs of a different nature, which stand more in front, above the
lachrymal bones. These curious knobs, into which the brain does not
enter, are separated from each other by a deep medial furrow; and this
is perforated by a few minute pores. The nasal bones stand rather wide
apart, with their inner processes, and the ascending branches of the
premaxillary, upturned and shortened. The two knobs no doubt supported
the two great horn-like projections of the comb.

From the foregoing facts we see in how astonishing a manner some of the
bones of the skull vary in Crested fowls. The protuberance may
certainly be called in one sense a monstrosity, as being wholly unlike
anything observed in nature: but as in ordinary cases it is not
injurious to the bird, and as it is strictly inherited, it can hardly
in another sense be called a monstrosity. A series may be formed
commencing with the black-boned Silk fowl, which has a very small crest
with the skull beneath penetrated only by a few minute orifices, but
with no other change in its structure; and from this first stage we may
proceed to fowls with a moderately large crest, which rests, according
to Bechstein, on a fleshy mass, but without any protuberance in the
skull. I may add that I have seen a similar fleshy or fibrous mass
beneath the tuft of feathers on the head of the Tufted duck; and in
this case there was no actual protuberance in the skull, but it had
become a little more globular. Lastly, when we come to fowls with a
largely developed crest, the skull becomes largely protuberant and is
perforated by a multitude of irregular open spaces. The close relation
between the crest and the size of the bony protuberance is shown in
another way; for Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that if chickens lately
hatched be selected with a large bony protuberance, when adult they
will have a large crest. There can be no doubt that in former times the
breeder of Polish fowls attended solely to the crest, and not to the
skull; nevertheless, by increasing the crest, in which he has been
wonderfully successful, he has unintentionally made the skull
protuberant to an astonishing degree; and through correlation of
growth, he has at the same time affected the form and relative
connexion of the premaxillary and nasal bones, the shape of the orifice
of the nose, the breadth of the frontal bones, the shape of the
post-lateral processes of the frontal and squamosal bones, the
direction of the axis of the bony cavity of the ear, and lastly the
internal configuration of the whole skull together with the shape of
the brain.

Illustration: Fig. 37—Sixth Cervical Verterbra of Fowls

_Vertebræ._—In _G. bankiva_ there are fourteen cervical, seven dorsal
with ribs, apparently fifteen lumbar and sacral, and six caudal
vertebræ;[71] but the lumbar and sacral are so much anchylosed that I
am not sure of their number, and this makes the comparison of the total
number of vertebræ in the several breeds difficult. I have spoken of
six caudal vertebræ, because the basal one is almost completely
anchylosed with the pelvis; but if we consider the number as seven, the
caudal vertebræ agree in all the skeletons. The cervical vertebræ are,
as just stated, in appearance fourteen; but out of twenty-three
skeletons in a fit state for examination, in five of them, namely, in
two Games, in two pencilled Hamburghs, and in a Polish, the fourteenth
vertebra bore ribs, which, though small, were perfectly developed with
a double articulation. The presence of these little ribs cannot be
considered as a fact of much importance, for all the cervical vertebræ
bear representatives of ribs; but their development in the fourteenth
vertebra reduces the size of the passages in the transverse processes,
and makes this vertebra exactly like the first dorsal vertebra. The
addition of these little ribs does not affect the fourteenth cervical
alone, for properly the ribs of the first true dorsal vertebra are
destitute of processes; but in some of the skeletons in which the
fourteenth cervical bore little ribs the first pair of true ribs had
well-developed processes. When we know that the sparrow has only nine,
and the swan twenty-three cervical vertebræ,[72] we need feel no
surprise at the number of the cervical vertebræ in the fowl being, as
it appears, variable.

There are seven dorsal vertebræ bearing ribs; the first dorsal is never
anchylosed with the succeeding four, which are generally anchylosed
together. In one Sultan fowl, however, the two first dorsal vertebræ
were free. In two skeletons, the fifth dorsal was free; generally the
sixth is free (as in _G. bankiva_), but sometimes only at its posterior
end, where in contact with the seventh. The seventh dorsal vertebra, in
every case excepting in one Spanish cock, was anchylosed with the
lumbar vertebræ. So that the degree to which these middle dorsal
vertebræ are anchylosed is variable.

Seven is the normal number of true ribs, but in two skeletons of the
Sultan fowl (in which the fourteenth cervical vertebra was not
furnished with little ribs) there were eight pairs; the eighth pair
seemed to be developed on a vertebra corresponding with the first
lumbar in _G. bankiva_; the sternal portion of both the seventh and
eighth ribs did not reach the sternum. In four skeletons in which ribs
were developed on the fourteenth cervical vertebra, there were, when
these cervical ribs are included, eight pairs; but in one Game cock, in
which the fourteenth cervical was furnished with ribs, there were only
six pairs of true dorsal ribs; the sixth pair in this case did not have
processes, and thus resembled the seventh pair in other skeletons; in
this Game cock, as far as could be judged from the appearance of the
lumbar vertebræ, a whole dorsal vertebra with its ribs was missing. We
thus see that the ribs (whether or not the little pair attached to the
fourteenth cervical vertebra be counted) vary from six to eight pair.
The sixth pair is frequently not furnished with processes. The sternal
portion of the seventh pair is extremely broad in Cochins, and is
completely ossified. As previously stated, it is scarcely possible to
count the lumbo-sacral vertebræ; but they certainly do not correspond
in shape or number in the several skeletons. The caudal vertebræ are
closely similar in all the skeletons, the only difference being whether
or not the basal one is anchylosed to the pelvis; they hardly vary even
in length, not being shorter in Cochins, with their short
tail-feathers, than in other breeds; in a Spanish cock, however, the
caudal vertebræ were a little elongated. In three rumpless fowls the
caudal vertebræ were few in number, and anchylosed together into a
misformed mass.

In the individual vertebræ the differences in structure are very
slight. In the atlas the cavity for the occipital condyle is either
ossified into a ring, or is, as in Bankiva, open on its upper margin.
The upper arc of the spinal canal is a little more arched in Cochins,
in conformity with the shape of the occipital foramen, than in _G.
bankiva._ In several skeletons a difference, but not of much
importance, may be observed, which commences at the fourth cervical
vertebra, and is greatest at about the sixth, seventh, or eighth
vertebra; this consists in the hæmal descending processes being united
to the body of the vertebra by a sort of buttress. This structure may
be observed in Cochins, Polish, some Hamburghs, and probably other
breeds; but is absent, or barely developed, in Game, Dorking, Spanish,
Bantam, and several other breeds examined by me. On the dorsal surface
of the sixth cervical vertebra in Cochins three prominent points are
more strongly developed than in the corresponding vertebra of the Game
fowl or _G. bankiva._

_Pelvis._—This differs in some few points in the several skeletons. The
anterior margin of the ilium seems at first to vary much in outline,
but this is chiefly due to the degree to which the margin in the middle
part is ossified to the crest of the vertebræ; the outline, however,
does differ in being more truncated in Bantams, and more rounded in
certain breeds, as in Cochins. The outline of the ischiadic foramen
differs considerably, being nearly circular in Bantams, instead of
egg-shaped as in the Bankiva, and more regularly oval in some
skeletons, as in the Spanish. The obturator notch is also much less
elongated in some skeletons than in others. The end of the pubic bone
presents the greatest difference; being hardly enlarged in the Bankiva;
considerably and gradually enlarged in Cochins, and in a lesser degree
in some other breeds; and abruptly enlarged in Bantams. In one Bantam
this bone extended very little beyond the extremity of the ischium. The
whole pelvis in this latter bird differed widely in its proportions,
being far broader proportionally to its length than in Bankiva.

Illustration: Fig. 38—Extremity of the Furcula of Fowls

_Sternum._—This bone is generally so much deformed that it is scarcely
possible to compare its shape strictly in the several breeds. The form
of the triangular extremity of the lateral processes differs
considerably, being either almost equilateral or much elongated. The
front margin of the crest is more or less perpendicular and varies
greatly, as does the curvature of the posterior end, and the flatness
of the lower surface. The outline of the manubrial process also varies,
being wedge-shaped in the Bankiva, and rounded in the Spanish breed.
The _furculum_ differs in being more or less arched, and greatly, as
may be seen in the accompanying outlines, in the shape of the terminal
plate; but the shape of this part differed a little in two skeletons of
the wild Bankiva. The _coracoid_ presents no difference worth notice.
The _scapula_ varies in shape, being of nearly uniform breadth in
Bankiva, much broader in the middle in the Polish fowl, and abruptly
narrowed towards the apex in the two Sultan fowls.

I carefully compared each separate bone of the leg and wing, relatively
to the same bones in the wild Bankiva, in the following breeds, which I
thought were the most likely to differ; namely, in Cochin, Dorking,
Spanish, Polish, Burmese Bantam, Frizzled Indian, and black-boned Silk
fowls; and it was truly surprising to see how absolutely every process,
articulation, and pore agreed, though the bones differed greatly in
size. The agreement is far more absolute than in other parts of the
skeleton. In stating this, I do not refer to the relative thickness and
length of the several bones; for the tarsi varied considerably in both
these respects. But the other limb-bones varied little even in relative

Finally, I have not examined a sufficient number of skeletons to say
whether any of the foregoing differences, except in the skull, are
characteristic of the several breeds. Apparently some differences are
more common in certain breeds than in others,—as an additional rib to
the fourteenth cervical vertebra in Hamburghs and Games, and the
breadth of the end of the pubic bone in Cochins. Both skeletons of the
Sultan fowl had eight dorsal vertebræ, and the end of the scapula in
both was somewhat attenuated. In the skull, the deep medial furrow in
the frontal bones and the vertically elongated occipital foramen seem
to be characteristic of Cochins; as is the great breadth of the frontal
bones in Dorkings; the separation and open spaces between the tips of
the ascending branches of the premaxillaries and nasal bones, as well
as the front part of the skull being but little depressed, characterise
Hamburghs; the globular shape of the posterior part of the skull seems
to be characteristic of laced Bantams; and lastly, the protuberance of
the skull with the ascending branches of the premaxillaries partially
aborted, together with the other differences before specified, are
eminently characteristic of Polish and other Crested fowls.

But the most striking result of my examination of the skeleton is the
great variability of all the bones except those of the extremities. To
a certain extent we can understand why the skeleton fluctuates so much
in structure; fowls have been exposed to unnatural conditions of life,
and their whole organisation has thus been rendered variable; but the
breeder is quite indifferent to, and never intentionally selects, any
modification in the skeleton. External characters, if not attended to
by man, such as the number of the tail and wing feathers and their
relative lengths, which in wild birds are generally constant,—fluctuate
in our domestic fowls in the same manner as the several parts of the
skeleton. An additional toe is a “point” in Dorkings, and has become a
fixed character, but is variable in Cochins and Silk fowls. The colour
of the plumage and the form of the comb are in most breeds, or even
sub-breeds, eminently fixed characters; but in Dorkings these points
have not been attended to, and are variable. When any modification in
the skeleton is related to some external character which man values, it
has been, unintentionally on his part, acted on by selection, and has
become more or less fixed. We see this in the wonderful protuberance of
the skull, which supports the crest of feathers in Polish fowls, and
which by correlation has affected other parts of the skull. We see the
same result in the two protuberances which support the horns in the
horned fowl, and in the flattened shape of the front of the skull in
Hamburghs consequent on their flattened and broad “rose-combs.” We know
not in the least whether additional ribs, or the changed outline of the
occipital foramen, or the changed form of the scapula, or of the
extremity of the furculum, are in any way correlated with other
structures, or have arisen from the changed conditions and habits of
life to which our fowls have been subjected; but there is no reason to
doubt that these various modifications in the skeleton could be
rendered, either by direct selection, or by the selection of correlated
structures, as constant and as characteristic of each breed, as are the
size and shape of the body, the colour of the plumage, and the form of
the comb.

     _Effects of the Disuse of Parts._

Judging from the habits of our European gallinaceous birds, _Gallus
bankiva_ in its native haunts would use its legs and wings more than do
our domestic fowls, which rarely fly except to their roosts. The Silk
and the Frizzled fowls, from having imperfect wing-feathers, cannot fly
at all; and there is reason to believe that both these breeds are
ancient, so that their progenitors during many generations cannot have
flown. The Cochins, also, from their short wings and heavy bodies, can
hardly fly up to a low perch. Therefore in these breeds, especially in
the two first, a considerable diminution in the wing-bones might have
been expected, but this is not the case. In every specimen, after
disarticulating and cleaning the bones, I carefully compared the
relative length of the two main bones of the wing to each other, and of
the two main bones of the leg to each other, with those of _G.
bankiva_; and it was surprising to see (except in the case of the
tarsi) how exactly the same relative length had been retained. This
fact is curious, from showing how truly the proportions of an organ may
be inherited, although not fully exercised during many generations. I
then compared in several breeds the length of the femur and tibia with
the humerus and ulna, and likewise these same bones with those of _G.
bankiva_; the result was that the wing-bones in all the breeds (except
the Burmese Jumper, which has unnaturally short legs, are slightly
shortened relatively to the leg-bones; but the decrease is so slight
that it may be due to the standard specimen of _G. bankiva_ having
accidentally had wings of slightly greater length than usual; so that
the measurements are not worth giving. But it deserves notice that the
Silk and Frizzled fowls, which are quite incapable of flight, had their
wings _less_ reduced relatively to their legs than in almost any other
breed! We have seen with domesticated pigeons that the bones of the
wings are somewhat reduced in length, whilst the primary feathers are
rather increased in length, and it is just possible, though not
probable, that in the Silk and Frizzled fowls any tendency to decrease
in the length of the wing-bones from disuse may have been checked
through the law of compensation, by the decreased growth of the
wing-feathers, and consequent increased supply of nutriment. The
wing-bones, however, in both these breeds, are found to be slightly
reduced in length when judged by the standard of the length of the
sternum or head, relatively to these same parts in _G. bankiva._

The actual weight of the main bones of the leg and wing in twelve
breeds is given in the two first columns in Table I. The calculated
weight of the wing-bones relatively to the leg-bones, in comparison
with the leg and wing-bones of _G. bankiva,_ are given in the third
column,—the weight of the wing-bones in _G. bankiva_ being called a

Table I.

Names of Breeds.     Actual
          Tibia.     Actual
          Weight of
          and Ulna.     Weight of Wing-
          bones relatively to
          the Leg-bones in
          comparison with
          these same bones
          in _G. bankiva._ Grains.     Grains. Gallus bankiva (wild
          male)       86       54     100 1     Cochin
          (male)     311     162       83 2     Dorking
          (male)     557     248       70 3     Spanish (Minorca)
          (male)     386     183       75 4     Gold-Spangled Polish
          (male)     306     145       75 5     Game, black-breasted
          (male)     293     143       77 6     Malay
          (female)     231     116       80 7     Sultan (male)     189      
          94       79 8     Indian Frizzled (male)     206       88       67
          9     Burmese Jumper (female)       53       36     108
          10     Hamburgh (pencilled) (male)     157     104     106
          11     Hamburgh (pencilled) (female)     114       77     108
          12     Silk (black-boned) (female)       88       57     103

In the eight first birds, belonging to distinct breeds, in this table,
we see a decided reduction in the weight of the bones of the wing.

In the Indian Frizzled fowl, which cannot fly, the reduction is carried
to the greatest extent, namely, to thirty-three per cent of their
proper proportional weight. In the next four birds, including the Silk
hen, which is incapable of flight, we see that the wings, relatively to
the legs, are slightly increased in weight; but it should be observed
that, if in these birds the legs had become from any cause reduced in
weight, this would give the false appearance of the wings having
increased in relative weight. Now a reduction of this nature has
certainly occurred with the Burmese Jumper, in which the legs are
abnormally short, and in the two Hamburghs and Silk fowl, the legs,
though not short, are formed of remarkably thin and light bones. I make
these statements, not judging by mere eyesight, but after having
calculated the weights of the leg-bones relatively to those of G.
bankiva, according to the only two standards of comparison which I
could use, namely, the relative lengths of the head and sternum; for I
do not know the weight of the body in _G. bankiva,_ which would have
been a better standard. According to these standards, the leg-bones in
these four fowls are in a marked manner far lighter than in any other
breed. It may therefore be concluded that in all cases in which the
legs have not been through some unknown cause much reduced in weight,
the wing-bones have become reduced in weight relatively to the
leg-bones, in comparison with those of _G. bankiva._ And this reduction
of weight may, I apprehend, safely be attributed to disuse.

To make Table I quite satisfactory, it ought to have been shown that in
the eight first birds the leg-bones have not actually increased in
weight out of due proportion with the rest of the body; this I cannot
show, from not knowing, as already remarked, the weight of the wild
Bankiva.[74] I am indeed inclined to suspect that the leg-bones in the
Dorking, No. 2 in the table, are proportionally too heavy; but this
bird was a very large one, weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces, though very
thin. Its leg-bones were more than ten times as heavy as those of the
Burmese Jumper! I tried to ascertain the length both of the leg-bones
and wing-bones relatively to other parts of the body and skeleton: but
the whole organisation in these birds, which have been so long
domesticated, has become so variable, that no certain conclusions could
be reached. For instance, the legs of the above Dorking cock were
nearly three-quarters of an inch too short relatively to the length of
the sternum, and more than three-quarters of an inch too long
relatively to the length of the skull, in comparison with these same
parts in _G. bankiva._

Table II.

Names of Breeds.     Length
          Sternum.     Depth of
          Crest of
          Sternum     Depth of Crest
          relatively to the
          length of the
          Sternum, in
          comparison with
          _G. bankiva._ Inches.     Inches Gallus bankiva
          (male)     4·20     1·40     100 1     Cochin
          (male)     5·83     1·55     78 2     Dorking
          (male)     6·95     1·97     84 3     Spanish
          (male)     6·10     1·83     90 4     Polish
          (male)     5·07     1·50     87 5     Game
          (male)     5·55     1·55     81 6     Malay
          (female)     5·10     1·50     87 7     Sultan
          (male)     4·47     1·36     90 8     Frizzled hen
          (male)     4·25     1·20     84 9     Burmese Jumper
          (female)     3·06     0·85     81 10     Hamburgh
          (male)     5·08     1·40     81 11     Hamburgh
          (female)     4·55     1·26     81 12     Silk fowl
          (female)     4·49     1·01     66

In Table II in the two first columns we see in inches and decimals the
length of the sternum, and the extreme depth of its crest to which the
pectoral muscles are attached. In the third column we have the
calculated depth of the crest, relatively to the length of the sternum,
in comparison with these same parts in _G. bankiva._[75]

By looking to the third column we see that in every case the depth of
the crest relatively to the length of the sternum, in comparison with
_G. bankiva,_ is diminished, generally between 10 and 20 per cent. But
the degree of reduction varies much, partly in consequence of the
frequently deformed state of the sternum. In the Silk fowl, which
cannot fly, the crest is 34 per cent less deep than what it ought to
have been. This reduction of the crest in all the breeds probably
accounts for the great variability, before referred to, in the
curvature of the furculum, and in the shape of its sternal extremity.
Medical men believe that the abnormal form of the spine so commonly
observed in women of the higher ranks results from the attached muscles
not being fully exercised. So it is with our domestic fowls, for they
use their pectoral muscles but little, and, out of twenty-five sternums
examined by me, three alone were perfectly symmetrical, ten were
moderately crooked, and twelve were deformed to an extreme degree. Mr.
Romanes, however, believes that the malformation is due to fowls whilst
young resting their sternums on the sticks on which they roost.

Finally, we may conclude with respect to the various breeds of the
fowl, that the main bones of the wing have probably been shortened in a
very slight degree; that they have certainly become lighter relatively
to the leg-bones in all the breeds in which these latter bones are not
unnaturally short or delicate; and that the crest of the sternum, to
which the pectoral muscles are attached, has invariably become less
prominent, the whole sternum being also extremely liable to deformity.
These results we may attribute to the lessened use of the wings.

_Correlation of Growth._—I will here sum up the few facts which I have
collected on this obscure, but important, subject. In Cochin and Game
fowls there is perhaps some relation between the colour of the plumage
and the darkness of the egg-shell. In Sultans the additional
sickle-feathers in the tail are apparently related to the general
redundancy of the plumage, as shown by the feathered legs, large crest,
and beard. In two tailless fowls which I examined the oil-gland was
aborted. A large crest of feathers, as Mr. Tegetmeier has remarked,
seems always accompanied by a great diminution or almost entire absence
of the comb. A large beard is similarly accompanied by diminished or
absent wattles. These latter cases apparently come under the law of
compensation or balancement of growth. A large beard beneath the lower
jaw and a large top-knot on the skull often go together. The comb when
of any peculiar shape, as with Horned, Spanish, and Hamburgh fowls,
affects in a corresponding manner the underlying skull; and we have
seen how wonderfully this is the case with Crested fowls when the crest
is largely developed. With the protuberance of the frontal bones the
shape of the internal surface of the skull and of the brain is greatly
modified. The presence of a crest influences in some unknown way the
development of the ascending branches of the premaxillary bone, and of
the inner processes of the nasal bones; and likewise the shape of the
external orifice of the nostrils. There is a plain and curious
correlation between a crest of feathers and the imperfectly ossified
condition of the skull. Not only does this hold good with nearly all
crested fowls, but likewise with tufted ducks, and as Dr. Gunther
informs me with tufted geese in Germany.

Lastly, the feathers composing the crest in male Polish fowls resemble
hackles, and differ greatly in shape from those in the crest of the
female. The neck, wing-coverts, and loins in the male bird are properly
covered with hackles, and it would appear that feathers of this shape
have spread by correlation to the head of the male. This little fact is
interesting; because, though both sexes of some wild gallinaceous birds
have their heads similarly ornamented, yet there is often a difference
in the size and shape of feathers forming their crests. Furthermore,
there is in some cases, as in the male Gold and in the male Amherst
pheasants (_P. pictus_ and _amherstiæ_), a close relation in colour, as
well as in structure, between the plumes on the head and on the loins.
It would therefore appear that the same law has regulated the state of
the feathers on the head and body, both with species living under
natural conditions, and with birds which have varied under


 [1] I have drawn up this brief synopsis from various sources, but
 chiefly from information given me by Mr. Tegetmeier. This gentleman
 has kindly looked through this chapter; and from his well-known
 knowledge, the statements here given may be fully trusted. Mr.
 Tegetmeier has likewise assisted me in every possible way in obtaining
 for me information and specimens. I must not let this opportunity pass
 without expressing my cordial thanks to Mr. B. P. Brent, a well-known
 writer on poultry, for continuous assistance and the gift of many

 [2] The best account of Sultans is by Miss Watts in ‘The Poultry
 Yard,’ 1856, p. 79. I owe to Mr. Brent’s kindness the examination of
 some specimens of this breed.

 [3] A good description, with figures, is given of this sub-breed in
 the ‘Journal of Horticulture,’ June 10, 1862, p. 206.

 [4] A description, with figures, is given of this breed in ‘Journal of
 Horticulture,’ June 3, 1862, p. 186. Some writers describe the comb as

 [5] Mr. Crawfurd ‘Descript. Dict. of the Indian Islands,’ p. 113.
 Bantams are mentioned in an ancient native Japanese Encyclopædia, as I
 am informed by Mr. Birch of the British Museum.

 [6] ‘Ornamental and Domestic Poultry,’ 1848.

 [7] ‘Ornamental and Domestic Poultry,’ 1848.

 [8] Ferguson’s ‘Illustrated Series of Rare and Prize Poultry,’ 1854,
 p. vi. Preface.

 [9] Rev. E. S. Dixon in his ‘Ornamental Poultry,’ p. 203, gives an
 account of Columella’s work.

 [10] Mr. Crawfurd ‘On the Relation of the Domesticated Animals to
 Civilization,’ separately printed, p. 6; first read before the Brit.
 Assoc. at Oxford 1860.

 [11] ‘Quadrupèdes du Paraguay,’ tom. ii. p. 324.

 [12] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1832, p. 151.

 [13] These feathers have been described by Dr. W. Marshall ‘Der
 Zoolog. Garten,’ April 1874, p. 124. I examined the feathers of some
 hybrids raised in the Zoological Gardens between the male _G.
 sonneratii_ and a red game-hen, and they exhibited the true character
 of those of _G. sonneratii,_ except that the horny laminæe were much

 [14] _See also_ an excellent letter on the Poultry of India, by Mr.
 Blyth, in ‘Gardener’s Chronicle,’ 1851, p. 619.

 [15] Mr. S. J. Salter, in ‘Natural History Review,’ April 1863, p.

 [16] _See also_ Mr. Layard’s paper in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat.
 History,’ 2nd series, vol. xiv. p. 62.

 [17] _See also_ Mr. Crawfurd’s ‘Descriptive Dict. of the Indian
 Islands,’ 1856, p. 113.

 [18] Described by Mr. G. R. Gray, ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1849, p. 62.

 [19] The passage from Marsden is given by Mr. Dixon in his ‘Poultry
 Book,’ p. 176. No ornithologist now ranks this bird as a distinct

 [20] ‘Coup-d’œeil général sur l’Inde Archipélagique,’ tom. iii. (1849)
 p. 177; _see also_ Mr. Blyth in ‘Indian Sporting Review,’ vol. ii. p.
 5, 1856.

 [21] Mr. Blyth, in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ 2nd ser., vol. i.
 (1848), p. 455.

 [22] Crawfurd, ‘Desc. Dict. of Indian Islands,’ 1856, p. 112.

 [23] In Burmah, as I hear from Mr. Blyth, the wild and tame poultry
 constantly cross together, and irregular transitional forms may be

 [24] Ibid. p. 113.

 [25] Mr. Jerdon, in the ‘Madras Journ. of Lit. and Science,’ vol.
 xxii. p. 2, speaking of _G. bankiva,_ says, “unquestionably the origin
 of most of the varieties of our common fowls.” For Mr. Blyth _see_ his
 excellent article in ‘Gardener’s Chron.,’ 1851, p. 619; and in ‘Annals
 and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ vol. xx., 1847, p. 388.

 [26] ‘Gardener’s Chronicle,’ 1851, p. 619.

 [27] I have consulted an eminent authority, Mr. Sclater, on this
 subject, and he thinks that I have not expressed myself too strongly.
 I am aware that one ancient author, Acosta, speaks of fowls as having
 inhabited S. America at the period of its discovery; and more
 recently, about 1795, Olivier de Serres speaks of wild fowls in the
 forests of Guiana; these were probably feral birds. Dr. Daniell tells
 me, he believes that fowls have become wild on the west coast of
 Equatorial Africa; they may, however, not be true fowls, but
 gallinaceous birds belonging to the genus Phasidus. The old voyager
 Barbut says that poultry are not natural to Guinea. Capt. W. Allen
 (‘Narrative of Niger Expedition,’ 1848, vol. ii. p. 42) describes wild
 fowls on Ilha dos Rollas, an island near St. Thomas’s on the west
 coast of Africa; the natives informed him that they had escaped from a
 vessel wrecked there many years ago; they were extremely wild and had
 “a cry quite different to that of the domestic fowl,” and their
 appearance was somewhat changed. Hence it is not a little doubtful,
 notwithstanding the statement of the natives, whether these birds
 really were fowls. That the fowl has become feral on several islands
 is certain. Mr. Fry, a very capable judge, informed Mr. Layard, in a
 letter, that the fowls which have run wild on Ascension “had nearly
 all got back to their primitive colours, red, and black cocks, and
 smoky-grey hens.” But unfortunately we do not know the colour of the
 poultry which were turned out. Fowls have become feral on the Nicobar
 Islands (Blyth in the ‘Indian Field,’ 1858, p. 62), and in the
 Ladrones (Anson’s Voyage). Those found in the Pellew Islands
 (Crawfurd) are believed to be feral; and lastly, it is asserted that
 they have become feral in New Zealand, but whether this is correct I
 know not.

 [28] Mr. Hewitt, in ‘The Poultry Book,’ by W. B. Tegetmeier, 1866, p.

 [29] ‘Journal of Horticulture,’ Jan. 14th, 1862, p. 325.

 [30] ‘Die Hühner- und Pfauenzucht,’ Ulm, 1827, s. 17. For Mr. Hewitt’s
 statement with respect to the white Silk fowl _see_ the ‘Poultry
 Book,’ by W. B. Tegetmeier, 1866, p. 222. I am indebted to Mr. Orton
 for a letter on the same subject.

 [31] Dixon ‘Ornamental and Domestic Poultry,’ p. 253, 324, 335. For
 game fowls, _see_ Ferguson on ‘Prize Poultry,’ p. 260.

 [32] ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ vol. ii. p. 71.

 [33] ‘Die vorgeschichtlichen Alterthümer,’ II. Theil, 1872, p. 5. Dr.
 Pickering, in his ‘Races of Man,’ 1850, p. 374, says that the head and
 neck of a fowl is carried in a Tribute-procession to Thoutmousis III.
 (1445 B.C.); but Mr. Birch of the British Museum doubts whether the
 figure can be identified as the head of a fowl. Some caution is
 necessary with reference to the absence of figures of the fowl on the
 ancient Egyptian monuments, on account of the strong and widely
 prevalent prejudice against this bird. I am informed by the Rev. S.
 Erhardt that on the east coast of Africa, from 4° to 6° south of the
 equator, most of the pagan tribes at the present day hold the fowl in
 aversion. The natives of the Pellew Islands would not eat the fowl nor
 will the Indians in some parts of S. America. For the ancient history
 of the fowl _ see also_ Volz ‘Beiträge zur Culturgeschichte,’ 1852, s.
 77; and Isid. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii. p.
 61. Mr. Crawfurd has given an admirable history of the fowl in his
 paper ‘On the Relation of Domesticated Animals to Civilisation,’ read
 before the Brit. Assoc. at Oxford in 1860, and since printed
 separately. I quote from him on the Greek poet Theognis, and on the
 Harpy Tomb described by Sir C. Fellowes. I quote from a letter of Mr.
 Blyth’s with respect to the Institutes of Manu.

 [34] ‘Ornamental and Domestic Poultry,’ 1847, p. 185; for passages
 translated from Columella, _see_ p. 312. For Golden Hamburghs _see_
 Albin’s ‘Natural History of Birds,’ 3 vols., with plates 1731-38.

 [35] ‘Ornamental and Domestic Poultry,’ p. 152.

 [36] Ferguson on ‘Rare Prize Poultry,’ p. 297. This writer, I am
 informed, cannot generally be trusted. He gives, however, figures and
 much information on eggs. _See_ pp. 34 and 235 on the eggs of the Game

 [37] _See_ ‘Poultry Book,’ by Mr. Tegetmeier, 1866, pp. 81 and 78.

 [38] ‘The Cottage Gardener,’ Oct. 1855, p. 13. On the thinness of the
 eggs of Game-fowls _see_ Mowbray on Poultry, 7th edit., p. 13.

 [39] My information, which is very far from perfect, on chickens in
 the down, is derived chiefly from Mr. Dixon’s ‘Ornamental and Domestic
 Poultry.’ Mr. B. P. Brent has also communicated to me many facts by
 letter, as has Mr. Tegetmeier. I will in each case mark my authority
 by the name within brackets. For the chickens of white Silk-fowls
 _see_ Tegetmeier’s ‘Poultry Book,’ 1866, p. 221.

 [40] As I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier; _see also_ ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’
 1856, p. 366. On the late development of the crest _ see_ ‘Poultry
 Chronicle,’ vol. ii. p. 132.

 [41] On these points, _see_ ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ vol. iii. p. 166; and
 Tegetmeier’s ‘Poultry Book,’ 1866, pp. 105 and 121.

 [42] Dixon, ‘Ornamental and Domestic Poultry,’ p. 273.

 [43] Ferguson on ‘Rare and Prize Poultry,’ p. 261.

 [44] Mowbray on Poultry, 7th edit., 1834, p. 13.

 [45] _See_ the full description of the varieties of the Game-breed in
 Tegetmeier’s ‘Poultry Book,’ 1866, p. 131. For Cuckoo Dorkings, p. 97.

 [46] Mr. Hewitt in Tegetmeier’s ‘Poultry Book,’ 1866, pp. 246 and 156.
 For hen-tailed game-cocks, _see_ p. 131.

 [47] ‘The Field,’ April 20th, 1861. The writer says he has seen
 half-a-dozen cocks thus sacrificed.

 [48] ‘Proceedings of Zoolog. Soc.,’ March 1861, p. 102. The engraving
 of the hen-tailed cock just alluded to was exhibited before the

 [49] ‘The Field,’ April 20th, 1861.

 [50] I am much indebted to Mr. Brent for an account, with sketches, of
 all the variations of the comb known to him, and likewise with respect
 to the tail as presently to be given.

 [51] The ‘Poultry Book,’ by Tegetmeier, 1866, p. 234.

 [52] ‘Die Hühner-und Pfauenzucht,’ 1827, s. 11.

 [53] ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ vol. i. p. 595. Mr. Brent has informed me of
 the same fact. With respect to the position of the spurs in Dorkings
 _see_ ‘Cottage Gardener,’ Sept. 18th, 1860, p. 380.

 [54] Dixon, ‘Ornamental and Domestic Poultry,’ p. 320.

 [55] Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that Game hens have been found so
 combative, that it is now generally the practice to exhibit each hen
 in a separate pen.

 [56] ‘Naturgeschichte Deutschlands,’ Band iii. (1793), s. 339, 407.

 [57] On the Ornithology of Ceylon in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat.
 History,’ 2nd series, vol. xiv. (1854), p. 63.

 [58] ‘Handbuch der vergleich. Anatomie,’ 1805, p. 85, note. Mr.
 Tegetmeier, who gives in ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ Nov. 25th, 1856, a very
 interesting account of the skulls of Polish fowls, not knowing of
 Bechstein’s account, has disputed the accuracy of Blumenbach’s
 statement. For Bechstein _see_ ‘Naturgeschichte Deutschlands,’ Band
 iii. (1793), s. 399, note. I may add that at the first exhibition of
 Poultry at the Zoological Gardens in May, 1845, I saw some fowls,
 called Friezland fowls, of which the hens were crested, and the cocks
 furnished with a comb.

 [59] ‘Cottage Gardener,’ Jan. 3rd, 1860, p. 218.

 [60] Mr. Williams, in a paper read before the Dublin Nat. Hist. Soc.,
 quoted in ‘Cottage Gardener,’ 1856, p. 161.

 [61] ‘De l’Espèce,’ 1859, p. 442. For the occurrence of black-boned
 fowls in South America, _see_ Roulin in ‘Mém. de l’Acad. des
 Sciences,’ tom. vi. p. 351; and Azara, ‘Quadrupèdes du Paraguay,’ tom.
 ii. p. 324. A frizzled fowl sent to me from Madras had black bones.

 [62] Mr. Hewitt, in Tegetmeier’s ‘Poultry Book,’ 1866, p. 231.

 [63] Dr. Broca, in Brown-Séquard’s ‘Journal de Phys.,’ tom. ii. p.

 [64] Dixon’s ‘Ornamental Poultry,’ p. 325.

 [65] ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ vol. i. p. 485. Tegetmeier’s ‘Poultry Book,’
 1866, p. 41. On Cochins grazing, ibid., p. 46.

 [66] Ferguson on ‘Prize Poultry,’ p. 87.

 [67] Col. Sykes in ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1832, p. 151. Dr. Hooker’s
 ‘Himalayan Journals,’ vol. i. p. 314.

 [68] _See_ Mr. Tegetmeier’s account with woodcuts of the skull of
 Polish fowls in ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ Nov. 25th, 1856. For other
 references, _see_ Isid. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, ‘Hist. Gén. des
 Anomalies,’ tom. i. p. 287. M. C. Dareste suspects (‘Recherches sur
 les Conditions de la Vie,’ etc., Lille 1863, p. 36) that the
 protuberance is not formed by the frontal bones, but by the
 ossification of the dura mater.

 [69] ‘Naturgeschichte Deutschlands,’ Band iii. (1793), s. 400.

 [70] The ‘Field,’ May 11th, 1861. I have received communications to a
 similar effect from Messrs. Brent and Tegetmeier.

 [71] It appears that I have not correctly designated the several
 groups of vertebræ, for a great authority, Mr. W. K. Parker
 (‘Transact. Zoolog. Soc.,’ vol. v. p. 198), specifies 16 cervical, 4
 dorsal, 15 lumbar, and 6 caudal vertebræ in this genus. But I have
 used the same terms in all the following descriptions.

 [72] Macgillivray, ‘British Birds,’ vol. i. p. 25.

 [73] It may be well to explain how the calculation has been made for
 the third column. In _G. bankiva_ the leg-bones are to the wing-bones
 as 86 : 54, or as (neglecting decimals) 100 : 62;—in Cochins as 311 :
 162, or as 100 : 52;—in Dorkings as 557 : 248, or as 100 : 44; and so
 on for the other breeds. We thus get the series of 62, 52, 44 for the
 relative weights of the wing-bones in _G. bankiva,_ Cochins, Dorkings,
 etc. And now taking 100, instead of 62, for the weight of the
 wing-bones in _G. bankiva,_ we get, by another rule of three, 83 as
 the weight of the wing-bones in Cochins; 70 in the Dorkings; and so on
 for the remainder of the third column in the table.

 [74] Mr. Blyth (in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ 2nd series, vol.
 i., 1848, p. 456) gives 3¼ pounds as the weight of a full-grown male
 _G. bankiva_; but from what I have seen of the skins and skeletons of
 various breeds, I cannot believe that my two specimens of _G. bankiva_
 could have weighed so much.

 [75] The third column is calculated on the same principle as explained
 in footnote 73 above.








I will, as in previous cases, first briefly describe the chief domestic
breeds of the duck:—

BREED 1. _Common Domestic Duck._—Varies much in colour and in
proportions, and differs in instincts and disposition from the wild
duck. There are several sub-breeds:—(1) The Aylesbury, of great size,
white, with pale-yellow beak and legs; abdominal dermal sack largely
developed. (2) The Rouen, of great size, coloured like the wild duck,
with green or mottled beak; dermal sack largely developed. (3) Tufted
Duck, with a large top-knot of fine downy feathers, supported on a
fleshy mass, with the skull perforated beneath. The top-knot in a duck
which I imported from Holland was two and a half inches in diameter.
(4) Labrador (or Canadian, or Buenos Ayres, or East Indian); plumage
entirely black; beak broader, relatively to its length, than in the
wild duck; eggs slightly tinted with black. This sub-breed perhaps
ought to be ranked as a breed; it includes two sub-varieties, one as
large as the common domestic duck, which I have kept alive, and the
other smaller and often capable of flight.[1] I presume it is this
latter sub-variety which has been described in France[2] as flying
well, being rather wild, and when cooked having the flavour of the wild
duck; nevertheless this sub-variety is polygamous, like other
domesticated ducks and unlike the wild duck. These black Labrador ducks
breed true; but a case is given by Dr. Turral of the French sub-variety
producing young with some white feathers on the head and neck, and with
an ochre-coloured patch on the breast.

BREED 2. _Hook-billed Duck._—This bird presents an extraordinary
appearance from the downward curvature of the beak. The head is often
tufted. The common colour is white, but some are coloured like wild
ducks. It is an ancient breed, having been noticed in 1676.[3] It shows
its prolonged domestication by almost incessantly laying eggs, like the
fowls which are called everlasting layers.[4]

BREED 3. _Call Duck._—Remarkable from its small size, and from the
extraordinary loquacity of the female. Beak short. These birds are
either white, or coloured like the wild duck.

BREED 4. _Penguin Duck._—This is the most remarkable of all the breeds,
and seems to have originated in the Malayan archipelago. It walks with
its body extremely erect, and with its thin neck stretched straight
upwards. Beak rather short. Tail upturned, including only 18 feathers.
Femur and metatarsus elongated.

Almost all naturalists admit that the several breeds are descended from
the common wild duck (_Anas boschas_); most fanciers, on the other
hand, take as usual a very different view.[5] Unless we deny that
domestication, prolonged during centuries, can affect even such
unimportant characters as colour, size, and in a slight degree
proportional dimensions and mental disposition, there is no reason
whatever to doubt that the domestic duck is descended from the common
wild species, for the one differs from the other in no important
character. We have some historical evidence with respect to the period
and progress of the domestication of the duck. It was unknown[6] to the
ancient Egyptians, to the Jews of the Old Testament, and to the Greeks
of the Homeric period. About eighteen centuries ago Columella[7] and
Varro speak of the necessity of keeping ducks in netted enclosures like
other wild fowl, so that at this period there was danger of their
flying away. Moreover, the plan recommended by Columella to those who
wish to increase their stock of ducks, namely, to collect the eggs of
the wild bird and to place them under a hen, shows, as Mr. Dixon
remarks, “that the duck had not at this time become a naturalised and
prolific inmate of the Roman poultry-yard.” The origin of the domestic
duck from the wild species is recognised in nearly every language of
Europe, as Aldrovandi long ago remarked, by the same name being applied
to both. The wild duck has a wide range from the Himalayas to North
America. It crosses readily with the domestic bird, and the crossed
offspring are perfectly fertile.

Both in North America and Europe the wild duck has been found easy to
tame and breed. In Sweden this experiment was carefully tried by
Tiburtius; he succeeded in rearing wild ducks for three generations,
but, though they were treated like common ducks, they did not vary even
in a single feather. The young birds suffered from being allowed to
swim about in cold water,[8] as is known to be the case, though the
fact is a strange one, with the young of the common domestic duck. An
accurate and well-known observer in England[9] has described in detail
his often repeated and successful experiments in domesticating the wild
duck. Young birds are easily reared from eggs hatched under a bantam;
but to succeed it is indispensable not to place the eggs of both the
wild and tame duck under the same hen, for in this case “the young wild
ducks die off, leaving their more hardy brethren in undisturbed
possession of their foster-mother’s care. The difference of habit at
the onset in the newly-hatched ducklings almost entails such a result
to a certainty.” The wild ducklings were from the first quite tame
towards those who took care of them as long as they wore the same
clothes, and likewise to the dogs and cats of the house. They would
even snap with their beaks at the dogs, and drive them away from any
spot which they coveted. But they were much alarmed at strange men and
dogs. Differently from what occurred in Sweden, Mr. Hewitt found that
his young birds always changed and deteriorated in character in the
course of two or three generations; notwithstanding that great care was
taken to prevent their crossing with tame ducks. After the third
generation his birds lost the elegant carriage of the wild species, and
began to acquire the gait of the common duck. They increased in size in
each generation, and their legs became less fine. The white collar
round the neck of the mallard became broader and less regular, and some
of the longer primary wing-feathers became more or less white. When
this occurred, Mr. Hewitt destroyed nearly the whole of his stock and
procured fresh eggs from wild nests; so that he never bred the same
family for more than five or six generations. His birds continued to
pair together, and never became polygamous like the common domestic
duck. I have given these details, because no other case, as far as I
know, has been so carefully recorded by a competent observer of the
progress of change in wild birds reared for several generations in a
domestic condition.

From these considerations there can hardly be a doubt that the wild
duck is the parent of the common domestic kind; nor need we look to
other species for the parentage of the more distinct breeds, namely,
Penguin, Call, Hook-billed, Tufted, and Labrador ducks. I will not
repeat the arguments used in the previous chapters on the improbability
of man having in ancient times domesticated several species since
become unknown or extinct, though ducks are not readily exterminated in
the wild state;—on some of the supposed parent-species having had
abnormal characters in comparison with all the other species of the
genus, as with Hook-billed and Penguin ducks;—on all the breeds, as far
as is known being fertile together;[10]—on all the breeds having the
same general disposition, instinct, etc. But one fact bearing on this
question may be noticed: in the great duck family, one species alone,
namely, the male of _A. boschas,_ has its four middle tail-feathers
curled upwardly; now in every one of the above-named domestic breeds
these curled feathers exist, and on the supposition that they are
descended from distinct species, we must assume that man formerly hit
upon species all of which had this now unique character. Moreover,
sub-varieties of each breed are coloured almost exactly like the wild
duck, as I have seen with the largest and smallest breeds, namely
Rouens and Call ducks, and, as Mr. Brent states,[11] is the case with
Hook-billed ducks. This gentleman, as he informs me, crossed a white
Aylesbury drake and a black Labrador duck, and some of the ducklings as
they grew up assumed the plumage of the wild duck.

With respect to Penguins, I have not seen many specimens, and none were
coloured precisely like the wild duck; but Sir James Brooke sent me
three skins from Lombok and Bali, in the Malayan archipelago; the two
females were paler and more rufous than the wild duck, and the drake
differed in having the whole under and upper surface (excepting the
neck, tail-coverts, tail, and wings) silver-grey, finely pencilled with
dark lines, closely like certain parts of the plumage of the wild
mallard. But I found this drake to be identical in every feather with a
variety of the common breed procured from a farm-yard in Kent, and I
have occasionally elsewhere seen similar specimens. The occurrence of a
duck bred under so peculiar a climate as that of the Malayan
archipelago, where the wild species does not exist, with exactly the
same plumage as may occasionally be seen in our farm-yards, is a fact
worth notice. Nevertheless the climate of the Malayan archipelago
apparently tends to cause the duck to vary much, for Zollinger,[12]
speaking of the Penguin breed, says that in Lombok “there is an unusual
and very wonderful variety of ducks.” One Penguin drake which I kept
alive differed from those of which the skins were sent me from Lombok,
in having its breast and back partially coloured with chestnut-brown,
thus more closely resembling the Mallard.

From these several facts, more especially from the drakes of all the
breeds having curled tail-feathers, and from certain sub-varieties in
each breed occasionally resembling in general plumage the wild duck, we
may conclude with confidence that all the breeds are descended from _A.

I will now notice some of the peculiarities characteristic of the
several breeds. The eggs vary in colour; some common ducks laying
pale-greenish and others quite white eggs. The eggs which are first
laid during each season by the black Labrador duck, are tinted black,
as if rubbed with ink. A good observer assured me that one year his
ducks of this breed laid almost perfectly white eggs. Another curious
case shows what singular variations sometimes occur and are inherited;
Mr. Hansell[13] relates that he had a common duck which always laid
eggs with the yolk of a dark-brown colour like melted glue; and the
young ducks, hatched from these eggs, laid the same kind of eggs, so
that the breed had to be destroyed.

Illustration: Fig 39—Skulls of Ducks, viewed laterally.
A. Wild Duck. B. Hook-billed Duck.

The Hook-billed duck is highly remarkable (see fig. 39, of skull); and
its peculiar beak has been inherited at least since the year 1676. This
structure is evidently analogous with that described in the Bagadotten
carrier pigeon. Mr. Brent[14] says that, when Hook-billed ducks are
crossed with common ducks, “many young ones are produced with the upper
mandible shorter than the lower, which not unfrequently causes the
death of the bird.” With ducks a tuft of feathers on the head is by no
means a rare occurrence; namely, in the True-tufted breed, the
Hook-billed, the common farm-yard kind, and in a duck having no other
peculiarity which was sent to me from the Malayan archipelago. The tuft
is only so far interesting as it affects the skull, which is thus
rendered slightly more globular, and is perforated by numerous
apertures. Call ducks are remarkable from their extraordinary
loquacity: the drake only hisses like common drakes; nevertheless, when
paired with the common duck, he transmits to his female offspring a
strong quacking tendency. This loquacity seems at first a surprising
character to have been acquired under domestication. But the voice
varies in the different breeds; Mr. Brent[15] says that Hook-billed
ducks are very loquacious, and that Rouens utter a “dull, loud, and
monotonous cry, easily distinguishable by an experienced ear.” As the
loquacity of the Call duck is highly serviceable, these birds being
used in decoys, this quality may have been increased by selection. For
instance, Colonel Hawker says, if young wild ducks cannot be got for a
decoy, “by way of make-shift, _select_ tame birds which are the most
clamorous, even if their colour should not be like that of wild
ones.”[16] It has been erroneously asserted that Call ducks hatch their
eggs in less time than common ducks.[17]

The Penguin duck is the most remarkable of all the breeds; the thin
neck and body are carried erect; the wings are small; the tail is
upturned; and the thigh-bones and metatarsi are considerably lengthened
in proportion with the same bones in the wild duck. In five specimens
examined by me there were only eighteen tail-feathers instead of twenty
as in the wild duck; but I have also found only eighteen and nineteen
tail-feathers in two Labrador ducks. On the middle toe, in three
specimens, there were twenty-seven or twenty-eight scutellæ, whereas in
two wild ducks there were thirty-one and thirty-two. The Penguin when
crossed transmits with much power its peculiar form of body and gait to
its offspring; this was manifest with some hybrids raised in the
Zoological Gardens between one of these birds and the Egyptian
goose,[18] (_Anser ægyptiacus_) and likewise with some mongrels which I
raised between the Penguin and Labrador duck. I am not much surprised
that some writers should maintain that this breed must be descended
from an unknown and distinct species; but from the reasons already
assigned, it seems to me far more probable that it is the descendant,
much modified by domestication under an unnatural climate, of _Anas

_Osteological Characters._—The skulls of the several breeds differ from
each other and from the skull of the wild duck in very little except in
the proportional length and curvature of the premaxillaries. These
latter bones in the Call duck are short, and a line drawn from their
extremities to the summit of the skull is nearly straight, instead of
being concave as in the common duck; so that the skull resembles that
of a small goose. In the Hook-billed duck (fig. 39), these same bones
as well as the lower jaw curve downwards in a most remarkable manner,
as represented. In the Labrador duck the premaxillaries are rather
broader than in the wild duck; and in two skulls of this breed the
vertical ridges on each side of the supra-occipital bone are very
prominent. In the Penguin the premaxillaries are relatively shorter
than in the wild duck; and the inferior points of the paramastoids more
prominent. In a Dutch tufted duck, the skull under the enormous tuft
was slightly more globular and was perforated by two large apertures;
in this skull the lachrymal bones were produced much further backwards,
so as to have a different shape and nearly to touch the post. lat.
processes of the frontal bones, thus almost completing the bony orbit
of the eye. As the quadrate and pterygoid bones are of such complex
shape and stand in relation with so many other bones, I carefully
compared them in all the principal breeds; but excepting in size they
presented no difference.

Illustration: Fig 40—Cervical Verterbræ of Ducks.

_Vertebræ and Ribs._—In one skeleton of the Labrador duck there were
the usual fifteen cervical vertebræ and the usual nine dorsal vertebræ
bearing ribs; in the other skeleton there were fifteen cervical and ten
dorsal vertebræ with ribs; nor, as far as could be judged, was this
owing merely to a rib having been developed on the first lumbar
vertebra; for in both skeletons the lumbar vertebræ agreed perfectly in
number, shape, and size with those of the wild duck. In two skeletons
of the Call duck there were fifteen cervical and nine dorsal vertebræ;
in a third skeleton small ribs were attached to the so-called fifteenth
cervical vertebra, making ten pairs of ribs; but these ten ribs do not
correspond, or arise from the same vertebra, with the ten in the
above-mentioned Labrador duck. In the Call duck, which had small ribs
attached to the fifteenth cervical vertebra, the hæmal spines of the
thirteenth and fourteenth (cervical) and of the seventeenth (dorsal)
vertebræ corresponded with the spines on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and
eighteenth vertebræ of the wild duck: so that each of these vertebræ
had acquired a structure proper to one posterior to it in position. In
the eighth cervical vertebra of this same Call duck (fig. 40, B), the
two branches of the hæmal spine stand much closer together than in the
wild duck (A), and the descending hæmal processes are much shortened.
In the Penguin duck the neck from its thinness and erectness falsely
appears (as ascertained by measurement) to be much elongated, but the
cervical and dorsal vertebræ present no difference; the posterior
dorsal vertebræ, however, are more completely anchylosed to the pelvis
than in the wild duck. The Aylesbury duck has fifteen cervical and ten
dorsal vertebræ furnished with ribs, but the same number of lumbar,
sacral, and caudal vertebræ, as far as could be traced, as in the wild
duck. The cervical vertebræ in this same duck (fig. 40, D) were much
broader and thicker relatively to their length than in the wild (C); so
much so, that I have thought it worth while to give a sketch of the
twelfth cervical vertebra in these two birds. From the foregoing
statements we see that the fifteenth cervical vertebra occasionally
becomes modified into a dorsal vertebra, and when this occurs all the
adjoining vertebræ are modified. We also see that an additional dorsal
vertebra bearing a rib is occasionally developed, the number of the
cervical and lumbar vertebræ apparently remaining the same as usual.

I examined the bony enlargement of the trachea in the males of the
Penguin, Call, Hook-billed, Labrador, and Aylesbury breeds; and in all
it was identical in shape.

The _pelvis_ is remarkably uniform; but in the skeleton of the
Hook-billed duck the anterior part is much bowed inwards; in the
Aylesbury and some other breeds the ischiadic foramen is less
elongated. In the sternum, furculum, coracoids, and scapulæ, the
differences are so slight and so variable as not to be worth notice,
except that in two skeletons of the Penguin duck the terminal portion
of the scapula was much attenuated.

In the bones of the leg and wing no modification in shape could be
observed. But in the Penguin and Hook-billed ducks, the terminal
phalanges of the wing are a little shortened. In the former, the femur,
and metatarsus (but not the tibia) are considerably lengthened,
relatively to the same bones in the wild duck, and to the wing-bones in
both birds. This elongation of the leg-bones could be seen whilst the
bird was alive, and is no doubt connected with its peculiar upright
manner of walking. In a large Aylesbury duck, on the other hand, the
tibia was the only bone of the leg which relatively to the other bones
was slightly lengthened.

_On the effects of the increased and decreased Use of the Limbs._—In
all the breeds the bones of the wing (measured separately after having
been cleaned) relatively to those of the leg have become slightly
shortened, in comparison with the same bones in the wild duck, as may
be seen in Table I.

Table I

Name of Breed     Length of Femur,
          Tibia, and Meta-
          tarsus together     Length of Humerus,
          Radius, and Meta-
          carpus together     Or as Inches     Inches Wild
          mallard     7·14       9·28     100 : 129
          Aylesbury     8·64     10·43     100 : 120 Tufted
          (Dutch)     8·25       9·83     100 : 119 Penguin     7·12      
          8·78     100 : 123 Call     6·20       7·77     100 : 125 Length
          of same
          Bones     Length of all the
          Bones of Wing Inches     Inches Wild duck (another
          specimen)     6·85     10·07     100 : 147 Common domestic
          duck     8·15     11·26     100 : 138

In Table I we see, by comparison with the wild duck, that the reduction
in the length of the bones of the wing, relatively to those of the
legs, though slight, is universal. The reduction is least in the Call
duck, which has the power and the habit of frequently flying.

In weight there is a greater relative difference between the bones of
the leg and wing, as may be seen in Table II:—

Table II

Name of Breed     Weight of Femur,
          Tibia, and
          Metatarsus     Weight of
          Humerus, Radius,
          and Metacarpus     Or as Grains     Grains Wild mallard      
          54       97     100 : 179 Aylesbury     164     204     100 : 124
          Hooked-bill     107     160     100 : 149 Tufted
          (Dutch)     111     148     100 : 133 Penguin       75
          90.5     100 : 120 Labrador     141     165     100 : 117
          Call       57       93     100 : 163 Weight of all the
          Bones of the
          Leg and Foot     Weight of all the
          Bones of the
          Wing Grains     Grains Wild (another specimen)      
          66     115     100 : 173 Common domestic
          duck     127     158     100 : 124

In these domesticated birds, the considerably lessened weight of the
bones of the wing (_i.e._ on an average, twenty-five per cent of their
proper proportional weight), as well as their slightly lessened length,
relatively to the leg-bones, might follow, not from any actual decrease
in the wing-bones, but from the increased weight and length of the
bones of the legs. Table IIIa shows that the leg-bones relatively to
the weight of the entire skeleton have really increased in weight; but
Table IIIb shows that according to the same standard the wing-bones
have also really decreased in weight; so that the relative
disproportion shown in the foregoing tables between the wing and
leg-bones, in comparison with those of the wild duck, is partly due to
the increase in weight and length of the leg-bones, and partly to the
decrease in weight and length of the wing-bones.

Table III

Name of Breed     Weight of entire
          (N.B. One Metatarsus
          and Foot was
          removed from each
          skeleton, as it had
          been accidentally lost
          in two cases.)     Weight of
          Tibia, and
          Metatarsus     Or as Grains     Grains Wild mallard      
          839       54     1000 : 64 Aylesbury     1925     164     1000 :
          85 Tufted (Dutch)     1404     111     1000 : 79 Penguin      
          871       75     1000 : 86 Call (from Mr. Fox)       717      
          57     1000 : 79 Weight of Skeleton
          as above.     Weight of
          Radius and
          Metacarpus. Grains     Grains Wild mallard       839      
          97     1000 : 115 Aylesbury     1925     204     1000 : 105
          Tufted (Dutch)     1404     148     1000 : 105 Penguin      
          871       90     1000 : 103 Call (from Mr. Baker)      
          914     100     1000 : 109 Call (from Mr. Fox)       717      
          92     1000 : 129

With respect to Table III, I may first state that I tested them by
taking another skeleton of a wild duck and of a common domestic duck,
and by comparing the weight of _ all_ the bones of the leg with _all_
those of the wings, and the result was the same. In the first of these
tables we see that the leg-bones in each case have increased in actual
weight. It might have been expected that, with the increased or
decreased weight of the entire skeleton, the leg-bones would have
become proportionally heavier or lighter; but their greater weight in
all the breeds relatively to the other bones can be accounted for only
by these domestic birds having used their legs in walking and standing
much more than the wild, for they never fly, and the more artificial
breeds rarely swim. In the second table we see, with the exception of
one case, a plain reduction in the weight of the bones of the wing, and
this no doubt has resulted from their lessened use. The one exceptional
case, namely, in one of the Call ducks, is in truth no exception, for
this bird was constantly in the habit of flying about; and I have seen
it day after day rise from my grounds, and fly for a long time in
circles of more than a mile in diameter. In this Call duck there is not
only no decrease, but an actual increase in the weight of the
wing-bones relatively to those of the wild-duck; and this probably is
consequent on the remarkable lightness and thinness of all the bones of
the skeleton.

Lastly, I weighed the furculum, coracoids, and scapula of a wild duck
and of a common domestic duck, and I found that their weight,
relatively to that of the whole skeleton, was as one hundred in the
former to eighty-nine in the latter; this shows that these bones in the
domestic duck have been reduced eleven per cent of their due
proportional weight. The prominence of the crest of the sternum,
relatively to its length, is also much reduced in all the domestic
breeds. These changes have evidently been caused by the lessened use of
the wings.

It is well known that several birds, belonging to different Orders, and
inhabiting oceanic islands, have their wings greatly reduced in size
and are incapable of flight. I suggested in my ‘Origin of Species’
that, as these birds are not persecuted by any enemies, the reduction
of their wings had probably been caused by gradual disuse. Hence,
during the earlier stages of the process of reduction, such birds would
probably have resembled our domesticated ducks in the state of their
organs of flight. This is the case with the water-hen (_Gallinula
nesiotis_) of Tristan d’Acunha, which “can flutter a little, but
obviously uses its legs, and not its wings, as a mode of escape.” Now
Mr. Sclater[19] finds in this bird that the wings, sternum, and
coracoids are all reduced in length, and the crest of the sternum in
depth, in comparison with the same bones in the European water-hen (_G.
chloropus_). On the other hand, the thigh-bones and pelvis are
increased in length, the former by four lines, relatively to the same
bones in the common water-hen. Hence in the skeleton of this natural
species nearly the same changes have occurred, only carried a little
further, as with our domestic ducks, and in this latter case I presume
no one will dispute that they have resulted from the lessened use of
the wings and the increased use of the legs.


This bird deserves some notice, as hardly any other anciently
domesticated bird or quadruped has varied so little. That geese were
anciently domesticated we know from certain verses in Homer; and from
these birds having been kept (388 B.C.) in the Capitol at Rome as
sacred to Juno, which sacredness implies great antiquity.[20] That the
goose has varied in some degree, we may infer from naturalists not
being unanimous with respect to its wild parent-form; though the
difficulty is chiefly due to the existence of three or four closely
allied wild European species.[21] A large majority of capable judges
are convinced that our geese are descended from the wild Grey-leg goose
(_A. ferus_); the young of which can easily be tamed.[22] This species,
when crossed with the domestic goose, produced in the Zoological
Gardens, as I was assured in 1849, perfectly fertile offspring.[23]
Yarrell[24] has observed that the lower part of the trachea of the
domestic goose is sometimes flattened, and that a ring of white
feathers sometimes surrounds the base of the beak. These characters
seem at first sight good indications of a cross at some former period
with the white-fronted goose (_A. albifrons_); but the white ring is
variable in this latter species, and we must not overlook the law of
analogous variation; that is, of one species assuming some of the
characters of allied species.

As the goose has proved so little flexible in its organisation under
long-continued domestication, the amount of variation which it has
undergone may be worth giving. It has increased in size and in
productiveness;[25] and varies from white to a dusky colour. Several
observers[26] have stated that the gander is more frequently white than
the goose, and that when old it almost invariably becomes white; but
this is not the case with the parent-form, the _A. ferus._ Here, again,
the law of analogous variation may have come into play, as the almost
snow-white male of the Rock goose (_Bernicla antarctica_) standing on
the sea-shore by his dusky partner is a sight well known to those who
have traversed the sounds of Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands.
Some geese have top-knots; and the skull beneath, as before stated, is
perforated. A sub-breed has lately been formed with the feathers
reversed at the back of the head and neck.[27] The beak varies a little
in size, and is of a yellower tint than in the wild species; but its
colour and that of the legs are both slightly variable.[28] This latter
fact deserves attention, because the colour of the legs and beak is
highly serviceable in discriminating the several closely allied wild
forms.[29] At our Shows two breeds are exhibited; viz., the Embden and
Toulouse; but they differ in nothing except colour.[30] Recently a
smaller and singular variety has been imported from Sebastopol,[31]
with the scapular feathers (as I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier, who sent me
specimens) greatly elongated, curled, and even spirally twisted. The
margins of these feathers are rendered plumose by the divergence of the
barbs and barbules, so that they resemble in some degree those on the
back of the black Australian swan. These feathers are likewise
remarkable from the central shaft, which is excessively thin and
transparent, being split into fine filaments, which, after running for
a space free, sometimes coalesce again. It is a curious fact that these
filaments are regularly clothed on each side with fine down or
barbules, precisely like those on the proper barbs of the feather. This
structure of the feathers is transmitted to half-bred birds. In _
Gallus sonneratii_ the barbs and barbules blend together, and form thin
horny plates of the same nature with the shaft: in this variety of the
goose, the shaft divides into filaments which acquire barbules, and
thus resemble true barbs.

Although the domestic goose certainly differs somewhat from any known
wild species, yet the amount of variation which it has undergone, as
compared with that of most domesticated animals, is singularly small.
This fact can be partially accounted for by selection not having come
largely into play. Birds of all kinds which present many distinct races
are valued as pets or ornaments; no one makes a pet of the goose; the
name, indeed, in more languages than one, is a term of reproach. The
goose is valued for its size and flavour, for the whiteness of its
feathers which adds to their value, and for its prolificness and
tameness. In all these points the goose differs from the wild
parent-form; and these are the points which have been selected. Even in
ancient times the Roman gourmands valued the liver of the _white_
goose; and Pierre Belon[32] in 1555 speaks of two varieties, one of
which was larger, more fecund, and of a better colour than the other;
and he expressly states that good managers attended to the colour of
their goslings, so that they might know which to preserve and select
for breeding.


This is another bird which has hardly varied under domestication,
except in sometimes being white or piebald. Mr. Waterhouse carefully
compared, as he informs me, skins of the wild Indian and domestic bird,
and they were identical in every respect, except that the plumage of
the latter was perhaps rather thicker. Whether our birds are descended
from those introduced into Europe in the time of Alexander, or have
been subsequently imported, is doubtful. They do not breed very freely
with us, and are seldom kept in large numbers,—circumstances which
would greatly interfere with the gradual selection and formation of new
breeds. There is one strange fact with respect to the peacock, namely,
the occasional appearance in England of the “japanned” or
“black-shouldered” kind. This form has lately been named on the high
authority of Mr. Sclater as a distinct species, viz. _Pavo
nigripennis,_ which he believes will hereafter be found wild in some
country, but not in India, where it is certainly unknown. The males of
these japanned birds differ conspicuously from the common peacock in
the colour of their secondary wing-feathers, scapulars, wing-coverts,
and thighs, and are I think more beautiful; they are rather smaller
than the common sort, and are always beaten by them in their battles,
as I hear from the Hon. A. S. G. Canning. The females are much paler
coloured than those of the common kind. Both sexes, as Mr. Canning
informs me, are white when they leave the egg, and they differ from the
young of the white variety only in having a peculiar pinkish tinge on
their wings. These japanned birds, though appearing suddenly in flocks
of the common kind, propagate their kind quite truly. Although they do
not resemble the hybrids which have been raised between _P. cristatus_
and _ muticus,_ nevertheless they are in some respects intermediate in
character between these two species; and this fact favours, as Mr.
Sclater believes, the view that they form a distinct and natural

On the other hand, Sir H. Heron states[34] that this breed suddenly
appeared within his memory in Lord Brownlow’s large stock of pied,
white, and common peacocks. The same thing occurred in Sir J.
Trevelyan’s flock composed entirely of the common kind, and in Mr.
Thornton’s stock of common and pied peacocks. It is remarkable that in
these two latter instances the black-shouldered kind, though a smaller
and weaker bird, increased, “to the extinction of the previously
existing breed.” I have also received through Mr. Sclater a statement
from Mr. Hudson Gurney that he reared many years ago a pair of
black-shouldered peacocks from the common kind; and another
ornithologist, Prof. A. Newton, states that, five or six years ago, a
female bird, in all respects similar to the female of the
black-shouldered kind, was produced from a stock of common peacocks in
his possession, which during more than twenty years had not been
crossed with birds of any other strain. Mr. Jenner Weir informs me that
a peacock at Blackheath whilst young was white, but as it became older
gradually assumed the characters of the black-shouldered variety; both
its parents were common peacocks. Lastly, Mr. Canning has given a case
of a female of this same variety appearing in Ireland in a flock of the
ordinary kind.[35] Here, then, we have seven well authenticated cases
in Great Britain of japanned birds, having suddenly appeared within
recent times in flocks of the common peafowl. This variety must also
have formerly appeared in Europe, for Mr. Canning has seen an old
picture, and another is referred to in the ‘Field,’ with this variety
represented. These facts seem to me to indicate that the japanned
peacock is a strongly marked variety or “sport,” which tends at all
times and in many places to reappear. This view is supported by the
young being at first white like the young of the white breed, which is
undoubtedly a variation. If, on the other hand, we believe the japanned
peacock to be a distinct species, we must suppose that in all the above
cases the common breed had at some former period been crossed by it,
but had lost every trace of the cross; yet that the offspring of these
birds suddenly and completely reacquired through reversion the
characters of _P. nigripennis._ I have heard of no other such case in
the animal or vegetable kingdom. To perceive the full improbability of
such an occurrence, we may suppose that a breed of dogs had been
crossed at some former period with a wolf, but had lost every trace of
the wolf-like character, yet that the breed gave birth in seven
instances in the same country, within no great length of time, to a
wolf perfect in every character; and we must further suppose that in
two of the cases, the newly produced wolves afterwards spontaneously
increased to such an extent as to lead to the extinction of the parent
breed of dogs. So remarkable a bird as the _P. nigripennis,_ when first
imported, would have realised a large price; it is therefore improbable
that it should have been silently introduced and its history
subsequently lost. On the whole the evidence seems to me, as it did to
Sir R. Heron, to be decisive in favour of the japanned or
black-shouldered breed being a variation, induced by some unknown
cause. On this view, the case is the most remarkable one ever recorded
of the abrupt appearance of a new form, which so closely resembles a
true species that it has deceived one of the most experienced of living


It seems fairly well established by Mr. Gould,[36] that the turkey, in
accordance with the history of its first introduction, is descended
from a wild Mexican form, which had been domesticated by the natives
before the discovery of America, and which is now generally ranked as a
local race, and not as a distinct species. However this may be, the
case deserves notice because in the United States wild male turkeys
sometimes court the domestic hens, which are descended from the Mexican
form, “and are generally received by them with great pleasure.”[37]
Several accounts have likewise been published of young birds, reared in
the United States from the eggs of the wild species, crossing and
commingling with the common breed. In England, also, this same species
has been kept in several parks; from two of which the Rev. W. D. Fox
procured birds, and they crossed freely with the common domestic kind,
and during many years afterwards, as he informs me, the turkeys in his
neighbourhood clearly showed traces of their crossed parentage. We here
have an instance of a domestic race being modified by a cross with a
distinct wild race or species. F. Michaux[38] suspected in 1802 that
the common domestic turkey was not descended from the United States
species alone, but likewise from a southern form, and he went so far as
to believe that English and French turkeys differed from having
different proportions of the blood of the two parent-forms.

English turkeys are smaller than either wild form. They have not varied
in any great degree; but there are some breeds which can be
distinguished as Norfolks, Suffolks, Whites, and Copper-coloured (or
Cambridge), all of which, if precluded from crossing with other breeds
propagate their kind truly. Of these kinds, the most distinct is the
small, hardy, dull-black Norfolk turkey, of which the chickens are
black, occasionally with white patches about the head. The other breeds
scarcely differ except in colour, and their chickens are generally
mottled all over with brownish-grey.[39] The inferior tail-coverts vary
in number, and according to a German superstition the hen lays as many
eggs as the cock has feathers of this kind.[40] Albin in 1738, and
Temminck within a much later period, describe a beautiful breed,
dusky-yellowish, brown above and white beneath, with a large top-knot
of soft plumose feather. The spurs of the male were rudimentary. This
breed has been for a long time extinct in Europe; but a living specimen
has lately been imported from the east coast of Africa, which still
retains the top-knot and the same general colouring and rudimentary
spurs.[41] Mr. Wilmot has described[42] a white turkey-cock having a
crest formed of “feathers about four inches long, with bare quills, and
a tuft of soft white down growing at the end.” Many of the young birds
inherited this kind of crest, but afterwards it fell off or was pecked
out by the other birds. This is an interesting case, as with care a new
breed might probably have been formed; and a top-knot of this nature
would have been to a certain extent analogous to that borne by the
males in several allied genera, such as Euplocomus, Lophophorus, and

Wild turkeys, believed in every instance to have been imported from the
United States, have been kept in the parks of Lords Powis, Leicester,
Hill, and Derby. The Rev. W. D. Fox procured birds from the two
first-named parks, and he informs me that they certainly differed a
little from each other in the shape of their bodies and in the barred
plumage on their wings. These birds likewise differed from Lord Hill’s
stock. Some of the latter kept at Oulton by Sir P. Egerton, though
precluded from crossing with common turkeys, occasionally produced much
paler-coloured birds, and one that was almost white, but not an albino.
These half-wild turkeys, in thus differing slightly from each other,
present an analogous case with the wild cattle kept in the several
British parks. We must suppose that such differences have resulted from
the prevention of free intercrossing between birds ranging over a wide
area, and from the changed conditions to which they have been exposed
in England. In India the climate has apparently wrought a still greater
change in the turkey, for it is described by Mr. Blyth[43] as being
much degenerated in size, “utterly incapable of rising on the wing,” of
a black colour, and “with the long pendulous appendages over the beak
enormously developed.”


The domesticated Guinea fowl is now believed by some naturalists to be
descended from the _Numida ptilorhynca,_ which inhabits very hot, and,
in parts, extremely arid districts in Eastern Africa; consequently it
has been exposed in this country to extremely different conditions of
life. Nevertheless it has hardly varied at all, except in the plumage
being either paler or darker-coloured. It is a singular fact that this
bird varies more in colour in the West Indies and on the Spanish Main,
under a hot though humid climate, than in Europe.[44] The Guinea fowl
has become thoroughly feral in Jamaica and in St. Domingo,[45] and has
diminished in size; the legs are black, whereas the legs of the
aboriginal African bird are said to be grey. This small change is worth
notice on account of the often-repeated statement that all feral
animals invariably revert in every character to their original type.


As this bird has been recently domesticated, namely, within the last
350 years, its variability deserves notice. It has been crossed with
nine or ten other species of Fringillidæ, and some of the hybrids are
almost completely fertile; but we have no evidence that any distinct
breed has originated from such crosses. Notwithstanding the modern
domestication of the canary, many varieties have been produced; even
before the year 1718 a list of twenty-seven varieties was published in
France,[46] and in 1779 a long schedule of the desired qualities was
printed by the London Canary Society, so that methodical selection has
been practised during a considerable period. The greater number of the
varieties differ only in colour and in the markings of their plumage.
Some breeds however, differ in shape, such as the hooped or bowed
canaries, and the Belgian canaries with their much elongated bodies.
Mr. Brent[47] measured one of the latter and found it eight inches in
length, whilst the wild canary is only five and a quarter inches long.
There are top-knotted canaries, and it is a singular fact that, if two
top-knotted birds are matched, the young, instead of having very fine
top-knots, are generally bald, or even have a wound on their heads.[48]
It would appear as if the top-knot were due to some morbid condition,
which is increased to an injurious degree when two birds in this state
are paired. There is a feather-footed breed, and another with a kind of
frill running down the breast. One other character deserves notice from
being confined to one period of life, and from being strictly inherited
at the same period; namely, the wing and tail feathers in prize
canaries being black, “but this colour is retained only until the first
moult; once moulted, the peculiarity ceases.”[49] Canaries differ much
in disposition and character, and in some small degree in song. They
produce eggs three or four times during the year.


Besides mammals and birds, only a few animals belonging to the other
great classes have been domesticated; but to show that it is an almost
universal law that animals, when removed from their natural conditions
of life, vary, and that races can be formed when selection is applied,
it is necessary to say a few words on gold-fish, bees, and silk-moths.

Gold-fish (_Cyprinus auratus_) were introduced into Europe only two or
three centuries ago; but they have been kept in confinement from an
ancient period in China. Mr. Blyth[50] suspects, from the analogous
variation of other fishes, that golden-coloured fish do not occur in a
state of nature. These fishes frequently live under the most unnatural
conditions, and their variability in colour, size, and in some
important points of structure is very great. M. Sauvigny has described
and given coloured drawings of no less than eighty-nine varieties.[51]
Many of the varieties, however, such as triple tail-fins, etc., ought
to be called monstrosities; but it is difficult to draw any distinct
line between a variation and a monstrosity. As gold-fish are kept for
ornament or curiosity, and as “the Chinese are just the people to have
secluded a chance variety of any kind, and to have matched and paired
from it,”[52] it might have been predicted that selection would have
been largely practised in the formation of new breeds; and this is the
case. In an old Chinese work it is said that fish with vermilion scales
were first raised in confinement during the Sung dynasty (which
commenced A.D. 960), “and now they are cultivated in families
everywhere for the sake of ornament.” In another and more ancient work,
it is said that “there is not a household where the gold-fish is not
cultivated, in _rivalry_ as to its colour, and as a source of profit,”
etc.[53] Although many breeds exist, it is a singular fact that the
variations are often not inherited. Sir R. Heron[54] kept many of these
fishes, and placed all the deformed ones, namely, those destitute of
dorsal fins and those furnished with a double anal fin, or triple tail,
in a pond by themselves; but they did “not produce a greater proportion
of deformed offspring than the perfect fishes.”

Passing over an almost infinite diversity of colour, we meet with the
most extraordinary modifications of structure. Thus, out of about two
dozen specimens bought in London, Mr. Yarrell observed some with the
dorsal fin extending along more than half the length of the back:
others with this fin reduced to only five or six rays: and one with no
dorsal fin. The anal fins are sometimes double, and the tail is often
triple. This latter deviation of structure seems generally to occur “at
the expense of the whole or part of some other fin;”[55] but Bory de
Saint-Vincent[56] saw at Madrid gold-fish furnished with a dorsal fin
and a triple tail. One variety is characterised by a hump on its back
near the head; and the Rev. L. Jenyns[57] has described a most singular
variety, imported from China, almost globular in form like a Diodon,
with “the fleshy part of the tail as if entirely cut away? the caudal
fin being set on a little behind the dorsal and immediately above the
anal.” In this fish the anal and caudal fins were double; the anal fin
being attached to the body in a vertical line: the eyes also were
enormously large and protuberant.


Bees have been domesticated from an ancient period; if indeed their
state can be considered one of domestication, for they search for their
own food, with the exception of a little generally given to them during
the winter. Their habitation is a hive instead of a hole in a tree.
Bees, however, have been transported into almost every quarter of the
world, so that climate ought to have produced whatever direct effect it
is capable of producing. It is frequently asserted that the bees in
different parts of Great Britain differ in size, colour, and temper;
and Godron[58] says that they are generally larger in the south than in
other parts of France; it has also been asserted that the little brown
bees of High Burgundy, when transported to La Bresse become large and
yellow in the second generation. But these statements require
confirmation. As far as size is concerned, it is known that bees
produced in very old combs are smaller, owing to the cells having
become smaller from the successive old cocoons. The best
authorities[59] concur that, with the exception of the Ligurian race or
species, presently to be mentioned, distinct breeds do not exist in
Britain or on the Continent. There is, however, even in the same stock,
some variability in colour. Thus, Mr. Woodbury states,[60] that he has
several times seen queen bees of the common kind annulated with
yellow-like Ligurian queens, and the latter dark-coloured like common
bees. He has also observed variations in the colour of the drones,
without any corresponding difference in the queens or workers of the
same hive. The great apiarian, Dzierzon, in answer to my queries on
this subject, says,[61] that in Germany bees of some stocks are
decidedly dark, whilst others are remarkable for their yellow colour.
Bees also seem to differ in habits in different districts, for Dzierzon
adds, “If many stocks with their offspring are more inclined to swarm,
whilst others are richer in honey, so that some bee-keepers even
distinguish between swarming and honey-gathering bees, this is a habit
which has become second nature, caused by the customary mode of keeping
the bees and the pasturage of the district. For example, what a
difference in this respect one may perceive to exist between the bees
of the Luneburg heath and those of this country!” . . . “Removing an
old queen and substituting a young one of the current year is here an
infallible mode of keeping the strongest stock from swarming and
preventing drone-breeding; whilst the same means if adopted in Hanover
would certainly be of no avail.” I procured a hive full of dead bees
from Jamaica, where they have long been naturalised, and, on carefully
comparing them under the microscope with my own bees, I could detect
not a trace of difference.

This remarkable uniformity in the hive-bee, wherever kept, may probably
be accounted for by the great difficulty, or rather impossibility, of
bringing selection into play by pairing particular queens and drones,
for these insects unite only during flight. Nor is there any record,
with a single partial exception, of any person having separated and
bred from a hive in which the workers presented some appreciable
difference. In order to form a new breed, seclusion from other bees
would, as we now know, be indispensable; for since the introduction of
the Ligurian bee into Germany and England, it has been found that the
drones wander at least two miles from their own hives, and often cross
with the queens of the common bee.[62] The Ligurian bee, although
perfectly fertile when crossed with the common kind, is ranked by most
naturalists as a distinct species, whilst by others it is ranked as a
variety: but this form need not here be noticed, as there is no reason
to believe that it is the product of domestication. The Egyptian and
some other bees are likewise ranked by Dr. Gerstäcker,[63] but not by
other highly competent judges, as geographical races; he grounds his
conclusion in chief part on the fact that in certain districts, as in
the Crimea and Rhodes, they vary so much in colour, that the several
geographical races can be closely connected by intermediate forms.

I have alluded to a single instance of the separation and preservation
of a particular stock of bees. Mr. Lowe[64] procured some bees from a
cottager a few miles from Edinburgh, and perceived that they differed
from the common bee in the hairs on the head and thorax being lighter
coloured and more profuse in quantity. From the date of the
introduction of the Ligurian bee into Great Britain we may feel sure
that these bees had not been crossed with this form. Mr. Lowe
propagated this variety, but unfortunately did not separate the stock
from his other bees, and after three generations the new character was
almost completely lost. Nevertheless, as he adds, “a great number of
the bees still retain traces, though faint, of the original colony.”
This case shows us what could probably be effected by careful and
long-continued selection applied exclusively to the workers, for, as we
have seen, queens and drones cannot be selected and paired.


These insects are in several respects interesting to us, more
especially because they have varied largely at an early period of life,
and the variations have been inherited at corresponding periods. As the
value of the silk-moth depends entirely on the cocoon, every change in
its structure and qualities has been carefully attended to, and races
differing much in the cocoon, but hardly at all in the adult state,
have been produced. With the races of most other domestic animals, the
young resemble each other closely, whilst the adults differ much.

It would be useless, even if it were possible, to describe all the many
kinds of silkworms. Several distinct species exist in India and China
which produce useful silk, and some of these are capable of freely
crossing with the common silk-moth, as has been recently ascertained in
France. Captain Hutton[65] states that throughout the world at least
six species have been domesticated; and he believes that the silk-moths
reared in Europe belong to two or three species. This, however, is not
the opinion of several capable judges who have particularly attended to
the cultivation of this insect in France; and hardly accords with some
facts presently to be given.

The common silk-moth (_Bombyx mori_) was brought to Constantinople in
the sixth century, whence it was carried into Italy, and in 1494 into
France.[66] Everything has been favourable for the variation of this
insect. It is believed to have been domesticated in China as long ago
as 2700 B.C. It has been kept under unnatural and diversified
conditions of life, and has been transported into many countries. There
is reason to believe that the nature of the food given to the
caterpillar influences to a certain extent the character of the
breed.[67] Disuse has apparently aided in checking the development of
the wings. But the most important element in the production of the many
now existing, much modified races, no doubt has been the close
attention which has long been applied in many countries to every
promising variation. The care taken in Europe in the selection of the
best cocoons and moths for breeding is notorious,[68] and the
production of eggs is followed as a distinct trade in parts of France.
I have made inquiries through Dr. Falconer, and am assured that in
India the natives are equally careful in the process of selection. In
China the production of eggs is confined to certain favourable
districts, and the raisers are precluded by law from producing silk, so
that their whole attention may be necessarily given up to this one

The following details on the differences between the several breeds are
taken, when not stated to the contrary, from M. Robinet’s excellent
work,[70] which bears every sign of care and large experience. The
_eggs_ in the different races vary in colour, in shape (being round,
elliptic or oval), and in size. The eggs laid in June in the south of
France, and in July in the central provinces, do not hatch until the
following spring; and it is in vain, says M. Robinet, to expose them to
a temperature gradually raised, in order that the caterpillar may be
quickly developed. Yet occasionally, without any known cause, batches
of eggs are produced, which immediately begin to undergo the proper
changes, and are hatched in from twenty to thirty days. From these and
some other analogous facts it may be concluded that the Trevoltini
silkworms of Italy, of which the caterpillars are hatched in from
fifteen to twenty days, do not necessarily form, as has been
maintained, a distinct species. Although the breeds which live in
temperate countries produce eggs which cannot be immediately hatched by
artificial heat, yet when they are removed to and reared in a hot
country they gradually acquire the character of quick development, as
in the Trevoltini races.[71]

_Caterpillars._—These vary greatly in size and colour. The skin is
generally white, sometimes mottled with black or grey, and occasionally
quite black. The colour, however, as M. Robinet asserts, is not
constant, even in perfectly pure breeds; except in the race _tigrée,_
so called from being marked with transverse black stripes. As the
general colour of the caterpillar is not correlated with that of the
silk,[72] this character is disregarded by cultivators, and has not
been fixed by selection. Captain Hutton, in the paper before referred
to, has argued with much force that the dark tiger-like marks, which so
frequently appear during the later moults in the caterpillars of
various breeds, are due to reversion; for the caterpillars of several
allied wild species of Bombyx are marked and coloured in this manner.
He separated some caterpillars with the tiger-like marks, and in the
succeeding spring (pp. 149, 298) nearly all the caterpillars reared
from them were dark-brindled, and the tints became still darker in the
third generation. The moths reared from these caterpillars[73] also
became darker, and resembled in colouring the wild _B. huttoni._ On
this view of the tiger-like marks being due to reversion, the
persistency with which they are transmitted is intelligible.

Several years ago Mrs. Whitby took great pains in breeding silkworms on
a large scale, and she informed me that some of her caterpillars had
dark eyebrows. This is probably the first step in reversion towards the
tiger-like marks, and I was curious to know whether so trifling a
character would be inherited. At my request she separated in 1848
twenty of these caterpillars, and having kept the moths separate, bred
from them. Of the many caterpillars thus reared, “every one without
exception had eyebrows, some darker and more decidedly marked than the
others, but _all_ had eyebrows more or less plainly visible.” Black
caterpillars occasionally appear amongst those of the common kind, but
in so variable a manner, that, according to M. Robinet, the same race
will one year exclusively produce white caterpillars, and the next year
many black ones; nevertheless, I have been informed by M. A. Bossi of
Geneva, that, if these black caterpillars are separately bred from,
they reproduce the same colour; but the cocoons and moths reared from
them do not present any difference.

The caterpillar in Europe ordinarily moults four times before passing
into the cocoon stage; but there are races “à trois mues,” and the
Trevoltini race likewise moults only thrice. It might have been thought
that so important a physiological difference would not have arisen
under domestication; but M. Robinet[74] states that, on the one hand,
ordinary caterpillars occasionally spin their cocoons after only three
moults, and, on the other hand, “presque toutes les races à trois mues,
que nous avons expérimentees, ont fait quatre mues à la seconde ou à la
troisième année, ce qui semble prouver qu’il a suffi de les placer dans
des conditions favorables pour leur rendre une faculté qu’elles avaient
perdue sous des influences moins favorables.”

_Cocoons._—The caterpillar in changing into the cocoon loses about 50
per cent of its weight; but the amount of loss differs in different
breeds, and this is of importance to the cultivator. The cocoon in the
different races presents characteristic differences; being large or
small;—nearly spherical with no constriction, as in the Race de Loriol,
or cylindrical, with either a deep or slight constriction in the
middle; with the two ends, or with one end alone, more or less pointed.
The silk varies in fineness and quality, and in being nearly white, but
of two tints, or yellow. Generally the colour of the silk is not
strictly inherited: but in the chapter on Selection I shall give a
curious account how, in the course of sixty-five generations, the
number of yellow cocoons in one breed has been reduced in France from
one hundred to thirty-five in the thousand. According to Robinet, the
white race, called Sina, by careful selection during the last
seventy-five years, “est arrivée à un tel état de pureté, qu’on ne voit
pas un seul cocon jaune dans des millions de cocons blancs.”[75]
Cocoons are sometimes formed, as is well known, entirely destitute of
silk, which yet produce moths; unfortunately Mrs. Whitby was prevented
by an accident from ascertaining whether this character would prove

_Adult stage._—I can find no account of any constant difference in the
moths of the most distinct races. Mrs. Whitby assured me that there was
none in the several kinds bred by her; and I have received a similar
statement from the eminent naturalist, M. de Quatrefages. Captain
Hutton also says[76] that the moths of all kinds vary much in colour,
but in nearly the same inconstant manner. Considering how much the
cocoons in the several races differ, this fact is of interest, and may
probably be accounted for on the same principle as the fluctuating
variability of colour in the caterpillar, namely, that there has been
no motive for selecting and perpetuating any particular variation.

The males of the wild Bombycidæ “fly swiftly in the day-time and
evening, but the females are usually very sluggish and inactive.”[77]
In several moths of this family the females have abortive wings, but no
instance is known of the males being incapable of flight, for in this
case the species could hardly have been perpetuated. In the silk-moth
both sexes have imperfect, crumpled wings, and are incapable of flight;
but still there is a trace of the characteristic difference in the two
sexes; for though, on comparing a number of males and females, I could
detect no difference in the development of their wings, yet I was
assured by Mrs. Whitby that the males of the moths bred by her used
their wings more than the females, and could flutter downwards, though
never upwards. She also states that, when the females first emerge from
the cocoon, their wings are less expanded than those of the male. The
degree of imperfection, however, in the wings varies much in different
races and under different circumstances. M. Quatrefages[78] says that
he has seen a number of moths with their wings reduced to a third,
fourth, or tenth part of their normal dimensions, and even to mere
short straight stumps: “il me semble qu’il y a là un véritable arrêt de
développement partiel.” On the other hand, he describes the female
moths of the André Jean breed as having “leurs ailes larges et étalées.
Un seul présente quelques courbures irrégulières et des plis anormaux.”
As moths and butterflies of all kinds reared from wild caterpillars
under confinement often have crippled wings, the same cause, whatever
it may be, has probably acted on silk-moths, but the disuse of their
wings during so many generations has, it may be suspected, likewise
come into play.

The moths of many breeds fail to glue their eggs to the surface on
which they are laid,[79] but this proceeds, according to Capt.
Hutton,[80] merely from the glands of the ovipositor being weakened.

As with other long-domesticated animals, the instincts of the silk-moth
have suffered. The caterpillars, when placed on a mulberry-tree, often
commit the strange mistake of devouring the base of the leaf on which
they are feeding, and consequently fall down; but they are capable,
according to M. Robinet,[81] of again crawling up the trunk. Even this
capacity sometimes fails, for M. Martins[82] placed some caterpillars
on a tree, and those which fell were not able to remount and perished
of hunger; they were even incapable of passing from leaf to leaf.

Some of the modifications which the silk-moth has undergone stand in
correlation with one another. Thus, the eggs of the moths which produce
white cocoons and of those which produce yellow cocoons differ slightly
in tint. The abdominal feet, also, of the caterpillars which yield
white cocoons are always white, whilst those which give yellow cocoons
are invariably yellow.[83] We have seen that the caterpillars with dark
tiger-like stripes produce moths which are more darkly shaded than
other moths. It seems well established[84] that in France the
caterpillars of the races which produce white silk, and certain black
caterpillars, have resisted, better than other races, the disease which
has recently devastated the silk-districts. Lastly, the races differ
constitutionally, for some do not succeed so well under a temperate
climate as others; and a damp soil does not equally injure all the

From these various facts we learn that silk-moths, like the higher
animals, vary greatly under long-continued domestication. We learn also
the more important fact that variations may occur at various periods of
life, and be inherited at a corresponding period. And finally we see
that insects are amenable to the great principle of Selection.


 [1] ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ 1854, vol. ii. p. 91 and vol. i. p. 330.

 [2] Dr. Turral, ‘Bull. Soc. d’Acclimat.,’ tom. vii., 1860, p. 541.

 [3] Willughby’s ‘Ornithology,’ by Ray, p. 381. This breed is also
 figured by Albin in 1734 in his ‘Nat. Hist. of Birds,’ vol. ii. p. 86.

 [4] F. Cuvier, in ‘Annales du Muséum,’ tom. ix. p. 128, says that
 moulting and incubation alone stops these ducks laying. Mr. B. P.
 Brent makes a similar remark in the ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ 1855, vol.
 iii. p. 512.

 [5] Rev. E. S. Dixon, ‘Ornamental and Domestic Poultry’ (1848), p.
 117. Mr. B. P. Brent, in ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ vol. iii., 1855, p. 512.

 [6] Crawfurd on the ‘Relation of Domesticated Animals to
 Civilisation,’ read before the Brit. Assoc. at Oxford, 1860.

 [7] Dureau de La Malle, in ‘Annales des Sciences Nat.,’ tom. xvii. p.
 164; and tom. xxi. p. 55. Rev. E. S. Dixon, ‘Ornamental Poultry,’ p.
 118. Tame ducks were not known in Aristotle’s time, as remarked by
 Volz, in his ‘Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte,’ 1852, s. 78.

 [8] I quote this account from ‘Die Enten-und Schwanenzucht,’ Ulm 1828,
 s. 143. _See_ Audubon’s ‘Ornithological Biography,’ vol. iii. p. 168,
 on the taming of ducks on the Mississippi. For the same fact in
 England, _see_ Mr. Waterton in Loudon’s ‘Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ vol.
 viii. 1835, p. 542; and Mr. St. John, ‘Wild Sports and Nat. Hist. of
 the Highlands,’ 1846, p. 129.

 [9] Mr. E. Hewitt, in ‘Journal of Horticulture,’ 1862, p. 773; and
 1863, p. 39.

 [10] I have met with several statements on the fertility of the
 several breeds when crossed. Mr. Yarrell assured me that Call and
 common ducks are perfectly fertile together. I crossed Hook-billed and
 common ducks, and a Penguin and Labrador, and the crossed Ducks were
 quite fertile, though they were not bred _ inter se,_ so that the
 experiment was not fully tried. Some half-bred Penguins and Labradors
 were again crossed with Penguins, and subsequently bred by me _inter
 se,_ and they were extremely fertile.

 [11] ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ 1855, vol. iii. p. 512.

 [12] ‘Journal of the Indian Archipelago,’ vol. v. p. 334.

 [13] ‘The Zoologist,’ vols. vii, viii. (1849-1850), p. 2353.

 [14] ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ 1855, vol. iii. p. 512.

 [15] ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ vol. iii. 1855, p. 312. With respect to
 Rouens _see_ ditto vol. i. 1854, p. 167.

 [16] Col. Hawker’s ‘Instructions to young Sportsmen,’ quoted by Mr.
 Dixon in his ‘Ornamental Poultry,’ p. 125.

 [17] ‘Cottage Gardener,’ April 9th, 1861.

 [18] These hybrids have been described by M. Selys-Longchamps in the
 ‘Bulletins (tom. xii. No 10) Acad. Roy. de Bruxelles.’

 [19] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ 1861, p. 261.

 [20] ‘Ceylon,’ by Sir J. E. Tennent, 1859, vol. i. p. 485; also J.
 Crawfurd on the ‘Relation of Domest. Animals to Civilisation,’ read
 before Brit. Assoc. 1860. _See also_ ‘Ornamental Poultry,’ by Rev. E.
 S. Dixon, 1848, p. 132. The goose figured on the Egyptian monuments
 seems to have been the Red goose of Egypt.

 [21] Macgillivray’s ‘British Birds,’ vol. iv. p. 593.

 [22] Mr. A. Strickland (‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ 3rd series,
 vol. iii. 1859, p. 122) reared some young wild geese, and found them
 in habits and in all characters identical with the domestic goose.

 [23] _See also_ Hunter’s ‘Essays,’ edited by Owen, vol. ii. p. 322.

 [24] Yarrell’s ‘British Birds,’ vol. iii. p. 142.

 [25] L. Lloyd, ‘Scandinavian Adventures,’ 1854, vol. ii. p. 413, says
 that the wild goose lays from five to eight eggs, which is a much
 fewer number than that laid by our domestic goose.

 [26] The Rev. L. Jenyns (Blomefield) seems first to have made this
 observation in his ‘British Animals.’ _See also_ Yarrell, and Dixon in
 his ‘Ornamental Poultry’ (p. 139), and ‘Gardener’s Chronicle,’ 1857,
 p. 45.

 [27] Mr. Bartlet exhibited the head and neck of a bird thus
 characterised before the Zoological Soc., Feb. 1860.

 [28] W. Thompson, ‘Natural Hist. of Ireland,’ 1851, vol. iii. p. 31.
 The Rev. E. S. Dixon gave me some information on the varying colour of
 the beak and legs.

 [29] Mr. A. Strickland, in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ 3rd
 series, vol. iii., 1859, p. 122.

 [30] ‘Poultry Chronicle,’ vol. i., 1854, p. 498; vol. iii. p. 210.

 [31] ‘The Cottage Gardener.’ Sept. 4th, 1860, p. 348.

 [32] ‘L’Hist. de la Nature des Oiseaux,’ par P. Belon, 1555, p. 156.
 With respect to the livers of white geese being preferred by the
 Romans _see_ Isid. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire ‘Hist. Nat. Gén.,’ tom. iii.
 p. 58.

 [33] Mr. Sclater on the black-shouldered peacock of Latham, ‘Proc.
 Zoolog. Soc.,’ April 24th, 1860. Mr. Swinhoe at one time believed,
 (‘Ibis,’ July, 1868) that this kind of peafowl was found wild in
 Cochin China, but he has since informed me that he feels very doubtful
 on this head.

 [34] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ April 14th, 1835.

 [35] ‘The Field,’ May 6th, 1871. I am much indebted to Mr. Canning for
 information with respect to his birds.

 [36] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,’ April 8th, 1856, p. 61. Prof. Baird
 believes (as quoted in Tegetmeier’s ‘Poultry Book,’ 1866, p. 269) that
 our turkeys are descended from a West Indian species now extinct. But
 besides the improbability of a bird having long ago become extinct in
 these large and luxuriant islands, it appears (as we shall presently
 see) that the turkey degenerates in India, and this fact indicates
 that it was not aboriginally an inhabitant of the lowlands of the

 [37] Audubon’s ‘Ornithological Biography,’ vol. i., 1831, pp. 4-13;
 and ‘Naturalist’s Library,’ vol. xiv., Birds, p. 138.

 [38] F. Michaux, ‘Travels in N. America,’ 1802, Eng. translat., p.

 [39] ‘Ornamental Poetry,’ by the Rev. E. S. Dixon, 1848, p. 34.

 [40] Bechstein, ‘Naturgesch. Deutschlands,’ B. iii., 1793, s. 309.

 [41] Mr. Bartlett in ‘Land and Water,’ Oct. 31st, 1868, p. 233; and
 Mr. Tegetmeier in the ‘Field,’ July 17th, 1869, p. 46.

 [42] ‘Gardener’s Chronicle,’ 1852, p. 699.

 [43] E. Blyth, in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ 1847, vol. xx. p.

 [44] Roulin makes this remark in ‘Mém. de divers Savans, l’Acad. des
 Sciences,’ tom. vi., 1835, p. 349. Mr. Hill, of Spanish Town, in a
 letter to me, describes five varieties of the Guinea fowl in Jamaica.
 I have seen singular pale-coloured varieties imported from Barbadoes
 and Demerara.

 [45] For St. Domingo, _see_ M. A. Salle, in ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.’ 1857,
 p. 236. Mr. Hill remarks to me, in his letter, on the colour of the
 legs of the feral birds in Jamaica.

 [46] Mr. B. P. Brent, ‘The Canary, British Finches,’ etc., pp. 21, 30.

 [47] ‘Cottage Gardener,’ Dec. 11th, 1855, p. 184: an account is here
 given of all the varieties. For many measurements of the wild birds,
 _see_ Mr. E. Vernon Harcourt, ibid., Dec. 25th, 1855, p. 223.

 [48] Bechstein, ‘Naturgesch. der Stubenvögel,’ 1840, s. 243; _see_ s.
 252 on the inherited song of Canary-birds. With respect to their
 baldness _see also_ W. Kidd’s ‘Treatise on Song-Birds.’

 [49] W. Kidd’s ‘Treatise on Song-Birds,’ p. 18.

 [50] The ‘Indian Field,’ 1858, p. 255.

 [51] Yarrell’s ‘British Fishes,’ vol. i. p. 319.

 [52] Mr. Blyth in the ‘Indian Field,’ 1858, p. 255.

 [53] W. F. Mayers, ‘Chinese Notes and Queries,’ Aug. 1868, p. 123.

 [54] ‘Proc. Zoolog. Soc.’ May 25, 1842.)

 [55] Yarrell’s ‘British Fishes,’ vol. i. p. 319.

 [56] ‘Dict. Class. d’Hist. Nat.,’ tom. v. p. 276.

 [57] ‘Observations in Nat. Hist.,’ 1846, p. 211. Dr. Gray has
 described, in ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ 1860, p. 151 a nearly
 similar variety but destitute of a dorsal fin.

 [58] ‘De l’Espèce,’ 1859, p. 459. With respect to the bees of Burgundy
 _see_ M. Gerard, art. ‘Espèce,’ in ‘Dict. Univers. d’Hist. Nat.’

 [59] _See_ a discussion on this subject, in answer to a question of
 mine, in ‘Journal of Horticulture,’ 1862, pp. 225-242; also Mr. Bevan
 Fox, in ditto, 1862, p. 284.

 [60] This excellent observer may be implicitly trusted; _see_ ‘Journal
 of Horticulture,’ July 14th, 1863, p. 39.

 [61] ‘Journal of Horticulture,’ Sept. 9th, 1862, p. 463; _see also_
 Herr Kleine on same subject (Nov. 11th, p. 643, who sums up, that,
 though there is some variability in colour, no constant or perceptible
 differences can be detected in the bees of Germany.

 [62] Mr. Woodbury has published several such accounts in ‘Journal of
 Horticulture,’ 1861 and 1862.

 [63] ‘Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,’ 3rd series, vol. xi. p. 339.

 [64] ‘The Cottage Gardener,’ May 1860, p. 110; and ditto in ‘Journal
 of Hort.,’ 1862, p. 242.

 [65] ‘Transact. Entomolog. Soc.’ 3rd series, vol. iii. pp. 143-173 and
 pp. 295-331.

 [66] Godron, ‘De l’Espèce,’ 1859, tom. i. p. 460. The antiquity of the
 silkworm in China is given on the authority of Stanislas Julien.

 [67] _See_ the remarks of Prof. Westwood, Gen. Hearsey and others at
 the meeting of the Entomolog. Soc. of London, July, 1861.

 [68] _See_ for instance M. A. de Quatrefages’ ‘Études sur les Maladies
 actuelles du Ver à Soie,’ 1859, p. 101.

 [69] My authorities for the statements will be given in the chapter on

 [70] ‘Manuel de l’Éducateur de Vers à Soie,’ 1848.

 [71] Robinet, ibid., pp. 12, 318. I may add that the eggs of N.
 American silkworms taken to the Sandwich Islands produced moths at
 very irregular periods; and the moths thus raised yielded eggs which
 were even worse in this respect. Some were hatched in ten days, and
 others not until after the lapse of many months. No doubt a regular
 early character would ultimately have been acquired. _See_ review in
 ‘Athenæum,’ 1844, p. 329, of J. Jarves’ ‘Scenes in the Sandwich

 [72] ‘The Art of rearing Silk-worms,’ translated from Count Dandolo,
 1825, p. 23.

 [73] ‘Transact. Ent. Soc.,’ ut supra, pp. 153, 308.

 [74] Robinet, ibid., p. 317.

 [75] Robinet, ibid., pp. 306-317.

 [76] ‘Transact. Ent. Soc.,’ ut supra, p. 317.

 [77] Stephen’s Illustrations, ‘Haustellata,’ vol. ii. p. 35. _ See
 also_ Capt. Hutton, ‘Transact. Ent. Soc.,’ ibid., p. 152.

 [78] ‘Études sur les Maladies du Ver à Soie,’ 1859, pp. 304, 209.

 [79] Quatrefages, ‘Études,’ etc., p. 214.

 [80] ‘Transact. Ent. Soc.,’ ut supra, p. 151.

 [81] ‘Manuel de l’Educateur,’ etc., p. 26.

 [82] Godron, ‘De l’Espèce,’ p. 462.

 [83] Quatrefages, ‘Études,’ etc., pp. 12, 209, 214.

 [84] Robinet, ‘Manuel,’ etc., p. 303.

 [85] Robinet, ibid., p. 15.





I shall not enter into so much detail on the variability of cultivated
plants, as in the case of domesticated animals. The subject is involved
in much difficulty. Botanists have generally neglected cultivated
varieties, as beneath their notice. In several cases the wild prototype
is unknown or doubtfully known; and in other cases it is hardly
possible to distinguish between escaped seedlings and truly wild
plants, so that there is no safe standard of comparison by which to
judge of any supposed amount of change. Not a few botanists believe
that several of our anciently cultivated plants have become so
profoundly modified that it is not possible now to recognise their
aboriginal parent-forms. Equally perplexing are the doubts whether some
of them are descended from one species, or from several inextricably
commingled by crossing and variation. Variations often pass into, and
cannot be distinguished from, monstrosities; and monstrosities are of
little significance for our purpose. Many varieties are propagated
solely by grafts, buds, layers, bulbs, etc., and frequently it is not
known how far their peculiarities can be transmitted by seminal
generation. Nevertheless, some facts of value can be gleaned: and other
facts will hereafter be incidentally given. One chief object in the two
following chapters is to show how many characters in our cultivated
plants have become variable.

Before entering on details a few general remarks on the origin of
cultivated plants may be introduced. M. Alph. De Candolle[1] in an
admirable discussion on this subject, in which he displays a wonderful
amount of knowledge, gives a list of 157 of the most useful cultivated
plants. Of these he believes that 85 are almost certainly known in
their wild state; but on this head other competent judges[2] entertain
great doubts. Of 40 of them, the origin is admitted by M. De Candolle
to be doubtful, either from a certain amount of dissimilarity which
they present when compared with their nearest allies in a wild state,
or from the probability of the latter not being truly wild plants, but
seedlings escaped from culture. Of the entire 157, 32 alone are ranked
by M. De Candolle as quite unknown in their aboriginal condition. But
it should be observed that he does not include in his list several
plants which present ill-defined characters, namely, the various forms
of pumpkins, millet, sorghum, kidney-bean, dolichos, capsicum, and
indigo. Nor does he include flowers; and several of the more anciently
cultivated flowers, such as certain roses, the common Imperial lily,
the tuberose, and even the lilac, are said[3] not to be known in the
wild state.

From the relative numbers above given, and from other arguments of much
weight, M. De Candolle concludes that plants have rarely been so much
modified by culture that they cannot be identified with their wild
prototypes. But on this view, considering that savages probably would
not have chosen rare plants for cultivation, that useful plants are
generally conspicuous, and that they could not have been the
inhabitants of deserts or of remote and recently discovered islands, it
appears strange to me that so many of our cultivated plants should be
still unknown or only doubtfully known in the wild state. If, on the
other hand, many of these plants have been profoundly modified by
culture, the difficulty disappears. The difficulty would also be
removed if they have been exterminated during the progress of
civilisation; but M. De Candolle has shown that this probably has
seldom occurred. As soon as a plant was cultivated in any country, the
half-civilised inhabitants would no longer have need to search the
whole surface of the land for it, and thus lead to its extirpation; and
even if this did occur during a famine, dormant seeds would be left in
the ground. In tropical countries the wild luxuriance of nature, as was
long ago remarked by Humboldt, overpowers the feeble efforts of man. In
anciently civilised temperate countries, where the whole face of the
land has been greatly changed, it can hardly be doubted that some
plants have become extinct; nevertheless De Candolle has shown that all
the plants historically known to have been first cultivated in Europe
still exist here in the wild state.

MM. Loiseleur-Deslongchamps[4] and De Candolle have remarked that our
cultivated plants, more especially the cereals, must originally have
existed in nearly their present state; for otherwise they would not
have been noticed and valued as objects of food. But these authors
apparently have not considered the many accounts given by travellers of
the wretched food collected by savages. I have read an account of the
savages of Australia cooking, during a dearth, many vegetables in
various ways, in the hopes of rendering them innocuous and more
nutritious. Dr. Hooker found the half-starved inhabitants of a village
in Sikhim suffering greatly from having eaten arum-roots,[5] which they
had pounded and left for several days to ferment, so as partially to
destroy their poisonous nature; and he adds that they cooked and ate
many other deleterious plants. Sir Andrew Smith informs me that in
South Africa a large number of fruits and succulent leaves, and
especially roots, are used in times of scarcity. The natives, indeed,
know the properties of a long catalogue of plants, some having been
found during famines to be eatable, others injurious to health, or even
destructive to life. He met a party of Baquanas who, having been
expelled by the conquering Zulus, had lived for years on any roots or
leaves which afforded some little nutriment and distended their
stomachs, so as to relieve the pangs of hunger. They looked like
walking skeletons, and suffered fearfully from constipation. Sir Andrew
Smith also informs me that on such occasions the natives observe as a
guide for themselves, what the wild animals, especially baboons and
monkeys, eat.

From innumerable experiments made through dire necessity by the savages
of every land, with the results handed down by tradition, the
nutritious, stimulating, and medicinal properties of the most
unpromising plants were probably first discovered. It appears, for
instance, at first an inexplicable fact that untutored man, in three
distant quarters of the world, should have discovered, amongst a host
of native plants, that the leaves of the tea-plant and mattee, and the
berries of the coffee, all included a stimulating and nutritious
essence, now known to be chemically the same. We can also see that
savages suffering from severe constipation would naturally observe
whether any of the roots which they devoured acted as aperients. We
probably owe our knowledge of the uses of almost all plants to man
having originally existed in a barbarous state, and having been often
compelled by severe want to try as food almost everything which he
could chew and swallow.

From what we know of the habits of savages in many quarters of the
world, there is no reason to suppose that our cereal plants originally
existed in their present state so valuable to man. Let us look to one
continent alone, namely, Africa: Barth[6] states that the slaves over a
large part of the central region regularly collect the seeds of a wild
grass, the _Pennisetum distichum_; in another district he saw women
collecting the seeds of a Poa by swinging a sort of basket through the
rich meadow-land. Near Tete, Livingstone observed the natives
collecting the seeds of a wild grass, and farther south, as Andersson
informs me, the natives largely use the seed of a grass of about the
size of canary-seed, which they boil in water. They eat also the roots
of certain reeds, and every one has read of the Bushmen prowling about
and digging up with a fire-hardened stake various roots. Similar facts
with respect to the collection of seeds of wild grasses in other parts
of the world could be given.[7]

Accustomed as we are to our excellent vegetables and luscious fruits,
we can hardly persuade ourselves that the stringy roots of the wild
carrot and parsnip, or the little shoots of the wild asparagus, or
crabs, sloes, etc., should ever have been valued; yet, from what we
know of the habits of Australian and South African savages, we need
feel no doubt on this head. The inhabitants of Switzerland during the
Stone-period largely collected wild crabs, sloes, bullaces, hips of
roses, elderberries, beechmast, and other wild berries and fruit.[8]
Jemmy Button, a Fuegian on board the ‘Beagle,’ remarked to me that the
poor and acid black-currants of Tierra del Fuego were too sweet for his

The savage inhabitants of each land, having found out by many and hard
trials what plants were useful, or could be rendered useful by various
cooking processes, would after a time take the first step in
cultivation by planting them near their usual abodes. Livingstone[9]
states that the savage Batokas sometimes left wild fruit-trees standing
in their gardens, and occasionally even planted them, “a practice seen
nowhere else amongst the natives.” But Du Chaillu saw a palm and some
other wild fruit-trees which had been planted; and these trees were
considered private property. The next step in cultivation, and this
would require but little forethought, would be to sow the seeds of
useful plants; and as the soil near the hovels of the natives[10] would
often be in some degree manured, improved varieties would sooner or
later arise. Or a wild and unusually good variety of a native plant
might attract the attention of some wise old savage; and he would
transplant it, or sow its seed. That superior varieties of wild
fruit-trees occasionally are found is certain, as in the case of the
American species of hawthorns, plums, cherries, grapes, and hickories,
specified by Professor Asa Gray.[11] Downing also refers to certain
wild varieties of the hickory, as being “of much larger size and finer
flavour than the common species.” I have referred to American
fruit-trees, because we are not in this case troubled with doubts
whether or not the varieties are seedlings which have escaped from
cultivation. Transplanting any superior variety, or sowing its seeds,
hardly implies more forethought than might be expected at an early and
rude period of civilisation. Even the Australian barbarians “have a law
that no plant bearing seeds is to be dug up after it has flowered;” and
Sir G. Grey[12] never saw this law, evidently framed for the
preservation of the plant, violated. We see the same spirit in the
superstitious belief of the Fuegians, that killing water-fowl whilst
very young will be followed by “much rain, snow, blow much.”[13] I may
add, as showing forethought in the lowest barbarians, that the Fuegians
when they find a stranded whale bury large portions in the sand, and
during the often-recurrent famines travel from great distances for the
remnants of the half-putrid mass.

It has often been remarked[1] that we do not owe a single useful plant
to Australia or the Cape of Good Hope, countries abounding to an
unparalleled degree with endemic species,—or to New Zealand, or to
America south of the Plata; and, according to some authors, not to
America northward of Mexico. I do not believe that any edible or
valuable plant, except the canary-grass, has been derived from an
oceanic or uninhabited island. If nearly all our useful plants, natives
of Europe; Asia, and South America, had originally existed in their
present condition, the complete absence of similarly useful plants in
the great countries just named would be indeed a surprising fact. But
if these plants have been so greatly modified and improved by culture
as no longer closely to resemble any natural species, we can understand
why the above-named countries have given us no useful plants, for they
were either inhabited by men who did not cultivate the ground at all,
as in Australia and the Cape of Good Hope, or who cultivated it very
imperfectly, as in some parts of America. These countries do yield
plants which are useful to savage man; and Dr. Hooker[15] enumerates no
less than 107 such species in Australia alone; but these plants have
not been improved, and consequently cannot compete with those which
have been cultivated and improved during thousands of years in the
civilised world.

The case of New Zealand, to which fine island we as yet owe no widely
cultivated plant, may seem opposed to this view; for, when first
discovered, the natives cultivated several plants; but all inquirers
believe, in accordance with the traditions of the natives, that the
early Polynesian colonists brought with them seeds and roots, as well
as the dog, which had been wisely preserved during their long voyage.
The Polynesians are so frequently lost on the ocean that this degree of
prudence would occur to any wandering party: hence the early colonists
of New Zealand, like the later European colonists, would not have had
any strong inducement to cultivate the aboriginal plants. According to
De Candolle we owe thirty-three useful plants to Mexico, Peru, and
Chile; nor is this surprising when we remember the civilised state of
the inhabitants, as shown by the fact of their having practised
artificial irrigation and made tunnels through hard rocks without the
use of iron or gunpowder, and who, as we shall see in a future chapter,
fully recognised, as far as animals were concerned, and therefore
probably in the case of plants, the important principle of selection.
We owe some plants to Brazil; and the early voyagers, namely, Vespucius
and Cabral, describe the country as thickly peopled and cultivated. In
North America[16] the natives cultivated maize, pumpkins, gourds,
beans, and peas, “all different from ours,” and tobacco; and we are
hardly justified in assuming that none of our present plants are
descended from these North American forms. Had North America been
civilised for as long a period, and as thickly peopled, as Asia or
Europe, it is probable that the native vines, walnuts, mulberries,
crabs, and plums, would have given rise, after a long course of
cultivation, to a multitude of varieties, some extremely different from
their parent-stocks; and escaped seedlings would have caused in the
New, as in the Old World, much perplexity with respect to their
specific distinctness and parentage.’[17]

_Cerealia._—I will now enter on details. The cereals cultivated in
Europe consist of four genera—wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Of wheat
the best modern authorities[18] make four or five, or even seven
distinct species; of rye, one; of barley, three; and of oats, two,
three, or four species. So that altogether our cereals are ranked by
different authors under from ten to fifteen distinct species. These
have given rise to a multitude of varieties. It is a remarkable fact
that botanists are not universally agreed on the aboriginal parent-form
of any one cereal plant. For instance, a high authority writes in
1855,[19] “We ourselves have no hesitation in stating our conviction,
as the result of all the most reliable evidence, that none of these
Cerealia exist, or have existed, truly wild in their present state, but
that all are cultivated varieties of species now growing in great
abundance in S. Europe or W. Asia.” On the other hand, Alph. De
Candolle[20] has adduced abundant evidence that common wheat (_Triticum
vulgare_) has been found wild in various parts of Asia, where it is not
likely to have escaped from cultivation: and there is some force in M.
Godron’s remark, that, supposing these plants to be escaped
seedlings,[21] as they have propagated themselves in a wild state for
several generations, their continued resemblance to cultivated wheat
renders it probable that the latter has retained its aboriginal
character. But the strong tendency to inheritance, which most of the
varieties of wheat evince, as we shall presently see, is here greatly
undervalued. Much weight must also be attributed to a remark by
Professor Hildebrand[22] that when the seeds or fruit of cultivated
plants possess qualities disadvantageous to them as a means of
distribution, we may feel almost sure that they no longer retain their
aboriginal condition. On the other hand, M. De Candolle insists
strongly on the frequent occurrence in the Austrian dominions of rye
and of one kind of oats in an apparently wild condition. With the
exception of these two cases, which however are rather doubtful, and
with the exception of two forms of wheat and one of barley, which he
believes to have been found truly wild, M. De Candolle does not seem
fully satisfied with the other reported discoveries of the parent-forms
of our other cereals. With respect to oats, according to Mr.
Buckmann,[23] the wild English _Avena fatua_ can be converted by a few
years of careful cultivation and selection into forms almost identical
with two very distinct cultivated races. The whole subject of the
origin and specific distinctness of the various cereal plants is a most
difficult one; but we shall perhaps be able to judge a little better
after considering the amount of variation which wheat has undergone.

Metzger describes seven species of wheat, Godron refers to five, and De
Candolle to only four. It is not improbable that, besides the kinds
known in Europe, other strongly characterised forms exist in the more
distant parts of the world; for Loiseleur-Deslongchamps[24] speaks of
three new species or varieties, sent to Europe in 1822 from Chinese
Mongolia, which he considers as being there indigenous. Moorcroft[25]
also speaks of Hasora wheat in Ladakh as very peculiar. If those
botanists are right who believe that at least seven species of wheat
originally existed, then the amount of variation in any important
character which wheat has undergone under cultivation has been slight;
but if only four or a lesser number of species originally existed, then
it is evident that varieties have arisen so strongly marked, that they
have been considered by capable judges as specifically distinct. But
the impossibility of deciding which forms ought to be ranked as species
and which as varieties, makes it useless to specify in detail the
differences between the various kinds of wheat. Speaking generally, the
organs of vegetation differ little;[26] but some kinds grow close and
upright, whilst others spread and trail along the ground. The straw
differs in being more or less hollow, and in quality. The ears[27]
differ in colour and in shape, being quadrangular, compressed, or
nearly cylindrical; and the florets differ in their approximation to
each other, in their pubescence, and in being more or less elongated.
The presence or absence of barbs is a conspicuous difference, and in
certain Gramineæ serves even as a generic character;[28] although, as
remarked by Godron,[29] the presence of barbs is variable in certain
wild grasses, and especially in those such as _Bromus secalinus_ and
_Lolium temulentum,_ which habitually grow mingled with our cereal
crops, and which have thus unintentionally been exposed to culture. The
grains differ in size, weight, and colour; in being more or less downy
at one end, in being smooth or wrinkled, in being either nearly
globular, oval, or elongated; and finally in internal texture, being
tender or hard, or even almost horny, and in the proportion of gluten
which they contain.

Nearly all the races or species of wheat vary, as Godron[30] has
remarked, in an exactly parallel manner,—in the seed being downy or
glabrous, and in colour,—and in the florets being barbed or not barbed,
etc. Those who believe that all the kinds are descended from a single
wild species may account for this parallel variation by the inheritance
of a similar constitution, and a consequent tendency to vary in the
same manner; and those who believe in the general theory of descent
with modification may extend this view to the several species of wheat,
if such ever existed in a state of nature.

Although few of the varieties of wheat present any conspicuous
difference, their number is great. Dalbret cultivated during thirty
years from 150 to 160 kinds, and excepting in the quality of the grain
they all kept true; Colonel Le Couteur possessed upwards of 150, and
Philippar 322 varieties.[31] As wheat is an annual, we thus see how
strictly many trifling differences in character are inherited through
many generations. Colonel Le Couteur insists strongly on this same
fact. In his persevering and successful attempts to raise new
varieties, he found that there was only one “secure mode to ensure the
growth of pure sorts, namely, to grow them from single grains or from
single ears, and to follow up the plan by afterwards sowing only the
produce of the most productive so as to form a stock.” But Major
Hallett[32] has gone much farther, and by the continued selection of
plants from the grains of the same ear, during successive generations,
has made his ‘Pedigree in Wheat’ (and other cereals) now famous in many
quarters of the world. The great amount of variability in the plants of
the same variety is another interesting point, which would never have
been detected except by an eye long practised to the work; thus Colonel
Le Couteur relates[33] that in a field of his own wheat, which he
considered at least as pure as that of any of his neighbours, Professor
La Gasca found twenty-three sorts; and Professor Henslow has observed
similar facts. Besides such individual variations, forms sufficiently
well marked to be valued and to become widely cultivated sometimes
suddenly appear: thus Mr. Shirreff has had the good fortune to raise in
his lifetime seven new varieties, which are now extensively grown in
many parts of Britain.[34]

As in the case of many other plants, some varieties, both old and new,
are far more constant in character than others. Colonel Le Couteur was
forced to reject some of his new sub-varieties, which he suspected had
been produced from a cross, as incorrigibly sportive. On the other hand
Major Hallett[35] has shown how wonderfully constant some varieties
are, although not ancient ones, and although cultivated in various
countries. With respect to the tendency to vary, Metzger[36] gives from
his own experience some interesting facts: he describes three Spanish
sub-varieties, more especially one known to be constant in Spain, which
in Germany assumed their proper character only during hot summers;
another variety kept true only in good land, but after having been
cultivated for twenty-five years became more constant. He mentions two
other sub-varieties which were at first inconstant, but subsequently
became, apparently without any selection, accustomed to their new
homes, and retained their proper character. These facts show what small
changes in the conditions of life cause variability, and they further
show that a variety may become habituated to new conditions. One is at
first inclined to conclude with Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, that wheat
cultivated in the same country is exposed to remarkably uniform
conditions; but manures differ, seed is taken from one soil to another,
and, what is far more important, the plants are exposed as little as
possible to struggle with other plants, and are thus enabled to exist
under diversified conditions. In a state of nature each plant is
confined to that particular station and kind of nutriment which it can
seize from the other plants by which it is surrounded.

Wheat quickly assumes new habits of life. The summer and winter kinds
were classed by Linnæus as distinct species; but M. Monnier[37] has
proved that the difference between them is only temporary. He sowed
winter-wheat in spring, and out of one hundred plants four alone
produced ripe seeds; these were sown and resown, and in three years
plants were reared which ripened all their seed. Conversely, nearly all
the plants raised from summer-wheat, which was sown in autumn, perished
from frost; but a few were saved and produced seed, and in three years
this summer-variety was converted into a winter-variety. Hence it is
not surprising that wheat soon becomes to a certain extent
acclimatised, and that seed brought from distant countries and sown in
Europe vegetates at first, or even for a considerable period,[38]
differently from our European varieties. In Canada the first settlers,
according to Kalm,[39] found their winters too severe for winter-wheat
brought from France, and their summers often too short for
summer-wheat; and they thought that their country was useless for corn
crops until they procured summer-wheat from the northern parts of
Europe, which succeeded well. It is notorious that the proportion of
gluten differs much under different climates. The weight of the grain
is also quickly affected by climate: Loiseleur-Deslongchamps[40] sowed
near Paris 54 varieties, obtained from the South of France and from the
Black Sea, and 52 of these yielded seed from 10 to 40 per cent heavier
than the parent-seed. He then sent these heavier grains back to the
South of France, but there they immediately yielded lighter seed.

All those who have closely attended to the subject insist on the close
adaptation of numerous varieties of wheat to various soils and climates
even within the same country; thus Colonel Le Couteur[41] says, “It is
the suitableness of each sort to each soil that will enable the farmer
to pay his rent by sowing one variety, where he would be unable to do
so by attempting to grow another of a seemingly better sort.” This may
be in part due to each kind becoming habituated to its conditions of
life, as Metzger has shown certainly occurs, but it is probably in main
part due to innate differences between the several varieties.

Much has been written on the deterioration of wheat; that the quality
of the flour, size of grain, time of flowering, and hardness, may be
modified by climate and soil, seems nearly certain; but that the whole
body of any one sub-variety ever becomes changed into another and
distinct sub-variety, there is no reason to believe. What apparently
does take place, according to Le Couteur,[42] is, that some one
sub-variety out of the many which may always be detected in the same
field is more prolific than the others, and gradually supplants the
variety which was first sown.

With respect to the natural crossing of distinct varieties the evidence
is conflicting, but preponderates against its frequent occurrence. Many
authors maintain that impregnation takes place in the closed flower,
but I am sure from my own observation that this is not the case, at
least with those varieties to which I have attended. But as I shall
have to discuss this subject in another work, it may be here passed

In conclusion, all authors admit that numerous varieties of wheat have
arisen; but their differences are unimportant, unless, indeed, some of
the so-called species are ranked as varieties. Those who believe that
from four to seven wild species of Triticum originally existed in
nearly the same condition as at present, rest their belief chiefly on
the great antiquity of the several forms.[43] It is an important fact,
which we have recently learnt from the admirable researches of
Heer,[44] that the inhabitants of Switzerland, even so early as the
Neolithic period, cultivated no less than ten cereal plants, namely,
five kinds of wheat, of which at least four are commonly looked at as
distinct species, three kinds of barley, a panicum, and a setaria. If
it could be shown that at the earliest dawn of agriculture five kinds
of wheat and three of barley had been cultivated, we should of course
be compelled to look at these forms as distinct species. But, as Heer
has remarked, agriculture even at the Neolithic period, had already
made considerable progress; for, besides the cereals, peas, poppies,
flax, and apparently apples, were cultivated. It may also be inferred,
from one variety of wheat being the so called Egyptian, and from what
is known of the native country of the panicum and setaria, as well as
from the nature of the weeds which then grew mingled with the crops,
that the lake-inhabitants either still kept up commercial intercourse
with some southern people or had originally proceeded as colonists from
the South.

Loiseleur-Deslongchamps[45] has argued that, if our cereal plants have
been greatly modified by cultivation, the weeds which habitually grow
mingled with them would have been equally modified. But this argument
shows how completely the principle of selection has been overlooked.
That such weeds have not varied, or at least do not vary now in any
extreme degree, is the opinion of Mr. H. C. Watson and Professor Asa
Gray, as they inform me; but who will pretend to say that they do not
vary as much as the individual plants of the same sub-variety of wheat?
We have already seen that pure varieties of wheat, cultivated in the
same field, offer many slight variations, which can be selected and
separately propagated; and that occasionally more strongly pronounced
variations appear, which, as Mr. Shirreff has proved, are well worthy
of extensive cultivation. Not until equal attention be paid to the
variability and selection of weeds, can the argument from their
constancy under unintentional culture be of any value. In accordance
with the principles of selection we can understand how it is that in
the several cultivated varieties of wheat the organs of vegetation
differ so little; for if a plant with peculiar leaves appeared, it
would be neglected unless the grains of corn were at the same time
superior in quality or size. the selection of seed-corn was strongly
recommended[46] in ancient times by Columella and Celsus; and as Virgil

      “I’ve seen the largest seeds, tho’ view’d with care,
      Degenerate, unless th’ industrious hand
      Did yearly cull the largest.”

But whether in ancient times selection was methodically pursued we may
well doubt, when we hear how laborious the work has been found by Le
Coutour and Hallett. Although the principle of selection is so
important, yet the little which man has effected, by incessant
efforts[47] during thousands of years, in rendering the plants more
productive or the grains more nutritious than they were in the time of
the old Egyptians, would seem to speak strongly against its efficacy.
But we must not forget that at each successive period the state of
agriculture and the quantity of manure supplied to the land will have
determined the maximum degree of productiveness; for it would be
impossible to cultivate a highly productive variety, unless the land
contained a sufficient supply of the necessary chemical elements.

We now know that man was sufficiently civilised to cultivate the ground
at an immensely remote period; so that wheat might have been improved
long ago up to that standard of excellence which was possible under the
then existing state of agriculture. One small class of facts supports
this view of the slow and gradual improvement of our cereals. In the
most ancient lake-habitations of Switzerland, when men employed only
flint-tools, the most extensively cultivated wheat was a peculiar kind,
with remarkably small ears and grains.[48] “Whilst the grains of the
modern forms are in section from seven to eight millimetres in length,
the larger grains from the lake-habitations are six, seldom seven, and
the smaller ones only four. The ear is thus much narrower, and the
spikelets stand out more horizontally, than in our present forms.” So
again with barley, the most ancient and most extensively cultivated
kind had small ears, and the grains were “smaller, shorter, and nearer
to each other, than in that now grown; without the husk they were 2½
lines long, and scarcely 1½ broad, whilst those now grown have a length
of three lines, and almost the same in breadth.”[49] These
small-grained varieties of wheat and barley are believed by Heer to be
the parent-forms of certain existing allied varieties, which have
supplanted their early progenitors.

Heer gives an interesting account of the first appearance and final
disappearance of the several plants which were cultivated in greater or
less abundance in Switzerland during former successive periods, and
which generally differed more or less from our existing varieties. The
peculiar small-eared and small-grained wheat, already alluded to, was
the commonest kind during the Stone period; it lasted down to the
Helvetico-Roman age, and then became extinct. A second kind was rare at
first, but afterwards became more frequent. A third, the Egyptian wheat
(_T. turgidum_), does not agree exactly with any existing variety, and
was rare during the Stone period. A fourth kind (_T. dicoccum_) differs
from all known varieties of this form. A fifth kind (_T. monococcum_)
is known to have existed during the Stone period only by the presence
of a single ear. A sixth kind, the common _T. spelta,_ was not
introduced into Switzerland until the Bronze age. Of barley, besides
the short-eared and small-grained kind, two others were cultivated, one
of which was very scarce, and resembled our present common _H.
distichum._ During the Bronze age rye and oats were introduced; the
oat-grains being somewhat smaller than those produced by our existing
varieties. The poppy was largely cultivated during the Stone period,
probably for its oil; but the variety which then existed is not now
known. A peculiar pea with small seeds lasted from the Stone to the
Bronze age, and then became extinct; whilst a peculiar bean, likewise
having small seeds, came in at the Bronze period and lasted to the time
of the Romans. These details sound like the descriptions given by
palæontologists of the first appearance, the increasing rarity, and
final extinction or modification of fossil species, embedded in the
successive stages of a geological formation.

Finally, every one must judge for himself whether it is more probable
that the several forms of wheat, barley, rye, and oats are descended
from between ten and fifteen species, most of which are now either
unknown or extinct, or whether they are descended from between four and
eight species, which may have either closely resembled our present
cultivated forms, or have been so widely different as to escape
identification. In this latter case we must conclude that man
cultivated the cereals at an enormously remote period, and that he
formerly practised some degree of selection, which in itself is not
improbable. We may, perhaps, further believe that, when wheat was first
cultivated the ears and grains increased quickly in size, in the same
manner as the roots of the wild carrot and parsnip are known to
increase quickly in bulk under cultivation.

_Maize or Indian Corn: Zea mays._—Botanists are nearly unanimous that
all the cultivated kinds belong to the same species. It is
undoubtedly[50] of American origin, and was grown by the aborigines
throughout the continent from New England to Chili. Its cultivation
must have been extremely ancient, for Tschudi[51] describes two kinds,
now extinct or not known in Peru, which were taken from tombs
apparently prior to the dynasty of the Incas. ‘But there is even
stronger evidence of antiquity, for I found on the coast of Peru[52]
heads of maize, together with eighteen species of recent sea-shell,
embedded in a beach which had been upraised at least 85 feet above the
level of the sea. In accordance with this ancient cultivation, numerous
American varieties have arisen. The aboriginal form has not as yet been
discovered in the wild state. A peculiar kind,[53] in which the grains,
instead of being naked, are concealed by husks as much as eleven lines
in length, has been stated, but on insufficient evidence, to grow wild
in Brazil. It is almost certain that the aboriginal form would have had
its grains thus protected;[54] but the seeds of the Brazilian variety
produce, as I hear from Professor Asa Gray, and as is stated in two
published accounts, either common or husked maize; and it is not
credible that a wild species, when first cultivated, should vary so
quickly and in so great a degree.

Maize has varied in an extraordinary and conspicuous manner.
Metzger,[55] who paid particular attention to the cultivation of this
plant, makes twelve races (unter-art) with numerous sub-varieties: of
the latter some are tolerably constant, others quite inconstant. The
different races vary in height from 15-18 feet to only 16-18 inches, as
in a dwarf variety described by Bonafous. The whole ear is variable in
shape, being long and narrow, or short and thick, or branched. The ear
in one variety is more than four times as long as in a dwarf kind. The
seeds are arranged in the ear in from six to even twenty rows, or are
placed irregularly. The seeds are coloured—white, pale-yellow, orange,
red, violet, or elegantly streaked with black;[56] and in the same ear
there are sometimes seeds of two colours. In a small collection I found
that a single grain of one variety nearly equalled in weight seven
grains of another variety. The shape of the seed varies greatly, being
very flat, or nearly globular, or oval; broader than long, or longer
than broad; without any point, or produced into a sharp tooth, and this
tooth is sometimes recurved. One variety (the rugosa of Bonafous, and
which is extensively cultivated in the United States as sweet corn) has
its seeds curiously wrinkled, giving to the whole ear a singular
appearance. Another variety (the cymosa of Bon.) carries its ears so
crowded together that it is called _maïs à bouquet._ The seeds of some
varieties contain much glucose instead of starch. Male flowers
sometimes appear amongst the female flowers, and Mr. J. Scott has
lately observed the rarer case of female flowers on a true male
panicle, and likewise hermaphrodite flowers.[57] Azara describes[58] a
variety in Paraguay the grains of which are very tender, and he states
that several varieties are fitted for being cooked in various ways. The
varieties also differ greatly in precocity, and have different powers
of resisting dryness and the action of violent wind.[59] Some of the
foregoing differences would certainly be considered of specific value
with plants in a state of nature.

Le Comte Ré states that the grains of all the varieties which he
cultivated ultimately assumed a yellow colour. But Bonafous[60] found
that most of those which he sowed for ten consecutive years kept true
to their proper tints; and he adds that in the valleys of the Pyrenees
and on the plains of Piedmont a white maize has been cultivated for
more than a century, and has undergone no change.

The tall kinds grown in southern latitudes, and therefore exposed to
great heat, require from six to seven months to ripen their seed;
whereas the dwarf kinds, grown in northern and colder climates, require
only from three to four months.[61] Peter Kalm,[62] who particularly
attended to this plant, says, that in the United States, in proceeding
from south to north, the plants steadily diminish in bulk. Seeds
brought from lat. 37° in Virginia, and sown in lat. 43°-44° in New
England, produce plants which will not ripen their seed, or ripen them
with the utmost difficulty. So it is with seed carried from New England
to lat. 45°-47° in Canada. By taking great care at first, the southern
kinds after some years’ culture ripen their seed perfectly in their
northern homes, so that this is an analogous case with that of the
conversion of summer into winter wheat, and conversely. When tall and
dwarf maize are planted together, the dwarf kinds are in full flower
before the others have produced a single flower; and in Pennsylvania
they ripen their seeds six weeks earlier than the tall maize. Metzger
also mentions a European maize which ripens its seed four weeks earlier
than another European kind. With these facts, so plainly showing
inherited acclimatisation, we may readily believe Kalm, who states that
in North America maize and some other plants have gradually been
cultivated further and further northward. All writers agree that to
keep the varieties of maize pure they must be planted separately so
that they shall not cross.

The effects of the climate of Europe on the American varieties is
highly remarkable. Metzger obtained seed from various parts of America,
and cultivated several kinds in Germany. I will give an abstract of the
changes observed[63] in one case, namely, with a tall kind
(Breit-korniger mais, _Zea altissima_) brought from the warmer parts of
America. During the first year the plants were twelve feet high, and a
few seeds were perfected; the lower seeds in the ear kept true to their
proper form, but the upper seeds became slightly changed. In the second
generation the plants were from nine to ten feet in height, and ripened
their seed better; the depression on the outer side of the seed had
almost disappeared, and the original beautiful white colour had become
duskier. Some of the seeds had even become yellow, and in their now
rounded form they approached common European maize. In the third
generation nearly all resemblance to the original and very distinct
American parent-form was lost. In the sixth generation this maize
perfectly resembled a European variety, described as the second
sub-variety of the fifth race. When Metzger published his book, this
variety was still cultivated near Heidelberg, and could be
distinguished from the common kind only by a somewhat more vigorous
growth. Analogous results were obtained by the cultivation of another
American race, the “white-tooth corn,” in which the tooth nearly
disappeared even in the second generation. A third race, the
“chicken-corn,” did not undergo so great a change, but the seeds became
less polished and pellucid. In the above cases the seeds were carried
from a warm to a colder climate. But Fritz Müller informs me that a
dwarf variety with small rounded seeds (papa-gaien-mais), introduced
from Germany into S. Brazil, produces plants as tall, with seeds as
flat, as those of the kind commonly cultivated there.

These facts afford the most remarkable instance known to me of the
direct and prompt action of climate on a plant. It might have been
expected that the tallness of the stem, the period of vegetation, and
the ripening of the seed, would have been thus affected; but it is a
much more surprising fact that the seeds should have undergone so rapid
and great a change. As, however, flowers, with their product the seed,
are formed by the metamorphosis of the stem and leaves, any
modification in these latter organs would be apt to extend, through
correlation, to the organs of fructification.

_Cabbage (Brassica oleracea)._—Every one knows how greatly the various
kinds of cabbage differ in appearance. In the Island of Jersey, from
the effects of particular culture and of climate a stalk has grown to
the height of sixteen feet, and “had its spring shoots at the top
occupied by a magpie’s nest:” the woody stems are not unfrequently from
ten to twelve feet in height, and are there used as rafters[64] and as
walking-sticks. We are thus reminded that in certain countries plants
belonging to the generally herbaceous order of the Cruciferæ are
developed into trees. Every one can appreciate the difference between
green or red cabbages with great single heads; Brussel-sprouts with
numerous little heads; broccolis and cauliflowers with the greater
number of their flowers in an aborted condition, incapable of producing
seed, and borne in a dense corymb instead of an open panicle; savoys
with their blistered and wrinkled leaves; and borecoles and kails,
which come nearest to the wild parent-form. There are also various
frizzled and laciniated kinds, some of such beautiful colours that
Vilmorin in his Catalogue of 1851 enumerates ten varieties which are
valued solely for ornament. Some kinds are less commonly known, such as
the Portuguese Couve Tronchuda, with the ribs of its leaves greatly
thickened; and the Kohlrabi or choux-raves, with their stems enlarged
into great turnip-like masses above the ground; and the recently formed
new race[65] of the choux-raves, already including nine sub-varieties,
in which the enlarged part lies beneath the ground like a turnip.

Although we see such great differences in the shape, size, colour,
arrangement, and manner of growth of the leaves and stem, and of the
flower-stems in the broccoli and cauliflower, it is remarkable that the
flowers themselves, the seed-pods and seeds, present extremely slight
differences or none at all.[66] I compared the flowers of all the
principal kinds; those of the Couve Tronchuda are white and rather
smaller than in common cabbages; those of the Portsmouth broccoli have
narrower sepals, and smaller, less elongated petals; and in no other
cabbage could any difference be detected. With respect to the
seed-pods, in the purple Kohlrabi alone, do they differ, being a little
longer and narrower than usual. I made a collection of the seeds of
twenty-eight different kinds, and most of them were undistinguishable;
when there was any difference it was excessively slight; thus, the
seeds of various broccolis and cauliflowers, when seen in mass, are a
little redder; those of the early green Ulm savoy are rather smaller;
and those of the Breda kail slightly larger than usual, but not larger
than the seeds of the wild cabbage from the coast of Wales. What a
contrast in the amount of difference is presented if, on the one hand,
we compare the leaves and stems of the various kinds of cabbage with
their flowers, pods, and seeds, and on the other hand the corresponding
parts in the varieties of maize and wheat! The explanation is obvious;
the seeds alone are valued in our cereals, and their variations have
been selected; whereas the seeds, seed-pods, and flowers, have been
utterly neglected in the cabbage, whilst many useful variations in
their leaves and stems have been noticed and preserved from an
extremely remote period, for cabbages were cultivated by the old

It would be useless to give a classified description[68] of the
numerous races, sub-races, and varieties of the cabbage; but it may be
mentioned that Dr. Lindley has lately proposed[69] a system founded on
the state of development of the terminal and lateral leaf-buds. Thus:
I. All the leaf-buds active and open, as in the wild-cabbage, kail,
etc. II. All the leaf-buds active, but forming heads, as in
Brussel-sprouts, etc. III. Terminal leaf-bud alone active, forming a
head as in common cabbages, savoys, etc. IV. Terminal leaf-bud alone
active, and open, with most of the flowers abortive and succulent, as
in the cauliflower and broccoli. V. All the leaf-buds active and open,
with most of the flowers abortive and succulent, as in the
sprouting-broccoli. This latter variety is a new one, and bears the
same relation to common broccoli, as Brussel-sprouts do to common
cabbages; it suddenly appeared in a bed of common broccoli, and was
found faithfully to transmit its newly-acquired and remarkable

The principal kinds of cabbage existed at least as early as the
sixteenth century,[70] so that numerous modifications of structure have
been inherited for a long period. This fact is the more remarkable as
great care must be taken to prevent the crossing of the different
kinds. To give proof of this: I raised 233 seedlings from cabbages of
different kinds, which had purposely been planted near each other, and
of the seedlings no less than 155 were plainly deteriorated and
mongrelised; nor were the remaining 78 all perfectly true. It may be
doubted whether many permanent varieties have been formed by
intentional or accidental crosses; for such crossed plants are found to
be very inconstant. One kind, however, called “Cottager’s Kail,” has
lately been produced by crossing common kail and Brussel-sprouts,
recrossed with purple broccoli,[71] and is said to be true; but plants
raised by me were not nearly so constant in character as any common
kind of cabbage.

Although most of the kinds keep true if carefully preserved from
crossing, yet the seed-beds must be yearly examined, and a few
seedlings are generally found false; but even in this case the force of
inheritance is shown, for, as Metzger has remarked[72] when speaking of
Brussel-sprouts, the variations generally keep to their “unter art,” or
main race. But in order that any kind may be truly propagated there
must be no great change in the conditions of life; thus cabbages will
not form heads in hot countries, and the same thing has been observed
with an English variety grown during an extremely warm and damp autumn
near Paris.[73] Extremely poor soil also affects the characters of
certain varieties.

Most authors believe that all the races are descended from the wild
cabbage found on the western shores of Europe; but Alph. De
Candolle[74] forcibly argues, on historical and other grounds, that it
is more probable that two or three closely allied forms, generally
ranked as distinct species, still living in the Mediterranean region,
are the parents, now all commingled together, of the various cultivated
kinds. In the same manner as we have often seen with domesticated
animals, the supposed multiple origin of the cabbage throws no light on
the characteristic differences between the cultivated forms. If our
cabbages are the descendants of three or four distinct species, every
trace of any sterility which may originally have existed between them
is now lost, for none of the varieties can be kept distinct without
scrupulous care to prevent intercrossing.

The other cultivated forms of the genus Brassica are descended,
according to the view adopted by Godron and Metzger,[75] from two
species, _B. napus_ and _rapa_; but according to other botanists from
three species; whilst others again strongly suspect that all these
forms, both wild and cultivated, ought to be ranked as a single
species. _Brassica napus_ has given rise to two large groups, namely,
Swedish turnips (believed to be of hybrid origin)[76] and Colzas, the
seeds of which yield oil. _Brassica rapa_ (of Koch) has also given rise
to two races, namely, common turnips and the oil-giving rape. The
evidence is unusually clear that these latter plants, though so
different in external appearance, belong to the same species; for the
turnip has been observed by Koch and Godron to lose its thick roots in
uncultivated soil; and when rape and turnips are sown together they
cross to such a degree that scarcely a single plant comes true.[77]
Metzger by culture converted the biennial or winter rape into the
annual or summer rape,—varieties which have been thought by some
authors to be specifically distinct.[78]

In the production of large, fleshy, turnip-like stems, we have a case
of analogous variation in three forms which are generally considered as
distinct species. But scarcely any modification seems so easily
acquired as a succulent enlargement of the stem or root—that is, a
store of nutriment laid up for the plant’s own future use. We see this
in our radishes, beet, and in the less generally known “turnip-rooted”
celery, and in the finocchio, or Italian variety of the common fennel.
Mr. Buckman has lately proved by his interesting experiments bow
quickly the roots of the wild parsnip can be enlarged, as Vilmorin
formerly proved in the case of the carrot.[79]

This latter plant, in its cultivated state, differs in scarcely any
character from the wild English carrot, except in general luxuriance
and in the size and quality of its roots; but ten varieties, differing
in the colour, shape, and quality of the root, are cultivated in
England and come true by seed.[80] Hence with the carrot, as in so many
other cases, for instance with the numerous varieties and sub-varieties
of the radish, that part of the plant which is valued by man, falsely
appears alone to have varied. The truth is that variations in this part
alone have been selected; and the seedlings inheriting a tendency to
vary in the same way, analogous modifications have been again and again
selected, until at last a great amount of change has been effected.

With respect to the radish, M. Carrière, by sowing the seed of the wild
_Raphanus raphanistrum_ in rich soil, and by continued selection during
several generations, raised many varieties, closely like the cultivated
radish (_R. sativus_) in their roots, as well as the wonderful Chinese
variety, _R. caudatus_: (see ‘Journal d’Agriculture pratique,’ tom. i,
1869, p. 159; also a separate essay ‘Origine des Plantes Domestiques,’
1869.) _Raphanus raphanistrum_ and _sativus_ have often been ranked as
distinct species, and owing to differences in their fruit even as
distinct genera; but Professor Hoffman (‘Bot. Zeitung,’ 1872, p. 482)
has now shown that these differences, remarkable as they are, graduate
away, the fruit of _R. caudatus_ being intermediate. By cultivating _R.
raphanistrum_ during several generations (ibid., 1873, p. 9), Professor
Hoffman also obtained plants bearing fruits like those of _R. sativus._

_Pea (Pisum sativum)._—Most botanists look at the garden-pea as
specifically distinct from the field-pea (_P. arvense_). The latter
exists in a wild state in Southern Europe; but the aboriginal parent of
the garden-pea has been found by one collector alone, as he states, in
the Crimea.[81] Andrew Knight crossed, as I am informed by the Rev. A.
Fitch, the field-pea with a well-known garden variety, the Prussian
pea, and the cross seems to have been perfectly fertile. Dr. Alefield
has recently studied[82] the genus with care, and, after having
cultivated about fifty varieties, concludes that certainly they all
belong to the same species. It is an interesting fact already alluded
to, that, according to O. Heer,[83] the peas found in the
lake-habitations of Switzerland of the Stone and Bronze ages, belong to
an extinct variety, with exceedingly small seeds, allied to _P.
arvense_ or the field-pea. The varieties of the common garden-pea are
numerous, and differ considerably from one another. For comparison I
planted at the same time forty-one, English and French varieties. They
differed greatly in height,— namely from between 6 and 12 inches to 8
feet,[84]—in manner of growth, and in period of maturity. Some differ
in general aspect even while only two or three inches in height. The
stems of the _Prussian_ pea are much branched. The tall kinds have
larger leaves than the dwarf kinds, but not in strict proportion to
their height:—_Hair’s Dwarf Monmouth_ has very large leaves, and the
_Pois nain hatif,_ and the moderately tall _ Blue Prussian,_ have
leaves about two-thirds of the size of the tallest kind. In the
_Danecroft_ the leaflets are rather small and a little pointed; in the
_Queen of Dwarfs_ rather rounded; and in the _Queen of England_ broad
and large. In these three peas the slight differences in the shape of
the leaves are accompanied by slight differences in colour, in the
_Pois géant sans parchemin,_ which bears purple flowers, the leaflets
in the young plant are edged with red; and in all the peas with purple
flowers the stipules are marked with red.

In the different varieties, one, two, or several flowers in a small
cluster, are borne on the same peduncle; and this is a difference which
is considered of specific value in some of the Leguminosæ. In all the
varieties the flowers closely resemble each other except in colour and
size. They are generally white, sometimes purple, but the colour is
inconstant even in the same variety. In _Warner’s Emperor,_ which is a
tall kind, the flowers are nearly double the size of the _Pois nain
hatif_; but _Hair’s Dwarf Monmouth,_ which has large leaves, likewise
has large flowers. The calyx in the _Victoria Marrow_ is large, and in
_Bishop’s Long Pod_ the sepals are rather narrow. In no other kind is
there any difference in the flower.

The pods and seeds, which with natural species afford such constant
characters, differ greatly in the cultivated varieties of the pea; and
these are the valuable, and consequently the selected parts. _Sugar
peas,_ or _P_, are remarkable from their thin pods, which, whilst
young, are cooked and eaten whole; and in this group, which, according
to Mr. Gordon includes eleven sub-varieties, it is the pod which
differs most; thus _Lewis’s Negro-podded pea_ has a straight, broad,
smooth, and dark-purple pod, with the husk not so thin as in the other
kinds; the pod of another variety is extremely bowed; that of the _Pois
géant_ is much pointed at the extremity; and in the variety “à grands
cosses” the peas are seen through the husk in so conspicuous a manner
that the pod, especially when dry, can hardly at first be recognised as
that of a pea.

In the ordinary varieties the pods also differ much in size;—in colour,
that of _Woodford’s Green Marrow_ being bright-green when dry, instead
of pale brown, and that of the purple-podded pea being expressed by its
name;—in smoothness, that of _Danecroft_ being remarkably glossy,
whereas that of the _Ne plus ultra_ is rugged; in being either nearly
cylindrical, or broad and flat;—in being pointed at the end, as in
_Thurston’s Reliance,_ or much truncated, as in the _American Dwarf._
In the _Auvergne pea_ the whole end of the pod is bowed upwards. In the
_Queen of the Dwarfs_ and in _Scimitar peas_ the pod is almost elliptic
in shape. I here give drawings of the four most distinct pods produced
by the plants cultivated by me.

Illustration: Fig. 41.—Pods of the Common Pea

In the pea itself we have every tint between almost pure white, brown,
yellow, and intense green; in the varieties of the _Sugar peas_ we have
these same tints, together with red passing through fine purple into a
dark chocolate tint. These colours are either uniform or distributed in
dots, striæ, or moss-like marks; they depend in some cases on the
colour of the cotyledons seen through the skin, and in other cases on
the outer coats of the pea itself. In the different varieties, the pods
contain, according to Mr. Gordon, from eleven or twelve to only four or
five peas. The largest peas are nearly twice as much in diameter as the
smallest; and the latter are not always borne by the most dwarfed
kinds. Peas differ much in shape, being smooth and spherical, smooth
and oblong, nearly oval in the _Queen of the Dwarfs,_ and nearly
cubical and crumpled in many of the larger kinds.

With respect to the value of the differences between the chief
varieties, it cannot be doubted that, if one of the tall _Sugar-peas,_
with purple flowers, thin-skinned pods of an extraordinary shape,
including large, dark-purple peas, grew wild by the side of the lowly
_Queen of the Dwarfs,_ with white flowers, greyish-green, rounded
leaves, scimitar-like pods, containing oblong, smooth, pale-coloured
peas, which became mature at a different season: or by the side of one
of the gigantic sorts, like the _Champion of England,_ with leaves of
great size, pointed pods, and large, green, crumpled, almost cubical
peas,—all three kinds would be ranked as distinct species.

Andrew Knight[85] has observed that the varieties of peas keep very
true, because they are not crossed by insects. As far as the fact of
keeping true is concerned, I hear from Mr. Masters of Canterbury, well
known as the originator of several new kinds, that certain varieties
have remained constant for a considerable time,—for instance, _Knight’s
Blue Dwarf,_ which came out about the year 1820.[86] But the greater
number of varieties have a singularly short existence: thus Loudon
remarks[87] that “sorts which were highly approved in 1821, are now, in
1833, nowhere to be found;” and on comparing the lists of 1833 with
those of 1855, I find that nearly all the varieties have changed. Mr.
Masters informs me that the nature of the soil causes some varieties to
lose their character. As with other plants, certain varieties can be
propagated truly, whilst others show a determined tendency to vary;
thus two peas differing in shape, one round and the other wrinkled,
were found by Mr. Masters within the same pod, but the plants raised
from the wrinkled kind always evinced a strong tendency to produce
round peas. Mr. Masters also raised from a plant of another variety
four distinct sub-varieties, which bore blue and round, white and
round, blue and wrinkled, and white and wrinkled peas; and although he
sowed these four varieties separately during several successive years,
each kind always reproduced all four kinds mixed together!

With respect to the varieties not naturally intercrossing, I have
ascertained that the pea, which in this respect differs from some other
Leguminosæ, is perfectly fertile without the aid of insects. Yet I have
seen humble-bees whilst sucking the nectar depress the keel-petals, and
become so thickly dusted with pollen, that it could hardly fail to be
left on the stigma of the next flower which was visited. Nevertheless,
distinct varieties growing closely together rarely cross; and I have
reason to believe that this is due to their stigmas being prematurely
fertilised in this country by pollen from the same flower. The
horticulturists who raise seed-peas are thus enabled to plant distinct
varieties close together without any bad consequences; and it is
certain, as I have myself found, that true seed may be saved during at
least several generations under these circumstances.[88] Mr. Fitch
raised, as he informs me, one variety for twenty years, and it always
came true, though grown close to other varieties. From the analogy of
kidney-beans I should have expected[89] that varieties thus
circumstanced would have occasionally crossed; and I shall give in the
eleventh chapter two cases of this having occurred, as shown (in a
manner hereafter to be explained) by the pollen of the one variety
having acted directly on the seeds of the other. Whether many of the
new varieties which incessantly appear are due to such occasional and
accidental crosses, I do not know. Nor do I know whether the short
existence of almost all the numerous varieties is the result of mere
change of fashion, or of their having a weak constitution, from being
the product of long-continued self-fertilisation. It may, however, be
noticed that several of Andrew Knight’s varieties, which have endured
longer than most kinds, were raised towards the close of the last
century by artificial crosses; some of them, I believe, were still
vigorous in 1860; but now, in 1865, a writer, speaking[90] of Knight’s
four kinds of marrows, says, they have acquired a famous history, but
their glory has departed.

With respect to Beans (_Faba vulgaris_), I will say but little. Dr.
Alefield has given[91] short diagnostic characters of forty varieties.
Everyone who has seen a collection must have been struck with the great
difference in shape, thickness, proportional length and breadth,
colour, and size which beans present. What a contrast between a Windsor
and Horse-bean! As in the case of the pea, our existing varieties were
preceded during the Bronze age in Switzerland[92] by a peculiar and now
extinct variety producing very small beans.[93]

_Potato (Solanum tuberosum)._—There is little doubt about the parentage
of this plant; for the cultivated varieties differ extremely little in
general appearance from the wild species, which can be recognised in
its native land at the first glance.[94] The varieties cultivated in
Britain are numerous; thus Lawson[95] gives a description of 175 kinds.
I planted eighteen kinds in adjoining rows; their stems and leaves
differed but little, and in several cases there was as great a
difference between the individuals of the same variety as between the
different varieties. The flower varied in size, and in colour between
white and purple, but in no other respect, except that in one kind the
sepals were somewhat elongated. One strange variety has been described
which always produces two sorts of flowers, the first double and
sterile, the second single and fertile.[96] The fruit or berries also
differ, but only in a slight degree.[97] The varieties are liable in
very different degree to the attack of the Colorado potato-beetle.[98]

The tubers, on the other hand, present a wonderful amount of diversity.
This fact accords with the principle that the valuable and selected
parts of all cultivated productions present the greatest amount of
modification. They differ much in size and shape, being globular, oval,
flattened, kidney-like, or cylindrical. One variety from Peru is
described[99] as being quite straight, and at least six inches in
length, though no thicker than a man’s finger. The eyes or buds differ
in form, position, and colour. The manner in which the tubers are
arranged on the so-called roots or rhizomes is different; thus, in the
_gurken-kartoffeln_ they form a pyramid with the apex downwards, and in
another variety they bury themselves deep in the ground. The roots
themselves run either near the surface or deep in the ground. The
tubers also differ in smoothness and colour, being externally white,
red, purple, or almost black, and internally white, yellow, or almost
black. They differ in flavour and quality, being either waxy or mealy;
in their period of maturity, and in their capacity for long

As with many other plants which have been long propagated by bulbs,
tubers, cuttings, etc., by which means the same individual is exposed
during a length of time to diversified conditions, seedling potatoes
generally display innumerable slight differences. Several varieties,
even when propagated by tubers, are far from constant, as will be seen
in the chapter on Bud-variation. Dr. Anderson[100] procured seed from
an Irish purple potato, which grew far from any other kind, so that it
could not at least in this generation have been crossed, yet the many
seedlings varied in almost every possible respect, so that “scarcely
two plants were exactly alike.” Some of the plants which closely
resembled each other above ground, produced extremely dissimilar
tubers; and some tubers which externally could hardly be distinguished,
differed widely in quality when cooked. Even in this case of extreme
variability, the parent-stock had some influence on the progeny, for
the greater number of the seedlings resembled in some degree the parent
Irish potato. Kidney potatoes must be ranked amongst the most highly
cultivated and artificial races; nevertheless their peculiarities can
often be strictly propagated by seed. A great authority, Mr.
Rivers,[101] states that “seedlings from the ash-leaved kidney always
bear a strong resemblance to their parent. Seedlings from the
fluke-kidney are still more remarkable for their adherence to their
parent stock, for, on closely observing a great number during two
seasons, I have not been able to observe the least difference, either
in earliness, productiveness, or in the size or shape of their tubers.”


 [1] ‘Géographie botanique raisonnée,’ 1855, pp. 810 to 991.

 [2] Review by Mr. Bentham in ‘Hort. Journal,’ vol. ix 1855, p. 133,
 entitled, ‘Historical Notes on cultivated Plants,’ by Dr. A.
 Targioni-Tozzetti. _See also_ ‘Edinburgh Review,’ 1866, p. 510.

 [3] ‘Hist. Notes,’ as above by Targioni-Tozzetti.

 [4] ‘Considérations sur les Céréales,’ 1842, p. 37. ‘Géographie Bot.,’
 1855, p. 930. “Plus on suppose l’agriculture ancienne et remontant à
 une époque d’ignorance, plus il est probable que les cultivateurs
 avaient choisi des especes offrant à l’origine meme un avantage

 [5] Dr. Hooker has given me this information. _See also_ his
 ‘Himalayan Journals,’ 1854, vol. ii. p. 49.

 [6] ‘Travels in Central Africa,’ Eng. translat. vol. i. pp. 529 and
 390; vol. ii. pp. 29, 265, 270. Livingstone’s ‘Travels,’ p. 551.

 [7] For instance in both North and South America. Mr. Edgeworth
 (‘Journal Proc. Linn. Soc.,’ vol. vi. Bot., 1862, p. 181) states that
 in the deserts of the Punjab poor women sweep up, “by a whisk into
 straw baskets,” the seeds of four genera of grasses, namely, of
 Agrostis, Panicum, Cenchrus, and Pennisetum, as well as the seeds of
 four other genera belonging to distinct families.

 [8] Prof. O. Heer, ‘Die Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten, 1866, aus dem
 Neujahr. Naturforsch. Geselschaft,’ 1866; and Dr. H. Christ in
 Rutimeyer’s ‘Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten,’ 1861, s. 226.

 [9] ‘Travels,’ p. 535. Du Chaillu, ‘Adventures in Equatorial Africa,’
 1861, p. 445.

 [10] In Tierra del Fuego the spot where wigwams had formerly stood
 could be distinguished at a great distance by the bright green tint of
 the native vegetation.

 [11] ‘American Acad. of Arts and Sciences,’ April 10th, 1860, p. 413.
 Downing, ‘The Fruits of America,’ 1845, p. 261.

 [12] ‘Journals of Expeditions in Australia,’ 1841, vol. ii. p. 292.

 [13] Darwin’s ‘Journal of Researches,’ 1845, p. 215.

 [14] De Candolle has tabulated the facts in the most interesting
 manner in his ‘Géographie Bot.,’ p. 986.

 [15] ‘Flora of Australia,’ Introduction, p. 110.

 [16] For Canada, _see_ J. Cartier’s Voyage in 1534; for Florida, _see_
 Narvaez and Ferdinand de Soto’s Voyages. As I have consulted these and
 other old Voyages in more than one general collection of Voyages, I do
 not give precise references to the pages. _See also,_ for several
 references Asa Gray, in the ‘American Journal of Science,’ vol. xxiv.
 Nov. 1857, p. 441. For the traditions of the natives of New Zealand
 _see_ Crawfurd’s ‘Grammar and Dict. of the Malay Language,’ 1852, p.

 [17] _See,_ for example, Mr. Hewett C. Watson’s remarks on our wild
 plums and cherries and crabs: ‘Cybele Britannica,’ vol. i. pp. 330,
 334, etc. Van Mons (in his ‘Arbres Fruitiers,’ 1835, tom. i. p. 444)
 declares that he has found the types of all our cultivated varieties
 in wild seedlings, but then he looks on these seedlings as so many
 aboriginal stocks.

 [18] _See_ A. De Candolle, ‘Géograph. Bot.,’ 1855, p. 928 _et seq._
 Godron, ‘De l’Espèce,’ 1859, tom. ii. p. 70; and Metzger, ‘Die
 Getreidearten,’ etc., 1841.

 [19] Mr. Bentham, in his review, entitled ‘Hist. Notes on cultivated
 Plants,’ by Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti, in ‘Journal of Hort. Soc.,’ vol.
 ix., 1855, p. 133. He informs me that he still retains the same

 [20] ‘Géograph. Bot.,’ p. 928. The whole subject is discussed with
 admirable fulness and knowledge.

 [21] Godron, ‘De l’Espèce,’ tom. ii. p. 72. A few years ago the
 excellent, though misinterpreted, observations of M. Fabre led many
 persons to believe that wheat was a modified descendant of Ægilops;
 but M. Godron (tom. i. p. 165) has shown by careful experiments that
 the first step in the series, viz. _ Ægilops triticoides,_ is a hybrid
 between wheat and _ Æ. ovata._ The frequency with which these hybrids
 spontaneously arise, and the gradual manner in which the _ Æ.
 triticoides_ becomes converted into true wheat, alone leave any doubt
 with respect to M. Godron’s conclusions.

 [22] ‘Die Verbreitungsmittel der Pflanzen,’ 1873, p. 129.

 [23] Report to British Association for 1857, p. 207.

 [24] ‘Considérations sur les Céréales,’ 1842-43, p. 29.

 [25] ‘Travels in the Himalayan Provinces,’ etc., 1841, vol. i. p. 224.

 [26] Col. J. Le Couteur on the ‘Varieties of Wheat,’ pp. 23, 79.

 [27] Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, ‘Consid. sur les Céréales,’ p. 11.

 [28] _See_ an excellent review in Hooker’s ‘Journ. of Botany,’ vol.
 viii. p. 82 note.

 [29] ‘De l’Espèce,’ tom. ii. p. 73.

 [30] Ibid., tom. ii. p. 75.

 [31] For Dalbret and Philippar, _see_ Loiseleur-Deslongchamps ‘Consid.
 sur les Céréales,’ pp. 45, 70. Le Couteur on Wheat, pp. 6, 14-17.

 [32] _See_ his Essay on ‘Pedigree in Wheat,’ 1862; also paper read
 before the British Association, 1869, and other publications.

 [33] ‘Varieties of Wheat,’ Introduction, p. 6. Marshall, in his ‘Rural
 Economy of Yorkshire,’ vol. ii. p. 9, remarks that “in every field of
 corn there is as much variety as in a herd of cattle.”

 [34] ‘Gardener’s Chron.’ and ‘Agricult. Gazette,’ 1862, p. 963.

 [35] ‘Gardener’s Chron.’ Nov. 1868, p. 1199.

 [36] ‘Getreidearten,’ 1841, s. 66, 91, 92, 116, 117.

 [37] Quoted by Godron, ‘De l’Espèce,’ vol. ii. p. 74. So it is,
 according to Metzger (‘Getreidearten,’ s. 18), with summer and winter

 [38] Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, ‘Céréales,’ part ii. p. 224. Le Couteur,
 p. 70. Many other accounts could be added.

 [39] ‘Travels in North America,’ 1753-1761, Eng. translat., vol. iii
 p. 165.

 [40] ‘Céréales,’ part ii. pp. 179-183.

 [41] ‘On the Varieties of Wheat,’ Introduct., p. 7. _See_ Marshall
 ‘Rural Econ. of Yorkshire,’ vol. ii. p. 9. With respect to similar
 cases of adaptation in the varieties of oats, _ see_ some interesting
 papers in the ‘Gardener’s Chron. and Agricult. Gazette,’ 1850, pp.
 204, 219.

 [42] ‘On the Varieties of Wheat,’ p. 59. Mr. Shirreff, and a higher
 authority cannot be given (‘Gard. Chron. and Agricult. Gazette,’ 1862,
 p. 963), says, “I have never seen grain which has either been improved
 or degenerated by cultivation, so as to convey the change to the
 succeeding crop.”

 [43] Alph. De Candolle, ‘Géograph. Bot.,’ p. 930.

 [44] ‘Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten,’ 1866.

 [45] ‘Les Céréales,’ p. 94.

 [46] Quoted by Le Couteur, p. 16.

 [47] A. De Candolle, ‘Geograph. Bot.,’ p. 932.

 [48] O. Heer ‘Die Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten,’ 1866. The following
 passage is quoted from Dr. Christ, in ‘Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten, von
 Dr. Rütimeyer,’ 1861, s. 225.

 [49] Heer, as quoted by Carl Vogt, ‘Lectures on Man,’ Eng. translat.,
 p. 355.

 [50] _See_ Alph. De Candolle’s long discussion in his ‘Géograph.
 Bot.,’ p. 942. With respect to New England, _ see_ Silliman’s
 ‘American Journal,’ vol. xliv. p. 99.

 [51] ‘Travels in Peru,’ Eng. translat., p. 177.

 [52] ‘Geolog. Observ. on S. America,’ 1846, p. 49.

 [53] This maize is figured in Bonafous’ magnificent work, ‘Hist. Nat.
 du Mais,’ 1836, Pl. v. bis, and in the ‘Journal of Hort. Soc.,’ vol.
 i. 1846, p. 115, where an account is given of the result of sowing the
 seed. A young Guarany Indian, on seeing this kind of maize, told
 Auguste St. Hilaire (_see_ De Candolle, ‘Géograph. Bot.,’ p. 951) that
 it grew wild in the humid forests of his native land. Mr.
 Teschemacher. in ‘Proc. Boston Soc. Hist.,’ Oct. 19th, 1842, gives an
 account of sowing the seed.

 [54] Moquin-Tandon, ‘Eléments de Tératologie,’ 1841, p. 126.

 [55] ‘Die Getreidearten,’ 1841, s. 208. I have modified a few of
 Metzger’s statements in accordance with those made by Bonafous in his
 great work ‘Hist. Nat. du Mais,’ 1836.

 [56] Godron ‘De l’Espèce,’ tom. ii. p. 80; Al. De Candolle, ibid., p.

 [57] ‘Transact. Bot. Soc. of Edinburgh,’ vol. viii. p. 60.

 [58] ‘Voyages dans l’Amérique Méridionale,’ tom. i. p. 147.

 [59] Bonafous’ ‘Hist. Nat. du Maïs,’ p. 31.

 [60] Ibid., p. 31.

 [61] Metzger, ‘Getreidearten,’ s. 206.

 [62] ‘Description of Maize,’ by P. Kalm, 1752, in ‘Swedish Acts,’ vol.
 iv. I have consulted an old English MS. translation.

 [63] ‘Getreidearten,’ s. 208.

 [64] Cabbage Timber, ‘Gardener’s Chron.,’ 1856, p. 744, quoted from
 Hooker’s ‘Journal of Botany.’ A walking-stick made from a
 cabbage-stalk is exhibited in the Museum at Kew.

 [65] ‘Journal de la Soc. Imp. d’Horticulture,’ 1855, p. 254, quoted
 from ‘Gartenflora,’ April, 1855.

 [66] Godron ‘De l’Espèce,’ tom. ii. p. 52; Metzger, ‘Syst.
 Beschreibung der Kult. Kohlarten,’ 1833, s. 6.

 [67] Regnier, ‘De l’Economie Publique des Celtes,’ 1818, p. 438.

 [68] _See_ the elder De Candolle, in ‘Transact. of Hort. Soc.,’ vol.
 v.; and Metzger ‘Kohlarten,’ etc.

 [69] ‘Gardener’s Chronicle,’ 1859, p. 992.

 [70] Alph. De Candolle, ‘Géograph. Bot.’ pp. 842 and 989.

 [71] ‘Gardener’s Chron.,’ Feb. 1858, p. 128.

 [72] ‘Kohlarten,’ s. 22.

 [73] Godron, ‘De l’Espèce,’ tom. ii. p. 52; Metzger, ‘Kohlarten,’ s.

 [74] ‘Géograph. Bot.,’ p. 840.

 [75] Godron, ‘De l’Espèce,’ tom. ii. p. 54; Metzger, ‘Kohlarten,’ s.

 [76] ‘Gardener’s Chron. and Agricult. Gazette,’ 1856, p. 729. _ See,_
 more especially, ibid., 1868, p. 275: the writer asserts that he
 planted a variety of cabbage (_B. oleracea_) close to turnips (_B.
 rapa_) and raised from the crossed seedlings true Swedish turnips.
 These latter plants ought, therefore, to be classed with cabbages or
 turnips, and not under _B. napus._

 [77] ‘Gardener’s Chron. and Agricult. Gazette,’ 1855, p. 730.

 [78] Metzger, ‘Kohlarten,’ s. 51.

 [79] These experiments by Vilmorin have been quoted by many writers.
 An eminent botanist, Prof. Decaisne, has lately expressed doubts on
 the subject from his own negative results, but these cannot be valued
 equally with positive results. On the other hand, M. Carrière has
 lately stated (‘Gard. Chronicle,’ 1865, p. 1154), that he took seed
 from a wild carrot, growing far from any cultivated land, and even in
 the first generation the roots of his seedlings differed in being
 spindle-shaped, longer, softer, and less fibrous than those of the
 wild plant. From these seedlings he raised several distinct varieties.

 [80] Loudon’s ‘Encyclop. of Gardening,’ p. 835.

 [81] Alph. De Candolle ‘Géograph. Bot.,’ 960. Mr. Bentham (‘Hort.
 Journal,’ vol. ix. 1855, p. 141) believes that garden and field peas
 belong to the same species, and in this respect he differs from Dr.

 [82] ‘Botanische Zeitung,’ 1860, s. 204.

 [83] ‘Die Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten,’ 1866, s. 23.

 [84] A variety called the Rounciva attains this height, as is stated
 by Mr. Gordon in ‘Transact. Hort. Soc.’ (2nd series), vol. i. 1835, p.
 374, from which paper I have taken some facts.

 [85] ‘Phil. Tract.,’ 1799, p. 196.

 [86] ‘Gardener’s Magazine,’ vol. i., 1826, p. 153.

 [87] ‘Encyclopædia of Gardening,’ p. 823.

 [88] _See_ Dr. Anderson to the same effect in the ‘Bath Soc.
 Agricultural Papers,’ vol. iv. p. 87.

 [89] I have published full details of experiments on this subject in
 the ‘Gardener’s Chronicle,’ 1857, Oct. 25th.

 [90] ‘Gardener’s Chronicle,’ 1865, p. 387.

 [91] ‘Bonplandia,’ x., 1862, s. 348.

 [92] Heer, ‘Die Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten,’ 1866, s. 22.

 [93] Mr. Bentham informs me that in Poitou and the adjoining parts of
 France, varieties of _Phaseolus vulgaris_ are extremely numerous, and
 so different that they were described by Savi as distinct species. Mr.
 Bentham believes that all are descended from an unknown eastern
 species. Although the varieties differ so greatly in stature and in
 their seeds, “there is a remarkable sameness in the neglected
 characters of foliage and flowers, and especially in the bracteoles,
 an insignificant character in the eyes even of botanists.”

 [94] Darwin, ‘Journal of Researches,’ 1845, p. 285. Sabine, in
 ‘Transact. Hort. Soc.,’ vol. v. p. 249.

 [95] ‘Synopsis of the Vegetable Products of Scotland,’ quoted in
 Wilson’s ‘British Farming,’ p. 317.

 [96] Sir G. Mackenzie, in ‘Gardener’s Chronicle,’ 1845, p. 790.

 [97] Putsche und Vertuch ‘Versuch einer Monographie der Kartoffeln,’
 1819, s. 9, 15. _See also_ Dr. Anderson ‘Recreations in Agriculture,’
 vol. iv. p. 325.

 [98] Walsh, ‘The American Entomologist,’ 1869, p. 160. Also S. Tenney,
 ‘The American Naturalist,’ May 1871, p. 171.

 [99] ‘Gardener’s Chronicle,’ 1862, p. 1052.

 [100] ‘Bath Society Agricult. Papers,’ vol. v. p. 127. And
 ‘Recreations in Agriculture,’ vol. v. p. 86.

 [101] ‘Gardener’s Chronicle,’ 1863, p. 643.





_The Vine (Vitis vinifera)._—The best authorities consider all our
grapes as the descendants of one species which now grows wild in
western Asia, which grew wild during the Bronze age in Italy,[1] and
which has recently been found fossil in a tufaceous deposit in the
south of France.[2] Some authors, however, entertain much doubt about
the single parentage of our cultivated varieties, owing to the number
of semi-wild forms found in Southern Europe, especially as described by
Clemente[3] in a forest in Spain; but as the grape sows itself freely
in Southern Europe, and as several of the chief kinds transmit their
characters by seed,[4] whilst others are extremely variable, the
existence of many different escaped forms could hardly fail to occur in
countries where this plant has been cultivated from the remotest
antiquity. That the vine varies much when propagated by seed, we may
infer from the largely increased number of varieties since the earlier
historical records. New hot-house varieties are produced almost every
year; for instance,[5] a golden-coloured variety has been recently
raised in England from a black grape without the aid of a cross. Van
Mons[6] reared a multitude of varieties from the seed of one vine,
which was completely separated from all others, so that there could
not, at least in this generation, have been any crossing, and the
seedlings presented “les analogues de toutes les sortes,” and differed
in almost every possible character both in the fruits and foliage.

The cultivated varieties are extremely numerous; Count Odart says that
he will not deny that there may exist throughout the world 700 or 800,
perhaps even 1000 varieties, but not a third of these have any value.
In the catalogue of fruit cultivated in the Horticultural Gardens of
London, published in 1842, 99 varieties are enumerated. Wherever the
grape is grown many varieties occur: Pallas describes 24 in the Crimea,
and Burnes mentions 10 in Cabool. The classification of the varieties
has much perplexed writers, and Count Odart is reduced to a
geographical system; but I will not enter on this subject, nor on the
many and great differences between the varieties. I will merely specify
a few curious and trifling peculiarities, all taken from Odart’s highly
esteemed work[7] for the sake of showing the diversified variability of
this plant. Simon has classed grapes into two main divisions, those
with downy leaves, and those with smooth leaves, but he admits that in
one variety, namely the Rebazo, the leaves are either smooth, or downy;
and Odart (p. 70) states that some varieties have the nerves alone, and
other varieties their young leaves, downy, whilst the old ones are
smooth. The Pedro-Ximenes grape (Odart, p. 397) presents a peculiarity
by which it can be at once recognised amongst a host of other
varieties, namely, that when the fruit is nearly ripe the nerves of the
leaves or even the whole surface becomes yellow. The Barbera d’Asti is
well marked by several characters (p. 426), amongst others, “by some of
the leaves, and it is always the lowest on the branches, suddenly
becoming of a dark red colour.” Several authors in classifying grapes
have founded their main divisions on the berries being either round or
oblong; and Odart admits the value of this character; yet there is one
variety, the Maccabeo (p. 71), which often produces small round, and
large oblong, berries in the same bunch. Certain grapes called Nebbiolo
(p. 429) present a constant character, sufficient for their
recognition, namely, “the slight adherence of that part of the pulp
which surrounds the seeds to the rest of the berry, when cut through
transversely.” A Rhenish variety is mentioned (p. 228) which likes a
dry soil; the fruit ripens well, but at the moment of maturity, if much
rain falls, the berries are apt to rot; on the other hand, the fruit of
a Swiss variety (p. 243) is valued for well sustaining prolonged
humidity. This latter variety sprouts late in the spring, yet matures
its fruit early; other varieties (page 362) have the fault of being too
much excited by the April sun, and in consequence suffer from frost. A
Styrian variety (p. 254) has brittle foot-stalks, so that the clusters
of fruit are often blown off; this variety is said to be particularly
attractive to wasps and bees. Other varieties have tough stalks, which
resist the wind. Many other variable characters could be given, but the
foregoing facts are sufficient to show in how many small structural and
constitutional details the vine varies. During the vine disease in
France certain old groups of varieties[8] have suffered far more from
mildew than others. Thus “the group of Chasselas, so rich in varieties,
did not afford a single fortunate exception;” certain other groups
suffered much less; the true old Burgundy, for instance, was
comparatively free from disease, and the Carminat likewise resisted the
attack. The American vines, which belong to a distinct species,
entirely escaped the disease in France; and we thus see that those
European varieties which best resist the disease must have acquired in
a slight degree the same constitutional peculiarities as the American

_White Mulberry (Morus alba)._—I mention this plant because it has
varied in certain characters, namely, in the texture and quality of the
leaves, fitting them to serve as food for the domesticated silkworm, in
a manner not observed with other plants; but this has arisen simply
from such variations in the mulberry having been attended to, selected,
and rendered more or less constant. M. de Quatrefages[9] briefly
describes six kinds cultivated in one valley in France: of these the _
amourouso_ produces excellent leaves, but is rapidly being abandoned
because it produces much fruit mingled with the leaves: the _antofino_
yields deeply cut leaves of the finest quality, but not in great
quantity: the _claro_ is much sought for because the leaves can be
easily collected: lastly, the _roso_ bears strong hardy leaves,
produced in large quantity, but with the one inconvenience, that they
are best adapted for the worms after their fourth moult. MM.
Jacquemet-Bonnefont, of Lyon, however, remark in their catalogue (1862)
that two sub-varieties have been confounded under the name of the roso,
one having leaves too thick for the caterpillars, the other being
valuable because the leaves can easily be gathered from the branches
without the bark being torn.

In India the mulberry has also given rise to many varieties. The Indian
form is thought by many botanists to be a distinct species; but as
Royle remarks,[10] “so many varieties have been produced by cultivation
that it is difficult to ascertain whether they all belong to one
species;” they are, as he adds, nearly as numerous as those of the

_The Orange Group._—We here meet with great confusion in the specific
distinction and parentage of the several kinds. Gallesio,[11] who
almost devoted his life-time to the subject, considers that there are
four species, namely, sweet and bitter oranges, lemons, and citrons,
each of which has given rise to whole groups of varieties, monsters,
and supposed hybrids. One high authority[12] believes that these four
reputed species are all varieties of the wild _Citrus medica,_ but that
the shaddock (_Citrus decumana_), which is not known in a wild state,
is a distinct species; though its distinctness is doubted by another
writer “of great authority on such matters,” namely, Dr. Buchanan
Hamilton. Alph. De Candolle,[13] on the other hand—and there cannot be
a more capable judge—advances what he considers sufficient evidence of
the orange (he doubts whether the bitter and sweet kinds are
specifically distinct), the lemon, and citron, having been found wild,
and consequently that they are distinct. He mentions two other forms
cultivated in Japan and Java, which he ranks undoubted species; he
speaks rather more doubtfully about the shaddock, which varies much,
and has not been found wild; and finally he considers some forms, such
as Adam’s apple and the bergamotte, as probably hybrids.

I have briefly abstracted these opinions for the sake of showing those
who have never attended to such subjects, how perplexing they are. It
would, therefore, be useless for my purpose to give a sketch of the
conspicuous differences between the several forms. Besides the
ever-recurrent difficulty of determining whether forms found wild are
truly aboriginal or are escaped seedlings, many of the forms, which
must be ranked as varieties, transmit their characters almost perfectly
by seed. Sweet and bitter oranges differ in no important respect except
in the flavour of their fruit, but Gallesio[14] is most emphatic that
both kinds can be propagated by seed with absolute certainty.
Consequently, in accordance with his simple rule, he classes them as
distinct species; as he does sweet and bitter almonds, the peach and
nectarine, etc. He admits, however, that the soft-shelled pine-tree
produces not only soft-shelled but some hard-shelled seedlings, so that
a little greater force in the power of inheritance would, according to
this rule, raise a soft-shelled pine-tree into the dignity of an
aboriginally created species. The positive assertion made by
Macfayden[15] that the pips of sweet oranges produced in Jamaica,
according to the nature of the soil in which they are sown, either
sweet or bitter oranges, is probably an error; for M. Alph. De Candolle
informs me that since the publication of his great work he has received
accounts from Guiana, the Antilles, and Mauritius, that in these
countries sweet oranges faithfully transmit their character. Gallesio
found that the willow-leafed and the Little China oranges reproduced
their proper leaves and fruit; but the seedlings were not quite equal
in merit to their parents. The red-fleshed orange, on the other hand,
fails to reproduce itself. Gallesio also observed that the seeds of
several other singular varieties all reproduced trees having a peculiar
physiognomy, partly resembling their parent-forms. I can adduce another
case: the myrtle leaved orange is ranked by all authors as a variety,
but is very distinct in general aspect: in my father’s greenhouse,
during many years, it rarely yielded any fruit, but at last produced
one; and a tree thus raised was identical with the parent-form.

Another and more serious difficulty in determining the rank of the
several forms is that, according to Gallesio,[16] they largely
intercross without artificial aid; thus he positively states that seeds
taken from lemon-trees (_C. lemonum_) growing mingled with the citron
(_C. medica_), which is generally considered as a distinct species,
produced a graduated series of varieties between these two forms.
Again, an Adam’s apple was produced from the seed of a sweet orange,
which grew close to lemons and citrons. But such facts hardly aid us in
determining whether to rank these forms as species or varieties; for it
is now known that undoubted species of Verbascum, Cistus, Primula,
Salix, etc., frequently cross in a state of nature. If indeed it were
proved that plants of the orange tribe raised from these crosses were
even partially sterile, it would be a strong argument in favour of
their rank as species. Gallesio asserts that this is the case; but he
does not distinguish between sterility from hybridism and from the
effects of culture; and he almost destroys the force of this statement
by another[17] namely, that when he impregnated the flowers of the
common orange with the pollen taken from undoubted _varieties_ of the
orange, monstrous fruits were produced, which included “little pulp,
and had no seeds, or imperfect seeds.”

In this tribe of plants we meet with instances of two highly remarkable
facts in vegetable physiology: Gallesio[18] impregnated an orange with
pollen from a lemon, and the fruit borne on the mother tree had a
raised stripe of peel like that of a lemon both in colour and taste,
but the pulp was like that of an orange and included only imperfect
seeds. The possibility of pollen from one variety or species directly
affecting the fruit produced by another variety of species, is a
subject which I shall fully discuss in the following chapter.

The second remarkable fact is, that two supposed hybrids[19] (for their
hybrid nature was not ascertained), between an orange and either a
lemon or citron, produced on the same tree leaves, flowers, and fruit
of both pure parent-forms, as well as of a mixed or crossed nature. A
bud taken from any one of the branches and grafted on another tree
produces either one of the pure kinds or a capricious tree reproducing
the three kinds. Whether the sweet lemon, which includes within the
same fruit segments of differently flavoured pulp,[20] is an analogous
case, I know not. But to this subject I shall have to recur.

I will conclude by giving from A. Risso[21] a short account of a very
singular variety of the common orange. It is the “_citrus aurantium
fructu variabili,_” which on the young shoots produces rounded-oval
leaves spotted with yellow, borne on petioles with heart-shaped wings;
when these leaves fall off, they are succeeded by longer and narrower
leaves, with undulated margins, of a pale-green colour embroidered with
yellow, borne on footstalks without wings. The fruit whilst young is
pear-shaped, yellow, longitudinally striated, and sweet; but as it
ripens, it becomes spherical, of a reddish-yellow, and bitter.

_Peach and Nectarine (Amygdalus persica)._—The best authorities are
nearly unanimous that the peach has never been found wild. It was
introduced from Persia into Europe a little before the Christian era,
and at this period few varieties existed. Alph. De Candolle,[22] from
the fact of the peach not having spread from Persia at an earlier
period, and from its not having pure Sanscrit or Hebrew names, believes
that it is not an aboriginal of Western Asia, but came from the _terra
incognita_ of China. The supposition, however, that the peach is a
modified almond which acquired its present character at a comparatively
late period, would, I presume, account for these facts; on the same
principle that the nectarine, the offspring of the peach, has few
native names, and became known in Europe at a still later period.

Illustration: Peach and Almond Stones.

Andrew Knight,[23] from finding that a seedling-tree, raised from a
sweet almond fertilised by the pollen of a peach, yielded fruit quite
like that of a peach, suspected that the peach-tree is a modified
almond; and in this he has been followed by various authors.[24] A
first-rate peach, almost globular in shape, formed of soft and sweet
pulp, surrounding a hard, much furrowed, and slightly flattened stone,
certainly differs greatly from an almond, with its soft, slightly
furrowed, much flattened, and elongated stone, protected by a tough,
greenish layer of bitter flesh. Mr. Bentham[25] has particularly called
attention to the stone of the almond being so much more flattened than
that of the peach. But in the several varieties of the almond, the
stone differs greatly in the degree to which it is compressed, in size,
shape, strength, and in the depth of the furrows, as may be seen in
fig. 42 (Nos. 4 to 8) of such kinds as I have been able to collect.
With peach-stones also (Nos. 1 to 3) the degree of compression and
elongation is seen to vary; so that the stone of the Chinese
Honey-peach (No. 3) is much more elongated and compressed than that of
the (No. 8) Smyrna almond. Mr. Rivers, of Sawbridgeworth, to whom I am
indebted for some of the specimens above figured, and who has had such
great horticultural experience, has called my attention to several
varieties which connect the almond and the peach. In France there is a
variety called the Peach-Almond, which Mr. Rivers formerly cultivated,
and which is correctly described in a French catalogue as being oval
and swollen, with the aspect of a peach, including a hard stone
surrounded by a fleshy covering, which is sometimes eatable.[26] A
remarkable statement by M. Luizet has recently appeared in the ‘Revue
Horticole,’[27] namely, that a Peach-almond, grafted on a peach, bore,
during 1863 and 1864 almonds alone, but in 1865 bore six peaches and no
almonds. M. Carriere, in commenting on this fact, cites the case of a
double-flowered almond which, after producing during several years
almonds, suddenly bore for two years in succession spherical fleshy
peach-like fruits, but in 1865 reverted to its former state and
produced large almonds.

Again, as I hear from Mr. Rivers, the double-flowering Chinese peaches
resemble almonds in their manner of growth and in their flowers; the
fruit is much elongated and flattened, with the flesh both bitter and
sweet, but not uneatable, and it is said to be of better quality in
China. From this stage one small step leads us to such inferior peaches
as are occasionally raised from seed. For instance, Mr. Rivers sowed a
number of peach-stones imported from the United States, where they are
collected for raising stocks, and some of the trees raised by him
produced peaches which were very like almonds in appearance, being
small and hard, with the pulp not softening till very late in the
autumn. Van Mons[28] also states that he once raised from a peach-stone
a peach having the aspect of a wild tree, with fruit like that of the
almond. From inferior peaches, such as these just described, we may
pass by small transitions, through clingstones of poor quality, to our
best and most melting kinds. From this gradation, from the cases of
sudden variation above recorded, and from the fact that the peach has
not been found wild, it seems to me by far the most probable view, that
the peach is the descendant of the almond, improved and modified in a
marvellous manner.

One fact, however, is opposed to this conclusion. A hybrid, raised by
Knight from the sweet almond by the pollen of the peach, produced
flowers with little or no pollen, yet bore fruit, having been
apparently fertilised by a neighbouring nectarine. Another hybrid, from
a sweet almond by the pollen of a nectarine, produced during the first
three years imperfect blossoms, but afterwards perfect flowers with an
abundance of pollen. If this slight degree of sterility cannot be
accounted for by the youth of the trees (and this often causes lessened
fertility), or by the monstrous state of the flowers, or by the
conditions to which the trees were exposed, these two cases would
afford a good argument against the peach being the descendant of the

Whether or not the peach has proceeded from the almond, it has
certainly given rise to nectarines, or smooth peaches, as they are
called by the French. Most of the varieties, both of the peach and
nectarine, reproduce themselves truly by seed. Gallesio[29] says he has
verified this with respect to eight races of the peach. Mr. Rivers[30]
has given some striking instances from his own experience, and it is
notorious that good peaches are constantly raised in North America from
seed. Many of the American sub-varieties come true or nearly true to
their kind, such as the white-blossom, several of the yellow-fruited
freestone peaches, the blood clingstone, the heath, and the lemon
clingstone. On the other hand, a clingstone peach has been known to
give rise to a freestone.[31] In England it has been noticed that
seedlings inherit from their parents flowers of the same size and
colour. Some characters, however, contrary to what might have been
expected, often are not inherited; such as the presence and form of the
glands on the leaves.[32] With respect to nectarines, both cling and
freestones are known in North America to reproduce themselves by
seed.[33] In England the new white nectarine was a seedling of the old
white, and Mr. Rivers[34] has recorded several similar cases. From this
strong tendency to inheritance, which both peach and nectarine trees
exhibit,—from certain slight constitutional differences[35] in their
nature,—and from the great difference in their fruit both in appearance
and flavour, it is not surprising, notwithstanding that the trees
differ in no other respects and cannot even be distinguished, as I am
informed by Mr. Rivers, whilst young, that they have been ranked by
some authors as specifically distinct. Gallesio does not doubt that
they are distinct; even Alph. De Candolle does not appear perfectly
assured of their specific identity: and an eminent botanist has quite
recently[36] maintained that the nectarine “probably constitutes a
distinct species.”

Hence it may be worth while to give all the evidence on the origin of
the nectarine. The facts in themselves are curious, and will hereafter
have to be referred to when the important subject of bud-variation is
discussed. It is asserted[37] that the Boston nectarine was produced
from a peach-stone, and this nectarine reproduced itself by seed.[38]
Mr. Rivers states[39] that from stones of three distinct varieties of
the peach he raised three varieties of nectarine; and in one of these
cases no nectarine grew near the parent peach-tree. In another instance
Mr. Rivers raised a nectarine from a peach, and in the succeeding
generation another nectarine from this nectarine.[40] Other such
instances have been communicated to me, but they need not be given. Of
the converse case, namely, of nectarine-stones yielding peach-trees
(both free and clingstones), we have six undoubted instances recorded
by Mr. Rivers; and in two of these instances the parent nectarines had
been seedlings from other nectarines.[41]

With respect to the more curious case of full-grown peach-trees
suddenly producing nectarines by bud-variation (or sports as they are
called by gardeners), the evidence is superabundant; there is also good
evidence of the same tree producing both peaches and nectarines, or
half-and-half fruit; by this term I mean a fruit with the one-half a
perfect peach, and the other half a perfect nectarine.

Peter Collinson in 1741 recorded the first case of a peach-tree
producing a nectarine,[42] and in 1766 he added two other instances. In
the same work, the editor, Sir J. E. Smith, describes the more
remarkable case of a tree in Norfolk which usually bore both perfect
nectarines and perfect peaches; but during two seasons some of the
fruit were half and half in nature.

Mr. Salisbury in 1808[43] records six other cases of peach-trees
producing nectarines. Three of the varieties are named; viz., the
Alberge, Belle Chevreuse, and Royal George. This latter tree seldom
failed to produce both kinds of fruit. He gives another case of a
half-and-half fruit.

At Radford in Devonshire[44] a clingstone peach, purchased as the
Chancellor, was planted in 1815, and in 1824, after having previously
produced peaches alone, bore on one branch twelve nectarines; in 1825
the same branch yielded twenty-six nectarines, and in 1826 thirty-six
nectarines, together with eighteen peaches. One of the peaches was
almost as smooth on one side as a nectarine. The nectarines were as
dark as, but smaller than, the Elruge.

At Beccles a Royal George peach[45] produced a fruit, “three parts of
it being peach and one part nectarine, quite distinct in appearance as
well as in flavour.” The lines of division were longitudinal, as
represented in the woodcut. A nectarine-tree grew five yards from this

Professor Chapman states[46] that he has often seen in Virginia very
old peach-trees bearing nectarines.

A writer in the ‘Gardener’s Chronicle’ says that a peach tree planted
fifteen years previously[47] produced this year a nectarine between two
peaches; a nectarine-tree grew close by.

In 1844[48] a Vanguard peach-tree produced, in the midst of its
ordinary fruit, a single red Roman nectarine.

Mr. Calver is stated[49] to have raised in the United States a seedling
peach which produced a mixed crop of both peaches and nectarines.

Near Dorking[50] a branch of the Téton de Vénus peach, which reproduces
itself truly by seed,[51] bore its own fruit “so remarkable for its
prominent point, and a nectarine rather smaller but well formed and
quite round.”

The previous cases all refer to peaches suddenly producing nectarines,
but at Carclew[52] the unique case occurred, of a nectarine-tree,
raised twenty years before from seed and never grafted, producing a
fruit half peach and half nectarine; subsequently bore a perfect peach.

To sum up the foregoing facts; we have excellent evidence of
peach-stones producing nectarine-trees, and of nectarine-stones
producing peach-Trees,—of the same tree bearing peaches and
nectarines,—of peach-trees suddenly producing by bud-variation
nectarines (such nectarines reproducing nectarines by seed), as well as
fruit in part nectarine and in part peach,—and, lastly, of one
nectarine-tree first bearing half-and-half fruit, and subsequently true
peaches. As the peach came into existence before the nectarine, it
might have been expected from the law of reversion that nectarines
would have given birth by bud-variation or by seed to peaches, oftener
than peaches to nectarines; but this is by no means the case.

Two explanations have been suggested to account for these conversions.
First, that the parent trees have been in every case hybrids[53]
between the peach and nectarine, and have reverted by bud-variation or
by seed to one of their pure parent forms. This view in itself is not
very improbable; for the Mountaineer peach, which was raised by Knight
from the red nutmeg-peach by pollen of the violette hâtive
nectarine,[54] produces peaches, but these are said _sometimes_ to
partake of the smoothness and flavour of the nectarine. But let it be
observed that in the previous list no less than six well-known
varieties and several unnamed varieties of the peach have once suddenly
produced perfect nectarines by bud variation: and it would be an
extremely rash supposition that all these varieties of the peach, which
have been cultivated for years in many districts, and which show not a
vestige of a mixed parentage, are, nevertheless, hybrids. A second
explanation is, that the fruit of the peach has been directly affected
by the pollen of the nectarine: although this certainly is possible, it
cannot here apply; for we have not a shadow of evidence that a branch
which has borne fruit directly affected by foreign pollen is so
profoundly modified as afterwards to produce buds which continue to
yield fruit of the new and modified form. Now it is known that when a
bud on a peach-tree has once borne a nectarine the same branch has in
several instances gone on during successive years producing nectarines.
The Carclew nectarine, on the other hand, first produced half-and-half
fruit, and subsequently pure peaches. Hence we may confidently accept
the common view that the nectarine is a variety of the peach, which may
be produced either by bud-variation or from seed. In the following
chapter many analogous cases of bud-variation will he given.

The varieties of the peach and the nectarine run in parallel lines. In
both classes the kinds differ from each other in the flesh of the fruit
being white, red, or yellow; in being clingstones or freestones; in the
flowers being large or small, with certain other characteristic
differences; and in the leaves being serrated without glands, or
crenated and furnished with globose or reniform glands.[55] We can
hardly account for this parallelism by supposing that each variety of
the nectarine is descended from a corresponding variety of the peach;
for though our nectarines are certainly the descendants of several
kinds of peaches, yet a large number are the descendants of other
nectarines, and they vary so much when thus reproduced that we can
scarcely admit the above explanation.

The varieties of the peach have largely increased in number since the
Christian era, when from two to five varieties were known;[56] and the
nectarine was unknown. At the present time, besides many varieties said
to exist in China, Downing describes, in the United States,
seventy-nine native and imported varieties of the peach; and a few
years ago Lindley[57] enumerated one hundred and sixty-four varieties
of the peach and nectarine grown in England. I have already indicated
the chief points of difference between the several varieties.
Nectarines, even when produced from distinct kinds of peaches, always
possess their own peculiar flavour, and are smooth and small.
Clingstone and freestone peaches, which differ in the ripe flesh either
firmly adhering to the stone, or easily separating from it, also differ
in the character of the stone itself; that of the freestones or melters
being more deeply fissured, with the sides of the fissures smoother
than in clingstones. In the various kinds the flowers differ not only
in size, but in the larger flowers the petals are differently shaped,
more imbricated, generally red in the centre and pale towards the
margin: whereas in the smaller flowers the margin of the petal is
usually more darkly coloured. One variety has nearly white flowers. The
leaves are more or less serrated, and are either destitute of glands,
or have globose or reniform glands;[58] and some few peaches, such as
the Brugnen, bear on the same tree both globular and kidney-shaped
glands.[59] According to Robertson[60] the trees with glandular leaves
are liable to blister, but not in any great degree to mildew; whilst
the non-glandular trees are more subject to curl, to mildew, and to the
attacks of aphides. The varieties differ in the period of their
maturity, in the fruit keeping well, and in hardiness,—the latter
circumstance being especially attended to in the United States. Certain
varieties, such as the Bellegarde, stand forcing in hot-houses better
than other varieties. The flat-peach of China is the most remarkable of
all the varieties; it is so much depressed towards the summit, that the
stone is here covered only by roughened skin and not by a fleshy
layer.[61] Another Chinese variety, called the Honey-peach, is
remarkable from the fruit terminating in a long sharp point; its leaves
are glandless and widely dentate.[62] The Emperor of Russia peach is a
third singular variety, having deeply double-serrated leaves; the fruit
is deeply cleft with one-half projecting considerably beyond the other:
it originated in America, and its seedlings inherit similar leaves.[63]

The peach has also produced in China a small class of trees valued for
ornament, namely the double-flowered; of these, five varieties are now
known in England, varying from pure white, through rose, to intense
crimson.[64] One of these varieties, called the camellia-flowered,
bears flowers above 2¼ inches in diameter, whilst those of the
fruit-bearing kinds do not at most exceed 1¼ inch in diameter. The
flowers of the double-flowered peaches have the singular property[65]
of frequently producing double or treble fruit. Finally, there is good
reason to believe that the peach is an almond profoundly modified; but
whatever its origin may have been, there can be no doubt that it has
yielded during the last eighteen centuries many varieties, some of them
strongly characterised, belonging both to the nectarine and peach form.

_Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)._—It is commonly admitted that this tree is
descended from a single species, now found wild in the Caucasian
region.[66] On this view the varieties deserve notice, because they
illustrate differences supposed by some botanists to be of specific
value in the almond and plum. The best monograph on the apricot is by
Mr. Thompson,[67] who describes seventeen varieties. We have seen that
peaches and nectarines vary in a strictly parallel manner; and in the
apricot, which forms a closely allied genus, we again meet with
variations analogous to those of the peach, as well as to those of the
plum. The varieties differ considerably in the shape of their leaves,
which are either serrated or crenated, sometimes with ear-like
appendages at their bases, and sometimes with glands on the petioles.
The flowers are generally alike, but are small in the Masculine. The
fruit varies much in size, shape, and in having the suture little
pronounced or absent; in the skin being smooth, or downy, as in the
orange-apricot; and in the flesh clinging to the stone, as in the
last-mentioned kind, or in readily separating from it, as in the
Turkey-apricot. In all these differences we see the closest analogy
with the varieties of the peach and nectarine. In the stone we have
more important differences, and these in the case of the plum have been
esteemed of specific value: in some apricots the stone is almost
spherical, in others much flattened, being either sharp in front or
blunt at both ends, sometimes channelled along the back, or with a
sharp ridge along both margins. In the Moorpark, and generally in the
Hemskirke, the stone presents a singular character in being perforated,
with a bundle of fibres passing through the perforation from end to
end. The most constant and important character, according to Thompson,
is whether the kernel is bitter or sweet: yet in this respect we have a
graduated difference, for the kernel is very bitter in Shipley’s
apricot; in the Hemskirke less bitter than in some other kinds;
slightly bitter in the Royal; and “sweet like a hazel-nut” in the
Breda, Angoumois, and others. In the case of the almond, bitterness has
been thought by some high authorities to indicate specific difference.

In N. America the Roman apricot endures “cold and unfavourable
situations, where no other sort, except the Masculine, will succeed;
and its blossoms bear quite a severe frost without injury.”[68]
According to Mr. Rivers,[69] seedling apricots deviate but little from
the character of their race: in France the Alberge is constantly
reproduced from seed with but little variation. In Ladakh, according to
Moorcroft,[70] ten varieties of the apricot, very different from each
other, are cultivated, and all are raised from seed, excepting one,
which is budded.

Illustration: Plum Stones.

_Plums (Prunus insititia)._—Formerly the sloe, _P. spinosa,_ was
thought to be the parent of all our plums; but now this honour is very
commonly accorded to _P. insititia_ or the bullace, which is found wild
in the Caucasus and N.-Western India, and is naturalised in
England.[71] It is not at all improbable, in accordance with some
observations made by Mr. Rivers,[72] that both these forms, which some
botanists rank as a single species, may be the parents of our
domesticated plums. Another supposed parent-form, the _P. domestica,_
is said to be found wild in the region of the Caucasus. Godron
remarks[73] that the cultivated varieties may be divided into two main
groups, which he supposes to be descended from two aboriginal stocks;
namely, those with oblong fruit and stones pointed at both ends, having
narrow separate petals and upright branches; and those with rounded
fruit, with stones blunt at both ends, with rounded petals and
spreading branches. From what we know of the variability of the flowers
in the peach and of the diversified manner of growth in our various
fruit-trees, it is difficult to lay much weight on these latter
characters. With respect to the shape of the fruit, we have conclusive
evidence that it is extremely variable: Downing[74] gives outlines of
the plums of two seedlings, namely, the red and imperial gages, raised
from the greengage; and the fruit of both is more elongated than that
of the greengage. The latter has a very blunt broad stone, whereas the
stone of the imperial gage is “oval and pointed at both ends.” These
trees also differ in their manner of growth: “the greengage is a very
short-jointed, slow-growing tree, of spreading and rather dwarfish
habit;” whilst its offspring, the imperial gage, “grows freely and
rises rapidly, and has long dark shoots.” The famous Washington plum
bears a globular fruit, but its offspring, the emerald drop, is nearly
as much elongated as the most elongated plum figured by Downing,
namely, Manning’s prune. I have made a small collection of the stones
of twenty-five kinds, and they graduate in shape from the bluntest into
the sharpest kinds. As characters derived from seeds are generally of
high systematic importance, I have thought it worth while to give
drawings of the most distinct kinds in my small collection; and they
may be seen to differ in a surprising manner in size, outline,
thickness, prominence of the ridges, and state of surface. It deserves
notice that the shape of the stone is not always strictly correlated
with that of the fruit: thus the Washington plum is spherical and
depressed at the pole, with a somewhat elongated stone, whilst the
fruit of the Goliath is more elongated, but the stone less so, than in
the Washington. Again, Denyer’s Victoria and Goliath bear fruit closely
resembling each other, but their stones are widely different. On the
other hand, the Harvest and Black Margate plums are very dissimilar,
yet include closely similar stones.

The varieties of the plum are numerous, and differ greatly in size,
shape, quality, and colour,—being bright yellow, green, almost white,
blue, purple, or red. There are some curious varieties, such as the
double or Siamese, and the Stoneless plum: in the latter the kernel
lies in a roomy cavity surrounded only by the pulp. The climate of
North America appears to be singularly favourable for the production of
new and good varieties; Downing describes no less than forty, of which
seven of first-rate quality have been recently introduced into
England.[75] Varieties occasionally arise having an innate adaptation
for certain soils, almost as strongly pronounced as with natural
species growing on the most distinct geological formations; thus in
America the imperial gage, differently from almost all other kinds, “is
peculiarly fitted for _dry light_ soils where many sorts drop their
fruit,” whereas on rich heavy soils the fruit is often insipid.[76] My
father could never succeed in making the Wine-Sour yield even a
moderate crop in a sandy orchard near Shrewsbury, whilst in some parts
of the same county and in its native Yorkshire it bears abundantly: one
of my relations also repeatedly tried in vain to grow this variety in a
sandy district in Staffordshire.

Mr. Rivers has given[77] a number of interesting facts, showing how
truly many varieties can be propagated by seed. He sowed the stones of
twenty bushels of the greengage for the sake of raising stocks, and
closely observed the seedlings; all had the smooth shoots, the
prominent buds, and the glossy leaves of the greengage, but the greater
number had smaller leaves and thorns. There are two kinds of damson,
one the Shropshire with downy shoots, and the other the Kentish with
smooth shoots, and these differ but slightly in any other respect: Mr.
Rivers sowed some bushels of the Kentish damson, and all the seedlings
had smooth shoots, but in some the fruit was oval, in others round or
roundish, and in a few the fruit was small, and, except in being sweet,
closely resembled that of the wild sloe. Mr. Rivers gives several other
striking instances of inheritance: thus, he raised eighty thousand
seedlings from the common German Quetsche plum, and “not one could be
found varying in the least, in foliage or habit.” Similar facts were
observed with the Petite Mirabelle plum, yet this latter kind (as well
as the Quetsche) is known to have yielded some well-established
varieties; but, as Mr. Rivers remarks, they all belong to the same
group with the Mirabelle.

_Cherries (Prunus cerasus, avium, etc.)._—Botanists believe that our
cultivated cherries are descended from one, two, four, or even more
wild stocks.[78] That there must be at least two parent species we may
infer from the sterility of twenty hybrids raised by Mr. Knight from
the morello fertilised by pollen of the Elton cherry; for these hybrids
produced in all only five cherries, and one alone of these contained a
seed.[79] Mr. Thompson[80] has classified the varieties in an
apparently natural method in two main groups by characters taken from
the flowers, fruit, and leaves; but some varieties which stand widely
separate in this classification are quite fertile when crossed; thus
Knight’s Early Black cherries are the product of a cross between two
such kinds.

Mr. Knight states that seedling cherries are more variable than those
of any other fruit-tree.[81] In the Catalogue of the Horticultural
Society for 1842 eighty varieties are enumerated. Some varieties
present singular characters: thus, the flower of the Cluster cherry
includes as many as twelve pistils, of which the majority abort; and
they are said generally to produce from two to five or six cherries
aggregated together and borne on a single peduncle. In the Ratafia
cherry several flower-peduncles arise from a common peduncle, upwards
of an inch in length. The fruit of Gascoigne’s Heart has its apex
produced into a globule or drop; that of the white Hungarian Gean has
almost transparent flesh. The Flemish cherry is “a very odd-looking
fruit,” much flattened at the summit and base, with the latter deeply
furrowed, and borne on a stout, very short footstalk. In the Kentish
cherry the stone adheres so firmly to the footstalk, that it could be
drawn out of the flesh; and this renders the fruit well fitted for
drying. The Tobacco-leaved cherry, according to Sageret and Thompson,
produces gigantic leaves, more than a foot and sometimes even eighteen
inches in length, and half a foot in breadth. The weeping cherry, on
the other hand, is valuable only as an ornament, and, according to
Downing, is “a charming little tree, with slender, weeping branches,
clothed with small, almost myrtle-like foliage.” There is also a
peach-leaved variety.

Sageret describes a remarkable variety, _le griottier de la Toussaint,_
which bears at the same time, even as late as September, flowers and
fruit of all degrees of maturity. The fruit, which is of inferior
quality, is borne on long, very thin footstalks. But the extraordinary
statement is made that all the leaf-bearing shoots spring from old
flower-buds. Lastly, there is an important physiological distinction
between those kinds of cherries which bear fruit on young or on old
wood; but Sageret positively asserts that a Bigarreau in his garden
bore fruit on wood of both ages.[82]

_Apple (Pyrus malus)._—The one source of doubt felt by botanists with
respect to the parentage of the apple is whether, besides _P. malus,_
two or three other closely allied wild forms, namely, _P. acerba_ and _
præcox_ or _paradisiaca,_ do not deserve to be ranked as distinct
species. The _P. præcox_ is supposed by some authors[83] to be the
parent of the dwarf paradise stock, which, owing to the fibrous roots
not penetrating deeply into the ground, is so largely used for
grafting; but the paradise stocks, it is asserted,[84] cannot be
propagated true by seed. The common wild crab varies considerably in
England; but many of the varieties are believed to be escaped
seedlings.[85] Every one knows the great difference in the manner of
growth, in the foliage, flowers, and especially in the fruit, between
the almost innumerable varieties of the apple. The pips or seeds (as I
know by comparison) likewise differ considerably in shape, size, and
colour. The fruit is adapted for eating or for cooking in various ways,
and keeps for only a few weeks or for nearly two years. Some few kinds
have the fruit covered with a powdery secretion, called bloom, like
that on plums; and “it is extremely remarkable that this occurs almost
exclusively among varieties cultivated in Russia.”[86] Another Russian
apple, the white Astracan, possesses the singular property of becoming
transparent, when ripe, like some sorts of crabs. The _api étoilé_ has
five prominent ridges, hence its name; the _api noir_ is nearly black:
the _twin cluster pippin_ often bears fruit joined in pairs.[87] The
trees of the several sorts differ greatly in their periods of leafing
and flowering; in my orchard the _Court Pendu Plat_ produces leaves so
late, that during several springs I thought that it was dead. The
Tiffin apple scarcely bears a leaf when in full bloom; the Cornish
crab, on the other hand, bears so many leaves at this period that the
flowers can hardly be seen.[88] In some kinds the fruit ripens in
mid-summer; in others, late in the autumn. These several differences in
leafing, flowering, and fruiting, are not at all necessarily
correlated; for, as Andrew Knight has remarked,[89] no one can judge
from the early flowering of a new seedling, or from the early shedding
or change of colour of the leaves, whether it will mature its fruit
early in the season.

The varieties differ greatly in constitution. It is notorious that our
summers are not hot enough for the Newtown Pippin,[90] which is the
glory of the orchards near New York; and so it is with several
varieties which we have imported from the Continent. On the other hand,
our Court of Wick succeeds well under the severe climate of Canada. The
_Caville rouge de Micoud_ occasionally bears two crops during the same
year. The Burr Knot is covered with small excrescences, which emit
roots so readily that a branch with blossom-buds may be stuck in the
ground, and will root and bear a few fruit even during the first
year.[91] Mr. Rivers has recently described[92] some seedlings valuable
from their roots running near the surface. One of these seedlings was
remarkable from its extremely dwarfed size, “forming itself into a bush
only a few inches in height.” Many varieties are particularly liable to
canker in certain soils. But perhaps the strangest constitutional
peculiarity is that the Winter Majetin is not attacked by the mealy bug
or coccus; Lindley[93] states that in an orchard in Norfolk infested
with these insects the Majetin was quite free, though the stock on
which it was grafted was affected: Knight makes a similar statement
with respect to a cider apple, and adds that he only once saw these
insects just above the stock, but that three days afterwards they
entirely disappeared; this apple, however, was raised from a cross
between the Golden Harvey and the Siberian Crab; and the latter, I
believe, is considered by some authors as specifically distinct.

The famous St. Valery apple must not be passed over; the flower has a
double calyx with ten divisions, and fourteen styles surmounted by
conspicuous oblique stigmas, but is destitute of stamens or corolla.
The fruit is constricted round the middle, and is formed of five
seed-cells, surmounted by nine other cells.[94] Not being provided with
stamens, the tree requires artificial fertilisation; and the girls of
St. Valery annually go to “_faire ses pommes,_” each marking her own
fruit with a ribbon; and as different pollen is used the fruit differs,
and we here have an instance of the direct action of foreign pollen on
the mother plant. These monstrous apples include, as we have seen,
fourteen seed-cells; the pigeon-apple,[95] on the other hand, has only
four, instead of, as with all common apples, five cells; and this
certainly is a remarkable difference.

In the catalogue of apples published in 1842 by the Horticultural
Society, 897 varieties are enumerated; but the differences between most
of them are of comparatively little interest, as they are not strictly
inherited. No one can raise, for instance, from the seed of the Ribston
Pippin, a tree of the same kind; and it is said that the “Sister
Ribston Pippin” was a white semi-transparent, sour-fleshed apple, or
rather large crab.[96] Yet it was a mistake to suppose that with most
varieties the characters are not to a certain extent inherited. In two
lots of seedlings raised from two well-marked kinds, many worthless
crab-like seedlings will appear, but it is now known that the two lots
not only usually differ from each other, but resemble to a certain
extent their parents. We see this indeed in the several sub-groups of
Russetts, Sweetings, Codlins, Pearmains, Reinettes, etc.,[97] which are
all believed, and many are known, to be descended from other varieties
bearing the same names.

_Pears (Pyrus communis)._—I need say little on this fruit, which varies
much in the wild state, and to an extraordinary degree when cultivated,
in its fruit, flowers, and foliage. One of the most celebrated
botanists in Europe, M. Decaisne, has carefully studied the many
varieties;[98] although he formerly believed that they were derived
from more than one species, he now thinks that all belong to one. He
has arrived at this conclusion from finding in the several varieties a
perfect gradation between the most extreme characters; so perfect is
this gradation that he maintains it to be impossible to classify the
varieties by any natural method. M. Decaisne raised many seedlings from
four distinct kinds, and has carefully recorded the variations in each.
Notwithstanding this extreme degree of variability, it is now
positively known that many kinds reproduce by seed the leading
characters of their race.[99]

_Strawberries (Fragaria)._—This fruit is remarkable on account of the
number of species which have been cultivated, and from their rapid
improvement within the last fifty or sixty years. Let any one compare
the fruit of one of the largest varieties exhibited at our Shows with
that of the wild wood strawberry, or, which will be a fairer
comparison, with the somewhat larger fruit of the wild American
Virginian Strawberry, and he will see what prodigies horticulture has
effected.[100] The number of varieties has likewise increased in a
surprisingly rapid manner. Only three kinds were known in France, in
1746, where this fruit was early cultivated. In 1766 five species had
been introduced, the same which are now cultivated, but only five
varieties of _Fragaria vesca,_ with some sub-varieties, had been
produced. At the present day the varieties of the several species are
almost innumerable. The species consist of, firstly, the wood or Alpine
cultivated strawberries, descended from _F. vesca,_ a native of Europe
and of North America. There are eight wild European varieties, as
ranked by Duchesne, of _F. vesca,_ but several of these are considered
species by some botanists. Secondly, the green strawberries, descended
from the European _F. collina,_ and little cultivated in England.
Thirdly, the Hautbois, from the European _F. elatior._ Fourthly, the
Scarlets, descended from _F. virginiana,_ a native of the whole breadth
of North America. Fifthly, the Chili, descended from _F. chiloensis,_
an inhabitant of the west coast of the temperate parts both of North
and South America. Lastly, the pines or Carolinas (including the old
Blacks), which have been ranked by most authors under the name of _F.
grandiflora_ as a distinct species, said to inhabit Surinam; but this
is a manifest error. This form is considered by the highest authority,
M. Gay, to be merely a strongly marked race of _F. chiloensis._[101]
These five or six forms have been ranked by most botanists as
specifically distinct; but this may be doubted, for Andrew Knight,[102]
who raised no less than 400 crossed strawberries, asserts that the _ F.
virginiana, chiloensis_ and _grandiflora_ “may be made to breed
together indiscriminately,” and he found, in accordance with the
principle of analogous variation, “that similar varieties could be
obtained from the seeds of any one of them.”

Since Knight’s time there is abundant and additional evidence[103] of
the extent to which the American forms spontaneously cross. We owe
indeed to such crosses most of our choicest existing varieties. Knight
did not succeed in crossing the European wood-strawberry with the
American Scarlet or with the Hautbois. Mr. Williams of Pitmaston,
however, succeeded; but the hybrid offspring from the Hautbois, though
fruiting well, never produced seed, with the exception of a single one,
which reproduced the parent hybrid form.[104] Major R. Trevor Clarke
informs me that he crossed two members of the Pine class (Myatt’s B.
Queen and Keen’s Seedling) with the wood and hautbois, and that in each
case he raised only a single seedling; one of these fruited, but was
almost barren. Mr. W. Smith, of York, has raised similar hybrids with
equally poor success.[105] We thus see[106] that the European and
American species can with some difficulty be crossed; but it is
improbable that hybrids sufficiently fertile to be worth cultivation
will ever be thus produced. This fact is surprising, as these forms
structurally are not widely distinct, and are sometimes connected in
the districts where they grow wild, as I hear from Professor Asa Gray,
by puzzling intermediate forms.

The energetic culture of the Strawberry is of recent date, and the
cultivated varieties can in most cases be classed under some one of the
above native stocks. As the American strawberries cross so freely and
spontaneously, we can hardly doubt that they will ultimately become
inextricably confused. We find, indeed, that horticulturists at present
disagree under which class to rank some few of the varieties; and a
writer in the ‘Bon Jardinier’ of 1840 remarks that formerly it was
possible to class all of them under some one species, but that now this
is quite impossible with the American forms, the new English varieties
having completely filled up the gaps between them.[107] The blending
together of two or more aboriginal forms, which there is every reason
to believe has occurred with some of our anciently cultivated
productions, we see now actually occurring with our strawberries.

The cultivated species offer some variations worth notice. The Black
Prince, a seedling from Keen’s Imperial (this latter being a seedling
of a very white strawberry, the white Carolina), is remarkable from
“its peculiar dark and polished surface, and from presenting an
appearance entirely unlike that of any other kind.”[108] Although the
fruit in the different varieties differs so greatly in form, size,
colour, and quality, the so-called seed (which corresponds with the
whole fruit in the plum) with the exception of being more or less
deeply embedded in the pulp, is, according to De Jonghe,[109]
absolutely the same in all: and this no doubt may be accounted for by
the seed being of no value, and consequently not having been subjected
to selection. The strawberry is properly three-leaved, but in 1761
Duchesne raised a single-leaved variety of the European
wood-strawberry, which Linnæus doubtfully raised to the rank of a
species. Seedlings of this variety, like those of most varieties not
fixed by long-continued selection, often revert to the ordinary form,
or present intermediate states.[110] A variety raised by Mr.
Myatt,[111] apparently belonging to one of the American forms presents
a variation of an opposite nature, for it has five leaves; Godron and
Lambertye also mention a five-leaved variety of _F. collina._

The Red Bush Alpine strawberry (one of the _F. vesca_ section) does not
produce stolons or runners, and this remarkable deviation of structure
is reproduced truly by seed. Another sub-variety, the White Bush
Alpine, is similarly characterised, but when propagated by seed it
often degenerates and produces plants with runners.[112] A strawberry
of the American Pine section is also said to make but few runners.[113]

Much has been written on the sexes of strawberries; the true Hautbois
properly bears the male and female organs on separate plants,[114] and
was consequently named by Duchesne _dioica_; but it frequently produces
hermaphrodites; and Lindley,[115] by propagating such plants by
runners, at the same time destroying the males, soon raised a
self-prolific stock. The other species often showed a tendency towards
an imperfect separation of the sexes, as I have noticed with plants
forced in a hot-house. Several English varieties, which in this country
are free from any such tendency, when cultivated in rich soils under
the climate of North America[116] commonly produce plants with separate
sexes. Thus a whole acre of Keen’s Seedlings in the United States has
been observed to be almost sterile from the absence of male flowers;
but the more general rule is, that the male plants overrun the females.
Some members of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society, especially
appointed to investigate this subject, report that “few varieties have
the flowers perfect in both sexual organs,” etc. The most successful
cultivators in Ohio plant for every seven rows of “pistillata,” or
female plants, one row of hermaphrodites, which afford pollen for both
kinds; but the hermaphrodites, owing to their expenditure in the
production of pollen, bear less fruit than the female plants.

The varieties differ in constitution. Some of our best English kinds,
such as Keen’s Seedlings, are too tender for certain parts of North
America, where other English and many American varieties succeed
perfectly. That splendid fruit, the British Queen, can be cultivated
but in few places either in England or France: but this apparently
depends more on the nature of the soil than on the climate; a famous
gardener says that “no mortal could grow the British Queen at Shrubland
Park unless the whole nature of the soil was altered.”[117] La
Constantine is one of the hardiest kinds, and can withstand Russian
winters, but it is easily burnt by the sun, so that it will not succeed
in certain soils either in England or the United States.[118] The
Filbert Pine Strawberry “requires more water than any other variety;
and if the plants once suffer from drought, they will do little or no
good afterwards.”[119] Cuthill’s Black Prince Strawberry evinces a
singular tendency to mildew; no less than six cases have been recorded
of this variety suffering severely, whilst other varieties growing
close by, and treated in exactly the same manner, were not at all
infested by this fungus.[120] The time of maturity differs much in the
different varieties: some belonging to the wood or alpine section
produce a succession of crops throughout the summer.

_Gooseberry (Ribes grossularia)._—No one, I believe, has hitherto
doubted that all the cultivated kinds are sprung from the wild plant
bearing this name, which is common in Central and Northern Europe;
therefore it will be desirable briefly to specify all the points,
though not very important, which have varied. If it be admitted that
these differences are due to culture, authors perhaps will not be so
ready to assume the existence of a large number of unknown wild
parent-stocks for our other cultivated plants. The gooseberry is not
alluded to by writers of the classical period. Turner mentions it in
1573, and Parkinson specifies eight varieties in 1629; the Catalogue of
the Horticultural Society for 1842 gives 149 varieties, and the lists
of the Lancashire nurserymen are said to include above 300 names.[121]
In the ‘Gooseberry Grower’s Register’ for 1862 I find that 243 distinct
varieties have won prizes at various periods, so that a vast number
must have been exhibited. No doubt the difference between many of the
varieties is very small; but Mr. Thompson in classifying the fruit for
the Horticultural Society found less confusion in the nomenclature of
the gooseberry than of any other fruit, and he attributes this “to the
great interest which the prize-growers have taken in detecting sorts
with wrong names,” and this shows that all the kinds, numerous as they
are, can be recognised with certainty.

The bushes differ in their manner of growth, being erect, or spreading,
or pendulous. The periods of leafing and flowering differ both
absolutely and relatively to each other; thus the Whitesmith produces
early flowers, which from not being protected by the foliage, as it is
believed, continually fail to produce fruit.[122] The leaves vary in
size, tint, and in depth of lobes; they are smooth, downy, or hairy on
the upper surface. The branches are more or less downy or spinose; “the
Hedgehog has probably derived its name from the singular bristly
condition of its shoots and fruit.” The branches of the wild
gooseberry, I may remark, are smooth, with the exception of thorns at
the bases of the buds. The thorns themselves are either very small, few
and single, or very large and triple; they are sometimes reflexed and
much dilated at their bases. In the different varieties the fruit
varies in abundance, in the period of maturity, in hanging until
shrivelled, and greatly in size, “some sorts having their fruit large
during a very early period of growth, whilst others are small, until
nearly ripe.” The fruit varies also much in colour, being red, yellow,
green, and white—the pulp of one dark-red gooseberry being tinged with
yellow; in flavour; in being smooth or downy,—few, however, of the Red
gooseberries, whilst many of the so-called Whites, are downy; or in
being so spinose that one kind is called Henderson’s Porcupine. Two
kinds acquire when mature a powdery bloom on their fruit. The fruit
varies in the thickness and veining of the skin, and, lastly, in shape,
being spherical, oblong, oval, or obovate.[123]

I cultivated fifty-four varieties, and, considering how greatly the
fruit differs, it was curious how closely similar the flowers were in
all these kinds. In only a few I detected a trace of difference in the
size or colour of the corolla. The calyx differed in a rather greater
degree, for in some kinds it was much redder than in others; and in one
smooth white gooseberry it was unusually red. The calyx also differed
in the basal part being smooth or woolly, or covered with glandular
hairs. It deserves notice, as being contrary to what might have been
expected from the law of correlation, that a smooth red gooseberry had
a remarkably hairy calyx. The flowers of the Sportsman are furnished
with very large coloured bracteæ; and this is the most singular
deviation of structure which I have observed. These same flowers also
varied much in the number of the petals, and occasionally in the number
of the stamens and pistils; so that they were semi-monstrous in
structure, yet they produced plenty of fruit. Mr. Thompson remarks that
in the Pastime gooseberry “extra bracts are often attached to the sides
of the fruit.”[124]

The most interesting point in the history of the gooseberry is the
steady increase in the size of the fruit. Manchester is the metropolis
of the fanciers, and prizes from five shillings to five or ten pounds
are yearly given for the heaviest fruit. The ‘Gooseberry Growers
Register’ is published annually; the earliest known copy is dated 1786,
but it is certain that meetings for the adjudication of prizes were
held some years previously.[125] The ‘Register’ for 1845 gives an
account of 171 Gooseberry Shows, held in different places during that
year; and this fact shows on how large a scale the culture has been
carried on. The fruit of the wild gooseberry is said[126] to weigh
about a quarter of an ounce or 5 dwts., that is, 120 grains; about the
year 1786 gooseberries were exhibited weighing 10 dwts., so that the
weight was then doubled; in 1817 26 dwts. 17 grs. was attained; there
was no advance till 1825, when 31 dwts. 16 grs. was reached; in 1830
“Teazer” weighed 32 dwts. 13 grs.; in 1841 “Wonderful” weighed 32 dwts.
16 grs.; in 1844 “London” weighed 35 dwts. 12 grs., and in the
following year 36 dwts. 16 grs.; and in 1852 in Staffordshire, the
fruit of the same variety reached the astonishing weight of 37 dwts. 7
grs.[127] or 896 grs.; that is, between seven or eight times the weight
of the wild fruit. I find that a small apple, 6½ inches in
circumference, has exactly this same weight. The “London” gooseberry
(which in 1852 had altogether gained 333 prizes) has, up to the present
year of 1875, never reached a greater weight than that attained in
1852. Perhaps the fruit of the gooseberry has now reached the greatest
possible weight, unless in the course of time some new and distinct
variety shall arise.

This gradual, and on the whole steady increase of weight from the
latter part of the last century to the year 1852, is probably in large
part due to improved methods of cultivation, for extreme care is now
taken; the branches and roots are trained, composts are made, the soil
is mulched, and only a few berries are left on each bush;[128] but the
increase no doubt is in main part due to the continued selection of
seedlings which have been found to be more and more capable of yielding
such extraordinary fruit. Assuredly the “Highwayman” in 1817 could not
have produced fruit like that of the “Roaring Lion” in 1825; nor could
the “Roaring Lion,” though it was grown by many persons in many places,
gain the supreme triumph achieved in 1852 by the “London” Gooseberry.

_Walnut (Juglans regia)._—This tree and the common nut belong to a
widely different order from the foregoing fruits, and are therefore
here noticed. The walnut grows wild on the Caucasus and in the
Himalaya, where Dr. Hooker[129] found the fruit of full size, but “as
hard as a hickory-nut.” It has been found fossil, as M. de Saporta
informs me, in the tertiary formation, of France.

In England the walnut presents considerable differences, in the shape
and size of the fruit, in the thickness of the husk, and in the
thinness of the shell; this latter quality has given rise to a variety
called the thin-shelled, which is valuable, but suffers from the
attacks of tit-mice.[130] The degree to which the kernel fills the
shell varies much. In France there is a variety called the Grape or
cluster-walnut, in which the nuts grow in “bunches of ten, fifteen, or
even twenty together.” There is another variety which bears on the same
tree differently shaped leaves, like the heterophyllous hornbeam; this
tree is also remarkable from having pendulous branches, and bearing
elongated, large, thin-shelled nuts.[131] M. Cardan has minutely
described[132] some singular physiological peculiarities in the
June-leafing variety, which produces its leaves and flowers four or
five weeks later than the common varieties; and although in August it
is apparently in exactly the same state of forwardness as the other
kinds, it retains its leaves and fruit much later in the autumn. These
constitutional peculiarities are strictly inherited. Lastly,
walnut-trees, which are properly monoicous, sometimes entirely fail to
produce male flowers.[133]

_Nuts (Corylus avellana)._—Most botanists rank all the varieties under
the same species, the common wild nut.[134] The husk, or involucre,
differs greatly, being extremely short in Barr’s Spanish, and extremely
long in filberts, in which it is contracted so as to prevent the nut
falling out. This kind of husk also protects the nut from birds, for
titmice (_Parus_) have been observed [135] to pass over filberts, and
attack cobs and common nuts growing in the same orchard. In the
purple-filbert the husk is purple, and in the frizzled-filbert it is
curiously laciniated; in the red-filbert the pellicle of the kernel is
red. The shell is thick in some varieties, but is thin in
Cosford’s-nut, and in one variety is of a bluish colour. The nut itself
differs much in size and shape, being ovate and compressed in filberts,
nearly round and of great size in cobs and Spanish nuts, oblong and
longitudinally striated in Cosford’s, and obtusely four-sided in the
Downton Square nut.

_Cucurbitaceous plants._—These plants have been for a long period the
opprobrium of botanists; numerous varieties have been ranked as
species, and, what happens more rarely, forms which now must be
considered as species have been classed as varieties. Owing to the
admirable experimental researches of a distinguished botanist, M.
Naudin,[136] a flood of light has recently been thrown on this group of
plants. M. Naudin, during many years, observed and experimented on
above 1200 living specimens, collected from all quarters of the world.
Six species are now recognised in the genus Cucurbita; but three alone
have been cultivated and concern us, namely, _C. maxima_ and _pepo,_
which include all pumpkins, gourds, squashes, and the vegetable marrow,
and _C. moschata._ These three species are not known in a wild state;
but Asa Gray[137] gives good reason for believing that some pumpkins
are natives of N. America.

These three species are closely allied, and have the same general
habit, but their innumerable varieties can always be distinguished,
according to Naudin, by certain almost fixed characters; and what is
still more important, when crossed they yield no seed, or only sterile
seed; whilst the varieties spontaneously intercross with the utmost
freedom. Naudin insists strongly (p. 15), that, though these three
species have varied greatly in many characters, yet it has been in so
closely an analogous manner that the varieties can he arranged in
almost parallel series, as we have seen with the forms of wheat, with
the two main races of the peach, and in other cases. Though some of the
varieties are inconstant in character, yet others, when grown
separately under uniform conditions of life, are, as Naudin repeatedly
(pp. 6, 16, 35) urges, “douées d’une stabilité presque comparable à
celle des espèces les mieux caractérisées.” One variety, l’Orangin (pp.
43, 63), has such prepotency in transmitting its character, that when
crossed with other varieties a vast majority of the seedlings come
true. Naudin, referring (p. 47) to _C. pepo,_ says that its races “ne
different des espèces veritables qu’en ce qu’elles peuvent s’allier les
unes aux autres par voie d’hybridité, sans que leur descendance perde
la faculté de se perpétuer.” If we were to trust to external
differences alone, and give up the test of sterility, a multitude of
species would have to be formed out of the varieties of these three
species of Cucurbita. Many naturalists at the present day lay far too
little stress, in my opinion, on the test of sterility; yet it is not
improbable that distinct species of plants after a long course of
cultivation and variation may have their mutual sterility eliminated,
as we have every reason to believe has occurred with domesticated
animals. Nor, in the case of plants under cultivation, should we be
justified in assuming that varieties never acquire a slight degree of
mutual sterility, as we shall more fully see in a future chapter when
certain facts are given on the high authority of Gärtner and

The forms of _C. pepo_ are classed by Naudin under seven sections, each
including subordinate varieties. He considers this plant as probably
the most variable in the world. The fruit of one variety (pp. 33, 46)
exceeds in value that of another by more than two thousand fold! When
the fruit is of very large size, the number produced is few (p. 45);
when of small size, many are produced. No less astonishing (p. 33) is
the variation in the shape of the fruit, the typical form apparently is
egg-like, but this becomes either drawn out into a cylinder, or
shortened into a flat disc. We have also an almost infinite diversity
in the colour and state of surface of the fruit, in the hardness both
of the shell and of the flesh, and in the taste of the flesh, which is
either extremely sweet, farinaceous, or slightly bitter. The seeds also
differ in a slight degree in shape, and wonderfully in size (p. 34),
namely, from six or seven to more than twenty-five millimètres in

In the varieties which grow upright or do not run and climb, the
tendrils, though useless (p. 31), are either present or are represented
by various semi-monstrous organs, or are quite absent. The tendrils are
even absent in some running varieties in which the stems are much
elongated. It is a singular fact that (p. 31) in all the varieties with
dwarfed stems, the leaves closely resemble each other in shape.

Those naturalists who believe in the immutability of species often
maintain that, even in the most variable forms, the characters which
they consider of specific value are unchangeable. To give an example
from a conscientious writer,[139] who, relying on the labours of M.
Naudin, and referring to the species of Cucurbita, says, “au milieu de
toutes les variations du fruit, les tiges, les feuilles, les calices,
les corolles, les étamines restent invariables dans chacune d’elles.”
Yet M. Naudin, in describing _ Cucurbita pepo_ (p. 30), says, “Ici,
d’ailleurs, ce ne sont pas seulement les fruits qui varient, c’est
aussi le feuillage et tout le port de la plante. Néanmoins, je crois
qu’on la distinguera toujours facilement des deux autres espèces, si
l’on veut ne pas perdre de vue les caractères différentiels que je
m’efforce de faire ressortir. Ces caractères sont quelquefois peu
marqués: il arrive meme que plusieurs d’entre eux s’effacent presque
entièrement, mais ii en reste toujours quelques-uns qui remettent
l’observateur sur la voie.” Now let it be noted what a difference, with
regard to the immutability of the so-called specific characters this
paragraph produces on the mind, from that above quoted from M. Godron.

I will add another remark: naturalists continually assert that no
important organ varies; but in saying this they unconsciously argue in
a vicious circle; for if an organ, let it be what it may, is highly
variable, it is regarded as unimportant, and under a systematic point
of view this is quite correct. But as long as constancy is thus taken
as the criterion of importance, it will indeed be long before an
important organ can be shown to be inconstant. The enlarged form of the
stigmas, and their sessile position on the summit of the ovary, must be
considered as important characters, and were used by Gasparini to
separate certain pumpkins as a _distinct genus_; but Naudin says (p.
20), these parts have no constancy, and in the flowers of the Turban
varieties of _C. maxima_ they sometimes resume their ordinary
structure. Again, in _C. maxima,_ the carpels (p. 19) which form the
turban project even as much as two-thirds of their length out of the
receptacle, and this latter part is thus reduced to a sort of platform;
but this remarkable structure occurs only in certain varieties, and
graduates into the common form in which the carpels are almost entirely
enveloped within the receptacle. In _ C. moschata_ the ovarium (p. 50)
varies greatly in shape, being oval, nearly spherical, or cylindrical,
more or less swollen in the upper part, or constricted round the
middle, and either straight or curved. When the ovarium is short and
oval the interior structure does not differ from that of _C. maxima_
and _pepo,_ but when it is elongated the carpels occupy only the
terminal and swollen portion. I may add that in one variety of the
cucumber (_Cucumis sativus_) the fruit regularly contains five carpels
instead of three.[140] I presume that it will not be disputed that we
here have instances of great variability in organs of the highest
physiological importance, and with most plants of the highest
classificatory importance.

Sageret[141] and Naudin found that the cucumber (_C. sativus_) could
not be crossed with any other species of the genus; therefore no doubt
it is specifically distinct from the melon. This will appear to most
persons a superfluous statement; yet we hear from Naudin[142] that
there is a race of melons, in which the fruit is so like that of the
cucumber, “both externally and internally, that it is hardly possible
to distinguish the one from the other except by the leaves.” The
varieties of the melon seem to be endless, for Naudin after six years’
study had not come to the end of them: he divides them into ten
sections, including numerous sub-varieties which all intercross with
perfect ease.[143] Of the forms considered by Naudin to be varieties,
botanists have made thirty distinct species! “and they had not the
slightest acquaintance with the multitude of new forms which have
appeared since their time.” Nor is the creation of so many species at
all surprising when we consider how strictly their characters are
transmitted by seed, and how wonderfully they differ in appearance:
“Mira est quidem foliorum et habitus diversitas, sed multo magis
fructuum,” says Naudin. The fruit is the valuable part, and this, in
accordance with the common rule, is the most modified part. Some melons
are only as large as small plums, others weigh as much as sixty-six
pounds. One variety has a scarlet fruit! Another is not more than an
inch in diameter, but sometimes more than a yard in length, “twisting
about in all directions like a serpent.” It is a singular fact that in
this latter variety many parts of the plant, namely, the stems, the
footstalks of the female flowers, the middle lobe of the leaves, and
especially the ovarium, as well as the mature fruit, all show a strong
tendency to become elongated. Several varieties of the melon are
interesting from assuming the characteristic features of distinct
species and even of distinct though allied genera: thus the
serpent-melon has some resemblance to the fruit of _Trichosanthes
anguina_; we have seen that other varieties closely resemble cucumbers;
some Egyptian varieties have their seeds attached to a portion of the
pulp, and this is characteristic of certain wild forms. Lastly, a
variety of melon from Algiers is remarkable from announcing its
maturity by “a spontaneous and almost sudden dislocation,” when deep
cracks suddenly appear, and the fruit falls to pieces; and this occurs
with the wild _C. momordica._ Finally, M. Naudin well remarks that this
“extraordinary production of races and varieties by a single species
and their permanence when not interfered with by crossing, are
phenomena well calculated to cause reflection.”


Trees deserve a passing notice on account of the numerous varieties
which they present, differing in their precocity, in their manner of
growth, their foliage, and bark. Thus of the common ash (_Fraxinus
excelsior_) the catalogue of Messrs. Lawson of Edinburgh includes
twenty-one varieties, some of which differ much in their bark; there is
a yellow, a streaked reddish-white, a purple, a wart-barked and a
fungous-barked variety.[144] Of hollies no less than eighty-four
varieties are grown alongside each other in Mr. Paul’s nursery.[145] In
the case of trees, all the recorded varieties, as far as I can find
out, have been suddenly produced by one single act of variation. The
length of time required to raise many generations, and the little value
set on the fanciful varieties, explains how it is that successive
modifications have not been accumulated by selection; hence, also, it
follows that we do not here meet with sub-varieties subordinate to
varieties, and these again subordinate to higher groups. On the
Continent, however, where the forests are more carefully attended to
than in England, Alph. De Candolle[146] says that there is not a
forester who does not search for seeds from that variety which he
esteems the most valuable.

Our useful trees have seldom been exposed to any great change of
conditions; they have not been richly manured, and the English kinds
grow under their proper climate. Yet in examining extensive beds of
seedlings in nursery-gardens considerable differences may be generally
observed in them; and whilst touring in England I have been surprised
at the amount of difference in the appearance of the same species in
our hedgerows and woods. But as plants vary so much in a truly wild
state, it would be difficult for even a skilful botanist to pronounce
whether, as I believe to be the case, hedgerow trees vary more than
those growing in a primeval forest. Trees when planted by man in woods
or hedges do not grow where they would naturally be able to hold their
place against a host of competitors, and are therefore exposed to
conditions not strictly natural: even this slight change would probably
suffice to cause seedlings raised from such trees to be variable.
Whether or not our half-wild English trees, as a general rule, are more
variable than trees growing in their native forests, there can hardly
be a doubt that they have yielded a greater number of strongly-marked
and singular variations of structure.

In manner of growth, we have weeping or pendulous varieties of the
willow, ash, elm, oak, and yew, and other trees; and this weeping habit
is sometimes inherited, though in a singularly capricious manner. In
the Lombardy poplar, and in certain fastigiate or pyramidal varieties
of thorns, junipers, oaks, etc., we have an opposite kind of growth.
The Hessian oak,[147] which is famous from its fastigiate habit and
size, bears hardly any resemblance in general appearance to a common
oak; “its acorns are not sure to produce plants of the same habit;
some, however, turn out the same as the parent-tree.” Another
fastigiate oak is said to have been found wild in the Pyrenees, and
this is a surprising circumstance; it generally comes so true by seed,
that De Candolle considered it as specifically distinct.[148] The
fastigiate Juniper (_J. suecica_) likewise transmits its character by
seed.[149] Dr. Falconer informs me that in the Botanic Gardens at
Calcutta the great heat caused apple-trees to become fastigiate; and we
thus see the same result following from the effects of climate and from
some unknown cause.[150]

In foliage we have variegated leaves which are often inherited; dark
purple or red leaves, as in the hazel, barberry, and beech, the colour
in these two latter trees being sometimes strongly and sometimes weakly
inherited;[151] deeply-cut leaves; and leaves covered with prickles, as
in the variety of the holly well called _ ferox,_ which is said to
reproduce itself by seed.[152] In fact, nearly all the peculiar
varieties evince a tendency, more or less strongly marked, to reproduce
themselves by seed.[153] This is to a certain extent the case,
according to Bosc,[154] with three varieties of the elm, namely, the
broad-leafed, lime-leafed, and twisted elm, in which latter the fibres
of the wood are twisted. Even with the heterophyllous hornbeam
(_Carpinus betulus_), which bears on each twig leaves of two shapes,
several plants raised from seed all retained “the same
peculiarity.”[155] I will add only one other remarkable case of
variation in foliage, namely, the occurrence of two sub-varieties of
the ash with simple instead of pinnated leaves, and which generally
transmit their character by seed.[156] The occurrence, in trees
belonging to widely different orders, of weeping and fastigiate
varieties, and of trees bearing deeply cut, variegated, and purple
leaves, shows that these deviations of structure must result from some
very general physiological laws.

Differences in general appearance and foliage, not more strongly marked
than those above indicated, have led good observers to rank as distinct
species certain forms which are now known to be mere varieties. Thus, a
plane-tree long cultivated in England was considered by almost every
one as a North American species: but is now ascertained by old records,
as I am informed by Dr. Hooker, to be a variety. So, again, the _Thuja
pendula_ or _filiformis_ was ranked by such good observers as Lambert,
Wallich, and others, as a true species; but it is now known that the
original plants, five in number, suddenly appeared in a bed of
seedlings, raised at Mr. Loddige’s nursery, from _T. orientalis_; and
Dr. Hooker has adduced excellent evidence that at Turin seeds of _T.
pendula_ have reproduced the parent form, _T. orientalis._[157]

Every one must have noticed how certain individual trees regularly put
forth and shed their leaves earlier or later than others of the same
species. There is a famous horse-chestnut in the Tuileries which is
named from leafing so much earlier than the others. There is also an
oak near Edinburgh which retains its leaves to a very late period.
These differences have been attributed by some authors to the nature of
the soil in which the trees grow; but Archbishop Whately grafted an
early thorn on a late one, and _vice versa,_ and both grafts kept to
their proper periods, which differed by about a fortnight, as if they
still grew on their own stocks.[158] There is a Cornish variety of the
elm which is almost an evergreen, and is so tender that the shoots are
often killed by the frost; and the varieties of the Turkish oak (_Q.
cerris_) may be arranged as deciduous, sub-evergreen, and

_Scotch Fir (Pinus sylvestris)._—I allude to this tree as it bears on
the question of the greater variability of our hedgerow trees compared
with those under strictly natural conditions. A well-informed
writer[160] states that the Scotch fir presents few varieties in its
native Scotch forests; but that it “varies much in figure and foliage,
and in the size, shape, and colour of its cones, when several
generations have been produced away from its native locality.” There is
little doubt that the highland and lowland varieties differ in the
value of their timber, and that they can be propagated truly by seed;
thus justifying Loudon’s remark, that “a variety is often of as much
importance as a species, and sometimes far more so.”[161] I may mention
one rather important point in which this tree occasionally varies; in
the classification of the Coniferæ, sections are founded on whether
two, three, or five leaves are included in the same sheath; the Scotch
fir has properly only two leaves thus enclosed, but specimens have been
observed with groups of three leaves in a sheath.[162] Besides these
differences in the semi-cultivated Scotch fir, there are in several
parts of Europe natural or geographical races, which have been ranked
by some authors as distinct species.[163] Loudon[164] considers _P.
pumilio,_ with its several sub-varieties, as _mughus, nana,_ etc.,
which differ much when planted in different soils, and only come
“tolerably true from seed,” as alpine varieties of the Scotch fir; if
this were proved to be the case, it would be an interesting fact as
showing that dwarfing from long exposure to a severe climate is to a
certain extent inherited.

The _Hawthorn (Cratægus oxyacantha)._ has varied much. Besides endless
slighter variations in the form of the leaves, and in the size,
hardness, fleshiness, and shape of the berries, Loudon[165] enumerates
twenty-nine well-marked varieties. Besides those cultivated for their
pretty flowers, there are others with golden-yellow, black, and whitish
berries; others with woolly berries, and others with re-curved thorns.
Loudon truly remarks that the chief reason why the hawthorn has yielded
more varieties than most other trees, is that nurserymen select any
remarkable variety out of the immense beds of seedlings which are
annually raised for making hedges. The flowers of the hawthorn usually
include from one to three pistils; but in two varieties, named monogyna
and sibirica, there is only a single pistil; and d’Asso states that the
common thorn in Spain is constantly in this state.[166] There is also a
variety which is apetalous, or has its petals reduced to mere
rudiments. The famous Glastonbury thorn flowers and leafs towards the
end of December, at which time it bears berries produced from an
earlier crop of flowers.[167] It is worth notice that several varieties
of the hawthorn, as well as of the lime and juniper, are very distinct
in their foliage and habit whilst young, but in the course of thirty or
forty years become extremely like each other;[168] thus reminding us of
the well-known fact that the deodar, the cedar of Lebanon, and that of
the Atlas, are distinguished with the greatest ease whilst young, but
with difficulty when old.


I shall not for several reasons treat the variability of plants which
are cultivated for their flowers alone at any great length. Many of our
favourite kinds in their present state are the descendants of two or
more species crossed and commingled together, and this circumstance
alone would render it difficult to detect the difference due to
variation. For instance, our Roses, Petunias, Calceolarias, Fuchsias,
Verbenas, Gladioli, Pelargoniums, etc., certainly have had a multiple
origin. A botanist well acquainted with the parent-forms would probably
detect some curious structural differences in their crossed and
cultivated descendant; and he would certainly observe many new and
remarkable constitutional peculiarities. I will give a few instances,
all relating to the Pelargonium, and taken chiefly from Mr. Beck,[169]
a famous cultivator of this plant: some varieties require more water
than others; some are “very impatient of the knife if too greedily used
in making cuttings;” some, when potted, scarcely “show a root at the
outside of the ball of the earth;” one variety requires a certain
amount of confinement in the pot to make it throw up a flower-stem;
some varieties bloom well at the commencement of the season, others at
the close; one variety is known,[170] which will stand “even pine-apple
top and bottom heat, without looking any more drawn than if it had
stood in a common greenhouse; and Blanche Fleur seems as if made on
purpose for growing in winter, like many bulbs, and to rest all
summer.” These odd constitutional peculiarities would enable a plant in
a state of nature to become adapted to widely different circumstances
and climates.

Flowers possess little interest under our present point of view,
because they have been almost exclusively attended to and selected for
their beautiful colour, size, perfect outline, and manner of growth. In
these particulars hardly one long-cultivated flower can be named which
has not varied greatly. What does a florist care for the shape and
structure of the organs of fructification, unless, indeed, they add to
the beauty of the flower? When this is the case, flowers become
modified in important points; stamens and pistils may be converted into
petals, and additional petals may be developed, as in all double
flowers. The process of gradual selection by which flowers have been
rendered more and more double, each step in the process of conversion
being inherited, has been recorded in several instances. In the
so-called double flowers of the Compositæ, the corollas of the central
florets are greatly modified, and the modifications are likewise
inherited. In the columbine (_Aquilegia vulgaris_) some of the stamens
are converted into petals having the shape of nectaries, one neatly
fitting into the other; but in one variety they are converted into
simple petals.[171] In the “hose in hose” primulæ, the calyx becomes
brightly coloured and enlarged so as to resemble a corolla; and Mr. W.
Wooler informs me that this peculiarity is transmitted; for he crossed
a common polyanthus with one having a coloured calyx,[172] and some of
the seedlings inherited the coloured calyx during at least six
generations. In the “hen-and-chicken” daisy the main flower is
surrounded by a brood of small flowers developed from buds in the axils
of the scales of the involucre. A wonderful poppy has been described,
in which the stamens are converted into pistils; and so strictly was
this peculiarity inherited that, out of 154 seedlings, one alone
reverted to the ordinary and common type.[173] Of the cock’s-comb
(_Celosia cristata_), which is an annual, there are several races in
which the flower-stem is wonderfully “fasciated” or compressed; and one
has been exhibited[174] actually eighteen inches in breadth. Peloric
races of _Gloxinia speciosa_ and _Antirrhinum majus_ can be propagated
by seed, and they differ in a wonderful manner from the typical form
both in structure and appearance.

A much more remarkable modification has been recorded by Sir William
and Dr. Hooker[175] in _Begonia frigida._ This plant properly produces
male and female flowers on the same fascicles; and in the female
flowers the perianth is superior; but a plant at Kew produced, besides
the ordinary flowers, others which graduated towards a perfect
hermaphrodite structure; and in these flowers the perianth was
inferior. To show the importance of this modification under a
classificatory point of view, I may quote what Prof. Harvey says,
namely, that had it “occurred in a state of nature, and had a botanist
collected a plant with such flowers, he would not only have placed it
in a distinct genus from Begonia, but would probably have considered it
as the type of a new natural order.” This modification cannot in one
sense be considered as a monstrosity, for analogous structures
naturally occur in other orders, as with Saxifragæ and Aristolochiaceæ.
The interest of the case is largely added to by Mr. C. W. Crocker’s
observation that seedlings from the _normal_ flowers produced plants
which bore, in about the same proportion as the parent-plant,
hermaphrodite flowers having inferior perianths. The hermaphrodite
flowers fertilised with their own pollen were sterile.

If florists had attended to, selected, and propagated by seed other
modifications of structure besides those which are beautiful, a host of
curious varieties would certainly have been raised; and they would
probably have transmitted their characters so truly that the cultivator
would have felt aggrieved, as in the case of culinary vegetables, if
his whole bed had not presented a uniform appearance. Florists have
attended in some instances to the leaves of their plant, and have thus
produced the most elegant and symmetrical patterns of white, red, and
green, which, as in the case of the pelargonium, are sometimes strictly
inherited.[176] Any one who will habitually examine highly-cultivated
flowers in gardens and greenhouses will observe numerous deviations in
structure; but most of these must be ranked as mere monstrosities, and
are only so far interesting as showing how plastic the organisation
becomes under high cultivation. From this point of view such works as
Professor Moquin-Tandon’s ‘Tératologie’ are highly instructive.

_Roses._—These flowers offer an instance of a number of forms generally
ranked as species, namely, _R. centifolia, gallica, alba, damascena,
spinosissima, bracteata, indica, semperflorens, moschata,_ etc., which
have largely varied and been intercrossed. The genus Rosa is a
notoriously difficult one, and, though some of the above forms are
admitted by all botanists to be distinct species, others are doubtful;
thus, with respect to the British forms, Babington makes seventeen, and
Bentham only five species. The hybrids from some of the most distinct
forms—for instance, from _R. indica,_ fertilised by the pollen of _R.
centifolia_—produce an abundance of seed; I state this on the authority
of Mr. Rivers,[177] from whose work I have drawn most of the following
statements. As almost all the aboriginal forms brought from different
countries have been crossed and re-crossed, it is no wonder that
Targioni-Tozzetti, in speaking of the common roses of the Italian
gardens, remarks that “the native country and precise form of the wild
type of most of them are involved in much uncertainty.”[178]
Nevertheless, Mr. Rivers in referring to _R. indica_ (p. 68) says that
the descendants of each group may generally be recognised by a close
observer. The same author often speaks of roses as having been a little
hybridised; but it is evident that in very many cases the differences
due to variation and to hybridisation can now only be conjecturally

The species have varied both by seed and by bud; such modified buds
being often called by gardeners sports. In the following chapter I
shall fully discuss this latter subject, and shall show that
bud-variations can be propagated not only by grafting and budding, but
often by seed. Whenever a new rose appears with any peculiar character,
however produced, if it yields seed, Mr. Rivers (p. 4) fully expects it
to become the parent-type of a new family. The tendency to vary is so
strong in some kinds, as in the Village Maid (Rivers, p. 16), that when
grown in different soils it varies so much in colour that it has been
thought to form several distinct kinds. Altogether the number of kinds
is very great: thus M. Desportes, in his Catalogue for 1829, enumerates
2562 as cultivated in France; but no doubt a large proportion of these
are merely nominal.

It would be useless to specify the many points of difference between
the various kinds, but some constitutional peculiarities may be
mentioned. Several French roses (Rivers, p. 12) will not succeed in
England; and an excellent horticulturist[179] remarks, that “Even in
the same garden you will find that a rose that will do nothing under a
south wall will do well under a north one. That is the case with Paul
Joseph here. It grows strongly and blooms beautifully close to a north
wall. For three years seven plants have done nothing under a south
wall.” Many roses can be forced, “many are totally unfit for forcing,
among which is General Jacqueminot.”[180] From the effects of crossing
and variation Mr. Rivers enthusiastically anticipates (p. 87) that the
day will come when all our roses, even moss-roses, will have evergreen
foliage, brilliant and fragrant flowers, and the habit of blooming from
June till November. “A distant view this seems, but perseverance in
gardening will yet achieve wonders,” as assuredly it has already
achieved wonders.

It may be worth while briefly to give the well-known history of one
class of roses. In 1793 some wild Scotch roses (_R. spinosissima_) were
transplanted into a garden;[181] and one of these bore flowers slightly
tinged with red, from which a plant was raised with semi-monstrous
flowers, also tinged with red; seedlings from this flower were
semi-double, and by continued selection, in about nine or ten years,
eight sub-varieties were raised. In the course of less than twenty
years these double Scotch roses had so much increased in number and
kind, that twenty-six well-marked varieties, classed in eight sections,
were described by Mr. Sabine. In 1841[182] it is said that three
hundred varieties could be procured in the nursery-gardens near
Glasgow; and these are described as blush, crimson, purple, red,
marbled, two-coloured, white, and yellow, and as differing much in the
size and shape of the flower.

_Pansy or Heartsease (Viola tricolor, etc.)._—The history of this
flower seems to be pretty well known; it was grown in Evelyn’s garden
in 1687; but the varieties were not attended to till 1810-1812, when
Lady Monke, together with Mr. Lee, the well-known nursery-man,
energetically commenced their culture; and in the course of a few years
twenty varieties could be purchased.[183] At about the same period,
namely in 1813 or 1814, Lord Gambier collected some wild plants, and
his gardener, Mr. Thomson, cultivated them, together with some common
garden varieties, and soon effected a great improvement. The first
great change was the conversion of the dark lines in the centre of the
flower into a dark eye or centre, which at that period had never been
seen, but is now considered one of the chief requisites of a first-rate
flower. In 1835 a book entirely devoted to this flower was published,
and four hundred named varieties were on sale. From these circumstances
this plant seemed to me worth studying, more especially from the great
contrast between the small, dull, elongated, irregular flowers of the
wild pansy, and the beautiful, flat, symmetrical, circular, velvet-like
flowers, more than two inches in diameter, magnificently and variously
coloured, which are exhibited at our shows. But when I came to enquire
more closely, I found that, though the varieties were so modern, yet
that much confusion and doubt prevailed about their parentage. Florists
believe that the varieties[184] are descended from several wild stocks,
namely, _V. tricolor, lutea, grandiflora, amœna,_ and _altaica,_ more
or less intercrossed. And when I looked to botanical works to ascertain
whether these forms ought to be ranked as species, I found equal doubt
and confusion. _Viola altaica_ seems to be a distinct form, but what
part it has played in the origin of our varieties I know not; it is
said to have been crossed with _V. lutea. Viola amœna_[185] is now
looked at by all botanists as a natural variety of _V. grandiflora_;
and this and _V. sudetica_ have been proved to be identical with _V.
lutea._ The latter and _V. tricolor_ (including its admitted variety
_V. arvensis_) are ranked as distinct species by Babington, and
likewise by M. Gay,[186] who has paid particular attention to the
genus; but the specific distinction between _V. lutea_ and _tricolor_
is chiefly grounded on the one being strictly and the other not
strictly perennial, as well as on some other slight and unimportant
differences in the form of the stem and stipules. Bentham unites these
two forms; and a high authority on such matters, Mr. H. C. Watson,[187]
says that, “while _V. tricolor_ passes into _V. arvensis_ on the one
side, it approximates so much towards _V. lutea_ and _V. Curtisii_ on
the other side, that a distinction becomes scarcely more easy between

Hence, after having carefully compared numerous varieties, I gave up
the attempt as too difficult for any one except a professed botanist.
Most of the varieties present such inconstant characters, that when
grown in poor soil, or when flowering out of their proper season, they
produced differently coloured and much smaller flowers. Cultivators
speak of this or that kind as being remarkably constant or true; but by
this they do not mean, as in other cases, that the kind transmits its
character by seed, but that the individual plant does not change much
under culture. The principle of inheritance, however, does hold good to
a certain extent even with the fleeting varieties of the Heartsease,
for to gain good sorts it is indispensable to sow the seed of good
sorts. Nevertheless, in almost every large seed-bed a few, almost wild
seedlings reappear through reversion. On comparing the choicest
varieties with the nearest allied wild forms, besides the difference in
the size, outline, and colour of the flowers, the leaves sometimes
differ in shape, as does the calyx occasionally in the length and
breadth of the sepals. The differences in the form of the nectary more
especially deserve notice; because characters derived from this organ
have been much used in the discrimination of most of the species of
Viola. In a large number of flowers compared in 1842 I found that in
the greater number the nectary was straight; in others the extremity
was a little turned upwards, or downwards, or inwards, so as to be
completely hooked; in others, instead of being hooked, it was first
turned rectangularly downwards, and then backwards and upwards; in
others, the extremity was considerably enlarged; and lastly, in some
the basal part was depressed, becoming, as usual, laterally compressed
towards the extremity. In a large number of flowers, on the other hand,
examined by me in 1856 from a nursery-garden in a different part of
England, the nectary hardly varied at all. Now M. Gay says that in
certain districts, especially in Auvergne, the nectary of the wild _V.
grandiflora_ varies in the manner just described. Must we conclude from
this that the cultivated varieties first mentioned were all descended
from _V. grandiflora,_ and that the second lot, though having the same
general appearance, were descended from _V. tricolor,_ of which the
nectary, according to M. Gay, is subject to little variation? Or is it
not more probable that both these wild forms would be found under other
conditions to vary in the same manner and degree, thus showing that
they ought not to be ranked as specifically distinct?

The _Dahlia_ has been referred to by almost every author who has
written on the variation of plants, because it is believed that all the
varieties are descended from a single species, and because all have
arisen since 1802 in France, and since 1804 in England.[188] Mr. Sabine
remarks that “it seems as if some period of cultivation had been
required before the fixed qualities of the native plant gave way and
began to sport into those changes which now so delight us.”[189] The
flowers have been greatly modified in shape from a flat to a globular
form. Anemone and ranunculus-like races[190] which differ in the form
and arrangement of the florets, have arisen; also dwarfed races, one of
which is only eighteen inches in height. The seeds vary much in size.
The petals are uniformly coloured or tipped or striped, and present an
almost infinite diversity of tints. Seedlings of fourteen different
colours[191] have been raised from the same plant; yet, as Mr. Sabine
has remarked, “many of the seedlings follow their parents in colour.”
The period of flowering has been considerably hastened, and this has
probably been effected by continued selection. Salisbury, writing 1808,
says that they then flowered from September to November; in 1828 some
new dwarf varieties began flowering in June;[192] and Mr. Grieve
informs me that the dwarf purple Zelinda in his garden is in full bloom
by the middle of June and sometimes even earlier. Slight constitutional
differences have been observed between certain varieties: thus, some
kinds succeed much better in one part of England than in another;[193]
and it has been noticed that some varieties require much more moisture
than others.[194]

Such flowers as the carnation, common tulip, and hyacinth, which are
believed to be descended, each from a single wild form, present
innumerable varieties, differing almost exclusively in the size, form,
and colour of the flowers. These and some other anciently cultivated
plants which have been long propagated by offsets, pipings, bulbs,
etc., become so excessively variable, that almost each new plant raised
from seed forms a new variety, “all of which to describe particularly,”
as old Gerarde wrote in 1597, “were to roll Sisyphus’s stone, or to
number the sands.”

_Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)._—It may, however, be worth while to
give a short account of this plant, which was introduced into England
in 1596 from the Levant.[195] The petals of the original flower, says
Mr. Paul, were narrow, wrinkled, pointed, and of a flimsy texture; now
they are broad, smooth, solid, and rounded. The erectness, breadth, and
length of the whole spike, and the size of the flowers, have all
increased. The colours have been intensified and diversified. Gerarde,
in 1597, enumerates four, and Parkinson, in 1629, eight varieties. Now
the varieties are very numerous, and they were still more numerous a
century ago. Mr. Paul remarks that “it is interesting to compare the
Hyacinths of 1629 with those of 1864, and to mark the improvement. Two
hundred and thirty-five years have elapsed since then, and this simple
flower serves well to illustrate the great fact that the original forms
of nature do not remain fixed and stationary, at least when brought
under cultivation. While looking at the extremes, we must not, however,
forget that there are intermediate stages which are for the most part
lost to us. Nature will sometimes indulge herself with a leap, but as a
rule her march is slow and gradual.” He adds that the cultivator should
have “in his mind an ideal of beauty, for the realisation of which he
works with head and hand.” We thus see how clearly Mr. Paul, an
eminently successful cultivator of this flower, appreciates the action
of methodical selection.

In a curious and apparently trustworthy treatise, published at
Amsterdam[196] in 1768, it is stated that nearly 2,000 sorts were then
known; but in 1864 Mr. Paul found only 700 in the largest garden at
Haarlem. In this treatise it is said that not an instance is known of
any one variety reproducing itself truly by seed: the white kinds,
however, now[197] almost always yield white hyacinths, and the yellow
kinds come nearly true. The hyacinth is remarkable from having given
rise to varieties with bright blue, pink, and distinctly yellow
flowers. These three primary colours do not occur in the varieties of
any other species; nor do they often all occur even in the distinct
species of the same genus. Although the several kinds of hyacinths
differ but slightly from each other except in colour, yet each kind has
its own individual character, which can be recogn