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The. right of Translation in reserved. 




SELECTION; or The Preservation of Favouri-d Racfs in the Struggle for 
Life. Fourth Edition (Eighth Thousand), with Additions and Corrections. Post 8vo., 
15*. 1866. . " Murray. 


Journal of Researches into the Natural Histopy and Geology of the Countries 
visited during the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, under the Command of Capt. Fitz- 
Roy, R.N. Tenth Thousand. Post 8vo., 9s. 1860. Murray. 




Smith, Elder, & Co. 


Smith, Elder, & Co. 


Smith, Elder, & Co. 


trations. 2 vols. 8vo. 

With numerous Tllus- 


Effects of Crossing. With numerous Woodcuts. Post fevo., 9s. 1862. Murray. 


With Woodcuts. Williams & Norgate. 

















CATTLE ^K T INALLY S ™ - FERAL HGS - cr ossed breeds. 




a 2 














PIGEONS — con United. 








Page 225 









SILK-MOTHS, SPECIES and breeds of — anciently domesticated — care in 



PRELIMINARY REMARKS on the number and parentage of cultivated 


CERE ALIA. — doubts on the number of species. wheat : varieties of 




CULINARY PLANTS. — cabbages : varieties of, in foliage and stems, but 














ORNAMENTAL TREES — their variation in degree and kind — ash-tree 

— scotch-fir — hawthorn. 

flowers — multiple origin of many kinds — variation in constitutional 

peculiarities — kind of variation. roses — several species cultivated. 

' pansy. dahlia. hyacinth, history and variation of 

Page 332 






Vol. I. p. 101, line 19, for "early Stone period" read "early part of the 
Neolithic period." 

( ™ ) 


1. Dun Devonshire Pony, with shoulder, spinal, and leg stripes 

2. Head op Japan or Masked Pig 

8. Head of Wild Boar„ and of « Golden Days," a pig of the York- 
shire LARGE BREED . . 

4. Old Irish Pig, with jaw-appendages 

5. Half-lop Eabbit 

6. Skull of Wild Eabbit 

7. Skull of large Lop-eared Eabbit 

8. Part of Zygomatic Arch, showing the projecting end of the malar- 


9. Posterior end of Skull, showing the inter-parietal ' bone, of 








10. Occipital Foramen of Eabbits 

11. Skull of Half-lop Eabbit 

12. Atlas Vertebrae of Eabbits 

13. Third Cervical Vertebra of Eabbits 

14. Dorsal Vertebra from sixth to tenth inclusive, of Eabbits' 

15. Terminal Bone of Sternum of Eabbits 

16. Acromion of Scapula of Eabbits 

17. The Rock-Pigeon, or Columbia Livia 

18. English Pouter 135 

19. English Carrier 137 

20. English Barb ][ " " " " 140 

21. English Fantail " 145 

22. African Owl .. .. '. [[ " '* 147 

23. Short-faced English Tumbler . . •••••••■ 149 

24. Skulls of Pigeons, viewed laterally .. •• 152 

25. Lower Jaws of Pigeons, seen from above .' . " !f 

26. Skull of Runt, seen from above .... 

27. Lateral view of Jaws of Pigeons [[ • • • • 165 

28. Scapula of Pigeons .... 165 

29. Furculj? of Pigeons " 167 

30. Spanish Fowl " "* " *• •• 167 

31. Hamburgh Fowl •• .. 226 

32. Polish Fowl .. .. " " " 228 

33. Occipital Foramen of the Skulls of Fowls ' " ' " " " ^ 




34. Skulls of Fowls, viewed from above, a little obliquely 262 

35. Longitudinal sections of Skulls of Fowls, viewed laterally . . 263 

36. Skull of Horned Fowl, viewed from above, a little obliquely . . 265 

37. Sixth Cervical Vertebra of Fowls, viewed laterally 267 

38. Extremity of the Furcula of Fowls, viewed laterally 268 

39. Skulls of Ducks, viewed laterally, reduced to two-thirds of the 

natural size 282 

40. Cervical Vertebrae of Ducks, of natural size • 283 

41. Pods of the Common Pea 328 

42. Peach and Almond Stones, of natural size, viewed edgeways .. 337 

43. Plum Stones, of natural size, viewed laterally 345 





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 col- 
lect 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 varia- 
tion. 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 m 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 fullness. 

The subjects discussed in this volume are so connected that 
it is not a little difficult to decide how they can be best arranged. 

JriZ ^FT* ? thG &St Part t0 ^ ™ der the h <^ of the 

m7 at Z and l 1 ^' a large b0d ^ of facts > s °me of which 

ZtethBt^^^ ^ rekted t0 0Ur s ^> «nd to 
devote the latter part to general discussions. Whenever I have 

nrolr neCeSSar V .^ *»us details, in support of any 
propos.tion or conclusion, small type has been used. The reader 

VOL. I, 



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 
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 conse- 
quently 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 some- 
times in another, in different soils. Under such circumstances, 

1 To any one who has attentively 
read my ' Origin of Species ' this Intro- 
duction 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 pub- 
lishing this first work has been caused 
by continued ill-health. 

2 M. Pouchet has recently (' Plurality 
of Paces,' Eng. Translat., 1864, p. 83, 
&c.) insisted that variation under do- 
mestication throws no light on the na- 
tural modification of species. I cannot 
perceive the force of his arguments, or, 
to speak more accurately, of his asser- 
tions to this effect. 


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 some- 
thing on the laws of inheritance, on the effects of crossing dif- 
ferent 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. Durino- this 
investigation we shall see that the principle of Selection Is all 
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 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 accord- 
ance with a preconceived idea ; and by thus adding up varia- 
tions, 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 culti- 
vated 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 man. 

In a second work I shall discuss 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-sj)ecies 
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 organization 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 in- 
herited 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 con- 



siderable 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 con- 
ditions, and to] the other forms of life on which it in any way- 
depends? We see on every side of us innumerable adapta- 
tions and contrivances, which have justly excited in the mind 
of every observer the highest admiration. 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 (Miso- 
campus) 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 character- 
istic 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,— 
will form the main subject of my second work. We shall 
therein see 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 genera- 
tions. 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 m a slight degree, owing to changes in the surrounding 

* Leon Dufour in < Annales des Scienc. Nat.' (3rd series, Zoolog.), torn. v. p. 6. 


conditions, of which we have abundant geological evidence, or 
from any other cause ; if, in the long course of ages, inherit- 
able 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 con- 
tingencies 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 pre- 
served 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 preserva- 
tion of varieties and species in a state of nature. For brevity 
sake I sometimes speak of natural selection as an intel- 
ligent 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, selec- 
tion 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 aggregrate action and product of 
many natural laws, — and by laws only the ascertained sequence 
of events. 


In the chapter devoted to natural selection I shall show 
from experiment and from a multitude of facts, that the 
greatest amount of life can be supported on each spot by 
great diversification or divergence in the structure and consti- 
tution of fc its inhabitants. We shall, also, see that the con- 
tinued production of new forms through natural selection, 
which implies that each new variety has some advantage over 
others, almost inevitably leads to the extermination ^of the 
older and less improved forms. These latter are almost neces- 
sarily 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 principle 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 differ- 
ences characteristic of species, and, by the extermination of 
the older intermediate forms, new species come to be 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 is related to 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 organization occasionally 
varies in some slight degree, and as natural selection acts 
exclusively by the preservation of variations which are advan- 
tageous under the excessively complex conditions to which 
each being is exposed, no limit exists to the number, singu- 
larity, and perfection of the contrivances and co-adaptations 
which may thus be produced. A.n 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 organiza- 
tion 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 

On the principles here briefly sketched out, there is no 
innate or necessary tendency in each being to its own advance- 
ment in the scale of organization. We are almost compelled 
to look at the specialization 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 ^modifica- 
tions 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, organization 
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 organized? 
Members of a high group might even become, and this appa- 
rently has occurred, fitted for simpler conditions of life ; and in 
this case natural selection would tend to simplify or degrade 
the organization, for complicated mechanism for simple actions 
would be useless or even disadvantageous. 

In a second work, after treating of the Variation of organisms 
in a state of nature, of the Struggle for Existence and the prin- 
ciple of Natural Selection, I shall discuss the difficulties which are 
opposed to the theory. These difficulties may be classed under 
the following heads :— the apparent impossibility in some cases 
of a very simple organ graduating by small steps into a highly 
perfect organ; the marvellous facts of Instinct; the whole ques- 
tion of Hybridity ; and, lastly, the absence, at the present time 
and in our geological formations, of innumerable links connect- 
ing 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 hypo- 
thesis, 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 hypo- 
thetical, 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 preser- 
vation of favourable variations, — and from the analogical for- 
mation 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. 

In a third work I shall try the principle of natural selection 
by seeing how far it will give a fair explanation of the several 
classes of facts just alluded to. It was the consideration of 
these facts which first led me to take up the present subject. 
VVhen I visited, during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, the 
^alapagos Archipelago, situated in the Pacific Ocean about 
500 miles from the shore of 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 
narsn cry of the carrion-hawk, in the great candlestick-like 
~ ^J P ercei ved the neighbourhood of America, 
though the is ands were separated by so many miles of ocean 
irom the mainland, and differed much from it 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 had descended 
from those of the nearest land, namely America, whence colo- 
nists 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 realized 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 animals. 

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 re- 
placing species of the same peculiar genera. Thus it was when 
the Cordilleras were ascended, or the thick tropical forests pene- 
trated, or the fresh waters of America searched. Subsequently 
I visited other countries, which in all the conditions of life were 
incomparably more like to parts of South America, than the 
different parts of that continent were 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 pro- 
ductions. Again the reflection was forced on me that community 
of descent from the early inhabitants or colonists of South America 
would alone explain the wide prevalence of American types of 
structure 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 had 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 case does the simi- 
larity 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 likewise 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 often show combined or 
intermediate characters, like the words of a dead language with 
respect to its several offshoots or living tongues. All these 
and other such facts seemed to me to point to descent with 
modification as the method of production of new groups of 

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. It will be seen in my third work that these 
complex affinities and the rules for classification receive a 
rational explanation on the principle of descent, together with 
modifications acquired through natural selection, entailing diver- 
gence 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, if we look to the structure 
of an individual animal or plant, when we see the fore and 
hind limbs, the skull and vertebras, the jaws and legs of a 
crab, the petals, stamens, and pistils of a flower, built on the 
same type or pattern. During the many changes to which 
in the course of time all 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 utterly useless condition can, on 
the descent-theory, be simply understood. On the principle of 
modifications being inherited at the same age in the child, at 
which each successive variation first appeared in the parent, we 
shall see why rudimentary parts and organs are generally well 
developed in the individual at a very early age. On the same 
principle of inheritance at corresponding ages, and on the prin- 
ciple of variations not generally supervening at a very early 
period of embryonic growth (and both these principles can be 
shown to be probable from direct evidence), that most wonderful 
fact in the whole round of natural history, namely, the similarity 
of members of the same great class in their embryonic con- 
dition, — the embryo, for instance, of a mammal, bird, reptile, 
and fish being barely distinguishable, — becomes simply in- 

It is the consideration and explanation of such facts as these 
which has convinced me that the theory of descent with modi- 
fication by means of natural selection is in the main true. 
These facts have as yet received no explanation on the theory of 
independent Creations ; 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 con- 
tinued 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 mira- 
culous 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 con- 
clude 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, inde- 
pendently 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 have descended from one pro- 
genitor. But as the members of quite distinct classes have 
something in common in structure and much in common in 
constitution, analogy and the simplicity of the view would lead 
us one step further, and to infer as probable that all living 
creatures have 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 selec- 
tion. It is the facts and views to be hereafter given which 
have convinced me of the truth of the theory. 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 distribu- 
tion, the possibility of transitions in organs, &c— 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 ac- 
cepted 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 

4 In treating the several subjects in- 
cluded in the present and succeeding 
works I have continually been led to 
ask for information from many zoolo- 
gists, 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 Govern- 
ment residing in distant lands, and, with 
the rarest exceptions, I have received 
prompt, open-handed, and valuable as- 
sistance. 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 investi- 






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. Paleontology 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 

r, lo^isl^^ J° SSil Mammals >' and concludes that the extinct parent 

S«f 1 on S '?** de Pal "' of a11 domesticated dogs came nearest 

InW- • rw t P ' f n , BWille > to the wolf in organization, and to the 

in Ins Osteograplne, Camd*,' p. 142, jackal in habits, 
has largely discussed the whole subject, 



Chap. r. 

later tertiary deposits more like tliose 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 the 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 

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 Eoman classical period. 3 At this earlier period 

2 Pallas, I believe, originated this 
doctrine in 'Act. Acad. St. Petersburgh,' 
1780, Part ii. Ehrenberg has advo- 
cated it, as may be seen in De Blain- 
ville's ' Osteographie,' p. 79. It has 
been carried to an extreme extent by 
Col. Hamilton Smith in the ' Naturalist 
Library,' vol. 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. 
Gen.,' 1860, torn. 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, torn. 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, 



various breeds, namely hounds, house-dogs, lapdogs, &c, 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. Eawlinson (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 Eosellini, and on 
the 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 Eengger, with 
jaguars in Paraguay, that it would be rash to look at the monu- 
mental 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 repre°- 
sented 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 • states that the 
Arab boar-hound is "an eccentric hieroglyphic animal, such as 
Uieops once hunted with, somewhat resembling the rough Scotch 
d^er-hound; their tails are curled tight round on their backs, 

^ST w 817 J fV^°\ SemS ' T ^ es of Ma *kind/ 1854, p. 393, give 

Be trie nr ££ JLv t° .7°^ ^ been Called a ™ betan m ^iff, ^ 
zig, 1852 s 11^^ h f ^ 1P : Mr " H " A - ° ldfield ' wh0 is f * 

1845, p e T; Q JTlz Dog ' r ith the so - called Thibet mastiff « *** 

byDeBlain^e fh ^t7 1Sgl T V - U ^ '"^ the drawin S s in the 
Canida,' ^ 0Bte °g»Plnfi, British Museum, informs me that he 

< I have seen drawings of this do- T^f tt T *?**"**• 

fi^thetombofliieWaflw^ IfiV ^^ S ° C "' July 12th ' 

•don, and clay models in the British 6 .'q « • » , 

Museum. Nott and Gliddon, in thS P S m ****** P> 5L 

VOL. T. 



Chap. I. 

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 thou- 
sand 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 imbedded, 
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 

7 Berjeau gives fac-similes of the 
Egyptian drawings. Mr. C. L. Martin, 
in Ms ' History of the Dog,' 1845, copies 
several figures from the Egyptian monu- 
ments, 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. Glid- 
don asserts that a curl-tailed greyhound, 

like that represented on the most ancient 
monuments, is common in Borneo ; but 
the Kajah, 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.' torn. 
vi., 1860, pp. 281, 299, 320. 


from Prof. Kiitimeyer, 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 (Ja°*dhuncl 
mid Wachtelhund). Kiitimeyer insists strongly on the con- 
stancy 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. Eemains 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 under- 
went 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 Kiitimeyer, 
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 laruma Indians are considered the best trainers of dogs, 
and possess a large breed, which they barter at a high price 
with other tribes. 11 r 

The main argument in favour of the several breeds of the 

, l^l*™ d "*^««*.' 1861, n Sir E . Sc]lomburgk has giyen ^ 

10 De Blainville • fWn u- m T form ation on this head. See also 
Canida,' ' ° Steo S ra P hle > 'Journal of R. Geograph. Soc.,' vol. 

xiii., 1843, p. 65. 

c 2 

20 DOGS. 

Chap. I. 

dog being the descendants of distinct wild stocks, is their re- 
semblance 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 
m the belief that several canine species have been domesticated ; 
for there is much difficulty in this respect with some other 
domestic quadrupeds and birds. Members of the dog family 
inhabit nearly the whole world ; and several species agree 
pretty closely in habits and structure with our several domes- 
ticated 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 
Canidae 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) fear- 
lessly 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 
an 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 

12 « Domestication of Animals :' Eth- arcticus, see p. 193. For the case of the 
nological Soc, Dec. 22nd, 1863. antelope, see ' Journal Eoyal Geograph. 

13 ' Journal of ^Researches,' &c, 1845, Soc.,' vol. xxiii. p. 94. 
-p. 393. "With respect to Canis ant- 


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 clogs 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 Cants, 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 be- 
lieving that man might have domesticated various canine 
species in different countries. It would indeed have been a 
strange Jact if one species alone had been domesticated through- 
out the world. 

We will now enter into details. The accurate and sagacious 
Eichardson says, « The resemblance between the Northern Ame- 
rican wolves (Cants lupus, var. occidental) and the domestic 
clogs 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 pro- 
longed 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 
m 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 

22 DOGS. Chap. I. 

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 
are." 14 

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. occiclentalis, 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 

14 The authorities for the foregoing the wolf is often caught by the Esqui- 

statements are as follow : — Eichardson, maux for the purpose of crossing with 

in ' Fauna Boreali- Americana,' 1829, pp. their clogs, and thus adding to their 

64, 75 ; Dr. Kane, ' Arctic Explorations,' size and strength. M. Lamare-Picquot, 

1856, vol. i. pp. 398, 455 ; Dr. Hayes, in ' Bull, de la Soc. d'Acclimat.,' torn. 

• Arctic Boat Journey,' 1860, p. 167. vii., 1860, p. 148, gives a good account 

Franklin's ' Narrative,' vol. i. p. 269, of the half-bred Esquimaux dogs, 
gives the case of three whelps of a black 15 ' Fauna Boreali- Americana,' 1829, 

wolf being carried away by the Indians. pp. 73, 78, 80. Nott and Gliddon, 

Parry, Eichardson, and others, give • Types of Mankind/ p. 383. The na- 

accounts of wolves and dogs naturally turalist and traveller Bartram is quoted 

crossing in the eastern parts of North by Hamilton Smith, in ' Nat. Hist. Lib.,' 

America. Seeman, in his ' Voyage of vol. x. p. 156. A Mexican domestic 

H.M.S. Herald,' 1853, vol. ii. p. 26, says dog seems also to resemble a wild dog 


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 abori- 
ginal species, apparently the Canis eanerivorus. Sir E. Schom- 
burgk, 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. eanerivorus much 
more than the common breed. It is but seldom that the Indians 
keep the C. eanerivorus for domestic purposes, nor is the Ai, 
another species of wild dog, and which I consider to be identical 
with the Dusieyon 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 BufTon'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 dif- 
ferent 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 Cor- 
dillera. This naked dog is, however, quite distinct from that 
found preserved in the ancient Peruvian burial-places, and de- 
scribed by Tschudi, under the name of Canis Ingse, as with- 
standing 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 

of the same country ; but this may be " I qU ote this from Mr. R. Hill's ex- 

me prame-wolf. Another capable judge, cellent account of the Alco or domestic 

vLZ tT™. ?, The Natliralist ^ dog of Mexico, in Gosse's 'Naturalist's 

IrZ^ t'r ' \ 866 ' voUi -P- 21 8)> Sojourn in Jamaica,' 1851, p. 329. 

says that the Indian dog of the Spokans, V « Natoeschichte der Rieueethiere 

near the Rocky Mountains, «i 8 \ ej0 J von ft£J3?5*L ^ST*^ 

all question nothing more than a tamed is Quo f ed \ n Hu ' mboldt > s . Aspects 

Cayote or prame-wolf," or Canis la- of Nature' (Eng. trans.), vol. i. p. 


24 D0GS ' ChapI. 

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 Canidse. 

Turning to the Old World, some European clogs 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. Paget, 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 wolf. 20 

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 

19 Paget's 'Travels in Hungary and of Zoophilus), in the 'Indian Sporting 
Transylvania,' vol. i. p. 501. Jeitteles, Eeview,' Oct. 1856, p. 134. Mr. Blyth 
'Fauna Hungarian Superioris,' 1862, s. states that he was struck with the 
13. See Pliny, 'Hist, of the World 5 resemblance between a brush-tailed race 
(Eng. transl.), 8th book, ch. xl., about of pariah-dogs, north-west of Cawnpore, 
the Gauls crossing their dogs. See also and the Indian wolf. He gives corro- 
Aristotle, 'Hist. Animal.' lib. viii. c. borative evidence with respect to the 
28. For good evidence about wolves dogs of the valley of the Nerbudda. 
and dogs naturally crossing near the 21 y or numerous an( j interesting de- 
Pyrenees, see M. Mauduyt, 'Du Loup tails on the resemblance of dogs and 
et de ses Paces,' Poitiers, 1851; also jackals, see Isid. Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 
Pallas, in. 'Acta Acad. St. Peters- ' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' 1860, torn. hi. p. 101. 
burgh,' 1780, part ii. p. 94. See also ' Hist. Nat. des Mammiferes,' 

20 I give this on excellent authority, par Prof. Gervais, 1855, torn. ii. p. 60*. 
namely, Mr. Blyth (under the signature 


master, wag their tails, crouch, and throw themselves on their 
backs ; they smell at the tails of dogs, and void their urine 
sideways. 22 A number of excellent naturalists, from the time of 
Guldenstadt 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 etonnamment a 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 (G. 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 lat. 4° and 6° south, and about ten days' journey in the 
interior, a semi-domestic dog, as the Kev. 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 

22 Giildenstadt, 'Nov. Comment. 'Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 177. In 
Acad. Petrop.,' torn, xx., pro anno both countries it is the male jackal 
1775, p. 449. which pairs with female domestic dogs. 

23 Quoted by De Blainville in his 25 John Barbut's ' Description of the 
• Osteographie, Canidse,' pp. 79, 98. Coast of Guinea in 1746.' 

24 See Pallas, in ' Act. Acad. St. 2 « « Travels in South Africa, vol. ii. 
Petersburgh,' 1780, part ii. p. 91. For p. 272. 

Algeria, see Isid. Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 

26 D0GS - Chap. I. 

extinct mammals, so that its introduction must have been 
ancient. 27 

From this resemblance in several countries of the half- 
domesticated dogs 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 do- 
mestic dogs of the world have descended from two good species 
of wolf (viz. C. lupus and C. latrans), and from two or three other 
doubtful species of wolves (namely, the European, Indian and 
North African forms) ; from at least one or two South American 
canine species ; from several races or species of the jackal ; and 
perhaps from one or more extinct species. Those authors who 
attribute great influence to the action of climate by itself 
may thus account for the resemblance of the domesticated 
dogs and native animals in the same countries ; but I know 
of no facts snpporting the belief in so powerful an action of 

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 primmvus of 
India were tamed by Mr. Hodgson, 28 and became as sensible to 
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 immediately 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 

27 Selwyn, Geology of Victoria; also differs from the Dingo. 
'Journal of Geolog. Soc.,' vol. xiv., 28 « Proceedings Zoolog. Soc.,' 1833, 
1858, p. 536, and vol. xvi., 1860, p. 148 ; p. 112. See, also, on the taming of the 
and Prof. M'Coy, in 'Annals and Mag. common wolf, L. Lloyd, « Scandinavian 
of Nat. Hist.' (3rd series), vol. ix., 1862, Adventures,' vol. i. p. 460, 1854. With 
p. 147. The Dingo differs from the respect to the jackal, see Prof. Gervais, 
dogs of the central Polynesian islands. ' Hist. Nat. Mamm,' torn. ii. p. 61. With 
Dieffenbach remarks (' Travels,' vol. ii. respect to the aguara of Paraguay, see 
p. 45) that the native New Zealand dog Eengger's work. 

€hap. I. 


dogs, and which does not characterise a single natural species 
of the family, seems an exception; but this habit is soon 
lost and soon reacquired. 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 29 that the dumb- 
ness 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 30 " made his 
voice sound as loudly as any other dog of the same age and 
size." According to Professor Nillson, 31 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. 32 An 
interesting account has been given by Mr. G. Clarke 33 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 single or in packs, and burrow holes for their 
young. 34 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. 35 These feral dogs have not become 
uniform in colour on Juan Fernandez, Juan de Nova, or La 
Plata. 36 In Cuba the feral dogs are described by Poeppig as 
nearly all mouse-coloured, with short ears and light-blue eyes. 

29 Roulin, in ' Mem. present, par fages gives an account of a bitch brought 
divers Savans,' torn. vi. p. 341. from Jerusalem to France which bur- 

30 Martin, ' History of the Dog,' p. rowed a hole and littered in it. See 
1 * ■ ' Discours, Exposition des Races Canines,' 

31 Quoted by L. Lloyd in 'Field Sports 1865, p. 3. 

of North of Europe,' vol. i. p. 387. » With respect to wolves burrowing 

32 Quatrefages, ' Soc. d'Acclimat.,' holes, see Richardson, ' Fauna Boreali- 
May 11th, 1863, p. 7. Americana,' p. 64 ; and Bechstein, 

33 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' < Naturgesch. Deutschlands,' b. i. s. 
vol. xv., 1845, p. 140. qyj^ 

34 Azara, ' Voyages dans l'Amer. 36 See p oe ppig, « Keise in Chile,' b. i. 
Merid.,' torn. i. p. 381 ; his account is s. 290 ; Mr. G. Clarke, as above ; and 
fully confirmed by Kengger. Quatre- Kengger, s. 155. 



Chap. i. 

In St. Domingo, Col. Ham. Smith says 37 that the feral doo-s 
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 38 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." 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 39 figures the magnificent black mastiff of Thibet with a 

37 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. 

38 Low, ' Domesticated Animals,' p. 

39 « The Naturalist Library,' Dogs, vol. 
x. pp. 4, 19. 


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 Exhi- 
bition 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 dis- 
covering 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 0. mesomelas, 0. aureus, and (judging from Colonel Ham. 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 maniere a rappeler la tache terminale de meme couleur, qui caracterise 
la plupart des Canides sauvages." 40 

It has been objected that our domestic dogs cannot be 
descended from wolves or jackals, because their periods of ges- 
tation 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 ex- 
pected, for it is often in some degree variable. 41 Tessier, who 

« Q U0ted b p r0 f. G e rva i s , * Hist. that the gestation of a mongrel from 

'fSlnte ! 11 '?; « , - lf -d dog C Phil. Transact 1789, p. 

_ J. Hunter shows that the long 160) apparently was sixty-three days 

period of seventy-three days given by for she received'the dog more than once 

Buffon is easily explained by the bitch The period of a mongrel dog and jackal 

having received the dog many times was fifty-nine days. Fred. Cuvier found 

S^^ifSX*? 7^ tlle P-odofgesLionofthewolftobe 
Transact., 1/87, p. 353). Hunter found (< Diet. Class. d'Hist. Nat.,' torn. iv. p. 

30 DOGS. Chap. I. 

has closely attended to this subject, allows a difference of four 
days in the gestation of the dog. The Kev. 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 Vere 
fifty-nine, sixty-two, and sixty-seven days. The average period 
is sixty-three days ; but Bellingeri states that this holds good 
only with 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 wdth 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 ; 42 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 43 gave to 
a dog the same odour as that from a jackal by feeding it on raw 

The belief that our dogs are descended from wolves, jackals, 
South American Canidse, 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 

8) two months and a few days, which the dog. 

agrees with the dog. Isid. G.St. Hilaire, 42 See Isid. Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 

who has discussed the whole subject, 'Hist. Nat. Ge'n.,' torn. iii. p. 312, on 

and from whom I quote Bellingeri, states the odour of jackals. Col. Ham. Smith, 

(« Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 112) that in ' Nat. Hist. Lib.,' vol. x. p. 289. 

in the Jardin des Plantes the period of 43 Quoted by Quatrefages in ' Bull- 

the jackal has been found to be from Soc. d'Acclimat.,' May 11th, 1863. 
sixty to sixty-three days, exactly as with 


from several distinct species, are, as far as is known, mutually 
fertile together. But, as Broca has well remarked, 44 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 conclu- 
sion 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 45 apparently dislikes dogs of other kinds, but 
this perhaps is not strictly a sexual feeling ; the hairless 
endemic dog of Paraguay, according to Bengger, 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 ex- 
ternal structure, are far more fertile together than we have 
reason to believe their supposed wild parents would have been. 
Pallas assumes 46 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 (inde- 
pendently of the evidence derived from other domesticated 
animals) in favour of our domestic dogs having descended from 
several wild stocks, that I am led to admit the truth of this 

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, 

•• U o^ Umal de k Ph y siol °g ie .' torn. Deutschlands,' 1801, b. i. s. 638. With 

U ' P ;f M ro „.„, „ respect to Dr. Hodgkin's statement 

* u \ , n lsexcellent account made before Brit. Assoc, see 'The 

of tins breed mGosses 'Jamaica,' p. Zoologist,' vol. iv., for 1845-46, p. 

33S ; Rengger s ' Saeugethiere von Para- 1097 

goay,' s. 153 With respect to Spitz ™ '< Acta Acad. St. Petersburg^- 

dogs, see Bechstems « Naturgesch. 1780, part ii. pp. 84, 100. 

32 DOGS. Chap. I. 

which in external appearance so closely resembles the Euro- 
pean 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 Canidse 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. 47 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 gene- 
ration, and those from the jackal and clog at the fourth 
generation. 48 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. 49 Some hounds from Central Africa, 
brought home by Major Denham, never bred in the Tower" of 
London ; 50 and a similar tendency to sterility might be trans- 
mitted 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 ; but this 
circumstance, although it would almost certainly increase the 
tendency to sterility, would hardly account for the final result, 
even though aided by close confinement, unless there had been 
some original tendency to lessened fertility. 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 

4 ' M. Broca has shown (' Journal de the jackal are well known. See also 

Physiologic' torn. ii. p. 353) that Isid. Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 'Hist. Nat. 

Buffon's experiments have been often Gen.,' torn. hi. p. 217, who speaks of 

misrepresented. Broca has collected (pp. the hybrid offspring of the jackal as 

390-395) many facts on the fertility of perfectly fertile for three generations, 

crossed dogs, wolves, and jackals. 49 On authority of F. Cuvier, quoted 

48 'De la Longevite Humaine,' par in Bronn's ' Geschichte der Natur, 

M. Flourens, 1855, p. 143. Mr. Blyth B. ii. s. 164. 

says (' Indian Sporting Keview,' vol. ii. 50 W. C. L. Martin, 'History of the 
p. 137) that he has seen in India several Dog,' 1845, p. 203. Mr. Philip P. King, 
hybrids from the pariah-dog and jackal ; after ample opportunities of observation, 
and between one of these hybrids and a informs me that the Dingo and Euro- 
terrier. The experiments of Hunter on pean dogs often cross in Australia. 


her keeper, she did not fully exhibit her proper periods ; but this 
case, from the numerous instances of fertile hybrids from these 
two animals, was certainly exceptional. In almost all experi- 
ments on the crossing of animals there are so many causes of 
doubt, that it is extremely difficult to come to any positive con- 
clusion. 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 sup- 
posed 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 im- 
probability 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 Canidse ; 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 Bog. — 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, 51 with its elongated muzzle ; 
that of the larger dogs from the larger wolves, and the smaller 
and slighter dogs from 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 52 a large amount of variation. The intercrossing of the 
several aboriginal wild stocks, and of the subsequently formed 

« Riippel < Neue Wirbelthiere von animal in the British Museum. 

Abyssmien 1835-40 ; Mammif.,' s. 39, * 2 Even Pallas admits this ; see ' Act. 

pi. xiv. There is a specimen of this fine Acad. St. Petersburgh/ 1780, p 93. 

VOL. I. 



Chap. I. 

races, lias 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, &c, unless we believe that 
forms equally or more strongly characterised in these dif- 
ferent 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 Canidse 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 civilization. 

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 enu- 
merate 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 53 that in form 
the differences are " plus fortes que celles d'aucunes especes sauvages d'un 
meme 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 E. 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. 54 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 ; 55 and Professor Gervais says that there are dogs " qui 
ont sept paires de dents superieures et huit inferieures." De Blainville 56 
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. Miiller, 57 
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, 58 — 

53 Quoted by I. Geoffrey, 'Hist. Nat. 
Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 453. 

54 F. Cuvier, in ' Annales du Museum,' 
torn, xviii. p. 337 ; Godron, ' De l'Espece,' 
torn. i. p. 342 ; and Col. Ham. Smith, in 
'Naturalist's Library,' vol. ix. p. 101. 

55 Isid. Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, ' Hist. 
des Anomalies,' 1832, torn. i. p. 660. 
Gervais, ' Hist. Nat. des Mammiferes,' 
torn, ii., 1855, p. 66. De Blainville 

(' Osteographie, Canidae,' p. 137) has 
also seen an extra molar on both sides. 

5S ' Osteographie, Canidse,' p. 137. 

5 ? Wiirzburger, 'Medecin, Zeitschrift,' 
1860, B. i. s. 265. 

58 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. 


sometimes having none except one molar on each side ; bnt this, though 
characteristic of the breed, must be considered as a monstrosity. M. 
Girard, 59 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. 

With respect to minor differences little need be said. Isidore Geoffroy 
has shown 60 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. 61 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 shepherd dogs is almost absent. The mammae vary from seven to 
ten in number; Daubenton, having examined twenty-one dogs, found eight 
with five mammas on each side ; eight with four on each side ; and the others 
with an unequal number on the two sides. 62 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 deve- 
loped; 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, 63 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, 6 * » varies materially according to the breed, as well 

dor,v^iV4T5 eVeterinary '' L ° n - Canid*/ p. 134. F. Cuvier, ■ Annales 

60 . Hist TVni n - i > j. du Muse um,' torn, xviii. p. 342. In 
^ Mist. Nat. General, torn. iii. p. regard to mastiffe, See Col. Ham. Smith, 

61 W Scrooe < Ai+nf n cu „ • ' Nat ' Lib> '' voL x - P- 218 - For the 
p. 354 Art °fDeer-Stalk 1 ng,' Thibet mastiff, see Mr. Hodgson in 

62 fhmtPrl Kxr rvi xt c , 'Journal of As. Soc. of Bengal,' vol. i., 
Quoted by Col. Ham. Smith in 1832, p. 342 

Naturalist s Library, vol. x d 79 64 . 7™ ^ , 

63 De BlainvillP <7w J \. " 'The Dog,' 1845, p. 186. With 

6 ^ amyille > Osteographie, respect to diseases, Youatt asserts (p. 

♦ D 2 



Chap. I. 

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. 65 The 
Eev. E. Everest 66 believes that no one has succeeded in keeping the 
Newfoundland dog long alive in India ; so it is, according to Lichtenstein, 67 
even at the Cape of Good Hope. The Thibet mastiff degenerates on the 
plains of India, and can live only on the mountains. 68 Lloyd 69 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 Canidse agree, it is remark- 
able 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, 70 admits, 
" si Ton prenait sans controle les alterations dont chacun de ces 
organes est susceptible, on pourrait croire qu'il y a entre les 
chiens domestiques des differences plus grandes que celles qui 
separent ailleurs les especes, quelquefois meme 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 mammte; 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 

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 bron- 
chocele. The liability to distemper 
(p. 232) is extremely different in dif- 
ferent breeds. On the distemper, see 
also Col. Hutchinson on • Dog Break- 
ing,' 1850, p. 279. 

65 See Youatt on the Dog, p. 15 ; 

* The Veterinary,' London, vol. xi. p. 235. 

66 ' Journal of As. Soc. of Bengal,' 
vol. iii. p. 19. 

6 7 « Travels,' vol. ii. p. 15. 

68 Hodgson, in ' Journal of As. Soc. of 
Bengal,' vol. i. p. 342. 

69 ' Field Sports of the North of 
Europe,' vol. ii. p. 165. 

70 ' Hist. Nat. des Mammif.,' 1855, 
torn. ii. pp. 66, 67. 


cares for the form and fleetness of his greyhounds, for the size 
of his mastiffs, for the strength of the jaw in his bulldogs, &c. ; 
but he cares nothing about the number of their molar teeth or 
mammas or digits ; nor do we know that differences in these 
organs are correlated with, or owe their development to, differ- 
ences 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 addi- 
tional 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 

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 con- 
stitution 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 71 
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 district. 

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 de- 
generate not only in their mental faculties, but in form. Captain 
Williamson,™ who carefully attended to this subject, states that 
"hounds are the most rapid in their decline ; " "greyhounds and 

71 'History of Quadrupeds,' 1793, vol. n . oriental Field Sports,' quoted by 

P> " Youatt, ' The Dog,' p. 15. 

38 DOGS. ChaPi l 

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 Eev. E. Everest informs me that he 
obtained a pair of setters, born in India, which perfectly re- 
sembled 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 con- 
tracted, their noses more pointed, their size inferior, and their 
limbs more slender. This remarkable tendency to rapid dete- 
rioration in European dogs subjected to the climate of India, 
may perhaps partly be accounted for by the tendency to rever- 
sion to a primordial condition which many animals exhibit, as 
we shall see in a future chapter, when exposed to new conditions 
of life. 

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 deserv- 
ing 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. Kind, 73 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 adhesion. 

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, ac- 
cording to Isidore Geoffroy, 74 extends to the third phalanges, whilst 
in ordinary dogs it extends only to the second. In two Newfound- 
land 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." 75 English otter-hounds are said to have webbed 
feet: a friend examined for me the feet of two, in comparison 

73 Quotedby Mr. Galton, 'Domesti- ^ Mr. Greenhow on the Canadian 

ca ion of Animals p. 3 Dog> in Loudon , s , of ^ Hist.,' 

7* Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 450. vo i. vi., 1833, p. 511 

40 DOGS. ChapI 

with the feet of some harriers and bloodhounds ; he found the 
skin variable in extent in all, but more developed in the otter 
than in the other hounds. 76 As aquatic amimals 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. Man thus closely 
imitates Natural Selection. We have an excellent illustra- 
tion of this same process in North America, where, according 
to Sir J. f Eichardson, 77 all the wolves, foxes, and aboriginal 
domestic dogs have their feet broader than in the correspond- 
ing 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 softened ; and this will in part depend on the 
feet being broad; yet they must not be so broad as to inter- 
fere with the activity of the animal when the ground is sticky, 
or with its power of burrowing holes, or with other habits of 

As changes in domestic breeds which take place so slowly 
as 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, 78 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 

W See Mr. C. O. Groom-Napier on the 77 < Fauna Boreali-Americana,' 1829, 

webbing of the hind feet of Otter- p. 62. 

hounds, in 'Land and Water,' Oct. 13th, 78 i The Horse in aU his Varieties,* 

1866, p. 270. &C-} 1829) p p . 230, 234. 


somewhat added to. It is believed that this was effected by 
a cross with a greyhound. With respect to this latter dog, 
Youatt, 79 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 80 believes that 
our English greyhounds are the descendants, progressively im- 
proved, 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 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 remained." 

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 satis- 
factory 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. Another writer" remarks 

4e^^'S^Sp^ P ^ the '»*-**—**' 

for the setter, p. 90. B| L « . , 

r The Farrier,' 1828, vol. i. p. 337. 



Chap. I. 

that, if the mastiff and English bulldog had formerly been as 
distinct as they are at the present time (i.e. 1828), so accurate 
an observer as the poet Gay (who was the author of 'Rural 
Sports' in 1711) would have spoken in his Fable of the Bull 
and the Bulldog, and not of the Bull and the Mastiff. 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 names, Don, Ponto, Carlos, 
&c, would show : it is said that they were not known in 
England before the Revolution in 1688 ; 82 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 Newfound- 
land 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. 83 

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 altered 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 required by 

82 See Col. Hamilton Smith on the 
antiquity of the Pointer, in * Naturalist's 
Library,' vol. x. p. 196. 

83 The Newfoundland dog is believed 
to have originated from a cross between 
the Esquimaux dog and a large French 

hound. See Dr. Hodgkin, 'Brit. 
Assoc.,' 1844; Bechstein's 'Naturgesch. 
Deutschlands,' Band i. s. 574; 'Natu- 
ralist's Library,' vol. x. p. 132 ; also Mr. 
Jukes' ' Excursion in and about New- 


the increased fleetness of our hunters — it rapidly spread through- 
out 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 
old Irish greyhound and apparently with the old English bull- 
dog. 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 
difficulty, and this apparently is due to 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 indi- 
vidual dogs, 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. 

Domestic Cats. 

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, 84 who has particularly studied the subject, belong to 
no less than three species, namely, F. caligulata, hubastes, 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 com- 

PP. 85, 89, 90, 175, on the 2^ ^amculata being mnmnued. 


Chap. I. 

mingled : 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 85 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 86 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. 87 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 parti- 
cularly attached to the lady who brought them up ; and Mr. Try 
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 charac- 
teristic 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 

85 Asiatic Soc. of Calcutta ; Curator's very interesting discussion on their 

Report, Aug. 1856. The passage from origin. 

Sir W. Jardine is quoted from this 86 < Fauna Hungarian Sup./ 1862, s. 

Eeport. Mr. Blyth, who has especially 12. 

attended to the wild and domestic cats 8 7 Isid. Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, ' Hist, 

of India, has given in this Eeport a Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 177. 


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 88 that at Hansi hybrids between 
the common cat and F. omata (or torquata) occur, " and that 
many of the domestic cats of that part of India were undistin- 
guishable from the wild F. omata" 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 in- 
stances 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 dis- 
tinct evidence, to be descended from the F. manul of middle 
Asia ; but I am assured by Mr. Blyth that this cat breeds freely 
with Indian cats, which, as we have already seen, have appa- 
rently been much crossed with F. cliaus. In England half-bred 
Angora cats are perfectly fertile with the common cat ; I do 
not know whether the half-breeds are fertile one with another ; 
but as they are common in some parts of Europe, any marked 
degree of sterility could hardly fail to have been noticed. 

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 con- 
siderable amount of fluctuating variability. The explanation 
obviously is that, from their nocturnal and rambling habits, 
indiscriminate crossing cannot without much trouble be pre- 
vented. 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 

88 « Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1863, p. 184. 



Chap. I. 

in countries completely separated from each other, we meet with 
breeds more or less distinct ; and these cases are worth givino- 
as showing that the scarcity of distinct races in the same country 
is not caused by a deficiency of variability in the animal. The 
tail-less 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. Kengger 89 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 Pioulin, 90 the introduced cat has lost the habit of 
uttering its hideous nocturnal howl. The Eev. W. D. Eox pur- 
chased 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, E.IST., 91 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 

89 ' Saeugethiere von Paraguay,' 1830, 346. Gomara first noticed this fact in 

s. 212. 1554. 

90 ' Mem. presented par divers Savans: si 'Narrative of Voyages,' vol. ii. p. 

Acad. Roy. des Sciences,' torn. vi. p. 180. 


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, 92 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. 93 In China a breed 
has drooping ears. At Tobolsk, according to Cmelin, 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 every- 
where 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, 94 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 attri- 
buted 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, 

92 J. Crawfurd, ' Descript. Diet, of the p. 308. 

Indian Islands,' p. 255. The Mada- w < Zoolocnr nf ih a v * ^ 

gascar cat is said to have a twisted Beagl XiSnal a Z JT^ k * 

tail ; see Desmarest, in ■ Eneyclop. Nat. • Travels in New £ i°' , Dlefl f bach ' 

Mamm.,' 1820, p. 233, for some of the m On St i7 ^S V ° ' I'l 

other breeds. K \ i a ^ o^ *' Wlld Sp0rtS ° f the 

93 a a • i t xi « v , Highlands,' 1846, p. 40. 
93 Admiral Lutke's Voyage, vol. hi. y 



Chap. I. 

and values most a good breed of mouse or rat-catchers. Those 
cats which have a strong tendency to prowl after game, gene- 
rally get destroyed by traps. As cats are so much petted, a 
breed bearing the same relation to other cats, that lapdo^s 
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-civilized 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 a, family of six-toed cats. 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, 95 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 
caused by their less strictly carnivorous diet. 

95 Quoted by Isid. Geoffroy, 'Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 427. 





The history of the Horse is lost in antiquity. Eemains of this 
animal in a domesticated condition have been found in 
the Swiss lake-dwellings, belonging to the latter part of the 
Stone 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 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, propor- 
tions 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 six 
or seven other living species of the genus Equus. 

18ef ^122 er ' FaUna ^ PfaMbauten '' are man y different breeds, every island 

2 LI v«^«** a. -r-r having at least one peculiar to it." 

renm n7r W %*" : J " W TbuS in Sumatra there are a * ^ast two 

Ma tin 'Hi W ^'l™'* ^ Q L ' breeds ' in Acbia and **nbam one; 

Ham Srntth r M 6 + T': 1845:C01 - in Java Several breeds > <™ * Bali 

Itas itl vl t% Liblary ' L ° mboc ' Sumbawa ^ne of the best 

D e Natuip^ ^ '' ^ ! 6ith ' breeds )' Tambora ' B U Gnnung-api, 

^Die Natmgesch. Haussaugethiere/ Celebes, Sumba, and Philippines. Other 

■Crawford. Rescript Diet of ^ ^ ^ed by Zollinger in the 
Ti U ]k.T.T.l., M h'iM4t Jo m, Journal of the Indian Archipelago,' 

Indian Islands, 1856, p. 153. " There vol. v. p 343 & c 

VOL. I. 




Chap. II. 

Of individual variations not known to characterise particular 
breeds, and not great or injurious enough to be called mon- 
strosities, I have not collected many cases. Mr. Q. 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 alone properly have 
canines, but they are occasionally found in the mare, though 
of small size. 4 The number of ribs is properly eighteen, but 
Youatt 5 asserts that not unfrequently there are nineteen on 
each side, the additional one being always the posterior rib. 
I have seen several notices of variations in the bones of the leg; 
thus Mr. Price 6 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, 7 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. 8 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 

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 

4 ' The Horse,' &c, by John Law- 
rence, 1829, p. 14. 

5 ' The Veterinary,' London, vol. v. 
p. 543. 

6 Proc. Veterinary Assoc, in ' The 
Veterinary,' vol. xiii. p. 42. 

7 « Bulletin de la Soc. Geolog.,' torn, 
xxii., 1866, p. 22. 

8 Mr. Percival, of the Enniskillen 
Dragoons, in ' The Veterinary,' vol. i. 
p. 224 : see Azara, ' Des 
du Paraguay,' torn. ii. p. 313. The 
French translator of Azara refers to 
other cases mentioned by Huzard as 
occurring in Spain. 


since the earliest known records. 9 Even in so fleeting a cha- 
racter as colour, Hofacker 10 found that, out of two hundred and 
sixteen cases in which horses of the same colour were paired, 
only eleven pairs produced foals of a quite different colour. 
As Professor Low 11 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?. 
sterling, and begot 497 winners ; " Eclipse " begot 334 winners. 
Whether the whole amount of difference between the various 
breeds be due to variation is doubtful. From the fertility of the 
most distinct breeds 12 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. 13 But as several species and varieties of the 
horse existed 14 during the latter tertiary periods, and as 
Riitimeyer found differences in the size and form of the skull 
in the earliest known domesticated horses, 15 we ought not to feel 
sure that all our breeds have descended from a single species. 
As we see that the savages of North and South America easily 
reclaim the feral horses, there is no improbability in savages in 
various quarters of the world having domesticated more than one 
native species or natural race. No aboriginal or truly wild horse 
is positively known now to exist ; for it is thought by some 
authors that the wild horses of the East are escaped domestic 
animals. 16 If our domestic breeds have descended from several 

9 Godron, 'Del'Espece,' torn. i.p. 378. Norwegian pony: see A. Walker on 

10 ' Ueber die Eigenschaften,' &c, ' Intermarriage,' 1838, p. 205. 

1828, s. 10. is 'Naturalist's Library,' Horses, vol. 

11 ' Domesticated Animals of the xii. p. 208. 

British Islands,' pp. 527, 532. In all M Gervais, 'Hist. Nat. Mamm.,' torn, 

the veterinary treatises and papers ii. p. 143. Owen, • British Fossil Mam- 

which I have read, the writers insist mals,' p. 383. 

in the strongest terms on the inheritance 15 < Kenntniss der fossilen Pferde,' 

by the horse of all good and bad 1863, s 131 

tendencies and qualities. Perhaps the « ' Mr. W. O. L. Martin (< The Horse,' 

prmcipte of inheritance is not really 1845, p. 34), in arguing against the belief 

stronger in the horse than in any other that the wild Eastern horses are merely 

animal; but, from its value, the ten- feral, has remarked on the improbability 

dency has been more carefully observed. of man in ancient times having extir- 

Andrew Knight crossed breeds so pated a species in a region where it can 

different in size as a dray-horse and now exist in numbers 

E 2 


Chap. II. 

species or natural races, these apparently have all become extinct 
in the wild state. With our present knowledge, the common 
view that all have descended from a single species is, perhaps, 
the most probable. 

With respect to the causes of the modifications which horses 
have undergone, the conditions of life seem to produce a con- 
siderable 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 ponies are considerably modified. There can be no doubt 
that horses become greatly reduced in size and altered in appear- 
ance by living on mountains and islands ; and this apparently is 
clue 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, 17 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 pro- 
genitors. Further south, in the Falkland Islands, the offspring 
of the horses imported in 1764 have already so much de- 
teriorated in size 18 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°, 19 and aboriginally the horse must 

*7 « Transact. Maryland Academy,' of Researches.' 
vol. i. part i. p. 28. 19 Pallas, ' Act. Acad. St. Peters- 

18 Mr. Mackinnon on ' The Falkland burgh,' 1777, part ii. p. 265. With 

Islands,' p. 25. The average height of respect to the tarpans scraping away 

the Falkland horses is said to be 14 the snow, see Col. Hamilton Smith in 

hands 2 inches. See also my ' Journal ' Nat. Lib.,' vol. xii. p. 165. 

Chap.II. their variation. 53 

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, as I am informed by Admiral Sulivan, this is 
likewise the case with the horses which have run wild on the 
Falkland Islands; now this is the more remarkable as the 
progenitors of these horses could not have followed this instinct 
during many generations in La Plata: 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. 20 

The horse can flourish under intense heat as well as under in- 
tense 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 same circumstance may perhaps partly 
account for the singular fact that to the eastward of the Bay of 
Bengal, 21 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. 22 

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 23 the case of a mare which produced Sue- 
s'' Fraiiklm's 'Narrative/ vol. i. p. the Loo Choo Islands, see Beechey's 
« M I 5* t Rlchardson - ' Voyage/ 4th edit., vol. i. p. 499. 

t*- a \ i Moo f> ' Notic <*of the 22 j. Crawford, < History of the 

Indian Archipelago/ Singapore, 1837, Horse;' 'Journal of Royal . United 
p. 189. A Pony from Java was sent Service Institution,' vol. iv. 
( Athen^um 1842, p 718) to the * 'Essays on Natural History,' 2nd 

Queen only 28 inches in height. For se ries, p 161 



Chap. II. 

cessively three foals without tails ; so that a tailless race mio-ht 
have been formed like the tailless races of dogs and cats. A 
Eussian breed of horses is said to have frizzled hair, and 
Azara 24 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 selec- 
tion 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 have proceeded from the com- 
mingled blood of Arabs, Turks, and Barbs ; but selection and 
training have together made him a very different animal from 
his parent-stocks. As a writer in India, who evidently knows 
the pure Arab w^ell, 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 Good- 
wood Cup " the first descendants of Arabian, Turkish, and 
Persian horses, are allowed a discount of 18 lbs. weight ; and 
when both parents are of these countries a discount -of 36 lbs. 25 
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 most ancient known 
book, the Bible, we hear of studs carefully kept for breeding, 

24 ' Quadruples du Paraguay,' torn, 
ii. p. 333. 

•25 p ro f. Low, ' Domesticated Ani- 
mals,' p. 546. With respect to the writer 
in India, see ' India Sporting Eeview,' 
vol. ii. p. 181. As Lawrence has re- 
marked (' 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) sav- 
ing his distance in running two miles 
with thoroughbred racers." Some few 
instances are on record of seven-eighths 
racers havincr been successful. 


and of horses imported at high prices from various countries. 26 
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 re- 
sulted from the direct action of the conditions of life, and 
probably a still greater amount from the long-continued selec- 
tion 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 long been lost. As this subject will hereafter be 
seen to be of importance, I will give a full account of the colour- 
ing of horses. All English breeds, however unlike in size and 
appearance, and several of those in India and the Malay archi- 
pelago, present a similar range and diversity of colour. The 
English race-horse, however, is said 27 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," 28 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, 29 in the 
same manner as is so conspicuous with grey horses. This fact 
does not throw any clear light on the colouring of the abori- 
ginal 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 cha- 
racter in another and distinct species or variety. Analogous 
variations may arise, as will be explained in a future chapter, 

26 Prof. Gervais (in his ' Hist. Nat. colours of horses. I have seen cream- 
Mamm.,' torn. ii. p. 144) has collected coloured, light-dun and mouse-dun horses 
many facts on this head. For instance, dappled, which I mention because it 
Solomon (Kings, b. i. ch. x. v. 28) has been stated (Martin, 'History of 
bought horses in Egypt at a high the Horse,' p. 134) that duns are never 
P rice - dappled. Martin fp. 205) refers to dap- 

27 'The Field,' July 13th, 1861, p. pled asses. In 'The Farrier' (London, 
42 - 1828, pp. 453, 455) there are some good 

28 E. Vernon Harcourt, < Sporting in remarks on the dappling of horses ; and 
Algeria,' p. 26. likewise in Col. Hamilton Smith on 

29 I state this from my own observa- ' The Horse.' 
tions made during several years on the 



Chap. i[, 

from two or more forms with a similiar constitution haying 
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 stripes readily pass into spots 
and cloudy marks in the varieties of the domestic cat and in 
several feline species — 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. 

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. 30 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 

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

30 Some details are given in ' The 
Farrier,' 1828, pp. 452, 455. One of the 
least ponies I ever saw, of the colour of 
a mouse, had a conspicuous spinal 

stripe. A small Indian chesnut pony 
had the same stripe, as had a remark- 
ably heavy cliesnut cart-horse. Bace- 
horses often have the spinal stripe. 


the term dun-coloured is vague, and includes three groups of colour, viz., 
that between cream-colour and reddish-brown, which graduates into light- 
bay or light-chesnut— 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 (fig. 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 pro- 
duced 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, strong 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 chesnut-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 chesnut 
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 black ill-defined stripe, running obliquely half-way down each 
shoulder ; neither had leg-stripes. 

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 ulti- 
mately 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 from the spine 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 con- 
spicuous 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. 31 In one part of 
the country my son estimated that about a third of the ponies 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 Ham. Smith 32 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 

31 I have received information, colours of the Norwegian ponies. See, 

through the kindness of the Consul- also, < The Field,' 1861 p 431. 

General, Mr. J. E. Crowe, from Prof. s 2 Coh Ham gmith> \ m t. Lib > vol 

Boeck, Rasck, and Esmarck, on the xii. p. 275. 

Chap. II. 


leg-stripes Burmese and Javanese ponies are frequently dun-coloured, 
and have the three kinds of stripes, "in the same degree as in England-"" 
Mr Swinhoe informs me that he examined two light-dun ponies of two 
Chinese breeds, viz. those of Shangai and Amoy ; both had the spinal stripe, 
and the latter an indistinct shoulder-stripe. 

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 dusky black), and rarely when of bay, grey, and 
chesnut shades, 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. 34 

From reasons which will be apparent in the chapter on Eeversion, I 
have endeavoured, but with poor success, to discover whether duns, which 
are so much oftener striped than other coloured horses, are ever pro- 
duced 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. 35 One case 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 36 gives two instances of mouse-duns (Mausrapp) being 
produced from two parents of different colours and neither duns. 

I have also endeavoured with little success to find out whether the stripes 
are generally plainer or less plain in the foal than in the adult horse. 
Colonel Poole informs me that, as he believes, "the stripes 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. Perhaps 
there is no fixed rule. 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. On the whole I infer that the stripes 
are genci ally plainest in the foal, and tend to disappear in old age. 

The stripes are variable in colour, but are always darker 
than the rest of the body. They do not by any means always 

33 Mr. (t. Clark, in 4 Annal and Mag. 34 See, also, on this point, ' The Field,' 

of Nat, J listorv/ 2nd series, vol. ii., 1848, July 27th, 1861, p. 91. 

p. 363. Mr. Wallace informs me that 35 ' The Field,' 1861, pp. 431, 493, 545. 

he saw in Java a dun and clay-coloured 36 ' Ueber die Eigenschaften/ &c, 

horse with spinal and leg stripes. 1828, s. 13, 14. 

60 HORSES. ClIAp< u 

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 Katty- 
war 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 im- 
provable 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 could 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 37 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 pre- 
served 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 Devon- 
shire, Wales, and Scotland, where the aboriginal breed would 
have had 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-chatains," and the 
remaining ten were " zains," and not more than one in 2000 

3 7 ' Naturalist's Library,' vol. xii. in ancient times. See also Pallas's ac- 

(1841), pp. 109, 156 to 163, 280, 281. count of the wild horses of the East, 

Cream-colour, passing into Isabella {i. e. who speaks of dun and brown as the 

the colour of the dirty linen of Queen prevalent colours. 
Isabella), seems to have been common 


black. Zain is generally translated as dark without any white ; 
but as Azara speaks of mules being " zain-clair," I suspect that 
zain must have meant dun-coloured. In some parts of the world 
feral horses show a strong tendency to become roans. 38 

In the following chapters on the Pigeon we shall see that in 
pure breeds of various colours, when a blue bird is occasionally 
produced, 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 cer- 
tainly wild horse is known as a standard of comparison ; because 
the stripes when they do appear are variable in character ; 
because there is far from sufficient evidence of the appearance 
of the stripes from the crossing of distinct breeds ; and lastly, 
because all the species of the genus Equus have the spinal stripe, 
and several 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 ancf 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 still occasionally 

38 Azara, ' Quadrupedes du Para- describes two wild horses from Mexico 

guay,' torn. ii. p. 307 ; for the colour of as roan. In the Falkland Islands, where 

mules, see p. 350. In North America, the horse has been feral only between 60 

Catlin (vol. ii. p. 57) describes the wild and 70 years, I was told that roans and 

horses, believed to have descended from iron-greys were the prevalent colours, 

the Spanish horses of Mexico, as of all These several facts show that horses 

colours, black, grey, roan, and roan pied do not generally revert to any uniform 

with sorrel. F. Michaux (' Travels in colour. 
North America,' Eng. translat., p. 235) 

62 A «SES. CHAPi n 

The Ass. 

Four species of Asses, besides three of zebras, have been de- 
scribed by naturalists ; but there can now be little doubt that 
our domesticated animal is descended from one alone, namely 
the Asinus tseniojpus of Abyssinia. 39 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 ; 40 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 pur- 
poses ; and lastly, the large Damascus breed, with a peculiarly 
long body and ears. In this country, and generally in Central 
Europe, though the ass is by no means uniform in appearance 
it has not given rise to distinct breeds like those of the horse. 
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." 41 

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 transversely more plainly than 
those of dun-coloured horses. With the horse the occasional 
appearance of leg-stripes was accounted for, through the principle 
of reversion, by the supposition that the primitive horse was 

39 Dr. Sclater, in ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 41 Col. Sykes' Oat. of Mammalia, 
1862, p. 164. 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' July 12th, 1831. 

40 W.C.Martin, 'History of the Horse,' Williamson, 'Oriental Field Sports,' 
1845, p. 207. vol. ii., quoted by Martin, p. 206. 


thus striped; with the ass we may confidently advance this 
explanation, for the parent form, the A. taeniopus, is known to 
be barred, though only in a slight degree, across the legs. The 
stripes are believed to occur most frequently and to be plainest on 
the legs of the domestic ass during early youth, 42 as is apparently 
likewise the case 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 
a shoulder-stripe 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 ; 43 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. Hence we 
may conclude that, if grey and reddish-brown asses had been 
steadily selected and bred from, the shoulder-stripe would have 
been almost as generally and as completely lost 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. 44 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 has been figured in the dun Devonshire 
pony. I have seen three cases of the terminal portion abruptly 
and angularly bent ; and two cases of a distinct though slight 
forking. In Syria, Dr. Hooker and his party observed for me no 
less than five instances of the shoulder-stripe being plainly forked 
over the fore leg. In the common mule it is likewise some- 
times forked. When I first noticed the forking and angular 
bending of the shoulder-stripe, I had seen enough of the stripes 

42 Blyth, in • Charlesworth's Mag. of ' The Horse,' p. 205. 

Nat. Hist.,' vol. iv., 1840, p. 83. I have 44 « j 0U mal As. Soc. of Bengal,' vol. 

also been assured by a breeder that this xxviii. 1860, p. 231. Martin on tbe 

is the case. Horse? p 205 

43 One case is given by Martin, 



Chap. II. 

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 
Asinus 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 angularly bent backwards. The forking 
and angular bending of the stripes on the shoulders apparently 
stand in relation with the changed direction of the nearly 
upright stripes on the sides of the body and neck to the trans- 
verse bars 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 at their lower extremities, — are all cases of 
analogous variation in the horse and ass. These cases are 
probably not due to similar conditions acting on similar consti- 
tutions, but to a partial reversion in colour to the common 
progenitor of these two species, as well as of the other species 
of the genus. We shall hereafter have to return to this subject, 
and discuss it more fully. 









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 Her- 
mann von Nathusius in two admirable works, especially in the 
later one on the Skulls of the several races, and by Rutimeyer 
in his celebrated Fauna of the ancient Swiss lake-dwellings. 1 
Nathusius has shown that all the known breeds may be divided 
in 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 unfortu- 
nate one, as the wild aboriginal does not inhabit India, and the 
best-known domesticated breeds have been imported from Siam 
and China. 

1 Hermann von Nathnsius, 'Die « Schweinesch'adel,' Berlin, 1864. Riiti- 

Racen des Schweines,' Berlin, 1860 ; meyer, • Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten,' 

and 'Vorstudien fur Geschichte,' &c, Basel, 1861. 

VOL. I. ™ 



Chap. III. 

Firstly, the Sus scrofa breeds, or those resembling the 
common wild boar. These still exist, according to Nathusius 
(Schweineschadel, 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 
(Schweineschadel, s. 63-68) higher and broader relatively to 
its length ; and the hinder part is more upright. The diffe- 
rences, 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 Kiiti- 
meyer, 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 Bev. 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 f 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 

2 Nathusius, ' Die -Bacen des 
Schweiues,' Berlin, 1860. An excel- 
lent appendix is given with references 
to published and trustworthy drawings 
of the breeds of each country. 

3 For Europe, see Bechstein, ' Na- 
turgesch. Deutschlands,' 1801, b. i., s. 
505. Several accounts have been pub- 
lished on the fertility of the off- 

spring from wild and tame swine. See 
Burdach's ' Physiology,' and Godron, 
1 De l'Espece,' torn. i. p. 370. For Africa, 
' Bull, de la Soc. d'Acclimat.,' torn. iv. 
p. 389. For India, see Nathusius, 
' Schweineschadel,' s. 148. 

4 Sir W. Elliot, Catalogue of Mam- 
malia, ' Madras Journal of Lit. and 
Science,' vol. x. p. 219. 


individuals of the two countries." We may therefore conclude 
that the breeds of the Sus scrofa type have either descended 
from, or been modified by crossing with, forms which may be 
ranked as geographical races, but which are, according to some 
naturalists, distinct species. 

Pigs of the 8us Indicus type are best known to Englishmen 
under the form of the Chinese breed. The skull of 8. Indicus, 
as described by Nathusius, differs from that of 8. scrofa in 
several minor respects, as in its greater breadth and in some 
details in the teeth ; but chiefly in the shortness of the lachry- 
mal 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 8. scrofa. 
After reading the remarks and descriptions given by Nathusius, 
it seems to me to be merely playing with words to doubt 
whether 8. 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, 8. Indicus is 
not known in a wild state ; but its domesticated forms, according 
to Nathusius, come near to 8. vittatus of Java and some allied 
species. A pig found wild in the Aru islands (Schweineschadel, 
s. 169) is apparently identical with 8. 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 
Koman 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 " Biindtnerschwein " of Eiitimeyer, all agree in their 
more important skull-characters with 8. Indicus, and, as is sup- 
posed, 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 (Schweineschadel, s. 142) closely 
resembKng the existing Neapolitan pig has been found in the 
buried city of Herculaneum. 

Eiitimeyer has made the remarkable discovery that there 
lived contemporaneously in Switzerland, during the later Stone 
or Neolithic period, two domesticated forms, the 8. scrofa, and 

f 2 


Chap. III. 

the 8. scrofa palustris or Torfschwein. Eiitimeyer perceived 
that the latter approached the Eastern breeds, and, according 
to Nathusius, it certainly belongs to the 8. Indicus group ; but 
Kiitirneyer 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 Eiitimeyer, 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 (Schweineschadel, s. 147), is not convinced of 
the truth of this conclusion ; and Eiitimeyer himself seems now 
to feel some doubt As the Torfschwein was domesticated at so 
early a period, and as its remains have been found in several 
parts of Europe, belonging to various historic and prehistoric 
ages, 6 and as closely allied forms still exist in Hungary and on 
the shores of the Mediterranean, one is led to suspect that 
the wild 8. Indicus formerly ranged from Europe to China, in 
the same manner as 8. scrofa now ranges from Europe to Hin- 
dostan. Or, as Eiitimeyer apparently suspects, a third allied 
species may formerly have lived in Europe and Eastern Asia. 

Several breeds, differing in the proportions of the body, in the 
length of the ears, in the nature of the hair, in colour, &c, 
come under the 8. Indicus type. Nor is this surprising, con- 
sidering 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 the Chinese breed, as 
Nathusius has remarked, 9 displays in an eminent degree the 
characters of a highly-cultivated race, and hence, no doubt, its 

5 ' Pfablbauten,' s. 163 et passim. ville, < Osteographie,' p. 163. 

6 £eeRutimeyer'sNeueBeitrage,.... s Richardson, 'Pigs, their Origin,' 
Torfschweine, Verb. Naturfor. Gesell. &c, p. 26. 

in Basel, iv. i., 1865, s. 139. 9' < Die Eacen deg s c h wem es,' s. 47, 

7 Stan. Julien, quoted by De Blain- 64. 

Chap. III. 



high, value in the improvement of our European breeds. 
Nathusius makes a remarkable statement (Schweineschadel, 
s. 138), that the infusion of the -^nd, or even of the 1 th, 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 dis- 
tinctive characters of S. Indicus, such as the shortness of the 
lachrymal bones, &c, being common to several of the species 
of the genus ; for in crosses the characters which are common 
to many species apparently tend to be prepotent over those 
appertaining to only a few species. 

The Japan pig (8. pliciceps of Gray), which has been re- 
cently exhibited in the Zoological Gardens, has an extraor- 
dinary appearance from its short head, broad forehead and nose, 
great fleshy ears, and deeply furrowed skin. The following 
woodcut is copied from that given by Mr. Bartlett. 10 Not only 

Fig. 2.— Head of Japan or Masked Pig. ("CoDird frnm m,. n n n i... 

Soc, I86l! p. 263 ) S Paper in Pr0C - Z ° 0l0g - 

Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1861, p. 263. 


Chap. III. 

is the face furrowed, but thick folds of skin, which are harder 
than the other parts, almost like the plates on the Indian rhino- 
ceros, hang aboutthe shoulders and rump. It is coloured black, 
with white feet, and breeds true. That it has long been domes- 
ticated 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 in- 
cluded 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. JSTathusius, however, 
after his careful study of the whole group, states positively 
(Schweineschadel, s. 153-158) that the skull in all essential 
characters closely resembles that of the short-eared Chinese 
breed of the 8. 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 
Kev. 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 into these islands of European 
and Chinese pigs, 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 south." 14 

Seeing how different the Chinese pigs, belonging to the Sus 
Indicus type, are in their osteological characters and in external 

11 Sclater, in ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' from 1821 to 1829,' vol. i. p. 300. 
Feb. 26th, 1861. 14 Eev. G. Low, ' Fauna Orcadensis,' 

12 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1862, p. 13. p. 10. See also Dr. Hibbert's account 
* 8 ' Journal of Voyages and Travels of the pig of the Shetland Islands. 


appearance from the pigs of the S. scrofa type, so that they 
must be considered specifically distinct, it is a fact well de- 
serving 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.. 

The modifications of the skull in the most highly cultivated 
races are wonderful. To appreciate the amount of change, 
Nathusius' work, with its excellent figures, should be studied. 
The whole of the exterior of the skull 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 direc- 
tion and shape ; the incisors of the upper and lower jaws 
do not touch each other, and they stand in both jaws above 
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 in- 
jurious, 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-races " the proportion is as 
1 to 9, and even recently as 1 to 11." The following woodcut 16 

1 5 < Die Racen des Schweines,' s. 70. excellent edition of « The Pig ' by 
is These woodcuts are copied from Youatt, 1860. See pp. 1 16 19 ' 
engravings given in Mr. S. Sidney's 



Chap. III. 

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 

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 8. 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^domesti- 
cated pigs, in ploughing up 
the ground with their muz- 
zles, 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 

Fig. 3.— Head of Wild Boar, and of " Golden Days," 
a pig of the Yorkshire Large Breed; the latter 
from a photograph. (Copied from Sidney's edit, 
of ' The Pig,' by Youatc.) 

17 < 

Scliweineschadel,' s. 74, 135. 


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 ad- 
vancing 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. Miiller 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 gi\e an in- 
herited tendency to increased size of body, and that, from disuse, 
the limbs would become finer and shorter. 18 We shall in a 
future chapter also see 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 

w Nathusius ■ Die Racen des improved Irish breeds in Richardson 

Schwemes, s. 71. on ' The Pig ' 1847 

» < Die Racen des Schweines,' s. 47. 20 Q uote d'by Isld. Geoffroy, 'Hist. 

' Schwemeschadel, s. 104. Compare, Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 441. 
also, the figures of the old Irish and the 



Chap. III. 


length may be due either to descent from a distinct species 
to more ancient domestication. The number of mammas vary, 
as does the period of gestation. The latest authority says 2 ' 
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 
Kev. 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 in these latter the course 
of 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, which arrive at maturitv at a 
later age. In the highly cultivated and early matured races 
the teeth, also, are developed earlier. 

The difference in the number of the vertebrae 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 8. scrofa type; and Mr. Eyton 
informs me that, since the publication of his paper, cross-bred 
animals from the African and English races were found by Lord 
Hill to be perfectly fertile. 







Wild Boar, 
from Cuvier. 

Boar, from 


Dorsal vertebrae . . 

Dorsal and lumbar \ 
together . . . . J 





15 14 
4 5 









Total number ofl 
vertebrse . . . . / 






21 S. Sidney, 'The Pig,' p. 61. 

22 ' Schweinesch'adel,' s. 2, 20. 

23 « Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1837, p. 23. 
I have not given the caudal vertebrse, 
as Mr. Eyton says some might possibly 
have been lost. I have added together 
the dorsal and lumbar vertebrae, owing 

to Prof. Owen's remarks (' Journal Linn. 
Soc.,' vol. ii. p. 28) on the difference 
between dorsal and lumbar vertebrse 
depending only on the development of 
the ribs. Nevertheless the difference in 
the number of the ribs in pigs deserves 

Chap. III. 



Some semi-monstrous breeds deserve notice. From the time 
of Aristotle to the present time solid-hoofed swine have occa- 
sionally 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 some- 
times superadded. 

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 

Fig. 4.— Old Irish Fig, with jaw-appendages. (Copied from H. D. Richardson on Pigs.) 

24 < Edinburgh New Pbilosoph. Blainville's < Osteographie,' p. 128, for 
Journal,' April, 1863. See also De various authorities on this subject. 



Chap. III. 

side alone. Kichardson figures them on the gaunt old « Irish 
Greyhound pig;" and Nathusius states that they occasionally 
appear m 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 some- 
what complex, though apparently useless, structures may be 
suddenly developed without the aid of selection. This case 
perhaps throws some little light on the manner of appearance 
of the hideous! fleshy protuberances, though of an essentially 
different nature from the above-described appendages, on the 
cheeks of the wart-hog or Phacochoerus Africanus. 

It is a remarkable fact that the boars of all domesticated 
breeds have much shorter tusks than wild boars. Many facts 
show that with all 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 doo-s 
(other analogous facts will be hereafter given), may we not 
venture to surmise that the reduction of the tusks in the do- 
mestic 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 

25 Eudes-Deslongchamps, 'Memoires 
de la Soc. Linn, de Normandie,' vol. vii., 
1842, p. 41. Kichardson, 'Pigs, their 
Origin, &c.,' 1847, p. 30. Nathusius, 
'Die Kacen des Schweines,' 1860, s. 

20 D. Johnson's ' Sketches of Indian 
Field Sports,' p. 272. Mr. Crawford 

informs me that the same fact holds 
good with the wild pigs of the Malay 

27 Foj. Turkish pigs, see Desmarest, 
' Mammalogie,' 1820, p. 391. For those 
of Westphalia, see Kichardson 's ' Pigs, 
their Origin,' &c, 1847, p. 41. 

Chap. III. 



same curly-haired race with 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 Zam- 
besi 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 of 8. scrofa and Indieus have 
never been distinguished in a feral state. 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 

28 With respect to the several fore- 
going and following statements on feral 
pigs, see Roulin, in ' Mem. presented par 
divers Savans a l'Acad.,' &c, Paris, torn, 
vi., 1835, p. 326. It should be observed 
that bis 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 ob- 
serving 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, 
' Saugethiere,' s. 331) have not reverted 
to the wild type. De Blainville (' Osteo- 
graphie,' 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 
ramassee." He refers, also, to the skin 
of a feral pig from North America, and 
says, " il ressemble tout a fait a ua petit 
sanglier, mais il est presque tout noir, 
et peut-etre un peu plus ramasse' dans 
ses formes." 

78 DOMESTIC PIGS. Chap m> 

degrees, dependent on the climate ; thus, according to Koulin, 
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 lyino- 
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 like- 
wise 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 unre- 
mitting 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 

29 Gosse's ' Jamaica,' p. 386, with a ix. p. 94. 

quotation from Williamson's ' Oriental 30 S. Sidney's edition of ' Youatt on 

Field Sports.' Also Col. Hamilton the Pig,' 1860, pp. 7, 26, 27, 29, 30. 

Smith, in ' Naturalist's Library,' vol. 31 ' Schweineschadel,' s. 140. 


different from that of 1810 ; and, since this latter period, at 
least two distinct forms have borne the same name. 


Domestic cattle are almost 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 
Butimeyer, 32 than do the fossil species' of Europe, namely Bos 
jprimigenius, longifrons, and frontosus, 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, espe- 
cially in the frequent presence of "nilgau-like markings on 
their feet," and "in the one being born with teeth pro- 
truding 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 Kohilcund, and can 
maintain themselves in a region infested by tigers. Thev have 
given rise to many races differing greatly in size, in the presence 

32 'Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten,' 1861, thirteen or fourteen in number ; see a 
s. 109, 149, 222. See also Geoffrey Saint note in • Indian Field,' 1858, p. 62. 
Hdaire.m'Mem.duMus.d'Hist.Nat.,' 33 . The Indian Field> , lg58? p> 74> 

JSli-M'* !?i hlS S ° n Isidore ' in wliere Mr - B1 y th g^es his authorities 

. H 1 1 ! t **\>2 ', lii - P - 69 ' VaSey ' with res P ect t0 the f ^al humped cattle. 

ZlT D ^? eatMmB / th ? 0x ^Wbe/ Pickering, also, in his ■ Eaces of Man,' 

1851 p. 127, says the zebu has four, 1850, p. 274, notices the peculiar 

and the common ox five sacral vertebra*. character of the grunt-like voice of the 

Mr. Hodgson found the ribs either humped cattle. 

80 CATTLE. CHAp< m 

of one or two humps, in length of horns, and other respects. 
Mr. Blyth sums up emphatically that the humped and hump- 
less cattle must be considered as distinct species. When we 
consider the number of points in external structure and habits 
independently of their 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, de- 
scribes 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 their enormous horns 
sometimes measuring above five feet from tip to tip: 35 the 
Podolian cattle 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-civilized countries, for we shall pre- 
sently 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, 3 ? and more especially from Etitimeyer's 
' Pfahlbauten ' and succeeding works. Two or three species or forms of 

34 Mr. H. E. Marquand, in ' The primigenius. 

Times,' June 23rd, 1856. 36 Moll and Q ayot> « La Connaissance 

35 Vasey, ' Delineations of the Ox- Gen. du Bceuf,' Paris, 1860. Fig. 82 is 
Tribe,' p. 124. Brace's ' Hungary,' 1851, that of the Podolian breed. 

p. 94. The Hungarian cattle descend, 37 A translation appeared in three 

according to Kiitimeyer (« Zahmen. parts in the ' Annals and Mag. of Nat. 

Europ. Kindes.,' 1866, s. 13), from Bos Hist.,' 2nd series, vol. iv., 1849. 



Bos, closely allied to still living domestic races, have been found fossil in the 

more recent tertiary deposits of Europe. Following Eutimeyer, we have : 

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, &c, and the Pem- 
broke race in England, closely resemble in essential structure B. primi- 
genius, and no doubt are its descendants. This is likewise the opinion of 
Nilsson. Bos primigenius existed as a wild animal in Caesar's time, and is 
now semi-wild, though much degenerated in size, in the park of Chilling- 
ham ; for I am informed by Professor Biitimeyer, to whom Lord Tanker- 
ville sent a skull, that the Chillingham cattle are less altered from the 
true primigenius type than any other known breed. 38 

Bos trochoceros.— This form is not included in the three species above 

mentioned, for it is now considered by Eutimeyer to be the female of an 

early domesticated form of B. primigenius, and as the progenitor of his 

frordosus 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 Irachyceros) of Owen.— This very distinct species was 
of small size, and had a short body with fine legs. It apparently did not 
exist in England before the Neolithic period, though a greater age was 
formerly assigned to it. 40 It was the commonest form in a domesticated 
condition in Switzerland during the earliest part of the Neolithic period. 
It was domesticated in England during the Eoman period, and supplied 
food to the Eoman 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 
Professor Owen 43 thinks it probable that the Welsh and Highland cattle are 
descended from this form ; as likewise is the case, according to Eutimeyer, 
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 dark-coloured. 

Bosfrontosus of Nilsson.— This species is allied to B. longifrons and ac- 
cording to Mr. Boyd Dawkins is identical with it, but in the opinion of 
some good 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 

38 See, also, Riitimeyer's ' Beitrage 42 W. R. Wilde, ' An Essay on the 

paL Gesch. der Wiederkauer,' Basel, Animal Remains, &c., Royal Irish 

8 3 6 9 5 ' s ; 54 ; Academy,' 1860, p. 29. Also ' Proc. of 

Qft* ™ ts '^ontologie,' torn. i. p. R. Irish Academy,' 1858, p. 48. 

dbo (^nd edit.). With respect to B. 43 < Lecture : Royal Institution of G. 

trochoceros see Riitimeyer's ' Zahmen Britain,' May 2nd, 1856, p. 4. « British 

Euror, Rmdes,' 1866, s. 26. Fossil Mammals,' p. 513. 

W Boyd Dawkins on the British 44 Nilsson? in « Annals and M of 

Fossd Oxen Journal of the Geolog. Nat. Hist.,' 1849, vol. iv. p. 354. 

Soc Aug. 1867, p. 182. 45 ^ w R WM * . ^ 

4i Bntxsh Pleistocene Mammalia,' by Mr. Blyth, in 'Proc. Irish Academy,' 

W. B. Dawkins and W. A. Sandford, March 5th, 1864. 

1866, p. xv 
VOL. T. 


82 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

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 believes 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. . 

Hence we see that three forms or species of Bos, originally 
inhabitants of Europe, have been domesticated ; but there is no 
improbability in this fact, for the genus Bos readily yields to 
domestication. Besides these three species and the zebu, the 
yak, the gayal, and the ami 47 (not to mention the buffalo or 
genus Bubalus) have been domesticated; making altogether 
seven species of Bos. The zebu and the three European species 
are now extinct in a wild state, for the cattle of the B. frimi- 
genius type in the British parks can hardly be considered as 
truly wild. Although certain races of cattle, domesticated at a 
very ancient period in Europe, are the descendants of the three 
above-named fossil species, yet it does not follow that they were 
here first domesticated. Those who place much reliance on 
philology argue that our cattle were imported from the East. 48 
But as races of men invading any country would probably give 
their own names to the breeds of cattle which they might there 
find domesticated, the argument seems inconclusive. There is 
indirect evidence that our cattle are the descendants of species 
which 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, apparently 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 Falk- 
land 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 Para- 
guay 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 countries." 49 

The above-named three fossil forms of Bos have been ranked 

46 Laing's 'Tour in Norway,' p. 110. 4S Idem, torn. iii. pp. 82, 91. 

*7 Isid. Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 'Hist. 49 'Quadruples du Paraguay,' torn. 

Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 96. ii. p. 360. 


by nearly all palaeontologists as distinct species ; and it would 
not be reasonable to change their denomination simply because 
they are now found to be the parents of several domesticated 
races. But what is of most importance for us, as showing that 
they deserve to be ranked as species, is that they co-existed in 
different parts of Europe during the same period, and yet kept 
distinct. Their domesticated descendants, on the other hand 
if not separated, cross with the utmost freedom and become 
commingled. The several European breeds have so often been 
crossed, both intentionally and unintentionally, that, if any 
sterility 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 in- 
forms 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 de- 
scendants of species which when first domesticated would if 
crossed probably have been in some degree sterile, become 
perfectly fertile after a long course of domestication. In a 
iuture chapter we shall see that this doctrine throws much light 
on the difficult subject of Hybridism 

I have alluded to the cattle in Chillingham Park, which, 
according to Eutnneyer, have been very little changed from 
the Bos^mgemus type. This park is so ancient that it is 

50 Walther, 'Das Rindvieh/ 1817, s. 30. 

G 2 



Chap. III. 

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 re- 
appeared. 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 fre- 
quently tend to become entirely black ; and a singular super- 
stition 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 Con- 
stable in Yorkshire, now extinct, had ears, muzzle, and the tip 
of the tail black. Those at Grisburne, 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 

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. Kiitimeyer. The 
fullest account of the Chillingham cattle 
is given by Mr. Hindmarsh, together 
with a letter by the late Lord Tanker- 
ville, 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's 
' Quadrupeds, and Encyclop. of Rural 
Sports,' p. 101. 


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 

The cattle in all the parks are white ; but, from the occasional 
appearance of dark-coloured calves, it is extremely doubtful 
whether the aboriginal Bos primigenius was white. The follow- 
ing facts, however, show that there is a strong, though not 
invariable, tendency in wild or escaped cattle, under widely 
different conditions of life, to become white with coloured ears. 
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. The primaeval 
forest formerly extended across the whole country from Chilling- 
ham to Hamilton, and Sir Walter Scott used to maintain that 
the cattle still preserved in these two parks, at the two extre- 
mities of the forest, were remnants of its original inhabitants ; 
and this view certainly seems probable. 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, one 
hundred and fifty 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 short-horn breed are 
white, the extremities of their ears are more or less tinned with 
red. & 

_ The cattle which have run wild on the Pampas, in Texas, and 
in two parts of Africa, haye become of a nearly uniform dark 

62 Boethius was born in 1470 • q ■ 

'Annals and Mag. of Nat Hist • vol' tV £ ^ % ° U sllolt - horn cattle - 

iU 1839, p. 281 ; g and vol i ^ 819 p 2f £ "^ f 1 ** <**>*«**'' V- 

424 ' P " 423 ' states th -at, after long attending to 

53 Yonatt on Cattle, 1834 p 48 • £SJ?* M * Jf I™ f ° Und that white 
i oot, p. is . cattle invariably have coloured ears. 


Chap. III. 

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 Usborne, about half the animals in some of the 
herds were lead or mouse-coloured, which elsewhere is an un- 
usual 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 this 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 inter- 
mediate 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. 

Keturning to the several British breeds, the conspicuous 
difference in general appearance between Short-horns, Long- 
horns (now rarely seen), Herefords, Highland cattle, Alderneys, 
&c, must be familiar to every one. A large part of the differ- 

04 Azara, ' Des Quadrupedes du s5 Anson's Voyage. See Kerr and 

Paraguay,' torn. ii. p. 361. Azara quotes Porter's ' Collection,' vol. xii. p. 103. 

Buffon for the feral cattle of Africa. 56 See also Mr. Mackinnon's pamphlet 

For Texas, see ' Times,' Feb. 18th, 1846. on the Falkland Islands, p. 24. 


ence, no doubt, may be due to descent from primordially 
distinct species ; but we may feel sure that there has been in 
addition a considerable amount of variation. Even during the 
Neolithic period, the domestic cattle were not actually identical 
with the aboriginal species. 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 Short-horns, eleven bulls 
reached an average of 214?., and lately Short-horn 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 
Short-horns 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 denti- 
tion, 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 ges- 
tation 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 mammae is a generic character in the genus Bos, 60 
it is worth notice that with our domestic cows the two rudi- 
mentary mammas often become fairly well developed and yield 

As numerous breeds are generally found only in long- 
civilized 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 commu- 

5 7 < The Age of the Ox, Sheep, Pig,' vations from Youatt on Cattle, p. 527. 
&c, by Prof. James Simonds, published ™ ' The Veterinary/ vol. viii. p. 681, 

by order of the Royal Agricult.Soc. an d vol. x. p. 268. Low's ' Domest. 

"'Ann. Agncult. France,' April, Animals of Great Britain,' p. 297. 
1837, as quoted m « The Veterinary,' eo Ml , 0g leby, in < Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 

vol. xn. p. 725. I quote Tessier's obser- 1836, p. 138, and 1840, p. 4. 

05 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

nication, 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 'tra- 
vellers 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 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 bushv 
hair nearly touching the ground, and their horns are extra- 
ordinarily large. The Bechuana cattle have even larger horns, 
and there is now a skull in London with the two horns 8 ft. 
8| 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 hisl etter 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 discri- 
minate 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 remark- 

81 Leguat's Voyage, quoted by Vasey « t Me - m> de pinstitut present, par 

in his « Delineations of the Ox-tribe,' p. divers Savans,' torn, vi., 1835, p. 333. 

132, For Brazil, see ' Comptes Eendus,' June 

62 'Travels in South Africa,' pp. 317, 15th, 1846. See Azara, ' Quadruples 

336, du Paraguay,' torn. ii. pp. 359, 361. 


able 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 Eiitimeyer 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 correspond- 
ing upward curvature. It is an interesting fact that an almost 
similar conformation characterizes, as I have been 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 .1 presented to the College of 
Surgeons has been thus described by Professor Owen : 66 " It is 
remarkable from the stunted development of the nasals, pre- 
maxillaries, and fore-part of the lower jaw, which is unusually 

64 ' Schweineschadel,' 1864, s. 104. numerous inquiries in La Plata, that 

Nathusms states that the form of skull the niata cattle transmit their pecu- 

characteristic of the niata cattle occa- liarities or form a race 

sionally appears in European cattle; « TJeber Art des Zahmen Europ. 

but he is mistaken, as we shall hereafter Eindes, 1866 s 28 

see m supposing that these cattle do «« < Descriptive Cat. of Ost. Collect, of 

not form a d.stmct race. P ro f. Wyman, College of Surgeons,' 1853, p. 624. Vasey, 

of Cambridge, United States, informs in his 'Delineations of the Ox-tribe/ 

me that the common cod-fish presents has given a figure of this skull; and I 

LZ1 Tp" TlS' ^^ by thG S6nt a Photograph of it to Prof. Kiiti- 
fishermen the "bulldog cod." Prof. meyer 

Wyman also concluded, after making 

90 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

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 maxil- 
lary 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 ori- 
ginated subsequently to the year 1552, when cattle were first 
introduced. Signor 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 
civilized 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 Signor 
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 just to keep alive by browsing on the twigs 
of trees and on reeds with their lips : 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 fur- 
nished 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 trans- 
versely 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 ques- 
tion is, perhaps, even more perplexing in the case of Southern 
Africa. We now know that the differences may be in part attri- 
buted to descent from distinct species ; but this will not suffice. 
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 

6 7 Loudon's < Magazine of Nat. Hist.,' and dewlap, 
vol. I, 1829, p. 113. Separate figures es Low , < Domesticated Animals of 

are given of the animal, its hoofs, eye, the British Isles,' p. 264. 

92 CATTLE. Chap . „ l 

skin and the hair is likewise certain : thus Eoulin 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 ; and the hair and horns 
are so closely related to each other, that, as we shall see in 
a future chapter, they are apt to vary together; thus climate 
might indirectly affect, through the skin, the form and size of 
the horns. 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 us*e 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, &c, have appeared suddenly from what we may 
call a spontaneous variation ; but even in this case a rude 
kind of selection is necessary, and the animals thus charac- 
terized must be at least partially separated from others. This 
degree of care, however, has sometimes been taken even in 
little-civilized 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 
Long-horn 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, 

69 ' Mem. de l'lnstitut present, par n Youatt on Cattle, p. 193. A full 

divers Savans,' torn, vi., 1835, p. 332. account of this bull is taken from 

'° Idem, pp. 304, 368, &c. Marshall. 


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 owDer 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 barba- 
rians 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, &c, 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 preserva- 
tion in each district of those individual animals which were 
most valued by each owner has perhaps been even more effec- 
tive in the production of the several British breeds.' As soon 
as two or more breeds had once been formed in any district, or 
when new breeds descended from distinct species were intro- 
duced, 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 ; but 

how many still exist is doubtful. Mr. Blyth believes that there 

n Youatt on Cattle, p. 116. Lord Spencer has written on this same subject. 

94 - SHEEP. Chap. III. 

are in the whole world fourteen species, one of which, the Cor- 
sican moufflon, he concludes (as I am informed by him) to be 
the parent of the smaller, short-tailed breeds, with crescent- 
shaped horns, such as the old Highland sheep. The larger, 
long-tailed breeds, having horns with a double flexure, such as 
the Dorsets, merinos, &c, he believes to be descended from an 
unknown and extinct species. M. Gervais makes six species 
of Ovis ; 73 but concludes 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 ! An- 
other ingenious observer, 75 though not a naturalist, w T ith 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 

Sheep have been domesticated from a very ancient period. 
Kutirneyer 76 found in the Swiss lake-dwellings the remains of a 
small breed, with thin and tall legs, and with horns like those 
of a goat : this race differs somewhat from any one now known. 
Almost every country has its own peculiar breed; and many 
countries have many 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 vertebra?, and 
so loaded with fat, that, from being esteemed a delicacy, 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, seem to bear in their drooping ears 
the stamp of long domestication. This is likewise the case with 
those sheet) which have two great masses of fat on the rump, 
with the tail in a rudimentary condition. The Angola variety of 

" 3 Blyth on the genus Ovis, in 74 j) Y l. Fitzinger, ' Ueber die Eacen 

' Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,' vol. des Zahmen Schafes,' 1860, s. 86. 
vii., 1841, p. 261 : with respect to the pa- ? 5 J. Anderson, * Eecreations in Agri- 

rentage of the breeds, see Mr. Blyth's culture and Natural History,' vol. ii. p. 

excellent articles in ' Land and Water,' 164. 

1867, pp. 134, 156. Gervais, ' Hist. Nat. 76 < Pfahlbauten,' s. 127, 193. 

des Mammiferes,' 1855, torn. ii. p. 191. 



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 distribu- 
tion 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, especially in the female sex, not 
rarely absent, 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 accom- 
panied by great length and coarseness of the fleece." 79 This 
correlation, however, is not invariable ; for 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 mammae 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 Cagias (a sub-Himalayan domestic 
race) possessed of four teats." 80 This case is the more remark- 
able 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 

Z Y r att ? S , heep ' P - 12 °- 8 ° ' Joumal Asiat. Soc. of Bengal/ 

7» 'Journal of the Asiatic Soc. of vol xvi 1847 p 1015 
Bengal,' vol. xvi pp. 1007, 1016. si.j^ ^ q/ , tom> m 

' 9 Youatt on Sheep, pp. 142-169. 435. 

$& SHEEP. 

Chap. III. 

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 chafTron, which 
is so highly developed in several foreign breeds, is characteristic 
of the ram alone, and apparently is the result of domestica- 
tion. 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 nourish. As Youatt has remarked, " In all the dif- 
ferent 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, pas- 
turage, 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 vete- 

82 Youatt on Sheep, p. 138. 86 Youatt on Sheep, p. 312. Ou 

83 'Journal Asiat. Soc. of Bengal,' same subject, see excellent remarks in 
vol. xvi., 1847, pp. 1015, 1016. ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1858, p. 868. 

84 'Eacen des Zahmen Schafes,' s. For experiments in crossing Cheviot 
77. sheep with Leicesters, see Youatt, p. 

85 ■ Kural Economy of Norfolk,' vol. 325. 
ii. p. 136. 


rinary 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 tuber- 
culated." 87 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 de- 
stroyed by pleuritis 88 that the owner could not keep them; the 
coarser-skinned sheep never being affected. 

The period of gestation was formerly thought to be so un- 
alterable a character, that a supposed difference between the 
wolf and the dog in this respect 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, 89 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 

Half-bred Merinos and Southdowns . . 146-3 

f blood of Southdown 145-5 ' 

s » >, 144-2 " 

In this graduated difference, in these 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 South- 
downs 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 birft, of which fact the 
curious Shangai sheep (with their truncated and rudimentary 

8 '" Youatt on Sheep, note, p. 491 in < r> „ „ 

*> < The Veterinary,' vol. x p. 217. £ S ^o^ d ' Acclimat -'' tom - 

S9 A translation of his paper is given ' ' P " 

VOL. I. 


98 SHEEP. Chap. III. 

ears, and great Roman noses), lately exhibited in the Zoological 
Gardens, offer a remarkable instance. 

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 herb- 
age 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 re- 
moved from its own canton near Bokhara to Persia or to other 
quarters, loses its peculiar fleece. 90 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 

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 genera- 
tion, 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. 91 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 

90 Erman's ' Travels in Siberia ' (Eng. Sierra Leone Company, as quoted in 
trans.), vol. i. p. 228. For Pallas on White's ' Gradation of Man,' p. 95. 
the fat-tailed sheep, I quote from Ander- With respect to the change which 
son's account of the ' Sheep of Russia,' sheep undergo in the West Indies, see 
1794, p. 34. With resp^pt to the Cri- also Dr. Davy, in ' Edin. New. Phil, 
mean sheep, see Pallas' ' Travels ' (Eng. Journal,' Jan. 1852. For the statement 
trans), vol. ii. p. 454. For the Karakool made by Roulin, see ' Mem. del'Institut 
sheep, see Burnes' ' Travels in Bokhara,' present, par divers Savans.' torn, vi., 
vol. iii. p. 151. 1835, p. 347. 

91 See Report of the Directors of the 



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 Somer- 
ville, remarks, "the wool of our Merino sheep after shear-time 
is hard and coarse to such a degree as to render it almost im- 
possible 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 natu- 
rally 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. 92 In 
the wild mountain-sheep (Ovis montana) of North America, 
there is an annual analogous 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 dif- 
ferent 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, &c, which shed their winter coat in the 
spring." 93 

A slight difference in climate or pasture sometimes slightly 
affects the fleece, as has been observed even in different districts 
in England, and as 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 preser- 
vation 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." 

lhat methodical selection has effected great changes in several 

92 Youatt on Sheep, d 69 .I,™ . 

Lord Somerville is quoted' Sel p 117 ^f^^t^ t0 ^^ ~ 

on the presence of wool under the hair' Va a I ' 

With respect to the fleeces of Austl O ! ^ ""* BaChmaD ' ' ^ 

Han sheep, p. 185. On selection conn ^^<* North America,' ^ 

H 2 

100 SHEEP. Chap. III. 

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 indispensable. 94 

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. These sheep are remark- 
able from transmitting their character so truly that Colonel 
Humphreys 95 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 ex- 
ceptions, instead of being intermediate in character, perfectly 
resemble either parent ; and this has occurred even in the case 
of twins. 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 produc- 
tion 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 "Maucbamp-merino." It is interesting, as 

w 'Journal of E. Agricult. Soc. of 95 ' Philosoph. Transactions,' London, 

England,' vol. xx., part ii. W. C. 1813, p. 88. 
Spooner on Cross-Breeding. 

C[rAP - HI. GOATS. 101 

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, lono- 
necks, narrow chests, and long flanks; but these blemishes 
were removed by judicious crosses and selection. The lono- 
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 cegagrus 
of the mountains of Asia, possibly mingled with the allied 
Indian species C. Fcileoneri of India. 96 In Switzerland, during 
the early Stone period, the domestic goat was commoner than the 
sheep; and this very ancient race differed in no respect from that 
now common in Switzerland. 97 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, 98 they are 
all quite fertile when crossed. So numerous are the breeds, 
that Mr. G. Clark 99 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| inches in breadth. ' As 
with cattle, the mammae 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 

M Isidore Geoffrey St. Hilaire, < Hist. the Asiatic markhor. 
JNat. Generale, torn. ni. p. 87 Mr V r.-u,-™ 1Tl ,,„ 

lias arrived at a similar conclusion, but 402 ' 

he thinks that certain Eastern races m. Annals and Mag, of Nat. History,' 

may perhaps be m part descended from vol. ii. (2nd series), 1848 ; p. 363. 


GOATS. Chap. III. 

points of variation. According to Godron, 100 the mammae 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; 101 and in 
some breeds the females are destitute of horns. 102 The presence 
of interdigital pits or glands on all four feet has been thought 
to characterise the genus Ovis, and their absence to be charac- 
teristic of the genus Capra ; but Mr. Hodgson has found that 
they exist in the front feet of the majority of Himalayan 
goats. 103 Mr. Hodgson measured the intestines in two goats of 
the Dugu race, and he found that the proportional length of the 
great and small intestines differed considerably. In one of these 
goats the caecum was thirteen inches, and in the other no less 
than thirty-six inches in length ! 

ioo 4 p e l'Espece,' torn. i. p. 406. Mr. not due to descent from distinct species ; 

Clark also refers to differences in the for Mr. Clark states that this part varies 

shape of the mammae. Gordon states that much in form. 

in the Nubian race the scrotum is divided 101 Mr. Clark, ' Annals and Mag. of 

into two lobes ; and Mr. Clark gives a Nat. Hist.,' vol. ii. (2nd series), 1848, p. 

ludicrous proof of this fact, for he saw 361. 

in the Maritius a male goat of the 102 Desmarest, ' Encyclop. Method. 

Muscat breed purchased at a high price Mammalogie,' p. 480. 
for a female in full milk. These 103 ' Journal of Asiatic Soc. of Bengal,' 

differences in the scrotum are probably vol. xvi., 1847, pp. 1020, 1025. 





All naturalists, with, as far as I know, a single exception, 
believe that the several domestic breeds of the rabbit are de- 
scended 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 natu- 
ralists 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 multipli- 
cation, they were probably at this early period domesticated in 
China. They are mentioned by several of the classical writers. 

1 M. P. Gervais, ' Hist. Nat. des Mammiteres,' torn, i., 185-1, p. 288. 


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. Valerianic 
(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 The wild rabbits, if taken young, can be domesticated, 
though the process is generally very troublesome. 5 The various 

2 U. Aldrovandi, ' De Quadrupedibus s 'Pigeons and Babbits/ by E S 
digitalis/ 1637, p. 383. For Confucius Delamer, 1854, p. 133. Sir J. Sebright 
and G. Markham, see a writer who ('Observations on Instinct/ 1836, p. i 
has studied the subject, in ' Cottage 10) speaks most strongly on the d'iffl- 
Gardener,' Jan. 22nd, 1861, p. 250. cu i ty . But this difficulty is not in- 

3 Owen, ' British Fossil Mammals/ p. variable, as I have received two accounts 

212 - of perfect success in taming and breed- 

4 Bechstein, ' Naturgescli. Deutsch- irig f rom the wild rabbii See a]g0 Dr 

lands,' 1801, b. i. p. 1133. I have P. Broca, in ' Journal de la Physiologic' 
received similar accounts with respect torn. ii. p. 368. 
to England and Scotland. 




domestic races are often crossed, and are believed to be per- 
fectly fertile together, and a perfect gradation can be shown to 
exist from the largest domestic kinds, having enormously deve- 
loped 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 con- 
siderable differences characteristic of the several domestic races. 
If the latter are the descendants of two or more closely allied 
species, all, excepting the common rabbit, have been extermi- 
nated 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 late marvellous success 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 Kouennais, 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 

6 Gervais, 'Hist. Nat. des Mammi- moir on this subject in Brown-Sequard's 
feres,' torn. i. p. 292. < Joum< de> p hys<> > vol# „, p . 367. 

7 See Dr. P. Broea's interesting me- 


shape of their skulls. 8 English lop-eared rabbits often weigh 
8 lbs. or 10 lbs., and one has been exhibited weighing 18 lbs. • 
whereas a full-sized wild rabbit weighs only about 3 J lbs. 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 pro- 
digiously developed, and hang down on each side of their 
faces. A rabbit has been exhibited with its two ears, measured 
from the tip of one to the tip of the other, 22 inches in length 
and each ear was 5f inches in breadth. In a common wild 
rabbit I found that the length of the two ears, from tip to tip 
was 7f inches, and the breadth only l£ inch. The great weight 
of the body in the larger rabbits, and the immense development 
of their ears, are the qualities which win prizes, and have been 
carefully selected. 

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 exa- 
mined by him, had only six mammas ; 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 mammas. 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 

8 They are briefly described in the » 'Journal of Horticulture,' 1861, p. 

'Journal of Horticulture/ May 7th, 1861. 380. 
p. 108. 


Chap. IV. 


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 1J lb. ; rabbits of 
this breed make excellent nurses for other and more delicate 

kinds. 10 

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 flat down 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 cha- 
racterized. 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 ; a 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 of the ear results 

10 ' Journal of Horticulture,' May p. 141 ; also ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. 
28th, 1861, p. 169. if. p. 499, and ditto for 1854, p. 586. 

11 ' Journal of Horticulture,' 1861, p. ^ Delamer, ' Pigeons and Rabbits,' 
327. With respect to the ears, see p. 136. See also ' Journal of Horti- 
Delamer on ' Pigeons and Rabbits,' 1854, culture/ 1861, p. 375. 



Fig. 5. — Half-lop Rabbit. (Copied from E. 8. Delamer's work.) 

from its great length and weight, 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 which is destitute of ears. 

The origin of the Himalayan breed (sometimes called Chinese, 
or Polish, or Eussian) is so curious, both in itself, and as throw- 
ing some light on the complex laws of inheritance, that it is 
worth giving in detail. These pretty rabbits are white, except 
their ears, nose, all four feet, and the upper side of 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 provi- 
sionally named L. nigrijpes. u Some good observers thought that 
they could detect a difference in their habits, and stoutly main- 
tained that they formed a new species. Their origin is now well 
known. A writer, in 1857, 15 stated that he had produced Hima- 
layan rabbits in the following manner. 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. 

13 'An Account of the different Kinds " ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' June 23rd, 

of Sheep in the Eussian Dominions,' 1857, p. 159. 
1794, p. 39. 15 i Cottage Gardener,' 1857, p. 141. 


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. 16 These rabbits 
breed perfectly true. Now, the writer above referred to had a 
breed of chinchillas which had been crossed with the common 
black rabbit, and their offspring were either blacks or chin- 
chillas. 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 " 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. 

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. Occa- 
sionally, however, as I am informed by Mr. W. A. Wooler and 
the Eev. 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 
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 

» < Journal of Horticulture/ April * Mr. Bartlett, in < Proc. Zoolog. Soc./ 

9th, 1861, p. 35. 1861, p . 40. 


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; but such, before two months elapse, become per- 
fectly 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 youno- 
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 remark- 
able, 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. 

18 'Phenomenon in Himalayan Babbits,' in 'Journal of Horticulture,' 1865, 
Jan. 27th, p. 102. 


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 ; for albinism is well 
known to be strongly inherited, as with white mice and many 
other quadrupeds, and even with 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 in common from the ancient pro- 
genitor of the genus — are found to resist variation, or to reappear 
if lost, more persistently than the characters which are con- 
fined 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™ 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, as it seems to me, the 
appearance of the several coloured marks on the Himalayan 
rabbit, as it grows old, is 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 

00^ Chouse, 'Natural History of Marnmalia : Rodents/ 1846, pp. 52, 


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 different conditions of life, they by no means always revert 
to their aboriginal colour. In Jamaica the feral rabbits are 
described as " 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 in- 
crease, and they never spread widely ; and, as I hear from Mr. R. 
Hill, owing to a great fire which occurred in the woods, they have 
now become extinct. Babbits 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 symme- 
trical 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 Eabbit Islet a large proportion are 
of a bluish colour which is not elsewhere seen. How the rabbits 
were coloured which were turned out on 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 

20 Delamer on ' Pigeons and Babbits,' 22 Darwin's 'Journal of Besearches, ' 
p. 114. p. 193 ; and ' Zoology of the Voyage of 

21 Gosse's ' Sojourn in Jamaica,' 1851, the Beagle : Mammalia,' p. 92. 

p. 441, as described by an excellent 23 Kerr's ' Collection of Voyages,' vol. 
observer, Mr. E. Hill. This is the only ii. p. 177 ; p. 205 for Cada Mosto. Accord- 
known case in which rabbits have ing to a work published in Lisbon 
become feral in a hot country. They in 1717, entitled 'Historia Insulana,' 
can be kept, however, at Loanda (see writen by a Jesuit, the rabbits were 
Livingstone's ' Travels,' p. 407). In turned out in 1420. Some authors be- 
parts of India, as I am informed by Mr. lieve that the island was discovered in 
Blyth, they breed well. 1413. 


rapidly, that they became a nuisance, and actually caused the 
abandonment of the settlement. Thirty-seven years subse- 
quently, 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 we have every reason to 
believe that it was 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. 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 evident! v 
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 17-2. 
inches in length ; whilst two of the Porto Santo rabbits were 
only 144 and 15 inches in length. But the decrease in size 
is best shown by weight; four wild English rabbits averaged 
3 lb. 5 oz., whilst one of the Porto Santo rabbits, which had lived 
for four years in the Zoological Gardens, but had become thin 
weighed only 1 lb. 9 oz. A fairer test is afforded by the com- 
parison of the well-cleaned limb-bones of a P. 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- The head has not decreased in length pro- 

d ™f ^ sjJtiS zrr tf wMch «"**« *- 

according to Spallanzani (« Voyage da M Z 1 ri T f^ 2 ^ " ]es 

les deux Siciles,' quoted by Goditm but S " ^ de ***"* S ° nt pluS 

l'Espece, p. 364), a countryman turned C es ticit!e » ""^ * * ^ en 
VOL. I. 


portionally 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 exa- 
mined 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 Zoolo- 
gical 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 years ! 

The two little Porto Santo rabbits, whilst alive in the Zoo- 
logical 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 de- 
scended 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 on the 
central, higher rocky land and near the sea-cliffs, and, 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 reddish colour above and grey beneath, with neither 
tail nor ears 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, has certainly ori- 
ginated 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 cha- 
racter, as is so generally asserted to be the case by most 

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 selec- 
tion has not been applied to fix any character in the skeleton, 
and that the animals have not had to support themselves under 

i 2 


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 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 differ- 
ence, 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 fancy 
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 315 inches, in a large fancy rabbit 4'30; 
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 propor- 
tionally 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 P. 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 should 
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 

Chap. IV. 



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. 

Fig. 6.— Skull of Wild Rabbit, of natural size. 

Fig. 1.— Skull of large Lop-eared Rabbit, 
of natural size. 

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 m 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 m the several skulls ; generally it is more oval, or has a greater width 
m the line of the longitudinal axis of the skull, than in the wild rabbit. The 



Chap. IV. 

Fig. 8. — Part of Zygomatic Arch, showing the 
projecting end of the malar hone and the 
auditory meatus: of natural size. Upper 
figure, Wild Rabbit. Lower figure, Lop- 
eared, hare-coloured Rabbit. 

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, 0. 
The paramastoids relatively to the size 
of the skull are generally much thicker 
than in the wild rabbit. 

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 be- 
tween 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 
ABC marrow, though apparently the 

outline of the latter is not affected 
by the shape of the passage. 

iiaf Wm( T^ltf In all the skulls of the large 

lop-eared rabbits, the bony au- 
ditory 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 
a b 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 lop- 
ping 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 

Fig. 9. — Posterior end of skull, of natural size, showing 
the inter-parietal bone. A. Wild Rabbit. B. Feral 
Rabbit from island of P. Santo, near Madeira. 
C. Large Lop-eared Rabbit. 

Fig. 10.— Occipital Foramen, of natural size, in — 
A. Wild Rabbit; B. Large Lop-eared Rabbit. 

25 Waterhouse, ' Nat. Hist. Mammalia,' vol. ii. p. 36. 

Chap. IV. 



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 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 pro- 
jects 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 correspond- 
ing bones on the opposite side. 
Even the lower jaw is affected, and 
the condyles are not quite sym- 
metrical, that on the left standing 
a little in advance of that on the 
right. This seems to me a remark- 
able 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 con- 
tinually 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 ! 

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 proportionally a little longer. The 
molar teeth have increased in size proportionally 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 

Fig. 11— Skull, of natural size, of Half-lop Rabbit, 
showing the different direction of the auditory 
meatus on the two sides, and the consequent ge- 
neral distortion of the skull. The left ear of the 
animal (or right side of figure) lopped forwards. 



Chap. IV 

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 con- 
formity 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, 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, 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 in any respect 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 subra-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. 

Vtrtebrce.— 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 vertebras. This is remarkable, as Gervais gives 

Chap. IV. 



Fig. 12. — Atlas Vertebras, of natural size ; 
inferior surface viewed obliquely. 
Upper figure, Wild Rabbit. Lower 
figure, Hare-coloured, large, Lop-eared 
Rabbit. a, supra-median, atlantoid 
process ; b, infra-median process. 

seven as the number for the whole genus Lepus. The caudal vertebras 
apparently differ by two or three, but I did not attend to them, and they 
are difficult to count with certainty. 

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 pro- 
cess ; 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 (6) is also proportion- 
ally much thicker and longer. The alae are 
a little squarer in outline. 

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 ver- 
tebra, as in the fourth of the wild rabbit. 
But the third cervical vertebrae of the wild and lop-eared (a b, b b) rabbits 
differ more conspicuously when their anterior articular surfaces are com- 
pared ; 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 direc- 
tion 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 de- 
serving 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. 

Ninth and tenth dorsal vertebra?. —In the wild rabbit the neural spine of 
the ninth vertebra is just perceptibly thicker than that of the eighth ; and 

Fig. 13.— Third Cervical Vertebra, of natural size, 
of— A. Wild Rabbit; B. Hare-coloured, large, 
Lop-eared Rabbit. a, a, inferior surface; 
b, b, anterior articular surfaces. 



Chap. IV. 

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

the neural spine of the tenth is plainly thicker and shorter than those 
of all the anterior vertebree. In the large lop-eared rabbits the neural 

spines of the tenth, 
ninth, eighth, and even 
in a slight degree that 
of the seventh vertebra, 
are very much thicker, 
and of somewhat dif- 
ferent shape, in compa- 
rison with those of the 
wild rabbit. So that 
this part of the verte- 
bral column differs con- 
siderably in appearance 
from the same part in 
the wild rabbit, and 
closely resembles in an 
interesting manner these 
same vertebrae in some 
species of hares. In the 
Angora, Chinchilla, and 
Himalayan rabbits, the neural spines of the eighth and ninth vertebras 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 in an 
exactly opposite manner to what the large lop-eared rabbits do from the 
common wild rabbit, the neural spines of the ninth and tenth vertebras 
were not at all larger than those of the several anterior vertebrae. In this 
same Porto Santo specimen there was no trace in the ninth vertebra of the 
anterior lateral processes (see woodcut 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 vertebree.— I have stated that in two cases there were eight 
instead of seven lumbar vertebrae. The third lumbar vertebra 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 
haemal spine. 

Pelvis.— In four wild specimens this bone was almost absolutely iden- 
tical in shape ; but in several domesticated breeds 'shades of differences 

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. 

Chap. IV. 



could be distinguished. In the large lop-eared rabbits the whole upper 
part of the ilium is straighter, or less splayed outwards, than m 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. 

Fig. 15.— Terminal, bone of 
Sternum, of natural size. 
A. Wild Rabbit. B. Hare- 
coloured, Lop-eared Rabbit. 
C. Hare-coloured, Spanish 
Rabbit. (N.B. The left- 
hand angle of the upper 
articular extremity of B 
was broken, and has been 
accidentally thus repre- 

-Acromion of Scapula, of natural size. 
A. Wild Rabbit. B, C, D. Large, Lop-eared 


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 rect- 
angular 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 figs, 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 
vertebrae of the wild and lop-eared rabbits, of which figures 
have been given, had been found fossil, palaeontologists 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 lengths 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 perfectly cleaning so many small bones) has 
increased in the large lop-eared rabbits in nearly the same proportion ■ con- 
sequently 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, or 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, tie 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 rabbit. If we 
had possessed a large number of domesticated rabbits of nearly the same 
size with the wild rabbit, 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 

27 See Prof. Owen's remarks on this &c.,' read before Brit. Association, 1862 : 
subject in his paper on the ' Zoological with respect to Birds, see ' Proc. Zoolog. 
Significance of the Brain, &c, of Man, Soc.,' Jan. 11th, 1848, p. 8. 


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 217 ; in average length of body as 1 to 1*41 ; whilst in capacity of skull 
(measured as hereafter to be described) they are only 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. 

In the upper half of the following table I have given the measurements 
of the skulls of ten wild rabbits ; and in the lower half of eleven thoroughly 
domesticated kinds. As these rabbits differ so greatly in size, it is neces- 
sary 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 standard. 

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 measurements 
have been made. The fourth column gives the capacity of the skull by the 
weight of small shot with which the skulls had been 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 3T5 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 vn), the brain of this small rabbit, No 5 for every 100 
grains of weight is only 4 per cent, 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 m 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 wi d rabbit. Had I taken the Irish rabbit, No. 3, as the 
standard, the following results would have been somewhat more striking 

Turning to the Table : the first four wild rabbits have skulls of the 
same length, and these. differ but little in capacity. The Sandon rabbit 



Chap. IV 

(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 to 
weigh 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 the Table, 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 their 
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 in length *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 

28 This standard is apparently con- 
siderably too low, for Dr. Crisp (' Proc. 

Zoolog. Soc.,' 1861, p. 86) gives 210 
grains as the actual weight of the 

Chap. IV. 





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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) 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 measure- 
ment. 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 
xlngora 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 

brain of a hare which weighed 7 lbs., is in my table 972 grains ; and accord- 

and 125 grains as the weight of the ing to Dr. Crisp's ratio of 125 to 210, the 

brain of a rabbit which weighed 3 lbs. skull of the hare ought to have contained 

5 oz., that is, the same weight as the 1632 grains of shot, instead of only (in 

rabbit No. 1 in my list. Now the con- the largest hare in my table) 1455 

tents of the skull of rabbit No. 1 in shot grains. 


size, — I conclude, notwithstanding the remarkable differences in 
capacity in the skulls of the small P. 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 move- 
ments, 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 have increased in weight (but the hind legs less than 
the front legs), in due proportion with the increased weight of 
body ; 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 vertebra 
has assumed characters proper to the fourth cervical ; and the 
eighth and ninth dorsal vertebras have similarly assumed cha- 
racters proper to the tenth and posterior vertebras. The skull 
m the larger breeds has increased in length, but not in due pro- 
portion 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 processes of the frontal bones and the free end of the 
malar bones have increased in breadth ; and in the larger breeds 

VOL. I. 



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 
lirough continued selection ; their weight, conjoined probably 
with the disuse of their muscles, has caused them to lop down- 
wards ; 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. 





I have been led to study domestic pigeons with particular 
care, because the evidence that all the domestic races have 
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 will regret this; and 
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 think this care superfluous. Not- 
withstanding 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 

I have kept alive all the most distinct breeds, which I could 
procure in England or from the Continent; and have pre- 
pared skeletons of all. I have received skins from Persia, 
and a large number from India and other quarters of the 

K 2 



Chap. V. 

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 Corbie' 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 Columbidse in the 
British Museum, and, with the exception of a few forms (such as 
the Didunculus, Calsenas, Goura, &c), I do not hesitate to 

1 The Hon. 0. 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 re- 
garding them. Mr. Blyth has freely com- 
municated to me his stores of knowledge 
on this and all other related subjects. 
The Kajah 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 litera- 
ture, 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 for- 

merly showed me his unrivalled collec- 
tion of Pouters, and gave me specimens. 
I had access to Mr. Wicking's collection, 
which contained a greater assortment 
of many 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 speci- 
mens 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 permis- 
sion to return my sincere and cordial 

3 ' Les Pigeons de Voliere et de 
Colombier,' Paris, 1824. During forty- 
five years the sole occupation of M. 
Corbie was the care of the pigeons 
belonging to the Duchess of Berry. 


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 ex- 
panded upraised tail like that of the fantail ; or for an oeso- 
phagus 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 indivi- 
duals 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-characterized 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 clas- 
sification 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 
presen fewer difficulties than a « natural classification ; * but then 
it woul I interrupt many plain affinities. Extreme forms can 
readily be defined; but intermediate and troublesome forms 

4 ' Coup d'Oeil sur l'Ordre des Pigeons,' ThU q„*j, i 

par Prince 0. L. Bonaparte, Parian. Lder ^enl " "* ° m "** 


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 characters which are common to a large number of forms. 

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 livid) as the standard of com- 
parison. The measurements are given in decimals of an ineh. 5 

I will now give a brief description of all the principal breeds. 
The following diagram 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 table 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 dis- 
tinctness of each breed from the parent-stock, and the names 

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


Length from feathered base of beak to end of tail 14 ' 25 

„ to oil-gland 9*5 

from tip of beak to end of tail 10 v f 

„ of tail-feathers *' 62 

„ from tip to tip of wing 2 » 15 

„ of folded wing 9 "^ 

Beak;. Length from tip of beak to feathered base 

Thickness, measured vertically at further end of nostrils 

Breadth, measured at same place •• 

Feet.— Length from end of middle toe (without claw) to distal end of tibia 2-77 

Length from end of middle toe to end of hind toe (without claws) 2-02 
Weight 141 ounces. 

Chap. V. 



Fig. 17.— The Rock-pigeon, or Columba livia.« The parent-form of all domesticated Pigeons. 

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. 

^ This drawing was made from a dead Mr. Tegetmeier. It maybe confidently 

bird. The six following figures were asserted that the characters of the six 

drawn with great care by Mr. Lnke breeds which have been figured are not 

Wells from living birds selected by in the least exaggerated. 



Chap. V 


Dove-cot pigeon. 



English Frill-back. 









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Chap. V. 



Group I. 

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 domesti- 
cated pigeons. 

Fig. 18.— English Pouter. 

Race I—Pouter Pigeons. (Kropf-Tauben, German. Grosses- 
gorges, or boulans, French.) 
(Esophagus of great size, barely separated from the crop, often 
inflated. Body and legs elongated. Beak of moderate dimen- 



Chap. V 

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 construction 
from the oesophagus. The diameter of the upper part of the oesophagus 
is immense, even close up to the head. The beak in one bird which I 
possessed was almost completely buried when the oesophagus 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 ; 
and after one of my birds had swallowed a good meal of peas and water, 
as he flew up in order to disgorge them and thus feed his nearly fledged 
young, I have 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 vertebraB 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 0. Uvia, 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 
34 1 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 mea- 
surements gave only 28£ and 141 . 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 extremity. 

Sub-race III. The Lille Pouter. — I know this breed only from descrip- 
tion. 8 It approaches in general form the Dutch Pouter, but the inflated 
oesophagus 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 Corbie ; it pouts but little, and is charac- 

7 'Das Ganze der Taubenzucht 
Weimar, 1837, pi. 11 and 12. 

8 Boitard and Corbie', ' Les Pigeons/ 
&c, p. 177, pi. 6. 


terised 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 be always trusted. This 
sub-race seems considerably different. The upper part of the oesophagus 
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. 

Group II. 

This group includes three Kaces, namely, Carriers, Runts, and 
Barbs, which are manifestly allied to each other. Indeed, certain 
carriers and runts pass into each other by such insensible grada- 
tions 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. 

Kace II. — Carriers. (Turkische Taube: Pigeons Turcs : 


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 



Chap. V 

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 mea- 


sured 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 31 i 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 dimen- 
sions, 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 115 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 Eunts ; 
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 the woodcut to be hereafter 
given 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 mode- 
rately 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 propor- 
tion 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 
41 inches in length. Eiedel 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 with the wild rock-pigeon. The shape of the beak, with some little 
carunculated skm over the nostrils,-the much elongated eyelids,-the 

• 'Die Taubenzucht,' U1^T^TI~~M^^ 

; nrr ,. A .. tii , owe to the great kindness of Sir W.Elliot 

This treatise was wntten by Sayzid a translation of this curious treatise. 



Chap. V. 

broad mouth measured internally, — the narrow head, — the feet propor- 
tionally a little longer than in the rock-pigeon, — and the general appear- 
ance, 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 con- 
siderable 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 Kala 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 Eace. And it deserves especial notice that, even if we 
neglect the Kala 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 Col umbo, livia. 

Eace III. — Bunts. (Scanderoons : Die Florentiner-Taube 
and Hinkel-Taube of Neumeister : Pigeon Bagadais, Pigeon 

Beak long, massive ; body of great size. 

Inextricable confusion reigns in the classification, affinities, and naming 
of Eunts. 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 Eunts. 
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, Eunts 
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 dis- 
tinct 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 

Sub-race I. Scanderoon of English writers (Die Elorentiner and Hinkel- 
Taube 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\L5 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 
distant 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 4f inches in length. 

The Hinkel or Florentiner-Taube of Neumeister (Table XIII., 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 Corbie 
(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 38£ 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 
6i inches in length, and therefore 2£ 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, relatively to the 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 
characterized birds, there can be no doubt of the propriety of the separa- 
tion. They are heavy, massive birds, with shorter necks, legs, and beaks 
than m the foregoing races. The skin over the nostrils is swollen, but 
not carunculated; the naked skin round the eyes is not very wide, and 
on y slightly carunculated; and I have seen a fine so-called Spanish Runt 
with hardly any naked skm round the eyes. Of the two varieties to be 
seen m England, one, which is the rarer, has very long wings and tail 



Chap. V 

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 Corbie. These Eunts are apt to tremble like Fantails. They are 
bad flyers. A few years ago Mr. Gulliver 11 exhibited a Eunt which 
weighed 1 lb. 14 oz.; and, as I am informed by Mr. Tegetmeier, two 
Eunts from the south of France were lately exhibited at the Crystal Palace 
each of which weighed 2 lbs. 2$ oz. A very fine rock-pigeon from the 
Shetland Islands weighed only 14i oz. 

Sub-race IV. Tronfo of Aldrovandi (Leghorn Eunt?).— 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 
Eunt 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 Eunt imported from Cairo. 

Sub-race V. Murassa (adorned Pigeon) of Madras. — Skins of these hand- 
some 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 Eunt or Carrier. 

From these several descriptions we see that with Eunts, 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 Eunts. But the 
chain of affinities, and many points of resemblance, between Eunts 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. 

Kace IV. — Barbs. (Indische Taube : 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 Eace to that of Carriers until the 
fact was pointed out to me by Mr. Brent. Subsequently, after examining 

Poultry Chronicle,' vol. ii. p. 573. 

Chap. V. 



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 Bunts ; 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 
VOL.1. L 



Chap. V. 

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 cer- 
tainly 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 hori- 
zontally 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 
nostrils is swollen, but not carunculated, except slightly in first-rate birds 
when old ; whilst the naked skin round the eye is broad and much carun- 
culated. 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 

Group III. 

This group is artificial, and includes a heterogeneous collec- 
tion 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. 

Eace V. — Fantails. 

Sub-race I. European Fantails (Pfauen-Taube ; Trembleurs). Tail ex- 
panded, 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 Corbie, 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 ex- 
pansion of the tail. The feathers are arranged in an irregular double 
row ; their permanent expansion, like a fan, 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 

; Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,' vol. xix., 1847, p. 105. 

Chap. V. 



other pigeons; and in three skeletons there were one or two extra 
coccygeal vertebrae. 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 back- 

13 This gland occurs in most birds ; 
but Nitzsch (in bis ' Pterylographie," 
18-10, p. 55) states that it is absent in 
two species of Coluraba, 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. 

L 2 


wards. 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 be- 
come 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 If. 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 Faintail, had a remarkably short beak. Although a 
good bird of the kind, it had only 14 tail-feathers; but Mr. Swinhoe 
lias 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 condition. 

Eace VI. — Turbit and Owl. (Moven-Taube : Pigeons a 


Feathers divergent along the front of the neck and breast ; beak 
very short, vertically rather thick ; oesophagus somewhat enlarged. 

Turbits and Owls differ from each other slightly in the shape of the head, 
in the former having a crest, and in the curvature of the beak, 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 irre- 
gularly 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. 
This bird has the remarkable habit of continually and momentarily inflating 
the upper part of the oesophagus, which causes a movement in the frill. 

14 See the two excellent editions pub- 1858, entitled 'A Treatise on Fancy 
lislied by Mr. J. M. Eaton in 1852 and Pigeons.' 

Chap. V. 



When the oesophagus of a dead bird was inflated, it was seen to be larger 
than in other breeds, and not so distinctly separated from the crop. The 
Pouter inflates both its true crop and oesophagus; the Turbit inflates 
in a much less degree the oesophagus 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. 

150 DOMESTIC PIGEONS. <j„ A1 >. y 

Race VII.— Tumblers. (Tummler, or Burzel-Tauben : Cul- 


During flight, tumble backivards ; 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 ribs. 

Sub-race I. Persian Tumblers. — I have received a pair direct from 
Persia, from the Hon. C. Murray. They were rather smaller birds than 
the wild rock-pigeon, being 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 Loivtun : Indian Ground Tumblers. — These birds 
present one of the most remarkable inherited habits or instincts which have 
ever been 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 strictly 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 

15 English translation, by F. Glad- and crested as at present. Mr. BIyth 

win, 4th edition, vol. i. The habit describes these birds in 'Annals and 

of the Lotan is also described in the Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' vol. xiv., 1847, p. 

Persian treatise before alluded to, 104 ; he says that they " may be seen 

published about 100 years ago : at this at any of the Calcutta bird-dealers." 
date the Lotans were generally white 

Chap . v. description of breeds. 151 

mentions another sub-variety, called the Kalmi Lotan, which begins 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 ot 
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 Pollers. 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." Erom 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 appear- 
ance 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 accus- 
" tomed loft." These House-tumblers differ from the Lotan or Ground 

16 'Journal of Horticulture,' Oct. 22, tage Gardener,' 1858, p. 285. Also Mr. 

18(31, p. 7b. Brent's paper, ' Journal of* Horticulture,' 

1-7 See the account of the House- 1861, p. 76. 
tumblers kept at Glasgow, in the ' Cot- 



Chap, y 

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. 

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 Columbidae. Their heads are nearly globular 


and up wright in front, so that some fanciers say 18 "the head -should 
resemble a cherry with a barley-corn 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 oz. 5 drs. ; two others, 
each weighed 7 oz. We have seen that a wild rock-pigeon weighed 
14 oz. 2 drs., and a Eunt 34 oz. 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 body, the beak is -28 of an inch 
too short. So, again, the feet of this bird were actually "45 shorter, and pro- 
portionally -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 
scutellse. The primary wing-feathers are not rarely only 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 Baldheads, 
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 Moor's 
treatise in 1735. 19 

Finally, in regard to the whole group of Tumblers, it is impossible to 
conceive a more perfect gradation than 1 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 genius with the 
rock-pigeon. The differences between the successive steps in this series 
are not greater than those which may be observed between common dove- 
cot-pigeons (C. livia) brought from different countries. 

Race VIII. — Indian Fkill-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 mon- 
strous 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 

18 J. M. Eaton's ' Treatise on Pigeons,' 19 J. M. Eaton's Treatise, edit. 1858, 

1*52, p. 9. p. 76 . 


this is the breed seen by Hasselquist in 1757 at Cairo, and said to have 
been imported from India. 

Eace IX. — Jacobin. (Zopf or Periicken-Taube : Nonnains.) 

Feathers of the neck forming a hood ; wings and tail long ; leak 
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 Latz-taube 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 lx 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 2i inches too long, 
and the two wings, from tip to tip, 5i inches too long. In disposition this 
bird is singularly quiet, seldom flying or moving about, as Bechstein 
and Biedel 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. 

Geoup IV. 

The birds of this group may be characterised by their resem- 
blance 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. 

Eace X. — Trumpeter. (Trommel-Taube ; Pigeon tambour ; 


A tuft of feathers at the base of the beak curling fonvard ; 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 

20 Neumeister, ' Taubenzucht,' Tab. 4, s. 26. Bechstein, ' Naturgeschichtc 
lig. i. Deutschlands,' Band iv. e. 36, 1795. 

21 Bicdcl, 'Die Taubenzucht,' 1824, 



several minutes; hence their name of Trumpeters. They are also cha- 
racterised 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 
some 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. 

Kace XI. — Scarcely differing in structure from the wild 
Columba livia. 

Hub-race I. Laughers. Size less than the Bock-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 G-od, 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 Strupp-Taube). Beak rather longer 
than in the Bock-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, espe- 
cially on the wing-coverts, have their points curled upwards or back- 

Sub-race III. Nuns (Pigeons-coquilles). These elegant birds are smaller 
than the rock-pigeon. The beak is actually -17, 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 scutella 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. 



Chap, y 

Nuns are symmetrically coloured, with the head, primary wing-f ea th 
tail, and tail-coverts of the same colour, namely, black or red and wS 
the rest of the body white. This breed has retained the same' charact 
since Aldrovandi wrote in 1600. I have received from Madras aim Z 
similarly coloured birds. ; ost 

Sub-race IV. Spots (Die Blass-Taube : Pigeons heurtes).— These bird 
are a very little larger than the rock-pigeon, with the beak a trace small e S 
in all its dimensions, and with the feet decidedly smaller. They a * 
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' Tl ' 
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 win-- 
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 like- 
wise 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 i u 
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 tegs, 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 extra- 
ordinary 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 Corbie 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, &c, 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 

22 Willoughby's ' Ornithology/ edited 
by Ray. 

23 J. M. Eaton's edition (1858) of 

Moore, p. 98. 

24 Pigeon Putu Plongeur. 
Pigeons,' &c, p. 165. 



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 dis- 
tinct 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 extra- 
ordinary 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 15| inches from tip of beak to end of 
tail, and 321 inches from tip to tip of wing; now the wild rock-pigeon 
weighs 14g ounces, and measures from tip of beak to end of tail 15 inches, 
and from tip to tip of wing only 261 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 pre- 
viously stated, above 150 kinds which can be distinguished, 
though generally by characters of extremely slight importance. 
Many of the genera of the Columbidae, which are 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 
Kunts; and this would have been a wide or comprehensive 
genus, for it would have admitted common Spanish Runts with- 
out 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 

■ 'Naturgesch. Deutschlands,' Band * Ml , w B Tegetmeier, 'Journal 

1V ' S< 4 '* of Horticulture,' Jan. 20th, 1863, p. 58. 



Cl!AJ>. V 

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 charac- 
teristic 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 exter- 
nally visible ; but the whole organisation is so tied together bv 
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 modi- 
fication 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. To begin with the primary feathers of the 
wing and tail ; but I may 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 Columbidse, 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 Fan- 

2 " ' Coup-d'ceil sur l'Ordre des 
Pigeons,' par C. L. Bonaparte (Comptes 

Eendus), 1854-55. Mr. Blyth, in 
' Annals of Nat. Hist.,' vol. xix., 1847, 


tails, as we have seen, the number varies from fourteen to forty-two. In 
two yonng 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 Baldhead-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 selection. 

With respect to the primary wing-feathers, the number in the Colum- 
bidee, 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 flight-feathers of a white colour being one of the 
points in Short-faced Baldhead-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 Bunt 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 ob- 
served 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 what may 
often be observed in the natural species of the Columbidas. 

In the beak I have observed very considerable differences in birds of the 

p. 41, mentions, as a very singular fact, while the other, the passenger pigeon of 

» that of the two species of Ectopistes, North America, should possess but the 

which are nearly allied to each other, usual number— twelve." 
one should have fourteen tail-feathers, 


same breed, as in carefully bred Jacobins and Trumpeters. In Carriers there 
is often a conspicuous difference in the degree of attenuation and curva- 
ture 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 
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 scutellse 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 Eunt 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 by accident 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 Philo- 
peristeron Club. 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 Neu- 

28 Described and figured in the 29 ' The Pigeon Book,' by Mr. B. P. 

' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. iii., 1855, p. 82. Brent, 1859, p. 41. 


meister 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 character 
of the different 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 cir- 
cumstance. Mr. Harrison Weir, a successful breeder of prize 

3° 'Die Staarhalsige Taube. Das bier,' by J. M Eaton 19*52 n ft * 
Ganze, &c.,' s. 21, tab. i. fig. 4. passim> t0n ' 18 ° 2 ' P- 8 ' et 

31 ' A Treatise on the Almond Tum- 

VOL. I. 




Chap. V 

Fantails, informs me that his cock birds often have a greater 
number of tail-feathers than the hens. 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 gene- 
rally chequered with black, whilst the female is never so che- 
quered. Dr. Chapuis also remarks 34 that in certain light-coloured 
pigeons the males have their feathers striated with black, and 
these striae increase in size at each moult, so that the male ulti- 
mately 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 highly remarkable facts, for there is no sensible 
difference at any age between the two sexes in the aboriginal 
rock-pigeon ; and rarely any such difference throughout the 
whole family of the Columbidae. 35 

Osteological Characters. 

In the skeletons of the various breeds there is much varia- 
bility; and though certain differences occur frequently, and 
others rarely, in certain breeds, yet none can be said to be abso- 
lutely characteristic of any breed. Considering that strongly- 
marked domestic races have been formed chiefly by man's power 

32 A Treatise, &c., p. 10. 

33 Boitard and Corbie, ' Les Pigeons,' 
&c., 1824, p. 173. 

34 « Le Pigeon Voyageur Beige,' 1865, 
p. 87. 

35 Prof. A. Newton ('Proc. Zoolog. 
Soc.,' 1865, p. 716) remarks that he 
knows no species which presents any 
remarkable sexual distinction ; but it is 
stated (' Naturalist's Library, Birds, vol. 

ix. p. 117) that the excrescence at the 
base of the beak in the Carpophuga 
oceanica is sexual : this, if correct, is an 
interesting point of analogy with the 
male Carrier, which has the wattle at 
the base of its beak so much more de- 
veloped than in the female. Mr. Wallace 
informs me that in the sub-family of the 
Treronidse the sexes often differ in 
vividness of colour. 

Chap. V. 



of selection, we ought not to expect to find great and constant 
differences in the skeleton ; for fanciers can neither see, nor do 
they care for, modifications of structure in the internal frame- 
work. 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 ske- 
letons of Columba 
livia, oenas, palum- 
hus, and turtur, 
which are ranked 
by all systematists 
in two or three dis- 
tinct though allied 
genera, that the 
differences are ex- 
tremely slight, cer- 
tainly less than be- 
tween the skeletons 
of some of the most c 
distinct domestic 
breeds. How far 
the skeleton of the 
wild rock-pigeon is 
constant I have no 
means of judging, 
as I have examined 
only two. 

Skull — The indivi- r> 
dual bones, especially 
those at the base, do 
not differ in shape. 
But the whole skull, 
in its proportions, out- 
line, and relative direc- 
tion 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- 
Si 2 

a TvnV i ° f Pi S eons viewed laterally, of natural size. 
A. Wild Rock-pigeon, Columba livia. B. Short- faced 
tumbler. C. English Carrier. D. Bagadotten Carrier. 



Chap. V. 

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 pre- 
maxillary 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 perpen- 
dicular; 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 premaxil- 
laries, 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. 

In the lower jaw, the articular surface is proportionally 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 the 
accompanying figures, in comparison with the jaw of the rock-pigeon. 

Fig. 25.— Lower jaws, seen from above, of natural size. A. Rock-pigeon. B. Runt. C. Barb. 

This reflexion 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 reflexion 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 

Chap. V. 



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 

Fig. 26.— Skull of Runt, seen 
from above, of natural size, 
showing the reflexed margin 
of the dittal portion of the 
lower jaw. 

Fig. 27. — Lateral view of jaws, of natural size. 
A. Rock-pigeon. B. Short-faced Tumbler. 
C. Bagadotten Carrier. 

that no open space is left. The degree of down- 
ward 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. 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 so greatly in the several above- 
specified points could have belonged to the same species. 

Vertebrae. — All the breeds have twelve cervical vertebrse. 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 articulation. 

The dorsal vertebra} 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, 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 

36 I am not sure that I have designated 
the different kinds of vertebrae correctly: 
but I observe that different anatomists 
follow in this respect different rules, 

and, as I use the same terms in the com- 
parison of all the skeletons, this, I hope, 
will not signify. 



Chap. V. 

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 vertebrae, also varies considerably, as does the size of the 
hypapophysis of the fifth vertebra. 

The rock-pigeon has twelve sacral vertebra; ; 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 vertebrae. 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, twelve, or thirteen sacral vertebra. 

The caudal vertebras are seven in number in the rock-pigeon. In fantails 
which have their tails so largely developed, there are either 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 vertebrae. 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 vertebrae and ribs which I 
have observed : — 




from Mr. Bult. 

Dutch Roller. 


Cervical Vertebrae 





The 12th bore 
a small rib. 

Dorsal Vertebrae . . 





„ Eibs .. 





The 6th Pair with 

The 6th and 7th 

The 6th and 7 th 

The 6th and 7th 

processes, the 7th 

pair with 

pair without 

pair without 

pair without a 





Sacral Vertebrae . . 





Caudal Vertebrae . . 
Total Vertebrae . . 


8 or 9 




42 or 43 



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 pro- 
minent in most runts. 

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 

Chap. V. 



tumblers it is straighter, with the apex less elongated, than in the rock- 
pigeon : in the woodcut, fig. 28, the scapulas of the rock-pigeon (a), and 
of a short-faced tumbler (b), are given. The pro- 
cesses at the summit of the coracoid, which receive 
the extremities of the furcula, 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 fur- 
cula in pouters diverge less, 
proportionally to their 
length, than in the rock- 
Fig. 23.— Scapula, of natural pigeon ; and the symphysis 

size. A. Rock-pigeon. j s more so \{& an( J pointed. 
B. Short-faced Tumbler. T „ . .. ., , „ ,. 

In fantails the degree ol di- 
vergence of the two arms varies in a remarkable 
manner. In fig. 29, b and c represent the fur- 
culse of two fantails ; and it will be seen that the 
divergence in b is rather less even than in the fur- 
cula 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 furcula, 
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 some- 
times either nearly circular, or elongated, as is often 
the case with carriers. The posterior perforations 
occasionally are not complete, being left open poste- 
riorly. 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 Fi s- 29 -— Furcula, of natural 

. ,. . -, n , , ,, -. ,, . ,. size. A. Short-faced Tum- 

mdividuals than m others, and the pore immediately bier, b and c. Fantaii- 
under it varies greatly in size. d. Pouter. 

Correlation of Growth— By this term I mean that the whole 
organisation is so connected, that when one part varies, other 



Chap. V, 

parts vary ; but which of two correlated variations ought to he 
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 con- 
tinued 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 pro- 
portionally 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 woodcut No. 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 woodcut No. 25) is not strictly corre- 
lated with the width or divergence (as may be clearly seen in 
woodcut No 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 vertebrae 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 vertebrse 
have increased. Hence, during the gradual progress of variation 
and selection, the internal bony frame-work 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 inde- 
pendently 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 stands 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 dis- 
qualified 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 

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 
other coloured pigeons 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 dif- 
ferently 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 cor- 
relation with this the two outer toes become connected lor a 
considerable space by skin. I have observed this in very many 
3 7 J. M. Eaton's Treatise, edit. 1858, p. 78. 


specimens of pouters, trumpeters, swallows, roller-tumblers (like- 
wise 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 scutelise 
or scales covering the toes and tarsi have not only decreased or 
increased in size, but likewise in number. To give a single in- 
stance, I have counted eight scutellse 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 scutellse 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, furcula, scapulae, 
and wings, I may premise, in order to give some confidence to. 
the reader, that my measurements were all made in the same 
manner, and that all the measurements of the external parts 
were made without the least intention of applying them to the 
following purpose. 

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 together with the middle toe. 
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, 



Chap. V. 

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 f 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 pre- 
tend 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 approximation. 

Table I. 

Pigeons with their heaks generally shorter than that of the Rock-pigeon 
proportionally with the size of their bodies. 

Name of Breed. 

Wild rock-pigeon (mean measurement) 

Short-faced Tumbler, bald-head 

„ „ almond 

Tumbler, red magpie 

„ red common (by standard to end of tail) 

,, common bald-head 

,, roller 





Trumpeter, white 

„ mottled 

Fan tail (by standard to end of tail) 

5? n » 

„ crested var. „ 

Indian Frill-back „ .. 

English Frill-back 






■>■> " " 

Swallow, red 

„ blue 


„ German 

Bussorah Carrier 

Number of specimens 




Difference between 
actual and calculated 

length of feet, in 

proportion to length of 

feet and size of body 

in the Rock-pigeon. 

Too short 


Too long 










































































: 02 






Chap. V. 



Table II. 

Pigeons with their beaks longer than that of the Bock-pigeon, proportionally 
with the size of their bodies. 

Name of Breed. 

Wild rock-pigeon (mean measurement) 



„ Dragon 

Bagadotten Carrier 

Scanderoon, white 

Pigeon cygne 


Number of specimens 






Difference between 
actual and calculated 

length of feet, in 
proportion to length of 
feet and size of body- 
in the Rock-pigeon. 

Too short 


Too long 





In these two tables 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. \L07); 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 and exceptional cases can be explained ; for instance, with 
pouters the legs and feet arc selected for length, and thus any natural 
tendency to a diminution in the length of the feet will have been coun- 
teracted. In the swallow and barb, when the calculation was made on any 
standard of comparison excepting the one above 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 kmger, 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 pro- 
portional length, but slenderer. Nevertheless, these two tables, taken con- 
jointly, 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 



Chap. V. 

greyhound 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, notwith- 
standing 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 excep- 
tions 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 with all 
twelve birds three standards of measurement, 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. 


Short by 

Wild Eock-pigeon . . 2 • 55 

Pied Scanderoon . . 2 • 80 

Bagadotten Carrier 2 " 80 

Dragon 2 -45 

Carrier 2*75 

Short-faced Tumbler 



2-05 i 0-28 

Name of Breed. 



German Pouter 


English Frill-back 


Short by 



38 In an analogous, but converse, 
manner, certain natural groups of 
the Columbidse, from being more ter- 
restrial in their habits than other allied 

groups, have larger feet. See Prince 
Bonaparte's * Coup-d'ceil sur l'Ordre des 


This table shows that in these twelve breeds the sternum is on an average 
one-third of an inch (exactly -332) shorter than in the rock-pigeon, pro- 
portionally 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, inde- 
pendently 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 promi- 
nence 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 become 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 furcula was proportionally shorter. Thus in a runt, which measured 
from tip to tip of wings SSh inches, the furcula was only a very little 
longer (with the arms hardly more divergent) than in a rock-pigeon which 
measured from tip to tip 26i inches. In a barb, which in all its mea- 
surements was a little larger than the same rock-pigeon, the furcula was 
a quarter of an inch shorter. In a pouter, the furcula 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 2£ inches less than the rock-pigeon, the furcula was barely two-thirds 
of the length of that of the rock-pigeon. 

We thus clearly see that the sternum, scapula?, and furcula 
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 



Chap. V. 

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 wines 
too long, and only five had them too short. Tn the twenty-one 
birds the wings exceeded in length those of the rock-pigeon, on 
an average, by 1^ 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 un- 
usual 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 between the 
length of the beak and the length of the bones of the w T ings, in 
the same manner as with 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 scapulae and furcula 
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 scapulae and furcula, have all been reduced in size in 
comparison with the same parts in the rock-pigeon. And 1 

39 It perhaps deserves notice that be- 
sides 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 ft 
little of that excess of length which is 
characteristic of their nearest relations 
and progenitors. 


presume that this may be safely 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 premaxillary, nasal, and 
maxillo-jugal bones. The curvature of the lower jaw and the 
reflexion 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 develop- 
ment of the wattle. The size and form of the cesophagus 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 vertebrae, and the length of the sternum, 
all vary. The number and size of the coccygeal vertebras 
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 furcula, differ, 
ihe 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 

VOL. I. J J 



length together, but sometimes independently of each other and 
of the size of the body. The number and position of the tail- 
feathers 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 scutellse, 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 Par- 
mentier, 40 some races use much straw in building their nests, 
and others use little ; but I cannot hear of any recent corrobora- 
tion of this statement. The length of time required for hatch- 
ing 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 future 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 truest 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 

40 Temininck, 'Hist. Nat. Gen. des Pigeons et des Gallinaces,' torn, i., 1813, 
p. 170. 


each other merely in colour ; for particular colours when once 
acquired are not liable to continued improvement or augmen- 
tation. 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. 

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

N 2 



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 dis- 
cussed at considerable length. No one will think this super- 
fluous 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 

1 Temminck, 'Hist. Nat. Gen. des Pigeons,' &c., torn. i. p. 191. 


evident. 2 Nevertheless, Mr. E. Scot Skirving informs me that 
he often saw crowds of pigeons in Upper Egypt settling on 
the low trees, but not on the palms, in preference to the 
mud hovels of the natives. In India Mr. Blyth 3 has been 
assured that the wild 0. 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 or 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 (Anas moschata, Linn.) in its native 

2 I J? ave ^ ea / 1 d th + r + gh Sir 1 C ;, L / ei ; , 4 In WGrks ^tten on the pigeon by 
from Miss Buckley, that some half-bred fanciers I have sometimes observed the 
carriers kept dnrmg many years near mistaken belief expressed that the 
London regularly settled by day on some species which natuXs ^d^unt 

SSthTUt;^ 1 " ^-(-contradistinction to arboreal 

tuibedm the r loft by their young being pigeons) do not nerch and build on 

taken, roosted on them at night. trees T™ 1 P f , 

3 < i™oi a Q ™i Tvrorr n f xt <- XT- , , ' ln tne se same works wild species 
•* 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist., resemblino- +>,o „i • e a ^ 

2nd ser., vol. xx., 1857, p. 509 ; and in a are often sai 1 ■ ♦ ° T 

late volumeof the Journal of the Asiatic of the ^ r S 1 * K * Vari ° US *"? 
a ..{ of _ tne ^o*id, but such species are quite 

ib0uety ' unknown to naturalists. 


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, &c, 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 regu- 
larly 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 
with these habits and making any near approach in structure 
to the domesticated pigeon are known to exist, I will enumerate 

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 0. leuconota and livia ; but has nearly the same coloured tail with 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, 

5 Sir R. Schomburgk, in 'Journal 8 Temminck, 'Hist. Nat. Gen. des 
E. Geograph. Soc.,' vol. xiii., 1844, Pigeons,' torn. i. ; also 'Les Pigeons,' 
p. 32. par Mad. Knip and Temminck. Bona- 

6 Rev. E. S. Dixon, ' Ornamental parte however, in his ' Coup-d'ceil,' be- 
Poultry,' 1848, pp. 63, 66. lieves that two closely allied species are 

7 Proc. Zoolog. Soc., 1859, p. 400. confounded together under this name. 



and roosts either on trees or rocks, according to the nature of the country. 
This species belongs to the genus Strictcenas of Reichenbach, but is closely 
allied to true Columba; it is to some extent coloured like certain domestic 
races, and has been said to be domesticated in Abyssinia ; but Mr. Mans- 
field Parkyns, who collected the birds of that country and knows the 
species, informs me that this is a mistake. Moreover, the C. Guinea is 
characterized by the feathers of the neck having peculiar notched tips —a 
character not observed in any domestic race. Fifthly, the Columba oenas 
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 Eock-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. amalice, but this species has not been admitted 
as distinct by other ornithologists. Graba 10 even found a difference between 
the wing-bars 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 u 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 appear- 
ance 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 

The C. leucocephala of the West Indies is m < Tagebuch, Reise nach Faro,' 1830, 

stated by Temminck to be a rock-pigeon ; s. 62. 

but I am informed by Mr. Gosse that u 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' 

tins is an error. vol. xix., 1847, p. 102. This excellent 

9 'Handbuchder Naturgesch. Vogel paper on pigeons is well worth con- 

Deutschlands.' suiting. 


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 (J. livia, the C. turricola of Italy, the 
0. rupestris of Daouria, and the 0. Schimperi of Abyssinia ; but these birds 
differ from 0. livia in characters of the most trifling value. In the British 
Museum there is a chequered pigeon, probably the C. Schimperi of Bona- 
parte, from Abyssinia. To these may be added the 0. gymnocyclus of 
G. B. 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 chiefly differs 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 domes- 
ticated chequered birds appear, just as occurs in Europe with the truly 
wild 0. livia. Moreover we shall immediately have proof that the blue 
and white croup is a highly variable character; and Bechstein 1 ' 1 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. inter- 
media cannot be ranked as specifically distinct from O. livia. 

In Madeira there is a rock-pigeon which a few ornithologists have 
suspected to be distinct from C, livia, I have examined numerous speci- 
mens 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 0. 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 0. inter- 
media 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. 

12 ' Natural History of Ireland,' Birds, geons,' Comptes Eendus, 1854-55. 

vol. ii. (1850), p. 11. For Graba, see 14 ' Naturgesch. Deutsclilands,' Band 

previous reference. iv., 1795 s. 14. 

13 ' Ooup-d'oeil sur l'Ordre des Pi- 



From these facts it can hardly be doubted that G. livia, affinis, inter- 
media, 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 is thus 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 0. 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 this time they have greatly multi- 
plied. The accurate Macgillivray 15 asserts that he completely tamed a 
wild rock-pigeon in the Hebrides; and several accounts are on record 
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 kind." 

Dovecot-pigeons are those which are kept in dovecots in a semi- 
domesticated state; for no special care is taken of them, and they pro- 
cure their own food, except during the severest weather. In England, 
and, judging from MM. Boitard and Corbie'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 che- 
quering, 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, 

15 'History of British Birds,' vol. i. pigeon came and settled in his dovecot 

pp. 275-284. Mr. Andrew Duncan in Balta Sound in the Shetland Islands, 

tamed a rock-pigeon in the Shetland and bred with his pigeons; he has also 

Islands. Mr. James Barclay, and Mr. given me other instances of the wild 

Smith of Uvea Sound, both say that rock-pigeon having been taken young 

the wild rock-pigeou can be easily and breeding in captivity, 
tamed; and the former gentleman 16 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,' 

asserts that the tamed birds breed four vol. xix., 1847. p. 103, and vol. for 1857, 

times a year. Dr. Lawrence Edmond- p. 512. 
stone informs me that a wild rock- 


which originally came from the S. Natunas Islands in the Malay archi- 
pelago, and which had been crossed with the Singapore dovecots ; they 
were small, and. the darkest variety was extremely like the dark che- 
quered 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 com- 
pared 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 geo- 
graphical races, has a vast range from the southern coast of 
Norway and the Faroe Islands to the shores of the Mediter- 
ranean, 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 tem- 
perature 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 

17 Domestic pigeons of the common published in 1746; they are said, in 

kind are mentioned as being pretty accordance with the name which they 

numerous in John Barbut's ' Descrip- bear, to have been imported, 
tion of the Coast of Guinea ' (p. 215), 

Chap. VI. 


rock-pigeon ; and nearly all the dovecot-pigeons of India have a 
blue croup like that of the wild 0. 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 G. livia, we may without fear 
of contradiction go one step further. Those pigeon-fanciers who 
■t. believe that all the chief races, such as Carriers, Pouters, Fan- 

tails, &c, are descended from distinct aboriginal stocks, yet 
admit that the so-called toy-pigeons, which differ from the rock- 
pigeon in little except in 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 pigeons all 
breed true, and many of them present sub-varieties which like- 
wise truly transmit their character. 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 the latter, which vary slightly, and that 
the toy-pigeons, which vary in a greater degree in accord- 
ance with their more highly-domesticated condition, are de- 
scended 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 so profoundly modified. It can, 
however, be shown, by indirect evidence of a perfectly con- 
clusive 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 under- 


gone a considerable amount of variation, as in the toy-pigeons 
We shall moreover presently see how eminently favourable cir- 
cumstances have been for a great amount of modification in the 
more carefully tended breeds. 

The reasons for concluding that the several principal races 
have 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 re- 
markable 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 im- 
portant 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 possess the 
characters in question. In some few instances it is credible, 
though for several reasons not probable, that well-marked races 
have been formed by crossing; for instance, a barb might 
perhaps have been 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 pecu- 
liar tints have arisen from crosses between differently-coloured 


varieties, may be admitted as 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 have 
descended from several aboriginal species, implies that several 



Chap. VI. 

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 

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 

18 With respect to feral pigeons — for 
Juan Fernandez, see Bertero in ' Annal. 
des Sc. Nat.,' torn. xxi. p. 351. For 
Norfolk Island, see Rev. E. S. Dixon in 
the « Dovecote,' 1851, p. 14, on the autho- 
rity 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 Scot- 
land, 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, ' Orna- 
mental Poultry,' 1847, p. 122. For the 
feral hybrids of the common and musk- 
ducks, see Audubon's 'American Or- 
nithology,' and Selys - Longchamp's 
' Hybrides dans la Famille des Anatides.' 
For the goose, Isidore GeofFroy St. Hi- 
laire, 'Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. 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 Ascen- 
sion. For the peacock, see ' A Week at 


to the eleven chief domestic races of the pigeon, which are sup- 
posed 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 under- 
stand why they have not become feral, for the great amount of 
modificatiou 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, &c, 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 Q. livia, we can 
understand, as will hereafter be more fully explained, how any 
slight deviation in structure which first appeared would con- 
tinually 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 nature. 

I have already alluded to the remarkable fact that the cha- 

Port Royal' by a competent authority, that they were not Curassows. With 
Mr. R. Hill, p. 42. For the turkey I respect to fowls I will give the refer- 
rely on oral information ; I ascertained ences in the next chapter 



Chap. VI 

racteristic 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 deve- 
lopment of the crop in pouters, in the length of the beak in 
tumblers, in the state of the wattle in carriers, &c. 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 domes- 
tication 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 per- 
fectly fertile. To ascertain this fact I made many experi- 
ments, which are given in the note below; and recently 
Mr. Tegetmeier has made similar experiments with the same 
result. 19 The accurate Neumeister 20 asserts that when dovecots 

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 pub- 
lishing. 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 un- 
doubtedly have thus united all. The 
case of five distinct breeds being blended 
together with unimpaired fertility is 
important, because Gartner has shown 
that it is a very general though not, 
as he thought, universal rule, that com- 
plex 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. Von Pistor (' Das Ganze 
der Feld-taubenzucht/ 1831, s. 15) 
asserts that the .mongrels from barbs 
and fantails are sterile : I have proved 
this to be erroneous, not only by cross- 
ing these 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. Gen. des Pigeons,' 
torn. 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 tiling has 
occurred (Eev. E. S. Dixon, 'The 
Dovecot,' 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 (Kiedel, Taubenzucht, s. 25, 
and Bechstein, 'Naturgesch. Deutsch.' 
B. iv. s. 44. Turbits (Eiedel, s. 26) 
have been crossed with pouters and with 
jacobins, and with a hybrid jacobin- 
trumpeter (Kiedel, 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 Eev. 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. 

Chap. VI. 



are crossed with pigeons of any other breed, the mongrels are 
extremely fertile and hardy. MM. Boitard and Corbie 21 affirm, 
after their great experience, that with crossed pigeons the more 
distinct the breeds, 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 when crossed, lose this 
sterility after a long course of domestication ; yet when we con- 
sider the great difference between such races as pouters, carriers, 
runts, fantails, turbits, tumblers, &c, the fact of their perfect, 
or even increased, fertility when intercrossed in the most com- 
plicated 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 

21 < Les Pigeons,' &c, p. 35. 

22 Domestic pigeons pair readily with 
the allied G. oenas (Beehstein, ' Natur- 
gesch. 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. oenas and a male 
Antwerp carrier) paired with a dragon, 
but never laid eggs. Beehstein 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 Zoolo- 
gical 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. 
oenas 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. Boi- 
tard and Corbie (' Les Pigeons,' p. 235) 

VOL. I. 

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. Corbie' 
"avec une espece d'obstination ;" and 
likewise by M. Manduyt, and by M. 
Vieillot. Temminck also found the 
hybrids from these two species quite 
barren. Therefore, when Beehstein 
(' Naturgesch. Vogel. Deutschlands,' B. 
4, 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' news- 
paper (in a letter dated Nov. 10th, 1858) 
makes a similar assertion, it would ap- 
pear that there must be some mistake ; 
though what the mistake is I know not, 
as Beehstein 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 sura- 
tensis, and from T. vulgaris and Edo- 
pistes 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 oenas, and 



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 differ- 
ences, the chief races agree most closely both with each other 
and with O. livia in all other respects. As previously observed, 
all are eminently sociable ; all dislike to j perch or roost, and 
refuse to build in trees; all lay two eggs, and this is not a 
universal rule with the Colunibida3 ; 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 court- 
ing 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 propor- 
tional 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 Columbidae. 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, &c, 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 cha- 

many eggs were produced, but all were the Zoological Gardens of London the 

barren. At Paris, hybrids have been Goura coronata and victories produced 

raised (Isid. Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, a hybrid which paired with the pure 

'Hist. Nat. Generale,' torn. iii. p. 180) G. coronata, and laid several eggs, but 

from Turtur auritus with T. cam- these proved barren. In 1860 Columba 

bayensis and with T. suratensis ; but gymnophthalmos and maculosa produced 

nothing is said of their fertility. At hybrids in these same gardens. 


meters 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 cer- 
tainly 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 varia- 
tion, 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 O. 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 black 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 0. livia. I have looked carefully 
through the great collection 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 0. 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, when- 
ever 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 

^ There is one exception to the rule, signifies the less as the swallow ap- 

iiamely m a sub-variety of the swal- proaches closely in structure to C. livia. 

low of German origin, which is figured In many sub-varieties the black bars 

by Neumeister, and was shown to me are replaced by bars of various colours, 

by Mr. Wickmg This bird is blue, The figures given by Neumeister are 

but has not the black wing-bars; for sufficient to show that, if the wings 

our object, however, in tracing the de- alone are blue, the black wing-bars 

scent oi the chiet races, this exception appear 

o 2 



Chap. VI. 

of any colour, but if the wing-coverts alone are blue, the two 
black bars surely appear. I have myself seen, or acquired trust- 
worthy 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 pure : namely, in Pouters, Fantails, 
Tumblers, Jacobins, Turbits, Barbs, Carriers, Kunts of three 
distinct varieties, Trumpeters, Swallows, and in many other 
toy-pigeons, which, as being closely allied to 0. 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 0. 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 O. livia, in dovecot-pigeons, and in all the most highly 
modified races. Thus, in all, the croup varies from white to 

24 I have observed blue birds with all 
the above-mentioned marks in the fol- 
lowing races, which seemed to be per- 
fectly 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 pre- 
sent in all. Mr. Corker, a great breeder, 
assures me that, if black carriers are 
matched for many successive genera- 
tions, the offspring become first ash- 
coloured, and then blue with black 
wing-bars. Kunts 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 au- 
thentic accounts of at least two in- 
stances 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 abso- 
lutely white. Blue barbs and trum- 
peters seem to be excessively rare ; but 
Neumeister, who may be implicitly- 
trusted, figures blue varieties of both, 
with black wing-bars. Mr. Brent in- 
forms 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. 


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, &c. ; 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 Corbie 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 here- 
after 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 tail. 

The nun is white, with the head, tail, and primary wing- 
feathers black ; it is a breed which was established as long ago 

* Mr. Myth informs me that all the alone. In some other Indian pigeons 

with the croup perfectly white sent in Tn^ *• i. •, • , 

™ v™ ai* w Fiiint f,ir^ 7 Va fantai1 (sported into Amoy, and 

me by Sir W. Elliot fiom Madras A thence sent me) has a perfectly white 

slaty-blue and chequered Nakshi pigeon croup. ^ : 

lias some white feathers on the croup 26 , Leg Pigeong} , ^ 3?> 


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 ter- 
minal 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 uni- 
formly-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, 

27 'Treatise on Pigeons/ 1858, p. ss j Moore's •Columbarium,' 1735, 

145. in J. M. Eaton's edition, 1852, p. 71. 


sometimes slightly piebald with white: of these birds no less 
than six presented double wing-bars ; in two the bars were con- 
spicuous 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 : 
other 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 cha- 
racters, 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. 

29 I could give numerous examples ; trumpeter, white fantail, and blue 
two will suffice. A mongrel, whose four pouter/was white all over, except a very 
grandparents were a white turbit, white few feathers about the head and on the 


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 characterized 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 of 
the same general blue colour, together with every characteristic 
mark, as in 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 
Corbie 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 

wings, but the whole tail and tail-coverts white all over, except the tail and upper 
were dark bluish-grey. Another mon- tail-coverts, which were pale fawn, and 
grel, whose four grandparents were a except the faintest trace of double wing- 
red runt, white trumpeter, white fantail, bars of the same pale fawn tint, 
and the same blue pouter, was pure 


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 che- 
quered 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 Columba livia ? If we admit that these races 
have 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, 
&c, without obtaining a single blue or barred bird; yet by 
crossing these breeds I reared in the first and second genera- 
tion, during the course of only three or four years, a consider- 
able 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 off- 
spring, and that this, when combined, overpowers the separate 
tendency in either parent to produce black, or white, or red 

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 so exactly the same manner as to assume the colouring 
■of (7. 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 cha- 
racteristic marks of C. livia, — a supposition which is highly im- 
probable, as besides this one species no existing member of the 
Columbidae presents these combined characters ; and it would 
not be possible to find any other instance of several species iden- 
tical in plumage, yet as different in important points of structure 
as are pouters, fantails, carriers, tumblers, &c. Or lastly, we 
may assume that all the races, whether descended from G. 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 undimi- 
nished 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- 
t>ars, 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 

rOU 11 


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 improba- 
bility 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 0. livia. Secondly, the 
improbability of man in former times having thoroughly domes- 
ticated 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, pro- 
ducing 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 none. 

The belief that the chief domestic races are descended from 
several wild stocks no doubt has arisen from the apparent im- 
probability 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 


Chap. VI. 

origin : formerly, when I went into my aviaries and watched such 
birds as pouters, carriers, barbs, fantails, and short-faced tumblers, 
&c, I could not persuade myself that they had all 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 domesti- 
cated 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 ob- 
served 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 selec- 
tion will now be shown. The earliest record, as has been 
pointed out to me by Professor Lepsius, of pigeons in a domes- 
ticated conditiou, occurs in the fifth Egyptian dynasty, about 

30 It deserves notice, as bearing on as mere varieties, but that the species 

the general subject of variation, that of several allied genera are in the same 

not only C. livia presents several wild predicament. This is the case, as Mr. 

forms, regarded by some naturalists as Blyth has remarked to me, with Treron, 

.species and by others as sub-species or Palumbus, and Turtur. 


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 Bomans, 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 Akber 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 Aldrovandv 
were as eager about pigeons as the Bomans 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, m Europe and the United States, now have their societies 
ot devoted pigeon-fanciers : at present there are three such 
societies m London. In India, as I hear from Mr. Blyth, the 

■ T^SfSt IS 7 \ a n ° ae ° f these are — t0 ^ Euro-- 

Dixon 1851 pn 1 Is y |L fp , .' Jf*" ^^ Thls fact Mcate * 
Jjixon, 1851, PM1-13. AdolphePictet the antiquity of the domestication in 

(in Ins Les O.gmes Indo-Europe- the East of the pigeon 

ennes. 1859, p. 399) states that there 33 p^,- , + ^ °, * 

are in the ancient Sanscrit language be- ch. xxxvf nSlatl ° D ' 1601 ' ^ * 

tween 25 and 30 names for the pigeon 34 < a ' ah 

and Che, U or ,6 Persia, £££ 9^^-- * * 


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 noble- 
men 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 noble- 
man or gentleman would be without their aviaries of Almond 
Tumblers." 35 The pleasure thus taken is of paramount import- 
ance, 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 Avould almost certainly 
be observed, and, if valued, would, owing to the following cir- 
cumstances, 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, 
they rarely prove unfaithful to each other. Even when the 
35 J. M. Eaton, ' Treatise on the Almond Tumbler,' 1851 ; Preface, p. vi. 


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 soon 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 ex- 
cellent food. To sum up, pigeons are easily kept, paired, and 
selected ; vast numbers have been reared ; great zeal in breed- 
ing them has been shown by many men in various countries ; 
and this would lead to their close discrimination, and to a strong 
desire to exhibit some novelty, or to surpass other fanciers in 
the excellence of already established breeds. 

History of the principal Races of the Pigeon.™ 

Before discussing the means and steps by which the chief races have 
heen formed, it will be advisable to give some historical details, for more 
is known of the history of the pigeon, little though this be, 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 perfectlv 
characterized in 1735; and Laughers were apparently known in India 
before the year 1600. Spots in 1676, and Nuns in the time of Aldro- 
vandi before 1600, were coloured exactly as they now are. Common 
Tumblers and Ground Tumblers exhibited 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 

foXTn /° • LTS l0 f ger Peri ° d; WG know onl y that the y ™«>W 
fectly characterized at the dates above given. The average length of life of 

raLsW ?*2 l Pr0ba ^ about five or s* years ; if so, some of these 
gZrato " CharaCtGr Perfectly for at least for ^ or fi % 

two chief points of excellence In 17?f M S ! f ^ PreSGnt time the 

edition)-Ll Moore ZTZ^i^ L^t^i *" ** J " * EaWs 

i<we lanciei— that he once saw a bird with 

36 As in the following discussion I in the year IS^S 
often speak of the present time, I should s: f 0r J* , .' ^ , .. 

■state that this chapter was completed 3G0 Urmtholo g ie > 1600, vol. u. p. 



Chap. VI. 

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 6h or 6J 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 7i 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 7h 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 Corbie 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 regarded. The old descriptions do not suffice to show whether in 
these latter respects there has been much improvement : but if fantails 
had formerly existed with their heads and tails touching each other, 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 per- 
fectly 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 

38 < j^ Treatise on Domestic Pigeons,' 
dedicated to Mr. Mayor, 1765. Preface, 
p. xiv. 

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. 


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 have 
been since 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 re- 
sembling 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 
m 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, as at the present time, in India. Belon 40 in 1555 saw in 
Paphlagonia what he describes as "a very new thing, viz. pigeons which 
flew so high m 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 aro brieflv 
alluded to by Willughby, in 1687, as small pigeons "which show like 

w ! f ^. ^T ThG short " faced race di <* 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 b Y 
which t this race has been produced. Moore in 1735 enumerates correctly 
he chief points of excellence, but does not give any description of the 
several sub-breeds; and from this fact Mr. Eaton infers" that the short- 

peat ofTh % V n °V hen T me t0 fUl1 Perfecti0n - M — -en 
speaks of the Jacobin as being the smallest pigeon. Thirtv vears after 

n^^th^ i^t (p - xiY ^ h ? } " from great care and ™» 

^eltZ^J^ ^^ a oT ed on S ° great P erfecti0 * a » d are so 
omeient iiom what they were 20 or 30 vears r> a <d- +w „„ „n * • 

would have condemned them for no otL reason tt^t n, 

not like what used to be thought good wLT tha \* ecause * e J *™ 
c tiiuu fe ui gooa wnen he was m the fancy before." 

40 'L'Hist. de la Nature desOiseaux,' 4i < T ,. , 

P 3]l ' -treatise on Pigeons, 1852, p. 

• 64. 

VOL. I. 



Chap. VI. 

Hence it would appear that there was a rather sudden change in the cha- 
racter 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 $■ of an inch 
in length ; now it ought not to exceed f of an inch ; " it is however pos- 
sible," as Mr. Eaton candidly confesses, " for a bird to be considered as 
pleasant or neat even at f 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— Oi 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 Bunts. 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 descriptions and figures; 
four breeds, however, existed in the year 1600 which were evidently 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, Cretensts, Out- 
titrosa, and Persica. Willughby thought that the Columba Indica was a 

42 J. M. Eaton's 'Treatise on the 
Breeding and Managing of the Almond 

Tumbler, 1851. Compare p. v. of Pre- 
face, p. 9, and p. 32. 



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 Barb 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, but he adds, « the bill is not short, but of a moderate length," 
a description which no one would apply to our present Carriers, so con- 
spicuous for the extraordinary length of their beaks. The old names given 
m Europe to the Carrier, and the several names now in use in India, indi- 
cate that Carriers originally came from Persia; and Willughby's descrip- 
tion would perfectly apply to the Bussorah Carrier as it now exists in 
Madras In later times we can partially trace the progress of change 
m 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 

wlih JT / T* ^ Peri ° r t0 ' the CarrierS ' P re ™^ Ascribed, 
^» m 7J°T l m PerSia ' In England at the P rese ^ day "there 
are as Mr. Eaton" states, " beaks that would measure (from edge of eye 

in length » ^ ^ ^ tWquarters > and some H even two inches 

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 p resen t breeds, some were nearly the same, some con- 
siderably different, and some have since become extinct. Several 
breeds such as Finnikins and Turners, the swallow-tailed pigeon 
of Bechstem and the Carmelite, seem both to have originated 
and to have disappeared within this same period. Any one now 
Tl^^^f^^ avia ^ould certainly pick out 
its ItZ 1! I 1 "* ^ ^ " e *** ** airier with 
r t , f T ate ? eak and ^ reat wattles, the Barb with 
its shoit broad beak and eye-wattles, the short-faced Tumbler 

43 ' Treatise on Pigeons/ 1852, p. 41. 

p 2 


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 in- 
comparably 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 
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. Uvia, 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 (where the wild 
0. Uvia is not known to exist), they are exposed to new con- 
ditions of life ; and apparently in consequence they 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 under 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 ex- 
ercise. 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 domes- 
ticated. 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 dif- 
ference 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 riigeon 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 
kdled for food OT 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 almost certainly 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 gene- 
rations, 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 im- 
portant. 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 excel- 
lence 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 pos- 
sesses a good stock, and more than content if he can beat his 
rivals. The fancier in the time of Aldrovandi, wheV 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 pro- 
bably 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, &c, — changes effected since the time of Aldro- 
vandi, 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, &c, 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, &c." 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 
44 Eaton's « Treatise on Pigeons,' 1858, p. 86. 


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 uncon- 
scious selection that fanciers would not observe or care for ex- 
tremely 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 experi- 
enced 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. But we must not judge of the slight differences 
which would have been valued in ancient days, by those which 
are now valued after the formation of 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 

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, &c. ? 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 oesophagus of the turbit. We 
do not in the least 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 ; and the diffi- 
culty in this case is lessened, as we know that, before the year 
1600, in India, pigeons remarkable for their diversified manner 
of flight were much valued, 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 
vanation 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 m the strain can often be recognised. Thus I have 
seen first-rate jacobins in one man's possession which certainly 

Taubfnzu^hT ieiSter ' S **"" ° f ** M01 ' enCe ^ tab ' 13 ' in ' Das Ganze der 



Chap. VI» 

differed slightly in several characters from those kept by an- 
other. 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 described 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 what- 
ever slight peculiarities they may possess. This will more 
especially happen with fanciers living in different countries, 
who do not compare their stocks and 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 per- 
ceptibly 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 would become greatly length- 
ened, as would the eyelids with the increased development 


a te of the eye-wattles ; with the reduced or increased size of the feet 

the number of the scutellse would vary ; with the length of 
the wing the number of the primary wing-feathers would 
differ; and with the increased length of the body in the 
pouter the number of the sacral* vertebra would be aug- 
mented. These important and correlated differences of struc- 
ture 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 vertebrae had been 
visible and had been attended to by fanciers, assuredly an addi- 
tional 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 sub- 
sequently 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 pro- 


portions of their beaks. So again in Java, the fantail some- 
times 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 

Occasionally a breed may be retained for some particular 
quality in a nearly unaltered condition in the same country, 
together with highly modified offshoots 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, 
&c. ; and in the course of centuries, unless fashions greatly 
change, these sub-breeds will diverge through the slow and in- 
sensible 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 im- 
portant 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 each 
other, 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 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 will have led to the neglect and final extinc- 
tion 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 Aldro- 
vandi'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 
m 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 m 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 seen to be the progenitors of 
tne existing races. 

I have heard it remarked as a strange circumstance that we 
occa S1 onall y hear of the local or complete extinction of domestic 
laces whilst we hear nothing of their origin. How, it has been 
TZlTf , SGS bG com P ens ^d, and more than com- 

th™ ^ ^ i °^ ^ With almost a11 domesticated animals 

IZJ BU * °; the ™w here given, we can understand 

SoZlT C ° ntradlCtl0n - The extinction of a race within 

and »r 1 -i r ^ Hkely t0 be noti ^ ; 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 of 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 vari- 
ability 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 exag- 
gerated 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 Columbidfe, 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 shapes 
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 charac- 
ters 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, &c, 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 scutellge. 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, notwith- 
standing their great amount of difference, ^descended from the 
Golumba Iwia, including under this name certain wild races. But 
the differences between these latter forms throw no light whatever 
on the characters which distinguish the domestic races. In each 
breeder 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 con- 
struction 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 inter- 
mediate 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. 









As some naturalists may not be familiar with the chief breeds 
of the fowl, it will be advisable to give a condensed descrip- 
tion 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 here unknown. The follow- 
ing 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 
oi which can be truly propagated, but it would be superfluous 
to describe them. I have classed the various crested fowls 

» I have drawn up this brief synopsis likewise assisted me in every possible 

from various sources, but chiefly from way in obtaining f ' I P ° SS * DJe 

Nation given ™ by M, ^Teget- a J ^Z'l'l^^TtZ 

meier. This gentleman has kindly opportunitv ™ oa Su * 

.octal tough tae whole of «. ^ afCl^C JS tf££l 

be fully trusted. M, TegeLie,- ha" USS^^' """ "" "* ° f 

VOL. I. 




Chap. Vii. 

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 

Fig. 30.— Spanish Fowl. 

1. Game Bkeed.— 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 adpressed 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, &c, 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 adpressed to the body; neck-hackles short, 
narrow, and hard. Eggs often pale buff. Chickens feather late. Disposi- 
tion savage. Of Eastern origin. 

3. Cochin, oe Shangai Beeed. — 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; occipi- 
tal 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. 

5. Spanish Breed.— 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 distinct. 

6. Hamburgh Bkeed (fig. 31).— Size moderate; comb flat," produced 
backwards, covered with numerous small points ; wattle of moderate dimen- 
sions ; 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 

7. Crested or Polish Breed (fig. 32).-Head with a large, rounded crest 
of feathers, supported on a hemispherical protuberance of the frontal bones, 

Q 2 



Chap. VII. 

which includes the anterior part of the brain. The ascending branches of 
the prem axillary 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, 

Fig. 31.— Hamburgh Fowl. 

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.— & 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 incubate. 2 

Sub-breed (6) Ptarmigans.— An inferior breed closely allied to the last, 
white, rather small, legs much feathered, with the crest pointed; comb 
small, cupped ; wattles small. 

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 speci- 
mens of this breed. 

Chap. VII. 



Sub-breed (c) Ghoondoohs.— Another Turkish breed having an extra- 
ordinary 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 absorption of the ascending- 
branches of the premaxillaries. I have seen an allied, white, tailless breed 
from Turkey. 

Sub-breed (d) Creve-cceur. — A French breed of large size, barely capable 
of flight, with short black legs, head crested, comb produced into two 

Fig. 32.— Polish Fowl. 

points or horns, sometimes a little branched like the horns of a stag ; both 
beard and wattles present. Eggs large. Disposition quiet 3 

Sub-breed («) Horned fowl-Wtti a small crest; comb produced into 
two great points, supported on two bony protuberances 

Sub-breed (/) Houdan -A French breed ; of moderate size, short-legged 
with five toes, wmgs well developed; plumage invariably mottled with 

* A good description with figures i s given of this snb-breed in the • Journal of 
Horticulture, June 10th, 1862, p. 206. 



Chap. VII. 

black, white, and straw-yellow ; head furnished with a crest, and a triple 
comb placed transversely ; both wattles and beard present,' 

Sub-breed (g) Gicelderlmds.—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 Gruelderland. 

8. Bantam Beeed.— Originally from Japan, 5 characterized by small size 
alone ; carriage bold and erect. There are several sub-breeds, such as the 
Cochin, G-ame, 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. Bump-less Fowls.— These are so variable in character 6 that they 
hardly deserve to be called a breed. Any one who will examine the caudal 
vertebrae will see how monstrous the breed is. 

10. Ceeepeks or Jumpers. — These are characterized by an almost mon- 
strous 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 Fo^ls.— 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, of a white colour stained with soot, 
with black skin and periosteum. The hens alone are thus characterized. 

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 con- 
clusion 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 

4 A description, with, figures, is given 
of this breed in ' Journal of Horticul- 
ture,' June 3rd, 1862, p. 186. Some 
writers describe the cornb as two-horned. 

5 Mr. Crawfurd, ' Descript. Diet, of 
the Indian Islands,' p. 113. Bantams 
are mentioned in an ancient native 

Japanese Encyclopeelia, as 1 am in- 
formed by Mr. Birch of the British 

6 ' Ornamental and Domestic Poul- 
try," 1848. 

7 ' Ornamental and Domestic Poul- 
try,' 1848. 


goes for little. Fanciers look to all parts of the world as 
the possible sources of their un known 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 un- 
conscious 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 pro- 
ducer 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 Bomans at the 
commencement of the Christian era kept six or seven breeds, 
and Columella " particularly recommends as the best, those sorts 
8 Ferguson's 'Illustrated Series of Rarean.I Prize Poultry,' 1854, p. vi. Preface. 

232 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

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 everyone 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-civilized countries took 
pains to keep the breeds distinct, and who therefore valued them 
would not occasionally have destroyed inferior birds and occa- 
sionally 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 accord- 
ing 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 con- 
verted 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 

9 Rev. E. S. Dixon, in his ' Orna- zation,' separately printed, p. 6 ; first 
mental Poultry,' p. 203, gives an account read before the Brit. Assoc, at Oxford, 
of Columella's work. 1860. 

10 Mr. Crawfurd « On the Relation of " « Quadruples du Paraguay,' torn, 
the Domesticated Animals to Civili- ii. p. 324. 


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 hap- 
pened with one of the Polish sub-breeds. Whenever in the 
course of past centuries a bird appeared with some slight ab- 
normal 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 rump- 
less 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 excel- 
lence of the breed ; for on this principle the Bomans 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 once 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 have 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 
o brallus. The Q. Sonneratii does not range into the northern parts of 
India; according to Colonel Sykes, 12 it presents at different heights on 

e Unauts, two strongly marked varieties, perhaps deserving to be called 

pecies It was at one time thought to be the primitive stock of all our 

aomestic breeds, and this shows that it closely approaches the common fowl 

general structure ; but its hackles partially consist of highly peculiar, 
norny lammse, transversely banded with three colours; and I have met 
witn no authentic account of any such character having been observed 

12 « Proa Zoolog. Soc' 1832, p. 151. 



Chap. VII 

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 i n <i ia 
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 O. Sonneratii, banJciva, 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 struc- 
ture 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. E. Layard and Kellaert 16 would have con- 
sidered 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 1 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 

13 I have examined the feathers of 
some hybrids raised in the Zoological 
Gardens between the male G. Son- 
neratii and a red game-hen, and these 
feathers exhibited the true character 
of those of G. Sonneratii, except that 
the horny laminae were much smaller. 

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 His- 
tory Keview,' April 1863, p. 276. 

16 See also Mr. Layard's paper to 
' Annals and Mag. of Nat. History, 
2nd series, vol. xiv. p. 62. 

17 See also Mr. Crawfurd's ' Descrip- 
tive Diet, of the Indian Islands,' 1856, 
p. 113. 


be specifically distinct, and were named G. cenevs. 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 re- 
ferred to in works on poultry as a wild species; but Marsden, 19 the first 
describes 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 hcmkiva, has a much 
wider geographical range than the three previous species; it inhabits 
Northern India as far west as Sinda, and ascends the Himalaya to a%eight 
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 speci 
mens In the former Mr. Blyth finds the tarsus remarkably variablein 
length. According to Temminck^ the Timor specimens differ as a local 
ace from that of Java. These several wild varieties have not as vet 
been ranked as distinct species; if they should, as is not unlikely be 
hereafter thus ranked, the circumstance would be quite immaterial as 

b a ted rid G^ h A , ^^ ^ Cl0Sdy With the black " 
breasted red Game-breed, m colouring and in all other respects except 

S S *> -d in the tail being carried more hori^.^grt 
the manner m which the tail is carried is highly variable in I 

*!ErS?£z tf r rentinfo r me > the L ^~*™z 

xviaiays, is erect m the Games and some other breeds and is morp 
first moulted are replaced during two or three months, not by other 

'fto^M-^U ^ ~^^ a a Mn e t8pC oio, 

"The punge from Marsden is -V, i„ ., Cm ^ i , cel1 ^noral sor l'Inde Ar- 

*■ b y M„ Dixon in his 'vZ^y t^S^m S ■*' r (1 f » A "' 1?7: 

Book.' p. 176. No ornithology n2 ZZ^olf^^ *-*■ 



Chap. VII. 

c^ 1 '- 

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 mas- 
culine plumage, this slight difference cannot be considered of any import- 
ance. 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 domesti- 
cated 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 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 ascer- 
tained, 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 

21 Mr. Blyth, in 'Annals and Mag. ™ In Burmah, as I hear from Mr. 

of Nat. Hist.,' 2nd ser., vol. i. (1848), Blyth, the wild and tame poultry con- 

P- 455. stantly cross together, and irregular 

23 Crawfurd, ' Desc. Diet, of Indian transitional forms may be seen. 

Islands,' 1856, p. 112. 24 ia em . p# 118i 


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 Gr. 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 ex- 
tinction, however, of several species of fowls, is an improbable 
hypothesis, seeing that the four known species have not become 
extinct in the most anciently and thickly peopled regions of 
the East. There is, in fact, only one kind of domesticated bird, 
namely, the Chinese goose or Anser cygnoides, of which the 
wild parent-form is said to be still unknown, or 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 re- 
marked, 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 

25 Mr. Jerdon, in the < Madras Journ. the period of its discovery ; and more 

ol Lit. and Science.' vol. xxii. p. 2, recently, about 1795, Olivier de Serres 

speaking of G. bankiva, says, " un- speaks of wild fowls in the forests of 

questionably the origin of most of the Guiana; these were probably feral birds 

varieties of our common fowls." For Dr. Daniell tells me, he believes that 

Mr. JBlyth, see his excellent article in fowls have become wild on the west 

Gardener's Chron,' 1851, p. 619 ; and coast of Equatorial Africa; they may, 

m Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' however, not be true fowls, but galli- 

°26 Tn j P ' 388- naceous birds belonging to the genus 

eig Gardener's Chronicle' 1851, p. Phasidus. The old voyager Barbut says 

J T , tnat poultry are not natural to Guinea. 

1 have consulted an eminent autho- Capt. W. Allen ('Narrative of Niger 

nty M r . S c later, on this subject, and Expedition,' 1848, vol ii p. 42) de- 

De thmks that I have not expressed my- SC ribes wild fowls on Ilha dos Eollas, 

self too strongly. I am aware that one an island near St. Thomas's, on the 

ancient author, Acosta, speaks of fowls weat coast of Africa; the natives in- 

M having inhabited S. America at formed him that they had escaped from 



Chap. Vn. 

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 sub- 
ject, 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 indi- 
cates 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 Encyclopaedia published 
in 1609, but compiled from more ancient documents, in which 
it is said that fowls are creatures of the West, and were intro- 
duced into the East (*. e. China) in a dynasty 1400 B.C. What- 
ever 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 dis- 
covery of species which were formerly domesticated, but are now 
unknown in the wild state ; and the most experienced ornitho- 
logists do not consider it probable that such species will be 

In considering whether the domestic breeds are descended 
from one species, namely, 6r. bankiva, or from several, we must 

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. 

> tlS - th 







not quite overlook, though we must not exaggerate, the import- 
ance 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. banhiva, 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 primi- 
tive 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 ex- 
tremely abnormal as compared with their natural allies, — 
all being now either unknown or extinct, though the parent- 
form of scarcely any 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, banhiva. 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 pro- 
perly 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 



Chap. VII. 

white Cochins, as they come to maturity, often assume a yel- 
lowish 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 Gr. 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 Gr. bankiva the hackles are red, they were 
in this bird greenish-black along the shaft, narrowly bordered 

28 Mr. Hewitt, in < The Poultry Book/ by W. B. Tegetmeier, 1866, p. 248. 



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 Cf. banhiva. 

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 pale 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 Gr. banhiva. This second cock was in fact coloured 
like an inferior " pile Game 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 pro- 
pagated. 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 

- 9 ' Journal of Horticulture,' Jan. 14th, 1862, p. 325 
VOL.1. • 

242 FOWLS. Chap. VIL. 

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 Gfallus bankiva, but with the red 
feathers rather darker. On close comparison one considerable dif- 
ference presented itself, namely, that the primary and secondary 
wing-feathers were edged with greenish-black, instead of being 
edged, as in G. hanhiva, 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 accord- 
ance. Altogether it was a marvellous sight to compare this bird 
first with a. 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 
describes 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 Gr. 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 Gr. bankiva: one hen, however, from the white Cochm, 
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 nar- 


rowly 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 main- 
tain, 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. K. 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 degenerate. 

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 
Ames. 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 
:m °f many gallinaceous birds belonging to other genera, 
as the partridge, have pencilled feathers. Mr. Tegetmeier has 

TH <: ?SU HUhner und PkoenzucliV W. B. Tegetmeier, 1866, p. 222. I am 

uim, 1827, g. 17. For Mr. Hewitta indebted to Mr. Orton for a letter on 

statement with respect to the white the same subject. 
fcuJc fowl, see the 'Poultry Book,' by 

R 2 

244 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

also remarked to me, that, although with domestic pigeons we 
have so great a diversity of colouring, we never see either pen- 
cilled 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 female. 

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 
(r. banhiva ; nor does it often follow, as I hear from Mr. Teget- 
meier, 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-lappets. This remark more especially 
applies to the Game breed, which of all comes nearest to the 

31 Dixon, * Ornamental and Domestic p. 260. 
Poultry,' pp. 253, 324, 335. For game 32 « Poultry Chronicle,' vol. ii. p. 71. 

fowls, see Ferguson on * Prize Poultry,' 


Gr. banhiva ; and we have seen that with this species living 1 in 
a state of nature, the ear-lappets vary in colour, beino- red in 
the Malayan countries, and generally, but not invariably, white 
in India. 

In concluding this part of my subject I may repeat that 
there exists one widely-ranging, varying, and common species 
of Gallus, namely Gr. banhiva, 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 Gr. banJciva, 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 Gf. banhiva, 
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 pecu- 
liarity and thus have given rise to new breeds. As soon as two 
or three breeds had once been formed, crossing would come 
mto play in changing their character and in increasing their 
number. Brahma Pootras, according to an account lately pub- 
lished 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 



Chap. VII. 

Malayan or Indian variety of G. banMva. 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— Biitimeyer found no remains of the 
fowl in the ancient Swiss lake-dwellings. It is not men- 
tioned r u in the. Old Testament; nor is it figured on the ancient 
Egyptian monuments. 33 It is not referred to by Homer or Hesiod 
(about 900 B.C.) ; but is mentioned by Theognis and Aristo- 
phanes between 400 and 500 B.C. It is figured on some of the 
Babylonian cylinders, of which Mr. Layard sent me an impres- 
sion, between the sixth and seventh centuries B.C. ; and on the 
Harpy Tomb in Lycia, about 600 B.C. : so that we may feel pretty 
confident that the fowl reached Europe somewhere near 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 
Csesar. 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 Encyclopaedia, 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, 

33 Dr. Pickering, inhis 'Eaces of Man,' 
1850, p. 374, says that the head and neck 
of a fowl is carried in a Tribute-pro- 
cession to Thoutmousis III. (1445 B.C.) ; 
but Mr. Birch of the British Museum 
doubts whether the figure can be iden- 
tified 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 Kev. 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, ' Beitrage zur Culturgeschichte,' 
1852, s. 77; and Isid. Geoffroy St. 
Hilaire, 'Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. hi. p. 
61. Mr. Crawfurd has given an admir- 
able history of the fowl in his paper 
' On the Belation of Domesticated Ani- 
mals 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 


Columella mentions a five-toed fighting breed, and some provincial 
breeds ; but we know nothing more about them. He also alludes 
to dwarf fowls"; but these cannot have been the same with our 
Bantams, which, as Mr. Crawford has shown, were imported 
from Japan into Bantam in Java. A dwarf fowl, probably the 
true Bantam, is referred to in an old Japanese Encyclopaedia, 
as I am informed by Mr. Birch. In the Chinese Encyclopaedia 
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 Cfallus 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 since his time have been 
much improved and modified ; for, as he went to the expense 
of so many figures, he probably would have secured character- 
istic 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 ana- 
tomical 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 

* 'Ornamental and Domestic Poul- Hamburghs, see Albin's 'Natural His- 
try, 1847, p. 185; for passages translated tory of Birds,' 3 vols., with plates 
irom Columella, see p. 312. For Golden 1731-38. 



Chap. VII 

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 Crallus banhiva 
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 the secondary sexual characters, and then to the 
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. 

-%7 S - — 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 natu- 
rally 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 
generally 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 

35 ' Ornamental and Domestic Poul- 
try,' p. 152. 

30 Ferguson on ' Eare 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 fowl. 

3 ? See < Poultry Book,' by Mr. Teget- 
meier, 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. 



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, and stands in some 
degree of correlation with .the colour of the plumage. 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 instinct. 

Chickens.— As the young of almost all gallinaceous birds, even of the 
black curassow and black grouse, whilst covered with down, are longi- 
tudinally 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 
m 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 pri- 
mordially striped character is retained by the chickens of most of the 
(*ame sub-breeds (Brent, Dixon); by Dorkings; by the partridge and 
grouse-coloured sub-breeds of Cochins (Brent), but not, as we have 
seen, by all the other 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 

, f# fvl ^Jf^'^Ts Whicl1 is ver y ** *■■ Mr. Tegetmeier. I will in each 

I r 'Ortlti J^?* Mr. Dixon's within brackets. For the chickens 

Ornamental and Domestic Poultry.' f white Silk-fowls, see Tegetmeier's 

ca ted /„ ™ h f . a H° C ° mimmi - ' Poultj T Book/ 1866, p. 221. 

cated to me many facts by letter, as 


250 FOWLS. chap, VIIi 

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, some- 
times (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 the 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 proper 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 pro- 
tuberance, 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 obstinately fight with each other, even whilst 
under their mother's care. 43 "I have often had," says one 

40 As I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier ; meier's ' Poultry Book/ 1866, pp. 105 
see also ' Proc. Zoolog. Soe.' 1856, p. 366. and 121. 

On the late development of the crest, 42 Dixon, ■ Ornamental and Domestic 

see ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. ii. p. 132. Poultry,' p. 273. 

41 On these points, see 'Poultry Chro- 43 Ferguson on Pare and Prize 
nicle/ vol. iii. p. 166 ; and Teget- Poultry, p. 261. 


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." With the 
males of all gallinaceous birds the use of their weapons and 
pugnacity is to fight for the possession of the females ; so that 
the tendency in our Game chickens to fight at an extremely 
early age is not only useless, but is injurious, as they suffer 
so much from their wounds. The training for battle during 
an early period may be natural to the wild Gfallus banhiva ; 
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 Gfallus banhiva, 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, in 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 

44 Mowbray on Poultry, 7th edit. 1834, p. 13. 


252 FOWLS. 

Chap. VII. 

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 Hani- 
burghs, on the other hand, there is much dissimilarity ; the pen- 
cilling 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 " remark- 
able 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 par- 
tially 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, 


See the full description of the try Book,' 1866, pp. 246 and 156. For 

varieties of the Game-breed, in Teget- hen-tailed game-cocks, see p. 131. 

meier's * Poultry Book,' 1866, p. 131. V i The Field,' April 20th, 1861. The 

For Cuckoo Dorkings, p. 97. writer says he has seen half-a-dozen 



Mr. Hewitt in Tegetmeier's ' Poul- cocks thus sacrificed. 


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 cha- 
racter during five seasons, and has begot both hen-feathered 
and male-feathered offspring. Mr. G-rantley 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 
lie, 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 feather." 49 

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 
workings, in which the form has not been as yet determined 
on by fanciers, and fixed by selection. A single, deeply-serrated 
eonib is the typical and most common form. It differs much 
n fflze, being immensely developed in Spanish fowls; and in a 

«*al breed called Red-caps, it is sometimes "upwards of three 
ic ies m breadth at the ^^ and ^^ ^ an ^ _^ k 

*ngth, measured to the end of the peak behind."- In some 
^eas the comb is double, and when the two ends are cemented 

m^T^^^ 00108 ' S ° C -' M f Ch ' f ° r aa aCCOmt > ** fetches, of all the 

ien-taiVcock wlS? ° ^'^^ ° f the comb known to him ' 

Libited at Z «f • 1 t0 ™ GX " and likewise with aspect to the tail, as 

49 'The T* £vT y '-, n , presently to be given. 

50 I am n!il ' P , r ^J 861 " T ^ ' ^try Book/ by Tegetmeier, 
am much indebted to Mr. Brent 1866, p. 234. 

254 FOWLS. Chap. vil. 

together it forms a " cup-comb ; " in the "rose-comb" it i s 
depressed, covered with small projections, and produced back- 
wards ; in the horned and creve-cceur 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 arise 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 pro- 
tuberance 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 conse- 
quence 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; they are replaced in certain Polish sub- 
breeds 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 of birds the males display extraordinarily-shaped 
feathers, such as naked shafts with discs at the end, &c, the 
following case may be worth giving. In the wild G-allus ban- 
Jciva 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 Duck wing 
Game-cock, in which the naked barbs became densely reclothed 
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 

52 < Die Hulmer und Pfauenzuclit,' 1827, s. 11. , 



all developed in Hennies. They are carried, together with the 
whole tail, erect in Dorkings and Games ; 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 ex- 
tremely 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. Teget- 
meier, 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 the ancient 
Chinese Encyclopaedia. Their occurrence may be considered as 
a case of analogous variation, for some wild gallinaceous birds, 
for instance, the Polyplectron, have double spurs. 

Judging from the differences which generally distinguish the 
sexes in the Gallinacege, 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 m other cuckoo breeds the pencilling, which in Gallus is a 
iemale 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 pen-' 
Hied. With most of these birds head ornaments of all kinds 
a^e more fully developed in the male than in the female; but 
Polish fowls the crest or top-knot, which in the male replaces 
e comb, is equally developed in both sexes. In certain sub- 
Mr 3 b17^ J Ch 5 0nicl f'' Yo1 - i'P' 595 - the spurs in Dorkings, see 'Cottage 
fact to«T* lnformed me of the same Gardener/ Sept. 18th, I860, p. 380. 
«** With respect to the position of 



Chap. VII. 

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 ia the male." 54 From this latter 
case, and from some facts presently to be given with respect 
to the protuberance of the skull in Polish fowls, the crest 
in this breed ought perhaps to be viewed as a feminine cha- 
racter 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 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 charac- 
terised, in which the hens are excellent layers, but are apt to 
disturb and break their eggs owing to their spurs. 

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 finds that the same rule holds 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 con- 
fined 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. 

54 Dixon, ' Ornamental and Domestic 
Poultry,' p. 320. 

55 Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that 
'Game hens have been found so com- 
bative, that it is now generally the 
practice to exhibit each hen in a sepa- 

rate pen. 

56 ' Naturgeschichte Deutschlands,' 
Band iii. (1793), s. 339, 407. 

» On the Ornithology of Ceylon in 
'Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,' 
2nd series, vol. xiv. (1854), p. 03. 

inform s 




But formerly in Germany the skull of the hen alone was protu- 
berant: Blumenbach, 58 who particularly attended to abnormal 
peculiarities in domestic animals, states, in 1813, that this 
was the case ; and Bechstein had previously, in 1793, observed 
the same fact. This latter author has carefully described the 
effects of a crest on the skull not only in fowls, but in 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 pro- 
tuberance of variable size. He well describes the peculiarities 
of this protuberance, and he attended 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 states that he never observed this protuberance in 
male fowls. Hence there can be no doubt that this remarkable 
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 m nothing but colour, are descended from distinct wild species! 
crossing often causes strange modifications of colour. Mr. Tegetmeier 
informs me that when buff and white Cochins are crossed, some of the 

vu A? Blumenbach on the authc >- geschichte Deutschlands,' Band iii. 

my ot Mr Tegetmeier, who gives in (1793), s. 399, note. I may add that at 

Pioc. Zoolog. Soo.. Nov. 25th, 1856, a the first exhibition of poultry at the 

Po 3T / eS ^ \T Unt ° f ^ SkullS ° f ^Og^ hardens, in May, 1845, 1 saw 

know I" D f*' Te S etmeier > not s °me fowls, called Friezland fowls, of 

bZwI Bechstems account, dis- which the hens were crested, and the 

ihfcttJ? i r Ur t Cy , ° f • Blumenbach ' s ^cks were furnished with a comb, 
statement. For Bechstein, see ' Natur- 

VOT,. I 



Chap. VII. 

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 appears, 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 tins latter 
hen were at first almost pure white, " but on moulting acquired black 
collars 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 incom- 
parably 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 con- 
siderably shorter than the fifth. In wild gallinaceous species the relative 
length and number of the main wing and tail-feathers are extremely 

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 exa- 
mined, 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 ; 

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'Espece,' 1859, p. 442. For 

the occurrence of black-boned fowls in 
South America, see Koulin, in ' Mem. de 
l'Acad. des Sciences,' torn. vi. p. 351 ; 
and Azara, ' Quadruples du Paraguay,' 
torn. ii. p. 324. A frizzled fowl sent to 
me from Madras had black bones. 


and two (an old Cochin cock and Malay hen) had 17 feathers. The rumpless 
fowl has no tail, and in a bird which I kept alive the oil-gland had aborted ■ 
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 bv 
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 con- 
siderably longer in the Spanish and Frizzled, and shorter in the Silk and 
Bantam breeds, than in the wild Q. 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 1 
examined. In Cochins the middle toe is said 65 to be nearly double the 
length of the lateral toes, and therefore much longer than in Q. bankiva or 
m 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 
m 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 differences. 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. 6 ? 
Ihe crow of the Cochin is notoriously and ludicrously different from that 
oi the common cock. The disposition of the different breeds is widely 
cbflerent, varymg from the savage and defiant temper of the Game-cock to 
the extremely peaceable temper of the Cochin. 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 Q. bankiva ought to be noticed. Some 

6i Mr. Hewitt, in Tegetmeier's ' Poul- Tegetmeier's 'Poultry Book,' 1866, 
try Book, 1866, p. 231 p. 41. On Cochins grazing, idem, p. 46. 

•T™ \j T' , m Brown " Se( l ual - d ' s 66 Ferguson on 'Prize Poultry,' p 

Journal de Phys.,' torn. n. p. 361. 87. 



^ Dixon a ■ Ornamental Poultry/ p. e 7 Col gykeg in , Proc> Zoolog- ^ 

" iT> ,, _ . , , , 1832, p. 151. B Dr. Hooker's ' Himalayan 

Poultry Chronicle,' vol. i. p. 485. Journals,' vol. i. p. 314. 

s 2 



Chap. VII. 

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 Gr. banhiva. 
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, with its deeply fur- 
rowed 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 Gr. 
banhiva, 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 Gr. banhiva. 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 conse- 
quently we might expect to find profoundly modified domestic 

Osteological Differences. — I have examined twenty-seven skele- 
tons and fifty-three skulls of various breeds, including three 
of Gr. banhiva : nearly half of these skulls I owe to the 
kindness of Mr. Tegetmeier, and three of the skeletons to 
Mr. Eyton. 

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 Q. banhiva 
as the standard of comparison. In four Games, in one Malay hen, in an 

Chap. VII. 




African cock, in a Frizzled cock from Madras, in two black-boned Silk hens, 
no differences occur worth notice. 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 de- 
pressed, and from this depression a deep medial furrow extends back- 
wards 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, relatively to the size of the head, are broader than in G. bankiva; and 
this is likewise the case with Dorkings when of large size. The terminal 
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 cha- 
racter 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. 

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 premaxillary 

Fig. 33.— Occipital Foramen, of natural size. A. Wild Gallus 
bankiva. B. Cochin Cock. 



Chap. VII. 

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. 

I have examined fourteen skulls of Polish and other crested breeds. Their 

differences are ex- 
traordinary. First 
for nine skulls of 
different sub-breeds 
of English Polish 
fowls. The hemi- 
spherical protuber- 
ance of the frontal 
bones 08 may be seen 
in the accompany- 
ing drawings, in 
which (B) the skull 
of a white -crested 
Polish fowl is shown 
obliquely from a- 
bove, with the skull 
(A) of G. oanhiva 
in the same position. 
In fig. 35 longi- 
tudinal sections are 
given of the skulls 
of a Polish fowl, 
and, for comparison, 
of a Cochin of the 
same size. The protuberance in all Polish fowls occupies the same posi- 
tion, 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 reti- 
culation. 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, 

Fig. 34. — Skulls of natural size, viewed from above, a little obliquely. 
A. Wild Gallus bankiva. B. White-crested Polish Cock. 

08 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. Gen. des Ano- 
malies,' torn. i. p. 287. M. C. Dareste 

suspects (' Kecherches sur les Conditions 
de la Vie,' &c, Lille, 1863, p. 36) that 
the protuberance is not formed by the 
frontal bones, but by the ossification of 
the dura mater. 

Chap. VII. 



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. Whether this cavity is entirely filled 
by the brain, may be doubted. In the skull of the Cochin and of all 

Pig. 35.— Longitudinal sections of Skull, of natural size, viewed laterally. A. Polish Cock. 
B. Cochin Cock, selected for comparison with the above from being of nearly the same size. 

ordinary fowls a strong internal ridge of bone separates the anterior from 
the central cavity ; but this ridge is entirely 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 
m 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 be- 
tween the two above figured (fig. 35), a perfect gradation in the configura- 
tion 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. 

264 FOWLS. 

Chap. VII. 

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 anxi- 
ously 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 facultv 
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. 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, how- 
ever, 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 difference. 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 m 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. be c 

I must still say a few words on some of the foreign Crested breeds. The ob Se 

skull of a crested, rumpless, white Turkish fowl is very slightly protube- ^ 

rant, and but little perforated ; the ascending branches of the premaxillary ^ 

69 ' Naturgeschichte Deutschlands,' have received communications to a 

- r ^h ?' I 00 ' simUar eflfe ct from Messrs. Brent and 

The 'Field,' May 11th, 1861. I Tegetmeier. 


Chap. VII. 



are well developed. In another Turkish breed, called Ghoondooks, the skull 
is considerably protuberant and perforated ; the ascending branches of the 
premaxillary are so much aborted that they project only y^th of an inch ; 
and the inner processes of the nasal bone are so completely aborted, that 
the surface where they should have projected is 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 protuber- 
ance was much larger than in the male. In both skulls the ascending 
branches of the premaxillary were very short, and in both the basal 
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. 

Fig. 36.— Skull of Horned Fowl, of natural size, viewed from above, a little obliquely. 
(In the possession of Mr. Tegetmeier.) 

-These curious knobs, into which the brain does not enter, are sepa- 
rated 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, up- 
turned 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 pro- 



Chap. VII. 

tuberance 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 per- 
forated 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 wonderfully succeeded, he has unintentionally 
made the skull protuberant to an astonishing degree ; and through correla- 
tion of growth, he has at the same time affected the form and relative con- 
nexion 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 pro- 
cesses 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. 

Vertebrae. — In O. lanhiva there are fourteen cervical, seven dorsal with 
ribs, apparently fifteen lumbar and sacral, and six caudal vertebrae ; 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 ver- 
tebrae in the several breeds difficult. I have spoken of six caudal vertebrae, 
because the basal one is almost completely anchylosed with the pelvis ; 
but if we consider the number as seven, the caudal vertebrae agree in all 
the skeletons. The cervical vertebrae 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 per- 
fectly developed with a double articulation. The presence of these little 
ribs cannot be considered as a fact of much importance, for all the cervical 
vertebrae bear representatives of ribs ; but their development in the four- 
teenth vertebra reduces the size of the passages in the transverse pro- 
cesses, 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 pro- 
cesses ; 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 vertebrae, 72 we need feel no surprise at the number of the cervical 
vertebrae in the fowl being, as it appears, variable. 

There are seven dorsal vertebrae bearing ribs ; the first dorsal is never 


71 It appears that I have not correctly 
designated the several groups of verte- 
brae, 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 vertebras in 
this genus. But I have used the same 
terms in all the following descriptions. 
72 Macgillivray, ' British Birds,' vol. 
i. p. 25. 




anchylosed with the succeeding four, which are generally anchylosed 
together. In one Sultan fowl, however, the two first dorsal vertebrae 
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 
vertebras. So that the degree to which these middle dorsal vertebras are 
anchylosed together 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. hankiva ; 
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 four- 
teenth 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 vertebras, a whole dorsal ver- 
tebra 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 vertebras ; but they certainly do not 
correspond in shape or number in the several skeletons. The caudal 
vertebras 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 ver- 
tebras were a little elongated. In three rumpless fowls the caudal vertebras 
were few in number, and anchylosed together into a misformed mass. 

In the individual vertebras 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 occipital 
foramen, than in G. bankiva. In several ske- 
letons 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 con- F i g . 3 Y.-sixth Cervical Ver- 
sists in the haemal descending processes being tebra, of natural size, viewed 
united to the body of the vertebra by a sort of ^liy. a. Wild GaUus 
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 




Chap. VII. 

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 spine ; the outline, however, does differ in beino- 
more truncated in Bantams, and more rounded in certain breeds, as in 
Cochins. The outline of the ischiadic foramen differs considerably, beino- 
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 en- 
larged 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 ex- 
tremity 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. 

Sternum.— This bone is generally so much deformed that it is scarcely 
possible to compare its form strictly in the several breeds. The shape 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 
furcula 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 coracoids pre- 
sent 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 

Fig. 33.— Extremity of the Furcula, of 
natural size, viewed laterally. A. Wild 
Gallus bankiva. B. Spangled Polish 
Fowl. C. Spanish Fowl. D. Dorking 

I S^ 


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 length. 

Finally, gl have not examined a sufficient number of skele- 
tons 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 vertebrae, 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 in 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 our examination of the skele- 
ton 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 organi- 
sation has thus been rendered variable ; but the breeder is quite 
indifferent to, and never intentionally selects, any modifications 
m 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 
points,— fluctuate in our domestic fowls in the same manner as 
the several parts of the skeleton. An additional toe is a " point " 
m Dorkings, and has become a fixed character, but is variable in 

270 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

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 flat- 
tened 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 furcula, 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, Oallus 
lankiva 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. lankiva ; 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 exer- 
cised during many generations. I then compared in several breeds the 

Chap. VII. 



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 unna- 
turally 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 0. 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 pro- 
bable, 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 0. bankiva. 

The actual weight of the main bones of the leg and wing in twelve 
breeds is given in the two first columns in the following table. The 
calculated weight of the wing-bones relatively to the leg-bones, in com- 
parison 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 
hundred. 73 

Table I. 

Names of Breeds. 


Weight of 

Femur and 



Weight of 

Humerus and 


Weight of Wing- 
bones relatively to 
the Leg-bones, in 
comparison with 
these same bones 
in G . bankiva. 











Gallus bankiva . . . . wild male 
Cochin male 

Spanish (Minorca) . . male 
Gold Spangled Polish male 
Game, black-breasted male 

Sultan male 

Indian Frizzled . . . . male 
Burmese Jumper . . female 
Hamburgh (pencilled) male 
Hamburgh (pencilled) female 
Silk (black-boned) . . female 





■ Grains. 



























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 ;— 



Chap. VII. 

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 propor- 
tional weight. In the next four birds, including the Silk-hen, which is in- 
capable 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 appre- 
hend, safely be attributed to disuse. 

To make the foregoing table quite satisfactory, it ought to have been 
shown that in the eight first birds the leg-bones have not actually in- 
creased 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.? 4 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 lb. 2 oz., 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 

in Dorkings as 557 : 248, or as 
100 : 44 ; and so on for the otlier breeds. 
We thus get the series of 62, 52, 44 for 
the relative weights of the wing-hones in 
G. bankiva, Cochins, Dorkings, &c. 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 

7 4 Mr. Blyth (in ' Annals and Mag. of 
Nat. Hist./ 2nd series, vol. i., 1848, p. 
456) gives 3| lb. 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. 

Chap. VII. 



three-quarters of an inch too long relatively to the length of the skull 
in comparison with these same parts in G. bankiva. 

In the following 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. 76 

Table II. 

Names of Breeds. 













Gallus bankiva . . . . male 

Cochin male 

irking ma i e 

Spanish ma l e 

Pohsh male 

Came male 

M a% female 

Sul tan male 

Frizzled hen male 

Burmese Jumper . . . . female 

Hamburgh ma i e 

Hamburgh f ema le 

bllkfo wl female 



Depth of 





















Depth of Crest, 

relatively to the 

length of the 

Sternum, in 

comparison with 

G. bankiva. 







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 
tr. baninva, is diminished, generally between 10 and 20 per cent. But the 

ST ? f : UC ! 10n VarieS much > P^ ™ consequence of the frequently 
aeioimed state of the sternum. In the Silk-fowl, which cannot fly, the crest 
£ a* per cent less deep than what it ought to have been. This reduction of 
ne crest m all the breeds probably accounts for the great variability, before 
Mtr* ■* Z , curvature of the furcula, and in the shape of its sternal 
cnZT f i l men believe tllat tlie abnormal form of the spine so 
mmrf. ff rVed in wom enof the higher ranks results from the attached 
thevm ^ 0t . bemg Ml ? zeroised. So it is with our domestic fowls, for 
examined h PeCt ° ral mUSCleS but little > and ' out of twenty-five sternums 
ratelv w 7^' G alone were Perfectly symmetrical, ten were mode- 
y crooked, and twelve were deformed to an extreme degree. 

Finally, we may conclude with respect to the various breeds 

ie fowl, that the main bones of the wing have probably 

een shortened in a very slight degree; that they have cer- 

^^o^pTti! 8 CalCUlatGd ° n the 8ame principle as explained in the 

VOL. I. . 

274 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

tainly 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 Cochins and Game-fowls there is some relation between 
the colour of the plumage and the darkness of the egg-shell 
and even of the yolk. In Sultans the additional sickle-feathers 
in the tail are apparently related to the general redundancy of 
the plumage, as shown by the fe atered 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 corre- 
lation 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 Amherstice), 
a close relation in colour, as well as in structure, between the 
plumes on the head and on the loins. Hence it would appear 
that the same law has regulated the state of the feathers 
on the head and body, both with species living under their 
natural conditions, and with birds which have "varied under 

t 2 









SILK-MOTHS, species and breeds of — anciently domesticated — CARE in 


I will, as in previous cases, first briefly describe the chief 
domestic breeds of the duck : — 

Beeed 1. Common Domestic Buck. — Varies much in colour and in pro- 
portions, 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 sack largely developed. (2) The Eouen, 
of great size, coloured like the wild-duck, with green or mottled beak; 
abdominal 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 ; 

1 'Poultry Chronicle' (1854), vol. ii. 2 Dr. Turral, in 'Bull. Soc. d'Ac- 

p. 91, and vol. i. p. 330. climat.,' torn, vii., 1860, p. 541. 


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 ap- 
pearance 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-Buck. — Bemarkable from its small size, and from the ex- 
traordinary 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 meta-tarsi elongated. 

Almost all naturalists admit that the several breeds are 
descended from the common wild duck (Anas bosehas) ; 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 * 
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 Yarro 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. 

3 Will Q U o fVs . ' Ornithology,' by Mr. B. P. Brent, in < Poultry Chronicle,' 

hay p. 381. This breed is also figured vol. hi., 1855, p. 512. 

by Albm in 1734 in his • Nat. Hist, of « (Ward on the < Relation of Do- 

T 5 n n ' V -' ! a , mesticated Animals to Civilisation,' read 

F. Cuvier m Annales du Museum,' before the Brit. Assoc, at Oxford, 1860. 

torn ix p. 128, says that moulting and 7 Durea ude la Malle, in < Annales des 

incubation alone stop these ducks lay- Sciences Nat.,' torn. xvii. p. 164 ; and 

mg ' J^f^r^ 8 a similar torn. xxi. p. 55. Rev. E S. Dixon, 

vT'ifp 512 ^ e ' 1855 ' ' ~*tel Poultry,' p. 118. Tame 

5 pW -p fl ™™ t r» . , ducks were not known in Aristotle's 

™A rtl hV P H ?'n ° rnamental "me, as remarked by Volz, in his < Bei- 

and Domestic Poultry (1848), p. 117. trage zur Kulturgeschichte,' 1852, s. 78. 


Chap. VIII. 

Moreover, the plan recommended by Columella to those who 
mi glit 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 Eoman poultry- 
yard." The origin of the domestic duck from the wild species 
is recognised in nearly every language of Europe, as Alclro- 
vandi 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 domesti- 
cating 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 

8 I quote this account from 'Die Waterton, iu Loudon's 'Mag. of Nat. 

Enten, Schwanen-zucht,' Ulm, 1828, s. Hist./ vol. viii., 1835, p. 542 ; and Mr. 

143. .See Audubon's ' Ornithological St. John, ' Wild Sports and Nat. Hist. 

Biography,' vol. iii. p. 168. on the of the Highlands,' 1846, p. 129. 
taming of ducks on the Mississippi. 9 Mr. E. Hewitt, in ' Journal of Hor- 

For the same fact in England, see Mr. ticulture,' 1862, p. 773 ; and 1863, p. 39. 


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 any 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 almost destroyed his old 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 distinct 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, &c. 
But one fact bearing on this question may be noticed : in the 
great duck family, one species alone, namely, the male of 

10 I have met with several statements quite fertile, though they were not bred 

on the fertility of the several breeds when inter se, so that the experiment was not 

crossed. Mr. Yarrell assured me that fully tried. Some half-bred Penguins 

Call and common ducks are perfectly and Labradors were again crossed with 

fertile together. I crossed Hook-billed Penguins, and subsequently bred by 

and common ducks, and a Penguin and me inter se, and they were extremely 

Labrador, and the crossed ducks were fertile. 


Chap. VIII. 

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 Eouens 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 cluck, 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 farmyard 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 does tend 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 chesnut-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 

11 ' Poultry Chronicle,' 1855, vol. iii. 12 ' Journal of the Indian Archi- 

p. 512. • pelago,' vol. v. p. 334. 


plumage the wild duck, we may conclude with confidence that 
all the breeds are descended from A bosehas. 

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. So that with ducks, as with poultry, some degree of 
correlation exists between the colour of the plumage and the egg-shell. 
A good observer assured me that one year his Labrador ducks laid 
almost perfectly white eggs, but that the yolks were this same season 
dirty olive-green, instead of as usual of a golden yellow, so that the black 
tint appeared to have passed inwards. 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 

The hook-billed duck has a most remarkable appearance (see fig. of 
skull, woodcut No. 39) ; and its peculiar beak has been inherited at least 
since the year 1676. This structure is evidently analogous with that 

S described in the Bagadotten carrier pigeon. Mr. Brent u 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." 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 farmyard duck, 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 extra- 
ordinary loquacity : the drake only hisses like common drakes ; neverthe- 
less, 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 Eouens 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 

is « The Zoologist/ vols, vii., viii. p. 312. With respect to Eouens, see 

(1849-1850), p. 2353. ditto> voL u 1854> P l67> 

m 'Poultry Chronicle,' 1855, vol. iii. ie CoL Hawker's 'Instructions to 

P * i? 12 ' , ™ young Sportsmen,' quoted by Mr. Dixon 

' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. iii., 1855, in his ' Ornamental Poultry,' p. 125. 



Chap. VIII. 

falsely 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 propor- 
tion 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 scutellse, 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 jEgyptiacus), and 
likewise with some mongrels which I raised between the Penguin and 
Labrador duck. I am not much surprised that some writers have 
maintained 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 domestica- 
tion under an unnatural climate, of Anas boschas. 

Osteological Characters.— The skulls of the several breeds differ from each 

Fig. 39.— Skulls, viewed laterally, reduced to two-thirds of the natural size. 
A. Wild Duck. B. Hook-hilled Duck. 

other and from the skull of the wild duck in very little except in the pro- 
portional 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 m tne 

T 7 'Cottage Gardener,' April 9th, 

18 These hybrids have been described 

by M. Selys-Longchamps in the ' Bul- 
letins (torn. xii. No. 10) Acad. Koy. de 


ClIAi'. VIII. 



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 pre- 
maxillaries 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 perfo- 
rated by two large apertures; in this skull the lachrymal bones were 
produced much further backwards, so as to have a different shape and to 
nearly touch the post. lat. processes of the frontal bones, thus almost com- 
pleting 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 except- 
ing in size they presented no difference. 

Vertebrae and Bibs. — In one skeleton of the Labrador duck there were 
the usual fifteen cervical vertebrae and 
the usual nine dorsal vertebrae bearing 
ribs; in the other skeleton there were 
fifteen cervical and ten dorsal vertebrae 
with ribs ; nor, as far as could be judged, 
was this owing merely to a rib having 
been developed on the first lumbar ver- 
tebra ; for in both skeletons the lumbar 
vertebrae 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 vertebrae; in a third ske- 
leton 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 vertebrae, with the ten in the 
above-mentioned Labrador duck. In 
the Call-duck, which had small ribs 
attached to the fifteenth cervical ver- 
tebra, the haemal spines of the thirteenth 
and fourteenth (cervical) and of the seventeenth (dorsal) vertebras corres- 
ponded with the spines on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and eighteenth vertebras 
ot the wild duck : so that each of these vertebras had acquired a structure 
proper to one posterior to it in position. In the twelfth cervical vertebra of 
this same Call-duck (fig. 40, B), the two branches of the hasmal spine stand 
much closer together than in the wild duck (A), and the descending haemal 
processes are much shortened. In the Penguin duck the neck from its thin- 
ness and erectness falsely appears (as ascertained by measurement) to be 
much elongated, but the cervical and dorsal vertebrae present no difference; 
the posterior dorsal vertebrae, however, are more completely anchylosed to 

Fig. 40. — Cervical Vertebras, of natural 
size. A. Eighth cervical vertebra of 
Wild Duck, viewed on hasmal surface. 
B. Eighth cervical vertebra of Call 
Duck, viewed as above. C. Twelfth 
cervical vertebra of Wild Duck, viewed 
laterally. D. Twelfth cervical vertebra 
of Aylesbury Duck, viewed laterally. 



Chap. VIII. 

the pelvis than in the wild duck. The Aylesbury dnck has fifteen cervical 
and ten dorsal vertebrae furnished with ribs, but the same number of 
lumbar, sacral, and caudal vertebrae, as far as could be traced, as in the wild 
duck. The cervical vertebrae 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 eighth 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 vertebrae are modified. 
We also see that an additional dorsal vertebra bearing a rib is occasionally 
developed, the number of the cervical and lumbar vertebrae 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, 
furcula, coracoids, and scapula, 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 Penguin and Hook-billed ducks, the terminal phalanges 
of the wing are a little shortened. In the former, the femur and meta- 
tarsus (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 an d decreased Use of the Limbs.— -In all the breeds 
the bones of the wing (measured separately after having been cleaned) rela- 
tively to those of the leg have become slightly shortened, in comparison with 
the same bones in the wild duck, as may be seen in the following table :— 

Name of Breed. 

Wild mallard . 
Aylesbury .. 
Tufted (Dutch) 

Length of Femur, 
Tibia, and Meta- 
tarsus together. 




Length of Humerus, 
Radius, and Meta- 
carpus together. 




Or as 

100 : 129 
100 : 120 
100 : 119 
100 : 123 
100 : 125 

Wild duck (another specimen) 
Common domestic duck 

Length of same 


Length of all the 
Bones of Wing. 


100 : 147 
100 : 138 


Chap. VIII. 



In the foregoing table we see that, in comparison with the wild duck, 
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 the following table : — 

Name of Breed. 

Weight of Femur, 
Tibia, and 

Weight of 
Humerus, Radius, 
and Metacarpus. 

Or as 

Wild mallard 


Tufted (Dutch) 








. 165 


100 : 179 
100 : 124 
100 : 149 
100 : 133 
100 : 120 
100 : 117 
100 : 163 

Wild (another specimen) 
Common domestic duck 

Weight of all the 
Bones of the 
Leg and foot. 

Weight of all the 

Bones of the 


100 : 173 
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. The first of the two tables on the next page shows that the leg- 
bones relatively to the weight of the entire skeleton have really increased in 
weight; but the second table 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. 

With respect to the two following tables, 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 



Chap. VIII. 

Name of Breed. 

Wild mallard . . 


Tufted (Dutch) . . . 


Call (from Mr. Fox) 

Weight of entire 
(N.B. One Metatar- 
sus and Foot was 
removed from each 
skeleton, as it had 
been accidentally lust 
in two cases.) 







Wild mallard 


Tufted (Dutch) 


Call (from Mr. Baker) 
Call (from Mr. Fox) 

Weight of Skeleton 
as above. 


Weight of 
Femur, Tibia, 
and Metatarsus. 





Or as 

1000 : 64 
1000 : 85 
1000 : 79 
1000 : 86 
1000 : 79 

Weight of 
Radius and 
Ulna, and Meta- 







1000 : 105 
1000 : 103 
1000 : 109 
1000 : 129 

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 furcula, 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 pro- 
minence 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 m 
my 'Origin of Species' that, as these birds are not persecuted 
by any enemies, the reduction of their wings has probably been 
caused by gradual disuse. Hence, during the earlier stages of the 


process of reduction, such birds might be expected to resemble 
in the state of their organs of flight our domesticated ducks. 
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 
(Gr. ehloropus). 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 

The Goose. 

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-lag goose (A. ferus) ; 
the young of which can easily be tamed, 22 and are domesticated 
by the Laplanders. This species, when crossed with the domestic 
goose, produced in the Zoological Gardens, as I was assured in 

19 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soo.,' 1861, p. 261. of Egypt. 

1Q r Q ' C£ 7 l0n '' by Sir J - E * Tennent . 21 MacgillivrayV British Birds,' vol. 

1859, vol. i. p. 485 ; also J. Crawford iv. p. 593 

on the < Eolation of Domest. Animals to 22 m \ strickland ( « Annals and 

Civilisation, read before Brit. Assoe. Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' 3rd Series, vol. iii. 

hit i e V£° ™ a f Q ental o P o oultr y»' 1859, p. 122) reared some young wild 

IS fl ' S , DlX °f,' 18 ^ 8 ' P ; 132 - ThG S eese ' and found them hi habits Ll in 

mZ ST'? T I E ^ tia \ monu - all characters identical with the domes- 

ments seems to have been the Bed goose tic goose. 



Chap. VIII. 


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 good indi- 
cations 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 inflexible in its organization under 
long-continued domestication, the amount of variation which 
can be detected is 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 fre- 
quently 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 snow-white male of 
the Kock-Goose (Bernicla antarcticd) standing on the sea-shore 
by his dusky partner is a sight well known to all 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 

23 See also Hunter's ' Essays,' edited 
by Owen, vol. ii. p. 322. 

24 Yarrell's • British Birds,' vol. iii. p. 
142. He refers to the Laplanders 
domesticating the goose. 

25 L. Lloyd, ' Scandinavian Adven- 
tures,' 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 Bev. L. Jenyns 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. 

2 ? Mr. Bartlett exhibited the head and 
neck of a bird thus characterised at the 
Zoological Soc, Feb. 1860. 

28 W. Thompson, 'Natural Hist, of Ire- 
land,' 1851, vol. iii. p. 31. The Kev. E. S. 
Dixon gave me some information on the 
varying colour of the beak and legs. 

2 9 Mr. A. Strickland, in ' Annals and 
Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' 3rd series, vol. iii., 
1859 p. 122. 

Chap. VIII. 



Shows two breeds are exhibited ; viz. the Embden and Toulouse ; 
but they differ in nothing except colour. 30 Eecently 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 Austra- 
lian 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 fila- 
ments 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 Grallus 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 most domesticated animals, is sin- 
gularly small. This fact can be partially accounted for by selection 
not having come largely into play. Birds of all kinds which pre- 
sent many distinct races are valued as pets or ornaments ; no 
one makes a pet of the goose ; the name, indeed, in more lan- 
guages 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 Eoman 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 

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,' 
VOL. I. 

par P. Belon, 1555, p. 156. With respect 
to the livers of white geese being pre- 
ferred by the Eomans, see Isid. Geoffroy 
St. Hilaire, 'Hist. Nat. Ge'n.,' torn. iii. 
p. 58. 


290 PEACOCK. Chap. YIII. 

attended to the colour of their goslings, so that they might 
know which to preserve and select for breeding. 

The Peacock. 

This is another bird which has hardly varied under domesti- 
cation, except in sometimes being white or piebald. Mr. Water- 
house 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, — circum- 
stances 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. 
These japanned birds differ conspicuously from the common 
peacock in the colour of their secondary wing-feathers, scapulars, 
wing-coverts, and thighs ; the females are much paler, and the 
young, as I hear from Mr. Bartlett, likewise differ. They can 
be propagated perfectly true. 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 species. 33 

On the other hand, Sir E. Heron states 34 that this breed sud- 
denly 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 

33 Mr. Sclater on the black-shouldered 34 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' April 14th, 

peacock of Latham, ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1835. 
April 24th, 1SG0. 


Chap. VIII. PEACOCK. 291 

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 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. Here we have five distinct cases of japanned birds sud- 
denly appearing in flocks of the common kind kept in England. 
Better evidence of the first appearance of a new variety could 
hardly be desired. If we reject this evidence, and believe that 
the japanned peacock is a distinct species, we must suppose in 
all these cases that the common breed had at some former period 
been crossed with the supposed P. nigripennis, but had lost 
every trace of the cross, yet that the birds occasionally produced 
offspring which 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 per- 
ceive the full improbability of such an occurrence, we may sup- 
pose 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 five 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 form as the P. nigri- 
pennis, when first imported, would have realized a large price ; 
it is therefore improbable that it should have been silently in- 
troduced and its history subsequently lost. On the whole the 
evidence seems to me, as it did to Sir R. Heron, to preponderate 
strongly m favour of the black-shouldered breed being a varia- 
tion, induced either by the climate of England, or by some 
unknown cause, such as reversion to a primordial and extinct 
condition of the species. On the view that the black-shouldered 

u 2 

292 TURKEY. 

Chap. VIII. 

peacock is a variety, the case is the most remarkable 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 ornithologists. 

The Tukkey. 

It seems fairly well established by Mr. Gould, 35 that the turkey, 
in accordance with the history of its first introduction, is descended 
from a wild Mexican species (Meleagris Mexicana) which had 
been already domesticated by the natives before the discovery 
of America, and which differs specifically, as it is generally 
thought, from the common wild species of the United States. 
Some naturalists, however, think that these two forms should 
be ranked only as well-marked geographical races. 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." 36 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 Eev. 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 species or wild race. F. Michaux 37 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 

35 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' April 8th, dia, and this fact indicates that it was 
1856, p. 61. Prof. Baird believes (as not aboriginally an inhabitant of the 
quoted in Tegetmeier's ' Poultry Book,' lowlands of the tropics. 
1866, p. 269) that our turkeys are 36 Audubon's ' Ornithological Bio- 
descended from a West Indian species graph.,' vol. i., 1831, pp. 4-13; and 
now extinct. But besides the impro- 'Naturalist's Library,' vol. xiv., Birds, 
bability of a bird having long ago become p. 138. 

extinct in these large and luxuriant 3 '~ F. Michaux, ' Travels in N. Ame- 

islands, it appears (as we shall presently rica,' 1802, Eng. translat., p. 217. 
see) that the turkey degenerates in In- 



Chap. VIII. 

TURKEY. 293 

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 
Gopper-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 Nor- 
folk turkey, of which the chickens are black, with occasionally 
white patches about the head. The other breeds scarcely 
differ except in colour, and their chickens are generally mottled 
all over with brownish-grey. 38 The tuft of hair on the breast, 
which is proper to the male alone, occasionally appears on the 
breast of the domesticated female. 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 
In Holland there was formerly, according to Temminck, a 
beautiful buff-yellow breed, furnished with an ample white top- 
knot. Mr. Wilmot has described 41 fa white turkey-cock with 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 whilst young inherited this kind of crest, but 
afterwards it either 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 topknot 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 Pavo. 

Wild turkeys, believed in every instance to have been im- 
ported from the United States, have been kept in the parks of 
Lords Powis, Leicester, Hill, and Derby. The Eev. W T . 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 

ss « Ornamental Poultry,' by the Rev. 40 Bechstein, ' Naturgesch. Deutsch- 

JE. S. Dixon, 1848, p. 34. lands,' B. iii., 1793, s. 309. 

39 Rev. E. S. Dixon, id., p. 35. « ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1852, p. 699. 


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 slightly differing from 
each other present an analogous case with the wild cattle kept 
in the several British parks. We must suppose that the 
differences have resulted from the prevention of free inter- 
crossing 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 42 
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 Guinea Fowl. 

The domesticated guinea-fowl is now believed by some natural- 
ists to be descended from the Numida iitilorhynca, 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. 43 The guinea-fowl 
has become thoroughly feral in Jamaica and in St. Domingo, 44 
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. 

42 E. Blyth, in * Annals and Mag. of singular pale-coloured varieties im- 

Nat. Hist.,' 1817, vol. xx. p. 391. ported from Barbadoes and Demerara. 
: 43 Eoulin makes this remark in 44 For St. Domingo, see M. A. Salle, 

'Mem. de divers Savans, l'Acad. des in 'Proc. Soc. Zoolog.,' 1857, p. 236.' 

Sciences,' torn, vi., 1835, p. 349. Mr. Mr. Hill remarks to me, in his letter, on 

Hill, of Spanish Town, in a letter to the colour of the legs of the feral birds 

me, describes five varieties of the in Jamaica, 
guinea-fowl in Jamaica. I have seen 

Chap. VIII. 


The Canary Bird. 

As this bird has been recently domesticated, namely, within the 
last 350 years, its variability deserves notice, jt has been 
crossed with nine or ten other species of Fringillidse, 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, 45 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 46 mea- 
sured 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 topknotted canaries, and it is a singular fact, that, if 
two topknotted birds are matched, the young, instead of having 
very fine topknots, are generally bald, or even have a wound on 
their heads. 47 It would appear as if the topknot 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." 48 Canaries differ much 
in disposition and character, and in some small degree in song. 
They produce eggs three or four times during the year. 

45 Mr. B. P. Brent, 'The Canary, 4 7 Bechstein, ' Naturgesch. der Stu- 
British Finches,' &c, pp. 21, 30. benvogel,' 1840, s. 243 ; see s. 252, on 

46 'Cottage Gardener,' Dec. 11th, the inherited song of Canary-birds. 
1855, p. 184. An account is here given With respect to their baldness, see also 
of all the varieties. For many mea- W. Kidd's ' Treatise on Song-Birds.' 
surements of the wild birds, see Mr. E. 48 W. Kidd's ' Treatise on Song-Birds,' 
Vernon Harcourt, id., Dec. 25th, 1855, p. 18 

p. 223. 

296 GOLD-FISH. CHAp> vnr< 


Besides mammals and birds, 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 
termed 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 it is believed that they 
have been kept in confinement from an ancient period in China. 
Mr. Blyth^ 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 condi- 
tions, 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. 50 
Many of the varieties, however, such as triple tail-fins, &c, 
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," 51 we may feel nearly 
confident that selection has been largely practised in the 
formation of new breeds. It is however a singular fact that 
some of the monstrosities or variations are not inherited; for Sir 
E. Heron 52 kept many of these fishes, and placed all' the de- 
formed fishes, 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 

49 The 'Indian Field,' 1858, p. 255. 1858, p. 255. 

50 Yarrell's 'British Fishes/ vol. i. « «Proc. "zoolog. Soc ' May 25th, 
p. 319. 1842. 

51 Mr. Blyth, in the 'Indian Field/ 

Chap. VIII. HIVE-BEES. 297 

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 ;" 53 but Bory de Saint 
Vincent 54 saw at Madrid gold-fish furnished with a dorsal fin 
and a triple tail. One variety is characterized by a hump 
on its back near the head ; and the Eev. L. Jenyns 55 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 pro- 
ducing. It is frequently asserted that the bees in different 
parts of Great Britain differ in size, colour, and temper; and 
Godron 56 says; that they are generally larger in the south than 
m 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 
^Yarrell's 'British Fishes/ vol. i. p . 151 , a nearly similar varietv> but 

54 «tk«* m„ i ^ T , destitute of a dorsal fin. 

2?6 DlCt - CksS - d Hlst - Nat ->' tom. v. ,6 , De rEsp . ce , 1859j p# 459> With 

' « ' Observations in Nat. Hist. ' 1846 M ^ *!! ^^ ° f B ? r ° und 7' S f 

n 911 Br ft m i ; ' .' M - Gei-ard, art. 'Espece,' in 'Diet, 

p. 211. Dr. Gray has described, in Univers d'Hi«t \M' 
- Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist./ 1860, * 

298 HIVE-BEES. Chap. VIII.. 

successive old cocoons. The best authorities 57 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 Con- 
tinent. There is, however, even in the same stock, some vari- 
ability in colour. Thus Mr. Woodbury states 58 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 59 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 Liineburg 

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, wmere they have long been 
naturalised, and, on carefully comparing them under the micro- 
scope 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 par- 
ticular queens and drones, for these insects unite only during ^ 

5 7 See a discussion on this subject, in 59 'Journal of Horticulture,' Sept.. 
answer to a question of mine, in ' Journal 9th, 1862, p. 463 ; see also Herr Kleine 
of Horticulture,' 1862, pp. 225-242 ; also on same subject (Nov. 11th, p. 643), 
Mr. Bevan Fox, in ditto, 1862, p. 284. -who sums up, that, though there is some 

58 This excellent observer may be variability in colour, no constant or per- 
implicitly trusted; see 'Journal of ceptible differences can be detected in 
Horticulture,' July 14th, 1863, p. 39. the bees of Germany. 

Chap. VIII. HIVE-BEES. 29 9 

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. 60 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 natural 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. Gerstacker, 61 but not by other highly competent 
judges, as geographical races ; and he grounds his conclusion in 
chief part on the fact that in certain districts, as in the Crimea 
and Ehodes, the hive-bee varies so much in colour, that the 
several geographical races can be closely connected by inter- 
mediate forms. 

I have alluded to a single instance of the separation and 
preservation of a particular stock of bees. Mr. Lowe 62 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 pro- 
fuse 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 ex- 
clusively to the workers, for, as we have seen, queens and 
drones cannot be selected and paired. 

60 Mr. Woodbury has published seve- 3rd series, vol. xi. p. 339. 

ral such accounts in 'Journal of Horti- 6 2 « The Cottage Gardener/ May, 

culture,' 1861 and 1S62. 1860> p< no . and ditto in , Journal of 

61 « Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist..' Hort.,' 186<> p 242 

300 SILK-MOTHS. Chap. VIII. 


These insects are in several respects interesting to us, more 

especially because they have varied largely at early periods 

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 silk-worms. 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 63 
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 Con- 
stantinople in the sixth century, whence it was carried into Italy, 
and in 1494 into France. 64 Everything has been favourable for 
the variation of this insect. It is believed to have been domes- 
ticated 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. 65 
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 

63 ' Transact. Entomolog. Soc.,' 3rd Stanislas Julien. 

series, vol. iii. pp. 143-173, and pp. 6* See the remarks of Prof. Westwood, 

295-331. Gen. Hearsey, and others, at the 

64 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' 1859, torn. i. meeting of the Entomolog. Soc. of Lon- 
p. 460. The antiquity of the silk-worm don, July, 1861. 

in China is given on the authority of 


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, 66 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 pro- 
duction 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 object. 67 

The following details on the differences between the several breeds are 
taken, when not stated to the contrary, from M. Eobinet's excellent work, 68; 
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. Eobinet, to expose them to a temperature gradually 
raised, in order that the caterpillar may be quickly developed. Yet occa- 
sionally, 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 cater- 
pillars 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. 69 

Caterpillars.— These vary greatly in size and colour. The skin is gene- 
rally white, sometimes mottled with black or grey, and occasionally quite 
black. The colour, however, as M. Eobinet asserts, is not constant, even 
in perfectly pure breeds ; except in the race tigree, so called from being 
marked with transverse black stripes. As the general colour of the cater- 
pillar is not correlated with that of the silk/ this character is disregarded 

66 See, for instance, M. A. de Quatre- the moths thus raised produced eggs 

fages 'Etudes sur les Maladies actu- which were even worse in this respect. 

elles du Ver a Sole,' 1859, p. 101. Some were hatched in ten days, and 

7 My authorities for these statements others not until after the lapse of 

will be given m the chapter on Selec- many months. No doubt a regular 

™ < nr , , * m , earl y character would ultimately have 

• ■ Manuel de lEducateur de Vers been acquired. See review in <Athe- 

a k° ie > *f*°- namm,' 1844, p. 329, of J. Jarves' 

- Eobmet, idem pp. 12, 318. I may < Scenes in the Sandwich Islands.' 

add that he eggs of N. American silk- 70 . The Art of rea . snk . worms/ 

worms taken to the Sandwich Islands translated from Count Dandolo, 1825, 

were very irregularly developed ; and p. 23. 

302 SILK-MOTHS. Chap. VIII. 

by cultivators, and lias not been fixed by selection. Captain Hutton, in 
the paper before referred to, lias argned 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 71 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 cater- 
pillars, 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 [eye- 
brows 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. Bobinet the same race will one year exclusively pro- 
duce white caterpillars, and the next year many black ones ; nevertheless, 
I have been informed by M. A. Bossi of Geneva, that, if these black cater- 
pillars 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 " a trois mues," and the Trevol- 
tini race likewise moults only thrice. It might have been thought that so 
important a physiological difference would not have arisen under domesti- 
cation ; but M. Bobinet 72 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 a trois mues, que nous avons experimentees, 
ont fait quatre mues a la seconde ou a la troisieme annee, ce qui semble 
prouver qu'il a suffi de les placer dans des conditions favorables pour leur 
rendre une faculte qu'elles avaient perdue sous des influences moins 

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, of two tints, or yellow. Generally the colour of 

71 ' Transact. Ent. Soc.,' nt supra, pp. 153, 308. 72 Bobinet, idem, p. 317. 


the silk is not strictly inherited : bnt in the chapter on Selection I shall 
give a cnrious 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 arrivee a un tel etat de purete, qu'on ne voit pas un seul cocon 
, jaune dans des millions de cocons blancs." 73 Cocoons are sometimes formed 
as is well known, entirely destitute of silk, which yet produce moths ; un- 
fortunately Mrs. Whitby was prevented by an accident from ascertaining 
whether this character would prove hereditary. 

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 H 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 cater- 
pillar, namely, that there has been no motive for selecting and perpetuating 
any particular variation. 

The males of the wild Bombycidse "fly swiftly in the day-time and 
evening, but the females are usually very sluggish and inactive." 5 " 5 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 up- 
wards. 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 ^ 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 : 
" ll me semble qu'il y a la un veritable arret de developpement partiel." 
On the other hand, he describes the female moths of the Andre Jean breed 
as having « leurs ailes larges et etalees. Un seul presente quelques cour- 
, , bures irreguheres et des plis anomaux." As moths and butterflies of all 

lands reared from wild caterpillars under confinement often have crippled 
wings, the same cause, whatever it may be, has probably acted on silk- 

« ^^t id T;P^ 31 I- ~H^T^ansact. Ent. SoC idem, 

Transact. Ent. Soc.,' ut supra, p. 152. 

Y) Q1 H met " 

; 5 (j, ,, mo , T11 , .. iTr 76 ' Etudes sur les Maladies du Ver 

'* Stephens Illustrations, ' Haus- a Soie ' 1859 ™ wx 900 
tellala/ vol. ii. p. 35. See also Capt. ' ' PP< 3 ° 4 ' 2 ° 9 " 

304 SILK-MOTHS. Chap. VIII. 

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, 77 but this proceeds, according to Capt. Hutton, 78 " 
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. Eobinet, 79 of again crawling up the trunk. Even this capacity 
sometimes fails, for M. Martins 80 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 each other. 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 in- 
variably yellow. 81 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 82 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 races. 83 

From these various facts we learn that j 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 corresponding 
periods. And finally we see that insects are amenable to the 
great principle of Selection. 

77 Quatrefages, ' Etudes/ &c, p. 214. 80 Godron, « De l'Espece,' p. 462. 

78 ' Transact. Ent. Soc.,' ut supra, p. 81 Quatrefages, ' Etudes,' &c, pp* 
151. 12, 209, 214. 

79 'Manuel de l'Educateur,' &c, p. 82 Eobinet, ' Manuel,' &c, p. 303. 
26. S3 Eobinet, idem, p. 15. 



PRELIMINARY REMARKS on the number and parentage op cultivated 


CEREALIA. — doubts on the number op species. wheat : varieties op 




OULINARY PLANTS. — cabbages : varieties of, in foliage and stems, but 





I shall not enter into so much detail on the variability of culti- 
vated 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 com- 
mingled by crossing and .variation. Variations often pass into, 
.and cannot be distinguished from, monstrosities; and mon- 
strosities are of little significance for our purpose. Many varie- 
ties are propagated solely by grafts, buds, layers, bulbs, &c, and 
frequently it is not known how far their peculiarities can be 
transmitted by seminal generation. Nevertheless some facts of 
value can be gleaned j and other facts will hereafter be incident- 

VOL. I. 


ally given. One chief object in the two following chapters is 
to show how generally almost every character in onr culti- 
vated plants has become variable. 

Before entering on details a few general remarks on the origin 
of cultivated plants may be introduced. M. Alph. cle Candolle l 
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 seed- 
lings escaped from culture. Of the entire 157, 32 alone are 
ranked by M. De Candolle as quite unknown in their abori- 
ginal condition. But it should be observed that he does not in- 
clude 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 gene- 
rally conspicuous, and that they could not have been the inhabit- 
ants 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. Their 

1 ' Geographie Botanique Raisonnee,' by Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti. See also 
1855, pp. 810 to 991. ' Edinburgh Review,' 1866, p. 510. 

2 Review by Mr. Bentham in • Hort. 3 ' Hist. Notes,' as above, by Targioni- 
Journal,' vol. ix. 1855, p. 133, entitled Tozzetti. 

' Historical Notes on cultivated Plants,' 


extermination during the progress of civilisation would like- 
wise remove the difficulty; but M. De Candolle has shown 
that this probably has seldom occurred. As soon as a plant 
became 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 been 
exterminated; 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 re- 
marked 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 con- 
sidered 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 in- 
habitants 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 dele- 
terious plants. Sir Andrew Smith informs me that in South 
Africa a large number of fruits and succulent leaves, and espe- 
cially roots, are used in times of scarcity. The natives, indeed, 
know the properties of a long catalogue of plants, some having 

4 'Considerations sur les Cereales/ offrant a 1'origine meme un avantage 

1842, p. 37. 'Ge'ographie Bot.,' 1855, incontestable." 

p. 930. " Plus on suppose l'agriculture s Dr. Hooker has given me this in- 

ancienne et remontant a une epoque formation. See, also, his ' Himalayan 

d'ignorance, plus il est probable que les Journals,' 1854, vol. ii. p. 49. 
cultivateurs avaient choisi des especes 

x 2 


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 pro- 
perties 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 bar- 
barous state, and having been often compelled by severe want 
to try as food almost everything which he could chew and 

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 

6 'Travels in Central Africa,' Eng. translat., vol. i. pp. 529 and 390; vol. ii. 
pp. 29, 265, 270. Livingstone's ' Travels/ p. 551. 


of a wild grass , and farther south, as Andersson informs me, 
the natives largely use the seeds 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, &c, 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 in- 
habitants of Switzerland during the Stone-period largely col- 
lected wild crabs, sloes, bullaces, hips of roses, elderberries, 
beech-mast, 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 taste. 

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 

7 As in both North and South America. ing to distinct families. 
Mr. Edgeworth (' Journal Proc. Linn. 8 Prof. 0. Heer, ' Die Pflanzen der 

Soc.,' vol. vi. Bot, 1862, p. 181) states Pfahlbauten, 1865, aus dem Neujahr. 

that in the deserts of the Punjab poor Naturforsc. Gesellschaft,' 1866 ; and 

women sweep up, "by a whisk into Dr. H. Christ, in Kiitimeyer's 'Die 

straw baskets/' the seeds of four genera Fauna der Pfahlbauten,' 1861, s. 226. 
of grasses, namely, of Agrostis, Panicum, 9 'Travels,' p. 535. Du Chaillu, 

Cenchrus, and Pennisetum, as well as ' Adventures in Equatorial Africa,' 1861, 

the seeds of four other genera belong- p. 445. 


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 haw- 
thorns, plums, cherries, grapes, and hickories, specified by Pro- 
fessor 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 Ave 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 super- 
stitious 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 14 that we do not owe a single useful 
plant to Australia or the Cape of Good Hope, — countries abound- 
ing 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- 

10 In Tierra delFuego the spot where 1845, p. 261. 

wigwams had formerly stood could be 12 ' Journals of Expeditions in Aus- 

distinguished at a great distance by the tralia,' 1841, vol. ii. p. 292. 
bright green tint of the native vegeta- 13 Darwin's ' Journal of Researches/ 

tion. 1845, p. 215. 

11 • American Acad, of Arts and 14 De Candolle has tabulated the 
Sciences,' April 10th, 1860, p. 413. facts in the most interesting manner in 
Downing, ' The Fruits of America,' his ' Ge'ographie Bot.,' p. 986. 


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 con- 
dition, the complete absence of similarly useful plants in the 
great countries just named would indeed be 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 enume- 
rates 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 all 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. Ac- 
cording to De Candolle we owe thirty-three useful plants to 
Mexico, Peru, and Chile; nor is this surprising when we re- 
member 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 gun- 
powder, and who, as we shall see in a future chapter, fully recog- 
nised, 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 
15 ' Flora of Australia,' Introduction, p. ex. 

312 CEREAL PLANTS. ClIAr# iy . 

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 civilized 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 hesi- 
tation 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 

16 For Canada, see J. Oartier's Voyage Mons (in his ' Arbres Fruitiers,' 1835, 
in 1534; for Florida, see Narvaez and torn. i. p. 444) declares that he has 
Ferdinand de Soto's Voyages. As I have found the types of all our cultivated 
consulted these and other old Voyages varieties in wild seedlings, but then he 
in more than one general collection of looks on these seedlings as so many 
Voyages, I do not give precise references aboriginal stocks. 

to the pages. See also, for several refer- 18 See A. De Candolle, ' Geograph. 

ences, Asa Gray, in the 'American Bot.,' 1855, p. 928 et seq. Godron, ' De 

Journal of Science,' vol. xxiv., Nov. l'Espece,' 1859, torn. ii. p. 70; and 

1857, p. 441. For the traditions of the Metzger, ' Die Getreidearten,' &c, 1841. 

natives of New Zealand, see Crawfurd's 19 Mr. Bentham, in his review, en- 

* Grammar and Diet, of the Malay Lan- titled ' Hist. Notes on cultivated Plants,' 

guage,' 1852, p. eclx. by Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti, in < Journal 

17 See, for example, M. Hewett C. of Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. (1855), p. 133. 
Watson's remarks on our wild plums 20 ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 928. The 
and cherries and crabs : ' Cybele Britan- whole subject is discussed with admir- 
nica,' vol. i. pp. 330, 334, &c. Van able fullness and knowledge. 

Chap. IX. 

WHEAT. 313 

force in M. Godron's remark, that, supposing these plants to be escaped 
seedlings/ 1 if 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. 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 con- 
dition. 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. Buckman, 22 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 23 speaks of three 
new species or varieties, sent to Europe in 1822 from Chinese Mongolia, 
which he considers as being there indigenous. Moorcroft 24 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 so 
strongly marked have arisen, 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 ; 25 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 26 

21 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. verted into true wheat, alone leave any 

72. A few years ago the excellent, doubt on the subject, 

though misinterpreted, observations of 22 Keport to British Association for 

M. Fabre led many persons to believe 1857, p. 207. 

that wheat was a modified descendant 23 ' Considerations sur les Cereales,' 

of TEgilops ; but M. Godron (torn. i. 1842-43, p. 29. 

p. 165) has shown by careful experi- 24 « Travels in the Himalayan Pro- 

ments that the first step in the series, vinces,' &c. 1841, vol. i. p. 224. 

viz. JEgilops triticoides, is a hybrid 25 q l j l 6 Couteur on the ' Varie- 

between wheat and M. ovata. The fire- ties of Wheat,' pp. 23, 79. 

quency with which these hybrids spoil- 26 Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, 'Consid. 

taneously arise, and the gradual manner sur les Cereales,' p. 11. 
in which the M. triticoides becomes con- 



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 Grammes 
serves even as a generic character; 27 although, as remarked by Godron, 28 
the presence of barbs is variable in certain wild grasses, and especially in 
those, such as Bromus secalinus m&Ldium 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 29 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, &c. 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 consti- 
tution, 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 differ- 
ence, 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. 30 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 by selection, he began by 
choosing the best ears, but soon found that the grains in the same ear 
differed so that he was compelled to select them separately; and each 
grain generally transmitted its own character. 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 31 that in a field of his own 
wheat, which he considered at least as pure as that of any of his neigh- 
bours, 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 

27 See an excellent review in Hooker's on Wheat, p. G. 

' Journ. of Botany,' vol. viii. p. S2, note. 31 ' Varieties of Wheat,' Introduction, 

28 ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 73. p. vi. Marshall, in his ' Rural Economy 

29 Idem, torn. ii. p. 75. of Yorkshire,' vol. ii. p. 9, remarks that 

30 For Dalbret and Philippar, see " in every field of corn there is as much 
Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, ' Consid. sur variety as in a herd of cattle." 

les Ce'reales,' pp. 45, 70. Le Couteur 


<3hap. IX. WHEAT. 315 

sometimes suddenly appear: thus Mr. Sheriff has had the good fortune 
to raise in his lifetime seven new varieties, which are now extensively 
grown in many parts of Britain. 32 

As in the case of many other plants, some varieties, both old and new, 
are far more constant in character than others. Colonel Le Contour 
was forced to reject some of his new sub-varieties, which he suspected 
had been produced from a cross, as incorrigibly sportive. With respect to 
the tendency to vary, Metzger 33 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 m 
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 
«an 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 Linnseus as distinct species; but M. Monnier 34 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, 35 differently from our European varieties. In Canada 
the first settlers, according to Kami, 36 found their winters too severe for 
winter-wheat brought from France, and their summers often too short 
for summer-wheat; and until they procured summer- wheat from the 
northern parts of Europe, which succeeded well, they thought that their 

32 ' Gardener's Chron. and Agricult. summer and winter barley. 

Gazette,' 1862, p. 963. 35 Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, ' Ce're- 

ss ' Getreidearten,' 1841, s. 66,91,92, ales,' part ii. p. 224. Le Couteur, p. 

116, 117. 70. Many other accounts could be 

34 Quoted by Godron, ' De l'Espece,' added, 

vol. ii. p. 74. So it is, according to 36 ' Travels in North America,' 1753- 

Metzger (' Gctreidearten,' s. 18), with 1701, Eng. translat, vol. iii. p. 165. 


country was useless for corn crops. 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 37 sowed near 
Paris 54 varieties, obtained from the South of France and from the Black 
Sea, and o2 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. 

Al 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 Coutenr" 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 
m 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 gram, time of flowering, and hardiness 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 Coutenr » 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 observations 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 over. 

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 con- 
dition as at present, rest their belief chiefly on the great 
antiquity of the several forms. 40 It is an important fact, 
which we have recently learnt from the admirable researches 

37 ' Cereales,' part ii. pp. 179-183. Mr. Sheriff, and a higher authority 

38 'On the Varieties of Wheat,' Intro- cannot be given ('Gard. Chron. and 

duct., p. vii. See Marshall, 'Kural Agricult. Gazette,' 1862, p. 963), says, 

Econ. of Yorkshire,' vol. ii. p. 9. With "I have never seen grain which has. 

respect to similar cases of adaptation in either been improved or degenerated 

the varieties of oats, see some interesting by cultivation, so as to convey the 

papers in the ' Gardener's Chron. and change to the succeeding crop." 

Agricult. Gazette,' 1850, pp. 204, 219. *> Alph. De Candolle, ■ Geograph.. 

39 ' On the Varieties of Wheat,' p. 59. Bot.,' p. 930. 


€hap. IX. WHEAT. 317 

of Heer, 41 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 period of the lake-habitations 
had already made considerable progress; for, besides the ten 
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 42 has argued that, if our cereal 
plants had 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 prin- 
ciple 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. 0. 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 propa- 
gated ; and that occasionally more strongly pronounced varia- 
tions appear, which, as Mr. Sheriff has proved, are well 
worthy of extensive cultivation. Not until equal attention be 
paid to the variability and selection of weeds, can the argu- 
ment 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 
41 « Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten,' 1866. « t L es Ce'reales ' p. 94. 


Chap. IX. 

with peculiar leaves appeared, it would bo neglected unless the 
grains of corn were at the same time superior in quality or size. 
The selection of seed-corn, was strongly recommended 43 in 
ancient times by Columella and Celsus ; and as Virgil says, — 

"I've seen the largest weds, tho' view'd with care, 

Degenerate, unless tlr industrious hand 

Did yearly cull the largest." 

But whether in ancmnt times selection was methodically pursued 
we may well doubt, when we hear how laborious the work was 
found by Le Couteur. kltfamgh the principle of selection is 
so important, yet the little which man has effected, by incessant 
efforts 44 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 sup- 
plied 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 civilized to culti- 
vate the ground at an immensely remote period ; so that wheat 
might have been improved long ago up to that standard of ex- 
cellence which was possible under the then existing state of agri- 
culture. 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 Hint- 
tools, the most extensively cultivated wheat was a peculiar kind, 
with remarkably small ears and grains. 45 " 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 

43 Quoted by Le Couteur, p. 16. bauten,' 1866. The following passage 

44 A. De Candolle, ' Geograph. Bot.,' is quoted from Dr. Christ, in ' Die 
p < 932, Fauna der Pfahlbauten von Dr. Eiiti- 

45 O. Heer, ' Die Pflanzen der Pfahl- meyer,' 1861, s. 225. 

Chap. IX. "WHEAT. 319" 

were " smaller, shorter, and nearer to each other, than in that 
now grown ; without the husk they were 1\ lines long, and 
scarcely \\ broad, Whilst those now grown have a length of three 
lines, and almost the same in breadth." 46 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- 
Koman 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 intro- 
duced ; the oat-grains being somewhat smaller than those pro- 
duced by our existing varieties. The poppy was largely culti- 
vated 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 Bomans. These details sound like the description given 
by a palaeontologist of the mutations in form, of the first 
appearance, the increasing rarity, and final extinction of fossil 
species, embedded in the successive stages of a geological for- 

« Heer, as qiioted by Carl Yogi, < Lectures on Man/ Eng. translat, p. 355. 

320 CEREAL PLANTS. Chap< ix . 

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 I 

have either closely resembled our present cultivated forms, or 
have been so widely different as to escape identification. In this f 

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 culti- 
vated 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 : Zea Mays.— Botanists are nearly unanimous that all the culti- 
vated kinds belong to the same species. It is undoubtedly 4 ? of American 
origin, and was grown by the aborigines throughout the continent 
irom New England to Chili. Its cultivation must have been extremely 
ancient, for Tschudi 48 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 49 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, 50 
in which the grains, instead of being naked, are concealed by husks as 
much as eleven lines in length, has been stated on insufficient evidence 
to grow wild in Brazil. It is almost certain that the aboriginal form 
would have had its grains thus protected'; 51 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 cre- 

4 7 See Alph. De Candolle's long dis- where an account is given of the result 
cussion in his ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 942. of sowing the seed. A young Guarany 
With respect to New England, see Silli- Indian, on seeing this kind of maize, 
man's 'American Journal,' vol. xliv.p.99. told Auguste St. Hilaire (see De Can- 

48 ' Travels in Peru,' Eng. translat., dolle, ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 951) that it 
p. 177. grew wild in the humid forests of Ins 

a 49 'Geolog. Observ. on S. America,' native land. Mr. Tescliemacher, in 

1846, p. 49. 'Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist.,' Oct. 19th, 

50 This maize is figured in Bona- 1842, gives an account of sowing the 

fous' magnificent work, ' Hist. Nat. du seed. 

Mais,' 1836, PL v. bis, and in the 'Jour- • 51 Moquin - Tandon, 'Elements de 

nal of Hort. Soc.,' vol. i., 1846, p. 115, T&atologie,' 1841, p. 126. 


Chap. IX. MAIZE. 321 

dible 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, 52 
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 de- 
scribed 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 irre- 
gularly. The seeds are coloured — white, pale -yellow, orange, red, violet, 
or elegantly streaked with black ; 53 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) 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 ma'is a bouquet. The seeds of some varieties contain much glu- 
cose 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. 54 
Azara describes 55 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. 56 Some 
of the foregoing differences would certainly be considered of specific value 
with plants in a state of nature. 

Le Comte Be states that the grains of all the varieties which he culti- 
vated ultimately assumed a yellow colour. But Bonafous 5 ? 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 

« 'Die Getreidearten,' 1841, s. 208. 54 ' Transact. Bot. Soc. of Edinburgh,' 

I have modified a few of Metzger's vol. viii. p. 60. 

statements in accordance with those M 'Voyages dans l'Amenque Meri- 

made by Bonafous in his great work, dionale,' torn. i. p. ]47. 

' Hist. Nat. du Mais,' 1836. 5 Bonafous' ' Hist. Nat. du Mais,' 

53 Godron, ' De 1'Espece,' torn, ii, p. 31. 

p. 80; Al. De Candolle, idem, p. 951. 57 Idem, p. 31. 

VOL. I. Y 


Chap. IX. 

three to four months. 58 Peter Kalm, 59 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 Vir- 
ginia, 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 ana- 
logous 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 seed 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 60 in one case, namely, with a tall kind (Breit-korniger 
mays, Zea altissima) brought from the warmer parts of America. During 
the first year the plants were twelve feet high, and 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 distin- 
guished 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 l ' chicken-corn," did not undergo 
so great a change, but the seeds became less polished and pellucid. 

These facts afford the most remarkable instance known to me 
of the direct and prompt action of climate on a plant. It might 

58 Metzger, ' Getreidearten,' s. 206. have consulted an old English MS. 

59 * Description of Maize,' by P. Kalm, translation. 

1752, in ' Swedish Acts,' vol. iv. I "o < Getreidearten,' s. 208. 


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, how- 
ever, 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 mag- 
pie's nest : " the woody stems are not unfrequently from ten to twelve feet 
in height, and are there used as rafters 61 and as walking-sticks. We are 
thus reminded that in certain countries plants belonging to the generally 
herbaceous order of the Cruciferse 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 cauli- 
flowers 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 kales, 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, valued solely 
for ornament, which are propagated by seed. 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 62 of 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, arrange- 
ment, 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. 63 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, 

61 'Cabbage Timber, 'Gardener's 62 <j ourna i de i a Soc. Imp. d'Horti- 
Chron.,' 1856, p. 744, quoted from culture,' 1855, p. 254, quoted from 'Gar- 
Hooker's ' Journal of Botany.' A tenflora,' Ap. 1855. 
walking-stick made from a cabbage- <» Godron, 'De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 
stalk is exhibited in the Museum at 52; Metzger, 'Syst. Beschreibung der 
Kew - Kult. Kohlarten,' 1833, s. 6. 

Y 2 


do they diner, 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 corre- 
sponding 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 Celts. 64 

It would be useless to give a classified description 65 of the numerous 
races, sub-races, and varieties of the cabbage ; but it may be mentioned 
that Dr. Lindley has lately proposed 66 a system founded on the state of 
development of the terminal and lateral leaf-buds, and of the flower-buds. 
Thus, I. All the leaf-buds active and open, as in the wild-cabbage, kail, &c. 
II. All the leaf-buds active, but forming heads, as in Brussel-sprouts, 
&c. III. Terminal leaf-bud alone active, forming a head as in common 
cabbages, savoys, &c. IV. Terminal leaf-bud alone active and open, with 
most of the flowers abortive and succulent, as in the cauliflower and broccoli. 
Y. 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, 6 ? 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 one 
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 mongrelized ; 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 
Kale," has lately been produced by crossing common kale and Brussel- 
sprouts, recrossed with purple broccoli, 68 and is said to be true, but plants 

64 Regnier, ' De l'Economie Publique «6 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1859, p.992. 
des Celtes,' 1818, p. 438. e 7 Alph- De Candolle, ' Geograph. 

65 See the elder De Candolle, in Bot.' pp. 842 and 989. 

'Transact, of Hort. Soc.,' vol. v.; and es 'Gardener's Chron.,' Feb. 1858, p. 

Metzger ' Kohlarten,' &c. 128. 

Chap. IX. CABBAGES. 325 

raised by me were not nearly so constant in character as any common 

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 69 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/ 
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 71 
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 com- 
mingled 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 inter- 

The other cultivated forms of the genus Brassica are descended, 
according to the view adopted by Godron and Metzger/ 2 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 (by some 
believed to be of hybrid origin) 73 and Colzas, the seeds of which yield 
oil. Brassica rapa (of Koch) has also given rise to two races, namely, 
j 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. 74 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. 75 
In the production of large, fleshy, turnip-like stems, we have a case 

<® « Kohlarten,' s. 22. 73 t Gardener's Chron. and Agricult. 

7° Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. Gazette,' 1856, p. 729. 

52 ; Metzger, « Kohlarten,' s. 22. • n t Gardener's Chron. and Agricult. 

7 1 < Geograph. Bot.,' p. 840. Gazette,' 1855, p. 730. 

72 Godron, 'De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 75 Metzger, ' Kohlarten,' s. 51. 
54 ; Metzger, ' Kohlarten,' s. 10. 


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 nutri- 
ment 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 how quickly the roots of the wild 
parsnip can be enlarged, as Vilmorin formerly proved in the case of the 
carrot. 76 This latter plant, in its cultivated state, differs in scarcely any 
character from the wild English species, except in general luxuriance and 
in the size and quality of its roots ; but in the root ten varieties, differing 
in colour, shape, and quality, are cultivated 77 in England, and come true 
by seed. 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. 

Pea (Pisum sativum). — Most botanists look at the garden-pea as speci- 
fically 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. 78 
Andrew Knight crossed, as I am informed by the Eev. A. Fitch, the 
field- pea with a well-known garden variety, the Prussian pea, and the 
cross seems to have been perfectly fertile. Dr. Alefeld has recently studied 79 
the genus with care, and, after having cultivated about fifty varieties, 
concludes that they all certainly belong to the same species. It is an 
interesting fact already alluded to, that, according to 0. Heer, 80 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 field-pea. The varieties of the common garden-pea are 
numerous, and differ considerably from each other. For comparison I 
planted at the same time forty-one English and French varieties, and in 
this one case I will describe minutely their differences. The varieties 

76 These experiments by Vilmorin those of the wild plant. From these 

have been quoted by many writers. An seedlings he raised, several distinct 

eminent botanist, Prof. Decaisne, has varieties. 

lately expressed doubts on the subject 77 Loudon's 'Encyclop. of Garden- 

from his own negative results, but ing,' p. 835. 

these cannot be valued equally with 78 Alph# De Candollej « Geograph. 

positive results. On the other hand, Bot.,' 960. Mr. Bentham (< Hort. Jour- 

M. Carriere has lately stated (< Gard. nal,' vol. ix. (1855), p. 141) believes that 

Chronicle, 1865 p. 1154) that he took garden and field peas belong to the 

seed from a wild carrot, growing far sam e species, and in this respect he 

from any cultivated land, and even in differs from Dr. Targioni. 

the first generation the roots of his seed- 79 < Botanische Zeitung,' 1860, s. 204. 

lings differed m being spindle-shaped, so < Die Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten/ 

longer, softer, and less fibrous than 1866 s. 23. 

Chap. IX. 

PEAS. 327 

differ greatly in height,— namely from between 6 and 12 inches to 8 feet, 81 
—in manner of growth, and in period of maturity. Some varieties 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 :— 
Hairs' 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 dif- 
ferences in the shape of the leaves are accompanied by slight differences in 
colour. In the Pois geant 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 or two, or several flowers in a small cluster, 
are borne on the same peduncle; and this is a difference which with some 
of the Leguminosse is considered of specific value. 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 those of the Pois nain hatif, but 
Hairs' 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 
Pois sans parchemin, are remarkable from their thin pods, winch, 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 geant is much 
pointed at the extremity ; and in the variety " a 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 ; 

QpP —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 

- jX iP\ truncated as in the American Dwarf. In the Auvergne pea the whole end of 

81 A variety called the Eouncival series), vol. i., 1835, p. 374, from which 
attains this height, as is stated by Mr. paper I have taken some facts. 
Gordon in ' Transact. Hort. Soc.' (2nd 



Chap. TX. 

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 

*ig. 41.- Pods and Peas. I. Queen of Dwarfs. II. American Dwarf. 
IV. Pois Geant sans parchemin. a. Dan O'Rourke Pea 
c. Knight's Tall White Marrow, d. Lewis's Negro Pea. * 

III. Thurston's Reliance. 
&. Queen of Dwarfs 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, 
striae, 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 

Chap. IX. PEAS. 329 

shape, being smooth and spherical, smooth and oblong, nearly oval in the 
Queen of Dwarfs, and nearly cubical and crumpled in many of the larger 

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 indisputably 
distinct species. 

Andrew Knight 82 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. 83 But the greater number of varieties 
have a singularly short existence : thus Loudon remarks 84 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, 1 find tha 
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 suc- 
cessive years, each kind always reproduced all four kinds mixed together ! 

With respect to the varieties not naturally intercrossing, I have ascer- 
tained that the pea, which in this respect differs from some other Legu- 
minosse, 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 some could hardly fail to be left on 
the stigma of the next flower which was visited. I have made inquiries 
from several great raisers of seed-peas, and I find that but few sow them 
separately ; the majority take no precaution ; and it is certain, as I have 
myself found, that true seed may be saved during at least several gene- 
rations from distinct varieties growing close together. 83 Under these cir- 
cumstances, Mr. Fitch raised, as he informs me, one variety for twenty 

s 2 ' Phil. Transact.,' 1799, p. 196. 823. 

83 < Gardener's Magazine,' vol. i, as See Dr Anderson to the same effect 
1826, p. 153. _ in the ' Bath Soc. Agricultural Papers,' 

84 « Encyclopaedia of Gardening,' p. vol. iv. p. 87. 



Chap. IX, 

years, which always came true. From the analogy of kidney-beans I 
should have expected 8S that occasionally, perhaps at long intervals of time, 
when some slight degree of sterility had supervened from long-continued 
self-fertilisation, varieties thus growing near each other would have 
crossed; and I shall give in the eleventh chapter two cases of distinct 
varieties which spontaneously intercrossed, as shown (in a manner here- 
after to be explained) by the pollen of the one variety having acted 
directly on the seeds of the other. Whether the incessant supply of new 
varieties is partly due to such occasional and accidental crosses, and their 
fleeting existence to changes of fashion; or again, whether the varieties 
which arise after a long course of continued self-fertilisation are weakly 
and soon perish, I cannot even conjecture. 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, in 1860, vigorous; 
but now, in 1865, a writer, speaking 87 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. Alefeld 
has given 88 short diagnostic characters of forty varieties. Every one 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 by a peculiar and now extinct variety producing very 
small beans. 89 

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. 90 The varieties cultivated in Britain are nume- 
rous ; thus Lawson 91 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 an amount of difference between 
the individuals of the same variety as between the different varieties. 
The flowers vary 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. 92 The fruit or berries also differ, but only in a slight degree. 93 

86 I have published full details of ex- 
periments on this subject in the ' Gar- 
dener's Chronicle,' 1857, Oct. 25th. 

87 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1865, p. 

88 ' Bonplandia,' x., 1862, s. 348. 

89 O. Heer, ' Die Pflanzen der Pfahl- 
bauten,' 1866, s. 22. 

90 Darwin, 'Journal of Researches,' 
1845, p. 285. 

91 Synopsis of the vegetable products 
of Scotland, quoted in Wilson's ' British 
Farming,' p. 317. 

92 Sir G. Mackenzie, in ' Gardener's 
Chronicle,' 1845, p. 790. 

93 'Putsche und Vertuch, Versuch 
einer Monographie der Kartoffeln,' 1819, 
s. 9, 15. See also Dr. Anderson's ' Re- 
creations in Agriculture,' vol. iv. p- 

Chap. IX. POTATOES. 331 

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 94 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 is different ; 
thus in the gurken-kartoffeln they form a pyramid with the apex down- 
wards, 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 preservation. 

As with many other plants which have been long propagated by bulbs, 
tubers, cuttings, &c, by which means the same individual is exposed 
during a length of time to diversified conditions, seedling potatoes gene- 
rally 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 95 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 ot her 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 in- 
fluence 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; yet their pecu- 
liarities can often be strictly propagated by seed. A great authority, Mr. 
Eivers, 96 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." 

_ 94 gardener's Chronicle,' 1862, p. Agriculture,' vol. v. p. 86. 

i052 - 9fi 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1863, p. 

95 'Bath Society Agricult. Papers,' 643. 
vol. v. p. 127. And 'Eecreations in 



(Jiup. X. 








OKNAMENTAL TKEES — their variation in degree and kind — ash-tree 




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 during the Bronze-age wild 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. 

1 Heer, ' Pflanzen der Pfablbauten,' 
1866, s. 28. 

2 Alph. De Candolle, 'Geograph. 
Bot.,' p. 872 ; Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti, 
in 'Jour. Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. p. 133. 
For the fossil vine found by Dr. G, 
Planchon, see ' Nat. Hist. Keview,' 
1865, April, p. 224. 

3 Godron, 'De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 

4 See an account of M. Vibert's ex- 
periments, by Alex. Jordan, in ' Mem. 
de l'Acad. de Lyon,' torn, ii., 1852, p. 

5 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1864, p. 


Chap. X. VINES. 333 

Van Mons 6 reared a multitude ot 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 pre- 
sented " les analogues de toutes les sortes," and differed in almost every 
possible character both in the fruit 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 per- 
plexed 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 Eebazo, 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, sud- 
denly 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 Bhenish 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 sustain- 
ing prolonged humidity. This latter variety sprouts late in the spring, 
yet matures its fruit early; other varieties (p. 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 
pl-ce, resist the wind. Many other variable characters could be given, but the 

foregoing facts are sufficient to show in how many small structural and 

e ' Arbres Fruitiers,' 1836, torn. ii. p. 7 0dartj , Ampelographie Univer . 

290. selle,' 1849. 




Chap. X, 

constitutional details the vine varies. During the vine disease in France 
certain whole groups of varieties 8 have suffered far more from mildew than 
others. Thus " the group of the 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 species. 

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 silkworm. 

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 

8 M. Bouchardat, in ' Comptes Ren- 
dus,' Dec. 1st, 1851, quoted in ' Gar- 
dener's Chron.,' 1852, p. 435. 

9 ' Etudes sur les Maladies actuelles 
du Ver a Soie,' 1859, p. 321. 

10 'Productive Resources of India,' p. 

11 ' Traite du Citrus,' 1811. ' Teoria 
della Riproduzione Vegetale,' 1816. I 

quote chiefly from this second work. 
In 1839 Gallesia published in folio ' Gli 
Agrumi dei Giard. Bot. di Firenze,' in 
which he gives a curious diagram of the 
supposed relationship of all the forms. 

12 Mr. Bentham, Review of Dr. A. 
Targioni-Tozzetti, 'Journal of Hort. 
Soc.,' vol. ix. p. 133. 

Chap.X. ORANGE GROUP. 335 

varieties of the wild Citrus medica, but that the shaddock (Citrus decu- 
mana), 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 as 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 perplexed with doubt 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 abo- 
riginal 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 propa- 
gated 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, &c. 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 the 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 produce 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, but 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 seed, 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, 1 * they largely intercross without 

I :S e ^ raP hf 0t i P - 863 ' ~^H^'s <Bot. Misc./ vol. i. p. 

leoria della Riproduzione,' pp. 302 ; vol. ii. p. 111. 

16 ' Teoria della Riproduzione,' p. 53. 



Chap. X. 

artificial aid; thus he positively states that seeds taken from lemon- 
trees (0. lemonum) growing mingled with the citron (C. medico), which 
is generally considered as a distinct species, produced a graduated series 
of varieties between these two forms. Again, an Adam's apple was pro- 
duced 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, &c, 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 or species, is a subject which I shall 
fully discuss in the following chapter. 

The second remarkable fact is that two supposed hybrids w (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 ol 
the pure kinds or a capricious tree reproducing the three kinds. Whether 
the sweet lemon, which includes within the same fruit segments of differ- 
ently 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. Bisso 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 foot- 
stalks 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 

zione,' p. 69. 

13 Gallesio, idem, p. 67 

19 Gallesio, idem, pp. 75, 76 

la Riprodu- 

20 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1841, p. 


21 'Annales du Museum,' torn. xx. 


p. 188. 

$ h 

Chap. X, 




nearly unanimous that the peach has never been found wild. It was intro- 
duced from Persia into Europe a little before the Christian era, and at this 
period few varieties existed. Alph. De Candolle/ 2 from the fact of the peach 
not having spread from Persia at an earlier period, and from its not having 

Fig. 42.— Peach and Almond Stones, of natural size, viewed edgeways, l. Common English Peach. 
2. Double, crimson-flowered, Chinese Peach. 3. Chinese Honey Peach. 4. English Almond. 
5. Barcelona Almond. 6. Malaga Almond. 1. Soft-shelled French Almond. 8. Smyrna Almond. 



■ 1 " 


pure Sanscrit or Hebrew names, believes that it is not an aboriginal of 
Western Asia, but came from the terra incognita of China. The suppo- 
sition, 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. 

' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 882. 

VOL. I. 



Chap. x. 

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 elon- 
gated 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 the accompanying drawings (Nbs. 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 (fig. 3) is much more elongated and compressed 
than that of the (No. 8) Smyrna almond. Mr. Kivers 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 re- 
markable 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 

23 ' Transactions of Hort. Soc.,' vol. 
iii. p. 1, and vol. iv. p. 369, and note to 
p. 370. A coloured drawing is given 
of this hybrid. 

24 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1856, p. 
532. A writer, it may be presumed 
Dr. Lindley, remarks on the perfect 
series which may be formed between 
the almond and the peach. Another 
high authority, Mr. Rivers, who has 
had such wide experience, strongly 
suspects ('Gardener's Chronicle,' 1863, 
p. 27) that peaches, if left to a state of 
nature, would in the course of time 

retrograde into thick-fleshed almonds. 

25 ' Journal of Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. p. 

26 Whether this is the same variety 
as one lately mentioned (' Gard. Chron.' 
1865, p. 1154) by M. Carriere under 
the name of Persica intermedia, I know 
not ; this var. is said to be intermediate 
in nearly all its characters between the 
almond and peach ; it produces during 
successive years very different kinds of 

2 ? Quoted in ' Gard. Chron.' 1866, p. 



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. Eivers 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 soften- 
ing 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 modi- 
fied 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 strong argument against the peach being the 
descendant of the almond. 

Whether or not the peach has proceeded from the almond, it has cer- 
tainly 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. Eivers 30 has given some striking instances 
from his own experience, and it is notorious that good peaches are con- 
stantly 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 free- 

28 Quoted in ' Journal de la Soc. 1859, p. 774. 

Imp. d 'Horticulture,' 1855, p. 238. 32 Downing, 'The Fruits of America,' 

29 « Teoria della Riproduzione Vege- 1845, pp. 475, 489, 492, 494, 496. See 
tale,' 1816, p. 86. ^also F. Michaux, ' Travels in N. Ame- 

so 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1862, p. rica' (Eng. translat.), p. 228. For 

1195. similar cases in France see Godron, ' De 

31 Mr. Rivers, ' Gardener's Chron.,' l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 97. 

z 2 



Chap. x. 

stones 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. Kivers 3i 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 lam informed by Mr. Eivers, 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 3R maintained that the nectarine " probably con- 
stitutes 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. Eivers 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 cling-stones), 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. 

33 Brickell's ' Nat. Hist, of N. Caro- 
lina,' p. 102, and Downing"s ' Fruit 
Trees,' p. 505. 

34 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1862, p. 

35 The peach and nectarine do not 
succeed equally well in the same soil : 
see Lindley's 'Horticulture,' p. 351. 

35 Godron, 'De l'Espece,' torn, ii., 
1859, p. 97. 
37 ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. vi. 

p. 394. 

38 Downing's ' Fruit Trees,' p. 502. 

39 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1862, p. 

40 'Journal of Horticulture,' Feb. 
6th, 1866, p. 102. 

41 Mr. Rivers, in ' Gardener's Chron.,' 
1859, p. 774 ; 1862, p. 1195 ; 1865, p. 1059 ; 
and ' Journal of Hort.,' 1866, p. 102. 

42 ' Correspondence of Linnaeus,' 1821, 
pp. 7, 8, 70. 





Chap. X. 



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 Eoyal George. This latter tree seldom failed to produce 
both kinds of fruit. He gives another case of a half-and-half fruit. 

At Eadford in Devonshire u a clingstone peach, purchased as the Chan- 
cellor, was planted in 1815, and in 1821, 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 Eoyal 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 
engraving. A nectarine-tree grew five yards from this tree. 

Professor Chapman states 45 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 Eoman 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 Teton de Venus peach, which repro- 
duces 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 

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 it 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 repro- 
ducing 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 

43 ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. i. p. 

44 Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag.,' 1826, 
vol. i. p. 471. 

45 Ibid., 1828, p. 53. 
45 Ibid., 1830, p. 597. 

4 ? ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1841, p. 

48 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1844, p. 

49 'Phytologist,' vol. iv. p. 299. 

50 ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1856, p. 531. 

51 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. 
p. 97. 

52 ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1856, p. 531. 



Chap. x. 

nectarines would give 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 hative 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 other 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 be given. 

The varieties of the peach and 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 corre- 
sponding 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 repro- 
duced 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 alone 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 

53 Alph. De Candolle, ' Geograph. 
Bot.,' p. 886. 

54 Thompson, in Loudon's ' Encyclop. 
of Gardening,' p. 911. 

65 ' Catalogue of Fruit in Garden of 

Hort. Soc.,' 1842, p. 105. 

56 Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti, ' Journal 
Hort. Soc,,' vol. ix. p. 167. Alph. de 
Candolle, 'Geograph. Bot.,' p. 885. 


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 margins of the petal are 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; 53 and some few peaches, such as the Brugnon, bear on the same 
tree both globular and kidney-shaped glands. 59 According to Eobertson 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 Eussia peach is a third singular 
variety, having deeply and doubly 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 2i inches in diameter, whilst those of the fruit-bearing kinds 
do not at most exceed li inch in diameter. The flowers of the double- 

5 ? 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. v. p. 1865, p. 254. 

554. 61 ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. iv. p. 

58 'Loudon's 'Encyclop. of Garden- 512. 
* ing, ; p. 907. 62 'Journal of Horticulture,' Sept. 

59 M. Carriere, in ' Gard. Chron.,' 8th, 1863, p. 188. 
gget^ 1865, p. 1154. 63 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. vi. p. 

60 < Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. iii. p. 412. 
332. See also 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 64 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1857, p. 
1865, p. 271, to same eti'ect. Also 216. 
' Journal of Horticulture,' Sept. 26th, 



Ch ap. X. 

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 mav 
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 (Primus armeniaca). — It is commonly admitted that this tree is 
descended from a single species, now found wild in the Caucasian region 6G 
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 Mascu- 
line. 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 Moor- 
park, 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 Eoyal; 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. Eivers 69 seedling apricots deviate but little from the character of 

65 ' Journal of Hort. Soc.,' vol ii p 

66 Alph. de Candolle, ' Geograph 
Bot.,' p. 879. ■ 

67 ' Transact. Hort. Soc' (2nd series), 
vol. i. 1835, p. 56. See also ' Cat. of 
Fruit in Garden of Hort. Soc.,' 3rd 

edit. 1842. 

68 Downing, 'The Fruits of Ame- 
rica,' 1845, p. 157 ; with respect to the 
Alberge apricot in France, see p. 153. 

69 'Gardeners Chronicle,' 1863, p. 

Chap. X. 




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. 

Plums {Primus 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 bullase, 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. Kivers, 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 


Fig. 43.— Plum Stones, of natural size, viewed laterally. 1. Hullace Plum. 2. Shropshire Damson. 
3. Blue Gage. 4. Orleans. 5. Elvas. 6. Denyer's Victoria. 7. I >iamond. 

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 

7° ' Travels in the Himalayan Pro- 
vinces,' vol. i. 1841, p. 295. 

7 1 See an excellent discussion on this 
subject in Hewett C. Watson's ' Cybele 
Britannica,' vol. iv. p. 80. 

' 2 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1865, p. 

73 ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 94. On 
the parentage of our plums, see also 
Alph. De Candolle, ' Geograpk. Bot./ 
p. 878. Also Targioni-Tozzetti, ' Journal 
Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. p. 164. Also Babing- 
ton, 'Manual of Brit. Botany,' 1851, 
p. 87. 



^HA1\ X. 

characters. AVith 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 import- 
ance, I have thought it worth while to give drawings of the most dis- 
tinct 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, seven of which of first-rate 
quality have been recently introduced into England. 75 Varieties occasionally 
arise having an innate adaptation for certain soils, almost as strongly pro- 
nounced 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 rela- 

74 ' Fruits of America,' pp. 276, 278, 
314, 284, 276, 310. Mr. Kivers raised 
(' Gard. Chron.,' 1863, p. 27) from the 
Prune-peche, which bears large, round, 
red plums on stout robust shoots, a 
seedling which bears oval, smaller fruit 

on shoots that are so slender as to be 
almost pendulous. 

75 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1855, p. 

76 Dovvning's ' Fruit Trees,' p. 278. 


Chap. X. CHERRIES. 347 

tions also repeatedly tried in vain to grow this variety in a sandy district 
in Staffordshire. 

Mr. Eivers 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. Eivers 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. Eivers gives several other striking instances of inhe- 
ritance: 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. Eivers remarks, 
they all belong to the same group with the Mirabelle. 

Cherries (Primus cerasus, avium, &c). — Botanists believe that our culti- 
vated 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 fertilized 
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 cherry is 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 Eatafia 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 

77 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1863, p. Targioni-Tozzetti, in 'Hort. Journal,' 

27. Sageret, in Ms ' Pomologie Phys.,' vol. ix. p. 163 ; Godron, « De l'Espece,' 

p. 346, enumerates five kinds which can torn, ii p 92 

be propagated in France by seed : see ™ < Transact Hort. Soo.,' vol. v., 

also Downmg's ' Fruit Trees of Ame- 1824 p 295 

rica ' p. 305, 812 &c so i^ second serieg> voh i<? 18B ^ 

pi- 78 Compare Alph. De Candolle, p. 248. 

' Ge'ograph. Bot.,' p. 877 ; Bentham and si j^ vol iu 13g 



Chap. X". 

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 can 
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 Toussaird, 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 prcecox or 
paradisiaca, do not deserve to be ranked as distinct species. The P. 
prcecox is supposed by some authors 83 to be the parent of the dwarf para- 
dise stock, which, owing to the fibrous roots not penetrating deeply into 
the ground, is so largely used for grafting; but the paradise stock, 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 different 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 ; 

82 These several statements are taken 
from the four following works, which 
may, I believe, be trusted. Thompson, 
in 'Hort. Transact.,' see above; Sage- 
ret's ' Pomologie Phys.,' 1830, pp. 358, 
364, 367, 379 ; ' Catalogue of the Fruit 
in the Garden of Hort. Soc.,' 1842, pp. 
57, 60 ; Downing, ' The Fruits of Ame- 
rica,' 1845, pp. 189, 195, 200. 

83 Mr. Lowe states in his ' Flora of 
Madeira' (quoted in ' Gard. Chron.,' 
1862, p. 215) that the P. malus, with its 
nearly sessile fruit, ranges farther south 

than the long-stalked P. acerba, which 
is entirely absent in Madeira, the Cana- 
ries, and apparently in Portugal. This 
fact supports the belief that these two 
forms deserve to be called species. But 
the characters separating them are of 
slight importance, and of a kind known 
to vary in other cultivated fruit-trees. 

84 See 'Journ. of Hort. Tour,' by 
Deputation of the Caledonian Hort. 
Soc, 1823, p. 459. 

85 H. C. Watson, < Cybele Britannica,' 
vol. i. p. 334. 

mk},. Chap. X. APPLES. 349 


and " it is extremely remarkable that this occurs almost exclusively among 
varieties cultivated in Russia." 85 Another Eussian apple, the white Astracan, 
possesses the singular property of becoming transparent, when ripe, like 
some sorts of crabs. The api etoile has five prominent ridges, hence its 
name ; the api noir is nearly black : the twin cluster pippin often bears 
fruit joined in pairs. 8 ? The trees of the several sorts differ greatly in their 
periods of leafing and flowering; in my orchard the Court Pendu Plat 
produces its leaves so late, that during several springs I have thought it 
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. 83 In some kinds the fruit ripens in mid- 
summer; in others, late in the autumn. These several differences in 
re jf : leafing, flowering, and fruiting, are not at all necessarily correlated ; for, 

as Andrew Knight has remarked, 89 no one can judge from the early flower- 
ing 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 Calville 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. Eivers 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 

86 Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag.,' vol. ' Transact, of Hort. Soc' vol. vi. p. 

vi., 1830, p. 83. 229. 

s ? See < Catalogue of Fruit in Garden 9 * < Transact. Hort. Boo./ vol. i. 1812, 

of Hort. Soc.,' 1842, and Downing's p. 120 

'American Fruit Trees.' 'n Journal of Horticulture,' March 

88 Loudon's 'Gardener's Magazine,' 13th, 1866 p 194 

VOl Q ; iV ™ 182 J\ P - 112 ; , 93 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. iv. p. 

™ ' The Culture of the Apple,' p. 43. 68. For Knight's case, see vol. vi. p. 

^an Mons makes the same remark on 547. When the coccus first appeared 

the pear < Arbres Fruitiers,' torn, ii, in this country, it is said (vol. ii. p. 163) 

™V? ii , > rr , that it was more injurious to crab-stocks 

9 ° Lindley s Horticulture, p. 116. than to the apples grafted on them. 

See also Knight on the Apple-Tree, in 



Chap. x. 

the Golden Harvey and the Siberian Crab ; and the latter, I believe, is con- 
sidered by some authors as specifically distinct. 

The famous St. Yalery 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 "/aire ses pommes," each marking her own fruit with a ribbon • 
and as different pollen is used, the fruit differs, and we here have an in- 
stance of the direct action of foreign pollen on the mother-plant. These 
monstrous apples include, as we have seen, fourteen seed-cells ; the pi»eon- 
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 Eibston 
Pippin, a tree of the same kind ; and it is said that the " Sister Eibston 
Pippin " was a white, semi-transparent, sour-fleshed apple, or rather large 
crab. 96 Yet it is a mistake to suppose that with most varieties the cha- 
racters 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, Pear- 
mains, Reinettes, &c., 9r 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 is now convinced that all belong to one. He has arrived at this conclu- 
sion 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. De- 
caisne raised many seedlings from four distinct kinds, and has carefully 
recorded the variations in each. Notwithstanding this extreme degree of 

94 * Mem. de la Soc. Linn, de Paris,' 
torn, iii., 1825, p. 164; and Seringe, 
'Bulletin. Bot.' 1830, p. 117. 

95 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1849, p 

96 R. Thompson, in < Gardener's 
Chron.,' 1850, p. 788. 

97 Sageret, 'Pomologie Phvsiolo- 

gique,' 1830, p. 263. Downing' s ' Fruit 
Trees,' pp. 130, 134, 139, &e. Loudon's 
' Gardener's Mag.,' vol. viii. p. 317. 
Alexis Jordan, ' De l'Origine des diverses 
Varietes,' in ' Mem. de l'Acad. Imp. de 
Lyon,' torn, ii., 1852, pp. 95, 114. ' Gar- 
dener's Chronicle,' 1850, pp. 774, 788. 
98 ' Comptes Bendus,' July 6th, 1863. 

[ beli G Chap - X ' pears— STRAWBERRIES. 351 

t}j e - variability, it is now positively known that many kinds reproduce by seed 

5 Urrn ft , ^ *^ e ^ding characters of their race." 

Strawberries (Fragaria). — This fruit is remarkable on account of the 
number of species which have been cultivated, and from their rapid improve- 
ment 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 Euro- 
pean F. elatior. Fourthly, the Scarlets, descended from F. Virginiana, 
a native of the whole breadth of North America. Fifthly, the Chili, de- 
scended from F. Ohiloensis, 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. Ohiloensis.™ 
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, Ohiloensis, 
and grandiflora "may be made to breed together indiscriminately," and he 
found, m 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 1 ** of 
the extent to which the American forms spontaneously cross. We owe 

" \ G ' r 7 dene «90 Cl ZT le \ilf 6 ' P - than that of F - ", or our common 

Most of the largest cultivated » . Le Frais - > le Co mte L. de 

strawberries are the descendants of F. Lambertye 1864 v 50 

grandiflora or GhOoerms and I have m < Transact. Hort,' Soc.,' vol. iii. 

seen no account of these forms in their 1820 p 207 

wild state Methuen's Scarlet (Down- m S ee an'account by Prof. Decaisne, 

mg ' Fruits, p. 527 has "immense fruit and by others in < Gardener's Chronicle,' 

of the largest size and be ongs to the 1862, p. 335, and 1858, p. 172 ; and 

section descended from FKrginiana ; Mr. Barnet's paper in < Hort. Soc. 

0* 4 and the fruit of this species as I hear Transact.,' vol. vi., 1826, p. 170. 
05. 1 '! ;? from Prof. A. Gray, is onlv a little lamer 



Chap. x. 

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 E. Trevor Clarke in- 
forms 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 103 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 culti- 
vated varieties can in most cases still be classed under some one of the above 
five native stocks. As the American strawberries cross so freely and 
spontaneously, we can hardly doubt that they will ultimately become in- 
extricably confused. We find, indeed, that horticulturists at present dis- 
agree 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 now see 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 pecu- 
liar dark and polished surface, and from presenting an appearance entirely 
unlike that of any other kind." l08 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- 

104 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol v 
1824, p. 294. 

105 'Journal of Horticulture,' Dec. 
30th, 1862, p. 779. See also Mr. Prince 
to the same effect, idem. 1863, p. 418. 

106 For additional evidence see 
'Journal of Horticulture,' Dec. 9th 

1862, p. 721. 

107 ' Le Fraisier,' par le Comte L. de 
Lambertye, pp. 221, 230. 

108 ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. vi. p. 

109 ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1858, p. 173. 

Chap - x - STRAWBERRIES. 353 

strawberry, which Linnaeus doubtfully raised to the rank of a species. 
Seedlings of this variety, like those of most varieties not fixed by long-con- 
tinued 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 Eed 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 her- 
maphrodites ; 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 show 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 11R commonly 
produce plants with separate sexes. Thus a whole acre of Keen's Seed- 
lings 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," &c 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 produc- 
tion 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 Enghsh and many American varieties succeed per- 
fectly That splendid fruit, the British Queen, can be cultivated bnt in 
few places either in England or France; but this apparently depends more 

^^^ SOil rVv^n 1 ^-' ^-ousgaJdenLaysX 

no mortal could grow the British Queen at Shrubland Park unless the 

whole nature of the soil was altered." 1 * La Constantinal Tone of the 

J Godron 'Do 1'Esp^,' torn. i. p. ^^ the American strawberries, 

111 ' Gardener's Chron./ 1851, p. 440. 7en^Zf ■ T^S' P " ^ '' ' Gai " 

™ F. Gloede, in ■ Gariener's cL,,' p^ ^™*> * ™ > »», 

1862, p. 1053. 117 M r» tj 

"8 Downing's « Fruits,' p. 532. denpr - i«« ' ea *° n ' in ' °° ttage Gar " 

»< Barnet, in < Hort. Transact./ vol. GarSne r l^ f «f" f ° ' ^ 

vi. p. 210. a t] . , ' ™' P- 88 > aild many other 

«■ ' Gardener's Chron,' 1847, p. 539. Gloede in ' fl2? ^ C ™ tiaent > see F ' 
™ For the several statement, with p 1053 '" ' Chronicle >' 1862 > 

2 A 



Chap. x. 

hardiest kinds, and can withstand Eussian winters, but 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 (Rites 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 cul- 
ture, 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, in 1629, specifies eight varieties; 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 Eegister for 1862 ' I find that 243 distinct 
varieties have at various periods won prizes ; 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 Horti- 
cultural Society found less confusion in the nomenclature of the goose- 
berry 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 recog- 
nised 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 

118 Eev. W. F. Kadclyffe, in ' Journal 
of Hort.,' March 14, 1865, p. 207. 

119 Mr. H. Donbleday in ' Gardener's 
Chron.,' 1862, p. 1101. 

120 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1854, p. 

121 Loudon's « Encyclop. of Garden- 
ing,' p. 930 ; and Alph. De Candolle, 
* Geograph. Bot.,' p. 910. , , 

122 Loudon's ' Gardener's Magazine, 
vol, iv. 1828, p. 112. 


sometimes reflexed and much dilated at their bases. In the' different 
varieties the fruit varies in abundance, in the period of maturity, in hang- 
ing 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}Eed goose- 
berries, 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 goose- 
berry 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 correla- 
tion, that a smooth red gooseberry had a remarkably hairy calyx. The 
flowers of the Sportsman are furnished with very large coloured bracteas ; 
and this is the most singular deviation of structure which I have ob- 
served. 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 Grower's Eegister' is pub- 
lished 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 ' Eegister ' 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 Avas no advance till 1825, when 31 dwts. 16 grs. was reached; in 

123 The fullest account of the goose- * Mr. Clarkson, of Manchester, on 
berry is given by Mr. Thompson in the Culture of the Gooseberry, in ion- 
Transact Hor. Soc, vo . i., 2nd series, don's < Gardener's Magazine/ vol. iv. 
1835, p. 218, from which most of the 1828, p 482 
foregoing facts are given. i»' d^' < F ., f , . , 

™ < Catalogue of Fruits of Hort. Soc. 213 ° America, p. 
Garden,' 3rd edit. 1S42. 

2 A 2 



Chap. X. 

1830 "Teazer" weighed 32 clwts. 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 
this same variety reached the astonishing weight of 37 dwts. 7 grs., '27 or 895 
grs. ; that is, between seven and eight times the weight of the wild fruit. I 
find that a small apple, 6* inches in circumference, has exactly this same 
weight. The "London" gooseberry (which in 1862 had altogether gained 
343 prizes) has, up to the present year of 1864, 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 quite 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 " Soaring Lion" in 1825 ; nor could the " Eoaring 
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 in the Caucasus and Himalaya, where Dr. Hooker 129 found 
the fruit of full size, but " as hard as a hickory-nut." 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 torn-tits. 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 elon- 
gated, 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, and retains its 
leaves and fruit in the autumn much longer, than the common varieties ; 

12 ? 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1844, p. 
811, where a table is given ; and 1845, 
p. 819. For the extreme weights gained, 
see ' Journal of Horticulture,' July 26, 
1864, p. 61. 

128 Mr. Saul, of Lancaster, in Lou- 
don's ' Gardener's Mag.,' vol. iii. 1828, 
p. 421 ; and vol. x. 1834, p. 42. 

129 ' Himalayan Journals,' 1854, vol. 

ii. p. 334. Moorcroft ' Travels,' vol. ii. 
p. 146) describes four varieties culti- 
vated in Kashmir. 

130 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1850, p. 

131 Paper translated in Loudon s 
« Gardener's Mag.,' 1829, vol. v. p. 202. 

132 Quoted in ' Gardener's Chronicle, 
1849, p. 101. 



but in August is in exactly the same state with them. These constitu- 
tional 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. 

Oucurbitaceous 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 experi- 
mental 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 Oucurbita ; but three alone have been cultivated and concern 
us, namely, C maxima and pepo, which include all pumpkins, gourds, 
squashes, and vegetable marrow, and C. moschata, the water-melon. 
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 im- 
portant, 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 be 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, " douees d'une stabilite 

133 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1847, pp. p. 943, 

541 and 558. 135 < Gardener's Chron.,' 1860, p. 956. 

*4 The following details are taken we . Annales des Sc. Nat. Bot.,' 4th 

from the Catalogue of Fruits, 1842, in series, vol. vi. 1856, p. 5. 

Garden of Hort. Soc., p. 103 ; and from 137 < American Journ. of Science,' 

Loudon's ' Encyclop. of Gardening,' 2nd ser. vol. xxiv. 1857, p. 442. 



Chap. x. 

presque comparable a, celle des especes les mieux caracterisees." One 
variety, l'Orangin (pp. 43, 63), lias 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 especes veritables qu'en ce qu'elles peuvent 
s'allier les unes aux autres par voie d'hybridite, sans que leur descendance 
perde la faculte de se perpetuer." If we were to trust to external differ- 
ences 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 Gartner and'Kol- 
reuter. 138 

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 volume 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 fiat 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 milli- 
metres in length. 

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 main- 
tain that, even in the most variable forms, the characters which they con- 
sider of specific value are unchangeable. To give an example from a 
conscientious writer, 139 who, relying on the labours of M. Naudin and 

138 Gartner, ' Bastarderzeugung,' 
1849, s. 87, and s. 169 with respect to 
Maize ; on Verbascum, idem, ss. 92 
and 181 ; also his ' Kenntniss der Be- 
fruchtung," s. 137. With respect to 

Nicotiana, see Kolreuter, ' Zweite Forts., 
1764, s. 53 ; though this is a somewhat 
different case. 

139 ' De l'Espece,' par M. Godron, 
torn. ii. p. 64. 


referring to the species of Cucurbita, says, " au milieu de toutes les varia- 
tions du fruit, les tiges, les feuilles, les calices, les corolles, les etamines 
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. 
Neanmoins, je crois qu'on la distinguera toujours facilement des deux autres 
especes, si Ton veut ne pas perdre de vue les caracteres differentiels que je 
m'efforce de faire ressortir. Ces caracteres sont quelquefois peu marques : 
il arrive meme que plusieurs d'entre eux s'effacent presque entierement, 
mais il en reste toujours quelques-uns qui remettent l'observateur sur la 
voie." Now let it be noted what a difference, with regard to the immuta- 
bility 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 im- 
portant 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 0. maxima they sometimes 
resume their ordinary structure. Again, in 0. 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 G. 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 (0. 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 

140 Naudin, in ' Annal. des Sci. Nat.,' »<s < Flore des Serres,' Oct. 1861, 
4th ser. Bot. torn. xi. 1859, p. 28. quoted in ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1861, 

141 ' Me'moire sur les Cucurbitace'es,' p. 1135. I have also consulted and 
1826, pp. 6, 24. taken g ; me factg from M. Naudin's 



Chap. x. 

of melons, in which the fruit is so like that of the cucumber, " both exter- 
nally 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 has 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 interest- 
ing from assuming the characteristic features of distinct species and even 
of distinct though allied genera: thus the serpent-melon has some re- 
semblance 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 disloca- 
tion," when deep cracks suddenly appear, and the fruit falls to pieces ; and 
this occurs with the wild 0. mornordica. 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." 

Useful and Oenamental Teees. 

Teees deserve a passing notice on account of the numerous varieties 
which they present, differing in their precocity, in their manner of growth, 
foliage, and bark. Thus of the common ash (Fraxmus excelsior) the cata- 
logue 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. 

Memoir on Cucumis in ' Annal. des Sc. 
Nat.,' 4th series, Bot. torn. xi. 1859 
p. 5. 
143 See also Sageret's ' Memoire,' 

p. 7. 

144 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Fruti- 
cetum,' vol. ii. p. 1217. 

Chap. X. TREES. 361 

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 con- 
ditions ; 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 com- 
petitors, 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 fastigate or pyramidal varieties of thorns, 
junipers, oaks, &c, we have an opposite kind of growth. The Hessian 
oak, 147 which is famous from its fastigate 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 fastigate 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 dis- 
tinct. 148 The fastigate Juniper (J. suecica) likewise transmits its character 
by seed. 149 Dr. Falconer informs me that in the Botanic Gardens at 
Calcutta the great heat causes apple-trees to become fastigate; and we 

145 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1866, p. i« Loudon's * Arboretum et Fruti- 
1096. cetum,' vol. iii. p. 1731 

146 « Geograph. Bot.,' p. 1096. mb Ibid>> yol iv 24g9 
W ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1842, p. 36. 



Chap. X. 

thus see the same result following from the effects of climate and from 
an innate spontaneous tendency. 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 
«lm, 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. 150 The occur- 
rence, in trees belonging to widely different orders, of weeping and fastigate 
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} 57 

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- chesnut in the Tuileries which is named from 



150 Godron (' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. 
p. 91) describes four varieties of Bo- 
binia remarkable from their manner of 

151 ' Journal of a Horticultural Tour, 
by Caledonian Hort. Soc.,' 1823, p. 107. 
Alph. De Candolle, ' Geograph. Bot.,' 
p. 1083. Verlot, ' Sur la Production des 
Varietes/ 1865, p. 55, for the Barberry. 

152 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Fruti- 
cetum,' vol. ii. p. 508. 

153 Verlot, <DesVarietes,'1865,p.92. 

154 Loudon's ' Arboretum et Fruti- 
cetum,' vol. iii. p. 1376. 

155 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1841, p. 

156 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 
89. In Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag.,' 
vol. xii. 1836, p. 371, a variegated bushy 
ash is described and figured, as having 
simple leaves ; it originated in Ireland. 

15 ' ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1861, p. 575. 

Chap. X. TREES. . 363 

leafing so much, earlier than the others. There is also an oak near Edin- 
burgh, 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 
evergreen. 159 

Scotch Fir (Pinus sylvestris).—! 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 
lather important point in which this tree occasionally varies ; in the classi- 
fication of the Conifers, 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 geo- 
graphical races, which have been ranked by some authors as distinct 
species. 103 Loudon 164 considers P.pumilio, with its several sub- varieties, 
as Mwjhus, nana, &c, 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 (Crataegus oxycantha) has varied much. Besides endless 
slighter variations in the form of the leaves, and in the size, hardness, 
fleshiness, and shape of the berries, London 163 enumerates twenty-nine 
well-marked varieties. Besides those cultivated for their pretty flowers, 
there are others with golden-yellow, black, and whitish berries; others 

158 Quoted from Koyal Irish Aca- 162 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1852, p. 693. 
demy in 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1841, p. 163 See ' Beitrage zur Kenntiiiss Euro- 
767. paischer Pinus-arten von Dr. Christ: 

159 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Fruti- Flora, 1864.' He shows that in the 
cetum;' for Elm, see vol. iii. p. 1376; Ober-Engadin P. sijlvestris and rnontana 
for Oak, p. 1846. are connected by intermediate links. 

i 60 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1849, p. 1M ' Arboretum et Fruticetum,' vol. 

822. iv. pp. 2159 and 2189. 

161 ' Arboretum et Fruticetum,' vol. 1G5 Ibid., vol. ii. p. 830; Loudon's 

iv. p. 2150. ' Gardener's Mag./ vol. vi. 1830, p. 714. 



Chap. x. 


with woolly berries, and others with recurved thorns. Loudon truly 
remarks that the chief reason why the hawthorn has yielded more varieties 
than most other trees, is that curious 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 differences due to variation. For instance, our 
Boses, Petunias, Calceolarias, Fuchsias, Verbenas, Gladioli, Pelargoniums, 
&c, 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, 17 " 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 constitu- 
tional peculiarities would fit a plant when growing in a state of nature for 
widely different circumstances and climates. 

166 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Frutice- 
tum,' vol. ii. p. 834. 

167 Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag.,' vol 
ix. 1833, p. 123. 

168 Ibid., vol. xi. 1835, p. 503. 

169 « Gardener's Chron.,' 1845, p. 623. 

170 D. Beaton, in ' Cottage Gardener/ 
1860, p. 377. See also Mr. Beck, on 
the habits of Queen Mab, in ' Gardener's 
Chronicle,' 1845, p. 226. 

jChap. X. FLO WEES. 365 

Flowers possess little interest under our present point of view, be- 
cause they have been almost exclusively attended to and selected for 
their beautiful colours, 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 Com- 
posite, 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 nec- 
taries, one neatly fitting into the other ; but in one variety they are con- 
verted into simple petals. 171 In the hose and hose primulas, 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 gene- 
rations. 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 in- 
herited 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 

171 Moquin - Tandon, ' Elements de vol. iv. p. 322. 

Teratologic,' 1841, p. 213. 175 'Botanical Magazine,' tab. 5160, 

172 See also « Cottage Gardener,' 1860, fig. 4 ; Dr. Hooker, in ' Gardener's 
P- 133. Chron.,' 1860, p. 190; Prof. Harvey, in 

173 Quoted by Alpli. de Candolle, ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1860, p. 145 ; Mr. 
' Bibl. Univ.,' November 1862, p. 58. Crocker, in 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1861, 


Knight, 'Transact, Hort. Soc.,' p. 1092. 



Chap. X_ 

C& ? ' ' 

placed it in a distinct genus from Begonia, but would probably have con- 
sidered 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 Saxifragas and Aristolochiaceas. 
The interest of the case is largely added to by Mr. C. W. Crocker's obser- 
vation that seedlings from the normal flowers produced plants winch 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 modi- 
fications 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 habi- 
tually 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 ' Teratologie' are 
highly instructive. 

Roses.— These flowers offer an instance of a number of forms generally 
ranked as species, namely, R. centifolia, gattica, alba, damascena, spinosis- 
sima, bradeata, lndica y semperflorens, moschata, &c, which have largely 
varied and been intercrossed. The genus Eosa 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 E. 
Indica, fertilised by the pollen of R. centifolia—ipYoduce an abundance of 
seed; I state this on the authority of Mr. Eivers, 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 recrossed, 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 Never- 
theless Mr. Eivers in referring to R. Indica (p. 68) says that the descend- 
ants 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 

176 Alph. de Candolle, 'Geograph. 
Bot.,' p. 1083; * Gard. Chronicle,' 1861, 
p. 433. The inheritance of the white 
and golden zones in Pelargonium largely 
depends on the nature of the soil. See 
D. Beaton, in ' Journal of Horticulture,' 

Guide,' T. 

1861, p. 61. 

177 « Bose Amateur's 
Eivers, 1837, p. 21. 

178 ' Journal Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. 185.% 
p. 182. 


Chap. X. FLOWERS. 367 

it is evident that in very many cases the differences due to variation and 
to hybridisation can now only be conjecturally distinguished. 

The species have varied both by seed and by buds ; 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 even by seed. 
Whenever a new rose appears with any peculiar character, however pro- 
duced, if it yields seed, Mr. Eivers (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 (Eivers, 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, hi 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 (Eivers, 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 Jacque- 
minot." 180 From the effects of crossing and variation Mr. Eivers enthu- 
siastically 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 (-#. spinosissima) were trans- 
planted 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 con- 
tinued 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 
1841182 ^ i s sa id 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, j 

179 The Eev. W. F. Kadclyffe, in 181 Mr. Sabine, in ' Transact. Horfc. 
' Journal of Horticulture,' March 14, Soc.,' vol. iv. p. 285. 

1865, p. 207. 182 ' An Encyclop. of Plants/ by J. 

180 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1861, p. C. Loudoo, 1841, p. 443. 



Chap, x 

Pansy or Heartsease ( Viola tricolor, &c.). — The history of this flower seem 
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 to 
gether with Mr. Lee the well-known nurseryman, 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, cul- 
tivated 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, irre- 
gular flowers of the wild pansy, and the beautiful, flat, symmetrical 
circular, velvet-like flowers, more than two inches in diameter, mag- 
nificently and variously coloured, which are exhibited at our shows. 
But when I came to inquire 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, "amcena, and Altaica 
more or less intercrossed. And when I looked to botanical works to ascer- 
tain 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 amcena 185 is now looked at 
by all botanists as a natural variety of V. grandiflora ; and this and V. sude- 
tica 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 per- 
ennial, 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. Ourtisii on the other side, that a distinction becomes 
scarcely more easy between them." 

183 Loudon's ' Gardener's Magazine,' 
vol. xi. 1835, p. 427 ; also ' Journal of 
Horticulture,' April 14, 1863, p. 275. 

184 Loudon's ' Gardener's Magazine,' 
vol. viii. p. 575; vol. ix. p. 689. 

185 Sir J. E. Smith, ' English Flora,' 
vol. i. p. 306. H. C. Watson, < Cybele 
Britannica,' vol. i. 1847, p. 181. 

... 186 Quoted from 'Annales des Sci- 


ences,' in the Companion to the 
Mag.,' vol. i. 1835, p. 159. 

18 7 ' Cybele Britannica,' vol. i. p. 173. 
See also Dr. Herbert on the changes of 
colour in transplanted specimens, and 
on the natural variations of V. grandi- 
flora, in ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. iv. 
p. 19. 

: 'i ti 

..{■:• v. 

Q '• 

Chap. XL FLOWERS. 359 

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 produce 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 Heartease, for to gain good sorts it is indispensable 
to sow the seed of good sorts. Nevertheless in every large seed-bed a few 
almost wild seedlings often 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 are 
seen sometimes to 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 com- 
pletely 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 ex- 
tremity. 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 Prance, 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 ranun- 

Salisbury, in' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' 189 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. iii. 

vol. i. 1812, pp. 84, 92. A semi-double 1820, p. 225. 
variety was produced in Madrid in 1790. 

VOL. I. 2 B 



Chap. x. 

culus-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 constitu- 
tional differences have been observed between certain varieties : thus, some 
kinds succeed much better in one part of England than in another; 19 * 
and it has been noticed that some varieties require much more moisture 
than others. 19 * 

Such flowers as the carnation, common tulip, and hyacinth, which are 
believed to be descended, each from a single wild form, present innu- 
merable 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, &c, become so ex- 
cessively 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)—!^ 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, enume- 
rates 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 ff 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 inter- 
" mediate stages which are for the most part lost to us. Nature will some- 

190 Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag.,' vol. 
vi., 1830, p. 77. 

191 Loudon's ' Encyclop. of Garden- 
ing,' p. 1035. 

192 ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. i. p. 91 ; 
and Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag.,' vol. iii., 
1828, p. 179. 

Chron.,' 1843, p. 87. 

194 « Cottage Gardener,' April 8, 1856, 
p. 33. 

195 The best and fullest account of 
this plant which I have met with is by 
a famous horticulturist, Mr. Paul of 
Waltham, in the ' Gardener's Chronicle, 


193 M r , wildman, in ' Gardener's 1864, p. 342. 

Chap. X. FLOWERS. 371 

" times 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 j with head and 
w 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 Amster- 
dam 196 in 1763, it is stated that nearly 2000 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 repro- 
ducing 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 recognised by a highly 
educated eye ; thus the writer of the Amsterdam treatise asserts (p. 43) 
that some experienced florists, such as the famous G. Voorholm, seldom 
failed in a collection of above twelve hundred sorts to recognise each variety 
by the bulb alone ! This same writer mentions some few singular varia- 
tions : for instance, the hyacinth commonly produces six leaves, but there 
is one kind (p. 35) which scarcely ever has more than three leaves ; an- 
other never more than five ; whilst others regularly produce either seven 
or eight leaves. A variety, called la Coriphee, invariably produces (p. 116) 
two flower-stems, united together and covered by one skin. The flower- 
stem in another kind (p. 128) comes out of the ground in a coloured sheath, 
before the appearance of the leaves, and is consequently liable to suffer 
from frost. Another variety always pushes a second flower-stem after the 
first has begun to develop itself. Lastly, white hyacinths with red, purple, 
or violet centres (p. 129) are the most liable to rot. Thus, the hyacinth, 
like so many previous plants, when long cultivated and closely watched, is 
found to offer many singular variations. 

In the two last chapters I have given in some detail the range 
of variation, and the history, as far as known, of a considerable 
number of plants, which have been cultivated for various pur- 
poses. But some of the most variable plants, such as Kidney- 
beans, Capsicum, Millets, Sorghum, &c, have been passed over ; 
ill 60 "* for botanists are not agreed which kinds ought to rank as 

species and which as varieties; and the wild parent-species 
.^ are unknown. 198 Many plants long cultivated in tropical 

j i m ' Des Jacinthes, de leur Anatomie, Bot.,' p. 1082. 

^atf Reproduction, et Culture,' Amsterdam, 198 Alph. de Candolle, 'Geograph. 

1768. Bot.,' p. 983. 
197 Alph. de Candolle, ' Geograph. 

2 b 2 



Chap. X. 

countries, such as the Banana, have produced numerous varie- 
ties ; but as these have never been described with even moderate 
care, they also are here passed over, Nevertheless a sufficient, 
and perhaps more than sufficient, number of cases have been 
given, so that the reader may be enabled to judge for himself 
on, the nature and extent of the variation which cultivated 
plants have undergone. 

o> T 

BCD- 1 

('an pvy 










This chapter will be chiefly devoted to a subject in many 
respects important, namely, bud-variation. By this term I 
include all those sudden changes in structure or appearance 
which occasionally occcur in full-grown plants in their flower- 
buds or leaf-buds. Gardeners call such changes "Sports;" 
but this, as previously remarked, is an ill-defined expression, 
as it has often been applied to strongly marked variations 
in seedling plants. The difference between seminal and bud 
reproduction is not so great as it at first appears; for each 
bud is in one sense a new and distinct individual ;